Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our Glorious Democracy (Bye Bye Bob Bennett)

Reading the news often gives me a warm, familiar, numbing sense of deja-vu. It's spring, and my favorite basketball player (Steve Nash) is on court bleeding into his eyes again. A President is nominating someone with no direct judicial experience to the Supreme Court. Some prominent, charismatic Christian evangelical religious leader and political activist has been paying a man to spend time with him. Ah, sweet familiarity!

If Steve Nash isn't getting stitches, it's not Playoff Basketball.

And then I happen to run across an article that says one of my state's Senators, Bob Bennett, didn't get enough votes at the Republican Party Convention to even make the primary election because he's not conservative enough and my jaw drops.

In a way, this is also deja vu: it wasn't too long ago that my district's ultraconservative Congressman, Chris Cannon (who had a rating of 96 from the American Conservative Union) was defeated in a primary by Jason Chaffetz, whose politics are just to the right of Shiv Sena. The hot new thing in Utah is apparently to throw out anyone who will shake hands with a Democrat, an immigrant, or anyone who has ever lived in or near Washington, D.C.

Bennett tries to convince convention delegates that he is not now,
nor has a ever been, a member of the Communist Party.

That Bob Bennett didn't even make the primary, though, still manages to disturb me.

How does something like this happen?

It's simple, say the analysts. The general pattern goes like this:

1) Seasoned statesman listens carefully to weeks and weeks of expert testimony, makes hard choice to support controversial bill for the good of the country.
2) Ultraconservative voters listen to weeks and weeks of talk radio, decide that controversial bill is Satanic, Communist, or both, and decide that only purity can save the nation.
3) Out-of-state-group pays to get handpicked delegates selected at local caucus meetings while normal people are out watering their gardens.
4) Seasoned statesman is told "the party doesn't want you anymore."
5) Primary and general elections are held--in Utah, this is done for fun, but it's already been decided that a case of rabies will be sent to Congress in lieu of the outgoing eighteen years of experience.

Welcome to the current chapter in our glorious democracy. Aren't you glad that in November, you will get to vote?


  1. "President is nominating someone with no direct judicial experience to the Supreme Court."

    This is actually good thing for reasons to numerous to write in a blog comment. Here are a few anyway:
    John Marshall
    Louis Brandeis
    Harlan Stone
    William O. Douglas
    Earl Warren
    Abe Fortas
    William Rehnquist

  2. True. It's also not so bad that Steve Nash has been bleeding: the Suns swept the Spurs this time around.

    I'm more amused that it's the same sort of controversy I've heard before than anything else. The types of debates we have in the news are quite repetitive. It's kind of like being siblings with the whole world...

  3. Thanks for your blogs. You have interesting ideas.

    On this entry I have to say that while you were out watering your lawn a record number of local voters were actively engaged in the caucus meetings.

    Looking closely at Bob Bennett's record shows that 18 years of experience can be totally worthless. I opposed him for many reasons including immigration, earmarks, and a record number of missed votes.

    He had six more years at most anyway so let's start giving someone else experience.

  4. "On this entry I have to say that while you were out watering your lawn a record number of local voters were actively engaged in the caucus meetings."

    Excellent point.

    I guess another way to spin this issue is: look how much more influence you have when you see democracy as an active process and don't just wait for the voting.

  5. I like your style, James.

  6. You know what I find interesting? While Cannon may have only been marginally less conservative than Chaffetz he had the experience and connections to actually get stuff done (you may or may not like what he did, but let's face it, he had sway). Chaffetz hasn't done much of anything during his stint in DC except take media heat for his immigration camp idea, opposition to body scanners right before the underwear bomber, and be the butt of jokes for being too cheap to get a real apartment. So the Utah republicans lost a representative who could actually, you know, represent their needs to congress effectively, and gained a media buffoon who no one outside of happy bubble-land Provo takes seriously.
    Strange as it sounds, if you're a liberal in UT it may actually be a good thing for Bennett to lose. The republicans will lose a ranking member of a committee or two and gain nothing for it, just someone who will vote the same, but have even less clout.

  7. http://heraldextra.com/news/opinion/article_222945ed-529b-5c24-b9e6-e8c02445c106.html

  8. I like the death knell that editorial sounds for moderation. I've always felt it's important to trust anyone who recognizes that the golden age of moderation and compromise we had under President Bush has ended now that the "three-headed oligarchy" of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid has taken over.

  9. LOL! The Cerberus of the Democratic Party.

  10. It's actually more of a three-headed donkey...which doesn't sound particularly scary--unless you've been bitten by a donkey before, in which case you are probably now peeing your pants in terror.

    Speaking of which...excuse me.


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