First of all let me say what a wonderful fellow Bill Cope is. Why, when he entered my office the very first time back in the early 1990s clutching that dull pencil in his little fist, and with that crazy gleam in his eye, I couldn't resist. I put him on my knee and asked, "So you want to be a writer, little guy?" Well my goodness was he ever ready.
Bill has written a weekly column longer than anyone in the Treasure Valley. Bill is honorable, good looking, sly of wit, big of heart, and a fisherman of some renown. His wife Rebecca, if you can believe it, is even more gracious and beautiful than Bill. No kidding. But for the remainder of this letter, Bill, you might not like what I have to say.
I started the United Party because I think Idaho is ready for a political change. I believe that we are no longer satisfied with the lesser of two political evils. We want real leadership and from where I sit, neither party is doing a very good job of representing the regular folks, small business and our families. Saying the Democrats are different than ("better" is the way you stated it) the Republicans is like saying sweet potatoes are better than yams at Thanksgiving.
Case in point: The Democrats controlled the U.S. Senate and joined the Republicans to pass the intrusive and dangerous Patriot Act. (Which departing Rep. Butch Otter, a Republican, courageously voted against). Bill, your Democratic friends in Congress went along with the War in Iraq meanwhile approving a Patriot Act that limits our freedoms and then capitulating to every wild-eyed scheme the Republicans could dream up. Together, the Republicans and Democrats deserted the American public, and we will not forgive them.
To this day, the Democrats stick to the excuse that they lost their way in the fervor of 9/11. Well, Bill, if somebody can't stand up for what's right in a time of crisis, what good is he to this country? I could go on, but do I really need to? By all accounts Idaho is the most Republican state in the Union. There have been some significant Democratic leaders in the past to be sure. But their legacies were built on personal charisma and leadership, possibly in spite of their party affiliation. Bill, isn't it leadership that we are really talking about?
Since you claim to be a Democrat in your published statements, I would ask you a couple of questions: Where did the Democrats go when Congressman John Murtha called for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq? They almost trampled over themselves as they ran for the shadows. In a recent BW piece your party chairman Richard Stallings was quoted as saying about my candidacy, "... when you don't have a chance to win, you can say anything you want." What an incredibly damning statement from your party's leader. Is Mr. Stallings afraid to say what he really means? He chastises me for actually telling Idahoans what I think. I would contend that the reason Idaho voters continue to reject Democratic candidates is because the Democrats are so afraid to say what they really believe that they are no longer trusted.
I know you are a history buff Bill, so you probably remember that the Republican Party at one time was a lowly third-party independent bunch similar to the United Party. This bunch of idealists and thinkers decided the existing political parties no longer represented the ideals and vision of the common people. Abe Lincoln and company decided to take a chance and build a new party around the revolutionary idea that slavery was wrong.You can call the Republicans all the names you want, but one thing you can't say about them or the United Party for that matter, is that we are afraid to say what we think and take the consequences. But know this my friend, I would be happy to buy you a beer, anytime, anywhere. And there is always an open place in my heart for you. I know you as a man of intelligence and integrity, and I'm confident that when you finally come to your senses and realize that the train has left the station-that the Democrats are still hiding in the shadows trying to come up with a politically correct response-you can jump on the United Party train.I don't think you'll want to miss it. And you'll be most cordially welcomed aboard.
--Andy Hedden-Nicely, Candidate
U.S. Congress, Idaho First District
P.O. Box 2109
Boise, ID 83712-2109