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Just who are the good guys?

I appreciate that the Idaho Press published information about candidates this past week. Absentee ballots should arrive any day.

In some cases, I still wouldn’t know who to vote for – but having more than one qualified candidate is good, right? And in a few years, maybe, ranked-choice voting will allow me to vote for two.

And I appreciate that we don’t have to worry about the government shutting down for two more months. And I approve that Kevin McCarthy is no longer Speaker of the House; the Senate, with a Democratic majority thinner than the Republican majority in the House, gets some business done.

I once wrote that if House Republicans were smart, they’d choose a Republican from the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus as speaker – someone dedicated to working to find common ground.

I respected the Problem Solvers Caucus that much. And that’s caused me some confusion and pain recently.


A week ago I received an email from “lifelong Democrats” in the No Labels party asking for me to tell leaders in the Democratic National Committee to stop fighting No Label’s attempts to get a second Democratic candidate on our presidential ballots.

It was a passionate plea accusing the DNC of a heavy-handed effort to extinguish “the flame of liberty.”

“This isn’t an attack on No Labels – it's an attack on the most fundamental democratic and constitutional principles that the Democratic Party is supposed to defend. And it is antithetical to the ‘free and fair’ values that President Biden implored us to defend.”

How could “lifelong Democrats” be so naive? With two Democrats splitting the votes against former President Trump, we might as well all stay home.

So I was both confused and a little grateful when some Democratic pundits reacted as I did.

Political blogger and former U.S. treasurer Robert Reich wrote that No Labels has pledged $70 million for a third-party candidate and has already fulfilled the signature requirements to register as a party in 10 states, including Arizona and Florida.

“If No Labels were a legitimate third party rather than a Trump front, it would withdraw from all ballots for the 2024 election.”

Author and political commentator Jim Hightower called No Labels “oddly secretive” with an agenda “fluffier than cotton candy.” Registered as a “social welfare” entity, rather than a political one, No Labels doesn’t have to reveal who funds it, but the New Republic has found links to Texas billionaire Harlan Crow, the one who’s lavished luxuries on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Is this believable? Those signing the letters have good credentials. Yes, Sen. Joe Lieberman supported John McCain against Barack Obama in 2008, but he supported both Hillary Clinton’s and Joe Biden’s presidential bids. Jay Nixon was a Missouri Democratic attorney general, then governor. Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. has served as president of the National Council of Churches and CEO of the NAACP.

And No Labels was instrumental in starting the Problem Solvers Caucus in 2017.

I want these to be good guys – but I don’t like what they’re doing.

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