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Some might say the Idaho Republican Party has a small tent, but I disagree. The tent is plenty big. It’s just full of weirdos like anarchists, pro-life Libertarians, big-government conservatives and dope smokers.

For several years, I was a volunteer and a precinct committeeman with the Idaho Republican Party and Ada County Republicans. I managed campaigns for Janet Miller, a District 17 state representative and a model for pragmatic, effective leadership. Between 2002 and 2008 I walked hundreds of miles through Boise neighborhoods for Republican state and federal candidates, passing out brochures, surveying residents and following up as a poll watcher and precinct committeeman. I didn’t necessarily agree with all the positions, but I had faith the party was looking out for the interests of business owners and economic growth.

No more. The 2010 Idaho Republican Party convention was a mean, dumb mashup of posturing. Conventioneers avoided complex issues like education cutbacks, high unemployment, run-down infrastructure and loss of well-paying jobs. Instead of any hard policy work, they indulged themselves in useless, feel-good issues like silver and gold coin collecting, legalizing marijuana, giving the finger to the feds, telling citizens they shouldn’t elect US Senators, demanding elected officials vacate their offices and pushing a tyrannical “loyalty oath” (thankfully, elected officials are not signing it).  While these radicals rail against government, their entire agenda is obsessed with government. Entrepreneurs, small business people, the high-tech sector and anyone else serious about economic growth will find nothing in this self-serving pap.

I’m a by-the-book, traditional conservative, not a tear-down-society-and-overthrow-the-government conservative. I’m conservative about being conservative. I work hard to support my family, keep my business going, meet my obligations and otherwise remain a productive citizen. I want pragmatic  leaders who will work to keep this a land of opportunity, not indulge in persecution fantasies or chest-thumping exercises.

I look forward to the day when I can once again work my butt off volunteering for an Idaho Republican Party that is safe and sane.