The head of Idaho Democratic Party says the plans discussed at the Republicans’ state convention last month are astounding and show a shift to the extreme.
“The Republicans delivered the very kind of high octane partisanship that voters across this state and nation are no longer willing to tolerate,” said Keith Roark, the chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party on the party’s website.
Roark criticized parts of the Republican platform and resolutions, including a loyalty oath for GOP candidates to follow the party platform, and repealing the 17th Amendment, which allows citizens, rather than state legislators, to elect U.S. senators. He also criticized several resolutions that weren’t adopted by the convention, including creating a non-regulated state militia and disbanding public schools.
After criticizing those Republican proposals, Roark said that the Democrats embrace a wide range of views and voters. “We respect and treasure differing views and don’t believe that there is only one path to successful problem solving,” he said. “If you are tired, irritated and frightened by the right wing extremism of the Idaho Republican Party you are always welcome in our big tent.”
Idaho Republican Party Chairman Norm Semanko last week called the GOP convention positive and inspiring, and criticized the Democrats for closing some discussions at their convention to non-delegates.
The loyalty oath provision of the platform asks candidates to serve according to the other principles of the platform or to send the party chairman a letter explaining why they disagree with specific planks. Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, told IdahoReporter.com it could hurt her or other Republicans in their campaigns against Democrats.
Boise Democratic state Rep. Branden Durst, now a candidate for the Idaho Senate, criticized the proposal on his Twitter feed last month. “(I) won't be signing any ‘loyalty oaths,’” he said. “Luckily I don't have to. My job is to serve the people of my district not a political party.”
Idaho GOP Platform Leaves Voters Behind
Idaho voters are astounded at the radical right hand turn taken by the Idaho Republican Party at its recent state convention. It is now clear that the “new” Idaho Republican Party is interested not in governing but in ruling our state and its people.
The recent convention approved platform planks that would take away the right of Idahoans to vote for their United States Senator, require Republican candidates for public office to sign a “loyalty” oath and “order” a candidate for Ada County Commission who has spent a lifetime in public service to renounce his candidacy because he has from time to time reached out to Democrats in working to solve common problems.
“The citizens of Idaho want elected officials who work together to solve the problems that are important to them and their children”, stated Keith Roark, chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party. “Instead, the Republicans delivered the very kind of high octane partisanship that voters across this state and nation are no longer willing to tolerate.”
In addition to items included in their party platform, the Republican’s proposed measures so far out of the mainstream that Idahoans should be disturbed that they were even considered. Some of these extremist proposals included disbanding all Idaho public schools, creating a state militia, forbidding closure of poorly run publicly-funded charter schools that are drowning in red ink, and rejecting school-based vaccination clinics (vaccinations were called “unnecessary drugging of our children”).
“The Idaho Democratic Party welcomes all well intentioned voters to join us in finding solutions to the problems this state now faces. We embrace a wide range of views and voters. At the same time, the Idaho Republican Party is quickly moving to the extreme right, far away from its traditional, moderate center”, stated Mr. Roark. “This election season we ask the people of Idaho to look closely at the candidates and decide, based on the issues, who will best represent you. Based on issues like quality education, fiscal responsibility, fairness in taxation, and pragmatic problem solving we think that you will choose Democrats to help solve the problems that are important to you and your children. We will never ask that you sign a loyalty oath or pass a litmus test. We respect and treasure differing views and don’t believe that there is only one path to successful problem solving. If you are tired, irritated and frightened by the right wing extremism of the Idaho Republican Party you are always welcome in our big tent.”