Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday round-up

Quote of the Day: "There's definitely an anti-incumbent feeling and I absolutely agree with it," says Roy Chapman, a [Utah Republican State Convention] delegate from Tooele. "The White House, the Senate and the House are Republican-controlled. And yet our country is in a mess. We have to blame the people who are in there." --SL Trib, on Rep. Cannon's chances in the convention. How come is he endangered? He had the audacity to say this: "We love immigrants in Utah. We don't make distinctions between legal and illegal."

That's right, Cannon faces a $1M self-funder who is anti-immigrant, and ex-Rep. Cook, who seeks a more moderate approach to immigration reform (penalize the companies). Remember, if Cannont can't get 65% of the delegates, there is a primary between the top two. Who will it be? If it was based on money, it would be Jacob and Cannon:
Jacob is basically self-funding his race; all but $8,112 of his $253,112 comes from the candidate. Jacob has spent $246,500 on the race up to the convention. He has $6,500 in cash but clearly can write checks himself if he gets into a primary.
Cook, meanwhile, is not spending much on the convention race.
Cook, who has spent more than $3 million on his own races and causes over the years, has given his campaign just $5,000. Other Cook family members have contributed, also. And the anti-illegal immigrant PAC, Team America, gave Cook $5,000, for a total raised of only $27,035, Federal Election Commission reports show.
Meanwhile, Cannon, who historically doesn't raise nor spend much money on his re-elections, has gone all out this year. He's raised more than $462,000 and spent $465,000 since his 2004 re-election.
Should Cannon be forced into a six-week primary battle with either Cook or Jacob, the incumbent has only $27,737 in cash to start that primary campaign. Cannon has loaned his campaign about $18,000, records show.

The amount Cannon has spent and raised, along with that quote above from our Tooele [pronounced Tool-will-ah for those of you not from the Beehive State] gives Democrats great hope for retaking the House (and maybe the Senate) this year.

Speaking of the U.S. Senate, there is a primary challenger to Orin Hatch (which happens routinely because Hatch is far too "liberal" for some delegates), Mike Ridgeway. But get this, the guy is so nuts appearantly that a Judge gave a restraining order against Ridgeway.
An anti-stalking injunction against candidate Mike Ridgway has been issued... It orders Ridgway to stay away from Republican Party activist Mark Towner and members of his family.
Towner lost his bid for the party's nomination to a state Senate seat after Ridgway distributed an anti-Towner letter among delegates of Senate District 2 at the Salt Lake County convention.
Ridgway reportedly then had confrontations with Towner and members of his family, which provoked Towner to seek an injunction ... since 2002, Ridgway has confronted either him or his wife at least 15 times...
The injunction orders Ridgway to stay away from areas where the Towners frequent, including their home, their work, the University of Utah and Republican events.
That means Ridgway, who has been involved in several confrontational incidents this campaign season and has been escorted out of his own precinct caucus by a security guard, might be in violation of the court order if he attends the convention on Saturday.

Talk about an incumbent protection program! [ba-doom-ching] Thank you I will be here all week.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Utah getting a 4th District

Even though it likely means another GOP rubber-stamp vote, I still think the appearant swap of 4 districts for Utah in exchange for DC's vote in the House is a good idea. Here's why:

  1. DC will get a vote in the House. Again, even if the DC was GOP dominated, which it isn't I think it is only fair that they have a right to vote in Congress especially when Congress is so directly in charge of the city. They basically can overrule the mayor and city counsel at will with impunity.

  2. Utah will get an at large district, which means the resulting GOPer could be a moderate. Just think, Huntsman and Walker were fairly moderate for Utah, and they we both elected statewide (Walker for LG, Huntsman for Gov). I wonder who will run in this food fight. Will Walker stage a comeback? Enid Greene? Nolan Karras? Merrill Cook? On the Democratic side, will some one convince Scott Matheson, Jr. to run again? Or Bill Orton? What about Karen Hale? Patrice Arnet? Would Jim jump from the second to this new 4th?

