June 7th, 2008

The Utah Congressional Delegation: Establishment Sellouts


photo credit: jmdspk

This op-ed article by Utah state senator Bill Hickman is absolutely spot on.

Utah’s congressional delegation sold out long ago to the establishment. Having ensconced themselves in the status quo, they have come to feel secure from and supported by the so-called conservative base that continues to put them in office. Ignorant voters in Utah, most likely unaware of their representatives’ political catastrophes (both of commission and omission), continue to look the other way so long as the media doesn’t convince them that their leaders have committed something either blatantly illegal or immoral.

And since we can’t count on the majority of the media to do their job, the delegation rests easy—content knowing that their reneged promises, their abhorrent allegiances, their political absurdities, and their unconstitutional garbage of a voting record will not be the focus of any news broadcast, local or otherwise. So much for investigative journalism.

Name recognition and political connections are crucial for such individuals, for this is principal avenue through which sheeple determine who they will politically support. So long as other “trusted leaders” are endorsing an individual (who has large roadside signs and billboards!), the sheeple will likely follow.

Senator Hatch was elected to the U.S. Senate in his first attempt at public office, defeating three-term incumbent Frank Moss (a Democrat). He campaigned on the idea of creating term limits for Senator, claiming that Senators (including his opponent Moss) had lost touch with their constituents. “Senator, you have served the people of Utah for 18 years; it’s time to retire,” Hatch said during his campaign. How’s that for irony?

Senator Bennett’s story, while dealing with fewer terms, is not that different. In 1992, Bennett promised the delegates that he would serve only one term in office. “Politics shouldn’t be a career. You should get in, make your contribution and then get out,” he said. He is currently serving his third term. When asked by reporter in 1999 if he would be retiring after his second term, Bennett replied:

I don’t want to start stretching the definition of words, such as when ‘is’ is, but when I ran in ’92, I never made a firm commitment to retire after a certain period or signed any pledge. . . .

When this term is up, I’ll see how my health is, what the political situation is, and then make a decision as to whether I run again or not.

We all know Lord Acton’s maxim that teaches how power corrupts, and here we have prima facie evidence illustrating its truth.

I personally oppose term limits, for I think that a free people should be able to dictate who they want to represent them, for better or for worse. Regardless, these two sellouts both claimed that they would serve for a short time, have grown to enjoy the power they wield, and now will not give it up. This wouldn’t be so bad if they were doing a good job, but as Senator Hickman’s article states, they are absolutely not.

Joseph Smith had this to say on this type of situation:

…let the people of the whole Union, like the inflexible Romans, whenever they find a promise made by a candidate that is not practiced as an officer, hurl the miserable sycophant from his exaltation. (Joseph Smith, via Quoty)

Amen, brother Joseph.

18 Responses to “The Utah Congressional Delegation: Establishment Sellouts”

  1. Helaman
    June 8, 2008 at 12:47 pm #

    I remember some time ago, send a letter to Hatch about something I was irked about that he had voted for – I believe it was ill conceived legislation that would enable the government to come through your computer and check files and destroy them if they violated copyright laws – or something like that.

    He [his office] sent me a response and basically told me that they didn’t care what I thought, and didn’t need my support.

    I really have a hard time with any LDS (and I use it loosely) in any government poisition. It seems contradictory in nature these days. Yes I’m generalizing…but it’s all I see.

    But what do you expect from a group of people who, do not rely on any public service, who vote their own raises, and vote their longevity?

    Ultimate power corrupts ultimately.

  2. June 8, 2008 at 3:45 pm #

    Connor….The problem is that we no longer elect people to represent us. It all about big money of the Corporation. Thats the reality and our role as citizens is to be patriotic and vote..some democracy. With the marraige of government & big business, the WE THE PEOPLE got left in the dust. Term limits might help. Peace brother…its good to know other Utahans are out there fighting for truth justice and the old American way

  3. June 9, 2008 at 8:05 am #

    I totally agree (well, except that universally-applied term limits MIGHT help). I’m active in politics in Utah and find (like most people) the longer someone is in office, the less responsive they become. Hatch? Forget it. Cannon? No way. It’s not just the Senators who have “sold out”. It ticks me off that “they” assume they are shoe-ins because why? Because they’ve been there for so long? Don’t change horses mid-stream? There’s a REASON a president can only serve two consecutive terms . . . .

