Monday, June 16, 2014

Raul Labrador For Republican Majority Leader In The House

It appears that somebody in the Republican House of Representatives gets what happened this past Tuesday when the soon to be former House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, was handily defeated in his Virginia primary election.
Two days ago, on Wednesday, Mr. Cantor announced that he would step down as majority leader on July 31 but stay in the house until the session ends later this year.
And this past Thursday, House Majority Whip, Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) announced that he would seek the now open position and a vote was scheduled for next Thursday, June 19.
A slew of conservative candidates that considered running for the post began to drop like files.
Some of that list, per National Journal, included Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tx.), Jim Jordan (R-Oh.), Tom Price (R-Ga.) and Pete Sessions (R-Tx.) said no, not at this time. Maybe even one or more added that it wouldn't be prudent. And who really knows why they decided not to challenge Mr. McCarthy.
In comes second-term Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Id) to take the mantle to challenge Mr. McCarthy and by extension, Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-Oh.)
And good for Mr. Labrador for making the move.
Radio talker Hugh Hewitt makes a great point about what it would mean if Mr. Labrador were in fact elected by members of the GOP caucus. For one, a fresh face. For two, someone that speaks Spanish and will not be afraid to show up in Spanish-language media. While Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) is the leading Republican Hispanic, there is always room for more. I have watched and listened to Mr. Labrador and he is very articulate and a solid conservative. And yes, he has done a much better job explaining his view on immigration reform and its simple. No strong, verifiable border security, no go on everything else. In other words, Mr. Labrador follows the KISS rule. Keep It Simple Stupid.
Sometimes situations like this come once in a Blue Moon. A chance to do something bold, new and yes, different.
That is why I think Mr. Labrador is putting all Republican house members on notice. That they need to get a clue. That the buddy-buddy days yucking it up with the Wall Street and K Street crowd has to come to an end. That the Republican party needs to return to a party of not willy nilly making the federal government larger (but allegedly conservative). The fact is that while the GOP had the whole shooting match in Washington for much of the George W. Bush presidency, federal government spending (outside of defense spending) rose dramatically. The infamous No Child Left Behind only strengthened the federal government stranglehold on education. Now it is being furthered by the Common Core program.
Now, the GOP have paid in many ways a righteous price for this so-called "Compassionate conservatism".
A base that believes, as I do, conservatism is compassion. That it does not take more government spending to affect change in such things as the rise in homelessness, poverty and the stagnation of wages among the middle class. It does take a shift in priorities. And that is why a crack in those that are beneficiaries of the largess of Washington, be it Democrat constituencies or Republican ones, needs to occur.
That is one of the reasons I support Mr. Labrador's run for the House Majority Leader.
Because he will be one to begin to break the House leadership that is almost all Blue and or Purple state representatives.
To breakdown the current Republican House leadership and where they are from, here it is.

Speaker of the House                                John Boehner (Ohio-Purple state)
Majority Leader                                       Eric Cantor (Virginia-Purple state)
Majority Whip                                          Kevin McCarthy (California-Blue state)
Republican Conference Chair                  Cathy McMorris Rogers (Washington-Blue state)
Republican Policy Committee Chair         James Lankford (Oklahoma-Red state)
See, of the five Republicans in leadership, of the top four, two are from Purple, at best, states and two are from very Blue states. You have to go down to the fifth position, GOP policy chair to get to a Red state representative.
No one from Texas. No one from Florida. No one from the Mountain West.
In other words, there is no one from the Republican base in high leadership.
In contrast, the Democrats do a better job as in their top four, only one is from a Red state and the rest are from Blue states.
Why does this make a difference?
Well, Mr. Labrador is from Idaho, probably the second most Republican state in the nation after Utah. He has served in the state legislature and his best accomplishment was fighting against raising the state gasoline tax. Already he has anti-tax bonifides.
In 2010, he defeated a military veteran, Vaughn Ward, in the GOP primary for the First District. And the seat was held by Democrat Walt Minnick at the time. Not easy for a Democrat to win anything in Idaho let alone a congressional seat. After Mr. Labrador dispatched Mr. Ward, he went on to ride the Tea Party wave and defeated Mr. Minnick by 10 points, 51%-41%. In his second run for the seat, Mr. Labrador defeated Democrat Jimmy Farris handily, 63%-31%.
Although only in his second term there is potential baggage for Mr. Labrador that no doubt the GOP congressional establishment types will point out.
Yes, Mr. Labrador was a part of the so-called Gang of Eight seeking to enact so-called "comprehensive" immigration reform. Like Florida senator Marco Rubio, Mr. Labrador dropped out when he realized that any border security was an afterthought and not any real priority of the "reform".
And yes, Mr. Labrador did vote for the controversial 2014 Farm Bill. That legislation for some hard-liners is almost right up there with support for "comprehensive" immigration reform with no conditions. It was a bad bill that was going to pass no matter what and Mr. Labrador's vote turned out to be inconsequential.
Sometimes, one has to pick and choose the battles to fight wisely.
And that is Mr. Labrador has done.
FTR, Mr. Labrador has a lifetime American Conservative Union rating of 97%, which is more conservative than his Idaho GOP congressional ally, Mike Simpson who has a 92% rating. And in the Heritage Action score card, Mr. Labrador scores strong there as well with a 77% rating. Again, his fellow state colleague, Mr. Simpson, had an abysmal 46% rating. Whats more, Mr. Labrador is in a less Republican district than Mr. Simpson.
Most important as I have noted, Mr. Labrador is not in congress long enough to be corrupted by the business as usual in congress that infects both parties. And at 46, he is actually part of the next generation of Republicans.
I want to be clear that I have no animus against Mr. McCarthy. As a fellow Californian, yes a part of me does want to see him move up the ladder of leadership. And from all that I have heard or read about Mr. McCarthy, he is a good guy that has really built relationships with fellow House Republicans.
But now is not the time for a safe choice in a leadership vacuum.
It is time for something bold and different. Let's face it, Mr. Boehner will leave leadership at some point. Mr. McCarthy would still be of great value as the Republican Whip. Mr. Labdrador will bring a more aggressive approach to be sure but not reckless. Again, he knows how to pick and choose the battles worth dying on a hill for.
It is with all of the above that this blogger joins all those who celebrate the challenge of Raul Labrador for GOP Majority Leader in the House. I urge people to let Republican members of congress know you want them to vote for Mr. Labdrador and not Mr. McCarthy. If you want to contact Republican congressmen to voice your thoughts, the Capitol switchboard phone number is 202-224-3121. You can also at the link put in your zip code for contact information. If you are represented by a Democrat, try to figure the closest Republican and give them a call direct.
Please note that the GOP establishment is already anointing Mr. McCarthy as the new majority leader. Note that this kind of arrogance is part of the reason Mr. Cantor will not be a part of the 114th congress.
Join me in supporting Raul Labrador for GOP House Majority Leader.

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