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John Livingston

Leadership

Arguments of the extreme have been the tool of the progressive movement since the early part of the twentieth century. Both Democratic and Republican progressives have painted conservatives in a corner. The progressive arguments have always been theoretical. They are never empiric. They claim the moral high ground without ever establishing a moral predicate. Such theories lead to policies that always lead to chaos.

Look at our big cities today where crime, homelessness and drugs, and the ravages of dependency come with the price and an opportunity cost of lost human capital and potential. Look at what is happening in Boise City, Eagle, and Garden City with developers from out of state who are leveraging City Hall. No wonder citizens are becoming disillusioned with their politicians and with the process of governance. The collusion between private monied interests and government at both the state and local level is a form of legal corruption that has the devastating result of long-term voter apathy.

Looking at things from top down—from the national level to the local level, just two days ago our new Chief of Naval Operations Vice Admiral Lisa Franchetti has sent out a notice to all Naval personnel that the emphasis under her watch will be on combat readiness. She will focus on “the warrior and their weapons” and not on wokeness programs or Diversity and inclusion programs. It may take the first woman CNO to redirect the virtue signaling Pentagon good old boys to help refocus on their mission. She already has become unpopular with the Biden establishment, but there is a new sense of hope in the ranks. The Air Force Chief of staff came out with a similar warning a month ago about the military threats of China, Russia, and Iran.

Speaking the truth, no matter how hard it is to swallow is part of what being a leader is all about. Caring more about the people you serve and the oath you took is becoming very uncommon in our current political environments in both Washington and Boise. There are too many company men and woman, too many “care-abouts”, and to many politicians—especially in the Idaho Republican Party that care more about position and process, than they do about the people they serve—except at election time.

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On the Kevin Miller show today the question was asked what Idaho politician in State government do you consider a good leader. The audience was hard pressed to produce a name other than Raul Labrador. That is sad because we have many good people in the legislature who in their personal lives are great examples for their families and their businesses. When they come to Boise their priorities change—especially if have they have held their positions through many election cycles.

There are many policy issues that need to be addressed this legislative session, but the overriding issues for Republicans this election season are very simple. The collusion between private sector corporations, non-profits, and NGOs, with the executive branch of government will be an ever-tightening noose around the neck of Idaho taxpayers. This symbiosis is costing the taxpayer’s money and is putting profits into the recipients of government transfer payments. Already issues of the now bankrupt Idaho Information (data) exchange—where did $99million go? Is the ever-increasing cost of running The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare the result of simple mismanagement or malfeasance. Who knows? Who cares?

Collusion and corruption (corruption can be legal or illegal) is the single issue that divides conservative Republicans from the progressive wing of the Republican Party. Other states like Florida, who have within the past 10 years revamped their Department of Health and Welfare, have used audits and regulatory investigations into processes that have become untethered from legislative oversite.

May I suggest two ideas moving forward that may help us get back on track in Idaho. A legislative panel or a panel appointed by the legislature should review the Idaho Covid response, not to cast blame on the damage that was done by “expert” advisors, but to make sure the same system of good old boy crises management doesn’t again hurt the people of Idaho.

I would also suggest that the DHW and all recipients of government transfer payments of over $100 million be subject to annual forensic audits so we can see where fungible monies directed by our legislature are actually going and what they are being used for i.e. maybe non-profit $18million/2yr CEO salaries.

In the end, leadership, like our new Navy CNO, requires rocking the boat and doing what is right. Getting along just to get a committee chairmanship, or a campaign contribution from a lobbyist/bundler/PAC is not leadership.

My support for legislators and for a new Governor will be for the people with the moral integrity to say no to the status quo and collusion that is going on today in Idaho politics at all levels of government.

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