Raul Labrador, the 2nd term Congressman from Idaho, is not your average rebel rouser masquerading as a Member of Congress on Capitol Hill these days.
In fact there is nothing you can say about Labrador that is average.
He’s Hispanic. There aren’t many of those around the GOP caucus.
He was born in Puerto Rico, yet represents half the western “Gem” state.
And he is an articulate spokesperson to a new generation of Republican leaders, which is why you see him on the Sunday morning news shows.
Oh, and now he’s running for Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The conventional wisdom in Washington is that it’s foolish to run against current Whip, Kevin McCarthy of California, who most believe has the Majority Leader’s post sewn up. But Labrador doesn’t look at it that way.
(Full disclosure: Our firm produced Labrador’s campaign commercials the last two election cycles. I have some measure of the man.)
Labrador’s interview with conservative radio host Mark Levin last week gives us some insight. When asked if he felt that there would be retribution from the leadership if he pursues Eric Cantor’s position, Labrador answered “No.” For the cynics in Washington that is either a huge dose of naiveté, or a person who has totally lost touch with reality.
Actually it’s neither. Labrador is one of these rare birds who does things because he believes they are the right things to do. Whether they are politically smart is left for others to decide, but for this Member of Congress, it’s a matter of conscience. And let’s remember, he is one of the few Members who sleeps in his Capitol Hill office to save living expenses.
As Labrador explained, to Levin, “I actually have a good relationship with Speaker Boehner…I had a life before Congress. I will have a life after Congress, a great family and live in a wonderful state.” Labrador is running, as he puts it, because it is “time to change the way things are done in Washington.”
Those self-important people whose lips get cold kissing themselves in the mirror every day will say Labrador doesn’t understand how this town works. And perhaps they are correct.
But for those who dream of a better America it’s certainly refreshing.
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