Bob has endorsed Jason Chaffetz for Senate both in writing and on his radio show. Nacilbupera shares Lonsberry's admiration for Chaffetz but instead of seeing Chaffetz run in 2010 against Bennett, would love to see Chaffetz go up in 2012 against Hatch (presuming Hatch foolishly decides to run again). Additionally, Chaffetz has given no indication of running against Bennett but wisely--more of of not to be tied to one's words rather than seriously debating a run--he has not ruled out running.
In an Aug 29th straw poll (yes, straw polls aren't necessarily the most reliable but they're what we've got), both Cherilyn Eagar and Mark Shurtleff garnished more votes than the incumbent Bennett. This was a newsworthy item published throughout the state media and picked up by the political sections in the national media as well. However, on Lonsberry's very next show held on Monday, Aug. 31th, Lonsberry began the show never mentioning Cherilyn Eagar's name or the significant percentage of vote she received in the poll.
On that Monday, Lonsberry described for his listeners the 2010 Senate race in the Republican Party as between incumbent Bennett and Mark Shurtleff both of whom Lonsberry mentioned he would like to get on the air to be heard. Everyone else (including Cherilyn Eagar) got this stinging rebuke:
To be honest with you not one of them has a snowball's chance in Elko of getting anywhere near the general election. All of them in the convention and primary system will be cyphers; they will be non-entities...(archived program here).Lonsberry further indicated that everyone outside of his estimation of the two serious contenders were doing "ego-exercise" and were "gum[ming] up the works." Pretty harsh words for citizens trying to do their patriotic duty and serve the country.
Although Lonsberry is entitled to his opinions, it seemed unfair and disingenuous to (1) omit the used of Eagar's name completely from discussion of the race and (2) omit the fact of the straw poll the broadcast-day after its occurrence. Perhaps Lonsberry was constrained by his employer not to mention Eagar's name as she has substituted for a competing talk radio show. We sent Lonsberry a nice email (click on image to read) which he never did respond to. (Lonsberry, you're still welcome to respond to our email or this post.)
Fast forward to 8am this morning when Lonsberry hosted a "Who do you back for Senate in 2010?" call-in where viewers could discuss the "prominent contest between Bennett and Shurtleff" or Jason Chaffetz, Lonsberry's pick (show archived here; discussion begins at 1:48:50). Again no mention of Cherilyn Eagar. Then came the tidalwave flood of Eagar calls into the station; sincere citizens pointing to the alignment of Eagar's values to theirs. (Interesting sideline: Eagar also compares herself ideologically to Chaffetz.)
Lonsberry, obviously dismayed by the plethora of pro-Eagar calls, began reading from an Action Alert (copy of Alert published by blogger True Politics USA) he had received the previous night from the Eagar campaign encouraging supporters to call in. Instead of acquiescing that Eagar has large and growing support in Utah, he made it seem that all the callers were from out of state since the Action Alert had mentioned 8am mountain time show topic broadcast time and if Eagar wanted in-state supporters she would have omitted the time zone in the Action Alert.
Lonsberry is flawed in his attacking Eagar's use of the words mountain time for two reasons: (1) a time zone is giving for convenience of listeners of the program who are Utah voters who may be temporarily out-of-state on business or vacation. We know all of Utah is mountain time, but it is easy to get distracted with time zones when you are out of state. (2) Lonsberry should have tracked the area codes of the callers if he felt the callers were out-of-state--after all, we only have two Utah issued area codes and Lonsberry could have screened callers with only the 801- and 435- prefixes were he to be so flooded with out-of-state calls. Indeed, Lonsberry failed to mention a single example of anyone who called in being from out-of-state.
Lonsberry also accused Eagar of being dishonest and "trying to create a false public perception" by requesting supporters to call in. Wrong! Lonsberry had multiple public announcements on his program prior to the phone-in event and all candidates could have, should have, or perhaps actually did encourage their supporters to phone in just as Eagar did. How does Lonsberry know that Action Alerts weren't also sent out by other campaigns? Lonsberry discounted the idea that perhaps Eagar supporters are more vocal because we were slided from your mention earlier and wanted to have our voice heard (for the record: Nacilbupera did not call the Lonsberry show today). Lonsberry: how were we to voice our opinion as you asked us to do without trying to "create a false impression." We could either call in or not call in. Ironically if these noble souls hadn't called in, then you could have accused Eagar of "creating a false public perception" by hiding true existing public support for a leading candidate.
The only reason Lonsberry gave for his dismissal of Cherilyn Eagar was as follows:
I just don't believe she's competent to be United States Senator...I believe this is an exercise in vanity.Lonsberry failed to have a serious discussion of her business experience or experience as a conservative activist. He also failed to reason with the audience what it is that he feels makes her "incompetent." If you label someone, then you need to discuss the supporting facts for that label. Perhaps Lonsberry feels that prior political office is requisite; we answer give us someone with principles and integrity and they will be a thousand times better public servant than an established, polished politician.
Nacilbupera feels Lonsberry has pre-emptively dismissed Eagar. In the end, we Eagar supporters need to prove to Lonsberry he misjudged Eagar. We need to get her through the convention and show that she is for real. Lonsberry seems rather set in his ways but we always hope that someone we respect so much in so many other discussions will at last come to the table of reason and respect for the principles Eagar stands for and the great Senator she will be for our state. We don't need Lonsberry support to win our case with the good people of Utah, but it sure might be nice if Lonsberry were to be honest about the facts with his listeners, quit the labeling, and show some common decency for our candidate and campaign.