Most of us have an innate dislike for braggarts when we bump into one. They are an all too familiar figure from our high school days. They tend mostly to be insecure males who want to draw attention to themselves by telling everyone how smart they are or what a great athlete they are, or how many girls they’ve dated.
Usually there is someone who has the ability to issue a quick put down and pops their balloon. I thought about this the other day as I read another report that once again First District Congressman Raul Labrador was claiming to be the only Republican running for governor with integrity. Someone ought to pop his inflated ego.
Voters beware when any candidate starts trying to claim the moral high ground. Usually, with a little digging one easily discovers the feet of clay. We’ve come to expect one candidate to claim he or she is more capable to lead or has a better program ready to implement, but when one claims more integrity and in effect says he or she is morally superior one sees an adult form of the old insecure high school braggart.
So, Mr. Integrity, would you care to explain to the voters why you carried your wife on the office payroll for years? Some seriously questioned how much real work she did for that compensation. Critics saw it as a thinly disguised effort to supplement household income.
Or go ahead and explain why you supported a hard right conservative to enter the Second District primary and try to take out their popular representative, fellow Republican Mike Simpson? That was a real profile in courage and did so much for delegation unity. You ever heard the expression “people in glass houses shouldn’t cast stones?” And what was Reagan’s 11th Commandment?
In the Idaho where I was raised we were taught not to brag, that if we did something noteworthy let someone else comment. Deeds speak more loudly than words and where I was raised we always appreciated the humble person who knows virtue is its own reward. Its called third party verification. Oh, I forgot---you were raised in Puerto Rico and Las Vegas. Correct?
Equally disappointing and certainly reflective of the”character” issue is a television ad that doctor/developer Tommy Ahlquist is running that does a hatchet job on Lt. Gov. Brad Little. This ad is so full of falsehoods it does allow one to question just what kind of character, if any, Ahlquist has.
The ad accuses Little of supporting a gas tax increase. Not true. It accuses Little of advocating a property tax increase. Not true. The ad accuses Little of helping himself to a 22% pay increase. Not true.
It refers to Little as a career politician. Since when is a job as a part-time state senator and a part-time Lt. Governor somehow morph into a full-time career political job?
Candidates are supposed to personally testify that they have signed off on the ad. This one is so bad one has to believe Ahlquist casually signed off on what his campaign aides put in front of him and didn’t ask any pointed questions.
That does not augur well for his being a hands on detailed oriented governor if elected, does it?
Reagan speech writer Peggy Noonan once wrote a fine little book entitled “When Character Was King.” Character, like integrity, cannot be self-proclaimed. One is perceived by others either to have it or not.
Voters do assess a candidate for high office and whether they have character for it is easier to posit trust in a governor we believe to be trustworthy.
So far in the contest for the GOP gubernatorial nomination (i.e., the next governor) there is one clear leader in the character category---Lt. Governor Brad Little.
Judge for yourself and watch the three debate on Idaho Public Television at 8 p.m. Monday night, April 23rd.