Sunday, May 23, 2010

Frank Pignanelli nailed it.

In Today's Pignanelli and Webb column in the Deseret News, Frank Pignanelli responds to the question:

"If Republican (candidates) shift to the right, does that leave an opening for Democrats in the general election?"

Pignanelli's response is right on the money.

Additionally, his comment is the definitive answer on why many Utah Democrats will continue to support Jim Matheson as the best choice for the 2nd Congressional District and why many of us believe that he has been a good representative for Utah.

Yes, this poses huge opportunities for Democrats IF they are shrewd and alter their current trajectory.

Utah Democrats must stop carping about Matheson and instead market him as a model of how Congress should act: obsession with reducing the deficit, willingness to buck party demands, developing creative solutions, attention to constituent needs, etc.

Furthermore, Democrats must articulate inventive but inexpensive reforms to public education and health care entitlements while promoting entrepreneurial activity. Utahns are hungry for the meal that is not on the tea party menu.
The entire column can be read by clicking here.

For all of the things that are wrong with Washington today, the one thing we can and should fix is our skyrocketing national deficit. For as long as I can remember, Congressman Matheson and the Blue Dog Democrats have presented a good plan for Fiscal Reform in our nation.

Some Utah Democrats are angry because our congressman voted against health care. They don't like his record on environmental issues. They say he is not "pro-choice" enough. They don't like the way he votes some of the time and say he is not a "real" Democrat, and that his father would be "ashamed." (For the record, Norma Matheson has assured me that Scott Matheson Sr. would have been proud of Jim's votes, because Governor Matheson was also a fiscal conservative and believed very strongly in responsible government spending. I think it would be reasonable to assume that she is correct about this. It's not fair for anybody else to guess what the governor may or may not have done under similar circumstances.)

Democrats have been called "tax and spend liberals" for as long as I can remember. Accurate or not, we have not done a good job at shaking that label. After all, how many people do you know who *really* like paying taxes? Do Democrats really want to be perceived like that? Why do we allow the definition to continue, even though we all feel the same way? No matter how you look at it, nobody enjoys April 15, or paying taxes, or gets all warm and fuzzy when their tax bill goes up... not even Democrats.

I was reminded the other day by a good Republican friend of mine that when George Bush was in office, Democrats harped about the billions of dollars that were being spent at war while at the same time Republicans were promoting lower taxes. "How does he plan to pay for it," we yelled, and our battle cry was "we are bankrupting our children and grandchildren!" That was not so long ago, it should not be so far from our memory. It is still an issue. Just because Democrats control the White House and the Congress, we should not excuse them from making our budget deficit their number one priority. As a matter of fact, we should be even louder than before.

As Frank put it, Utah Democrats should have an obsession with reducing the deficit. We should alter our current trajectory and make this a major focus of our campaigns, of our platform, and in all of our political discussions. It was important to us until election night 2008. It's disingenuous for us to not like deficits only when they are created by Republicans.

I look forward to your thoughts.


Jason The said...

Peter Corroon nailed it even better when he said:

"Being a fiscal conservative isn't just about what you spend, but how you spend it."

And during an economic recession, focusing on the deficit above economic response is the last thing you want to do. Putting the deficit first too soon is the biggest mistake FDR made after putting New Deal policies in place in slowing the effects of some of his own reconstructive and right minded ideas. Also, it's hard for Jim to defend himself as a true fiscal conservative with the war votes under his belt.

Matheson deserves credit for supporting the stimulus, and he deserve the criticism for opposing health care (he had the political capital to spend on the vote, and he should have spent it). That said, nothing make me warm to the idea of "Congressman" Morgan Philpot and a Bishop/Chaffetz/Philpot trifecta in the year of the tea baggers.

I haven't heard a convincing argument that Wright can win in UT-2, and Matheson has proven he can. Matheson also maintains a high approval rating, which implies no matter how much some of us may find him frustrating, the majority of UT-2 voters have his back.

heydebhenry said...

The reason Jim Matheson is going to lose the election has very little to do with the health care vote. His health care vote was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

Matheson ignores his constituents. He is not paying "attention to constituent needs." He avoids conversing in town halls with the very people who elected him. His voice-mail is constantly full while I continue to get donation requests. He doesn't even send out form letters after you've written him handwritten pleas.

Someone who does not engage with their constituents is not a representative. Matheson's last ditch effort to win back the people is going nowhere.

By supporting the wars in the Middle East, Matheson has been fiscally irresponsible. The $533.8 billion base budget of the DoD helps pay the same corporations that support him. He BENEFITS when we're at war and his campaign contributors are making a profit. By supporting the wars, Matheson is encouraging the deficit, not reducing it.

Claudia Wright will win District 2 because there are people across ideologies that want the same things she wants such as less influence from corporations in our elections. We finally have a candidate that will get that other 64% of people in Utah voting not because they're choosing the lesser of two evils but because they actually have a candidate they believe in.

If you haven't heard a good argument why she can win the district, it's because you're choosing not to listen.

Anonymous said...

Jason The nailed it more astutely than Emily or Pignanaelli.