One of the great conservatives in the U.S. Senate is Tim Scott. He is from South Carolina and took the seat of conservative icon Jim DeMint and is a strong backer of conservative government, a strong national defense, and he also happens to be black.

He just wrote a guest editorial for the Washington Post.  Every Idaho Republican should read it and then follow his advice when racism raises its ugly head in Idaho.

What triggered Sen. Scott’s comments was the following statement by Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa): “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?” 

Here is what Senator Scott wrote:

I will admit I am unsure who is offended by the term “Western civilization” on its own, but anyone who needs “white nationalist” or “white supremacist” defined, described and defended does lack some pretty common knowledge.

Three months ago, a white supremacist killed two black people in a parking lot in Kentucky. We are only 18 months from Charlottesville, where white nationalists killed a white woman with a car and severely beat multiple black people. Almost four years ago, a white supremacist murdered nine African Americans in a church in Charleston, S.C. In 1998, white supremacists dragged James Byrd Jr., behind a pickup truck through Jasper, Tex., decapitating him in the process.

These are just a sliver of the havoc that white nationalists and white supremacists have strewn across our nation for hundreds of years. Four little girls killed in a bombing in Birmingham, Ala., thousands lynched and countless hearts and minds turned cruel and hateful.

When people with opinions similar to King’s open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole. They want to be treated with fairness for some perceived slights but refuse to return the favor to those on the other side.

Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism — it is because of our silence when things like this are said.

. . .

King’s comments are not conservative views but separate views that should be ridiculed at every turn possible. Conservative principles mean equal opportunity for all to succeed, regardless of what you look like or where you are from.

Silence is a problem in Idaho.

Last year, Sandpoint resident Scott D. Rhodes and his group Road to Power sent racist robocalls around the country. The most prominent example was in Florida where the calls used jungle music to attack the black Democratic candidate for governor. Gov. Butch Otter did the right thing and publicly denounced the robocalls.  But, did the Idaho GOP central committee speak up and do the same at their recent winter meeting?  No. They denounced Otter for backing a longtime friend as a write-in candidate.  Party loyalty was more important than denouncing overt Idaho racism.

Last fall, 14 Middleton teachers decked themselves out in Mexican costumes featuring a border wall — for Halloween.  It was clearly offensive, if not racist, and should have been broadly labeled as such.  Instead many rallied around the teachers.  Not one Idaho official (Republican or Democrat) denounced them. Shame on both parties for that.

Last spring a group predominately funded by Idaho Falls attorney Bryan Smith and businessman Doyle Beck attacked GOP primary candidate Steve Yates in racial terms, by making him look Asian and attacking his contributions from Chinese Americans. No action was taken against those involved. In fact, Bryan Smith was elected as the Second Vice Chair of the Idaho Republican Party thereafter.

That brings me to Rep. Heather Scott.  She represents a legislative district in North Idaho.  A bit more than a year ago she posted on Facebook that a white nationalist is “no more than a Caucasian who (sic) for the Constitution and making America great again.” This was in response to racist actions in Charlottesville. As Sen. Scott pointed out, support for white nationalists is racist.

Heather Scott is Idaho’s Steve King and her views are not conservative.  They are extreme. She has displayed a confederate flag in a parade and visited and backed the lunatics who occupied the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. She constantly aligns herself with the wacky redoubt movement (to create a refuge in the Rocky Mountains for the apocalypse). Last year she was stripped of her committees (by House Speaker Scott Bedke) after claiming female legislators get ahead by offering sexual favors.

To paraphrase Sen. Scott, “When people with opinions similar to [Heather Scott’s] open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole.”

Have local or the state GOP parties denounced Heather Scott?  Nope.

Idaho Republicans need to take the lead and denounce such extremism when it occurs in real-time.  I am convinced Heather Scott and few others of her ilk will provide future opportunities to do so.

Steve Taggart is an Idaho Falls attorney specializing in bankruptcy (www.MaynesTaggart.com).  He has an extensive background in politics and public policy. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..