Commentary: A call to arms in Idaho over health care overhaul?

The Idaho StatesmanApril 30, 2010 

Rex Rammell doesn't advocate civil war. He said it twice, in a recent Statesman editorial board meeting.

But if need be, Rammell says he would mobilize Idahoans to take up arms against the federal government. He said that twice, too.

Does this leave you confused? Unsettled? I find it over the top and paranoid. But take six minutes and judge for yourself. Since Rammell is one of the five Republicans looking to unseat incumbent GOP Gov. Butch Otter, it merits a few minutes of your time.

The exchange centers on Idaho's lawsuit against federal health care reform. Rammell sides with Otter about filing the lawsuit — but he disagrees with Otter's intention to comply, should the lawsuit fail.

"I will rally the people of Idaho," Rammell said last week. "We will resist. ... The federal government will not take over the state of Idaho. Now, how far will we have to go? I don't know. But we'll go as far as we have to."

Including force?

"If the federal government came in here with force, I would order Idaho to resist with force."

Even Rammell says it's much more likely that the federal government would fight back by cutting off funding.

Still, a call to arms? This would be easy to dismiss if the guy wasn't running to be the CEO of state government. And what is a call to arms, if not civil war? A civil tiff?

I can't say I disagreed with everything Rammell said during our health care dialogue. Here's another quote: "I can't say this unequivocally, but I would be surprised if there would be a governor like Rex Rammell, maybe in the history of the United States."

Who am I to argue?

To read the complete column, visit www.idahostatesman.com.

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