Our View, Republican politics: Controlling ticket will hurt party

June 14, 2013 

Rod Beck, a former Republican state senator who helped lead the charge for closed primaries, has come up with another idea. And this one is a doozy. He's promoting a rule that would require candidates running for office to gain party leadership's approval before running on the GOP ballot.

Beck, the Region 4 GOP chairman, is bringing this issue before the state party's Central Committee, which meets today and Saturday in Donnelly. He has expressed frustration over Gov. Butch Otter and others for working with the Obama administration in the formation of a state-based health care exchange - despite expressed opposition from the Central Committee.

If Republicans want to give Democrats a fighting chance in elections, they should approve Beck's daffy idea. But that's not the way to move forward if the Central Committee is more interested in effective governing. Otter didn't push for the state's involvement in a health exchange because he likes the Affordable Care Act; if he had his way, Mitt Romney would be president and the ACA would be history. But Otter thought, and rightfully so, that if Idaho has to abide by a bad law, then Idahoans should have a say about the framework.

None of that is good enough for Beck. In his world, Otter is acting like a Democrat - or a RINO. The same goes for House Speaker Scott Bedke and a host of other Republicans who backed the governor's sensible position.

The Central Committee would do well to listen to voices of reason, such as Bedke, who thinks Beck's idea is akin to picking candidates in "the smoke-filled room." He also, rightfully, warns against litmus tests for candidates.

"It's the insurance exchange this year, it'll be something else next year," Bedke said. "It's unhealthy for the party."

Bedke isn't alone with his opposition to Beck's plan. A number of other Republicans signed letters urging opposition to this "elitist proposal," including Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Rep. Fred Wood of Burley and Sen Dean Cameron of Rupert. Otter and former Gov. Phil Batt also have expressed opposition.

Now it's up to Central Committee members to decide whether they want elected officials to render decisions in the best interest of Idahoans or see how much noise they can make with political statements.

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