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Posts published in “Day: May 24, 2017”

Return of the natural


At an age when most men of means are sitting on a beach somewhere soaking up the sun’s therapeutic rays, or in a box seat watching their beloved Rockies (Cubs, Giants, Mariners) at spring training in Arizona, former Idaho Attorney General and Lt. Governor David Leroy, 69, is planning on a return to public service.

If elected Idaho for sure will be the beneficiary, and even the nation.

After a term as the state’s chief legal officer, and one as Lt. Governor, the Lewiston native and University of Idaho undergraduate (and Idaho Law School graduate), at the time a rising Republican star, decided to take on former Idaho Governor and Interior Secretary Cecil Andrus. Most observers thought Andrus would easily walk to a third term, not recognizing how tough a comeback can be for anyone seeking a return to the governorship after a ten-year absence.

It was the closest gubernatorial race in years. Leroy lost by just 3300 votes. He could have demanded a recount but instead graciously accepted the outcome. He then took a policy position as the nation’s Nuclear Waste negotiator before returning to the private sector to become a successful attorney.

Public service though is in his blood. In 1994 he sought to win the seat he is seeking now, but lost the GOP primary to his former campaign manager, Helen Chenoweth. For Leroy public service is a calling for which he is well-suited. He runs for the right reasons, not as a gratifying exercise in ego.

He runs because he sees himself as a problem solver. He is particularly intrigued by Republican control of both houses of Congress, of the White House with Donald Trump as POTUS, and, a 5-4 conservative majority on the Supreme Court. He sees opportunity for principled members of Congress to get past harsh partisanship and gridlock.

He calls himself a constitutional conservative, has deep admiration for President Abraham Lincoln (He has become a true Lincoln scholar) and sees himself as a uniter not a divider. He is no hide-bound ideologue. Rather, he applies his intellect and thoughtfulness to issues demanding solutions.

He will bring to the table maturity, experience, sound judgment and a sense of history. Some may say his time has past, but he can point to a president today in his 70’s and the three major Democratic challengers in the 2016 election would have been 70 or older by inauguration day (Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders). Seventy has truly become the new 45.

Leroy has also been a long-time admirer of former Idaho Governor and U.S. Senator Len B. Jordan, a true principled conservative Republican if there ever existed one in Idaho.

By announcing within a couple days of the currrent incumbent, Raul Labrador, signaling his intention to run for governor in 2018, Leroy is hoping to pre-empt the field. He quietly started planning his bid months ago, banking on Labrador not seeking re-election to Congress.

He has tied down loyalists across the district and should have no trouble financing his bid. He expects a challenger, someone like young GOP 4th District State Representative Luke Malek. A sleeper could be First District State Representative Heather Scott. Leroy should win regardless of who challenges him either from within the GOP or the Democrats.

Leroy has another attribute that does well by him - a sense of humor. In September of 1989 in what was a fortuitously clear, cloudless day with no wind, I climbed Mt. Borah. At 12,662 feet it is Idaho’s highest and the second highest, after Mr. Rainier, in the Pacific northwest. I carried with me an Andrus bumper sticker which I slapped onto a plastic tube at the top in which folks that make the climb can leave notes and messages.

I had a message I wanted to deliver to David Leroy who in the 1986 race had made much of his youth and vitality in a not too subtle contrast between Andrus’ age and his. Knowing that Leroy was thinking of a rematch I took an educated guess that if I left a message for him in the tube someone would read and report it to him within several weeks.

My message read: “By Chris Carlson, done on behalf of his friend, Governor Cecil D. Andrus, as a message to David Leroy. There are thousands like me who will climb any mountain and do whatever it takes to return the champion to the ring for another term. You better think long and hard before seeking a rematch.”

Three weeks later he called saying he understood I’d left a message for him on top of Mt. Borah. We shared a good laugh and not coincidentally was there a rematch. Ironically, the roles are reversed today, but the message is the same. A veteran who knows politics is going to be tough to beat. A political natural has returned.

The time has come


Baby-boomer parents who ever read bedtime stories to their children often delighted in reading books by “Dr. Seuss.” They had a lyrical, often rhyming quality to them and the accompanying illustrations added to the joy.

If Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter truly loves Idaho, and wants to have some kind of noteworthy legacy, its time he took his cue from Marvin K. Mooney and exits stage right. He should resign and turn the governorship over to his loyal Lt. Governor Brad Little.

The positive reasons are many.

· It would make Little the incumbent and give him a leg up over First District congressman Raul Labrador in next May’s primary.

· It would provide Little with a legislative session to show what he could do for the state and his ability to work with leadership.

· Little would carry-on some of the Governor’s initiatives, most especially a continuation of restoring educational funding.

· It would give Little the opportunity to demonstrate his knowledge of the issues as well as his knowledge of state agencies, and that he knows how to instill positive response.

· Little is heads and tails above all the wanna-be’s in terms of qualifications. No other Republican nor is there any Democrat more prepared to take over.

· Having accompanied Governor Otter on almost all his “Capitol For A Day” visits, Little knows Idaho and almost every single community across this state better than any of the others.

· Little is the best, one-on-one retail campaigner of the lot.

There are also some negative reasons for Otter to abdicate:

· Otter’s office and his cabinet are mostly in “glide mode” - doing little or nothing as they wait to see who the next governor will be.

· Its obvious, given the snafu’s and turmoil coming from the governor’s office of late that Otter’s hand on the steering wheel has lessened considerably. Some say Otter is just mailing it in, that his heart is no longer in administering or managing.

· Labrador, given his prominence in the Freedom Caucus and their decisions that so vexed President Trump, will find that the current Administration will not work with him (they take names and keep enemies’ lists). Little will be able to work with the Trumpsters.

· Little listens and works to bring people together by fleshing out what they agree upon first. Labrador is an ideologue with pre-conceived thought of his own as to what has to be done.

With apologies to Dr. Seuss here is a revised version of his classic. “Clement Leroy” is the beginning of Governor Otter’s full name:

“The time has come/The time is now.

Just go. GO. GO! I don’t care how.

You can go by foot. You can go by horse or cow.

Clement Leroy, will you please go now!

You can go with your Tony Lamas’.

You can go on your ATV.

You can go with your stetson on.

But please go. Please.

I don’t care. You can go with your chuck wagon.

You can go on your mountain bike.

If you like you can go in your tennis shoes.

Just go, go, GO! Please do, do, DO!

Clement Leroy, I don’t care how.

Clement Leroy, will you please GO NOW!

You can go in a surrey. You can go by canoe.

You can go in the state cadillac, if you wish.

If you wish you may go by a wolf’s tail that you shot at and didn’t miss/Or stamp yourself and go by snail mail.

Clement Leroy! Don’t you know the time has come

To go, GO, GO!

Get on your way, Clement Leroy! Give the office to Brad Little today! I don’t care how you go, just GET!

Butch, Butch, Butch! Will you leave the office?

Clement Leroy Otter, I don’t care HOW!

Clement Leroy Otter, will you please GO NOW!

I said GO and GO I meant. . . .

The time had COME,

So Clement Leroy Otter WENT!