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John Livingston

A Real Leader is Not Afraid to Debate

When I read yesterday that Governor Little was not going to debate prior to the November election for Idaho Governor, I was not surprised, but I was very disappointed. Before I proceed let me say that I have met Governor Little three times and on each occasion for only a few moments. He acts like a gentleman, loves his family, and can be engaging and personable. Of course, all those things could be said about Joe Biden or almost any politician. Political campaigns are like first dates and job interviews. The interviewee or perspective partner only lets you see themselves in the best possible light. But listen very carefully and watch their body language and sometimes they reveal themselves for who they really are. Sometimes we become so infatuated with the person sitting in front of us that we miss these clues. Sometimes the person sitting in front of us simply tells us what they think we want to hear, hoping to conceal who they really are. When our own personal happiness or the welfare of our business is at stake—when we have real personal “skin in the game” it takes more than one interview or date before we really begin to understand who is sitting in front of us.

We live in an upside-down dystopian world. In generations past different political points of view could be reconciled across common cultural and religious beliefs. That is not the case today When a prospective employee or partner is not forthcoming regarding their own ideas, when they only tell us what they think “we want to hear”, the relationship will always fail. We ask very simple questions of ourselves in these situations: What are they thinking? Who does their thinking for them? What are they concealing about themselves?

We don’t have to hold our religious beliefs on our sleeves. But finding out the predicate upon which a person basis their political philosophy—especially when that person running for political office is asking for my vote, is of critical importance. Because such an ask should be personal, there should be a connection between the candidate and the citizen. It seems to me that it is the “duty” of the candidate to explain themselves and their positions to the voters. To not do so is a violation of that duty. Political debates offer the best opportunity for candidates to connect to the voters. Debates are a job interview and a first date combined. Any politician who refuses to engage in debating their opponents publicly often is either not confident of their own skills and positions, they have a disdain for the very people they are wanting to represent, or they don’t want you to know who they really are and what they believe. They may be attractive on the outside, and devious, cunning, and self-serving on the inside.

I believe Governor Little in deciding not to debate raises all the concerns listed above. Like President Biden in DC, one must ask who is really calling the shots in the Idaho Governor’s Office? Is it The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry (IACI), the Idaho Medical Association (IMA), the Idaho Hospital Association (IHA)—those two organizations are joined at the hip, or the Idaho Education Association (IEA)? Or maybe it is the “good old boys” at Take Back Idaho (TBI) i.e. “Totally Benign and Irrelevant.” All strange bedfellows if you ask me. Does (IACI) represent small businesses and consumers or large businesses? Do the (IMA/IHA) represent doctors and hospital administrators making $18million/2yrs or patients? Does the (IEA) represent teachers and administrators or students and their parents? How many members of (TBI) receive State funded government pensions? Voters have a right to know the answers to these questions before they are even asked for their vote.

I know a lot more about Mr. Bundy than I do about Brad Little, and Brad has been Governor for 4 years. I have concerns about Mr. Bundy’s relationships with law enforcement. I believe his libertarian position on drug legalization is extremely problematic for me. He needs to clarify that position because that is a “tell”. I know for a fact that his legal status before the Federal Courts has been severely misrepresented by progressive nominalist press and media. I know of his faith, and his personal courage against great odds—a courage that informs us of a political courage that would be able to confront “the Boise Swamp” just like Mr. Trump was able to do in DC. Mr. Little is “The Protector and Face of The Boise Swamp”

In my travels across the country, it has been brought out to me on numerous occasions how corrupt the political process is in Idaho. One group in New Orleans mentioned to me a few years ago that only New York, New Jersey, and Louisiana politics were more corrupt than Idaho’s. Progressive Republicans like Mr. Little have been so caught up in the process that they don’t even see “the log in their own eyes”.

We need a debate so lifelong Republicans like me who remember Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan can discern the differences between the gubernatorial candidates. I know who I will not vote for if a candidate refuses to debate and insults the character and virtue of Idaho voters. And to prove my point about corruption in Idaho government I would ask that the candidates answer only one question:

“Are you sirs willing to support independent outside audits of the Departments of Health and Welfare and Education and all vendors and recipients (as a condition for further receipt of transfer payments) who receive of over $100million of government transfer payments, to be made available on an annual basis to the people of Idaho via their legislators?”

The answer and the promise given as a response to that question should inform Idaho voters who to cast their vote for in the Gubernatorial Election.

5 replies on “A Real Leader is Not Afraid to Debate”

i think anyone who runs for any political office should debate their opponents so that the public can make decisions whom to vote for.

Exactly “Debates are a job interview and a first date combined. Any politician who refuses to engage in debating their opponents publicly often is either not confident of their own skills and positions, they have a disdain for the very people they are wanting to represent, or they don’t want you to know who they really are and what they believe. They may be attractive on the outside, and devious, cunning, and self-serving on the inside”.

It should be clear to all Idahoans, the unfortunate truth is it isn’t and many think he’s done a great job and that thought comes from the media.
We need to speak up, we need to have those difficult conversations, remaining silent isn’t the answer. Doing your part doesn’t stop at a bumper sticker or yard sign.
True, you can’t change the minds of everyone but we must try.
Do your part! Besides, hat is friendship without a country?

I believe he did something like this before. Controlled the entire debate before it began and squeezed an opponent out of the event. Shameful cowardly back door politician!

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