Three days into his campaign, at a gathering of Ada County Democrats, Congressman Walt Minnick said of the one-term incumbent he would ultimately go on to defeat that November, "Bill Sali is too extreme for Idaho."
This Saturday, Minnick was invited and will speak at a gathering of TEA Party Boise at the Owyhee Plaza Hotel. Although it is unclear what he will say to the group, it is crystal clear that this group is extreme. Apparently not too extreme for Walt Minnick.
TEA Party Boise isn't just about "turning back the tides of tyranny." A powerpoint presentation on the TEA Party Boise website describing, in their words "who we are," gives an overview of what the group is "for & against" and suggests that the United States is on the verge of Fascism—"quickly approaching," they say. Using "extreme" to describe groups like this is even evidence of this impending decline, according to one slide.
Along with linking to Dick Armey's FreedomWorks, one of the original tea party organizers now actively engaged in mobilizing citizens for these infamous townhall protests, they list meeting times for a group called Continental Congress 2009.
Continental Congress 2009 is the brainchild of Robert Schultz, notorious tax protester (some, including the U.S. Department of Justice, would say fraud and scammer) and founder of We the People Foundation for Constitutional Education. Continental Congress 2009 was organized to convene delegates from all fifty states to "publicly debate our Government's abuses of the Constitution and to consider practical strategies which can bring about compliance with our Freedom documents" and billed as "an undertaking of historical importance." Their listed "grievances" include the famously debunked assertion that President Obama is not a natural-born citizen of the United States and therefore not President. See this YouTube video for more.
CC 2009 has chapters all over the country including organizers in many Idaho counties. Among the Ada County organizers is Challis McAaffee, recently in the news for his arrest on felony charges when during an argument, he pulled a gun on a homeowner whose home he was photographing. Along with organization information, the Idaho CC 2009 page lists delegate nominations for the national convention to be held in November.
These aren't just Idahoans who might have a disagreement about health care reform. These are people who believe that they need to "take their government back" by holding constitutional conventions, who are encouraged to quit paying taxes until "their grievances are redressed," that the President isn't President and that the U.S. is on the verge of Fascism.
There was a time when groups such as these would have been relegated to the fringes—even in Idaho—and I suppose The Crazy deserve representation as much as anyone, but do they really deserve legitimacy? By accepting their invitation Congressman Minnick is doing exactly that—legitimizing these groups, or as The Political Game puts it, "catering to the lunatic fringe."