I knew a buddy would be leaving his job when he started calling his boss “Piss Head”.  His employer was a well-known politician.  My friend had been a well-known broadcaster before taking the job as a political spokesman.  The boss would throw office parties and expect the staff to offer gifts.  Twenty years have passed and I don’t recall if my pal stormed out or was asked to leave.  It may have been a combination of both.  Not long afterward, “Piss Head” lost an election. 

Legislators were getting earfuls from constituents.  Small business owners were living off savings as they were told they were non-essential.

The political fracture in Idaho doesn’t look quite as bad.  A year ago, I would’ve said state Republicans would welcome a primary challenger next year for Governor Brad Little.  Legislators were getting earfuls from constituents.  Small business owners were living off savings as they were told they were non-essential.  Churches were closed and by the time many pastors realized what they had surrendered, enforcement of emergency decrees began to fade.

The initial onerous declaration quickly also faded.  Law enforcement across the state mostly took a hands-off approach (aside from a few high-profile encounters).  I was at a gas station one year ago and saw a lawman I know.  “People weren’t meant to live this way,” he explained.  It showed me the men and women with badges weren’t very enthused about badgering their neighbors.

Other than seeing a lot of people wearing masks, the summer of 2020 in this corner of Southern Idaho looked a lot like previous summers.  By autumn, local governments rejected the calls of mainstream media to employ mask mandates.

At that point, we were living under emergency orders that were simply words.  By early 2021, the Governor took his foot off the gas.  The last emergency order from December wasn’t renewed.  Mainstream media didn’t say much about the expiration.  I guess the people in the newsrooms figured we would all assume we were still under the government thumb.  Newsrooms misread the situation even more than the Governor.

Which is why I believe he’ll be re-elected next year.  His first announced primary opponent lacks name recognition and the State Senate backed away from overriding vetoes that would’ve pulled Little’s emergency teeth.  Much of the anger from spring 2020 appears defused.

I said last year the sooner the crisis passed, it would be to his advantage.  And while politicians struggle to admit mistakes, his political skills appear to have guided him as he slowly backed off the powder keg.

In this case, people have short memories.


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