February 13, 2023
The Flame of Liberty
By: Brian Almon
Some Republican leaders shrink under pressure, but not Brent Regan. The self-described mad scientist inventor has guided the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee with a steady hand for a long time. I knew who he was long before I ever moved to Idaho as he was often in the news for his principled stands in the face of aggressive opposition. Like all happy warriors, Regan seems to gain strength from the relentless attacks of the left.
It was no surprise, then, that Regan and the KCRCC invited Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene to speak at their Lincoln Day. She is never one to stay away from controversy, whether in highlighting the awful treatment of January 6th political prisoners or calling Joe Biden a liar during his State of the Union Address. The usual suspects denounced the invitation in the press and in the streets, but their cries were ineffective. Not only was the dinner sold out, but an additional meet & greet announced at the last minute sold out as well.
Bill Buley of the Coeur d’Alene Press wrote an extremely fair article about the event and Congresswoman Greene’s speech, which you can read here. He also caught a nice picture of me in the crowd.
For some reason Buley did not mention the other speaker that night, the famous internet troll Alex Stein, perhaps because he simply did not know what to do with him. Stein is an expert at mocking the pretensions of the left, as he did when he stepped outside the Coeur d’Alene Resort to interact with the handful of protestors:
Both Stein and Greene were informative and entertaining. Greene’s message seemed aimed at the older generations while Stein’s humor was aimed more at the younger folks. It was a good combination. The unstated message I heard repeated by Regan, Stein, and Greene was that it is ok to be conservative. It is ok to oppose abortion and transgenderism. It is ok to want our government to work for us, not for multinational interests and foreign migrants. It is ok to demand accountability from our elected representatives. It is ok to hold to the traditional values of Western Civilization and Christianity.
Republicans too often are possessed by the spirit of fear. “We can’t be too pro-life, otherwise we might lose an election.” “We can’t control our southern border because the media will call us racist.” “We shouldn’t promote traditional values because they will call us sexist and homophobic.” “Forget the culture war, let’s just focus on the economy.”
That all comes from a place of fear, not boldness.
I saw no fear in the Kootenai County Republicans last weekend, rather I saw a committee that was united in support of conservative principles and the courageous conservative leaders who proclaim them. It is hard to overstate the pressure our legislators are under. They have multiple committees to attend, hundreds of bills on which to vote, and their schedules are full of meetings with lobbyists and constituents. The concerns of home can easily fade in the bright lights of the big capital city.
I have been so impressed this session with North Idaho legislators like Scott Herndon, Heather Scott, Tony Wisniewski, Dale Hawkins, and the rest. After Saturday night, I know why they are so bold in Boise, because they have an army of passionate conservative activists and volunteers at their backs. They can afford to be bold because they are confident that they are doing the will of the people who elected them, rather than selling them out to special interests and hoping nobody notices.
Kootenai County Republicans take the platform seriously. Rather than sitting back during the primary and allowing special interests to dictate the discourse, KCRCC employs a strict vetting system. They tell the voters which candidates will support the Republican platform and conservative principles, and which are wolves in sheep’s clothing. This irritates the wolves, who are used to being able to sneak into the party with the tacit – or even explicit – support of Republican central committees.
As I write this, the Ada County Republican Central Committee is embroiled in controversy over its decision to flaunt state party rules and refuse to pay its share of the state party’s operational costs. (This issue deserves its own long post examining all sides of the issue, so hold your fire for now.) PCs are turning on each other and frustration with Ada’s leadership is all over social media. It was refreshing to visit a county where the leadership and rank-and-file are united in support of a clear mission. It really makes a difference to the elected representatives.
State Chair Dorothy Moon wanted to speak to Ada County about the dues issue earlier this month but had to fight for a few minutes at the podium, as some of Ada’s leadership argued against her speaking there. The atmosphere was downright hostile! It was a different story in Coeur d’Alene where Moon received a standing ovation and a hero’s welcome.
I wish more people from Ada County were present that night to see what a united central committee could do. My wife and I were there, as was state party executive director Kiira Turnbow, but I did not see anyone else from Ada. (I might have missed someone.) Canyon County sent a large contingent, including Senator Tammy Nichols, podcaster Josh Gibbons, and outspoken activist Dominic Brandon. (By the way, if you missed Alex Stein in CDA there are still tickets to see him and Ed Martin at the Canyon County Lincoln Day Dinner on March 4th!)
I had long desired to visit the home of liberty in Idaho and I am gratified that I finally had the chance last weekend. I have met so many great people from North Idaho over the past three years, and I am excited to see what the future holds. Brent Regan and the KCRCC are doing something special, and the rest of Idaho should take inspiration from what they have accomplished. May the flame they have lit there spread throughout our state and continue burning through the generations.