"My vote cannot be bought, sold, traded, or gambled away in a Senatorial backroom deal."Just minutes after this promise to the delegates--not a new promise, rather one Eagar had oft repeated during the campaign trail--she would learn of the decision of the delegates not to advance her to the second round and would end up being tested on that promise. In an interview with conservative talk show host Bob Lonsberry during the last half hour of the show today(archived in full at KNRS) she stunned the audience with the revelation of a proposed backroom deal by Tim Bridgewater.
UtahsRepresentatives.com who has done a great job in collecting and revealing sundry information over the past many weeks on Bridgewater's business dealings had the best political analysis today on the incident including a video excerpt and transcript (he earned our follow). UtahsRepresentatives points out that Bridgewater offered to pay for Eagar's campaign debts in exchange for being a spokesperson for his campaign (in our own mind, we are thinking that this must have been phrased something like offering a her a job.)
In the Lonsberry interview, Eagar emphasized that the deal wasn't a bribe but that she must have realized that her principles had been put to test:
"I realized that I just had to do what I felt was--what I had promised my campaign I would do and in my heart I knew was best."UtahsRepresentatives concluded:
"These kinds of backroom deals are what’s wrong with politics. That shows a lot of integrity on Cherilyn Eagar’s part for not taking the bribe."
We find UtahRepresentatives' conclusion most interesting. Even though Eagar had done her best to communicate the appropriateness of the offer and specifically ruled it out being a bribe, UR obviously felt it was. Bribes are high on the frustration list and thus watchlist of the folks because of their rampant-ness and destructiveness in perpetuating evil. Gator-aid, the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase, and even Utah's own Matheson Gavelgate affair have recently frustrated the folks to no end, wanting nothing but merit and integrity instead of votes and positions purchased with money.
This "Bridgewater Buyout" incident--all within legal bounds, yet smacking as a stealthy buyout of a poorer person's vote--has the potential to negatively influence some in the primary election against Bridgewater. Lonsberry, who openly endorsed Bridgewater before the convention did not have time to give his opinion on the show as to any influence that the revelation may have made in his endorsement. He did seem eager (overused pun) to prod the incident out of Eagar while she seemed to back away from the issue. We suppose you'll have to listen to Lonsberry tomorrow to find out what he thinks (wow! what a plug! Can I get free dinner with Bob tomorrow night for that plug? j/k).
++++ Update & Clarification 5/13:
We had some great comments to this post which have aided in a decision to formally clarify. After this incident began to take root in the blogosphere, Eagar released a clarification statement (thank you Arc) really denying any possibility of any wrongdoing on the part of the Bridgewater campaign. Our mood on this has significantly improved where we are no longer concerned about the incident (note strikethrough above) and a clarification is due. We don't regret the story as the collective buzz on this issue prompted further appropriate public action on the part of Eagar and commend her for so doing. We felt we gave the facts as they presented themselves at the time a fair representation as well as our opinion at the time. Furthermore, we feel it a very important part of the political process to discuss our concerns and as we pointed out backroom-door-dealing and anti-corruption is high on the list of ourselves and many others out there.
As a political neutral in this contest between Bridgewater and Lee to date, we deny posting the article with the hidden agenda of "us[ing] it for negative campaigning against Mr. Bridgewater" (Eagar statement with unclear direction). Thorough readers of this blog will find we have been critical betimes of both Bridgewater and Lee in our quest for truth. We don't intend to be overly critical of two great candidates for the Senate, we do feel it necessary to bring to light issues that concern us. During former employment as a retail manager, our security manager--a former police officer--once confided in us: "No offense to you, but I learned in this business not to trust anyone except myself." We have learned that advise is particularly apropos in today's political environment where even some of our most beloved statesmen have gone to Washington and returned home drunk with the Potomac Poison. Trust must be earned every day, every vote. We just expect of ourselves to remain civil while we debate these important issues.
Which brings us to one final item: although no one has called us out, we defensively responded to a comment to Cassandra in a mocking way and for that we apologize for violating our principle of "attempt[ing] to ride the high road of political debate". While we believe that mockery and satire are important tools in political debate, to mock a commenter as a controller of a blog really puts the commenter at an unfair disadvantage. We are a person of passion but not of persecution. Our response has been deleted and Cassandra--whomever you are--we are sorry and apologize for our comment. To our commenters: we will do better to respect you.
++++ Update #2 5/13:
Lee Davidson of the Deseret News picked up on this story today; we felt the analysis was quite reasonable & professional. That they did neglect to give UtahsRepresentatives credit for doing the hard work on the research & promotion of this story seems to point to how mass media typically ignore the volunteer media reporting work bloggers and twitters do, often long before they release their own stories. Bloggers on the other hand tend to hat-tip frequently and generously give credit. Hurrah for Bloggers! Hurrah for the First Amendment!