I expect some degree of hypocrisy from people. All people. I don't demand that the ardent pro-lifer must also be against the death penalty and killing spiders, or that the ardent environmentalist must wear grass shoes and walk wherever he goes. The world today is far too complicated for a mere mortal to live in it with manners 100-percent consistent, and hypocrisy comes as naturally to modern humans as STDs and obesity.
To not act hypocritically in certain situations could actually be immoral. No decent parent, for instance, could possibly allow his children to dive head-first into risky behavior he himself had long grown out of. Yes, in time, the little darling may try a joint or two, and there may be nothing Mom and Pop can do to stop it from happening when that time comes. But this doesn't mean Mom and Pop offer a doobie to their seventh-grader with the excuse, Heck, I did it when I was a kid, and he'll probably do it sooner or later anyway.
As I expect that people will say one thing and do another, all I ask is that they in some way acknowledge their duplicity--to give some indication they are self-aware enough and honest enough to recognize their own hypocrisy. But even given the fact that we all wink our way through the daily give-and-take with our fellow hypocrites, there has to be an upper limit, right? Some line beyond which we must not step. Some overdose which we must refuse to snort.
This saturation level is different for everyone, that much is clear. But occasionally, the hypocrisy reaches such an extreme that everyone can agree how over the top it is. Such is the case of Greg Collett, the Caldwell wannabe who, as is typical of Canyon County politicos, has built his reputation on the insistence that any helping hand from our own government, no matter how outwardly benevolent, is crawling with the inherently evil, soul-eating germs of socialism.
What sets Mr. Collett apart from the general run-of-the-mill 2C clown is that, after two unsuccessful runs at the state Legislature in which he rang the alarm that even his primary opponents were hiding big-government hearts under small-government skins, it was disclosed he had signed his children up for Medicaid. And Collett has plenty of children. Ten, at last count. This revelation was received with as much scorn by his brethren on the right as it was by liberals.
But listen; to Collett's credit, he has acknowledged his hypocrisy. In one of the dimmer-witted defenses I have ever come across, this Caldwell dimwit argues that he is also against federal forests and national parks, but as the good father he is, he can't allow that to stop him from taking his kids camping, can he?
I wouldn't be at all surprised should Mr. Collett try another run at the Legislature. And who knows, Idahoans--Canyon County Idahoans in particular--have put dimmer wits in office. And were he to eventually win, he will then belong to that august body of government haters who run term after term to be part of the government--with all the perks, prestige and pensions that involves.
Which brings me to the real focus of this column, and it's not Greg Collett. Remember, not only did Collett own up to his astonishing hypocrisy--and I thought he did it with as much honesty as his dim little wits could muster--but in insuring his kids under Medicaid, he did the responsible thing--the moral thing--no matter what moronic slop was spilling from his mouth as he was doing it.
No, the real subject of this column is the ex-speaker of Idaho's House and jerk extraordinaire, Lawerence Denney. As you know, Denney's reign in our Legislature has been remarkable not for anything he accomplished, but for the unabashed favoritism, self-promotion and bullying that seem to be the only political talents this man possesses. He will be remembered for sticking up for the corrupt and slapping down the ethical. After 20 years of crowing about his anti-government credentials, as speaker he demonstrated that his real operating philosophy is that some government officials--notably, Lawerence Denney--can do any goddam thing they feel like goddam doing, even if it means encouraging criminals (Phil Hart) and squelching attempts to make state government more accountable. Eventually, the Denney stench began to gag even his fellow Republicans. Last year, the majority House caucus booted him out of his speakership.
But as Idaho politics has proved again and again, you can't keep a bad man down. Denney has announced he intends to run for secretary of state, the only high state office that hasn't been thoroughly diseased by the kind of hyper-ideology that defines so much of Idaho's politics. (And a bow to Pete Cenerussa and Ben Ysursa for a combined 46 years of dignity and reasonableness, qualities that are conspicuously absent in other state offices.)
And what do we suppose would compel such a fevered anti-statist to grasp at another state job? Is it a renewed commitment to spit on the helping hand of government from within? To ensure that some "RINO" will not get the position and loll out the rest of his career under the Capitol dome?
Or might it be--as some are suggesting--to jack his $16,438 legislative stipend up to the healthy $93,000-plus a secretary of state gets, and to inflate his post-career pension from $6,000 a year to more than $43,000--all of which would put Denney in the top tier of government teat suckers?
C'mon, Lawerence. Try to be honest, just this once. If Greg Collett can do it, so can you.