Wednesday's vote by the Senate Republican Caucus to retain Majority Caucus Chairman John McGee of Caldwell despite his infamous DUI suggests to me that the Legislature may not be in a fighting mood.
The idea of a relatively quick and easy session was the minority viewpoint at annual pundits forum at Wednesday's City Club of Boise. My colleagues, Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review and John Miller of the The Associated Press predicted a contentious session.
I can't precisely put my finger on it, but the mood seems more peaceful. Gov. Butch Otter offered lawmakers a checklist to tick off for a smooth and quick adjournment. Though there will be dicey issues -- health insurance exchanges tops the list -- I think lawmakers want to get home and win their May 15 primary contests. For Republicans, the matter is particularly delicate, as the party is conducting its first closed primary.
I offered this anecdote at City Club:
About an hour into the GOP Caucus meeting on deciding McGee's fate, the senator's wife rolled by pushing a stroller accompanied by the couple's two children, ages 2 1/2 and 1 1/2. McGee's office is adjacent to the caucus room and Hanna McGee was arriving to meet her husband for lunch.
My read of this twist on Norman Rockwell: John McGee would not have let his young family stroll into the lions' den had there been a real prospect of spilled blood.
To me, that's a signal for a level of collegiality that may surprise even the most seasoned observers.