Saturday, March 27, 2010

Utah GOP Nominating Caucus

I've been elected as a state delegate for our precinct, which is basically the University Village. If you have any questions you'd like me to ask the candidates, leave a comment. I will ask them and report back on this blog.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Shed your intimidated silence and declare your conscience

"It is time that the great center of our people, those who reject the violence and unreasonableness of both the extreme right and the extreme left ... shed their intimidated silence and declared their consciences."

There's a great article in the Deseret News today titled, "It's time for unaffiliated voters to get rid of polarized politics"

Kathleen Parker points out that independents are now a full 40% of the electorate but we're still largely ignored in state and national politics.

One line I particularly loved is, "Why have we given the loudest voices so much power when their numbers are so few?" It seems to me that the people who believe so strongly in a political ideology that they are completely unwilling to compromise are the same people who throw civility to the wind and attack others who don't believe in them.

From the article:
Centrists — who may be broadly defined as fiscally conservative, socially libertarian-ish — have been relatively quiet as "patriots" have made threats, building armies of "hunters" to bring down RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) and DINOs (Democrats in Name Only), or creating online "Leper Colonies" to post the names of those who, for example, dared speak out against Sarah Palin. The latter was the creation of Erick Erickson, founder of, recently hired as a CNN commentator and famous for calling retiring Supreme Court Justice David Souter a "goat-xxxxing child molester," among other similarly trenchant observations.
I would guess that most people in my precinct feel like I do, we're mostly younger college students who feel alienated by the partisanship and irrationality of politics. I would also guess that the vast majority of us won't be attending our caucuses because we're so turned off by it all. So I can go and speak my point of view or even try to be elected a delegate, but if I'm honest about my political views I'm certain I'll be booed off the stage by all the other people attending the caucus, the majority of whom are going to be die-hard conservatives. So that's my dilemma, I don't feel like I have a place in the Republican party, and my social views are too conservative for me to feel comfortable actively supporting the Democratic party. But if I do nothing I'll be presented two choices at the polls, one chosen by hard-core Republicans in their caucuses and primaries, and one chosen by hard-core Democrats in their caucuses and primaries.

Is it better to abandon both politically parties and try to start something different, or to choose the lesser of two evils and try to work from within for change?

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Earlier this month the Utah legislature passed a bill, SB275, that would change the rules for citizen initiative petitions.  It will most likely be signed by the governor and immediately become law.  This bill is obviously aimed at the citizen initiatives for ethics reform and the Fair Boundaries initiative, both of which the Utah Republican party is strongly opposed to.  The new bill would allow the state Republican Party to see the names of those who signed petitions after they are turned in on April 15th, and they would then have until May 15th to contact people and lobby them to remove their signatures from the petitions.

I'm not a user of strong language so all I will say is that this is a piece of garbage bill.  As a citizen, regardless of how I feel about the ethics or redistricting initiatives, I am frustrated and insulted by it.  Firstly, it's extremely unfair to have a deadline for one side of an issue to collect signatures that is a month earlier than the deadline for the other side to remove signatures.  Secondly, this opens up all the people who signed these petitions to a month of harassment from the Republican party trying to get people to change their votes.  I don't like the ethics bill, but I am in favor of the Fair Boundaries initiative.  Man, oh man, if I get a call I'll give them a piece of my mind.

My objection to this, as a usually-more-Republican-than-Democrat citizen, was expressed beautifully by Derek Staffanson on his blog:

One of the central traits of conservatism is a healthy skepticism of government. It is the very nature of government to seek to protect and expand its power, conservative theory correctly asserts. Government should therefore be viewed cautiously. It should be structured in such a way as to minimize the potential for any given government entities to abuse government power, and to subject government entities to accountability.
Except, these conservative government officials seem to believe, when it comes to them. We should just trust them, because they are above reproach. To consider any checks to potential abuse is to insult their integrity.
Just as they did when they attempted to install the school voucher system against the wishes of the citizens of Utah, these Republican legislative leaders show a disregard for the democratic process and their status as representatives of the people.
No system of districting can be perfect. But it is reasonable to try to create a check on the power of the legislature and their incumbents with an independent commission. On such an important issue—and one in which the legislature has such a clear conflict of interest—the public should be able to decide.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Caucuses are in 11 days!

Well, the phone's been ringing off the hook at our place from all the campaigns calling to get delegates to go to caucuses.  So, it's about time to figure out who of the candidates is the most in line with my own moderate views.  Here's some information for anyone else trying to sort everything out.

Republicans running for the Senate seat

Bob Bennett - incumbent senator

Mike Lee - constitutional attorney

Cherilyn Eagar - businesswoman

Sorry, but Cherilyn is out for me, doing a tour with Joe the Plumber is a red flag in my book.

James Russell Williams - small business owner - dropped out of the race Feb. 25th

Merrill Cook - former U.S. representative
As far as I can tell he doesn't have a website, someone correct me if I'm wrong
Says he was "tea party" before there was a Tea Party - out

Tim Bridgewater - former congressional candidate

Democrats running for the Senate seat:

Sam Granato - businessman and CEO

Christopher Stout - accountant