I took some grief Wednesday from a caller who didn't like my decision to run Rex Rammell's Reader's View.
This is the one where the former U.S. Senate and gubernatorial candidate calls Idaho Department of Fish and Game wardens "Nazis" and explains away a poaching charge by saying he was only hunting where a clerk at Sportsman's Warehouse told him he could. When told to turn over his quarry, here's what Rammell says he told the warden: "You better get your gun out, because you’re going to have to shoot me if you want this elk.”
Anyway, the caller says, everybody knows what Rex Rammell is all about, so why give him space on the opinion page? Her theory was that I ran the piece simply to stir up some controversy.
Not so. First, since Rammell's arrest was a high-profile story, I thought it only fair to give him his say. Second, since Rammell has run for statewide office (and might quite possibly run again), I think it's important for voters to see Rammell as he presents himself. Including his weak "big-box retailer" defense, and his over-the-top tasteless Nazi analogy.
Perhaps this is all old news to the Idahoans who have long since pegged Rammell as a wingnut and a blowhard. I do know this much: 42,436 Idahoans voted for this guy in the May Republican primary. The media has a responsibility to help voters know what they're doing.
And that's also why it's news when Rammell shows up at a Grangeville High School cafeteria and tries to whip the crowd into a vigilante wolf hunt — to robust applause. "Do you realize how famous we will become?" Rammell said, according to the Lewiston Tribune. "Idaho County is going to be the place where the citizens stood up to the federal government. I don't want to go to jail over this. But I am willing to lead the way. It's going to be Idaho County people that are going to save this country."
I know some Idahoans are weary of Rammell's bombastic antics, and I'm sure many Republicans are just embarrassed by them. But as long as this guy continues to thrust himself into the spotlight, he will (and should) get news coverage.