Writings and observations

carlson

Every state has a handful of elected officials who are the glue that hold the government together. They are the folks who see public servce as a noble calling to serve others. They labor often in anonymity. They do not seek the limelight. They treat all voters, regardless of party with respect.

They do not subject themselves to the slings and arrows of outraged constituents who all too often do not have their facts straight for the pay which is often laughably parsimonious, nor any alleged glory. They patiently listen because that is part of the job, and then they respectfully correct and educate.

They understand that politics involves compromise, that the voters expect they will be part of the solution to challenges not part of the problem. They seldom raise their voice, but when they do speak others listen. They command respect because they do their homework and speak knowledgeably.

Sometimes they are in leadership, sometimes they are not. Lobbyists and media who cover government know who these “go to” folks are.

For the past 20 years Idaho’s State Senate has been blessed with two of these indispensable individuals, Senator and Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, and Senator and Joint Finance co-chair Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint. This past week brought the news that both will be leaving the Legislature, Davis to become U.S. attorney for Idaho, and Keough to return to private life to resume full-time her position as executive director of the Idaho Logging Contractor’s Association.

Of the two Keough is the least known which suits her just fine. She quietly labored in obscurity on the Joint Finance and Appropriations committee, the Legislature’s most powerful committee (it sets the budget) for a number of years, finally ascending to the Senate co-chair post in her tenth term.

She has navigated the shoals and reefs on a number of issues, not the least of which has been consistently strong support for fully funding k-12 education that often found her out of step with a governor and colleagues who in past years seriously underfunded public education.

Her moderation coupled with compassionate constitutional conservatism nonetheless made her a target for the Tea Party faction of the GOP, the hard right wing nuts who demand ideological purity and adherence to downright absurd views such as abolishing the 17th amendment that provides for direct election of U.S.senators.

Her decency and competency as well as solid constituent service along with a steely discipline inside her velvet gloves enabled her to beat back viciously personal primary challenges orchestrated primarily by State Rep. Heather Scott and her surrogates.

Despite personal threats she fearlessly showed up at most campaign forums during her last three elections and, despite the vitriol, her “here are the facts style” often quieted the zealots.

Over the years she has personified the best a citizen legislator can be. She and her husband, Mike, successfully raised two children, one a Vandal, the other a Bronco, and walked the talk of family values that so few political figures actually practice.

Though petite and soft spoken she could play hardball when she had to do so. When Avista’s lobbyist, Neil Colwell, took part in an ill-conceived move by Keough’s Republican Senate colleague from Coeur d’Alene, State Senator Bob Nonini, and sponsored four Republican primary challengers to incumbent Republican state senators, she banned Colwell from her office.

Recognizing the stupid error, Avista chair Scott Morris drove to Sandpoint to apologize in person for the almost incomprehensible move. For his part Senator Nonini later apologized personally and made amends. Demonstrating a graciousness hard to fathom, Keough reportedly forgave Nonini’s egregious breach of protocal.

For someone born in New Jersey and raised in Ohio, Keough, who migrated to Idaho when she was 19, has become a true Idahoan – intelligent, independent, compassionate, conservative, a person of her word, the personification of honor, decency and competency. Idaho’s citizens are all better off because people like Bart Davis and Shawn Keough chose to answer the call of public service. They will be truly missed. When you next see either be sure and thank them for that service.

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Carlson

carlson

Largely due to my Parkinson’s disease I have unusually vivid dreams. I don’t sleep walk, but I do sing, recite poetry, give speeches, get into fights and occasionally cut loose with a profanity.

When I awake I can recall in detail just what the dream was about.

For example, I awoke from a dream the other night by a sense that the house was moving and I was in an earthquake. There are earthquakes, and then there are earthquakes.

Turns out my dream processing was not all fantasy, that I was indeed experiencing a modest earthquake whose epicenter was only about 70 miles distant near Lincoln, Montana. Around 11:35 p.m. I snapped awake in time to see the entire house move slightly. To say the least it was surprising. As quakes go, this one was relatively weak and short (5.2 on the Richter scale and only about 15 seconds).

The dream I was having had a current context to it. Psychologists tell us we often “work on and process” challenges and problems confronting us while we sleep and dream. In my dream I was trying to work out what a probable solution could be to the debacle that Donald Trump, our 46th president, is presenting.

I’ve seen enough, heard enough and watched enough that I believe he will ultimately be impeached, and if he does not resign he will be convicted and removed as provided by the Constitution. That he lies constantly is incontestable. That he is deliberately trying to stomp on the media’s first amendment rights is undeniable.

That he has neither the historical sense nor the moral context to make decisions that could see literally millions of people die should frighten the bejesus out of any thinking person. That he is a misogynist with no respect for women has been demonstrated all too frequently.

The one due I will grant this inept and unqualified to be president individual is the obvious: he is one hell ‘uv a marketeer. He knows how to sell the Trump brand and operates on the thesis that as long as they spell his name correctly there is no such thing as bad news.

The exception though is he can’t take criticism – he can dish it out but he can’t take it.

So what’s the answer? In my dream I found the solution, but of course the cold face of reality will never see a scenario like my fantasy unfold. In the interest of promoting readers to come up with their own legal solution here is the fantasy interrupted by a real earthquake.

Take it as a given that Russian President Vlad Putin has some sort of grip on Trump. It is the classical Faustian bargain with the devil. Keep in mind that Arizona Senator John McCain characterizes Putin as a cold-blooded KGB-trained killer.

What’s the nature of the “hold?” Your guess is as good as mine. It ranges from provable material regarding campaign collusion at the very top to Putin possibly possessing film of Trump cavorting with Russian prostitutes during an early days visit to Moscow, to incriminating acceptance of Russian generated funds diverted into Trump’s campaign.

By whatever means—Putin orchestrates a leak, or the Post or New York Times uncovers “smoking gun”evidence – it all becomes public and Trump, facing impeachment, conviction and certain removal, resigns the presidency.

Vice President Mike Spence then in my fantasy becomes president just long enough to pardon Trump. Pence then resigns which means the line of succession now leads to House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Ryan, however, recognizes that he, like Pence, is too tainted by Trump to try to bring people together. So he resigns the Speakership (but not his congressional seat). Now hear is where my fantasy gets “creative.”

The Founding Fathers placed in the Constitution one little known concession to the Parliamentary form of government. Believe it or not, the Speaker does not have to be a current member of the House. The House can elect any person they want as long as they meet the age and natural birth requirement.

This allows for the representatives to choose a man or a woman for the times, someone who stands out as particularly well placed to become the next leader.

It allows the Liberal Party in Canada, for example, to elect as the party leader a Justin Trudeau, give him a safe riding to represent and be elected from, and then, if his party has a majority in a national election to become the new prime minister.

So, who in my dream did I see as the successor to Trump to be the answer to the prayers of most sane people? The answer is Ohio Governor John Kasich, the only major Republican with enough guts to refuse to endorse Trump.

Now there would be a real political earthquake well worth waking up to and hope it becomes a reality.

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Carlson

carlson

Have to give the twin devils of President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions their proper due for their nomination of State Senator Bart Davis (R-Idaho Falls) to be the next U.S. Attorney for Idaho.

With Davis they can’t go wrong. The ten term Idaho Falls State Senator and current Senate Majority Leader is one of Idaho’s outstanding legislators and one of the few true “super lawyers.” He is admired on both sides of the aisle for his probity, his sense of fairness, his courtliness as well as considerable intelligence and just plain decency.

He is a true compassionate conservative who lives and walks the talk of the Golden Rule. A few years back he and his wife showed up at a release hearing for an individual who had murdered their son. As heart-breaking as their son’s death was, they knew there were others who cared just as deeply for the perpetrator and was a case of another gone astray.

They intuitively recognized the truth contained in a statement by the great Danish philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard who once wrote that “as great as God creating something out of nothing is, the even greater miracle is God creating saints out of sinners!” Rather than wallowing in grief, anger and a desire for retribution they followed the progress the perpetrator had made while imprisoned.

In an extraordinary gesture of true forgiveness they showed up at the release hearing and testified that the assailant be released and on probation. This incident is hard to imagine, but it speaks to the incredible humanity of Senator Davis and his spouse, Marion.

As U.S. Attorney Senator Davis will be called upon to exercise superb judgment on whether and when to bring lawsuits or convene grand jury panels. Solid, good judgment he has in abundance though and he will judiciously utilize it.

It should not be lost on folks that the U.S. Attorney has had a central role
in several high profile cases in the last 40 years. Recall for example the stand-off between Randy Weaver and the FBI at Ruby Ridge in northern Boundary County; or, that of Claude Dallas, and the murder of two Fish and Game employees in Owyhee County.

In the Weaver case his attorney, “Gunning for Justice” Jerry Spence danced circles around the U.S. Attorney and the prosecution team. It is a safe bet no one will dance circles around Bart Davis.

To his great credit Davis is not a knee-jerk ideologue. He thinks through issues and takes stands based on principle, not political expediency. It is another safe bet he will conduct himself and see that his office performs in an entirely non-partisan manner.

A few years ago I was fortunate enough to sit next to Senator Davis on a panel on politics being held at Idaho State University and sponsored by the Idaho State Journal. Davis’ thoughtful, cant-free responses were refreshing to say the least. I couldn’t help being impressed.

Here clearly was a legislator at the top of his game who knew what he was talking about, said what he thought and meant what he said. When the event was over with I’ll never forget his leaning over and saying he had to return to Idaho Falls to face four censure resolutions because Doyle Beck and the Bonneville County Republican Central committee felt the good senator had not reflected their views on several issues.

Have legislators who think for themselves? Heavens no—do people think this is a Republic rather than a Democracy? Beck and his ilk are saying they don’t want a Bart Davis to be a representative who studies and thinks, they want an automaton who does what they demand.

To his credit Bart Davis stayed on the correct path he has always walked. He has to have welcomed the opportunity though to walk away while at the top of his game and to put all that game-playing, partisan crap behind him.

Have no doubts – his selection is a breath of fresh air and a well deserved honor for one of the state’s fine public servants. Hats off to the President and his Attorney General on this one.

Davis’ departure will of course set off a scramble to name his successor as Majority Leader and there’ll be an abundance of candidates. Early names being bandied about include Assistant Majority Leader and State Senator Chuck Winder from Boise; Majority Caucus Chair State Senator Todd Lakey, from Nampa, and State Senator Marv Hagedorn from Meridian. A dark horse surprise might be State Senator Carl Crabtree from Grangeville.

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Carlson

carlson

Found myself pondering “Father’s Day” this past week. Yes, I know I’m a week late writing about it. I’m one of those folks, however, who spends time pondering what it means to be a “father” and the difference between a “father” and a “Dad.” Fatherhood carries with it an awesome responsibility to provide guidance to the children one helps to create by setting a good example and always being there.

My wife and I are blessed with four wonderful children all of whom have found their place in the world, all are college graduates, healthy and happy, and in the case of the three oldest, are mature women dedicated to helping others. Their brother, our youngest, is a Vandal and a Major in the US Marine Corps.

We’re proud of all. They all called and wished the old man a good day. Two of them took “Dad” to see a double header Northwest League baseball game between Spokane and Boise. Not only do they all love baseball, like their Dad, all also know how to keep a scorebook.

I’m fortunate I still have a great relationship with all for sadly too many fathers and children become alienated. I readily concede though that the credit goes to my spouse. We also luckily figured out things we could do as family such as enjoying Idaho’s wilderness by backpacking and going on rafting trips.

In the beginning the two older girls called me by my nickname, but it came to a screeching halt one day when overheard by a colleague, Mike McGavick. He jumped all over them that I was to be called Dad, that a father is not just another name, that Dad conveys a special relationship and is to be respected and cherished.

I thought once again about that incident upon reading a note from Mike that his father, Joe, had passed away a few days earlier. Like many father and sons, they at times had a contentious relationship. Both loved politics and both made their mark in the business world. Both were strong personalities and could clash easily. At the end of the day, however, one knew a deep and abiding love was present also.

There are a variety of phrases that use the word father. For example, Mike honored me by asking that I be the godfather of his first born, Jack (and my wife to be the godmother).

Most men never consider taking a parenting class, but despite what one may think, it doesn’t just come naturally, and all men and women could make use of parenting classes. All too often the father figure does not realize the degree to which the son tries to imitate the father. One of the great songs in the 60’s was “Cat’s in the cradle” by Harry Chapin. It is all about how a Dad does not have time to spend with his son. Then when the son is an adult and the Dad is retired the son doesn’t have time to spend with the Dad.

I can say that while my Dad tried to a limited extent to be a good father to my brother, my sister and me, he failed. He had lost his own father when he was three. His mother, trying to live as a waitress in Chicago during the Depression, couldn’t take care of him and so gave him away to a relative in far away Burke, Idaho.

That experience coupled with ten battles in the Pacific created mental issues and along with bad migraines, led to his committing suicide when I was 14. It was more by the Grace of God and my wife’s skill that I managed to be a tolerably decent Dad.

I was blessed to have two other types of “fathers” to whom I owe a deep debt of gratitude for their patience and guidance. One father is a priest, Father Steve Dublinski, who I worked with when he was the Vicar General for Bishop William Skylstad in the diocese of Spokane. I introduced Father Steve to fly fishing and in three weeks he was better than I. He has become a superb fly fisherman. I have benefitted, however, in that for ten years now, on an average of three times a month, we go fly fishing on his day off up the St. Joe or the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene. We’ve also fished other streams in Idaho and Montana. The scenery is always great as is the company.

Then there are those rare individuals who truly become “surrogate fathers” for fatherless folk like me. Over the years I worked for Idaho Governor and Interior Secretary Cecil D. Andrus our relationship evolved into a father/son relationship. He tutored and taught me much. Those times I have stumbled almost all have the common denominator of my failure to pick up the phone and seek his counsel.

Andrus is a natural teacher and father. He dotes on his three daughters, but he also keeps an eye out on his surrogate sons – I am just one of three or four other sons he keeps track of.

I end this “Father’s Day Salute” to Father Dublinski, to Dad Andrus, and to Mike McGavick with a belated “best wishes” to you all and thanks for your kind and compassionate interest in this wondering waif. And a happy 58th birthday to Father Steve on June 26th and a happy observance of his 33rd anniversary of his ordination on June 29th. I am so blessed by you all. Thanks so much.

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Carlson

carlson

It appears Rep. Raul Labrador (R-1st CD-Idaho), despite being a darling of those enamoured with the Tea Party wing of the Grand Old Party, missed one of the fundamental principles of the movement encapsulated in the phrase “We don’t like politics as usual.”

This past week Labrador and his fellow Tea Party type, former State Senator Russ Fulcher, announced one of those cynical “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” that is a classic form of politics as usual.

After telling many of his supporters that he was not a place-holder for Rep. Labrador, that he was in the Governor’s race to stay, he and his friend, Raul, are now in cahoots together trying to pull off a job switcheroo.

Surprise! Fulcher is now running for Labrador’s congressional seat with Labrador’s endorsement. Can you ask “is that a quid pro quo? You betcha. Fulcher gets the endorsement and Raul has one less conservative to overcome in the primary.

Everybody is happy because the politicians each have something. It’s only the voters who get suckered that get hurt, the people who took Fulcher at his word that he wanted to be governor, and wrote checks because they believed him.

Labrador has to be chuckling to himself all the way to the bank. He thinks it is a no lose for him, but a little knowledge of Idaho history might have given Labrador at least some pause.

If history is any guide, voters take exception to this kind of cynical game and often to the surprise of those who play the game, the voters do remember and both politicians, if they hold a current political office, get punished.

The most cited example of this form of gamemenship came in November of 1945. On November 10th, 1945, Republican United States Senator John Thomas died while still holding the Senate seat. Then Idaho Governor Charles Gossett, a Democrat, must have seen a senator staring back at him in the mirror on Armistice Day morning when he was shaving.

He met with Lt. Governor Arnold Williams, also a Democrat, and the two cut a deal. Gossett would resign the governorship, which he did on November 17th, presumably having waited until Senator Thomas was buried in the Gooding cemetery, and Williams, who had become governor upon the Gossett resignation, named Gossett to fill the vacancy created by Thomas’ passing.

Retribution by the voters was swift and fatal. Voters tossed both out of office: Gossett lost to Rep. Henry Dworshak less than a year later on November 5th, 1946, and Williams, despite being the first Mormon in Idaho history to sit in the Governor’s chair, was soundly beaten by State Senator C.A. “Doc” Robins, MD, from St. Maries and the first governor to hail from north Idaho.

The moral of the story is clear: “Voters do not like seeing such games being played for it truly does smack of politics as usual.” Fulcher and Labrador can deny it until the cows come home but that won’t change how most will view this development.

Lt. Governor Brad Little should benefit from this move by Labrador for it demonstrates just how political as opposed to principled Labrador is.

Likewise, David Leroy should benefit because he is skilled enough to make sure every voter in the First District understands that Fulcher is an opportunist who just wants a government paycheck and would prefer the anonymity of being one of 450 members of congress rather than the leader of his state.

In the end the voters do win because they see what chameleons the two men really are.

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Carlson

carlson

For those who know, understand and follow Idaho politics an important variable is the calculus one has to factor into the Idaho scene derived from what is happening to the south of Idaho in the corridors of the Utah state capitol and the offices of the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints.

While the days of bishops “testifying” about a brother standing for office on the Sunday before an election have long passed, or permitting the undeclared use of a stake house to make and assemble yard signs, Mormons in Idaho vote heavily on the Republican side of the ledger. Thus, the LDS vote looks monolithic, but it isn’t. It is just dyed in the wool Republican.

Nonetheless, the LDS vote can and is impacted by where and whom respected business and political leaders support. Exhibit A in Idaho would be Frank VanderSloot, the founder and chair of Idaho Falls’ Melaleuca Corporation. The Sandpoint born and raised VanderSloot is a billionaire who openly concedes he enjoys being influential on the Idaho political scene.

He is a generous donor primarily to Republican candidates and a player not only on the Idaho political scene, but the national scene as well. He served as the national chair of the Mitt Romney for President Finance committee and contributed over a million dollars from his personal fortune to the Romney campaign. They remain close.

A sub-plot being played out behind the scenes is the gubernatorial contest between developer and medical doctor “Tommy” Ahlquist and First District Congressman Raul Labrador for the favor and support of VanderSloot.

Ahlquist appears to have scored a coup with the announcement last week that Damond Watkins, the former government affairs director for Melaleuca and the Republican State National Committeeman, was going to chair the Ahlquist campaign. This though does not necessarily indicate who VanderSloot will back.

Supporters of Congressman Labrador point out that he announced his campaign for governor at three stops around Idaho, one of which was the Melaleuca facility. A spokeswoman for VanderSloot made it clear this did not constitute an endorsement, that the facility is available for rent. If Labrador paid the rental fee that answers the question, but if his campaign did not then the usual rental fee should be reported on the first public disclosure report as required.

Though a member of the LDS Church, some observers believe Labrador will not run well in Idaho’s Second congressional district due to some self-inflicted wounds. First, he questioned whether the National Lab west of Idaho Falls and a major employer in the area should be getting federal funds at the excessive rate he perceived.

Secondly, he unwisely backed a primary challenger to the popular and long-time congressman from the district, Mike Simpson, who hasn’t forgotten nor forgiven the blunder. For those two reasons alone Ahlquist might do well in the second district even if the savvy Watkins were not his chair.

Other observers think Ahlquist will not do well anywhere in Idaho. They cite a variety of factors, but they all come down to his being a wealthy, out-of-state doctor who parlayed his fees into partnering in a Utah-based development company that owns over a dozen office buildings around the west.

These critics believe Ahlquist will be susceptible to a carpet-bagger charge and to trying to buy an Idaho election. He is already running the classic “tell your story” biographical tv ad in the Boise valley with a huge enough buy that has alienated some. His pledge to spend one more dollar than what it takes to win also did not resonate.

He has hired a talented team and found an exceptional leader in Watkins, but a slick state-wide mailing and the patronizing use of “Tommy” strikes some as too cute by half. There’s little doubt that even his moniker is the result of polling and review by focus groups to gauge whether folks will be more responsive to “Tommy Ahlquist” as opposed to say “Doc” Ahlquist.