  3. Jim Matheson's seat is still just as safe. In fact, even under the 4 normal districts scenerio, Jim could win in that new 4th too (which was drawn around Taylorsville, where Jim did really well in 2000). Giving Jim an opportunity to truely run statewide for Congress wouldn't be that much of a change. The ad buys wouldn't change, he would need more yard signs, but statewide he is loved. The addition of the Avenues, west side (WVC, Magna, etc.) Taylorsville, and Carbon County would more than outweigh the addition of Utah County. Plus then Jim would make a smooth transition to a Senate run when Hatch or Bennett retire in 2010 or 2012.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

DLC Press=attack quotes

I used to work for the Democratic Leadership Counsel, back when I first graduated from college. The people there are great, smart, and genuinely trying to do the best thing for the Democratic Party. So too are the elected officials they court and trot out at events.

But the sad thing is, the only time any DLC/PPI (Progressive Policy Institute) event gets coverage is when Will Marshall or Al From or Bruce Reed or some elected (like Lieberman or Bayh or Vilsack) critique their party. Even when these folks are trying to engage the Party in a discussion, the part that gets quoted is the "Democrats need to stop...[negative GOP talking point] instead they should...." sentence. Buried in these reports is the vision, and when it is described it is also negatively described. Marshall is quoted as saying the party needs to be like Truman again, the press implying that the Demcorats are like Mondale or McGovern I guess.

Democrats disagree about whether to or when to pull out of Iraq, or if it was a bad idea to go in the first place, or how to talk about it. But in doing so, Democrats, especially New Dems should avoid couching their advice in negative terms towards the Party at public events. How about "Democrats can regain the advantage we held on national security issues for 80 years by..." instead of blaming their liberal collegues' ideas or purported ideas?

The press are idiotic drones looking for the same old story: Democrats are weak and divided and Republicans are strong and unified. So don't give them an inch, or in this case, a word, that will allow the press to print another "fight" story. This goes double for those chickenshit unnamed sources who are whiny Democrats. New Dems can say something like "While I may disagree with Sen. Finegold about setting a deadline for troop withdrawal, we all can agree that this situation in Iraq cannot go on indefinately." This isn't painting a Potemkin village, this is stating the facts: DLC Democrats and Wellstone Democrats agree about 80-90% on Domestic Policy and probably like 60-75% on Foreign Policy.

I know those politicans crave quotes and stories, but part of the DLC training and part of the messaging advice should be don't say anything that sounds like you are picking a fight with your party. Disagree? Fine by me. Suggest a different course? Cool. But really, you should be picking a fight with the Republicans about all the bad stuff they have done and the bad stuff they do to you.

Democrats seem weak to the American public because they appear to cater to polling rather than their gut reaction [supported by facts of course]. Not just on questions of war and peace, but on when an opponent picks a fight or slimes you. Fight back with some dirt of your own by saying "I find it ironic that X's surrogates are calling me a Y without any proof when X has done..." or "Only a coward and a bully throws mud when faced with almost certain defeat, and make no mistake X is a coward trying to bully me. Ladies and Gentlemen, I won't stand for it." Then have your press people leak the complex truth that refutes X's smear.

Either DLCers don't realize how their being played (and have no clue how to fix the problem) or they are seeking the press come hell or high water, or they really are RINOs like some in lefty blogostan believe. I hope it is the first, but fear it is the second.

coin-operated tourism

This appearantly is going to be Utah's choice for the back of the quarter, according to leakers in the Governor's office. This will help people learn about Utah's role in history as the place where the Golden Spike was hammered in, but won't really get that many people out to Promontory Point I bet. Why not focus on the mountains, the red rock formations? Most people have no idea that Utah is home to the Sundance Film festival, dozens of great national parks, dozens of great ski resorts, and the host of the 2002 olympics.

The two other options were that of a beehive or that of a snowboarder. Of the three, the snowboarder would be my vote given the criteria I just mentioned. The Beehive has religious overtones obvious only to those you know about the LDS religion and is confusing to everyone else. Again, tourism is not going to be big for trains. But skiing and other outdoor recreation is. Why not have a skiier/snowboarder on one half of the coin and a hiker near delacate arch on the other. "America's playground" could be the motto, if you are looking for one.

