Wednesday, April 28, 2010

As a REPUBLIC we elect our officials by Representation. The role of a DELEGATE is to choose the nominee not force a primary!

I am a State Delegate for the Republican Party this year. I consider it an honor and also a great responsibility. I was elected by my peers in my caucus meeting. A caucus is a neighborhood geographical area comprised of a few hundred people. I want to explain how our party determines who will represent us in a general election.

There are essentially two ways that someone could become the nominee for the Republican Party to run against the opposition in a general election; one, they run in a “Primary” giving every voter in their district the opportunity to vote for them or two, they are elected by the “Delegates at the Republican County and State Conventions”

In Utah we use the convention method instead of the primary. Here is why I believe that election by Delegate in the convention is the best method. If we simply allowed each candidate to run in a primary election where all of the citizens were allowed to vote the candidate with the most money will buy the election almost every time.

“How does someone buy an election?” you ask. I’ll tell you. The more money a person has the more they can spend on advertising. They spend thousands of dollars on yard signs, full color two-sided or even “pop-up” brochures, yes I did say “pop-up” brochures. Some candidates even buy breakfast, lunch and dinner for prospective supporters.

These wealthy candidates also spend money on billboards, pamphlets attached to every door in their voting neighborhoods, automated phone messages, advertisements in the news papers and any other method to get their name out in front of Jane and John Doe voter.

“But why is this problem?” you ask. I’ll tell you. Because most voters in this type of election never get to actually meet the candidate, talk to the candidate or ask the candidate questions face-to-face to determine if that candidate is the person whom they would want to represent them in political office.

Since the voters never actually meet the candidate they simply rely on catchy advertising, a few bullet points on a flyer, an automated phone call or two or three and name recognition due to the inundation of campaign propaganda!

Most voters simply vote for the name that has been in front of their face during the course of the election. This is called impression marketing; the more you can make an impression on someone the more likely they will buy your product, i.e., candidate!

So, the bottom line is “He or she who has the most money wins!” Are we to assume that the most qualified person to represent you is the wealthiest? Of course not! But look around and you will discover that there are not many “average” everyday Joe’s and Jane’s representing you in government, most are either wealthy or come from a family with name recognition.

I believe that there are many wonderful people who never consider running for political office in primary or general elections because they have neither money nor name recognition. But with the Convention method the playing field is a little more fair and those who are voting, the delegates who represent hundreds of their friends and neighbors actually meet and grill each candidate face-to-face and often on numerous occasions.

This means that the candidates CANNOT win the nomination based on how much money they have to spend but based on their ideas, character and personal political platform. The delegates learn all that they can about the candidates and then they choose the person whom they believe will best represent the needs, beliefs and values of their friends and neighbors.

Election by Delegation is a basic principle of our Constitution and Republic form of government. A group of neighbors “delegate” a person to represent them; hence they choose a Delegate and send that person to the Convention.

If you are a Delegate it is your responsibility to learn ALL you can about the candidates, report to members of your caucus from time to time and then vote for the candidate whom you discover meets the criteria of your delegation.

If you think it is your responsibility to “muddy the water” and vote for your second choice to force a primary you don’t understand your fiduciary responsibility as a delegate and you never should have accepted the nomination in the first place!

I believe that nomination by the Delegate process is essential in helping to find the most qualified person for public office and the best insurance to discourage someone from buying an election.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Is Bennett a CONSERVATIVE? Maybe, maybe not! Will I vote for him to serve another term? NO!

There is quite a bit of “Anyone but Bennett” going around in the Utah State Delegate circles and some of the reasoning may be justified, some is very misinformed, and some is simply because it is kind of like the new fad—everyone else is doing it so why don’t I?  I wanted to take a few minutes and analyze Senator Bennett’s record on some key “Conservative Issues” so that I could be fair to him and help others understand why I won’t vote for him to serve another term.

In Senator Bennett’s website he has a section titled “Top Ten Myths.”  He tries to refute what he says are the top ten myths about him.  For the most part, he does a good job refuting them.  So I thought that I would list the top ten things that I think he should be assessed on and then I would rate each item and give him a score.

Let's look at his record and evaluate ten BIG issues and see how he stacks up.  I will rate him 1-5 with 1 being and F and 5 being an A.  Since there are 10 items a perfect “Conservative” score would be 50.  You may be surprised when you read my scores and see where he actually ranks on the Conservative scale.

