Labor union bosses and radical environmentalists have been unable to convince Idahoans to support their liberal agenda. So, they are now masquerading as conservative Republicans in their attempt to turn voters to favor the most left-leaning of the Republican candidates for governor, Brad Little.
In a recent mailing, the Independent Republicans for Idaho PAC — a group which wants independents and Democrats to register as Republicans — tells voters that Little is “safeguarding conservative Idaho values.” Further, “Brad is the proven conservative leader who will stand up for the things we hold dear: family, freedom and a future worth fighting for.”
The question: Who are the “Independent Republicans for Idaho”?
The first clue as to the wizard behind the curtain comes from the group’s mailing address. The address is the same as that of the Idaho Education Association, also known as the teachers union. The union is fighting desperately to preserve the lucrative deal that allows the IEA to remain in the state’s taxpayer-backed pension program. The union is also trying to make sure local school boards continue to be required to participate in collective bargaining and that strong-arm labor union tactics, like card check, continue to be allowed when determining whether a union can represent employees at the negotiating table.
The IEA has also been fending off the creation of additional education choice programs that would give students better learning opportunities than those offered in government-run schools. Simultaneously, the teachers union has been building support for the creation of a statewide pre-kindergarten program, something that Little is also on record advocating. As of this month, the IEA contributed almost $77,000 to the Independent Republicans for Idaho PAC.
Although the “Independent Republican” group claims Little is best because he’s “the candidate from Idaho, for Idaho,” the far-left National Education Association, based in Washington, D.C., has dropped $75,000 into the Idaho political action committee. Lest you not know the NEA’s leanings, the organization has never supported a Republican presidential candidate and most recently backed Hillary Clinton’s failed 2016 White House run. The NEA, too, opposes education choice and on a national level has fought efforts to rein in labor union power.
The PAC’s largest contributor so far—to the tune of $90,000—is the Conservation Voters for Idaho Action Fund. The fund opposes state management of federally-controlled public lands and advocates public policies centered around climate change, neither of which are typical of conservative Idaho political values.
Several firefighters unions from all corners of the state and one from Montana donated to the PAC. All told, as of May, the PAC has raised $330,000.
Dishonesty always has been—and probably always will be—part of politics. Groups and candidates typically appropriate the words “conservative” and “freedom” to fit their purposes, even when such words diverge from the policy aims of the candidates or organizations.
Still, what the labor unions and environmentalists are doing this election season is a whole new level of fraudulence that reveals a sense of desperation mixed with cynicism. They have zero interest in promoting conservative principles. They also know that most primary Republican voters tend to lean conservative. Thus, the unions and the environmentalists are trying to deceive conservative Republicans into nominating the most liberal candidate on the GOP primary ballot. The only way to win, they have theorized, is to use conservative rhetoric today so they can defeat the conservative agenda tomorrow.
(Ed. — Richard Manning is President of the conservative Americans for Limited Government)
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