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Friday, May 26, 2006

ID-01: Wingnut of the Year

Posted by James L.

It seems like every year, deep in the bowels of the reddest of red America, the Republicans manage to field a new candidate who pushes the limits of batshittery to unseen levels. Last year was Ohio's truly odious Jean Schmidt, and this year's could very well be state Rep. Bill Sali of Idaho, running for the open seat of vacating Rep. "Butch" Otter, who has his eyes set on the Governor's mansion. On Tuesday evening, Sali (with the help of a huge out-of-state fundraising push by the Club for Growth) came out on top in a six-way primary battle with 26% of the Republican vote. With a district that delivered 68% of its vote to George W. Bush in 2004, it'd normally be safe to say that just about any Republican could win this district in a cakewalk. Just about.

DailyKos diarist MrLiberal makes the case that the Republicans may have nominated someone, well, just a bit too nutty, even for deep red Idaho. It seems that the more one gets to know Bill Sali, the more one realizes how much of a repulsive knuckledragger he is. But don't take my word for it--just ask Bruce Newcomb, the Republican Speaker of the Idaho House:

Sali’s critics pointed to an incident earlier this month in which he insisted on discussing studies linking abortion to breast cancer during a debate on a bill to require doctors to inform women about abortion-related risks. The Idaho House Democratic leader, a survivor of breast cancer, walked out in tears, and her Democratic colleagues followed her.

The Idaho GOP leaders postponed the day’s business. The Speaker, Bruce Newcomb, told The Idaho Statesman, “That idiot is just an absolute idiot. He doesn’t have one ounce of empathy in his whole fricking body. And you can put that in the paper.” [emphasis added]

The flap disgusted even his Republican colleagues, and Newcomb subsequently stripped Sali of his committee assignments. But it's clear that Sali is the punching bag of Idaho's Republican circles, according to the Idaho Statesman:

Enmity toward Sali has bubbled in recent weeks. At an Otter for Governor fund-raiser last month, Newcomb was roasted as the guest of honor. Former state Rep. Bev Montgomery of Caldwell asked if Sali was in the room. He wasn't, but her question won a laugh.

She told a story of getting so frustrated with Sali she was ready to kill him. "Don't worry," she said Newcomb told her, "it'll be justifiable homicide." Bigger laugh.

It's one thing for an ex-lawmaker to poke fun. But Otter also made Sali a punch line of a joke involving former speaker and now-U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.

"Bruce has been a great speaker of the House," Otter said. "And as he told me, he learned everything that he knows from Mike Simpson. And that is why every time he has a bad day, he goes and beats the hell out of Bill Sali."

Another big laugh.

And who can blame them when Sali's backstory is filled with nuggets like this one (from the Statesman article):

In 2002, Sali angered colleagues when he said in a deposition that he was still "better than most" legislators despite his claim that he suffered from "brain fade" and impaired memory as a result of a car wreck.

"How shall I say this?" Sali said. "Much of the time in the Legislature, critical-thinking skills are not necessarily needed."

According to the Statesman, Idaho's other Representative, Mike Simpson, despises Sali, too--so much so that he even threatened to throw Sali out of his office window. (To which his colleagues replied: "The third floor wasn't high enough. You should have taken him up to the fourth floor.")

The Democratic nominee to face Sali for the open seat this November is Larry Grant, a presentable party player with a background in business and law. Grant is emphasizing ethics and the federal sale of National Forest lands in his campaign and has wrapped up the endorsements of what little is left of Idaho's Democratic establishment. Local Democrats are actually excited over a race that could produce some fireworks with Sali's involvement, even if it would be a tough hill to climb. For more local perspective from Idaho, check out the excellent Red State Rebels, whom I expect will give the blogosphere a front-seat view to the ID-01 race this season.

Posted at 03:36 PM in 2006 Elections - House, Idaho, Open Seats | Technorati

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» Even Bigger Batshit Republican than Batshit Jean Schmidt? from The Political Dogfight
I didn't think the Republicans could ever field a candidate that was crazier and hit a higher level on the Batshitmeter than Jean Schmidt in OH-2! My God....just imagine. But by God...have faith...they have. His name is State Representative Bill [Read More]

Tracked on May 26, 2006 11:51 PM


According to the Statesman, Idaho's other Representative, Mike Simpson, despises Sali, too--so much so that he even threatened to throw Sali out of his office window. (To which his colleagues replied: "The third floor wasn't high enough. You should have taken him up to the fourth floor.")

To fricking great.....finally a opponent that's actually has taken batshittery to a new level! After Batshit Jean...before and now... I didn't think that was possible!

Posted by: Stuart O'Neill [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 26, 2006 07:28 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

A great issue to hit Sali on will be whether or not he would support the FTAA (Free Trade of the Americas Act).

All four Republicans in the joint Senate-House congressional delegation from Idaho were forced to defy the party line and vote against CAFTA last year. Anyone know both Grant and Sali's stance on these 'free' trade deals and whether or not Grant could capitalize on the fact that it was overwhelmingly Democrats who opposed CAFTA and not the GOP?

Posted by: progressivemuslimnj [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 27, 2006 01:04 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

This loonball home schooler has kids and grandkids with such "biblical" names as Levi, Micah, and Isaiah. This, in and of itself, tells me much about this guy, i.e., that he is likely a Christofascist, or if you will, a "Dominionist".

Continuing on, on the loon's website, he writes "Bill and Terry sought to teach their children to revere and rely upon God and earnestly seek His guidance for their lives. Of all that Bill and Terry did or could have done, this stands out as their greatest success." It also says there that "In 1999 Congressman Helen Chenoweth presented Bill with the "Faith and Freedom" award from Idaho Christian Coalition for his "leadership in drafting pro-life legislation and advocating parental rights."

I'm not opposed to religion, but I am to religious zealotry being imposed on politics, which is just what we'll get if members of this lunatic fringe continue to win elections.

Finally, notice the phrasing, or framing, of the issues by the loon - yet more Rovian GOP claptrap talking points, designed for the far right wing base:

• Protecting the unborn
• Protecting our wallets from big spenders
. Opposed 1¢ Sales Tax Increase
• Protecting our gun rights
• Protecting traditional marriage One Man - One Woman
• Protect private property rights
• Protect us from activist judges

Posted by: Tom C in NY [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 26, 2006 02:10 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment