Raul Labrador's Day Off

Here's a draft of our Friday editorial:

Like so many of us, Raul Labrador will start his diet tomorrow.

The 1st Congressional District incumbent conceded a point to his Democratic opponent earlier this week. When Jimmy Farris dinged Labrador for missing too many House votes, Labrador said all the right things. “The people of Idaho hired me to do a job, and I should be there.”

But as any struggling dieter knows, habits are hard to break. And before Labrador recommitted to the steamed broccoli of the day job, he allowed himself a day off. On Wednesday, while Congress wrapped up its poor excuse for pre-election work, Labrador was in Miami, helping Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney woo Hispanic voters.

While Labrador was out of the office, the House considered 25 bills, although 23 sailed through on voice votes, and only two required a recorded vote.

Two recorded votes may not sound like much, but Labrador had already missed 72 votes. His absentee rate is 4.7 percent, well above the House median of 2.5 percent, and more than double the rates for his 1st District predecessors, Republicans Butch Otter (1.7 percent) and Bill Sali (1.2 percent) and Democrat Walt Minnick (1.9 percent).

Some of these missed votes are absolutely understandable; Labrador missed some votes in 2011 while one of his sons was hospitalized for a week. Some can be chalked up to circumstance, such as flight delays traveling from Idaho to Washington, D.C.

For Labrador to skip a day of work for politicking is questionable — but a minimal political risk.

Running in a conservative congressional district, in a presidential election year, Labrador also has the advantage of running against Farris, who is underfunded, relatively unknown and making his first run for office. It is telling that, seven weeks before election day, Labrador felt he could spend a day on the campaign trail working not on his own behalf, but, once again, on Romney’s.

Based on his actions, Labrador is fully subscribing to conventional wisdom — and believing that he will be re-elected. Which would mean, come 2013, Labrador would have the chance to shore up his attendance record. Or not.

Of course, if days on Capitol Hill are much like Wednesday, how much does it really matter? In the day’s two roll-call votes, the House OK’d a bill to prohibit the use of public funds for political party conventions (on a 310-95 vote) and a bill “to exclude from gross income any discharge of indebtedness on education loans of deceased veterans” (which passed 400-0).

The fact that Labrador felt he could take Wednesday off speaks volumes of the state of play in one-party Idaho. It’s also a pretty sorry commentary on the work going on in Congress.

strategy

Let's say Romney wins.
And the Idaho Congressman then has a favor to call in some time. So when he needs to REPRESENT his constituents, Romney might remember the day Raul helped him out on the campaign trail.

I don't like Raul, but this is a nonissue.

Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

Really?

It may not be an issue to you, but I'm in his district and it's just one more reason why I wouldn't vote for him as dogcatcher, let alone congressman! Of course, since I'm a Democrat, my vote really doesn't matter to him anyway. He's a politician, but not much of a lawmaker.

strategy, cont.

I'm with pimp2. (Maybe Mr. Richert just started observing politics.)

Labrador's absentee rate is something his constituents should be aware of, but the argument could certainly be made that in the "big picture," getting Romney elected is far more important than those two votes he missed yesterday. He has to make those decisions, and if he's too out-of-touch with the voters, they can put Farris in.

It could conceivably be argued that Mr. Obama's choices yesterday were less than "statesmanlike":
- an Oval Office visit by a guy dressed like a pirate, to celebrate "Talk Like a Pirate Day." (I can't remember - is that a federal holiday?)
- a trip to the Letterman show, to answer the tough questions like, "How much do you weigh?" (It could've been worse! Letterman might've asked "Boxers or briefs?" But Obama's on "The View" next week; he may still have to answer that one.)

Labrador is just shopping...

... for a higher paying job. Given his latest financial disclosure, he needs a much higher income to make ends meet.

"talk like a pirate day"

That picture of the President in his office with a pirate was from 2009.

sorry!

Apologies if the Pirate visited yesteryear, rather than yesterday. Aaargh!

Ol Yeller better wake up

Even his conservative supporters expect him to show up to work. Yeller better get his poo together. He needs to explain his actions to his supporters.