Western Republicans should really take a political hit for this, although they probably won’t.

Idaho’s Senator Craig, for example, has been braying how he got money for the rural schools and rural county services (formerly dependent on timber revenues funded). The Bush Administration had wanted to do it by selling off national forest land around the country. A public opinion firestorm stropped that bad idea.

Because the Republican Congress failed to pass a budget for FY 2007 budget, the school funding was about to expire and the only legislative “vehicle” available that would stop these schools from running out of money was the military appropriations supplemental which President Bush just vetoed, claiming it contained a “surrender” date and “pork barrel spending” (spending such as this).

Now the funding is gone, and it won’t come back easily, if at all. How did Senator Craig and the other Western Republicans vote? Yes, to defund the schools and rural counties so the President could continue his occupation of of Iraq.

The New York Times tells part of the story in this article, but it is not just a rural Oregon disaster. Timber (and Its Revenues) Decline, and Libraries Suffer. New York Times.

The Challis Messenger tells the story more directly. Challis is about the most Republican place in Idaho, although they do have one Democratic county commissioner.

School, county road funding again in limbo. Challis Messenger. By Todd Adams.

Note that Custer County got far more than its share of radioactive fallout during the days of open air atom bomb testing in Nevada. Bush also vetoed the money for the “downwinders.” No doubt more pork barrel 😡

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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