(5) Abortion:  He has been a strong opponent of abortion his entire political career.  In fact, he supported restricting it and requiring parental notification before an abortion could take place and he opposed late term abortions.  He also supported a ban on letting minors cross state lines to have an abortion.  Having said this, he has not been nearly as defined on his opinion against stem cell research, something that he appears to support.  Overall, I would give him an A- on the Conservative position of abortion.

(5) States Sanctioning GAY and LESBIAN marriage:  He opposed the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which would have given benefits to the domestic partners of gay and lesbian federal employees

(2) Affirmative Action:  Bennett has voted against any affirmative action proposal that involves quotas. However, he has voted in favor of increased funding to businesses owned by women and minorities this is still affirmative action and it discriminates against everyone else who is not a woman or minority!  
(4) Patriotism: Bob Bennett served as a Chaplin in the Utah Army National Guard from 1957-69 so he did serve his country and this service cannot be questioned. But I am a bit perplexed on his stance on flag burning.  Utah’s other Senator Orin Hatch proposed a constitutional ban on flag burning and Bob Bennett voted against it.  He said that he thought desecrating the flag was protected by Freedom of Speech and that the only time it should be inappropriate is if the flag was burned on federal property with federally-owned flags.  Again, I won’t question his patriotism simply on the issue of flag burning but I do think that most conservatives consider the US flag to be somewhat of a sacred relic of our country and burning it is most offensive.  He did support the Bush administration with the Patriot Act and the US government’s rights to wire tap suspected terrorists.  If the flag burning issue was not in the mix I would give him an A but since it is in here I will only give him a B.  I have a very hard time with flag burning, especially claiming that free speech should defend such an act.
(5) TAXES:  Bob Bennett supports the flat tax idea.  He wants to get rid of the Inheritance Tax, Alternative Minimum Tax and the Marriage Penalty.  He has voted against minimum wage increases.  I must give him an A on his stance and record on taxes.
(1) Government Run Health Care: Bob Bennett has been an outspoken opponent of government run health care including the recently passed Obama Health Care Bill.
But wait a minute, there is a big problem here.  Bob Bennett is the co-sponsor of the Healthy Americans Act, also known as the Wyden Bennett Act.  This is a universal health care program that would “Require” Americans to enroll in it. There is another name for this plan HAPI, Healthy Americans Private Insurance plan. It would be a private and government funded plan.  So, even though Bennett claims to be a big Opponent of The Socialist Obama Health Care Bill recently passed he has no problem creating a “Socialist” plan of his own that would also require all American’s to enroll in a plan of their own or this new government plan.  By the way, Wyden is a Democrat.

(5) Immigration and homeland security:  Bennett has supported tighter immigration control, he voted for the border fence between the US and Mexico, English as the Official Language of the US and against citizenship rights to guest workers.   Another A on this one.
(5) Energy and the environment:  He voted against energy standard proposals, CAFÉ and is not a believer in Global Warming.  He supports drilling in ANWR and using nuclear power.  A
(1). "Few politicians have more ties to Freddie and Fannie than Utah Senator Bob Bennett, who topped all Republicans in campaign contributions from the mortgage duo since 1989." (Salt Lake Tribune, 09/12/08) Senator Bennett’s website claims that this statement from an article in the Salt Lake Tribune is misleading because it is illegal for a corporation to donate to a campaign therefore making it impossible for FNMA or FHLMC to have donated to his campaign.  However, he did receive huge donations from people who work for these institutions.  Senator Bennett surely you have heard the statement “avoid even the appearance of evil”?  If it looks like a rat, sounds like a rat and smells like a rat it probably is a rat!  We the public are not stupid!!

(1). Senator Bob Bennett broke his term limits pledge when he ran for re-election in 2004. Bennett has now been in the Senate for 18 years. (Deseret News, 10/07/98)  Senator Bennett like so many other “Career Politicians” has tasted of the power, prestige and most definitely the special interest money of being a US Senator and has justified for lying to his constituents about only serving two terms. This is an issue of integrity and unfortunately most Politian’s stumble on this one.  They claim that they will only serve two terms but when the time comes to hold true to their word they can’t resist all that comes with political power.  They then try to justify the actions by saying; “if everyone else will limit their terms I will too.”   

This is a cop out and Mr. Bennett knows it.  THIS IS THE MAIN REASON I WILL NOT VOTE TO SEND HIM BACK TO WASHINGTON AGAIN!  Integrity defines who we are and men who lack integrity are self-absorbed and self-centered.  Just look at the arrogance of most of our leaders in Washington, they think they are smarter than we are and that without them we would parish. They ignored us when we told them NO on Health Care reform and they now say they have even bigger things planned for us!

