Congressman Raul Labrador (R-1st CD-Idaho) ought to drop out of the race for the Republican nomination for Idaho governor. The reasons are multiple, but simple. They boil down to the incontestable fact that he and his administration would not be problem-solvers, they would be problem creators.
We elect governors to solve challenges and problems, to instigate solutions, not to become part of the problem by kicking the can down the road or pointing the finger of blame at someone else. Labrador forgets that when he points a finger at his opponents four fingers are pointing back at him.
Labrador’s 5x5x5 gimmick for further reducing state taxes is phony as a $3 dollar bill. Putting such an unneeded additional drain on the State coffers would eviscerate funding for k-12 education and Idaho’s colleges and universities. It would signal the end of the step increases for newly hired teachers and assure a continuation of the teacher drain out of state.
This past week he joined his congressional colleagues in the so-called Freedom Caucus in endorsing a shut-down of the federal government, once again putting ideology and partisanship ahead of the public interest and the best interests of his constituents. It’s downright disgusting.
He and GOP House and Senate leadership have known since last fall a show down was coming over the immigration issue yet the majority party did not call or hold a single negotiating session. Instead they just kicked the can down the road. The ensuing months saw Congress pass a series of continuing resolutions to keep the government operating while supposedly engaging in negotiations over a solution to the “dreamer” challenge as well as the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
But no, they’d rather play Russian roulette with the lives of at risk children and ignore almost 800,000 people brought here while under five years of age by parents seeking to better themselves. As young adults today many are teachers or serve in the armed forces and they pay their taxes. President Trump considers them to be illegals and would rather send them back to a native land they have virtually no knowledge of.
Republicans like Labrador think the Democrats will get blamed. Guess again----their party and the president will be held accountable. Do you think for one minute there is a DACA child or a CHIP mother that does not know who is using their loved one as a pawn?
Do Idahoans really want this style of brinkmanship and ideology sitting in their governors’ chair. Do they really want someone who has no respect for state employees, who boasts he can cut a billion dollars out of the biennial budget?
Do they really want a conservative without a conscience who doesn’t support medicaid expansion and who believes in dismantling much of the local, state and federal framework that has arisen because of the need for services which individuals themselves cannot afford?
Do Idahoans really want as governor a person who like the president he idolizes, is a divider not a unifier? My guess is not. It’s a good guess also that many second district Republicans still remember Labrador supporting a wing-nut challenger to their own beloved congressman, Mike Simpson. Likewise many in eastern Idaho will remember Labrador saying that cuts at INL were to be expected and that people just had to recognize there were no sacred cows and all had to carry a share.
His gubernatorial race strategy of hiding out in D.C. so as to avoid joint appearances with his two main challengers, doctor/developer Tommy Ahlquist and Lt. Governor Brad Little, will not sit well with many voters either. He may have polls showing him leading but some pundits believe by primary day each of the three will have corralled about ¼ th of the expected vote and the remaining ¼ will stay undecided until primary election day.
Overall, conservative Republicans in Idaho may support President Trump until his policies start to bite and his inability to lead becomes even more apparent, but one suspects they’ll not want to see that kind of double-talking leadership sitting in the governor’s office in Boise. It’s one thing to have chaos in the White House, quite another to have it much closer to home.
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Chris Carlson is a longtime Idaho political writer who lives in Medimont.