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Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Utah delegation shuns compromise, fears tea party

Published: Sunday, Aug. 7 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Pignanelli: As with many Americans, I have issues with the extreme and bizarre elements of the tea party (i.e., revisionist history, "birthers", etc.). Yet, they are driving the current debate in Washington, D.C. Democrats and moderate Republicans lost the opportunity to mold the discussion around innovative and creative means to efficiently provide government operations with sensitivity to the deficit and taxpayer burdens. With the tea party movement's strong positioning on the national scene, combined with the convention/delegate system, all Utah Republican incumbents pay close attention to it. Indeed, because of Utah's weird candidate selection process, a vote for the compromise would have been a death sentence for a member of Congress.

Will Matheson suffer because he supported the compromise legislation?

Pignanelli: Matheson played this well. By supporting the early cut, cap and balance legislation and the ultimate resolution, he is impervious to GOP attacks on the issue. The lefties and right-wingers are mad at him (as usual), but the mainstream majority is comfortable with his pragmatic and consistent course of action as a deficit hawk.

Webb: No. Matheson provided himself plenty of cover on the variety of votes he took during this debate. The far left might be mad at him, but that's normal for Matheson.

Pignanelli & Webb: On another note, along with many others, we express our condolences to former Gov. Norm Bangerter and his family for the loss of Colleen Bangerter — one of the most decent, compassionate individuals to have blessed our state with her public service.

Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: lwebb@exoro.com. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a 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. Email: frankp@xmission.com

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