Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Public Debt

There's a very informative graphic from the New York Times about the public debt.  It's found at  It shows the historical debt as a percentage of GDP, and a graph of when the public debt is coming due and at what percent interest.  It's nice to get a real picture of what's going on instead of a bunch of partisan spin.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Utah Precinct Caucuses

Precinct Caucuses are March 23rd
Here's the link to Salt Lake County Republican caucus locations, meetings are at 7:00 pm
And here are the Salt Lake County Democratic caucus locations, meetings are at 6:30 pm

Political News From Utah

From Salt Lake Tribune:

GOP's Armey backs Lee, scolds Bennett 

Hatch: Tea Party movement threatening to tear GOP apart

Supreme Court ruling could rain money on races 

From Deseret News

Utah Legislature: GOP senators ready to move on ethics reform package 




Utah Fair Boundaries

Or, at least it should... If you live in Utah please consider signing the Fair Boundaries petition that is going around. You can find a full copy of the initiative here. It's been endorsed by the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune, with KSL also supporting the general idea. I especially like the idea that political boundaries would be drawn by an eleven-member independent commission who would follow anti-gerrymandering standards and keep local communities intact. If you look at maps of legislative districts in Utah right now it's pretty obvious that many of the lines are being drawn to further someone's own political career rather than to fairly represent Utah's communities. They need to collect 94,522 signatures of registered Utah voters by next April to get the initiative on the ballot in November 2010. Go get 'em, voters!

Mormons and Civility - yes, even in politics

I loved, loved, loved this post in the newsroom of  As I was reading it the words "Glenn Beck" kept coming to mind...  Is it just me?  I encourage you to read it in its entirety, but here are some points particularly related to the subject of this blog.  Emphasis is mine.

A healthy democracy maintains equilibrium through diverse means, including a patchwork of competing interests and an effective system of governmental checks. Nevertheless, this order ultimately relies on the integrity of the people. Speaking at general conference, a semiannual worldwide gathering of the Church, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles asserted: “In the end, it is only an internal moral compass in each individual that can effectively deal with the root causes as well as the symptoms of societal decay.” Likewise, Presiding Bishop H. David Burton emphasized that the virtues of fidelity, charity, generosity, humility and responsibility “form the foundation of a Christian life and are the outward manifestation of the inner man.” Thus, moral virtues blend into civic virtues. The seriousness of our common challenges calls for an equally serious engagement with reasonable ideas and solutions. What we need is rigorous debate, not rancorous altercations.
Similarly, the Book of Mormon tells a sober story of civilizational decline in which various peoples repeat the cycle of prosperity, pride and fall. In almost every case, the seeds of decay begin with the violation of the simple rules of civility. Cooperation, humility and empathy gradually give way to contention, strife and malice.
The need for civility is perhaps most relevant in the realm of partisan politics. As the Church operates in countries around the world, it embraces the richness of pluralism. Thus, the political diversity of Latter-day Saints spans the ideological spectrum. Individual members are free to choose their own political philosophy and affiliation. Moreover, the Church itself is not aligned with any particular political ideology or movement. It defies category. Its moral values may be expressed in a number of parties and ideologies.
Furthermore, the Church views with concern the politics of fear and rhetorical extremism that render civil discussion impossible. As the Church begins to rise in prominence and its members achieve a higher public profile, a diversity of voices and opinions naturally follows. Some may even mistake these voices as being authoritative or representative of the Church. However, individual members think and speak for themselves. Only the First Presidency and the Twelve Apostles speak for the whole Church..
Latter-day Saint ethical life requires members to treat their neighbors with respect, regardless of the situation. Behavior in a religious setting should be consistent with behavior in a secular setting. The Church hopes that our democratic system will facilitate kinder and more reasoned exchanges among fellow Americans than we are now seeing. In his inaugural press conference President Monson emphasized the importance of cooperation in civic endeavors: “We have a responsibility to be active in the communities where we live, all Latter-day Saints, and to work cooperatively with other churches and organizations. My objective there is ... that we eliminate the weakness of one standing alone and substitute for it the strength of people working together.”

Proud to Be a Centrist

On Monday, TIME published an article entitled, "Republicans Must Embrace the Vital Center" by David Frum.  He places the blame for the decline of moderate Republicans squarely on the shoulder of moderate Republicans.  If we want a voice in the Republican party we have to work for it as much as the conservatives have worked for theirs.  I agree.
"Moderate Republicans sometimes blame conservatives for edging them out of public life. But politics is a competitive business. If the conservatives bring more voters, more dollars and more intensity to the table, well, of course they get the bigger chair. They've earned it. The fault is with the moderates themselves. The moderate tendency still exists in the GOP. It expresses itself in quiet dealmaking in the halls of the Senate, in pragmatic decision-making in state capitals. But when challenged, the moderate tendency goes mute.
Who'll speak up for Utah Senator Robert Bennett, chief co-sponsor of the Wyden-Bennett health proposal that was the best hope for truly market-oriented health care reform? Bennett now faces a serious nomination challenge. Once the excitement of Massachusetts subsides, who'll champion the non-CPAC-style Senators on the ballot in 2010: Mark Kirk from Illinois or Rob Portman from Ohio?...

If moderates are to flourish, they need an infrastructure to support them. The Democrats worked hard in the 1980s and '90s to showcase their centrist governors. They invented superdelegates to balance the left-wing activists who had saddled them with unelectable presidential candidates. They altered their primary schedule to enhance the clout of must-win states in the West and border South.
Republicans can learn from these examples. But first they have to say it loud and say it proud: The time has come to restore the center to the center-right coalition. Maybe it's even time to start a new convention so the centrists can meet face to face at least once a year, just as their conservative colleagues do. CenPAC, anyone?"

How to Make Legislatures Less Partisan

Here's a summary of a report published by the Public Policy Institute of California titled "Redistricting Reform: Can It Reduce Partisanship?" Interestingly, they found that there was no difference in the partisanship of votes by legislators serving in California before and after redistricting reform.  I still support redistricting reform for other reasons, but it seems that redistricting reform alone may not be able to reduce partisanship.

They suggest better ways to get bipartisan legislators elected:

1) Hold open primaries

2) Pass campaign finance reform

3) Mobilize moderates

The report also gave some reasons for the demise of bipartisanship in our government.  The obvious one being that people who vote tend to have stronger views on politics and elect more partisan representatives.  Also, candidates who appeal to passionate, single-issue activists are more likely to be able to raise the money and volunteer support needed to win a campaign.  Interest groups put more pressure on candidates than they have in the past.  And people who run for office may have more partisan views to begin with, while moderates may be less likely to view political service as a noble pursuit.

Take home message:  If you're a moderate, even if you don't like the candidates available: vote!  Get involved in politics at a local level and go to your caucuses where you can have more of an influence.  Support campaign finance reform and getting special interest money out of politics.  And join with other moderates to let politicians know you're out there and you're paying attention.

Welcome to My Blog

I'm starting this blog with the hope of having a place to share ideas and news about politics from a moderate perspective.  I'll cover national politics as well as local Utah politics and maybe find some like-minded people out there.  I'm a married Mormon woman in her early thirties with a moderate political view but a more conservative than average social view.  I've been an observer of politics for years, and feel that a lot of the people around me are much less extreme than the people representing us in our state and national governments.  Maybe together we can figure out how to wield our influence as moderates a little better than we have so far.  Even if you don't agree with me on everything you're welcome here.