Well, that bizarre election is over, and as pollsters run for cover, it's time for a little Monday-morning quarterbacking.
First of all, there was one classic photograph that spoke eloquently about the dangerous ups and downs of politics. On a depressing election night for the local Republican Party, Sens. Garn and Hatch were standing next to Rep. Jim Hansen, Gov. Bangerter and Mrs. Bangerter. They were all staring ashen-faced at election returns on a TV screen. They looked as if they were watching an earthquake in progress.Humility permeated the Republican delegation as well as the Salt Lake County Commission, where Barker and Shimizu were thrown out - a testament to the anti-incumbency feeling that spread across the country. Democrat Jim Bradley had been leading Barker in the polls, but the biggest surprise was the voter decision to turn in the old proven Shimizu on a new risky Horiuchi that prides itself on the outrageous.
The County Commission will be interesting to watch for the next two years.
It was a reminder that defeat provides the great corrective that the American system needs periodically to bring that illusive sense of balance.
Across the nation other politicians were equally stunned - incumbents who either lost or got a tremendous scare.
It is the beauty of the system.
In Utah's 3rd Congressional district, rancor steadily escalated until voters in the most Republican district in the country finally threw up their hands and screamed, "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any longer!"
In a massive reaction, they turned their backs on the heir apparent - always the Republican candidate in this district - and elected Bill Orton, who stood before cameras in greater shock than the entire Republican delegation.
Abraham Lincoln said, "It is true that you may fool all of the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time; but you can't fool all of the people all the time."
The 3rd district came through in the clutch.
Maybe it was that incredibly obnoxious, offensive ad the Snow campaign ran in Utah County on the eve of the election that was the catalyst. It pictured Bill Orton as somehow inferior because he lacked the large family of Karl Snow.
I can't help but think of all the better-known Democrats in Utah County who are kicking themselves today for lacking the courage to run for Congress while the previously almost-invisible Bill Orton is an overnight celebrity.
Those are the vagaries of politics.
In the 1st district, Kenley Brunsdale - who will be back - almost did it, and the inscrutable Jim Hansen softened for a lingering minute. With good-natured wit, Brunsdale called me on election day to chide me for misspelling his name even when I intended not to.
It is especially surprising that Genevieve Atwood could not take better advantage of her big opportunity to be the first Utah woman in Congress since Reva Beck Bosone in 1952. She worked hard, but she lacked polish and wit.
I watched her with the relaxed and witty Owens at the U. of U. debate. When he gently jabbed her, she appeared mortally wounded and struck back self-righteously.
She recounted a long tedious story of her start in politics, giving Professor J.D. Williams, a Democrat, the credit. The house was still until Owens said, "J.D., I didn't know you gave Genevieve her start in politics. THANKS A HELLUVALOT!" Laughter.
The most effective moment of the whole campaign for me came when Owens gave an impassioned plea to control the deficit, his voice rising steadily with his emotions in rare oratorical flair.
After his final line, he grinned and instantly changed character. Without taking a breath he said, ever so quietly, "Other than that, I don't feel strongly about it."
The audience collapsed in laughter.
The Republicans had better stop taking themselves so seriously.