Still crazy after all these years.

Notes from the political sidelines.
Nov. 10 2006 12:52 PM

Still Crazy After All These Years

The nuttiest congressional district in America keeps its reputation intact.

80_thehasbeen

Friday, Nov. 10, 2006

One-State Strategy: Now that Republicans have won lost houses of Congress, the political totem pole is clear: Rovism may beat Shrumism, but it will never beat Schumer-Rahmism.

But take heart, Karl! The good news: Rovism is not dead, after all. The bad news: The only state where it still works is Idaho.

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While red-, purple-, and blue-state Republicans were falling everywhere else Tuesday night, Idaho Republicans enjoyed a historic night. They held both congressional seats and the governorship with ease and won every statewide office for the first time since the Hoover landslide in 1928. Rove has a bright future out there, and if he needs help getting his foot in the door, I'd be happy to make a few calls.

The rest of America may be hungry for common-sense centrists who'll change the tone and solve the country's problems. But in Idaho, voters looked at the extremism of the last six years and said, "Bring it on," "Stay the course," and "Full steam ahead!"

Kipling once began an ode, "If you can keep your head when all about are losing theirs." Idaho is out to prove that the converse is also true.

For all those despondent right-wingers who think the GOP lost Tuesday because Bush and the Republican Congress weren't conservative enough, we've got a fresh face who will never let you down. Congressman-elect Bill Sali had to overcome a vicious smear campaign—from fellow Republicans, who attacked him as mean, wacky, and none too bright. But he still won a majority, 50-45 percent.

One Republican called Sali "an idiot's idiot." When Idaho's other Republican congressman, Mike Simpson, was House speaker in the state legislature, he once got so angry with Sali for mouthing off that he threatened to throw him out of a third-floor window in the state Capitol.

Idaho voters decided that's just the breath of fresh air Washington needs. "I can't keep my mouth shut and neither can Bill Sali," one supporter told the Associated Press. Sali boasts that he's one guy who'll have the backbone to stand up to Nancy Pelosi. Visitors might want to avoid the Capitol grounds beneath her window.

Across the country, Republican candidates bent over backward to look reasonable and still lost. Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele ran one ad of himself saying, "I like puppies," and another of a woman defending his stem-cell position and insisting he cares about sick people: "I should know. I'm his sister, and I have M.S."