Now let’s add up the score and see where Mr. Bennett ranks.  His total score is 34 out of 50.  This gives him a 68% which I would call a C-.  In my book Bob Bennett is not a conservative.  I believe that he has been in office too long and he has become one of the good old boys.  We don’t send people to Washington to make deals with the other side, to make it a career or to become part of the problem.  We send them there to represent us, our values, our morals and our beliefs.  

 I believe that Mr. Bennett did a good job his first two terms, but things started to go downhill after that.  If Mr. Bennett thinks that somehow his tenure is the most important reason to send him back why didn’t his tenure stop Obama and the Liberals in Washington from passing the most overwhelming government takeover of the free market system in America?   Why hasn’t his tenure stopped the liberals from raising our taxes and pushing forward the most aggressive social agenda since the McCarthy era?   

No Mr. Bennett we don’t need you in the senate for another six years.  We need fresh conservative ideas from someone who can actually represent our state and who will hopefully not follow another 18 years in your  footsteps.  You did a lot of things right, but the longer you are there the more tainted you become.  You can’t sit in the proverbial  bar for 18 years without finally having a drink yourself. Bob it’s time to get off of the stool and let a new face represent Utah--as far from the club as possible!





Friday, April 23, 2010

Becky, Chet or DJ? Hmmmmm. Here is what I think so far


While US Senator Bob Bennett is fighting for his political life another locally important but much less known race is underway; the House District 20 seat currently held by Republican Becky Edwards.  Representative Edwards is running for re-election to a second term along with two Republican challengers, Chet Loftis and DJ Schanz.  As a State Delegate for the Republican Party I need to decide who to vote for.
I met Becky when she ran against Paul Neuenschwander in the last election.  Becky is one of the nicest people you would ever meet.  As a matter of fact I have never met anyone who doesn’t believe the same about Becky even those who don’t want to see her re-elected agree that she is a genuinely good and decent person. 
I was a supporter of Paul and I felt that he did a good job with his first and subsequently only term as a State Representative.  I asked Becky when she ran against Paul if she thought that he had not lived up to her expectations as her representative.  I must admit that I fully expected that a challenger of a one-term State Representative would be running against the incumbent because she did not believe that the incumbent did a good job or had somehow let down his constituents.  But her answer was quite a surprise to me.  She said that she liked Paul and thought that he had done a good job in his first term but that she just wanted the opportunity to serve. 
I realize that there are many reasons people decide to run for public office but it seems to me that if you, as member of the same political party believe that your representative has done a good job that you would not let your personal ambitions lead you to run against that person.  I don’t say this to be harsh toward Becky, again, I think she is a wonderful person and as a State Representative I believe she has done her best to be thoughtful and fair when voting on the issues that face our state. She is not as conservative in many of her views as I, but I would not lose sleep is she was re-elected.  Her answer to me that day simply left me somewhat speechless and I don’t think that Becky thoroughly considered her reply to my question before she answered.
This brings me to the one issue that I believe will be the biggest cause of trouble for Becky in her bid for re-election.  It’s occasional poor judgment on critical issues.  Let me explain.  Becky has been accused of leaving the Democrat party and registering as a Republican shortly before she decided to run for the Republican nomination for State Representative in House District 20.  If those accusations are true it would have made sense for an ambitious person who wanted to be elected in a heavily Republican dominated district to run as a Republican and not a Democrat.  Strategically, it would make great sense.  But, if it were true it would also put her in a very difficult position trying to explain her actions.
I recently spoke to her husband John Edwards and I asked him to explain to me what had happened and if the rumors were true.  He denied that Becky was ever anything but a Republican.  He even insisted that she had served as a Delegate for the Republican Party in Davis County.  I took him at his word and did not verify his assertion.  I will leave that up to others. 
John said that he and Becky were big supporters of Mitt Romney during the Republican Presidential primaries in 2008.  He said they donated to his campaign, supported him and even had one of his signs in their yard. But when Becky went to her neighborhood voting precinct to vote in the Republican primary she was told that she was not a registered Republican and could not vote in the primary.  (hmmm…) According to John, Becky became very upset and frustrated.  He said that she thought that it was ridiculous that she had to be a registered Republican to vote in a Republican Primary. He continued by saying that she was not allowed to register as a Republican at that time and in her frustration and strong desire to vote she simply registered as a Democrat so that she could, as he put it, “exercise her civic duty and right to vote.” 
