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The posturing politician

carlson CHRIS


There’s something about a politician who piously postures on an issue that sticks in the craw. In a way it tells the voter the officeholder thinks a majority of the electorate is too stupid to see through the posturing and the pontificating.

Exhibit A from last week is Idaho’s First District congressman, Raul Labador. The darling of the Tea Party Republicans is more and more proving to be, like a majority of those in Congress, nothing more than a “show horse,” as opposed to his colleague, Second District congressman, Mike Simpson, a true “work horse” who does the heavy lifting that keeps Congress moving.

Labrador engaged in two activities last week which were pure posturing. The voter should be wary and take them with a grain of the proverbial salt.

First, he introduced and heavily publicized a bill he had filed which would restrict and further circumscribe the absolute power the President has under the 1907 Antiquities Act to create national monuments with the stroke of a pen. The bill is similar to one introduced in the Senate by Idaho’s two senators, Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.

These bills generally require public hearings before a president could act as well as the concurrence of a state’s governor. There are two major problems with this action that confirm the “political posturing” tag.

Labrador’s ostensible goal is to preclude President Obama from using his Antiquities Act power to declare the Boulder/White Clouds area a national monument, as he is being urged to do by folks like Idaho Conservation League executive director Rick Johnson and former four-term Idaho Governor Cecil D. Andrus.

In doing this, the congressman has with malice aforethought breached congressional protocol which states as a matter of professional courtesy one congressman does not introduce a bill in a colleague’s district having no impact in his district. It is tantamount to saying, “In your eye, Mike.” Rest assured this is duly noted by Simpson and will not be forgotten.

The second reason this is pure posturing as well as a waste of taxpayer’s money is that Labrador, as well as Crapo and Risch, know damn good and well this legislation is going nowhere. Sure, they’ll pontificate and excoriate President Obama, Governor Andrus and the ICL for imposing their will on the good citizines of central Idaho while camapigning at home during a congressional recess.

If honest with the voters, though, they would acknowledge they don’t have the votes to over-ride a presidential veto. They would also acknowledge that every president since the passage of the Act has used his authority to make and has made nationl monument declarations.

What Labrador does not want to admit is that he and his colleagues will not have the skill or the standing to get legislation passed invalidating the monument declaration by passing Simpson’s original carefully crafted bill creating a wilderness area.

The other pure political posturing by Labrador last week was the Congressman telling The Hill newspaper, the daily bible of all those who work on Capitol Hill or serve in the House, that he was NOT going to challenge three-term incumbent Mike Crapo in the 2016 Republican primary for the Senate.

Here’s what this early signaling/posturing probably means.

There’s a great scene early in the smash hit HBO series, House of Cards. Frank Underwood (Played superbly by actor Kevin Spacey), the LBJ-like House majority leader who wheels, deals, lies, betrays and double crosses his relentless way to the presidency, is approached in a corridor by his former press secretary who is now a lobbyist.

After the former employee departs, in an aside worthy of Shakespeare, Underwood looks the camera in the eye and says, “There are two kinds of people in this town: those who go for the money and those who seek power. Rennie (the ex-press secretary) made a big mistake. He went for the money. He should have gone for power. It is much more satisfying and much more lasting.”

If Congressman Labrador sticks with his decision to stay in the House, the voter will know he’s going for the money, trading on his media attraction and angling for one of those $2 million a year executive directorships the Republicans seem to have in aabundance.

If he reverses himself and goes after Senator Crapo, like Frank Underwood, the voter will know he has opted for power and influence.

Until the filing deadline, it’s all pure posturing, my friend.

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