A few weeks ago, I ran an item on a report - finally picked up by the paid media this past weekend - that shows how Idaho now ranks at the absolute bottom in congressional clout, thanks to our all-GOP delegation. In no area are we more compromised by this lopsided representation than finding a sane way forward out of the military disaster in Iraq.
Clearly, there are some Republicans questioning the Bush policy on Iraq, but none of them are from Idaho. To a man, Larry Craig, Mike Crapo, Bill Sali, and Mike Simpson are acting as rubber stamps for a failed policy in Iraq. Even though the war is the most pressing issue on our national plate, it's hard to find mentions of Iraq on their websites - no surprise, since each man unquestioningly stands behind Bush.
Larry LaRocco, who will challenge Craig (or whomever the GOP nominates) for Senate next year, is already pressing Bush and Craig on the issue. In a statement, LaRocco said, "As a veteran and a parent, I know the current policy of escalation in Iraq is not what Idahoans want and expect. The president has chosen a policy that divides America rather than a policy that unites us.
"When the powers of the executive branch go unchecked, as they have in Iraq, it's time for the Congress to act and seek accountability from the administration. Our sacred Constitution expects the Congress to serve as the checks and balances and demand accountability. Instead, Senator Craig has been a rubber stamp for a policy in Iraq that is delusional and has no end in sight. The Congress should follow the lead provided by the Iraq Study Group and begin a withdrawal of our brave troops, re-deploy our troops within Iraq, and turn over military operations to the Iraqis.
"The time for a new direction in Washington is now," LaRocco added. "Larry Craig has shown he is not willing to listen to Idahoans on the most important issue facing us today Following a failed strategy over a cliff is not leadership. Allowing a president to divide our country is not leadership. We can and must do better."
Well, we blew it here in Idaho last fall, and a chance at getting responsible new leadership unfortunately won't fully come for another 18 months. But LaRocco is right: Craig and the rest of the delegation are ignoring the will of most Idahoans in flat out refusing to admit that a change of course is needed in Iraq. Idahoans need to recognize that and prepare to turn Craig, Sali, and Simpson out of office next year. (We're stuck with Crapo until 2010.) Our nation's future depends on it.