Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bush warns Idaho over nuclear ambitions

President Bush said Wednesday that the United States is "gravely concerned" about Idaho's intentions to enrich uranium, alleging that the rogue Northwest state intends to develop a nuclear weapons program.

"We've made it clear to [Idaho] Gov. [Butch] Otter that we will not stand by and allow his state to develop the capabilities for a nuclear bomb," Bush said at the White House.

Bush sent Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to Boise in the hopes of talking Gem State officials back from their plans. Rice is authorized to offer incentives (such as a 50-year supply of sour cream and chives for the state's legendary potato crop) in the hopes that Idaho will cease its enrichment, but also said that the United States would keep all options on the table in order to steer the state away from its nuclear ambitions.

The president also criticized the leaders of several other states, alleging that they had shared nuclear technologies and materials with the Otter administration. He singled out Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as an "axis of evil" in helping Idaho's covert efforts.

"We've always know that Gregoire was a one-woman banana republic, er, dictatorship, er, fascist...oh, something like that," Bush said, noting that she was never "legitimately elected," but took office after the state Supreme Court nullified the proper vote count. "And we've always suspected Arnold was a liberal -- this just proves it."

Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco might be ripe for criticism in this crisis, administration officials said, but more because of her severe ineptitude. The officials, speaking anonymously because they wanted to make Democrats look bad without repercussions, said that intelligence showed Blanco offered to meet covertly with Otter to lend her assistance, only to realize they never had a nuclear program to begin with.

Finally, Bush hinted that military action was possible, particularly because of intelligence suggesting that the Idaho National Guard had developed missiles capable of hitting large metropolitan areas such as Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City; and Reno, Nev.

Reaction from Boise officials was swift and blunt. "Our intentions our purely to meet the energy needs of our people," said Gov. Otter in a hastily-convened news conference. "Everyone's been talking in Washington about weaning our country off fossil fuels, and we see this as an opportunity to work toward that goal while simultaneously proving we're not just a bedroom state to our larger neighbors. Besides, we like Reno."

Otter went on to warn that any interference with Idaho's enrichment program would be met with "grave consequences," but he did not elaborate. Intelligence officials fear that Idaho might retaliate by launching potato bombs at anyone crossing its borders.

The controversy found its way into the presidential race, as Republican and Democratic candidates alike formulated varied policy positions. Republican front-runner John McCain and challenger Mitt Romney argued in a debate Wednesday night over who was more willing to bomb Idaho back to the stone age, while Mike Huckabee kept whining that he wanted a turn to bomb somebody.

Democrats Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both insisted through representatives that they were misled into supporting additional troops along the Idaho border. As president, Obama said he would immediately move the troops out of harm's way by redeploying them to Iraq, while Clinton was more vague, only saying that she might maintain a peacekeeper military presence in Montana.



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