The evolving political scene in Utah may also limit the time VanderSloot will spend on Idaho matters as well.

Reportedly Mitt Romney is seriously considering a run for the U.S. Senate next year since Orrin Hatch, who will be 84 next March, is not going to run for an eighth term. There are also reports that Josh Romney, Ann and Mitt’s middle son (they have five boys), is preparing to run for governor in 2020.

With Congressman Jason Chaffetz announcing his retirement from politics, the former chief of staff to Governor Jon Huntsmsn, Jr. will be conceding the competition between the Huntsman and Romney families to the Romney’s.

The former Massachusetts governor was harshly critical of Donald Trump’s candidacy (though he made a bid to be Trump’s secretary of state – a move that puzzled everyone), but if anything has consolidated his position with the RNC which is now headed up by his niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel. Needless to say they have differing views of President Trump.

The bottom line though is that Romney’s plans could have an indirect impact on Idaho’s gubernatorial race.

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Carlson

carlson

Republicans and Independents across Idaho will be thrilled to learn I have left the Democratic Party and filed to re-register as an independent.

Yes, I know some Democrats will say “good riddance.” Like many Idahoans, they know I vote often as an independent, have never voted a straight party ticket, that friendship and the person take precedence over party.

I call myself a “business” or “Andrus Democrat.” I’m a fiscal conservative and a social liberal who believes government exists to help the many who through no fault of their own need assistance. We have to pay as we go, though. On the federal level we simply cannot sustain the unbalanced budgets we make and the money we spend while pretending we’re not saddling our children with debt that will restrict inevitably their quality of life.

Character counts and the person is more important than the party. This has led me to vote for the Republican candidate for president four times in the 13 presidential elections since I was first eligible. I also have voted for and contributed to reasonable and responsible Republican conservatives where the Republican was clearly the superior candidate like Senator Mike Crapo, Governor Butch Otter, Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and State Senator Shawn Keough.

Under their breath many Democrats have called me a DINO (Democrat in Name Only). I freely confess I thought seriously about registering as a Republican to vote in their May primary because that’s where most of the action will be. However, I could not rationalize the hypocrisy.

For too many years I could easily explain why I thought the Republican party was just wrong on too many issues I cared about. Unfortunately, at the same time Idaho Democrats moved away from the lunch-bucket carrying, hard-working, outdoor-loving Idahoan who understood and subscribed completely to the message of Cecil Andrus: “First you have to make a living, then you have to have a living worthwhile.”

Andrus turned that message into four successful elections to Idaho’s governorship and John Evans turned it into two winning elections.

If I’d become a RINO I would have been the poster child for Bonneville County Republican chair Doyle Beck’s drive to further restrict those voting in the closed Republican primary to true blue Republicans. If Beck has his way, the next iteration of tamping down the vote (and thereby increase the clout of your better organized, ideological kin) will be to move to a caucus system whereby one has to show up and stand up for the candidate of their choice.

Beck would go a step further. He would require signing a loyalty oath to the party’s platform with its some 76 largely absurd positions. Among those sterling positions are such “progressive” ideas as repeal of the 17th amendment which provides for direct election of U.S.senators, and return to the gold standard.

As an independent no one will be telling me what positions I have to take. Beck’s narrowing of the GOP base is inevitably going to lead to the demise of the party, yet he is pushing for Idaho Republicans to seek a caucus system.

The irony is the biggest, most obnoxious RINO out there is President Trump. He is a liberal, not a conservative, a deficit spender, not a budget hawk and before long his base will wake up to how much he is subsidizing the rich at the expense of that base. He is truly a narcissistic, lying, two-faced, ignorant individual who all Americans should feel a sense of shame over his representing us. President Trump has no guiding philosophy, no character, no sense of history, no decency nor any honor.

To have become a RINO would have associated me with the party he professes to be his. Frustrated as I am with the D’s, I simply could not get on their horse. For the rest of my trail ride I’ll b e on the horse called independence. You should think about getting on the same horse.

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Carlson

carlson

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 snafus 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 enemie’ 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!

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Carlson

carlson

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.

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Carlson

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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!

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