The Hill has a good article on Walt Minnick, the conservative Democrat that briefly held a congressional seat in Idaho:
Minnick left a legacy in Washington and the nation through his work in the creation of the Drug Enforcement Administration while serving as Nixon’s staff assistant. Minnick still sees the agency as “a useful domestic solution to dealing with the drug issue.”
The DEA has, over the years, shifted its focus from treatment and prevention to law enforcement, he said.
Minnick explained that the agency used to “spen[d] $2 on treatment, prevention, and education … for every dollar that we spent on law enforcement reducing supply.” Currently, that ratio is reversed.
“As long as we have demand, drug-dependent users, there’s so much money serving that demand that no amount of law enforcement is going to prevent access,” Minnick said. “There is more bang for your buck educating kids … that it’s a poor lifestyle choice to become dependent, and if they do become dependent, finding ways to kick the drugs.”
Also during the Nixon administration, Minnick showed his independent backbone.
He was driving into the office on Sunday, Oct. 21, 1973, to finish a briefing book for a Monday drug policy meeting.
“I flipped on the WTOP news radio and [heard],” Minnick recollected.
Nixon, the evening before, had fired Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor appointed by the attorney general to probe the developing Watergate scandal. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned in protest. The incident has gone down in history as the “Saturday Night Massacre.”
Minnick also resigned.
“I pulled up to my parking place and as I was walking in I said, ‘There isn’t going to be any meeting tomorrow, and I can’t work for this president anymore.’ ”
Minnick replaced Bill Sali, who amazingly found himself too conservative for one of the most conservative states in the country (or at least the half of it that comprised his congressional district. The course of nature righted itself, however, and Minnick was defeated two years later by Raul Labrador.
The browning of Idaho could help turn the state more purple, at least in theory. It does have a pretty long way to go, however.
National Journal looks at former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer. Schweitzer was extremely popular in what’s a traditionally red (or at least reddish-purple state) and helped keep statewide governance in Democratic hands even on his exit and despite the state going significantly for Romney. However, Schweitzer is the kind of candidate a party nominates when they’re afraid of losing. Democrats are getting used to winning.
A remarkably bright kid in Montana decided that he would make his case against gun control by shooting up a school with a regular gun (as opposed to an “assault weapon”). That… would not have had the desired effect, I don’t think.
Here are some great pictures from North Dakota’s oil boom.