John Livingston

Tooling and Trolling

I have watched the Idaho Debates this week and in addition to listening to what the candidates have to say, I have listened to the panelists and the way they have framed questions and, on several occasions, inserted themselves into the debate. This happened once to Raul Labrador during the Attorney General Debate, and he engaged the panelist in a gentlemanly and civil fashion while letting the panelist know that he didn’t agree with the premise of their question. In each debate the panelists obviously had a narrative and an agenda they were trying to insert into the debate itself. They were disrespecting the debaters and the voters while showing their own lack of self-awareness. Their self-indulgence was nauseating.

People running for office have my utmost respect. They are putting themselves on the line publicly. Their political philosophies, their manners and sense of prudence, and their hearts are an open book. It takes political courage to expose oneself in such a fashion, and when those given the responsibility of helping the public discern who is best to govern them, the press and the media should understand their positions as facilitator. The baggage they bring to debates should be dropped off before the microphones are turned on and picked back up long after the stage lights are turned off. Betsy Russell reporting on a confrontation that became contentious between two candidates after the Secretary of State Debate had finished and the cameras had stopped recording was imprudent and self-serving. It should have been treated and respected as being an “off the record” event.

The lack of self-awareness of the panelists, their preening officious self-indulgence is almost impossible to listen to or watch. Growing up when I did, we would often call people who allowed themselves to be used by others as “tools”. The URBAN DICTIONARY definition of a “tool” is” an individual who behaves in their own self-interest rather than adhering to a set of rules, ethics, or morals.” Tools seek approval by acting on behalf of others or by acting on behalf of an agenda supported by others. They are a conduit shielding those who they support in a clandestine fashion. They “court favor”. They attack without having to stand up to the scrutiny that they demand of the people they are questioning. Betsy Russell and Morgan Romero are always trying to prove their own relevance thus proving how irrelevant they really are. Important serious people don’t have to validate themselves by “tooling” and “trolling”. Sooner or later the bait trolling behind the media boat begins to stink. And when it does people stop tuning in to the 10PM news on channel 7 or stop subscribing Idaho Press (Fish Wrap). .

A person who is being used by another to do their bidding, who may or may not be aware of his position and may even think that his actions are his own idea, or that his beliefs are his own is another definition I was able to Google. This begs the question of who is tooling for whom?

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The press when they report or don’t report a story can be “tooling” and courting favor with a politician, or a lobbyist or a CEO, or the politician may be “the tool” of a special interest group or a lobbyist. Is Governor Little a “tool of IACI and the IHA/ IHA? Is Scott Bedke a tool of out of State campaign financers? What about our DC delegation of Senators and Representatives? Except for Russ Fulcher, the other three get most of their campaign contributions from out of State sources.

With all this “tooling” going on what about We the People. The press and media, the politicians, the lobbyists, and special interests are all “tooling” for each other. Shouldn’t they be “tooling” for the voters, their constituents, and citizens; or for people that pay their way to lunch at the Arid Club or pay their entry fee and participation tickets at the Governor’s Club?

That all being said conservative candidates can take a lesson from Raul Labrador. A polished politician he who the liberal and RINO establishment in Idaho despise. He recognizes that before he should ask for a citizen’s vote, he should stand publicly and debate his foes—including those asking the questions. Conservatives need to know that they are playing an “away game” and the home team gets to set the rules and chose the officials. Beat the home team and next time around we get to set the rules of engagement.

It is an absolute shame that Idaho Republicans are going to go to the polls this May never getting to watch their candidates for our States two highest offices debate. No matter how far ahead one is in the polls, or how far behind, if you are going to ask for my vote, you must also be willing to stand publicly and debate. Hats off to Ed and Ammon for having the courage to debate and engage.

Raul Labrador walked into the lion’s den and was willing “to fight like hell”. Remember what DJT said. “I will debate anyone, anyplace anytime”

It is not too late to engage. It is not too late to debate.

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2 replies on “Tooling and Trolling”

Steve Bradshaw also said he would debate any other candidate. None are willing. That says a lot. He is a strong leader and needs more attention. Little is a coward.

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