It sure is strange to see Lewiston Tribune editorial writer Marty Trillhaase complain that the Idaho Freedom Foundation is not being aggressively free market enough. Is he serious? I doubt it, because Marty and his newspaper aren't exactly champions of freedom and free markets. If Marty and the Lewiston Tribune are complaining, odds are we're doing something right.
But what's even more surprising is my friend Marty's contention, printed last week, that IFF has been silent about Gov. Butch Otter's plan to accept federal Obamacare money. Trillhaase says "you've not heard one word of protest" from IFF. Indeed, Marty goes on to invoke the name of my mentor, Ralph Smeed, who died a year ago. Marty says Smeed would have been more critical of our governor and that IFF isn't because my organization has been co-opted by a governor who supports our cause. Hogwash, hogwash and more hogwash.
Despite Marty's belief that IFF telegraphs its every action to the Lewiston Tribune in high definition, that's not the case. We've been pounding the drum against Obamacare and the acceptance of any federal monies. We were doing it even before it was cool to do so. Remember that IFF fought to keep the Legislature from accepting $2.5 million in ObamaBucks that certain members of the Otter administration wanted to accept. We were successful in that endeavor. Additionally, throughout the summer, I have given multiple speeches to patriot groups statewide, held meetings with legislators and have discussed the need to refuse ObamaBucks and Obamacare programs and grants. Our opposition has been vocal and consistent. On IdahoFreedom.net is a lengthy explanation of health insurance exchanges and our opposition to them. That memo to legislators has remained on our website since this winter and hasn't been removed or altered, even though the governor's position differs from ours.
And which news organization has been diligently following and writing about the state's acceptance of new Obamacare grants? That would be IdahoReporter.com, the Idaho Freedom Foundation's news site. After IdahoReporter.com reported that the state government was still accepting money via Obamacare, the rest of the media picked up the story. The legacy news media has been following our lead on this issue.
Despite all of this, Marty and the Lewiston Tribune want their readers to believe IFF is saying nothing and doing nothing on Obamacare in exchange for the governor's support of IFF in a letter to Idahoans. The truth is a lot less interesting. The governor sent out his letter in support of IFF because the governor and IFF agree on many, many issues related to freedom and free markets. He sees value in the existence of IFF, and we are grateful for his support. No one ever expected -- not me, not my board and not the governor -- that Otter's letter would change our positions or change who we are. Or that we'd be silent on issues or less critical of Otter when necessary. The truth is, we agree on a lot, and that's why the governor supports our mission. While a number of political figures in Idaho support IFF, no politician gets a pass from us because we have his or her support.
IFF is an independent, non-partisan organization promoting free markets -- very successfully, I might add. Many politicians who have come to embrace our presence on the field of public policy. And despite Marty's contention to the contrary, I'm certain my friend Ralph Smeed would be very pleased and excited with that we're doing to bring about the free market solutions he spent a lifetime advocating.