Friday, October 24, 2008

the ad man cometh

The Utah Democratic Party is starting its last minute push to win some seats in the state legislature, by using all of the scandals by Republican members to paint all Republican legislators as part of the problem:
"Bribery, intimidation and corruption," the stern-voiced narrator says, backed by menacing music. "These are the words of spy novels. Now they're being used by the local media to describe Utah's legislative leaders."
It cites the Legislature's failure to enact campaign finance reform, restrict gifts and consider a bill establishing an independent ethics commission.
"It makes you wonder, are Utah's legislative leaders simply out of touch or do they have something to hide?" the ad says to the sound of a door slamming. It then says Democrats are an alternative.
The party's pollster said that support for ethics reform among Utah voters is the highest the pollster has seen anywhere in the country, [Party Chair Wayne] Holland said.
As usual, SL County GOP Chair James "Pay-Day Lender" Evans is spinning furiously, calling the ads (Dems have flyers and TV targeted at other seats too) "laughable." Evans, the same guy who tried to take down now-Sheriff Winder by using a highly edited collection of "gaffes"--which were actually Winder describing what not to do--should know about laughable campaign tactics.
The ads come after two prosecutors recommended a grand jury inquiry into the conduct of former Rep. Mark Walker and state treasurer candidate Richard Ellis and the House Ethics Committee dismissed dueling complaints against Republican Rep. Greg Hughes and Democratic Rep. Phil Riesen.
These prosecutors consist one Dem and one Repub, and don't hail from places where Ellis or Walker have their political power base. This makes me believe that maybe there really is something to the charges of ethics violations against Hughes and Curtis and Bramble and...well you get the idea. The Dems are using the media and the ethics process to go after this pols, but given the past evidence of ethical misconduct by these pols' peers, shouldn't the Dems do this?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

failing to achieve false equivalance

State Rep. Greg Hughes, who may not be holding onto his seat come November, filed a retaliatory ethics complaint against the guy who leaked the story Hughes' ethics troubles to the news media. The idea was to discredit one of his critics (he has also claimed that the former state rep. who testified that he offered her campaign contributions in exchange for voting for the voucher bill is making it up to get back into politics). So far, so bad for Hughes.
A complaint of ethical misconduct against Rep. Phil Riesen was dismissed Wednesday, as the House Ethics Committee determined the complaint did not allege a violation worth considering.
The vote to not proceed and hear testimony on the complaint came down on a 4-to-4 vote, with the four Democrats on the committee voting not to hear testimony.
And if Hughes got a slap on the wrist for what he might have done, why should Reisen face a stiffer penalty? For tattling on his colleague? That's what the Republican members of the committee were mad about, and it shows how out of touch they are with reality.

Hughes is threatening to sue Reisen civilly for defamation. The trouble for him is that public figures can be slandered and defamed for lots of things with little or no basis in fact, unless the speaker acts with "actual malice" - knowledge that statements are false or in reckless disregard of the truth - is alleged and proved by the public figure. So good luck with that.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sarah Palin 2012

No, I am not endorsing. Rather, I noticed that Palin has decided to start running for the GOP nomination for president now. She is actively disagreeing with John McCain on Gay Marriage and overall campaign tactics. John Edwards vented his strategy disagreement more quietly--as a source in a news story for instance--while Palin is happy voice her suggested alternatives to the media while the cameras are "rolling" so to speak.

It is almost as if she positioning herself to run next time already, believing McCain will lose badly. But I don't think GOP primary voters are dumb enough to nominate her.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Change IS coming to Utah, part deux

In 2006, the Democratic wave lapped at the Wasatch Mountains. This year, the wave of voter enthusiasm is back...and it isn't because people are excited to pull the lever for McCain/Palin or any of the legislators up on Utah's Capitol Hill.
Would-be voters arrived by the thousands, filling out registrations in their front seats while the Clerk's Office moved its operation outdoors to accommodate the last-day crush.
"We have always known it was going to be a high-turnout year," Deputy Clerk Jason Yocom said as prospective voters
Darren Dufield of Salt Lake City fills out a voter's registration form on his motorcycle as he joins the long line of people seeking to sign up to vote Monday at the Salt Lake County Government Center. (Scott Sommerdorf/The Salt Lake Tribune)
jammed roads in and around the government complex near 2100 South and State Street.
Salt Lake County is bracing for big numbers at the polls. The Clerk's Office has registered more than 35,500 new voters since last November, pushing the election rolls past 517,000 people. And that's not counting Monday's registrations.
Similar trends have cropped up elsewhere along the Wasatch Front.
Close to 2,000 people clogged the Utah County Clerk's Office on Monday - so many that phones went unanswered and voice mail maxed out, even with 30 temporary workers on hand.
The county had 181,000 registered voters in February and likely will reach 250,000 after Monday's forms are processed, according to Clerk-Auditor Bryan Thompson. That's a jump of 69,000 voters.
What's striking, Thompson added, is the number of new voters between 18 and 24 years old. Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University turned in a combined 4,600 registrations from campus campaigns.
And, in Davis County, the clerk reports 25,000 more registered voters this year than Election Day 2004.
"We've got lines in the hallway," said Clerk-Auditor Steve Rawlings. "We've never had this much interest in an election in the [18] years that I've been with the county."
Bumper-to-bumper registrations continued through the day in Salt Lake County, where the Clerk's Office projected more than 5,000 voter registrations Monday alone - a single-day surge that officials handled in fast-food fashion with a parking lot drive-through.
I am not saying that Obama has a shot at Utah or that Dems will make big pick ups this year state-wide. But there should be some surprises. One of the most interesting vote locally for me will be the Sevier County coal plant, which the Utah Supreme Court just allowed by striking down a law as unconstitutional.

Will the good people of Sevier County vote with their pocketbooks to create jobs building and operating the coal-fired electricity plant? Or will they vote with their lungs?

Don't get too cocky Utah Democrats

When I saw this bit of news, I wondered who decided this would be a good idea?
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is coming to Utah to campaign for the Democratic Party. The New York Democrat, who made a run for the party's presidential nomination, is scheduled to appear Saturday at a pre-election rally in West Valley City.
Sure, it is in West Valley, a Democratic strong hold, and sure the crowd should be one that loves HRC--but this is really tempting fate.

There is a reason Obama won the state's primary, and it isn't just because he had staff and good volunteers in the state. It is because Utahns never really liked the Clintons. Bill came in third place Utah in 1992, and the confirmation of his philandering in 1998 didn't help him or Hillary here, unlike in other states.

My first year of law school, I went to a student social event held in someone's condo rec center in Bountiful and we played Apples to Apples, a fun game that I recommend.

Anyway, the game has one person put down an adjective and the other players but down nouns they think "best fit" that adjective in the mind of the person who put down the adjective. Someone put down "evil," and a student chose "Hillary Clinton" as the best fit for this party game. Everyone but my Wellesley alum wife and I agreed that it was a pretty good choice (we bit our tongues of course).

The point is, Dems in Utah have the chance at a pretty good year. There are a number of legislative seats that could go their way, partly because of vouchers/ethics and partly because Obama looks lose by a much smaller margin than Kerry did. Don't blow it by inviting a national Democrat which certain segments of Utah's population loathe unconditionally. Of all the national Democratic figures to invite to Utah, she would be the last one I would suggest. Is Chris Dodd, with his Utahn wife, too busy?