After Labrador-Boehner meeting, BSU prof says Simpson’s right about Labrador's self-inflicted wounds

Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador met with House Speaker John Boehner today, but the sophomore lawmaker is withholding comment on the nature of their conversation.

"I had a very good meeting," Labrador told my McClatchy colleague, David Lightman, this afternoon. Labrador smiled and laughed when Lightman spoke with him in the Speaker's Lobby outside Boehner's Capitol office, but declined to elaborate.

Boise State political scientist David Adler says Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, got it right when he questioned Labrador’s effectiveness after Labrador helped lead a failed effort to unseat Boehner on Jan. 3.

Adler said Labrador’s “grandstanding” is “not a promising path to legislative success.”

Labrador could face discipline, including removal from committees and denial of funding in his western and northern Idaho district, Alder said.

“Those actions may or may not occur, but what is likely to occur is that Boehner will make it clear to Labrador that no bill that he sponsors will go anywhere,” Adler said Tuesday.

Though Labrador appeared on KBOI radio's Nate Shelman show Monday and blasted Simpson for being too chummy with Boehner, he's not talking today.

"His conversations with the Speaker will remain private," Labrador spokesman Phil Hardy told me Monday. This afteroon, Hardy confirmed the meeting took place, but again declined to provide details.

Boehner’s spokesman, Michael Steel, also said on Monday that Boehner would have no comment. "I expect it will be a private conversation," Steel said.

Labrador and Simpson, made big news Sunday when they quarreled publicly about Labrador trying to unseat Boehner, R-Ohio. Labrador defended himself against Simpson's claim that he'd compromised his credibility and effectiveness.

Labrador said he didn't expect to be disciplined and that he hoped to convince Boehner to be stronger in fighting for spending cuts with President Obama.

“He is my speaker and I want him to be a more effective leader, and I think I will help him with that,” Labrador told me Friday.

Adler said he didn’t expect either Labrador or Boehner to talk about their conversation, but “it will be left to Labrador to explain to his constituents why he cannot move legislation which, of course, is testifying to his own ineffectiveness.”

Adler is director of the Andrus Center for Public Policy, which was founded by former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus. In 2010 and 2011, Adler directed the James A. and Louise McClure Center for Public Policy Research at the University of Idaho, which is named for former Republican Sen. Jim McClure.

In an essay Adler shared with me Tuesday, he said Simpson’s style is similar to that of the effective deal-making of McClure and Andrus.

Labrador, on the other hand, has adopted an approach that is “more ideological and reflective of an insurgency mentality,” Alder wrote. That style “is one that is likely to win attention, particularly media attention (which he has received), and designed to win primaries and elections in a safe district, but is not a promising path to legislative success.”

Alder’s full essay follows:

I've thought about the tension between Labrador and Simpson, for some time, and it reveals differences of temperament and approach to governance. It speaks, also, to the quality of representation that Idahoans enjoy in the House.

1. Simpson's approach to governance, which is focused on effectiveness, is similar to the approach of the late Sen. Jim McClure, and Governor Cecil Andrus, who emphasized compromise as the engine of government. Like McClure and Andrus, Simpson believes that half a loaf is better than none, leaving for tomorrow the opportunity to win another victory, or even a partial victory. This incremental approach has long been the hallmark of this nation's most effective representatives, dating back to the efforts of Clay and Webster and Lincoln. Like these other legislators, Simpson, Andrus and McClure no doubt believed that their political values were superior, but understood that everyone else believed their own values were superior. If legislators insisted on holding their ideological ground and digging in their heels, governance, defined as the art of the possible, would become an impossibility. But compromise would permit deal-making and progress, as imperfect and unsatisfactory as it might be.

2. Labrador's approach, more ideological and reflective of an insurgency mentality, is one that is likely to win attention, particularly media attention (which he has received), and designed to win primaries and elections in a safe district, but is not a promising path to legislative success. Whether sincere or not, grandstanding on matters of ideology and "principles" is resented by fellow legislators who see such behavior as the easy and, frankly, lazy way to carry out the duties and responsibilities of their office. Many legislators view it as self-indulgent. Many, after all, would like to vent and engage in denunciation of measures on ideological grounds, as witnessed in the speeches that Members deliver on C-Span to an empty chamber, but they recognize that the hard work of legislation demands restraint and discipline. Self-indulgent displays of ideological rhetoric and absolutist positions on issues like taxes and spending undermine both congressional relations and the effectiveness of the Member.

3. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, "Boehner does to Labrador." Since the time of the ancient Romans and Greeks through Machiavelli and Shakespeare, it has been an axiom of politics that if you try to kill the King, you'd better succeed. Labrador and his fellow insurgents failed to kill the King. Failure often brings punishment. House Speaker Joe Cannon was a striking example of a Speaker who would mete out punishment to those who crossed him. He was not only Speaker, but chaired the Rules Committee and personally chose chairmen and even members of committees. He was ruthless in punishing his enemies and those who challenged him.

There are other examples of punishment. After the 1924 presidential election, a couple of prominent Republican Senators endorsed Robert LaFollette for president; they were stripped of committee positions. FDR, of course, tried--unsuccessfully--to "purge" certain Senators in 1938 with whom he had crossed swords. Each of them survived.

Boehner doesn't have Cannon's power, of course, but he has considerable means with which to "punish" Labrador. On the one hand, Boehner is perceived to be in a "weakened" state, undermined by Tea Party members of his caucus, which doubtless encouraged some, including Labrador, to attempt to dethrone him, but a slightly weakened and wounded Speaker, as Machiavelli taught, can actually increase his power by striking at those who challenged his role. Formal or informal sanctions, expressed or implied, would send a strong message to other members of the GOP caucus. The punishment could range from subtle to heavy-handed actions, including stripping Labrador of some committee assignments and ensuring that some requested funding does not flow into the First Congressional District.

Those actions may or may not occur, but what is likely to occur is that Boehner will make it clear to Labrador that no bill that he sponsors will go anywhere. We'll never know, of course, what transpires in the forthcoming meeting between the Speaker and Boehner. Neither participant is likely to be forthcoming in an explanation. But if the Speaker says or indicates to Labrador that his proposals will never see the light of day, it will be left to Labrador to explain to his constituents why he cannot move legislation which, of course, is testifying to his own ineffectiveness. A legislator left twisting in the wind, without credibility and clout, has, at best, an uncertain future in Congress.

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If you wanna play ...

with the big boys

Gossip column

Danny Boy, seriously, dude, you should look into doing a gossip column. You've got what it takes.

And that's exactly the problem with our leadership

Can't put their job above their own ego. Boehner and Simpson (and Labrador too, prove me wrong Raul) both care more about keeping the job than they do about doing the job. And that goes for (insert name of Republican/Democrat/Independent/Green Party). We are all a bunch of blind little sheep following leaders whose egos convince them that they are indispensable to the process. Obama thinks he is king. Boehner thinks he's the best for the job, but as we have seen over the last 4 years, he's the worst. Simpson falls lock-step with Boehner so he can keep INL funding flowing to the state and keep that ego inflated. Let me propose this to all elected officials: If you are truly "right," if your position is truly valuable, if what you believe is truly the path that we should be on, then fall on your sword to make a stand, because if you are "right" the next guy will take up your flag because he will share your belief. YOU are NOT important.


Comment, well put webber.....

Interesting comment...

given Labrador's healthy ego. Fall on your sword and make a stand? Heck, Labrador couldn't even bring himself to stand up and vote on the issue he supposedly felt so strongly about. Simpson stood up for his friend and the institution he loves and didn't back down from his comments. You may not agree with him, but he clearly stood up and voted for what he believed in. Labrador, on the other hand, made a stink and then couldn't find the courage to vote for his beliefs. It would be pretty easy for Simpson to cower to the Tea Party faction of the Idaho GOP. Lord know many others have. Instead, he stood up and voice his opinion.
I often disagree with Rep. Labrado, but I respected his committment. He has lost that respect after his vote, or lack thereof, for Speaker. If you want to start a revolution in the House, you have to show up and vote.


Discourse and compromise seem more like governing. Labrador and his Tea Party's methods reek more of dictating than governing. And they seek to dictate with precious little experience to draw upon.

More of the same

Well Idaho, don't get excited, Rep. Labrador is not the next savior. He's a very smart politician and knows exactly what he's doing and all of his moves are calculated for his next political action. I'm not smart enough to know what that is, but he does, and regardless, it won't be good for fools like you and me, count on it.

You Didn't Vote For Me

So I'm not going to deny funding for your district. Great system we have.


if a college professor said it...
Go along,get along created the cesspool that is D.C.

Hey Danny,

are you going after Jerry Springer's job now? Sure looks like it.

Another article based on your own "big" article from Sunday

Might be time to stop beating this horse unless something new happens.

