One Utah County Republican who has been following the "Fabulous Five" controversy closely, Kip Meacham, commented on my blog saying:
Thanks for this post. Clearly we as the Republican Party have issues to address. Shining light on the issues is how people will affect change.But now I will highlight another one the delegates' complaints because it is essentially about gaming the convention:
In the aftermath of the event, I find the Party Leadership disallowing questions from the delegates to the candidates in the venue unconscionable.
How are the delegates to make an informed vote without dialogue?
How can there be dialogue without questions?
This "thinking for the delegates" mentality is unbelieveable and unacceptable. Either the Party must open up the debate and the inquiry, or it should cease engaging in sham events.
Among all the other complaints about insider dealing in the Utah County candidate nomination system this year, add one about state Republican Chairman Stan Lockhart's daughter being elected as a delegate in a neighborhood caucus where she didn't live at the time.First off, it is dumb to give your teenaged college daughter a delegate seat when there are many other wanting to spend an afternoon at a convention. Why? Because now you have just pissed off a person who would have knocked doors, manned phone banks, driven people to the polls etc. for you. Second, she obviously supports her dad (she isn't a Giulliani after all) and can be there as a non-voting supporter and still gin up votes for him without voting herself. Third, is Rep. Lockhart really so worried about the delegate count that he has to stick in his daughter? Are all state legislators from Utah County this out of touch with even the activists within their own party, let alone their regular constituents?
It appears to violate the plain language of the rules, though party leaders insist it doesn't.
According to state and Utah County bylaws, caucus participants must turn 18 by November's general election and reside in the precinct where they caucus.
Hannah Lockhart, who turns 18 in July, lives with her parents in Provo, said her dad. But she moves to her new precinct before the county's April 26 convention to attend Brigham Young University for spring term.
"Our rules say you must live within the precinct you represent when the convention takes place - that's the key." [said Mariann Monnahan, who chairs the Utah County Republican Party]
Other GOP faithful disagree, countering that residency refers to where someone lives at the time of the caucuses, which were held in neighborhoods around the state on March 25.
"If not, I could show up anywhere and say, 'I'm moving into the precinct' and get to vote without ever having lived there," said Dave Irvine, an attorney who has been active in the Republican Party for years.
"Regrettably, the rules that apply to everyone else ought to apply to the party chairman."
To be clear, this has nothing to do with the nature of the Republican Party itself, only with the nature of any group that has been in power for so long that it neglects why it is in power, and abuses such power. This year promises to bring new blood into the Utah legislature, which will hopefully serve as a wakeup call to the moribund political leadership in places like Utah County.