Remember when Raúl Labrador announced his plans to run for House Majority Leader earlier this week? The Majority Leader is one of the people tasked with uniting the Republican caucus, so this weekend's Idaho Republican Convention, where he was the chairman, should have been a walk in the park for him.
Idaho’s state Republican Party convention degenerated into a fiasco Saturday after attempts to disqualify up to a third of the delegates attending appeared to be succeeding – and the convention ended up adjourning without electing a chairman, setting a platform or doing any of it scheduled business.The thing is, nobody should have expected Labrador to be in any sort of position to heal the Idaho Republican Party. After all, he's spent much of the past year tearing it apart by backing a primary challenge to the incumbent Republican governor, undermining John Boehner's speakership, and feuding with his fellow Idaho congressman, Republican Mike Simpson.
“For three weeks I’ve tried to broker a deal to prevent what happened today,” 1st District Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador told Idaho Public Television just after the convention adjourned, but he failed; Labrador was the convention chairman.
“It’s hard to blame all this on Raul Labrador, but on the other hand, this does not strengthen his credentials for a national leadership position, either,” said BSU professor emeritus Jim Weatherby, a longtime observer of Idaho politics.
Far from uniting the deeply divided party, the gathering in Moscow degenerated into dysfunction - though it’s the party that holds every statewide office in Idaho, every seat in the congressional delegation and more than 80 percent of the seats in the state Legislature. It also proved not to be the finest hour for Labrador, whom many looked to as the healer for the fractured party just a day after he announced that he’s running for Majority Leader of the U.S. House; instead, he ended the convention facing jeers and walkouts from his own party members.
Still, today's complete implosion under Labrador's supervision was something else. Check out the Idaho Spokesman-Review's "Eye on Boise" blog posts from earlier (excerpts can't really do this debacle justice):
"Is it a mess? Yes. That’s my quote." -House Speaker Scott Bedke
"It’s just a fiasco. We haven’t accomplished anything. Trying to disallow delegates? It’s just a mess. I don’t see a lot of unity." -State Rep. Paul Romrell
"Unfortunately I think there was violations of rules right from the very beginning. It’s a sad day for the Republican Party. I think people left here even more disenfranchised. It falls right on leadership of the convention and leadership at the party level." -State Sen. Dean CameronHeckuva job, Labby.