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Richard Phenneger: Senate Candidate Too Good to be True?

January 31st, 2008 by Halli

I was contacted through this blog by a north Idaho businessman who has announced his candidacy for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Larry Craig.

Richard Phenneger has impressive credentials, which you are invited to check out at his website. It is hard for a conservative to argue with his positions on his self-defined issues. His life experience is impressive, with years in the military, commercial airlines, and now in business. His family, apparently, is sterling.

Is he too good to be true?

I am forced to answer “yes”. There are two flies in Richard Phenneger’s oatmeal, fruit-fly size as they may seem. Tucked away in the list of organizations to which he belongs are included the AARP and the Idaho Conservation League.

You remember the AARP, the organization formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons. (You weren’t aware they no longer feature “American” in their name? They are now simply the “AARP”, in order to be more inclusive.) This is the organization that proudly supports socialization of major portions of the US economy, higher taxes to provide more government care for seniors, and which “leads positive social change” (read: “give all your money to old folks”).

The Idaho Conservation League (ICL) is a leading proponent of additional wilderness, locking Idahoans out of more of their state. The ICL invites you to become an “adoptive parent” of roadless forest, lobby against mining and other legal activities, and to help block the use of private property by curbing development.

OK, maybe these are horse flies in Phenneger’s oatmeal.

Perhaps he would answer as did then-candidate Mike Simpson, as he attempted to explain away his membership in the ACLU. “It’s the best way to find out what the enemy is up to”, he said, coyly.

I didn’t believe Simpson at the time, and I wouldn’t believe it from Phenneger, either.

There was also one “issue” that was prominent by its absence on the Phenneger webpage: abortion. Perhaps that was an oversight. If so, I hope he will soon set us all straight on his position regarding pre-born life.

After an examination of the Richard Phenneger campaign website, I find it quite impossible to support him. Something could happen to change my mind, but it doesn’t appear likely.

To coin a phrase, “voter beware”.

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Posted in Constitutional Issues, Family Matters, Idaho Pro-Life Issues, National Sovereignty, Politics in General | 8 Comments »

8 Responses

  1. Eagle Scout Says:

    I’m more focused on his post-born, pre-corpse issues.

  2. Lisa Says:

    Halli…aren’t you a member of AARP? at your age you should be, I mean the day will come when you’ll just be an angry old lady…Ooopsie you already are My Bad.

  3. Richard Phenneger Says:

    I appreciate your comments regarding my membership in the AARP and the ICL. Regarding the AARP, I joined because of the various insurance programs and other benefits related to healthy living. I also believed that the AARP would have comprehensive reports on the true status of Social Security. Upon joining I requested information on what they knew about how our Social Security funds were being invested. The report I got was not only inadequate, it turned out to be a whitewash of fact. After receiving the AARP’s report I contacted the General Accounting Office. To make a long story short, the GAO information proved that Congress was simply using the Social Security funds (minus what was needed for the current year) as their petty-cash slush fund. And the security for “borrowing” the funds ended up being “special securities” that have absolutely no public market and can only be sold back to the U.S. Government. In other words, all of our hard earned money was invested, by law, in a single security that had no real market. If any business man or woman sponsored a retirement trust for their employees and did this, they would go to jail. The GAO’s information provided the basis for my discussion on how to start fixing the Social Security mess (the Economy Issue on my website). There is no question in my mind that the AARP is way off base on this issue. There is also no question in my mind that the good old boys, Democrat and Republican, had the power to fix Social Security decades ago and deliberately decided to do nothing.

    Regarding the ICL membership – The issues surrounding the proper management of our forest lands is complicated with many different and diverse views as to what is proper. There is no way that I want to see the lands “locked up” as you say. But if we are to get responsible solution that respects the opinions of the divergent parties, we need to understand (have knowledge) of their opposing points of view. As Winston Churchill said . . .”The more knowledge he pursues of the opposite point of view, the less difficult it is to know what to do.” This is not tagging ICL as the “enemy” and then joining them to “case the joint.” Clearly, I do not accept all of their views. But I do respect their opinions as I do our loggers and yours. Once you truly understand the basis of a person’s opinion it is much easier to develop a workable solution. For example, when I am working with a company, understanding the positions of both management and labor allows me to help structure workable solutions satisfactory to both entities, even when a wage cut is necessary. Developing trust is the key to solving problem. You will never develop trust if you do not respect the opposing points of view.

    So I have checked my oatmeal and I did not find any fruit-flies. But thanks for the warning, I’ll keep checking.

    Regarding abortion – believe it or not, this was not a major issue in the poll of Idaho voters I commissioned (you can download the poll from my website). That is why I have not referred to it. However, I am opposed to abortion unless it is determined by a doctor that it is necessary to save the life of the mother. Naturally, it must then be her choice.

  4. Halli Says:

    I very much appreciate your response to my article. You have not convinced me to join either the AARP or the Idaho Conservation League. However, I appreciate your explanations.

    Since you responded to the abortion question, I ask you for one further clarification. Would you vote to outlaw abortion (except for rape, incest or the life of the mother)? Personal opposition to abortion does not always translate to a public stand against it.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  5. Frith Says:

    Mr. Phenneger, Halli doesn’t care enough to listen to another opinion, let alone understand it, because she has all of the answers already.

    Halli, Why an exception for rape and incest? What does the circumstance of conception have to do with killing a baby? It’s not the baby’s fault.

  6. Richard Phenneger Says:

    Halli and Frith:
    When we start talking about legislation, I get real nervous about more Government involvement. However, this may be needed. You have hit on the three key potential exceptions people talk about when legislation is discussed. The exception for a mother’s health is easy to define and identify. Abortion for rape and incest is a different story. These two possible exceptions really need flushing out to make sure whatever is drafted is fair and equitable. For example, there is no question in my mind that pregnancy caused by forced rape (associated with violence) should be an exception. Why? Because it neither fair nor right to force a woman to carry a fetus she was forced to conceive. Statutory rape is a different story, because the conception may not have been forced. So the definition of rape would require very careful study and debate. The same thing goes for incest. If these definitions can be resolved, then yes, I am for such legislation. However, under any and all circumstances, I am adamantly against partial birth abortion (for a mother’s health, there is no reason that I can think of, for a pregnancy going that far).

  7. Halli Says:


    Thank you so much for clarifying your position on abortion. If I read your comments correctly, you would support banning abortion except for several very narrow exceptions. Please respond if I have misinterpreted your remarks.

    Thank you for responding to my questioning.

  8. Richard Phenneger Says:

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if issues such as the ones we are discussing could be resolved without legislation? But if legislation is required and the definitions can be clearly identified for the three exceptions, and we can draft language that will not be a windfall to the ever-growing field of litigation attorneys, the answer is yes.

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