Carlson Talks Idaho Politics in 'Medimont Reflections'

Article excerpt

"Medimont Reflections," published by Ridenbaugh Press, the book is available for $15.95 at select bookstores and from Amazon.

Chris Carlson can say pretty much anything he wants, and he does, in his new memoir on Idaho politics, "Medimont Reflections."

After a 40-year career as a reporter, press secretary, political operative and public relations man, Carlson was told eight years ago that he had just six months to live, due to his cancer diagnosis; he already suffered from Parkinson's disease. Instead, he's defied the odds, and continues to share his curmudgeonly observations of Idaho from his perch in Medimont, in southern Kootenai County. In Carlson's second book - his first was "Cecil Andrus, Idaho's Greatest Governor" - he tells stories, profiles Idaho characters, and airs his views in no uncertain terms on everything from Idaho elections to dam-breaching to religion.

"It is not an absolute requirement candidates for governor and lieute nant governor in Idaho be able to ride a horse and look good doing so, but it sure helps," he writes. Then he backs it up: "At some fairs, they would be asked to bring the colors in with the color guard at the start of the fair's rodeo." In 1974, he writes, all four candidates for the two offices pulled it off.

Idaho's political history through Carlson's eyes is a potent brew of bare-knuckle politics, good guys and bad guys, principled bravery and intrigue. The late state Rep. Vern Ravenscroft of Tuttle, a Democrat turned Republican, is labeled the "Tuttle turncoat." Former U.S. Sen. Steve Symms "was known as a rogue and a skirt-chaser."

Here's how Carlson describes current U.S. Sen. Jim Risch's opposition to Congressman Mike Simpson's Boulder-White Clouds wilderness bill, which he says Risch "torpedoed" as a newly elected Idaho senator: Risch, Carlson writes, "toadied up to the coalition of ATV riders and snowmobilers opposed to any set-asides. …