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.