I remember hearing a story about a man who moved to Idaho and took a job in school administration.  During his first weeks in town, he was stunned when he would walk down the streets and strangers would greet him.  They made eye contact, said hello, and often asked how his day was going.  It was a culture shock.  He had arrived from an urban setting where people rarely made eye contact and as if only to remind you they were aware of your presence.  Like a defense mechanism.

Does Idaho nice also apply to politics?  Maybe we’ve got some new evidence.

A Smile Opens Doors

Raul Labrador was right.  He said Monday he had seen three polls and one had him winning a primary for state Attorney General by 14 points.  It was spot on.  He also refrained from calling his opponent names.  He represents a wing of the party I wouldn’t describe as the establishment.  Yet in other statewide races, his team failed across the board.  Was it because they weren’t positive?

Over the last two years, I’ve heard many of the non-establishment candidates call Governor Brad Little a tyrant or Chicken Little.  First, it sounds childish coming from a candidate.  Brad Little may be a lot of things his opponents don’t like, but his public persona is very jovial.  His campaign commercials were all positive and he was generally smiling.

Positive Campaigns and Positive Thinking

I received about 14 tons of political mailings before Primary Day (a slight exaggeration) and whenever I saw a mailing from Labrador’s campaign, he was always beaming with a smile.

As of this writing, Glenneda Zuiderveld has a narrow lead over Jim Patrick for State Senate in District 24.  She told me last week the two got along very well at candidate forums.  The two are both people who smile easily.  She had a TV commercial where she stood on the steps of the Capitol and calmly explained her faith and her conservative roots.  She didn’t badmouth the incumbent.  There may be lessons here for future candidates.

I jokingly told Labrador on Monday that name-calling should be left up to the talk show hosts.  He laughed.

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