SANDPOINT — Tea Party members had taxes and President Barack Obama on their minds during U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo’s Sandpoint visit Monday night, and they weren’t happy on either count.
As a part of his Panhandle tour, Crapo dropped by Sandpoint’s Community Hall to chew the fat with those present. Most of that fat traced back to what he and the attendees considered an overweight federal budget.
“The last budget the Republicans had control over was in 2007,” Crapo said. “Since then, it’s expanded 21 percent. No American budget has any business expanding that much that quickly.”
Crapo identified the tenants of his campaign as less spending, lower taxes, less government and more freedom. He said that he was a tough campaigner and wasn’t about to lose any momentum late in the game.
“I’m going to run as aggressively as I can and not stop until the polls close,” he said.
After finishing a short opening statement, Crapo opened the floor to the inquisitive gatherers. Health care proved a major topic of conversation with some wondering if a Republican-controlled Congress could repeal the bill. Crapo said he has supported legislation to repeal the bill. He noted that should Nov. 2 yield a GOP-dominated Senate, the 67 votes this legislation would need to overturn a presidential veto might be possible.
“I think it’s clear that the majority of the people in Idaho aren’t happy about the health care bill, and they’re fighting back,” he said.
Another member expressed concern over the tendency for presidents to be reelected in the event of a midterm legislative shift in the opposing party’s favor. Crapo said that he believed a Republican-controlled Congress was best for the country despite that statistic.
“Typically, the party in control is in the hot seat and gets in trouble with the public,” he said. “That has caused some to comment that gaining control over the House and Senate might actually not be best for the Republican party, but I just can’t get behind that kind of thinking.”
Substantial conversation arose at speculation about the legitimacy of Obama’s citizenship and consequently, his presidency. Several attendees were eager to weigh in on the issue, one noting that if Obama’s presidency was invalid, all of his appointees would be deposed as well, resulting in a political coup. He then asked whether Crapo would support Obama’s impeachment if sufficient investigation occurred. Crapo replied that it was the House’s responsibility to impeach the president, while the Senate held the trial, and he would need more information before making a public statement.
“I would need to see more background on the issue,” he said.
Crapo ended the evening by reminding attendees of their political potency beyond their vote, citing their ability to relay their opinions to their friends, family and e-mail lists as powerful game-changers. He said he would do his best to represent their perspectives in Washington.
“I know I can’t always give you the answers you want,” he said. “But I appreciate hearing from you, and I heard you.”