Anti-Obama billboard: Bad press for Idaho, but it could've been worse

Here is a sneak preview of our Tuesday editorial on the flap over the Caldwell billboard displaying President Barack Obama and Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes.

Even Maurice Clements says the message he posted on a Caldwell electronic billboard might have been “poorly done”.

That’s an understatement, albeit after the fact.

But the billboard remained up Monday, showing President Barack Obama alongside Colorado movie theater mass murder suspect James Holmes — a juxtaposition that manages to combine poor reasoning with even poorer taste.

Clements said he was trying to call attention to Obama’s failure to bring U.S. troops home as promised, resulting in the deaths of thousands of Americans and civilians. Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize despite his lethal foreign policy decisions, said Clements; meanwhile, after 12 people died in the Colorado theater shootings, “everyone freaks out.”

As Clements said last week, “We’re not saying that Obama is a lunatic.”
No, of course not. By placing a picture of Obama next to that a wild-eyed spree shooting suspect, Clements is merely implying that Obama is a lunatic.

And that should offend anyone — regardless of political leanings.

Especially in the middle of a presidential election, foreign policy records deserve reasoned and thoughtful debate. Clements says he believes the U.S. should withdraw all troops from the Middle East, and he says both Bush administrations deserve their share of the blame for the current situation. A billboard provides little space for nuance, however.

Predictably enough, for anyone weary of seeing Idaho get bad national publicity over one Idahoan’s poorly chosen words, the billboard made the rounds on political blogs and in the national media.

Lost in much of the coverage is the fact that Clements is a former state legislator; this spring, he sought to return to the Statehouse after a 36-year absence. Canyon County Republicans rejected his state Senate bid in May.

Good thing, too. It’s bad enough Clements has access to a billboard. The last thing he needs is a political title.

Wish you were here

Clements has a unique ability to speak his mind. I believe it is called Free Speech.

There were, and still are, millions of people in the Middle East without that same ability. When they said something that Saddam Hussein didn't like, they went to prison or got killed. Little girls in Afghanistan could not go to school to learn to read- billboards.

Our troops, their sacrifices, and American sacrifices have helped change that. They continue to do so. And there is still a lot to do.

Maybe Clements would like to take his billboard to Syria.

Maurice Clements, you should shut up and use your billboard for better purposes.


You acknowledged his right to express himself and then you tell him to shut up?

Yes he has

a right to freedom of speech and his detractors also have a right to point out his lunacy. It is all free speech...

It's hard to be

all P.C. when your Country is about to implode. Many Nations used to look to the USA as a beacon of liberty and a source of inspiration for those that want a better life.
Now they see it as a bastion of corruption and graft that seeks nothing more than greater concentrations of wealth and power for its own ruling elite. This is what happens when government is ruled by self-seeking politicians, bureaucrats and those that can afford their influence.
America, as a world leader, ain't what it used to be

I'd recommend a good survey of American history...

The reality of America has never truly coincided with the mythology of the America the flag pin wearers believe in.

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

You can get help for your vexiphobia.

My Dad told me about a guy that freaked whenever he saw a Roosevelt dime.

I have no problem with the flag I served...but the idiots who

hide behind it are another story.

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

You are correct, sir

The hidden history of this Country conveys a far more compelling truth than does the textbook approved version.

Thanks Clem

I want to personally thank Mr. Clements for validating the impression, held by millions, that Idaho is a bigoted, hateful, redneck state that does not welcome tourists or business interests. With the possible exception of Chick-Fil-A, I would expect most corporations considering expansion or relocation to take a pass on Idaho, the former Aryan nations capital of the west. It's hard to recruit people to move to bassackwardland, once they have left the farm for the big city. For every tourist attracted to the blue turf, the Boise river, and white water rafting, there are three who would never think of visiting a place inhabited by those who practice hate speech on a daily basis completely unimpeded by the community who's silence is equal to consent. Thanks Clem, now I don't have to worry about being stuck behind a gaping tourist or out of stater as I motor the Idaho highways. Your hateful sign is certainly a boon to our thriving economy here in Idaho.


Write when you get work.


The thing about the bill board that get me is the world class hypocrisy. Obama inherited Iraq and Iran from Bush who invaded another nation that did nothing to us. That action resulted in millions of deaths and untold suffering and Clements chooses to focus on Obama. That tells me he (Clements) is not acting out of some misguided principal but rather he is acting as just another partisan hack.

Maybe genuine patriots in Canyon County

will object to any organization smearing the President of the US with krap like this, when the US is still at war with terrorists in the Middle East, and US soldiers are in the field. The Smeed Foundation, which is supposedly patriotic, has crossed the line this time. This isn't libertarianism, it's simply anti-American.

Every voter can speak their mind about the next President in the November election. Meanwhile, don't trash the US commander in chief, or insult the good soldiers who have been lost in the last decade - under two Presidents - with a billboard that connects all with the actions of an insane criminal.

And, maybe a patriot with a 12-gauge will shut the Smeed billboard down with direct action.

dodged a bullet

I forgot that the guy who owned the billboard ran for the Legislature. Wasn't that the guy who ran against Patti Anne who had something negative to say about every vote she's done for the past ten years? Scary.

He is a past member of the legislature.

If he had won the primary, he would have been elected again, and you wouldn't have been able to tell him from most of the other republican legislators. The Idaho republican party is basically the J Birch society now.