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If you missed the Idaho Republican gubernatorial debate last night, it is probably because you are a very wise person with things to do. They had to have one, though, and thanks to the intense desire of Gov. Butch Otter to do as little actual talking as possible, they had one with all four contingents of the modern Republican party. There's Anarchist-Leaning Tea Party Guy, there's Old West Sovereign Citizenish guy, there's Ideological Party Purist Peeved At Establishment Guy and there's Establishment Guy Peeved At Ideological Guy. In Republican Party races we call that the sampler pack.
Even before Wednesday's debate started, Idaho Public Television announced that it would broadcast the event on a 30-second delay in anticipation of rampant cussin'. Brown—who wore his customary leather vest and leather hat, has the presidential seal tattooed on his shoulder, two cigars in his right breast pocket, and is missing several prominent teeth—used his closing argument to wave a signed certificate from a "Masai prophet" that confirmed that he would one day be president of the United States. Brown revealed that he supports gay marriage because as a cab driver in Boise he discovered that gay people "love each other more than I love my motorcycle." His closing argument was blunt: "You have your choice, folks: A cowboy, a curmudgeon, a biker, or a normal guy. Take your pick… We're leaving it up to you."
Oh yeah, that's the stuff.

It's interesting that Gov. Butch—sorry, Gov. Otter—was so insistent on having a debate that included the crackpot fringe, though I realize defining "the fringe" in a Republican Party is a fool's errand, both for them and for us. The party is going out of its way to limit presidential primary debates leading up to 2016 explicitly because they don't think showing America all of their crazy people worked out very well last time around. Otter, though, puts himself on stage with the crazies and says, "Hey, at least I'm not these guys, right?"

You know what? That's not a bad plan. He probably won't be getting a gift basket from Reince Priebus anytime soon, but "I'm not as insane as the other guy" is a pretty good message. It's a lot better than the version crafted in most primaries, where "I'm twice as insane as that guy" becomes the months-long rallying cry (looking at you, Georgia.)

Originally posted to Hunter on Thu May 15, 2014 at 11:39 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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