For far too many years we have allowed ourselves to lean on the stature and endorsements of others and to allow political despotism through nepotism. We remember past thoughts: Reagan was a great Conservative, therefore his vice-president must be one too. Bush was good so Bush Jr. must be good. That there leader is a Mormon so he must be against abortion/gay marriage/ripping the Constitution to shreds. Although this is a simplistic summary and our analysis has always more profound, we confess the past presence of such thoughts.
But our mentality has done a "360." Now when we look upon Bushs, Kennedys, Romneys & Reids or to localize it for Utah--Cannons, Bennetts, and Mathesons--we now look upon the dynasties with much disdain; and acutely so to the second generation who follow on the coattails of their fathers. Like watching a bad movie sequel, the second generation of politicians seem to get a electoral boost because of their genetics. Surely, our democracy is strong enough to not require nepotism. Indeed, it is a call for the opposite: it is for us the common citizen to rise to our obligation for public service.
This is not to say that because one happens to be the posterity of a famous politician one should be denied an opportunity to serve nor will Nacilbupera disqualify and exempt such from our vote and approval; nevertheless it does count as a negative mark. Truly, Bailout Bob Bennett (aka Bennett II or Bennett the bad movie sequel) should have prompted such a warning back in 1992 before elected. The problem then was it was a choice between Bennett II and Cannon III! Yikes! Is there no other patriot in Utah who isn't a re-tread?
But this is precisely how we feel about Mike Lee who announced his candidacy this week after months of intensive campaigning from Eagar and Williams who patriotically declared their candidacy early on. If you didn't know Lee before this election cycle (few did, ourselves included) he is the son of late BYU President and US Solicitor General Rex Lee. (We have to digress: at BYU we were once invited to lunch with President Lee and found him admirable!) But herein lies the problem--he's riding Daddy's coattails--and our biggest fear: will we go through all these efforts and sacrifices to replace Bennett II with a simple namechange to Lee II? We hope not. This is a fight to put in principled, Conservative candidates. Of course Lee II could turn out to be a wonderful Senator if elected--after all Mike can't help that his Dad is Rex (although he touts it). Yet based solely on the results of other political dynasties, we would have to put the odds low of Lee II sticking to principled Conservatism.
The second thing that disturbed us about Lee II is his campaign announcement. He brought together a bunch of seasoned Utah politicians to endorse him, even to the point of letting former Congressman Jim Hansen introduce him. Hansen, the former 22-year Congressman from Utah's First District? Yep. 22-year veteran Hansen was the lead hitter. So why in the world if Lee II is so adamant about amending the Constitution to put a 12-year cap on Congressional terms--why in the world would you even want Hansen to endorse you? It simply makes no sense unless--unless you are committed to old-style politics over principles. And top off the whole announcement with an endorsement from Shurtleff who is weak on immigration?
Lee II talks the talk. We share values with him. Our problem, understandably after being betrayed so many times by politicians (we're still waiting to see the healthcare debates Obama promised us on C-Span) we are skeptical of promises. And Lee II really has nothing to offer of substance: no voting record and no activism other than these Constitution speeches he's been giving for the past year: just words.
So... you say you want us to trust a political heir who gives Constitution speeches for a year and chooses as his firstmost endorser a politician who violates his principles of term limits and his crowning endorser a politician who violates his principles of being strong against illegal immigration--and you want us to trust this person as a reliable Conservative??? No. That is just too much to ask. Not when we have Cherilyn Eagar who has been a dedicated Conservative for 30 years.