Here’s how wrong this committee has gone

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The Economist took a deep look at North Idaho’s Redoubt movement, fueled by “political refugees,” one year ago in a piece called “The last big frontier.”

That was followed three weeks later by The Washington Post’s “A Fortress Against Fear.” The article’s subheadline pretty much said it all: “In the rural Pacific Northwest, prepping for the day it hits the fan.”

While that day apparently is still on its way, outside fascination with our region’s peculiar social and political magnetism is here again. As Press columnist Steve Cameron noted Friday, BuzzFeed.com is working on an in-depth exploration of North Idaho politics that will likely attract millions of eyeballs around the world. That’s great news if you own or sell North Idaho property off the grid. For mainstream mortals, probably not so much.

The author of the piece admitted she didn’t know where her journalistic journey would eventually end up or when, but it’s almost certain that the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee will receive some stage time. And one of the behind-the-scenes actors is likely to be a Redoubt Republican known as Alex Barron.

Barron is secretary of KCRCC and, therefore, an officer of the group that allegedly works for elected Kootenai County Republicans. Barron is also the lone contact listed on an otherwise anonymous blog of something called the Charles Carroll Society. The site is described in a subheadline as: “liberty-minded traditionalist migrating to conservative redoubts.”

If you want to know how Barron and, by silent consent, KCRCC leadership feel about fellow Republicans who raise legitimate questions, here’s a pretty good clue.

A piece on the blog by the “Bard of the American Redoubt” — what Barron calls himself — personally attacked recently resigned Republican precinct committeeperson Christa Hazel. Hazel had dared ask some of those questions about important issues that are ignored by KCRCC leaders in favor of ideological exercises that go nowhere. In addition to calling Hazel a “little liar” 10 times in one posting, the hit piece shared several photos of her and others. The last is a photograph of Hazel jumping off a dock, arms outstretched in obvious joy, with this malice-fueled heading: “The feeling I get attacking Christian conservatives.”

When contacted by The Press, Barron said he has a right to his political opinion and continues to take offense to statements Hazel made in a Press opinion piece that Barron says are patently false. But his blog post is beneath him and the political group he’s serving.

If KCRCC’s aim is credibility, it needs to stand up against this kind of poison. It’s as intolerable as, say, seeking the names and addresses of critics who have written or spoken anonymously against their policies and procedures.

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