In other Utah news, someone is not running for reelection: Rocky wants $20K for his portrait (5k more than Deedee paid) AND a $4.6M property tax hike. Good luck on that one.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

meet Kanab's most "natural family"

[Photo Credit:Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune]
The Trib found Kanab's most natural family: married in an LDS temple, male breadwinner (a family-practice physician), mother/homemaker (even churns her own butter), and a "full quiver" of children (seven preteen kids - including triplets). And yet, unlike their mayor, they don't think anything less of the "unnatural" family's, in fact, they have greater respect for them than the traditional family:
"We're really lucky to have the family we've got," Jonathan [Bowman, 38] says. "But we really admire people who don't have the personal structure of a family, for the efforts they make to raise their kids and do the best they can."
"Part of the resolution . . . is [men] are supposed to be home builders. Well, I'm a barn builder," he says with a laugh.

You see, Jonathan understands what it is like to be a social outcast. After all, when he did his residency, people thought it was odd that he had (at the time) 5 children. His wife Donna (also 38), understands why some are taking offense at the resolution "People feel very defensive if they feel they are under attack or that they are being judged," she says.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Moussaoui wakes up

Moussaoui Asks to Withdraw Guilty Plea. The paper of record has the goods from the hearing:
Mr. Moussaoui told Federal Judge Leonie M. Brinkema that he claimed to be a member of the plot "even though I knew that was a complete fabrication."

Mr. Moussaoui told Judge Brinkema, in what appeared to be a futile motion to withdraw his plea, that he had not trusted the American legal system because he was not assigned a Muslim lawyer, and that his days in solitary confinement had provoked him to fight that system.

The jurors' decision to spare his life made him look at his situation anew, Mr. Moussaoui said. He said he would welcome a trial where he could show he was not part of the 9/11 plot "because I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial even with Americans as jurors."

The reporter here termed the effort that because the statutory deadline already passed for withdrawal of the a guilty plea? Someone who knows Federal Senencing Laws would really be a hero here in the comments. Or is this just a bit of personal views inserted not so subtley?

Assuming Mousaoui can withdraw his plea (given the jury sentence etc.), this would a terrible setback for the DOJ's end of the War on Terror ™ ...The only guy they have nailed so far was nailed because he was crazy enough to plead guilty without anything in exchange (like no death penalty, or automatic no appeals death for radical muslim would-be marytrs).

This is quickly turning into a landslide loss by the government. Is it becuase the attorney's are Michael Brown-esque? Torture? Lots of inadmissible evidence? No real evidence? What is the deal here.

Utah Congressional Roundup

The 3rd District GOP primary looks to be interesting. The issue that will define the race is immigration. Rep. Cannon is being challenged by the right on this one, where he faced a primary on the issue last time (before it was nearly as prominant of an issue as it is this year). ex-Rep. Cook is also challenging him from the center-right. They debated their ideas for the Deseret News and the others who were in attendence:
Jacob suggested taking away the "incentives" for illegal immigrants, to encourage more legal immigration. At the same time, Jacob touted stricter enforcement of existing laws.
Cannon referred to legislation he is currently involved with that would strengthen U.S. border security, as well as measures to help "innocent children who were dragged here by their parents" to obtain an education while in the United States.
Cook stressed forcing employers to adhere to existing immigration laws, instead of looking the other way. Cook said if employers do that, the number of illegal immigrants coming to America will decrease.
I actually agree with the businessman Cook on this one. If you really want to stop illegal immigation, the only real solution besides helping to improve the economies of the sending countries is to more strictly enforce punishments against companies that hire illegals.

Rep. Matheson, who seems safe despite being in one of the most (probabbly top 5) Republican district in the country, decided to play it even safer this year. In a move that is garnering him much flack from liberal bloggers and go-gos, Matheson voted for the weak loobying reform bill. The idea I guess was to avoid an attack ad, like when Matheson voted for the Medicare bill. Of course, that is not how he explained his vote to the Salt Lake Tribune.

While noting he wished the bill “did more” to reform the laws, Matheson said in an interview, “I think what plays into the decision is, something is better than nothing.”
“If we were less partisan around here we would accomplish more,” he added, But “if there's an opportunity to vote on something, I'm going to vote for it.”

It is true, something is better than nothing. But sometimes something bad is worse than nothing at all. We will see if this bill will delay the necessary reform process or if it is just an intermediate step.