Please be realistic Adler

It's unfortunate Prof. Adler is using his academic position to mislead Statesman readers. As I read his piece, he claims Labrador's rebuke of Boehner may result in lost funding for CD-1 projects. That's absurd. So, Boehner will orchestrate a plot to, say, withhold federal highway funding or cancel the construction a new veteran's home (as an example)? Please. The fact that Boehner pulled himself from future budget negotiations with Obama actually lends credit to Labrador's no confidence vote. Labrador is not a business-as-usual Congressman. Considering our country's debt problem - created by business-as-usual Republicans and Democrats -- Labrador did the right thing.


I think the funding referred to in the article is CAMPAIGN funding in the next election. Besides, I thought that Rep. Labrador was against earmarks.

No, but some little earmark that Labrador wants for a special

interest could easily be rejected. Highway funding...maybe not. New veteran's home? Possibly. It is not unusual for VA projects to be prioritized by who the member of congress is. If you were familiar with the inner workings of Congress, you would know the idea isn't at all absurd. Remember when Tom Delay was Speaker? They didn't call him "The Hammer" for nothing.

For me, part of the issue is that Labrador showed poor judgement and lack of effectiveness. Why pick a fight with the Speaker if you have no chance of winning? For the publicity? I don't find that to be a sufficient reason. If Labrador truly believed Boehner shouldn't be Speaker, then have some stones and stand up and vote no. Instead, you make a wimpy vote, tick off the Speaker, your fellow congressman from Idaho and demonstrate you aren't really a threat to the Speaker. If you continue to be a thorn in his side, he is going to shut you down because you are making his job more difficult and the House less effective. Labrador has effectively alienated 50% of the Idaho delegation in the US House of Representatives, not the mention the one with more senority and clout.

If you are going to make a stink, learn how to make it count for something. All his did with this little game was lose political clout. Those who fail at a coup usually suffer the consequences. Luckily, this is America and he didn't get executed.

Raul's Plan for Political Advancement

•Have meals with lobbyists
•Take Science 101
•Create tax breaks and tax shelters for millionaire campaign donors
•Take financial math course
•Read a primer on the stock market crash of 1929 and how he might share responsibility for the next one.
•Complete a coup d'etet planning course
•Attempt to understand big-picture thinking
•Practice interacting with women and minority voters
•Learn how to increase approval ratings: What root canals, traffic jams, roaches and head lice are doing right
•Take remedial hurricane recovery
•Meditate about the inner Tea Party and you
•Have meals paid for by lobbyists

Adler is never correct

It's sad BSU employs this guy. He hasn't been correct once.

When has he been incorrect about ?

He's never correct.....about what?

his analysis.

His opinions about Idaho politics are usually incorrect. I have watched him spout off on TV and in his columns. Being an Idahoan who follows politics, I know he is wrong. If he took questions--ever-- we could call him on it.

congressional discord

Whatever the merit of the argument, I'm told he isn't a BSU political science professor..he doesn't teach nor have tenure..he is a pundit.


Labrador must be doing something right if a Poly sci adjuct thinks he made a mistake.. Get some Raul at least your voting public knows where you stand and when faced with an issue your principals and ethics guide you unlike the The Democrat Light leadership of the GOP


As a BSU Prof most likely Addled is Democrat, champions Marxist philosophy and is in love with obongo. Not that this would taint anyones perspective....right?

So far you have had nary a cmment to bother responding to, Dan.

The Congress members with good ethics and creative workmanship have died, retired or are washed over.



Labrador Unchained

Go to the Shelman website and listen to Labrador's segment today (Tues) during the last half hour (6:30 to 7:00 or yesterday (4;00 -4;30) you will hear Labrador unwind by condemning Simpson. "he is on it for the favor by smoking and drinking at his (boehner's) desk" "his votes are irresponsible" "he runs as a conservative but doesn't vote that way" "where is "compromise" used during his campaign" "I won't apologize" etc. Shockingly unhinged.

Maybe he was suffering jet lag from his ten day boondoggle to review embassy security overseas, something he has no responsibility for or expertise in.

All that yet he couldn't bring himself to vote ... way or the other. Talk is cheap, Mr. Labrador. Votes actually count.

Broken Link

I heard it live and sounded like he threw Simpson out the statehouse window...

"ConSARN it, Ya Varmint!" heeheeheehee


Apple users, run the Gig of RAM your PC needs to have and read the dumb tech white papers, wrinkle your forehead and buy more food and toilet paper with the difference. The internet is a piece of junk anyway and your cats know this.