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Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Utah politicians had plenty of wishes for Santa

Published: Sunday, Dec. 26 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

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.

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