The Non-Existent Live Democratic Response to Governor Herbert’s State of the State Speech [Publius Online]

Utah Democratic PartyLast night, Utah Governor Gary Herbert gave his State of the State speech. With the speech carried live by KSL News Radio, I listened in over dinner with the family (yes, that’s a good thing).

As it ended and the applause subsided, we stayed tuned, waiting to hear the Utah Democrats’ response. After all, hadn’t President Obama’s State of the Union speech, carried on prime time the night before, been followed by not only an official Republican response from Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, but also a Tea Party Express responses from Utah Senator Mike Lee?

As we waited, we finished dinner, cleaned off the table, did the dishes, changed diapers, and, finally, put the kids to bed.  Still no Democratic response. Ethan and Alex, KSL’s hosts of The Nightside, indicated that they had been told there would be a live response from Utah Democrats, but nothing ever materialized.

In past years Democrats have always run a recorded response to the Governor’s speech.

When I called Elizabeth Roberts, Media Coordinator for the  Utah House Democratic Caucus, she told me that the legislators had chosen to instead meet with media outside of the House in the lobby and answer questions that the media might pose. It would allow them to address specific items in the Governors speech upon which each legislator might have expertise.

1305So, instead of doing a live, unfiltered response on the largest radio station in the region and the nation’s largest regional news website, Democrats opted to do a Q&A with reporters…where reporters would be able to pick what quotes, if any, were slipped into a brief segment on the nightly news.

Which would you choose?  It seems like a no brainer to me, but there it is: Democrats chose to take the path of least exposure.

In a state where Democrats in government occupy a position of almost superminority status, regularly complaining that their voice is silenced by the majority party Republicans and the opportunity to make their issues heard, this is a missed opportunity to take advantage of free prime time exposure. Sure, radio isn’t television, but, well, did I mention superminority?

Democrats cannot miss opportunities like this to address the public and claim they are the victims of the oppressive and overrepresented Republicans. The world is governed by those who show up, and on Wednesday night,  Democrats did not show up.

Originally posted at Publius Online.

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