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Horowitz: Idaho Gov. Brad Little thinks 60 days of dictatorial power are not enough for him

Op-ed

What red states?

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Californians are flocking to Idaho to escape the collapse of their culture and freedoms and in search of liberty. There is even an entire movement to create "Greater Idaho," which would encompass eastern portions of Washington and Oregon as well as northern California. Yet many of them will be disappointed to know that, thanks to leftist Republicans like Gov. Brad Little and some legislators, they as may as well stay put and suffer under Gavin Newsom with the warmer weather.

A year ago, I wrote an article titled, "Governors, not gods: State executives cannot simply do whatever they want indefinitely," observing the shocking tyranny committed by governors who, as of April 20, 2020, had unilaterally vitiated our most basic human rights without legislative input for a full month. Little did I know that a year later, most of these governors, including Republicans like Brad Little, would continue exercising the power of a king indefinitely. Now Brad Little has successfully killed a bill that would ever place any meaningful limitations on his dictatorial powers. Who needs Gavin Newsom when you have Brad Little?

With today's transportation and communication, a governor should not be able to rule by emergency in a way that really alters people's lives for more than a day or two. We have legislatures for a reason. Yet SB 1136, which passed both chambers with overwhelming support, actually gives the governor 60 days to continue a declared emergency before requiring affirmative support from the legislature. The bill also states that the governor cannot unilaterally change state laws during the declared emergency. Sounds pretty generous, right? Sixty days of emergency declaration, and if it is really that compelling, the legislature would continue it. Yet Brad Little vetoed the bill because he believes in the rule of one man. He claimed that the bill would add "more red tape and government bureaucracy." Self-awareness is dead to these tyrants.

SB 1136 originally passed the House by 54-16, with four Republicans opposing it, and the Senate by 28-7, with all Republicans in support of the measure. That should have been enough to sustain a two-thirds majority veto override; however, the governor successfully flipped five Republicans in the Senate, netting just enough votes to sustain his veto. The Republicans who voted to make Little king were Jim Guthrie, Patti Anne Lodge, Fred Martin, Jim Patrick, and Jim Woodward. When it comes to this broken Republican Party, there is no majority large enough to uphold basic civil liberties as they existed before the pandemic.

The governor held a press conference last Friday with four former governors as well as Sen. Jim Risch to explain his veto. This demonstrates that the Republican Party in Idaho has been rotten to the core for years as conservatives have been complacent, not selecting authentic Republicans in the primaries.

The governor also vetoed HB 135, which, among other things, would bar the governor from quarantining the healthy, shutting down businesses and churches, and banning assembly. Idaho Gov. Little illegally barred assembly of more than 10 people for months, even longer than some blue states did. The House already voted to override Little's veto, but as of this writing, it's unclear whether the same senators who sided with the governor on SB 1136 will stay the course on HB 135.

It is truly shocking how a simple proposition banning the shutdown of businesses and churches and the quarantining of healthy people is now controversial in a red state. It is unfathomable that 60 days of unilateral emergency powers are not enough.

The governor had the nerve to suggest that the legislature acted out of "an emotional knee-jerk reaction" in standing for the Constitution, when it was he and his ilk who acted impetuously out of emotion to the virus. Thirteen months later, he has refused to look at the science. Little said he believes the legislature limiting his powers violates the state's constitution. That is really rich. This man violates every clause of the Bill of Rights, yet suddenly when the legislature tries to check that power, it is they who are violating the constitution!

Perhaps he should study Art. I Sec. II of the state's constitution:

All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal protection and benefit, and they have the right to alter, reform or abolish the same whenever they may deem it necessary; and no special privileges or immunities shall ever be granted that may not be altered, revoked, or repealed by the legislature.

There are a number of other good bills that passed the House but are being blocked in the Senate by Little's phony Republican allies. Evidently, a 28-7 majority is not enough. Some of the bills that will likely die in the Senate are:

  • HB 339 – Bars all state and local officials from ever instituting a mask mandate.
  • HB 140 – Bars all companies from discriminating against people who don't get the experimental COVID vaccines and prohibits state officials from entering into public contracts with companies that do so.
  • HB 291 – A business bill of rights that precludes any layer of government from ever shutting businesses or revoking licenses for staying open.
  • HB 249 – Would require parents to have to opt in before the public school can teach any sex education.

Wouldn't one expect these bills to easily pass in a state like Idaho? Well, governors like Brad Little make states like Idaho blue without Democrats ever assuming power.

Brad Little is up for re-nomination next year as a Republican running for governor in a state Trump carried by 31 points. Local media reports that Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin might challenge Little for the GOP nomination. McGeachin has been openly campaigning against lockdowns since the beginning and seems to represent the values people expect from a state like Idaho.

Trump recently suggested that the key to winning for Republicans is to adopt his America-first agenda. Well, nothing more important was hatched in China to destroy America than the concept of lockdowns. Brad Little is antithetical to Trump's base and why people voted for him. McGeachin, on the other hand, was the first Republican in the state to support Trump and nominated him at the RNC convention for the state of Idaho. Thus, if she runs, Trump will have a bold choice to make in Idaho. Does he stand with the Fauci governors, or does he stand with MAGA governors like Ron DeSantis?

The difference between Republicans like Ron DeSantis who reject "Fauciism" and Republicans like Little who embrace it is greater than the difference between a Republican and a Democrat. If Trump really wants to make an impact on changing the Republican Party from Fauci to DeSantis, he will endorse against lockdown governors in every red state primary. Otherwise, his most ardent supporters will quite literally have nowhere to live as free Americans.
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