McGeachin shows how to botch ‘good’ news
| November 18, 2021 4:07 PM
Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin catches an endorsement from former President Trump — the biggest fish in the ocean — and she makes that bombshell announcement through a press release. Take it from here, John McEnroe.
“You cannot be serious!”
Trump, until further notice, owns the Republican Party and there doesn’t seem to be much in his way for getting the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2024. He remains wildly popular with Republicans in Idaho — easily the most popular president since Ronald Reagan. And there are a lot of folks in Idaho who think that the last election was rigged and he should be in office today.
McGeachin’s release read something like an endorsement from the mayor of Midvale, opposed to the undisputed king of the Republican Party.
Trump: “… Janice McGeachin has been a true supporter of MAGA since the very beginning. She is brave and not afraid to stand up for the issues that matter most to the people of Idaho, a beautiful state that I won by 30.8 percent. … I am giving Janice McGeachin my complete and total endorsement to be the next governor of Idaho. She will make a fantastic governor, and will never let you down.”
McGeachin: “I am delighted and honored to receive President Trump’s endorsement. President Trump continues to represent the energy and enthusiasm of conservative Republican politics and his emphatic acknowledgment of our diligent efforts to advance the conservative agenda in Idaho will only help us to expand and grow our campaign based on individual liberty, state sovereignty and traditional conservative values.”
The news release moved around 6 p.m. on a Tuesday, after Boise’s Associated Press bureau had closed and after some of the state’s political reporters statewide had gone home. So, the “big news” didn’t make all the papers in the state. The Idaho Press, and a few others, carried a story about the endorsement — along with a much larger story about the ongoing controversy between Gov. Brad Little and McGeachin and their competing trips to the king’s castle at Mar-a-Lago. Little was invited to a black-tie gala celebrating Trump’s “America First” policies. McGeachin was there for a personal visit with the former president and grabbed his endorsement along the way.
Hopefully, the king got around to draining the moat and locking up the alligators in honor of their visits.
For McGeachin’s sputtering campaign, an endorsement from Trump — in any form — is a good thing. But it could have been much more.
Plan A would be organizing a Trump rally at, say Bronco stadium, where he’d be sure to fill the place to capacity. Trump would make his typical rousing speech to the cheering crowd, then announce that he was endorsing McGeachin as our next governor. McGeachin would take a couple of minutes to say how humbled she was to earn the support from the great one.
The “fake news” media that McGeachin likes to talk about would have no choice but to put that story on the front pages. And there would be none of this stuff about Gov. Little flying to Florida at taxpayer expense to kiss the king’s ring.
Plan B would be for McGeachin to have a remote news conference from Florida, with Trump at her side, talking about what a wonderful governor she would be for the Gem State. Trump could spice up the conference by taking a few swipes at Little, with McGeachin telling reporters that she continues to stand behind Trump. It would be smiles and thumbs up all over the place, and a sure lead story in your favorite daily newspaper.
But McGeachin didn’t do any of those things. She went with issuing a press release after the stat’s AP bureau closed for the day, which reflects zero understanding about the media. Lately, she has been talking a lot about not getting the governor’s pay grade when Little is out of the state — taking away whatever glitter is left from the endorsement. To be clear, serving as “acting governor” basically is a do-nothing job.
Support from Trump, a real-life political miracle worker, might move the needle a bit for McGeachin in terms of fund-raising and poll numbers. But not even the magic of Donald Trump can drag a weak candidate to the winner’s circle.
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Chuck Malloy, a longtime Idaho journalist and Silver Valley native, is a columnist with Idaho Politics Weekly. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.