Politicos posing as journalists are currently out of fashion in Utah. Thus, your columnists will be upfront about what we are — snoops. In our nosiness, we surveyed politicians during Thanksgiving week to learn their expressions of appreciation. We share the results of our research (this is not investigative journalism).
Gov. Gary Herbert: "I started listing my blessings four hours early because I have so much to be thankful for — a $1 million fundraising gala, a whole summer passing with no HB477 flareups, an improving economy, erstwhile challengers remembering how I thumped a 2010 opponent who spent more than $2 million and a get-tough policy running state liquor operations. Finally, it is now the Herbert Administration. Who was that Huntsman guy?"
Rep. Rob Bishop: "I'm very grateful for legislators who gave me a new district minus those pesky Salt Lake City voters. Now that I'm back with my 'peeps,' I can stop doing PR and return to my usual grumpy demeanor, throwing in a little mordant humor if I'm in a really good mood, which only happens when I get to criticize federal agencies for allowing illegal aliens to rip up wilderness lands along the border."
Rep. Jason Chaffetz: "I appreciate my 18,000 Twitter followers, my 11,000 Facebook friends (Keep posting nice things about me!) and, thanks to the Legislature, a district I actually life in. I guess now I have to be nice to my neighbors. Oh, and I'm thankful no one took my Social Security proposal seriously enough to beat me up over it."
Rep. Jim Matheson: "Well, uh, let's see … I am thankful for, uhh … okay, hmm … the health of my family … that Utah is a great place … well, uh, I guess I should be happy that the Legislature didn't incorporate Siberia into my district. As for things I'm NOT grateful for — the prospect of Mitt Romney at the top of the ballot, the mood of the electorate in 2012, Nancy Pelosi … "
Utah Congressional Delegation: "We are grateful to the Founding Fathers for the deliberative system of government they bestowed upon us. In other words, thank goodness the supercommittee completely failed in its objective, and we don't have to actually vote on cutting programs or raising taxes."
Salt Lake County Councilman Richard Snelgrove and Salt Lake County Recorder Gary Ott: "We're grateful for the Deseret News' citizen journalism project. We think it's a fine idea for our potential opponents to adopt fake identities and embarrass themselves."
Lt. Gov. Greg Bell: "I am thankful that Gov. Herbert was once a lieutenant governor. He makes assignments that have significant importance instead of relegating me to funerals and ribbon-cutting duty. I just wish I didn't have to spend so much time regulating Frank and the rest of those dang lobbyists."
State Sen. Curt Bramble: "I am grateful for those legislators in Alabama and Georgia who passed draconian anti-immigration laws. Now they have rotting crops and collapsing economies without immigrant labor to help. By comparison, my legislation remains the practical approach. I appreciate the opportunity to say, 'I told you so.'"
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch: "I'm grateful for vitamins, skin cream, good genes and a Rolodex full of great financial contributors. With these weapons, along with my key leadership post on Senate Finance, I can counter youthful challengers any time, any place."
State Sen. Dan Liljenquist: "I'm thankful for Sen. Hatch's good work over the last 100 years in the U.S. Senate. He has naturally evolved from young lion to old dinosaur. Now I propose he be given an honorable release. All in favor … "
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker: "I am glad the municipal election is over. I was worried about that 0.0000000001 percent chance that an asteroid would hit me, and I would lose the race by default."
House Speaker Becky Lockhart: "I'm grateful my Redistricting Committee colleagues created a nice congressional district attractive enough for Rep. David Clark to run. Now he'll resign and be out of my hair."
Utah Democrats: "Well, uh, let's see … we are thankful for, uhh … okay, hmm … for the fine country and state in which our families and we live … for the opportunities and freedoms our nation provides … for a lifestyle unparalleled in human history. … Anything beyond the esoteric is just depressing."
Utah Republicans: "We are extremely thankful for a cornucopia of political gifts — especially President Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and tea party passion."
Frank: "I am grateful for those fine high-profile Utah citizens who are pushing changes to the delegate/convention system. Not only will this provide much-needed positive impact into the political process, it also forces LaVarr Webb to eat crow."
LaVarr: "I'm thankful for the caucus/convention system that has served our state well and for suggested modest improvements that would give more citizens a voice in the process. Most importantly, these changes would end Frank's obsession and incessant media blabbering."
Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: email@example.com.
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