Helen Chenoweth-Hage, RIP

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Former Republican congresswoman from Idaho Helen Chenoweth-Hage, who actually lived up to her term limits promise and left the House in 2000 after 6 years of service, died in a car crash yesterday.

Back in our October 2000 issue, Michael Lynch and Katherine Mangu-Ward interviewed her and four other term limit stalwarts.

Jim Bovard remembers her for being tough on the feds when it came to Ruby Ridge.

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  1. No disrespect to her memory, but I hate term limits. They take certain choices away from voters.

  2. Wasn’t she the white-supremacist sympathizer who actually said that white Anglo-Saxon males were an endangered species?

  3. I think she also charged that the New World Order already controls a good chunk of America. The neo-Nazi site “Stormfront” has many complimentary threads about her. But since she supported term limits, she’s someone libertarians should admire.

  4. Wasn’t she a Bene Gesserit?

    I love term limits. Anything to slow the bastards down. We restrict what people can vote for in any number of ways (e.g., ballot-access restrictions), and there’s certainly no shortage of replacement candidates–zap one, and there’s fifty to take his place. Works swimmingly in Florida. Buh-bye, thanks for ruling.

  5. I found a website stating her positions on various issues: opposed gay adoption, supported a Constitutional amendment for school prayer, more prisons instead of alternative sentencing, no vouchers for DC public schools (though vouchers for religious schools are OK). To her credit, though, she did vote against a ban on needle exchanges and medical marijuana in DC.

    And of course, she supported term limits.

    http://www.issues2000.org/House/Helen_Chenoweth.htm

  6. This is what she should be remembered for.

    N-H-P Trooper Rocky Gonzalez says Chenoweth-Hage was holding the baby and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. State law requires both seatbelts and babyseats. Both Chenoweth-Hage and the baby were thrown from the car but the child had only minor injuries.

  7. They take certain choices away from voters.

    When what we should be doing is taking voters away from the choices.

  8. But since she supported term limits, she’s someone libertarians should admire.

    I’m not so sure. We’re supposed to be all for individual choice. I want the choice to re-elect an incumbent as many times as I like.

  9. N-H-P Trooper Rocky Gonzalez says Chenoweth-Hage was holding the baby and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. State law requires both seatbelts and babyseats. Both Chenoweth-Hage and the baby were thrown from the car but the child had only minor injuries.

    People, I can’t stress this enough: Whatever you think of seat belt laws, you should wear seat belts and put babies, toddlers, and younger children in car seats.

  10. As an expat Idahoan, I’ll just say… oops, my momma taught me if you can’t say anything nice about the dead, don’t say anything at all.

    (crickets chirping…)

  11. As another expat Idahoan, I’ll just say… uh… well, she kept her promise not to run for a fourth term.

  12. I’m not so sure. We’re supposed to be all for individual choice. I want the choice to re-elect an incumbent as many times as I like.

    Uh, sarcasm, Brian. I don’t seriously expect libertarians to admire racists who happen to share one viewpoint in common with the rest of us.

    When David Duke finally bites it, I hope to Christ nobody here makes a post talking about his principled opposition to affirmative action.

  13. Jennifer:
    When I was a journalist in Idaho, I interviewed Helen Chenoweth many times. She was not, as you fear, “a white supremacist.” If anything, she was more like a libertarian Christianist, quite socially conservative but also a hard-liner on abusive federal powers. Her comments about “the only endangered species in America is the white male” were meant to convey a frustration at affirmative action laws and racial and sexual preferences in universities.
    She was fiercely conservative, and a bit of a wingnut, but to call her racist is wrong.

  14. Chenoweth-Hage called for “a day of prayer, fasting, and humiliation before God,” after the Columbine school shootings.

    What a load of pandering, self-serving bullshit.

  15. Where’s the evidence of her racist outlook, Jennifer?

    I’m not saying she wasn’t a racist — I really have no idea — but so far you haven’t offered any reason to believe she shared the views of her fans at Stormfront.

  16. I’m fascinated by the mindset of a person who holds a baby on their lap in the front seat of a moving vehicle. I’ve seen chain letters from and for elderly people with a “we didn’t wear seatbelts and drove our kids home from the hospital and we’re all just fine” kind of attitude. I don’t think there should be laws forcing adults to wear seatbelts and certainly Mrs. Chenoweth-Hage didn’t deserve to die for nearly killing her grandchild though her negligence, but there is something fascinating to me about the psychology behind that negligence. What’s the arrogance/ignorance ratio, I wonder?

  17. People, I can’t stress this enough: Whatever you think of seat belt laws, you should wear seat belts and put babies, toddlers, and younger children in car seats.

    No s**t. They never needed seat belt laws to convince me. They showed those movies to us in drivers’ ed. in high school and I was a convert. Since I believe so strongly in keeping myself safe, how on earth could I even think of not strapping my lovely little guy in a tight as possible.
    What’s that? Why yes, I do have a picture. Well actually, it’s more of a video.

  18. Where’s the evidence of her racist outlook, Jennifer?

    She never came out and said “I’m a racist, lose the Negroes.” (And even if she did, she was pre-Internet so few contemporary news articles are online; what you’ll find are papers from the Southern Poverty Law Center and other such groups, as well as blogs quoting old stories. I’m not going to quote a blog as evidence here.)

    But there are too many little things, each one of which can perhaps be explained away but together they add up to more than a coincidence:

    Why does Idaho have so few black people living there? “The warm-climate community just hasn’t found the colder climate that attractive.” And of course “the white Anglo-Saxon male is endangered.” She had connections with the Militia of Montana, even speaking on a videotape they sell, and the M of M in turn had connections with the neo-Nazi National Alliance, and was itself founded and run by ex-members of the Aryan Nations.

