I remember my high school football days fondly. I remember that first freshman football touchdown I made and as I circled across the endzone I flipped the ball to the back judge who had both hands in the air and the whistle in his mouth. He had to interrupt what he was doing to catch it. I apologized, then lined up for the extra point.
Nobody spiked the ball back then. We didn’t have dancing in the endzone or sack celebrations or first down jubilations. Any such demonstration would have been considered unseemly if not unsportsmanlike. It was about moving the football down the field with force and humility. I assure you we wore helmets, but it was 50 years ago.
But football and politics have changed over the years. We indeed did have a movie star as our governor in California then. And he went on to be a US President. Reagan really could deliver a line. I thought the Republican party brilliant for embracing his skills.
But politics and governing, though hopelessly entwined are separate skills. The brash word or offensive remark can harm one’s credibility in negotiations that are based on trust.
So, you just have to wonder whether our Idaho elected leaders are trying to govern or grandstand this week in Boise.
The legislature has its own style for endzone celebration. First, they made sure the game wasn’t over last spring, at the end of the longest session in their history when the House refused to adjourn and instead “recessed”. The Senate did adjourn, but they are taking the lead from the House, I guess since they are returning to Boise this week too. Whether any of this conforms with the Idaho Constitution is questionable but spiking the ball in the endzone wasn’t illegal until it was.
For what purpose do these prima donnas gather to spend our money at Boise watering holes? Er, I mean, convene at our Capitol?
The Senate says they want to make sure they are putting money into a legal fund to fight President Biden’s dubious vaccine mandates. It doesn’t matter I guess that the Idaho Attorney General has already joined many other states in such a lawsuit and that a federal judge has placed a stay on Biden’s executive order. They want to put taxpayer money into a fund to pay private attorneys. They must feel some sense of urgency since they actually could be doing this in January.
But the House (who never adjourned) are the ones calling the Senate back to do their bidding. Usually, the Idaho Senate doesn’t take orders from the House, but I guess times have changed. The even conservative and reserved Idaho House has teed up some thirty bills. And they could be about anything. We’ll find out as the week goes on.
If they chose to vote on anything, pass anything, and if our governor chooses to sign it, they will all be on shaky ground. As I said, they aren’t following the rules for their conduct laid out in the Idaho Constitution.
But grandstanding on the taxpayer dime is not the sole province of the legislative branch. Our executives, both the Governor and his Lieutenant, have reached into public coffers to fund trips where they hoped they could spike the ball. Both went to Mar A Lago to kiss the ring of our former President, hoping for his endorsement. Only the Lieutenant got the ball; Brad came up empty. And we get to pay for this.
I vote for people to represent me and work to make our state healthy. We got no real property tax relief last session, just a last-minute casserole that has crippled rapidly growing cities and not eased the annual tax bill from the county.
Next time you go to the polls, consider voting for an offensive lineman. They do the work and don’t dance in the endzone.
Dan Schmidt is a family physician who lives in Moscow. Dr. Schmidt, a Democrat, served in the Idaho state senate from 2010 to 2016.