    Give me change, give me someone who will REALLY represent my conservative views, not someone who mouths the words and votes the other way. I’m voting for change on June 24th when I go vote for Jason Chaffetz in the 3rd congressional district. And I’ll think seriously about supporting term limits if those in office ever propose a bill (ha!) to do that.

  4. Helaman
    June 9, 2008 at 12:06 pm #

    who moved my cheese?

    that phrase sums up most americans on how and who they vote for…

    I doubt you’ll ever see a senator/congressmen ever get a term limit put in place, in fact I wonder if they just bring it up to look good to the people, knowing full well it will never get through.

  5. June 9, 2008 at 12:12 pm #

    Anybody that’s in district 3 should vote for Jason Chaffetz in the Republican primary on June 24. Chris Cannon needs to be knocked out.

  6. Connor
    June 9, 2008 at 1:34 pm #

    A friend pointed me to this month-old blog post by Rep. Chris Cannon which discusses (well, barely) why Cannon thinks seniority is important. I commented and, since it has to do with this post, thought I would post my comment here as well.


    Rep. Cannon,

    From the date on this post, it looks like I might be chiming in a little late. But despite my tardiness in this conversation, I feel that I have a few important things to say. It’s likely you’ll never read this comment, but few elected leaders have the time or desire to read their constituents’ letters, comments, and thoughts anyways. Ah, the efficiency of a good form letter.

    Your post intrigues me, for the title alone seems to convey a tinge of Orwellian doublespeak, if not a fundamental misunderstanding of what true leadership consists of.

    You here pay homage to Ezra Taft Benson’s magnificent document titled “The Proper Role of Government”. You even go far as to select a portion that seemingly fits in with your own platform and agenda.

    However, you apparently glossed over the other parts that, as some other commenters have illustrated, clearly rebut your ideas of sound government. If you’ll re-read the article, you’ll see that the first subsection is titled “Government Should Be Based Upon Sound Principles”. Notice that last word, for its importance is paramount in understanding how government is properly implemented and managed. Benson did not choose seniority as the focus, nor practicality (which, as I argue here, is a far worse position to take). Instead, he emphasized principles.

    You begin your post by claiming that “the benefits [sic] of seniority is the ability to influence new members” regarding government’s proper role. I’m sure you’ll recall a certain scripture which teaches us the importance of first obtaining the word before declaring it. The best person to teach the proper role of government is one who not only understands it fully, but lives it. I believe that your record in office makes you a substandard teacher of what government’s proper role truly is.

    You may have already read it, but if not, I invite you to read this recent op-ed piece written by Utah state senator Bill Hickman (my comments here). See what he has to say about the seniority you so desire and praise.

    You then mention those two magical blogging words—Ron Paul—that are sure to increase your website’s traffic. Claiming that his approach is to “simply vote NO on everything”, you demonstrate your ignorance regarding Paul’s voting record, as well as a misunderstanding of what principled (there’s that word again) votes imply. Voting no for something implies a “yes” vote for its opposite. When Paul (and others) vote against a piece of legislation granting the federal government increased power over education, for example, he is simply voting yes for allowing local and state governments to retain control and autonomy. Not only that, but by misrepresenting Paul’s voting record (claiming that he votes no on everything), you make the same blunder of which you accuse your opponent—that of misrepresenting one’s voting record. I invite you to actually look up Paul’s record and observe what his “yes” votes are. You may observe patterns based on principle.

    Now, to your “third way”. You claim that the “slow, steady, patient, and principled” are those who effect “real change”. Going so far as to mention that “P word” we’ve been discussing, you here imply that you are slow (saying “it may shock you that I don’t like how long it takes”), steady (“many of us continue to fight the good fight”), and patient (“I will continue to fight to make the change we all want”). But where is your explanation of how you follow principle? Show us a pattern from your voting record, if you please, demonstrating the principles or proper government upon which you base your vote. I myself have failed to deduce any thus far.

    A more recent blog post on your site highlights your allegedly “conservative” voting record. Using a single word (that has changed drastically over time; we used to call ourselves liberals) to categorize a collection of votes is hardly accurate, nor representative. As a commenter on that post illustrates, some of your votes show that while you may fit the modern Republican party’s version of “conservative”, you certainly spit in the face of traditional conservatism (preached by the two men you cite in this article, Benson and Paul).

