Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: How will these national scandals affect Utah politics?

Published: Sunday, May 19 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Pignanelli: Unless there are new Republican scandals (a real possibility), conservatives will be energized to punish Obama sympathizers in 2014. Congressman Matheson has adequately distanced himself from the administration to survive any backlash. But other Democrat candidates will have a tough — but necessary — decision to redefine themselves as a Utah-style Democrat or affirm they are a local franchise of the national party.

Webb: Utah has its share of alienated archconservatives, and this time the conspiracy is real. It is reprehensible that the IRS, which can take away your money and property and throw you in prison, inappropriately targeted and intimidated conservative groups.

The Obama administration (with some help from Congress) has already caused more guns and ammunition to be sold, outside of a war, than any short period in world history. Now the administration will also be remembered as the greatest instigator of right-wing paranoia. Joseph Heller wrote in Catch-22: "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you." In this case they really were. The dictionary says paranoia "is the irrational and persistent feeling that people are 'out to get you' " Only this time it wasn't irrational. The black helicopters really were out there. Not a figment of right-wing imagination. It was real.

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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