Political Earthquake in Utah

When an earthquake hits, once the shaking stops, those still standing breathe a sign of relief.  The uneducated assume the danger has passed and go on about their business.  The wise, head for an outdoor clearing or seek appropriate shelter knowing full well that the first tremor can be a foreshock of a much bigger earthquake to follow.

On Saturday, a political earthquake occurred in Utah.   Senator Robert Bennett, an 18-year veteran and a member of the Upper Chamber’s Republican ruling elite, lost his bid for another six-year term, when he was  denied his party’s nomination at the state convention in Salt Lake City.

It’s hard enough to defeat an incumbent congressman in a primary and next to impossible to defeat a sitting senator!  Was this the “big one” in 2010, or simply a harbinger of things to come? 

Wise lawmakers of all political stripes realize this is likely a foreshock for the fault lines in both political parties are long and deep.

Average voters, like those delegates to Utah’s state convention are no longer content to kiss the rings of incumbent politicians in the hope that these office holders will then throw them a few scraps from the table of the federal government.   If fact, today’s independent-minded voters want to scrap a large portion of that table, rather than gather a few crumbs that fall in their direction.

Many have organized, protested or, at the very least, sympathized with the tea-party movement. Yet they cannot be defined by it.  These are average citizens: soccer moms, shop keepers and small business owners who have never before been politically active.  They are parents and grandparents who realize it is wrong to rob from the next generation, or generations to come, in order to pay for the excesses of today.

Bennett was the perfect political prince.  His father was a senator.  His grandfather was a president of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints  – an important pedigree in Mormon-dominated Utah.  Although, Bennett voted right on his church’s hot-button issues, he completely lost touch with the voters on fiscal issues.  After gaining a seat on the Appropriates Committee, Bennett quickly became part of the spending problem in Washington.

Fortunately, God-fearing Americans in Utah and elsewhere are beginning to realize that robbing taxpayers is a moral issue too!   No longer can we afford to send a dollar to Washington and have our elected representatives take their cut before sending us back fifty cents.

No, Bennett and all the others never take their cuts directly.   They hand money out to their friends who benefit from seemingly “worthwhile” projects the voters back home never would have approved.  The recipients of the money for these pork barrel projects are most grateful and give generously to keep these incumbents in power.  It’s a vicious circle and voters in Utah said, “Enough!”

The aftershocks from this one will be felt all the way to the top.  Ever wonder how Mitch McConnell, another big spender who is as exciting as warmed over meatloaf, has remained the GOP leader in the Senate?

Bennett and McConnell are joined at the hip, politically.  Bennett served as an unelected counsel to the leadership and was often dispatched by McConnell to lean on other GOP senators who were squeamish about voting for bills that were unpopular with the electorate.

The earthquakes that follow Utah could be bigger, much bigger.   Next week in Kentucky, voters may reject the GOP establishment’s anointed candidate, Trey Grayson, in favor of the tea-party-backed candidate, Rand Paul.

But, the tea-party effect is being felt by Democrats as well.   The “Blue Dogs,” who talked like fiscal conservatives but failed to walk the walk are being called out.  Many feel the tea-party movement was responsible for House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey’s decision to retire.

Up to this point, the tea-party movement has been misunderstood and dismissed.  Not anymore!

For most tea-party activists, it’s not about forming another completely separate political party.  It’s about encouraging average citizens – like the ones in Utah – to rise up and take back control of the two major political parties we have now.

7 thoughts on “Political Earthquake in Utah

  1. Jane, you are right. The Tea Party movement is as much misunderstood by the Republicans as the Democrats. Maybe even less understood by the Republicans.

    The Tea Party is not about a “smaller” government. It is much about a “small” government. If they cancel one “pork” project, there is a smaller government. If they cancel all “pork” projects, we are on the way to a “small” government.

    Maybe a new congress will cancel the lifetime retirement handout for congressmen and they will finally understand where the money is coming from and that we no longer want to pay for their excesses.

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  2. All hail to the TEA PARTY for getting rid of BENNETT. I am a Utah Republican- YOU ARE NEXT ORRIN!!!!! Start counting your DAYS to 2012. Especially if you give Kagan a pass.

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  3. Jane,

    It was very nice to see a RINO such as Bennett be defeated. Bennett had Washington insider establishment written all over him, and he undoubtedly is shocked that he has been turned out. Because of career status quo politicians, I had reluctantly come around to term limits for politicians, however, if the voters do their jobs every election, then term limits are not necessary to weed out the bad ones, and meanwhile, the good ones can stay longer.

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  4. Joined my local Tea Party….getting active politically while I still have a voice! I have found a political online community site that allows everyone to fax Justaces for free. If you are involved in that kind of thing…check it out at http://AmericanVoice.Com.! Also great site I will come back!

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  5. Jane,
    I’m not sure you appreciate just how huge the earthquake may be. For a few years now I’ve been explaining to folks it is not about “reducing” the deficit. Reducing the deficit buys us nothing but a slower disaster. I don’t care to reduce it at all. If I live beyond my means I go broke. The US is very nearly broke. 30 years ago I lost a $70,000 a year job and took one for $22,000. A harsh adjustment in circumstances but my family survived by living within our new means. The US can survive only by totally eliminating the deficit. If we don’t start running a surplus, the economy will collapse just like the EU economy is collapsing. It took a world war to get out of the last great depression. I really hate to think that is what it will take for this coming one. The US can come to fiscal responsibility by following the constitution, eliminating unconstitutional branches of government, and allowing citizens to keep their wealth. That way leads to progress. Trying to spend our way out of economic trouble is exactly the same as an alcoholic trying to drink their way to sobriety. The result is tragically predictable. I don’t care how nobel a cause, if we can’t afford it, then we can’t spend money on it. Oh, and just in case someone doesn’t realize it, it is NOT the government’s money. It is our money, yours and mine. Telling me the “government” can’t “afford” to let me keep what is mine tells me the government is a tyrant and should be opposed. Read the papers written by the founding fathers about tyranny. It is sobering.
    One last suggestion for anyone who enjoys the money the “government” sends them after they’ve filed their income tax returns. Look at your forms and see how much money was withheld last year in taxes. Now, set down and write a check for that amount to your favorite charity. Shocking, isn’t it? You sent that much money to the government last year. Do you really think they spent it more wisely that you could have spent it? If you actually had to write such a check every year would you feel so good about your “refund” check?
    Just for clarity, I am a “mid-level, government functionary” so my salary comes from tax dollars. I do not understand how any citizen could decide that I know better how to spend their money than they do. The “government” doesn’t care about anything except growing power for the individual parts of the government. The higher up the food chain, the more power. It is an abstract organization that does not, indeed can not, care about individuals. If you value America, please never vote for anyone who has ever increased the size of government at any level.

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