By now, Bill Orton's win over Karl Snow in the 3rd District congressional race has been dissected more times than a frog in a junior high biology class.

But I'll thrust my knife in anyway.The autopsy begins with this: Over the years I've met dozens of minor league baseball players who never made the big time. I've heard dozens of excuses: "My legs left me," "The Red Sox had a great catcher," "The owner didn't like me."

But I've never heard anyone say the obvious: "I just wasn't good enough".

BYU poet Leslie Norris sees the same thing with young writers. They have hundreds of reasons why their poems are rejected: "The subject matter was wrong," "The poem was too long," "The editor hates unknown poets." Nobody says the obvious: The poems just aren't good enough.

And no one's said the obvious about the Utah County elections. The Republican party will tell you they "self-destructed," that "negative campaigning" did them in. Nobody will say, "We didn't field a good enough candidate."

That was the party's "mistake."

The party's "sin" was expecting Utah County voters to vote for him anyway.

Here's a parable: Once there was a husband (the Republican Party) and his wife (Utah County voters). No matter how the husband behaved, he expected to return each night to oodles of love and tolerance. One evening, after he'd been especially insensitive, the husband came home expecting dinner to be ready.

What he got was a note that read: "Gone fishing. You take me for granted."

Utah County voters went "fishing" this year. And if the husband hopes to win his wife back, he needs to work. He'd better start showing some sensitivity and remorse. He'd better send a few roses.

Can the Republican Party humble itself like that? Stay tuned for the next episode.

4 As Christmas comes on, my kids have begun their Christmas "wish lists." I don't do a Christmas wish list, I do a New Year's wish list. And I make Christmas resolutions. My two resolutions for this year:

1. Think less about Santa Claus and more about the real St. Nicholas.

2. Think less about Christmas presents and more about Christmas Present.

4 I was watching an awards program on television recently. A young female performer was going on and on, trying to thank everyone from her parents to the guy who does her hair.

Performers often seem self-centered and self-important. But each year they have this attack of humility. It lasts just long enough to thank everyone in their lives, including the taxi driver who brought them to the ceremonies.

I don't understand that sudden shift. But I have learned a lesson from it.

There are tribes of Indians who have no words for "please" and "thank you." You might think they'd be loutish and warlike, but they're not. They don't say "please" and "thank you" because the words are implied in everything they do. They know they are totally dependent on other people.

Our tribe of middle-class Americans hasn't progressed that far. We still have this illusion of total independence. We like to say "I did it my way."

A year ago I won the batting title in a local slow-pitch softball league. I was feeling pretty self-congratulatory about the whole thing, until I started to realize how many people I owed.

I could have easily become a blushing young actress thanking the world.

"I couldn't have won this batting title without the help of my parents, coaches and teammates over the years, without the score keepers who kept track of my hits, without the guy who lays down the white lines for the base paths, without the woman who works the lights, the company that made my bat, the man who put gas in my car so I could get here, the people who make thread to sew up the softballs, etc., etc."

We don't hear "thank you" and "I'm obliged" as much as we used to. We don't hear them because we're all getting jaded. Maybe in time - like that Indian tribe - we won't hear those words because we'll finally see how completely we depend on each other.