    So, what are we left with? Your article concludes by referencing seniority and then going on to talk about a bunch of other things. What was your point? Are you trying to say the word a few times so as to subliminally implant it in the minds of your readers, hoping it will sprout into a reason for which they will support you? Should we vote you back into office merely to have you moved up a notch on the totem pole?

    I think not.

    Remember that “P word?” We Latter-day Saints, who make up a large portion of your voting bloc, have been counseled to uphold “good, wise, and honest” leaders. Wisdom, in my mind, implies a consistent, principled stance that manifests its good judgment over time. Additionally, true leadership is determined not by seniority, but by integrity, virtue, and a just cause.

    Towards the end of his article, Benson wrote:

    We have strayed far afield. We must return to basic concepts and principles – to eternal verities. There is no other way. The storm signals are up. They are clear and ominous.

    A return to basic concepts and principles is much needed, and it is something you have failed to facilitate. You’ve had your chance. You’ve demonstrated your inability to “fight the good fight” (or more appropriately, the correct fight). What we need to change things are not more “slow, steady, and patient” politicians, but principled ones. In some political circles, they’re called “radicals”.

    Know of any?

  7. June 9, 2008 at 4:41 pm #

    The current delegation is entrenched and all part of the “good old boy network” that seems to thrive at every level of government. I will be voting for Jason Chaffetz on June 24 — everything he says and does rings true to the Constitution, to the proper role of government, and even in his campaign planning and spending he has shown that he has his own way of doing things — organized, prudent. AND . . . . he listens!

  8. Helaman
    June 9, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    Connor, your reponse to Cannon’s blog made me lol! That’s a hearty ‘here here’ from me on that…

    But I still think you’ll get a reponse (if you do) something akin to my Hatch reponse, and I doubt quoting LDS doctrine and scripture to him will make a difference. I still feel that an LDS person in office, has given it up [the Gospel]…

  9. Connor
    June 9, 2008 at 6:39 pm #

    I still feel that an LDS person in office, has given it up [the Gospel]…

    I’m not so sure I agree with this statement. The majority of the time we do see officials lying, breaking promises, misleading, and voting for things that stand at odds with established law (the Constitution). But I believe that there have been a number of Latter-day Saints in office (both elected and appointed) that have remained firm in the gospel, despite the pressure to cave in on any number of principles.

  10. Jeff T
    June 9, 2008 at 6:54 pm #

    a number of Latter-day Saints in office (both elected and appointed) that have remained firm in the gospel

    President Benson himself being one of them.

  11. Helaman
    June 10, 2008 at 6:55 am #

    Alright, so I generalized some (hahaha a lot)…I mean more specifically the current batch, and even more specifically Hatch and Romney, and there’s probably others too…

  12. Travis
    June 10, 2008 at 8:32 am #

    This is partly why I am throwing my support behind Jason Chaffetz. We have too many people how are involved in the “establishment.” It’s time to return the Republican Party back to conservative principles.

  13. Bradley Reneer
    June 26, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    I have mixed feelings about the term limits idea. In any case it would require a constitutional amendment. I doubt that two thirds of both houses of congress will ever pass such a thing. The only hope is to have three fourths of the states pass the amendment.

    So, how do we get that started. Probably started AGAIN since I’m sure it’s been tried before.

  14. June 26, 2008 at 7:48 pm #

    Dear Connor,

    I love your clever response to Cannon’s article. I add my Amens. I was glad to see Cannon defeated, but I don’t believe all our problems are solved with Chaffetz. Jason is a great guy and a great speaker, but he is supporting Cain and is not as educated on the Federal Reserve and the United Nations as he needs to be. In other words, Jason is not a strict Contstitutionalist. I believe Jim Noorlander would be a much better choice than Chaffetz. Jim has plenty of knowledge under his belt and plenty of integrity too. Can’t we all get behind the right candidate because he is the best one? Jason is good, but he’s not the best. In order for him to really be what we want him to be, he’s got some changing, learning and rethinking to do.

    Beverly Kingsford

  15. Connor
    December 6, 2008 at 9:23 pm #

    Skeletor is already planning to strike once more. We’ve got work to do.

  16. December 7, 2008 at 8:55 am #

    My position on term limits is that no one should be allowed to run for public office while holding public office. So the best anyone could do is get in every other term.

  17. Connor
    September 19, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    Oh, irony of ironies (or, just plain ol’ hypocrisy). Here’s Senator Hatch clamoring for the position of seniority. So much for his “it’s time to retire” line…

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