Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In with the new

I'm going to try and be less gloomy today so, while there's still some light outside let's put the nail in the political process coffin.

Saturday was the Utah Republican State Convention where we delegates bid a not-so-heartfelt adieu to 3-term Senator Bob Bennett. I had actually planned on voting for Bennett, not so much based on ideological support but more in a strategic desire to push Bennett and a challenger to a primary. Leading up to the convention, the polls showed that Bennett was behind amongst delegates, but favored in the general Utah populace. I think that the average voter should have a say in whether or not an incumbent is outed and I hoped to lend my vote to help that happen.

Then I started paying closer attention to Tim Bridgewater.

In my month of delegate onslaught I had been leaning towards Mike Lee. Sure he was a lawyer, but the guy waved a copy of the constitution like a pentecostal with a bible in his hand. I'm not one to simplistically nay-say the acts of congress, but the way I see it the current legislature makes no attempt to comply with the powers enumerated to them in the constitution.

Tim Bridgewater has a voice like a frog. It is raspy and guttural and upon first hearing kind of puts you on edge. At the convention he was in prime for answering questions from the crowd and taking names. Mike Lee was nearby with a wretched sound system creating more white noise than political awareness, and in classic politician form Lee paused mid-answer to say hello to a passer-by, a man who - as Lee made sure to tell us - was Lee's former elder's quorum present. Cheesy much?

Bennett was a ways off and while there was a large crowd around him, they were more interested in talking to Mitt Romney, whom Bennett had recruited for some name-dropping power. A chorus of "you've got my vote," and "nice to meet you President" followed the Massachusetts governor everywhere he went. Republicans (and Mormon ones especially) are easily bought.

After a couple of hours of political hawking the speeches began. Bridgewater led the pack with an extremely poised delivery. Lee, despite his usual demeanor, was noticeably twitchy and rambled a bit. Bennett was old, and let Romney do most of the talking. Rounding out the bottom five was Cheralyn Eager, who sounded straight out of a General Relief Society Presidency talk; Leonard Fabiano, who used his 7-minutes to organize a seemingly impromptu grassroots political organization, One candidate was hardly coy about his religious views, speaking about inspiration and eternal perspective.

In the biggest disappointment of the day, "SuperDell" Schanze failed to make an appearance. I was immensely looking forward to his 7-minute slice of insanity. Instead a friend spoke on his behalf and bluntly admitted that SuperDell was a bit wacko and didn't have a prayer for winning.

The day went on, speach after speach, and three rounds of voting. After the first vote Lee was in first place, after the third he had barely clung to a primary berth. Both candidates have a whole new round of convincing the masses, which no longer involves pandering to my every need. Today I checked my mail and besides my Entertainment Weekly and Netflix DVD's there was nothing. No fliers, no pamphlets, and no invitation to a town hall meeting. I made sure on Saturday to load up on as much Swag as I could and now I'm cut off.

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