Idaho politics: McGee's arrest story goes viral, and international

State Sen. John McGee hasn't been heard from yet; his initial court appearance isn't scheduled until this afternoon.

But the story of the Caldwell Republican's bizarre arrest on misdemeanor drunken-driving and felony grand theft charges has long since gone viral on the Internet — and international.

London's Daily Mail jumped across the pond to write about McGee. In a sidebar — under the headline, "When Will All These Lawmakers Learn?" — the Daily Mail likened McGee to former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., who resigned amidst a Twitter photo scandal.

I was a bit surprised that the Daily Mail took interest in an Idaho state legislator's travails, no matter how juicy the details. I doubt the Daily Mail's coverage will sway many voters in McGee's Canyon County legislative district — that is, if McGee still has a political future after this story plays out.

But the viral nature of the McGee story is worth noting, and I think it's different than the situation that faced then-Lt. Gov. Butch Otter, arrested in 1992 on a drunken-driving charge and convicted a year later. Otter, of course, recovered from this story and has never lost an election since — for lieutenant governor, for 1st District Congress and, most recently, for governor. Otter's arrest was big news, but it didn't get the rocket propulsion provided by the Internet.

None of this is meant to downplay the charges facing McGee — or to paint McGee as a victim. When an elected official is arrested, it's news; it's that simple. But bad news travels fast. And now, it travels faster than ever.

Get Twitter updates on my blog and column and Statesman editorials.
Become a follower. You can
also get updates on Facebook's Idaho
Statesman Opinion Page.

Grand Theft & the promised land

My guess is that stealing a car, and hallucinations of angels have made this news far beyond any normal DUI. The Huffington Post was carrying it yesterday.

I am starting to wonder if he was really even drunk ...

His behavior is pretty common for even the most sober Idaho republicans. I think he was sober just doing what Idaho Republicans do. They lie, cheat and steal, then claim to see some divine apparition all the while thinking they are going to some "promise land". Yep, seems his actions are on par with most sober republicans of this state.

If you are a Republican in

If you are a Republican in the state of Idaho then you are held less accountable in instances like this. If McGee were a Democrat he'd be getting crucified right now, and would likely have to leave the state to ever have a career again.

Democrat Senator Malepeai survived a DUI arrest a few years ago

He was re-elected and is back in Senate Leadership. Granted, his was a run of the mill DUI and didn't have all this bizarre behavior included, but he was not run our of the state and managed to save his political career.

Grand Theft Auto

1st time drunk driving is a survivable, forgivable offense. Auto theft on the other hand is a fireable offense.

Yes, for Democrats or Republicans


If he was a Democrat

he would never have been elected in Canyon County and therefore wouldn't have a career to worry about.

He needs to


For eternity

No matter what thanks to the internet the news articles will be available forever. All this points out once more, we are a global society not just a state or even national society -- global.

Another blemish and joke on Idaho. Will it never end.

Ah Idaho

Reminds me of when I was in NYC in June 2001 and looking at Idaho News in USA Today and Brent Coles had gotten into trouble for lurking outside his secreatary's home at 4:00 a.m while he was "helping" his kid deliver newpapers.


...America is the laughing stock of Europe (justifiably so), it stands to reason this would make for great entertainment in the UK. It is such a weird story.

Yep it is

Already got mail from Nigel W, a buddy in Luton, laughing about it.


"Obviously someone slipped 'something' into my drink!
It's a Democrat golfer conspiracy!"


Hey at least he should get some credit for not getting into HIS car after drinking too much at the clubhouse.

Prescription meds mixed with alcohol?

A really bad day on the links?

That's a bad golf game

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." Albert Einstein

Bizarro World

In the bizarro world of the Idaho GOP where the earth is flat, global warming is a natural phenomenom, gays live in denial while soliciting sex in men's rooms, and slashing school funding to the bone while awarding millions in tax dollars to corporate sponsors is "putting children first", the occasional hallucinatory trip in a borrowed SUV to the promised land is just par for the course. For the Idaho GOP reality is just too inconvenient to even contemplate. I wonder what fantasies MeGee will spin while locked in his county jail cell? No doubt his lawyers are revealing that piece of fiction to the judge at this very moment.

Natural phenomenon

Global warming is an easily measurable natural phenomenon that has been going on for the better part of three decades. Long before the industrial revolution had a chance to change anything. Just in case you were actually that ignorant. But the rest of your piece kind of reveals that anyway.

Truth is hard to come by

Of course

Pollution is good for us.

Of course

I never said that. Go to school. Get some reading comprehension skills. Or maybe you have already been and just learned how to smear people by quoting things they never said. Lot's of money in that. Soros is a big supporter.

Truth is hard to come by

Hey bright one, industrial revolution is older than 3 decades

So is it natural?

"No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government." Neil Peart

Oh Boy!

I predict he will be our next Governor of the Great State of Idaho.

Maybe not the next governor,

Maybe not the next governor, but he is certainly building his resume'.

Reagan says

Sharing an old video of Reagan:

Politics always good for a laugh.

Otter's attorney

It will be ok, Otter's attorney will be able to get McGee off without any problem.
Welcome to Idaho. If you are republican you can do no wrong.


