Guest column: Battling the establishment

First District Congressman Raul Labrador deserves credit for having the guts to challenge for a House leadership position, writes Bob Ziel.

This past Friday evening I heard Idaho’s First District Congressman Raúl Labrador being interviewed by a syndicated national talk show host on the radio. Then, the following morning, I picked up the Post Register and saw that Labrador had made news on the front page.

Labrador is challenging Representative Kevin McCarthy of California for the GOP majority whip, which is the second most powerful post in the U.S. House of Representatives. That election will be held Thursday.

Cynical liberals and perhaps even a few left-leaning moderates in the Republican Party are skeptical of Labrador attempting to gain this leadership position. As a conservative, I also doubt that he will be elected, but I look at this interesting situation from a different perspective.

Even though Labrador will in all likelihood lose the contest, do not underestimate this man. He is becoming the national symbol of principled conservatives and rebellious Republicans who are sick and tired of the “business as usual” GOP brand of politicians. Mid-term elections are just four and a half months away and if Republicans take over the U.S. Senate and further solidify their majority in the House, Labrador will likely rise in stature. If that happens, Idaho will be thrust more into the national political spotlight.

A bit of a political stretch, you say?

Well maybe, but I’ll bet that many other Idahoans in both the first and second congressional districts feel the same way. You have to give the man credit for his political courage and chutzpah (audacity). Labrador is still a sophomore in terms of seniority, but he could become a major player in the tricky world of congressional politics. Time will tell.

Finally, there’s the tea party angle of Labrador’s political philosophy. Lofty headed leftists love to categorize tea party advocates as “radicals.” I don’t necessarily agree with some opinions of tea partiers since they are further to the right than this mainstream conservative. If, however, radical means balancing bloated annual federal budgets in order to save future generations of Americans from financial ruin; or if radical means saving the world from terrorists who hate us to very core of our souls; or if radical means pro-life Christians who strongly value humanity; or if radical means securing our southern border from illegal aliens, then you’re welcome to call me a “radical” to your political heart’s content.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on Labrador. He may soon be gaining prestige in the highly competitive world of national politics.

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