Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Utah County GOP pushing for new speaker?

If you haven't seen the debate raging about the ridiculous standing ovation for Kevin Garn orchestrated by Dave Clark, here are some refreshers:

Standard Examiner

Daily Herald

And Holly on the Hill, whom I usually feel just repeats the party line, really hit the nail on the head in some great posts about Dave Clark and the legislature as a whole.
Here, here, and here.

As always, politics quickly resume after crisis. Brad Dee has already made it know he wants to be majority leader, but that's not the biggest political prize up for grabs. Dave Clark really screwed up with the "We want you back" and floating the idea for a couple days of Garn continuing in office. I think his being forced out as Speaker of the House is a real possibility when the House caucus huddles tonight and assigns blame.

Revealing quotes from this last link:

“I’m talking to folks afterward. They didn’t know [that she was underage]. They didn’t know they were naked, that he was married,” Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland, said of information learned later about Garn’s history. “When the Speaker stands up, you know, you stand up. That’s habit. Then it’s ‘What are we doing?’ ”

He said allowing the admission with a room full of people was manipulative.

“I feel like we were used as a prop to lend credence to the admission,” Dougall said.

I agree they were used as a prop, but that culture of unswerving support and good ol' boy network is why we need ethics reform--not necessarily this one instance of Garn's misdeeds.

People need to understand the culture. We clap a lot,” said Rep. Chris Herrod, R-Provo, who is also unhappy about the confession on the floor but was among the first to stand and applaud.

“You’ve got two minutes to process the information,” he said. “It shouldn’t have been done on the floor. I think everyone is in agreement with that. We were put in an awkward situation. What were we supposed to do?

How about show some of that same supposed spine you trumpeted in your "principled" crusade against the federal government Mr. Founding-Member-of-the-Patrick-Henry-Caucus? You'll attack nationally, but you will support a fellow state leader to the death, until your own conservative blogger, Holly Richardson, slaps you in the face and makes you realize this may affect your secure Republican position.

To quote the conclusion of my last post detailing the lack of principled governance about a specific bill:
I think this perspective helps better understand Dave Clark's comments about wanting Kevin Garn "back with us" and the standing ovation he received. Too many legislators instinctively and instantly rally to their own little club and defend it against all outsiders. Sign the voter initiatives for Fair Boundaries and ethics reform and take a larger step toward limiting conflicts of interest and money in our state legislature.

I sense in Holly's post and the Daily Herald editorial a push for some Utah County leadership and the Utah County legislators are being vocal about Clark embarrassing them and the legislature as a whole. Is the campaign on for a Utah County speaker?

Greg Hughes and Rebecca Lockhart were the most common Speaker Pro Tem's I saw during the session, but Hughes is more damaged than most by the Garn confession because he was one of the first teary huggers on the House floor. Brad Dee and Lockhart are the next two in line in House GOP leadership. Will Dee keep his claim staked on House Majority Leader, or eye the bigger prize? The Utah County contingent appear to be making a push for Lockhart or Dougall for speaker.

Think about that, and then go sign the ethics initiative petition.


nacilbupera said...

Why is it that Utah GOPers resign in the face of scandal, but Democrat Speaker-of-the-House Pelosi aka "promised the most ethical Congress ever" backs Rangel? Rangel should be long gone.

UtahTeacher said...

Well, I'll agree with you that national politics is corrupt through and through. Money is the cancer agent; ego is the genetic predisposition. Party is irrelevant to this in my opinion. We can both name congressmen in jail from both parties and wonder how many aren't caught.

I'll also agree that looked at overall, the Utah legislature is vastly superior to Congress in terms of ethics and in terms of decent people I'd actually like to have a conversation with.'s only a matter of degree. Money and job security can slowly change the perception of good state legislators just like Bennett and Hatch staying in office for decades. The Utah legislature instinctively protects its own.

Remember what Dave Clark put into his statement after Garn made his little speech: "We hope you would remain with us." And this was a planned statement after Clark knowing about the upcoming announcement for 4 days. It was a purposeful trial balloon to see if Garn wouldn't have to resign. Garn initially said he was staying in office and only stepped down 2 days later when the pressure grew. His resignation was no noble gesture.

Plus, I've detailed many instances on my blog of legislators not reading bills and using procedural shenanigans to move pet legislation without due process. I think the self-back-patting done by the legislature and Utah GOP is pretty hypocritical.

nacilbupera said...

Utah Teacher:

Your comments were quite thoughtful. We think the key here is to keep an eye on ALL who represent us.

I think we would both feel better if Clark were to give the gavel to another.