If we learned anything in the last week, it’s that male lawmakers should avoid in-depth conversations about lady parts, and that big-shot lobbyists should keep their profane emails to themselves.
In case you’ve been vacationing in North Korea, Idaho Rep. Vito Barbieri (R-Dalton Gardens) became an international sensation this week when he asked a female doctor during a hearing on an anti-abortion bill if a woman could swallow a small camera for a gynecological exam.
With that one question, Barbieri and the world learned two lessons: a woman’s digestive and reproductive tracts do not intersect, and never assume you’re the smartest person in the room.
Then, days later, the president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI) Alex LaBeau found himself in the spotlight when one of his emails was leaked to the press. That email – deriding a senator for prioritizing education funding over tax cuts for the rich – was filled with so many profanities, it could have been written by Andrew “Dice” Clay.
The consequences for each man were wildly different. Barbieri suffered the indignity of being lampooned on Wikipedia, Facebook and national television. It’s what happens when a moment of arrogance goes viral. There’s no pill that fixes it. And the only thing there is to swallow is your pride.
In LaBeau’s case, he submitted his resignation to the IACI board of directors. However, the board chair and Vice President of Simplot Mark Dunn refused to accept it. Instead, Dunn patted LaBeau on the behind and told him, “Atta boy.”
The rest of us, who would lose our jobs for sending an email like that, wondered what it takes to get fired from IACI – other than advocating for Idaho’s schools.
As optics go, it wasn’t the best week for the Gem State. Replacing Rep. Mike Moyle with Boss Hogg is the only way to make Idaho’s powerbrokers look more like a bunch of good-ol’-boys. And even that is up for debate.
Sadly, none of this changed anything. Idaho lawmakers still haven’t expanded Medicaid, added the words or figured out how to fund the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Maybe we should cut a deal with Idaho’s big shots: You’re allowed to make asses out of yourselves, but only after you get something done.