Governor Herbert for a third term

In November 2014, I received a call from Governor Gary Herbert’s staff inviting, and then asking, me to stand with the governor as he announced his Healthy Utah plan – the plan that opponents referred to as “Medicaid expansion.” I knew nothing about the plan at the time, was sent some briefing materials and, ultimately, agreed to stand with him largely out of friendship and respect. Of course, as a well-known conservative voice in Utah, I was heavily criticized for so-called “endorsing” the Healthy Utah plan. Up to the point…

Please, Senators, do not confirm Ron Mortensen

The Trump Administration has placed the name of Utah’s Ron Mortensen before the United States Senate as the administration’s nominee as the Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration – and senators, especially Utah’s senators, should oppose Mortensen’s confirmation. The Bureau of PRM was created to “provide protection, ease suffering, and resolve the plight of persecuted and uprooted people around the world on behalf of the American people….” PRM “provides aid and sustainable solutions for refugees, victims of conflict and stateless people around the world,…

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…

Rule creates law, not vice versa

When Donald Trump issued an executive order putting Dreamer kids on a short game clock he reignited a legal and constitutional debate about separation of powers, presidential powers and the rule of law. This debate first stirred passions in 2012 when Barack Obama first issued his own executive order enabling a specific subset of undocumented immigrant children to stay in the United States without fear of deportation. Those kids are among the many known as Dreamers – children brought to the United States by their parents through no choice of…

Is Donald Trump a racist?

Is Donald Trump a racist? No, he is a New Yorker. Trump is an equal opportunity offender. He’s not a racist. Being a racist requires ideology. Trump is transactional. He’ll take anyone’s money. He’s not racist. He’s a narcissist incapable of caring about anyone unable to please him. When he says he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body or reassures Americans that he is the least racist person they will ever meet, I believe he believes that. Trump is no respecter of persons – not in that good…

Meaning and discourse go hand in hand

If you want elevated dialogue, you need an elevated mind. Most Americans, across the political spectrum, seem to mourn the loss of civil dialogue. Indeed, civil dialogue has been kicked to the curb in the age of Trump. But Trump is only a symptom, even if a modern icon, of discord. The true villain here is the mundane minutia that fills our minds through round-the-clock information on social media. It has lowered our civic IQ, then lowering the substance of civil dialogue. Social media creates the delusion that all opinions…

Let’s not “move on”

In response to the series of Senate Intelligence Committee hearings over the past couple of weeks, Utah Senator Mike Lee recommends that his colleagues and all of America just “move on.” He believes there is nothing to see so far coming from any of the four testimonies by Comey, Coats, Rogers and Sessions. Senator Lee has concluded that there is not a scintilla of evidence remotely indicating that Donald Trump is obstructing justice in the Russia investigation. All I can say is “really?” Senator Lee is a smart man, probably…