February 10, 2013

Should Raul Labrador Run for Governor?

Posted by Adam Graham in : Idaho Conservative, The

I’ve read a lot of opinions on the question of whether Raul Labrador should run for Governor. Some have said that Labrador running for Governor would be harmful and that he should stay in the U.S. House.

Let me say that first off, if Raul Labrador runs for Governor, I will be behind him 150%. The question of whether he should run is going to be up to him and will depend on where he can make the most difference?

Being in the House of Representatives is an often difficult job particularly when the House as a whole has such weak-kneed and fiscally liberal folks as Mike Simpson in it. It’s dysfunctional and any conservative gains are going to be stymied by a Democratic President and Senate. This will be the case for at least the next four years.

In Idaho on the other hand, Raul Labrador would have a huge Republican contingent in the legislature, and the ability to dramatically impact state policy on issues such as taxes, size of government, and reform of education.

I have to wonder if people who think Raul Labrador should stay in Washington DC have fallen into the trap of thinking what goes on in Washington is far more important that what is happening at our State Capitol. It’s not so.

Republicans have held the Governor’s Mansion in our state for going on 20 years, with all but Jim Risch’s six month tenure seeing the Governor’s mansion occupied by hard-core party establishment guys like Phil Batt, Dirk Kempthorne, and Butch Otter. The question Idaho Conservatives is, Are we better off now than we were twenty years ago?

Other than getting some pro-life legislation passed, how different would our state be if we’d been led to that most endangered of political dinosaurs, the Idaho Moderate Democrat leading our state with Republican legislatures we have had. Given the size of the GOP majorities, we ought to have made serious changes to our state, we ought to be a model of wise and prudent tax policy, of innovative limited government.

Instead, what do we have? We have an income tax code that’s a refugee from the progressive era.  A sales tax that plays so many favorites and picks so many winners and losers that it excludes more sales than it taxes. We have an education system that is in desperate need of reform, and a sprawling state government that we didn’t use the late fiscal shortfalls as a chance to fix.

The reason for this is that we have a state leadership that views power as an end.  Conservatives need to change the state executive desperately but have shown very little competence in doing so.

In 2010, the best conservatives could come up with was Rex Rammell.  If conservatives don’t plan to win the Governorship in 2014, they’ll easily lose it with another lackluster candidate.

To be clear, Raul Labrador is not the only candidate who would make a fine Governor. I’ve often thought the same of Senators Russ Fulcher and Marv Hagedorn. However, what makes Raul Labrador such an interesting potential candidate is that he has the name recognition and fundraising base to easily run this campaign while others will have to work to get that statewide recognition.

While I’d hate to lose Raul Labrador’s legislative capabilities in Washington, our state needs Conservative leadership in the governor’s office that’ll make up for the past twenty wasted stagnant years. So, if Raul Labrador thinks he can makes a difference as Governor, I hope he runs.

If not, I hope conservatives can offer a serious alternative to a continuation of the status quo of Batt-Kempthorne-Otter.

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