The opinions stated in this article are solely those of the author and not of the Clipper.
BOUNTIFUL —Those happy smiles on the faces of Utah Democrats stem from two words: John Swallow.
Granted, Democrats are trying to hide their glee; when speaking about Utah’s Attorney General, Democrats mask the grins and brood that Swallow represents the swift decline of Western morality and trust in the United States legal system. But behind closed doors, the Democrats are enjoying the deer-in-the-headlights controversy as Swallow tries to dodge a handful of misconduct investigations.
Some Republicans are worried that the Democrats might be right. Even House Majority Leader Brad Dee remarked last week that five or six GOP legislative seats could change hands by voters disgusted with Swallow. A West Jordan Republican legislator agreed, predicting the GOP could be in “big trouble” in the state’s most populous county.
I am not convinced that the controversy will be the pivotal issue in next year’s election. Most Republicans I’ve spoken to want Swallow to resign, but they don’t think voters will storm the Capitol if he doesn’t.
At this point, Swallow is showing no sign of stepping down. (As one legislator privately told me, “Swallow needs the job and needs the income.”)
And technically, maybe he should not resign. He has not been found guilty of any crime and most of the accusations have come from people even now or soon to be behind prison bars.
But that’s the problem. Swallow hung around with crooks and suspected crooks while working as a key lawyer in the Attorney General’s office. If the lawyer in the next cubicle is investigating a guy, you shouldn’t be enjoying a trip to the suspect’s condo and borrowing his sweaters.
John Swallow may not be guilty of a misdemeanor or felony. But his is certainly guilty of being stupid – and that’s not a credential he placed on his 2012 campaign brochure! He even took a step forward as a comedian when he defended himself by claiming he was duly elected by the masses who understood and supported his campaign platform.
Hey John, there are only three people who read your platform: your wife, your uncle, and Eagle Forum’s Gayle Ruzika. Don’t insult our intelligence.
You didn’t win the election because voters reviewed your platform. You were elected because a whole lot of lazy people marked the “R” (for Republican) on the ballot and walked out of the voting booth.
And this is where the Democrats might raise some political hay. Even though most GOP incumbents won’t be tainted by Swallow, Democrats could showcase him as the end result of straight-ticket voting. Imagine this television advertisement:
“What happens when you check a box giving all your votes to one political party, even though you don’t know much about all the candidates? (Show a voter checking a straight-ticket box) “This is what happens!” (Show a photo of John Swallow) “Don’t be embarrassed. Vote for the man or woman, not the party. Study the issues and candidates before voting.”
Six separate investigative groups are conducting probes into allegations against Swallow. He may well get a free pass on all of them, including a complaint filed against him at the Utah State Bar. But the Republicans are worried about the stench and the Democrats will happily donate a few sniffing dogs, making next year’s election more intriguing than the one in 2012.