Friday, May 09, 2008

the second wave?

In 2006, voters' dissatisfaction with Bush, and the economy, the war, etc. lead to the Democrats regaining control in both chambers of Congress after a dozen years in exile (notwithstanding the brief period that Dems pretended to have control in the Jeffords 50-49-1 Senate). It was a wave of discontentment that swept incumbent Republicans out of office (and nearly cost a dozen more their jobs) all over the country...except in Utah. That wave seems to have lapped up against the Wasatch Mountains, the Green and Colorado Rivers and western desert.

Amazingly, things look even worse for the Republican Party this year nationally. At best, they will only lose 3 more Senate seats and two dozen House seats. At worst, Democrats could have a filibuster-proof majority in the US Senate. Even more incredibly, Utah Republicans are getting concerned about their prospects.
Perhaps worried that President Bush's poor approval ratings and a dragging economy could harm GOP candidates in November, the Utah Republican Party is starting a public campaign showing what is right about Republicanism and how GOP officeholders have brought prosperity, freedom and well-managed government to Utahns.
The new program comes as Republicans meet in their state convention Saturday in Orem. There, thousands of state delegates will talk about immigration and other political issues, as well as cast ballots for intra-party contests in the 2nd and 3rd Congressional Districts.
Meanwhile, state party bosses want to remind Utahns why they've voted Republican for years.

Party leaders have faced criticism this election season as a number of GOP candidates and their supporters claim the party bosses favored incumbent Republicans, especially in a number of intra-party legislative races.
GOP state party chairman Stan Lockhart will submit a resolution before state delegates Saturday that outlines "what Republicans believe." It echoes what he told the Salt Lake County GOP convention last Saturday, that "it is not by accident" that Utah is one of the best managed states in the nation and that a number of Utah communities are rated as fine places to live and raise a family.

"We are going to get out our message — we have the best economy in the nation, we are the best managed state, most livable, best for the family, best place to start a business. Republicans helped create this atmosphere."
So what is the Utah Republican party's quasi-platform?
It quotes passages from the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. But it also makes statements of principles that are not found in those documents, as well. Among the principles:
  • A belief in God and a government based on "moral foundation with honesty, integrity, morality and accountability."

  • "Individual religious expression, including prayer, in public and private."

  • Individuals, families and charities should help the needy, but "support a government safety net if all else fails."

  • There should be public, private and homeschooling education, with competitive excellence in education.

  • Simplified tax code with elimination of the estate tax and a broad-based tax rate.

  • Environment, air, water and land are the heart of existence and must be protected "through balanced management."

  • Oppose abortion except to "preserve the life of the mother or in cases of rape or incest."

  • Traditional family is the fundamental unit of society, with parents responsible for bringing up their children.
I wonder what the party's leadership expects to achieve with this document and what they plan to do to tout it? Or will they simply try to contrast it with the Utah Democratic Party's platform?

The phrase "competitive excellence in education" will likely be construed by Democrats (and perhaps Republican challengers) as official party support for vouchers, which the voters resoundingly rejected last fall all over the state.

Similarly, "honesty, integrity, morality and accountability" can be used as a bludgeon to compare certain incumbents ethical lapses, and more importantly the lack of ethics enforcement by the legislature's own or by the Attorney General.

Does this mean I think that the GOP in Utah will lose control of the legislature or any statewide offices? Extremely doubtful. But I do think that in this political climate, (additional) incumbents will fall in November.

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