Political favors for sale or politics as usual? Yes!

The story in today’s paper about gubernatorial candidate Peter Caroon imploying that Gov. Gary Herbert is taking political contributions from companies that later received governmental contracts is interesting, but doesn’t reveal anything surprising.

Caroon says the contributions raise “red flags” but never says Herbert is violating the law. Herbert gets all huffy over his integrity being impugned, but never disputes any facts in Caroon’s memos.

So what is the big deal?

Well, they’re both right, which is the sad part.

Politics as usual in Utah means that large campaign donors support where Utah spends its money because that is how those same donors make their living. It comes as no surprise that some of the major campaign donors to GOP candidates in Utah are contractors, because contractors look at Utah’s continually building of roads, highways and interstates as a permanent jobs program that has to be protected. Get some weeny Democrat in there who believes in mass transit and where is your next road program then?

As I’ve said before and will repeat here: Campaign contributions in Utah aren’t meant to sway politicians, they are meant to insure that politicians who already agree with the donor gets elected. They are insurance, and Gov. Herbert is well-insured.

What amazes me is that, in Utah, the reddest of red states, the Tea Party is not up in arms over the whole system, demanding campaign reform that limits the ability of major donors to so heavily weigh the odds in favor of their chosen candidates. After all, it is CEOs who get rich on government contracts, not the workers laying the asphalt.

Aren’t Tea Partiers supposed to be down on fat cats getting drunk at the government tap? I thought they were, but perhaps I am wrong.

In any event, Caroon is right to rail against the current system, which pretty much guarantees that major corporations get their guy in office.

It’s odd that Utah Tea Partiers, who claim to be all about the little guy, aren’t screaming for limits on corporate campaign donations.  It may be a free speech issue, but corporate donations also give corporations a huge microphone to yell through, while the $20 you send in barely makes a peep.

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9 Responses to Political favors for sale or politics as usual? Yes!

  1. Doug Gibson says:

    Re: “Campaign contributions in Utah aren’t meant to sway politicians, they are meant to insure that politicians who already agree with the donor gets elected. They are insurance, and Gov. Herbert is well-insured.” Excellent observation.

    But Charlie, it is a free speech issue to most conservatives, although in Utah it underscores how powerful one party is that these antics can be tolerated. Most states have realized the ethical problems with unlimited contributions and enacted reasonable campaign cash rules. Neither violates free speech

  2. Charles Trentelman says:

    it’s a free speech issue to everyone, Doug. So-called conservatives don’t have a lock on the issue.

    The problem is that money from large donors makes my free speech less valued to politicians than the “free” speech wrapped up in a campaign donation for $10,000.

    When I covered the Legislature I saw folk like me, ordinary joe-blows who, if they wanted to talk to a lawmaker, would have to fill out a form, send it in with a guard, and hope the lawmaker could take a minute to come out and stand in the hallway and try to listen amid all the hubub.

    Those same lawmakers could also be seen inside in the large quiet room behind the house and senate chambers, sitting in easy chairs, talking at length to lobbyists for major corporations or others interested in legislation. The lawmaker would listen, go in for a second to vote, but come right back out again to listen some more.

    Who, pray tell, got listened to best?

    And let’s not even get into the free lunches hosted by major corporations on a daily basis. And so on, and on, and on.

    But we do have the politicians’ word for it that they listen to everyone equally. So, I am sure I am wrong to be suspicious. When has a politician ever lied!

  3. tom says:

    Great points well made Mr. T. Thanks.

    I believe the tin hat tea party crowd generally mean well but they have been co-opted by the same big companies and money interests who have bought the State Legislature and Governor and every other office in the land. Why else would these people get all up in arms to decry the effort to pull back on the tax breaks for the very wealthy who are the only beneficiaries of the Bush tax cuts that are in the news these days, They are being manipulated by the big money and their agents like Beck, Hannity, Palin, etc. All of these people talk a big game and play the masses and they are doing it for big bucks that come from the very wealthy.

  4. Daman says:

    “imploying” ???

    Do they pay you to write this leftist, mispelled drivel?

  5. Charles Trentelman says:

    imploy, imply — 220, 221.

    i believe bad spelling is politically neutral. Considering what I make, I consider my spelling to be adequate, thank you.

    am I the only one who thinks the re-captcha codes are getting more indecipherable? Probably those damn liberals again.

  6. Owain says:

    “Probably those damn liberals again.”

    I KNEW it!!!

  7. Clem says:

    Dem dam liberals been a burr in my butt ever since they messed with my god given rite to own darkies and use em for watever reeson I want.

  8. Kris Baker says:

    Daman, Daman, Daman — you wrote “Do they pay you to write this leftist, mispelled drivel?”

    Who’s paying YOU to misspell the word “misspelled”?

    Try Googling this: Skitt’s Law.

  9. Owain says:

    My spelling is OK, but I slip often enough that I rarely call out the spelling police. If the thought is coherent, that’s good enough for me. If I can’t make out what the person is saying, I’ll ask for a clarification. I even try to be polite about it, most of the time. I figure that if you are groveling down in the spelling, you have run out of valid arguments, and should just concede.

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