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October 13, 2010

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Michael Keyes

Tom,

How would a closed primary be policed? Do you have to have a GOP/Democratic party card or is there a registration function somewhere along the way? Can you change party affiliataions each time you vote? If not, why not as you may truly change your mind each time, which is what most independents seem to do?

Where I live in WI there is no reason to be a Democrat since none ever seriously runs for office and none would be elected. Even in the non-partisan elections the candidates let their party affiliation slip out to garner votes.

BTW, Go Boise State! My favorite college team for some time now.

Tom von Alten

When we strip off all the bark from the tree, isn't the main function of elected government a budgetary one?

I understand your point, but I don't see it quite that way. The budget is a way to measure "how much" of what government has decided to try to do. But all the deciding of what to consider (and what not to consider), and how much attention (part of which is funding) to give an item ultimately matters more than just how many dollars flow.

For example: the Bureau of Occupational Licensing gets $X of general fund money. (Not sure what it is, it might even be zero, with their funding coming from the various Boards they subsume, and the licensing fees each charges practitioners.)

But the Legislature has decided over the years WHICH occupations are to be licensed and overseen, and which ones don't need to be.

There are no budget numbers that capture that aspect of the decision-making that is at the core of state government (and indeed, all management).

(And as for the interesting metaphor you chose, not something I've heard before... stripping the bark from a tree would presumably remove both the (dead) cork, and the (living) cambium, a "processing" step to yield the (dead) wood for repurposing to structural, decorative, etc. uses. But then it's not a tree anymore, is it? Should government be a lifeless commodity or a living organism?)

Dennis Mansfield

Tom,
I always enjoy reading your thoughts. Thank you for commenting once again- especially on this issue

Party loyalty has a place. Individual belief has its place. Fiduciary responsibility has the highest place among any elected official (party member or independent). When we strip off all the bark from the tree, isn't the main function of elected government a budgetary one? Hence the importance of honor among numbers and clear budgetary guidelines becomes apparent.

"Party loyalty" SHOULD help a semi-diverse and somewhat autonomous group of individuals come together to more easily craft a budget that reflects their priorities. No Party, no loyalty, no cohesiveness and a much, much harder time surfaces in attempting to find common ground and consensus thinking regarding the placement of dollars towards future (or existing) projects.

Tom von Alten

Interesting point of view, as someone directly affected (assuming your assessment of the outcomes is correct). I wonder... since my impression of you is that you've become more reasonable and moderate over the years, would you still be Republican enough to survive a more carefully guarded primary?

If the suit succeeds, and the primary does get "closed," how will the party actually implement the means to keep the riff-raff out? If I say "I'm a Republican," who's to say "no you're not" and on what basis?

Apart from the legal question, it seems plain that increasing polarization in politics has led to increasing dysfunction. Should the party win its suit, how will that "success" lead to anything besides worsening of that dysfunction?

And finally, while it is not always clear from elected officials' behavior, it needs to be said once in a while that those officials have a fiduciary responsibility to the State of Idaho that must be a higher allegiance than their personal party affiliation or support of any or all of a party's platform.

I'm not sure they all really understand that.

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