The following Op-Ed was submitted by Wayne Hoffman, President of the Idaho Freedom Foundation. Note: Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
For more than 40 years, much of Idaho’s state government has been controlled by liberals posing as conservative Republicans.
The myth that Idaho is a bastion of conservative public policies is easily disproved by the facts. Idaho has among the highest taxes in the region, unions have control of the state’s education system, government regulations are extensive, and state taxpayers are compelled to pay for a litany of leftist programs including social justice indoctrination, National Public Radio, and public television.
Over the last dozen years, the Idaho Freedom Foundation has worked tirelessly to educate lawmakers on the principles that they often claim to intuitively embrace, such as the beauty and importance of defending our God-given constitutionally-protected rights and keeping government small. As a result of this education effort, Idaho’s House of Representatives is at its most conservative since statehood. Liberal Democrats have noted that their long-standing unholy alliance with lefty Republicans has come to an end in the House, but they cling to the status quo power structure in the Idaho Senate.
As conservative values have gained prominence at the Statehouse, establishment Republicans and special interest groups have been fighting back, penning all sorts of insulting letters with sensational, hate-filled, and thoroughly debunked claims about the Freedom Foundation.
The latest — but probably not the last — comes from disgraced former state GOP chairman Trent Clark, who last week used his weekly column space to smear IFF. Clark, you might recall, once infamously told a reporter, “You probably cannot find an African American male on the street in Washington, D.C. that hasn’t been arrested or convicted of a crime.” Clark later tried to walk back that embarrassing, untruthful, hurtful, and racist statement, but the damage was done.
Later, Clark became chairman of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, where he oversaw the organization’s turn from a champion of businesses big and small to an organization obsessed with political power and the expansion of Big Government programs.
It’s a poorly kept secret that Clark would very much like to be a member of Congress, and he’s been courting support among moderates while trying to also build a brand as a pretend conservative. It explains his unwarranted and completely fabricated attack on the IFF.
A week ago, Clark came by the IFF offices in Boise pretending he wanted to discuss school choice messaging. I wasn’t in at the time, and I called Clark’s cellphone because I didn’t sense a setup. We spent 40 minutes talking. At no point did Clark indicate he was writing the previously mentioned smear column about IFF. At no point did he mention his ridiculous hypothesis that tries to link President Joe Biden’s Attorney General Merrick Garland to IFF. At no point did Clark ask whether we’ve lost interest in engaging parents or school board candidates.
It is also abundantly clear he didn’t even try to do an ounce of his own research to see where the IFF stands on parental involvement. Had he done so, he might have noticed that the IFF contacted every school board in the state earlier this year to let them know that the Idaho School Boards Association misinterpreted a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in order to encourage schools across the state to set up transgender bathrooms in their buildings.
Had he spent two seconds on our website, Clark might have noticed that we mailed surveys to every school board candidate in the state. He would have noticed that we’ve been holding meetings and seminars with parents about the importance of their participation in school board policies, vetting candidates, and asking questions about critical race theory and social justice indoctrination.
And of course, he would have noticed how the IFF continues to lead the way in exposing and replacing the social justice agenda from our schools.
But Clark didn’t bother because he knew I would shatter his column’s premise, and Clark’s No. 1 job is to make himself attractive to moderates. The truth does not matter to Clark. Scoring a political point here and there does. He’s a liar and sleazy politician. Remember that the next time you read what he has to say.
Tags: GOP, Idaho Freedom Foundation, Republican, Trent Clark, Wayne Hoffman