Tuesday, March 23, 2010
A'Caucusing We Went
I volunteered to go to the caucus. I wasn't recruited. I was never button-holed into a heavy-handed commitment for support, I just followed a suggestion from a good and valued friend, Doug Holmes, to visit Mike's website and learn about his positions.
I did. To the Utah voters who read this page, I suggest you do the same.
Here is Mike Lee's website. Click on the link. Learn the positions of the man I sincerely hope becomes Utah's next Senator.
I love grassroots politics. The caucus is the purest and simplest expression of free speech available anywhere in the world. What a privilege it is to take a position and freely speak your mind. I have an even greater respect after tonight about what it must mean to these candidates who seek to be elected by their peers.
I went seeking to become our precinct's state delegate. We got there early, and Patsy was asked to give the opening prayer, and I was asked to read the Utah Republican Party platform. Click on the link and read it. In this particular election year, as never before, those words were written and ratified at the 2009 state convention with almost prophetic insight.
Each of us was emotional when we spoke. We sense -- and I think we are not alone -- that there is more than party politics at stake in this election cycle and I have come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as an indispensible politician. That is certainly true of Senator Bennett.
The county delegates were duly nominated and elected.
Then it was time for the state delegate to be nominated. When I was nominated by my dear wife, I was opposed by one other candidate who waffled and sounded uncommited, but was clearly leaning toward Bennett.
The participants asked for a speech from each candidate to clarify our positions before the vote was taken. There were 25 participants in our precinct. Simple majority -- 13 votes -- needed to win.
Patsy warned me in advance to keep it general, keep my emotions in check, state clearly my loyalties to flag, Constitution, motherhood, apple pie and the little red schoolhouse, our long family history with both Wasatch and Summit Counties and so forth. She was trying to keep the lid on the teapot from blowing its top.
But I blew it. I opened my mouth. The months of the buildup of my anger spilled out against Senator Bennett, who by the way, I have voted for three times in the past. I was careful to state my respect for him and his family, but then I let loose with my anger over his advocacy of the ill-advised TARP vote that opened the floodgates for the subsequent orgy of bailout bills that followed, capped by the palpable anger one could sense in the room about what happened yesterday in the successful passage of the Obama health care reform bill.
Bennett may not have had a hand in that House vote yesterday, but clearly he is being held accountable for his big spending habits by the voters in our precinct.
The faithful Republican heads in our meeting were all nodding up and down. I was enflamed and passionate. I couldn't help myself once I got going. And when it was enough, and I sensed I had said perhaps too much, I shut up and sat down.
However, I left no doubts in anyone's mind in our precinct exactly what they were getting out of their state delegate, if elected.
There was a simple majority of my fellow citizens in our little precinct who felt as I did. I said simply, "If you agree with me, then vote for me because I have every intention of voting for Mike Lee at the state convention, and you all deserve to know the position of your delegate. There is absolutely no chance that I will vote for Bob Bennett ever again." I won.
I have no idea how the meetings went in the thousands of Utah Republican caucuses tonight. I cannot see into my crystal ball that forecasts with unerring accuracy what the future portends. But I will say this -- I hope every other state delegate declared himself/herself as boldly and with as much passion and clarity as I did.
If they did, then Senator Bennett will be retired at the state convention as a lame duck for the balance of his last term.