    There’s more in this vein. And yeah, any single incident can be maybe explained away. Hell, in college I myself once got drunk with an ex-Klansman at a party (though I didn’t know who he was at the time); I suppose all of us have a few personal anecdotes which might make us look racist. But Chenoweth had too damn many of them, and in any case one hour drinking with a guy at a party who turned out to be KKK is a tad different from being good friends with public neo-Nazis.

    Yeah, Chenoweth said a lot of stuff I actually agree with. And I don’t agree with everything her critics had to say about her (being pro-logger isn’t the sign of the antichrist.) But the bad stuff is big enough to outweigh the good stuff. Constitutional amendments for school prayer, friendships with white-supremacist militias . . . no, I see no reason to mourn her loss. (Also: I cannot prove this, of course, but I strongly suspect that for all her admirable anti-government rhetoric, the fact that Bill Clinton was head of the government had a lot to do with it.)

    (ADDITION: I originally had three online addresses here, but I think the anti-pornbot filter didn’t like that, because something strange [even by server-squirrel standards]happened to my post. Let me try again, sans addresses.)

  19. Striving for something good to say, while she was usually an embarrasment to Idahoans of every political stripe, Helen brought joy into all of our lives by leaving office.

    That, and, she was often good for a laugh (or groan) while reading the morning paper.

  20. what you’ll find are papers from the Southern Poverty Law Center

    Nuff said.

  21. I’d like to see the evidence on Chenoweth being a racist. I don’t count vaguely or even explicitly conspiratorial conservatism as racism per se, in the same way that I don’t consider conspiratorial leftism as anti-semitic per se.

    And as far as proof goes, you’ll have to do a lot better than that scam artist Morris Dees and his SPLC.

  22. She had connections with the Militia of Montana, even speaking on a videotape they sell, and the M of M in turn had connections with the neo-Nazi National Alliance, and was itself founded and run by ex-members of the Aryan Nations.

    The militia movement was filled to the brim with cranks, but as far as I could tell only a minority of those cranks were racists, despite the best efforts of the SPLC and kindred groups to confuse the issue. I remember one neo-Nazi leader — I think he was with the Aryan Nations, but I might be misremembering that — attacking the militias because they were distracting people from the “real enemy” (guess who). The one Militia of Montana leader I ever interviewed was pretty down on racism himself, and helped lead me to some curious crossovers between the militias and the black militants. (And no, they weren’t getting together to hate on the Jews.)

    Anyway, I wasn’t a huge Chenoweth fan, but I’d take 20 Helen Chenoweths over one Alberto Gonzalez.

  23. Jesse,

    I’ll see your 20 Helen Chenoweths and raise you one Barry Goldwater.

  24. My only memory of Chenoweth was watching her on C-SPAN, at 3 am on some insomnia-cursed night, make a speech to an empty house about the evils of attempting to re-introduce wolves into the northwest wilderness.

    Damn dirty wolves.

  25. Ladies and gentlemen, please. Let’s respect both the dead and Voltaire’s famous comment. Condolences to Helen Chenoweth’s family and friends.

  26. …what you’ll find are papers from the Southern Poverty Law Center and other such groups,…

    Jennifer, if you ever become famous enough your name will be mentioned in “papers from the Southern Poverty Law Center and other such groups”.

    Just about anyone who does not profess slavish devotion to the doctrines of affirmative action and victimhood held by the modern “civil rights” “leaders” will find themselves accused of “preaching hate”.

  27. But there are too many little things, each one of which can perhaps be explained away but together they add up to more than a coincidence:

    Sounds like the standards our government uses to decide who gets shipped off to Gitmo. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  28. Sounds like the standards our government uses to decide who gets shipped off to Gitmo. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    There’s a huge difference between “deciding to send someone off to Gitmo” and “deciding not to vote someone into a position of government power.”

  29. There’s a huge difference between “deciding to send someone off to Gitmo” and “deciding not to vote someone into a position of government power.”

    How about “deciding to respond to her death by denouncing her as a quasi-Nazi”?

  30. How about “deciding to respond to her death by denouncing her as a quasi-Nazi”?

    If there is an afterlife, she’s too busy either enjoying or suffering through her eternal reward to notice or care what I say. If no afterlife, she’s too busy being nonexistent to notice or care what I say. Either way, how is she being harmed?

  31. The Southern Poverty Law Center is the group that put the largest Klan group in America out of business. Their compound and the land around it now belong to the mother a black man the Klan murdered, thanks to the SPLC.

    More than anyone can say about Helen Chenowith, the Militia of Michigan, and Free Republic put together.

  32. Free Republic doesn’t have anything to do with anything: it simply hosts that Ken Silverstein article from Harper’s. But nice try, joe. Scroll down to Attacking a Home-Town Icon in this link, then tell me about Harvard’s Klan connections.

  33. When David Duke finally bites it, I hope to Christ nobody here makes a post talking about his principled opposition to affirmative action.

    Probably by someone like you in the spirit of your “but she supported term limits” remarks.

    I admit to be unclear on what the precise nature of that spirit is, but it’ll probably be similar.

  34. Chenoweth was a bit goofy and had some ‘interesting’ views on things, but she was one of the last of the western individualists–at least in political life–from which the libertarian movement drew so much of its strength. Far as I can tell, her kind has largely been replaced by the type of statist leech more familiar to easterners. And that, my friends, is a problem.

  35. Probably by someone like you in the spirit of your “but she supported term limits” remarks. I admit to be unclear on what the precise nature of that spirit is, but it’ll probably be similar.

    It’s called “damning with faint praise.”

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