Friday, June 11, 2010

The Sutherland Debate -- What I have heard.

I was supposed to be in Salt Lake for the Senate debate at the Sutherland Institute, but circumstances that were beyond my control kept me from making it.

The only account I have read so far has been that of Tribune writer Robert Gehrke. From what I read in Gehrke's column the debate was just how you'd expect a GOP Senate debate to go down. Both candidates trying to prove they are Ronald Reagan reincarnated. There were some interesting clarifications made by both candidates regarding their views.

The biggest revelations came in regards to both candidates tough campaign positions on illegal immigration. Both Mike Lee and Bridgewater concede that illegal immigration's seriousness as a crime is more a civil infraction than that of a felony. Paul Mero posed a fairly enlightening hypothetical:

Assume you have an ecclesiastical calling (both Lee and Bridgewater are Mormon) and your next-door neighbor is a Hispanic family. You are asked to minister to one of their sick children and in the course of a heartfelt moment they tell you they're here illegally. Do you rat them out?
Both candidates said they would not rat out the offending family, but Bridgewater said he would encourage the family to "begin the process to follow the law and come into the country legally." I assume that "come into the country legally" means go back where they came from and go down the ludicrous "legal" pathway to American citizenship. Somehow I find it hard to believe that Mr. Bridgewater would, in the capacity of a ecclesiastical leader, tell members of his congregation that they need to leave the country and come back to the US legally. By this we see that Mr. Bridgewater can pander on the immigration issue just as well as Mike Lee can. It needs reminding that Bridgewater has refused to remove the term "anchor baby" from his website despite its offensive connotation -- Lee at least did that although his plan for immigration is much harsher on illegals than Bridgewater's.

In an attempt out-Chaffetz Jason Chaffetz, Mike Lee and Bridgewater both claim they refuse to set up a residence in Washington D.C. -- Mike Lee plans to buy a cot. (Collective Eye-roll at the lame "I'm a regular guy" attempt)

I'm a tad surprised that neither man wants to try and privatize the Postal Service. I don't disagree with them, but I'm surprised that two "fiscal conservatives" wouldn't want to rid the Federal government of a socialized program. Isn't the Post Office is a socialist program? Both UPS and FedEx are prime examples that private industry could successfully serve the nation's parcel needs, and it is interesting that two candidates who loudly proclaim against the ills of Obama-socialism wouldn't want a program that can be carried by the private sector off of the US government's Balance Sheet.

Not only are both men are against Elena Kagen's SCOTUS nomination, they feel she is unqualified. I assume her "lack of qualification" is due to the party affiliation of the President nominating her. Mike Lee can harp about her lack of judicial experience all her likes, but he cannot ignore the fact that several SCOTUS nominees have come from places other than the judiciary and that her professional and academic resume are of the highest quality. Mike Lee's opposition of the Kagen nomination is almost a case of plausible-deniabilty. If elected, everyone in this state knows Lee would eventually sit on the Judiciary Committee and he needs (or thinks he needs) to make sure that everyone in this state believes he would oppose every nomination made by abortion-loving Democrats no matter how qualified the nominees may be. He won't get a chance to vote on the Kagen nomination and so he has the luxury of opposing the nomination as candidate Lee while knowing full well that he couldn't do so as Senator Lee without looking like a partisan right-wing zealot.

As far as my vote goes, I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Due to my lack of Republican party affiliation, I'm excluded from voting between Mike Lee and Tim Bridgewater. To keep the November vote interesting for me I hope that Tim Bridgewater is the winner -- I have pretty much eliminated Mike Lee from contention for my vote. The possible November race between Tim Bridgewater and Sam Granato is still a tight one -- Bridgewater may be slightly ahead if for no other reason than I don't want to solidify a Democratic party super-majority in the Senate.

P.S. Former Congressman Jim Hansen just called to let me know he supports Mike Lee. I think that may have changed my, no I still don't like Mike Lee.

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