He then said that she never told him who she voted for and he never asked.  He concluded the explanation by telling me that sometime later Becky asked him to tell her who she was politically.  He reminded her that she had always voted Republican and that she always voted for the Republican Presidential candidate so there was no question but that she was a Republican.  Hence, she changed her short-lived political party affiliation from Democrat to Republican and soon thereafter ran as a Republican challenger to Paul Neuenschwander. 
After hearing John’s response to the “rumors” about Becky changing from a Democrat to a Republican just to increase her chance of winning I told him that I did not question the truthfulness of his story but I did question the critical judgment of Becky, especially if she had ever before considered the possibility that she would one day run as a Republican for State office. He agreed that in hindsight it was not the best course for her to have taken.
Two years later Becky now finds herself in the same position that Paul was in and she is seeking another term, her second.  I told her that I thought that a two-year term was too short to judge an incumbent unless they were blatantly pathetic in their performance and overall I do not think that anyone could honestly describe Becky that way.  She has made some tough decisions, many of which surely caused some deep soul searching but I believe that she has worked hard to be as “conservative” as her beliefs and values dictate even if she had been judged by some as not conservative enough. 
Ronald Reagan was a Democrat before changing to the Republican Party. Of course, he claimed that the Democrat party left him and if Becky’s story is entirely true she was never really a Democrat or at least her time as a Democrat was short lived and ill-conceived in a moment of poor judgment.  This is Becky’s challenge in a very fired up “Conservative” movement in this year’s election.  And her challengers know that this is her biggest weakness and they will surely take advantage of the situation.  
Now let me briefly write about her two challengers.  First, who is Chet Loftis?  Is he a Republican, or more importantly is he a “conservative”?  I spoke to Chet on two occasions and frankly I have two problems with Chet.  Number one, he is an attorney and I think that we don’t need any more attorneys in our government.  They have a way of arrogantly assuming that the rest of us need their intelligence and wisdom due to a lack of our own.  I know that I just offended any attorney who reads this, but relax, not every attorney runs for political office, only those who believe as I have stated above.  OK, I apologize for my broad and possibly unfair characterization of an important segment of our society.  It’s just that so many of our inept and unethical legislators are attorneys that it makes me suspicious of another attorney running for political office.
The main reason that I will not vote for Chet is that he is a lobbyist and in my opinion the only thing worse than an attorney in political office is a former lobbyist.  Chet doesn’t seem to have many strong political views or conservative ideas but he definitely relishes the opportunity of being “lobbied to” instead of “lobbying at” for a change. Chet may be a wonderful person but there is nothing about his campaign that reaches out for my vote as a conservative.
Now, on to DJ Schanz.  I have spoken to DJ a few times and recently spent nearly an hour one-on-one with him.  There is no question in my mind that DJ is a conservative.  He is also quite articulate and well versed in politics and constitutional issues.  Of the three candidates DJ more closely represents my political views in almost every area.  But the more you get to know someone the more you realize that we are all different and no one thinks completely alike on every issue. 
This is not a bad thing unless the difference of opinion is a political deal breaker.  Everything that DJ expressed to me hit home for me and rang very true in my conservative soul, until he mentioned the one thing and frankly, the only thing that would cause me to question his political judgment.  He was a big supporter of Ron Paul.  Although I think Ron Paul is an intelligent man and quite the student of the constitution I believe that his political views are too isolationist and narrow-minded.  I agree with him that it is not the responsibility of the US to be the world police, but we do have political and economical interest throughout the world that we must protect.  Like it or not, we are a big part of the world economy and it is simply too late to pick up our toys and go home.
Is DJ’s support of Ron Paul a political deal-breaker for me? Probably not, but this brings up the same issue I have with Becky Edwards; political judgment.  Perhaps it would be easier if we didn’t know too much about our candidates.  It would be easier if we simply judged them according to their actions and political record and not their rhetoric. 
To me this race is between Becky Edwards and DJ Schanz, two good people with similar ideas.  Becky wants what Paul Neuenschwander wanted two years ago-- the opportunity to serve a second term and ironically DJ wants what Becky wanted two years ago to defeat the one-term incumbent. 
If you ask DJ he will tell you that Becky is not conservative enough and if you ask Becky she will tell you that she deserves another chance to prove that she can represent our district according to the values and beliefs we hold true.
I am going to keep my vote private at this time.  But I will say that whoever of the two becomes our Republican nominee will, without hesitation have my full support in the general election.

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