The Problem with Mitt, Part Two

As I said last week, Mitt Romney has a problem. To repeat myself, “I am concerned Mitt Romney does not understand freedom in its fullest, most transcendent meaning.” I am concerned that Mitt views freedom transactionally, as mere opportunity – the right to hunt, gather and possess. Of course, opportunity is a big part of freedom, but it is not the only part or even the most important part. Funny thing about our American priorities when tested: We fight and die for quality of life, not quantity of life. When…

The Age of Unreason

America owes a great debt to the philosophers of the Enlightenment over 300 years ago. Many democratic virtues are the result of liberal ideas formed in the 18th century leading up to the American Revolution. Unsurprisingly, illiberal ideas sprang from the Enlightenment as well – label these ideas “if a little is good, more is better.” As the ink was drying on our new Constitution and its initial amendments, the French Revolution proved to the world that more is not always better. Illiberalism was invented through zeal and excess in…

The Problem with Mitt, Part One

What problem could Mitt Romney possibly have in his new quest for the United States Senate? He is a shoe-in for the office. He is beloved in Utah. His career has been spectacular. In running for president, he was vetted backward and forward. Every closet was opened to find any lurking skeletons and none were found. As far as elected office goes, Mitt Romney is nearly the perfect candidate, especially for Utah. I will vote for him on his character alone. So, when I say Mitt Romney has a problem,…

The problem with outsiders

Many popular comedies, past and present, are centered on people, different from the mainstream crowd, looking to fit in. A great example was the 1960s comedy The Beverley Hillbillies. Its theme song describes the whole show – hillbillies strike oil and move to Beverley Hills where they find their back-woods customs and simplistic lives are completely out of place. These comedies endure through many seasons of tension between the perceived assets of the outsider versus liabilities. In the case of the hillbillies, they had lots of money and quite a…

Mitt Romney and the end of the Utah GOP

By the time you read this, Mitt Romney will have announced his candidacy for the United States Senate from Utah. He will win the seat being vacated by Orrin Hatch and he will win big. You might think that the Utah GOP under current party circumstances would welcome Romney’s decision. Instead, the state Republican chairman now holds Romney in contempt. On the eve of Romney’s announcement, Utah GOP chairman Rob Anderson essentially called him a carpetbagger and compared him to Hillary Clinton. Anderson reeled off a host of complaints about…

For the life of a very special child

State Representative Karianne Lisonbee and State Senator Curt Bramble have co-sponsored a bill protecting a baby from being aborted solely because it has or has been diagnosed with Down Syndrome (HB 205) – and it sounds altogether reasonable to me. Why should Down Syndrome be a death sentence? Or, if focusing solely on the feelings and rights of the mother, why does a personal preference outweigh the inherent dignity of a Down Syndrome child? For the bill’s pro-abortion opponents, the biggest excuse in opposing the bill is the law. Since…

Political loyalties give dogs a bad name

Do you want to know why so many Americans identify as independent or, here in Utah, unaffiliated voters? The reason is that partisanship never serves the common good. By its very nature, partisanship is insular, exclusionary and selfish. It encourages bad behavior in the name of a perverse sense of loyalty and it does not serve the public interest. Of course, the best current example of how partisanship turns otherwise intelligent people into flaming idiots is the Roy Moore candidacy in Alabama. The Republican Senate candidate is accused of gross…

What if truth does not matter any more?

What happens if Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and Russia proves collusion but nobody believes him? Why are conservatives so quick to indict Hillary Clinton about her Russian connections but give Donald Trump a pass? Has the idea of objective truth become passé? Are we at an unrecoverable point in time when tribal politics has laid waste to objective truth? The answers to these serious questions will determine freedom in America for generations to come. The basis for every conspiracy theory is that somebody is lying about something…

Calling out political enemies and friends

No good deed goes unpunished. You would think I would have learned that lesson by now after 30 years in politics. Of course, career politicians do not care about such lessons. Their interest is their career, not truth, not plainness, not honesty and certainly not the other guy’s opinion. But some of us working in politics have made a career of at least trying to do the right thing for the right reasons in the right way. You might think that a conservative condemning the agendas of Donald Trump and…

Both Roy Moore and his Christian defenders should resign

The continuing saga of Senate candidate Judge Roy Moore no longer requires a set up to explain the controversy. We do not need anyone to tell us what he allegedly did to a number of young women and girls nearly forty years ago. Furthermore, a reasonable person does not need to know more than the Washington Post stories to know that, at the very least, Judge Moore should withdraw from his Senate race in Alabama. Even so, some issues still need explaining. For instance, what is wrong with the Christian…