Idaho’s Labrador back on ‘Meet the Press,’ dings leadership in ‘The New Yorker’

Sophomore GOP Congressman Raul Labrador is scheduled to appear on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday to discuss the political fallout of the sequester with host David Gregory and other guests. The show airs at 8 a.m.

Though he’s been in office just 26 months, Labrador is a favorite of the producers of the oldest of the Sunday morning talk shows. Sunday will be Labrador’s fifth appearance.

That’s in significant part because of his membership in a group of 40 to 50 House Republicans hamstringing House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio. Labrador refused to vote for Boehner in January and received one vote himself for speaker, among 12 GOP votes withheld from Boehner.

In a New Yorker profile of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., in the March 4 edition, the magazine’s Washington reporter Ryan Lizza calls Labrador “the unofficial leader of the rump” group and a part of a smaller bunch of younger members who “have what generously might be called a dismissive attitude toward their leaders, whom they see as holdovers from the big-spending era of George W. Bush.”

Labrador told Lizza that if it weren’t for the class of 2010 that returned the House to GOP control, “these guys wouldn’t have any chairmanships. They wouldn’t have the leadership positions.”

Labrador also said Boehner would have been deposed had several of the plotters not backed away.

“I just decided that I was going to follow through with what I said I was going to do, even though other people decided that they were going to change their mind,” Labrador said.

In the long subscription-only article, Lizza calls Labrador a “cheerful libertarian,” omitting his anti-libertarian social views on gay rights and abortion.

Here’s how Lizza introduces Labrador, who appears throughout the article.

“Raúl Labrador, who is forty-five, is a cheerful libertarian and the unofficial leader of the rump. Born in Puerto Rico, he moved with his family to Las Vegas when he was thirteen. His mother thought that he was hanging around with the wrong crowd, so she sent him to a Mormon youth program, and eventually they both became devout members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. He later moved to Boise, Idaho, where his wife, whom he met at Brigham Young University, was born. In the 2010 election, he beat a conservative Democrat, and now represents one of Idaho’s two congressional districts.

Older House members “were so excited when this class came in,” Labrador told me in his office recently. “But they just wanted us to sit in the corner and be quiet. They want our numbers, but they don’t want our input, and they don’t want our opinions. They spent two years working really hard to make sure that we were co-opted—that we were just another member of Congress who did as we were told. But it’s because of this class that we have a majority.” He said that, if it weren’t for the class of 2010, “these guys wouldn’t have any chairmanships. They wouldn’t have the leadership positions.”

 

Dan Popkey came to Idaho in 1984 to work as a police reporter. Since 1987, he has covered politics and has reported on 25 sessions of the Legislature. Dan has a bachelor's in political science from Santa Clara University and a master's in journalism from Columbia University. He was a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and a Journalism Fellow at the University of Michigan. A former page in the U.S. House of Representatives, he graduated Capitol Page High School in 1976. In 2007, he led the Statesman’s coverage of the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news. In 2003, he won the Ted M. Natt First Amendment award from the Pacific Northwest Newspaper Association for coverage of University Place, the University of Idaho’s troubled real estate development in Boise. Dan helped start the community reading project "Big Read." He has two children in college and lives on the Boise Bench with an old gray cat.

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