Friday, April 24, 2009

Utah's AG Solicits (Tea) Party Network

by Michael Orton
Salt Lake City--

E-subscriber's to Utah's republican party database have received the following from Bob Bennett's primary challenger:

Message from
Attorney General Mark Shurtleff

Dear friend,

The federal government has been spending recklessly and putting our children into debt before they can even vote. On April 15th, I had the great honor of speaking at Salt Lake City's tea party, with Congressmen Chaffetz and Bishop, about the the rightful role of government and our constitution. You can find my remarks here. (ed. note: also Blogspot)

The hundreds of thousands that gathered at tea parties held across the nation mark a resurgence of Reagan conservatism. The success of the events was due to the ability to organize quickly using some of the newest social networking sites; such as facebook and twitter.

These tea parties were not the end of a movement. They are just the beginning. We must continue to stay connected, stay organized, and jointly fight to restore Republican principles to all levels of limited government.

I invite you to sign up for my monthly newsletter (by sending an email
here) and to view both my office and campaign websites.

Also please join me as a friend on
facebook, linkedin and twitter.

Attorney General Mark Shurtleff

Thus, one of the reddest of the red states cultivates the electorate. Those who observe the political landscape in Utah will be prompted to note that the senate election in the beehive state may be decided at the party primary, scheduled for September 15. Staff at Senator Bennett's office were not immediately available for comment.

April 30, 2009

Accessing local media to clarify his decision, Mr. Shurtleff has acknowledged giving his wife a week to talk him out of the decision to challenge Senator Bennett in the primary. Shurtleff indicated that she has taken the effort seriously, downloading the days that the senate is in session and literally puting them "on the table," to illustrate the numerous times that their family would be without him.

May 12, 2009

It is widely believed that Utah's Attorney General will declare his intention to run for the republican party's nomination for U.S. Senate next week, on May 20.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mitt Romney and Senator Bob Bennett in SLC

by Michael Orton
Salt Lake City --

Mitt Romney came to Utah's capitol this week to help U.S. Senator Robert Bennett do some fundraising. It was political payback time with one of Utah's favorite candidates, and while Bennett may face a primary challenger in Utah's Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, the friendly crowd was hoping to hear that Romney would consider another run for the White House in 2012. When asked if he had ruled out a run for the presidency at the end of Barack Obama's first term, Romney said that he was "leaving that door open, but I'm not walking through it."

MITT ROMNEY (l) and U.S. Senator BOB BENNETT (r)

Mitt Romney's mission at the Rose Wagner Theater on Tuesday morning was to lend his vigorous endorsement and political star power to the 75 year-old Bennett, who is the ranking republican on the senate rules committee. As such, Bennett provides some legislative and appropriations traffic direction and enforcement during a time when his party is regrouping for 2010.

The largely homogeneous crowd of nearly 500 first heard from Bennett on topics ranging from inflation and his recollection of a "21% interest rate" during the Carter administration ("Jimmy Carter is the only president we've ever had whose approval rating was lower than the prime rate") his criticism of Barack Obama whom, Bennett feels, "is still campaigning" and has surrounded himself with professors instead of "real bankers and businessmen." In less than four minutes, Ronald Reagan's name was mentioned eight times during Bennett's warm-up remarks. Then Romney entered from the curtain at center stage.

The Dominant Political Culture in Utah

Playing to the dominant culture assembled in the theater, Romney included an anecdote involving Neal Maxwell, "who," according to Romney, "used to be the head of the state education department," To most of this crowd, Romney didn't have to mention that Maxwell was an apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints before succumbing to cancer in 2004. But rather than heading the "state education department," Maxwell was actually the head of the LDS Church Educational System (not a public education department) and a former legislative aide to Bennett.

While the two were onstage together, Bennett and Romney responded to pre-submitted questions about the "state of the economy," (Bennett says that of all the world's economies, "our economy is the strongest and the most resilient and will be the first to come out of this.") Questions included the Obama stimulus elements, and to "card check," the proposed union facilitation legislation. Romney said that "card check" would be "devastating" to American business while Bennett warned that within the stimulus plan, "not all tax cuts are created equal" and that the President's "mantra" repeats "a stimulus that is targeted, timely and temporary." (Bennett wants permanent tax cuts instead of those expiring in 18 months). "I've voted against every single proposal he's [Obama] made," Bennett crowed, while the republican crowd enthusiastically approved. During the 2008 election season, Obama did not campaign in Utah.

Energy on America's Public Lands

Because Utah includes over 20 million acres of federally-managed public lands, the senior senator mentioned his interest in revisiting Utah's cancelled oil and gas leases that were suspended by a newly-appointed Secretary of the Interior. Ken Salazar is currently in need of a staff, and a not-too-veiled threat was issued as Bennett recounted, "I told him (Salazar) that he wasn't getting a deputy secretary until we get those leases back." Again, the crowd approved. "We're gonna see how that works out," the senator offered with a wry smile. Bennett justified the confirmation contest because of "a vast amount of natural gas in the west," that he feels "needs to get to market to ensure America's energy security." Utah lawmakers are currently brainstorming the design of a natural gas pipeline that would share easements with Interstate 15 which bisects the state. In addition, plans for a nuclear power facility near Green River, Utah have also been announced by Mike Noel, a state representative from Kanab. But "what they're [the Obama administration] saying with respect to energy policy on public lands in the west is outrageous," Bennett said.

At one point in his remarks, Bennett seemed to begin a gracious compliment about the nation's 44th President when he warmly acknowledged, "Now, we have a new, young president whose personal popularity is very high... and, having come to know him in the senate, I think his personal popularity deserves to be very high, he is a real human being." And then, continuing in halting tones for emphasis and gazing over his glasses, the three-term Utah senator brought out the razor-sharp, partisan knife: "He's a good, solid citizen... who has absolutely no personal experience."

(c)2009 Michael Orton; all rights reserved

Video and sound files available