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Political Analysis: Experience in District One

Michael Tomlin

Michael Tomlin

By all accounts Vaughn Ward should be my guy for Congress in Idaho’s First District. Veteran. Conservative. Connected. So why do I find Laura Silsby more believable?

For point of reference I am a conservative writer, and in Idaho the late Helen Chenoweth-Hage is my gold standard. But she has been hard to replace. So now I have a decision to make between Ward and Raul Labrador. I have met both gentlemen only once, but have studied them closely.

One thing I am certain of is that with either man I will get the votes in Washington that I want. That is an unusual position to be in. Both Labrador and Ward are conservative Republicans which means I’ll be happy with them about 80 percent of the time. That is pretty good actually.

But how to choose? Both have the experience that could make them effective. Labrador in the state legislature knows how laws are made, understands committee work, and has shown himself as a leader. His campaign has certainly been low key to publicly non-existent until recently but he has name recognition among the R’s and many already will either vote for him or not.

Ward on the other hand demonstrated leadership as a Marine officer, and knows the political ropes through campaigning for others and serving as a legislative liaison. But for Labrador’s non-campaign, Ward has all but campaigned himself right out of the race.

One misstep after another followed by the worst of public statements and attempted atonement. I thought so when I met Ward – he was too … too much for a simple event and conversation. Now I get it. His truck isn’t real, his reports aren’t complete, his website verbiage is borrowed. I knew as soon as I saw it that he was in trouble for pimping his Marine uniformed self in ads for personal and political gain. It is not just that he should have known the regulations – but rather his not knowing should have been over-ridden with good judgment.

Imagine Elana Kagan, precisely qualified for the Supreme Court, but with no judgeship experience making the missteps of Ward. The Republicans would bury her. So should they with Ward. Experience or no, too many mistakes of judgment followed by slick talk are, well, too many mistakes of judgment. Serial poor judgment negates experience.

So the call goes to Labrador? Well, sure, in the primary. But in November, I already have a guy who makes me happy with his vote about 80 percent of the time, an Idaho conservative, a veteran, and he has experience. His name is Minnick.

About Michael Tomlin


  1. Michael Tomlin

    Too funny, Scott. Thanks, I appreciate it, and the fact that you read the IBR online. Sometimes I hate it when I’m right too…

  2. Tomlin – you tickle me. I don’t know either of the two gentlemen and really haven’t studied them. Fundamentally, and I’ve made it clear, one fundamental problem we have connecting with our legislators is that we don’t know who they work for (or maybe we do). It is an inherent conflict of interest to take political contributions from corporations & special interests. Until we resolve that issue, their votes will appear to be bought and paid for unless a particular issue catches so much attention that the contributions from such contributors is politically too hot to handle.

    Both Ward & Labrador were hitting the social media platforms pretty hard the other day & I commented to both of them that their actions were much less than social. I was pretty impressed that Labrador at least engaged me in a conversation. I wasn’t entirely impressed with his response about political contributions however. I don’t know the facts, just what’s been “reported” about his receipt of significant amounts from non-Idaho contributors (including corporations & special interests). Now a days, I don’t trust reports I haven’t validated myself, sadly, so I don’t know the reality. If it’s true, that’s just not cool.

    All that said, I just kinda read your blog with limited interest and was a little surprised about where you were going. Until I read your closing paragraph. At that point (and I really hate to say this, but) I laughed out loud. You’re right (and you know how much I hate to admit that)!

  3. Michael has gotten this one right and I couldn’t agree more with his entire blog.

  4. Michael Tomlin

    I know, Boss, it was an oversight…maybe she will help Ward as much as Ward helped McCain/Palin.

  5. Michael, you left out Vaughn Ward’s most compelling political asset: that love child of Oprah and Rush known as Sarah Palin. How do you top an endorsement from her?