Idaho Gov. Brad Little, House Speaker Scott Bedke, and Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder had no trouble tearing into President Joe Biden after he announced his dumb, vindicitive, and just plain terrble vaccine mandates. But they have been suspiciously silent about the mandate being imposed by a government agency of which they have oversight: Boise State University.
BSU announced on Friday that it would require student attendees to either be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend the Broncos football game on Saturday. This makes BSU the first state government agency to make such a demand. The city of Boise had, a few days before, announced the same protocol for city-licensed events.
If Biden’s actions have the governor, speaker, and pro tem so bothered, they should be even more upset over one of their own agencies acting more in alignment with the Biden administration than with the Republican-controlled Legislature and governor’s own office.
For his part, Little has a standing executive order in opposition to vaccine passports. The city is not covered by the order, as it only bans state agencies from requiring a vaccine passport in order to receive government services or enter state government buildings.
But BSU is included in the governor’s directive.
Why the radio silence from Little? In April, Little said, “Vaccine passports create different classes of citizens. Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and the economy are returning to normal. Vaccine passports threaten individual freedom and patient privacy.”
The new thinking of Little’s executive order is that BSU and other state agencies can mandate a vaccine so long as they offer an alternative. BSU says it will accept a negativeCOVID test, but they could have just as easily offered the unvaccinated a choice of higher ticket prices or having a football thrown at their faces and still remained in the boundaries Little’s executive order established.
It’s now obvious the governor’s executive order was just a really good public relations ploy and not much more. The order generated the headlines Little needed to counteract his Newsome-esque COVID image from when his administration ordered the closure of businesses and threatened the licenses of those that dared to defy him.
And public relations is also at the heart of what Little, Bedke, and Winder were looking for when they sent Biden a letter complaining about the federal vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees.
A strongly-worded letter attacking Biden can be a real crowd pleaser at Republican Party events and fundraisers; even Attorney General Lawrence Wasden signed it. But the letter is a complaint about the scope of federal intervention into the states, not a defense of liberty. It says mandating vaccines is the state’s sovereign right, not the federal government’s. Individual liberty isn’t mentioned, which tells you all you need to know about where these elected officials’ heads are when it comes to vaccine mandates.
So while BSU’s decision to impose medical tyranny on Broncos football fans appears to annoy a lot of Idahoans, the state’s top Republicans who have the capacity to do something about it are not — and never will be — among them.
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