Pignanelli & Webb: Most politicians are on Santa's "naughty" list, but that didn't stop them from generating a catalog of gift wishes that they hoped to see in their Christmas stocking yesterday morning. We don't know exactly what they received (probably coal), but we certainly know what they really wanted.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker asked Santa that if another oil spill occurs, it covers all the "off leash" dog parks in the city. That way, the two issues and the very engaged special interest groups cancel each other out.
Senator-elect Mike Lee respectfully declined to seek anything from Old Saint Nick. Such a request smacks of earmarks. Besides, Santa is not mentioned in the Constitution and therefore lacks jurisdiction to distribute presents, cheery statements and goodwill. Further, his insistence on entering homes, confiscating milk and cookies, etc., is a violation of the Fourth amendment. U.S. citizens should not be receiving handouts from a foreigner, possibly controlled by the United Nations. At the very least, each U.S. state should have its own Santa.
As one would expect from a very successful aggregator of political money (fund raiser), Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's list was fairly extensive and he hung a huge stocking. The governor asked Santa to prevent key staff members from leaving his administration, that former Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. continues his China ambassadorship (it would be uncomfortable having the moderate Huntsman around reminding folks of the good old days), that all donors to his next campaign avoid participating in state RFPs, and that all his political opponents engage in negative advertising. He also asked for a few more media reports of Utah being the "best" in some category, so he can freshen his speeches. ("Best green jello with cottage cheese", "Best funeral potatoes", etc.).
Democrats in the Legislature were hoping Santa would inspire the new, even larger, Republican majority to once again take up the issue of education vouchers so Democrats can finally have a victory.
Sen. Orrin Hatch was extremely selfless with his wish list, asking that Congressman Jason Chaffetz enjoy a tremendously successful and lengthy career in the U.S. House. Hatch also asked Santa to see that Lady Gaga sings one of the songs he composed during her Utah appearance in March.
Sadly, the home of Rep. Curt Oda didn't get a visit by Santa. Noting a request for a "home defender, short-barrel, fully automatic, 10 gauge 'intruder special' shotgun (with bayonet)", Santa decided against sliding down the chimney of that home carrying a big bag in the middle of the night.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz did not ask Santa for anything this year. But with his new oversight powers, he plans to issue a Santa subpoena to investigate Santa's flight security procedures, including elf scanning and reindeer patdowns.
Rep. Stephen Sandstrom is not fond of Santa. Every year Santa defies border security and enters this country illegally. Further, he and his elves have taken jobs that Americans should have (dispensing gifts, making toys, fashioning candy canes). Thus, the only request Sandstorm had for Santa is a demand for proof that he was not an anchor baby of obvious foreign parents.
"Redistricting" sounds like a silly thing to show up on Christmas wish lists, but we found it among much-coveted gifts for numerous politicians. Rep. Dave Clark was hoping for a new "southern Utah" congressional district. Rep. Jim Matheson asked for a Goldilocks district — not too liberal; not too conservative; just right. Rep. Carl Wimmer told Santa he'd be happy with any new 4th Congressional District that includes a passel of Tea Party folks from southwestern Salt Lake County. Congressman Rob Bishop asked for a district that does not include Salt Lake City. While he knows (and actually claims to like) some Democrats, they should be with their own kind ... in another district.
Hinckley Institute Director Kirk Jowers asked Santa for a change in the caucus/convention system so he can run for something — anything — with a decent chance of getting out of convention.
Conservative Caucus members hoped Santa would deliver really bad state revenue projections, because there is no greater joy than whacking the budget.
Senate President Michael Waddoups and Speaker-elect Rebecca Lockhart sent a big thank you to Santa. Christmas came early for them in early November.
Congressman Jim Matheson had another selfless Santa request: A nice, quiet ambassadorship for former Speaker Nancy Pelosi in an exotic country rarely visited by the news media.
Former 2nd District Congressional candidate Morgan Philpot wanted Santa to encourage all Republican activists to support his 2012 4th District bid in gratitude for his willingness to step up and challenge Matheson. (Good luck with that!)
Mitt Romney asked Santa for a new handbook, "How to Deal with the Tea Party."
Peter Corroon wanted Santa to remind Utahns that he is still alive and remains the popular, and successful, mayor of Salt Lake County.
Prominent pollster Dan Jones desperately hopes Utahns answer the phone when his company calls.
Utah's political establishment asked Santa to grant soon-to-be-retired Sen. Bob Bennett senior statesman status as a mainstream voice for common sense and dignity in politics.
Pignanelli asked Santa for more "dynamic discussions" between special interests on Capitol Hill. (In other words, the bigger the battles, the more work for lobbyists)
Webb, who learned everything he knows from beauty pageant contestants, just asked Santa for peace on earth.
Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as minority leader. His spouse, D'Arcy Dixon Pignanelli, is a state tax commissioner. E-mail: email@example.com.