Love how the Democrats always forget Malapai, and always remember Otter. Malapei is a good man by the way. Hopefully he learned his lesson as many others have.

Truth is hard to come by

The difference between Malapeai and Otter

might be that Malapeai plead guilty and accepted his sentence. Otter made up some lame excuse about chewing tobacco. I think the reason people remember Otter first is because of his ridiculous story.
Just to remind myself of the dates and plea, I looked on Wikipedia. I realize they are not the ultimate word on anything, but did find the information comical.
According to Wikipedia, "He claimed the arresting officer observed him swerving was he was reaching for his cowboy hat, which had been blown off by the wind in his open car. Otter offered several explanations for failing the field sobriety test including: his stocking feet were stung by weeds and gravel, he had run eight miles and his knee hurt, he was hungry, and that he had soaked his chewing tobacco in Jack Daniels."

But wait, there's more!

Don't forget his jeans were too tight, and he was nervous because the cop kinda looked like JR.

The difference between Malapeai and Otter

Is that Malapeai is a Democrat, so you will defend him. Don't lie to yourself.

Truth is hard to come by


Can we please stop using the extremely "kitchy" term VIRAL? Please.... Richert - you are not hip enough to be using such a trendy, high tech lexicon.....

I sure hope the Statesman isn't distracted by all this..........

I mean, really, I'm still waiting to hear all the "juicy details" (KR's phrase) contained in Sarah Palin's email.

LMFAO.........this self

LMFAO.........this self righteous... right wing... fake moral high ground.... conservative cant even take responsibility for his own personal behavior.

.........a medical issue is the culprit........LMFAO.... is time for Mr Magee to put his big boy pants on and take responsibility for his criminal action and Mr. McGee must resign from elected office........this is not a forgivable moment in time.........for any elected official.......a felony is not a teachable moment.

false start

KR, in your editorial you write, "McGee’s political future is in disarray, and his personal life in shambles"

Yet your headline reads, "...deserves a day in court"

Kr, maybe you should wait until court before you base your opinion on your guesses.


Political future in disarray?
Does the Statesman have a time machine they have disclosed to your readers?

It 'may' be proven there is a perfectly pausible explanation for the incident. There are all kinds of possibilities.

His personal life in shambles?
Does an arrest automatically mean a person's life is "in shambles"?
I'm sure you don't know this as fact and once again are simply making guesses based on your political bias.

honor roll

Who was the female Idaho legislator arrested a few years back for dui?
What is the list of elected officials doing this?

Unfortunately(or fortunately depending on how you look at it) they are just like the people they represent- a mixed bunch.

a few years back

That was the bimbo from Glenns Ferry who now heads up an Idaho commission for some social service. That must have been about 10 years ago.

I don't know that she was a Bimbo...

but her name was Robbi Barrutia (sp?). If I remember correctly, she sought treatment for her alcohol abuse and is now doing well.

I'll drink to that

here's a good start to the list ments/2011/06/0986_001.pdf

and then there's the city staffers, Ada County Deputy Sheriff, and so on...


Not sure if there was a female legislator but Republican Superintendant of Schools Ann Fox was arrested for a DUI.

I'm not a McGee fan but he has yet, unlike Otter or Larry Craig, been convicted of anything.

While the media focuses on DUIs and Sexting

While the media focuses on DUIs and sexting scandals, laws are being passed that could effect us all.

Senator Amy Klobuchar’s “10 Strikes Bill” is dangerously close to turning most Americans into criminals. The Bill would classify streaming content 10 times or more as a felony, punishable with up to five years in prison. So, a teenager who uploads 10 or more videos of him or herself lip-syncing is committing a felony. So is anyone who uploads a video of themselves doing karaoke, ten times or more. And parties that include background music. And videos of public performances. We need to stop this madness!

David Segal, Demand Progress’ Campaign Director, explains that the Bill “has the potential for innumerable unintended consequences that would stifle innovation and personal expression on the Internet.” Again, our lawmakers have shown a drastic lack of understanding of the fundamentals of the Internet.

The Bill claims to target only companies that profit from video streaming, and that it will not be used to prosecute individuals and families-- but there is no wording protecting them beyond the label “profitable.” The Bill has already passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. We must act before it sneaks its way into our laws!

Join thousands of Demand Progress members in fighting to prevent this travesty:

Viral, really?

I recently moved here from Washington, DC, and find it curious that the famed "Washington Post" has yet to pick up on this story. No mention whatsoever. I wonder why?

Washington Post

WP might not have picked up on it but it went nation wide and even crossed the pond. United Kingdom news enjoyed the tidbit. google news McGee and don't forget late night talk show had fun with it also. Idaho - the laughing stock of the nation. Thanks, once again, McMe, who loves the media.

Washington Post

Why is disqus posting twice.

As a Republican I say he

As a Republican I say he needs to go.
Enough already of this irresponsible behavior by an elected representative.

Looking For The Promised Land

He was just looking for the promised land. He thought he could do it the old fashioned 1960's getting totally blasted....but all he really needed to do was to ask Michele Bachman.