To paraphrase humorist Will Rogers, I am not a member of any organized political party – I am a Republican.
This was certainly true at April’s State Republican convention where Utah’s most popular politician (Mitt Romney) was beaten again by a Kennedy (no, not that Kennedy) and where a legislative candidate who wants to make abortion illegal in every situation was labeled a “liberal” by a fellow candidate who suggests that women who have abortions be jailed.
Sorry, folks, you can’t make this stuff up unless you’re a comedy writer for a television network. The convention was no place for so-called “mainstream” Republicans, the type who supported Ike, Reagan, Dole, Ford, and either Bush. An educated mainstream Republican who supports the GOP is at times as naïve as a chicken who supports Col. Sanders.
Ever since the convention, numerous callers and texters have provided examples of fanaticism run amok. One man told one of my colleagues that he had prayed and God had told him He wouldn’t vote for a satanic socialist like Romney. (Sorry, but God is not a registered Republican voter in the state of Utah. I checked!)
Another told of a speech from a U.S. Senate candidate asking how gay couples could adopt children “just the same as good Mormon couples.” (I’ll tell you the reason…because the U.S. Supreme Court said they could and, according to the Constitution, it remains the law of the land.)
The disruption of a political convention is nothing new in Republican politics. Mike Leavitt and Gary Herbert were both booed by delegates and Olene Walker was tossed out of office because she didn’t check all the boxes on the conservative checklist. Ronald Reagan once said, “Thou shalt not criticize other Republicans.” Now you can not only criticize them, you can ostracize them.
Again, to paraphrase Reagan, Republicans believe every day is the Fourth of July, the Democrats believe every day is April 15 – and the ultraconservative delegates in Utah believe that every day is Doomsday. Talking sense to a fanatic is as futile as serving a pork chop to a vegetarian.
There are certainly reasons for not backing Mitt. Some would say he hasn’t lived in Utah long enough; others have difficulty with his criticism of Trump and still others worry about his willingness to accept a Cabinet position from Trump. However, it is ludicrous to think Romney does not hold Republican values; if you think he’s liberal, you should cut back on your medication.
The convention, of course, is only one step in the political process. In the June election primary, registered Republicans will easily vote him in as their Senate choice. At that time, he will reign as Utah’s Favorite Son, not the offspring of Beelzebub. Congressman John Curtis will also win handily over his anti-immigrant opponent. Just as he did last year when he lost in the convention and won at the ballot box.
But in the meantime, mainstream Republican voters are increasingly wondering if they should jump ship. Pres. Lyndon Johnson once said, “A man can take a little bourbon without getting drunk, but if you hold his mouth open and pour in a quart, he’s going to get sick on it.”
The same goes for the fanaticism on display at this year’s Republican convention.