July 29, 2008
July is a great month to live in Utah. We enjoy outings with our families, time with our communities, picnics, parades, fireworks, and more. There are also two holidays, the 4th of July and July 24th each with a special meaning that goes beyond two days off work.
As you enjoy the 4th of July and 24th of July, remember there has never been a more important time to rise up, be involved in the political process and lead America through troubled times. Your involvement will create a better future for your children and posterity.
The "I can" Campaign
Let me again thank elected officials at all levels, county parties and private sector donors that have been contributing to the "I can" campaign.
You already know the "I can" campaign is built on a foundation of Republican principles of individual freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility. There are several accomplishments Utah Republicans look to highlight this year including:
Utah is the best managed state in the country (The Pew Center on the States) - Because our Legislature has used conservative Republican principles of financial management, we have a healthy state budget at a time when many other state budgets are in crisis.
Utah has one of the best economies in America - Most Dynamic Economy (Kauffman 2007 State New Economy Index), #1 Economic Outlook (ALEC- Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index), #2 Best State for Business (Forbes Magazine), Most Competitive State for Business (Beacon Hill Institute), #3 in America's Top Ten States For Business (CNBC) - Respected Utah economist Jeff Thredgold recently indicated, "Even as it [the US economy] has slowed, however, Utah's economy ranks with the nation's strongest."
Utah's Republican-led Legislature invested over $1 billion in new education funding during the last three years - to put this in a longer term perspective, since fiscal year 2000, total education appropriations have increased more than 73% (6.4% per year) while student enrollment has increased by 15.7% (1.6% per year).
Republicans have initiated unprecedented road and mass transit funding, much of it from existing taxpayer sources - examples include the almost completed Legacy Highway, additional lanes on I-15, work on regional roads and rural projects, authorizations for Front Runner commuter rail and expansions of light rail.
These are all significant successes brought to the people of Utah by Republican leadership in the Legislature and Governor's office.
One thing most people in America can all see is that the media is having a love fest with Barack Obama. Unfortunately, many people actually rely on the media for information to help them decide how to vote. For instance, The New York Times recently printed an article penned by Obama only to reject one from John McCain because it wasn't enough like Obama's. Additional examples can be found in the following RNC memo:
One way to keep up on the Republican perspective in the Presidential election is to read the press releases that come from the Republican National Committee. Here is a link: http://www.rnc.org/
Mitt Romney is back in the news these days as a viable Vice-Presidential candidate. There is a strong case that Mitt's private sector experience, economic savvy and fundraising prowess are a perfect compliment to John McCain's national security expertise and legislative experience.
I've been told by Party veterans that we are doing a great job at raising money. While I spend a great deal of time talking to people about contributing to our Party, it is those who donate who deserve the credit. They respond with support for the principles and values that Republicans stand for as articulated in our platform. Hundreds of donors have given during the last year. It is inspiring to know that so many people are willing to sacrifice a bit for the cause of good government.
The GOPen annual golf event will be held Friday August 1 at Thanksgiving Point with over 50 legislators expected to join us. We have sold all 36 $1,500 foursomes.
A Lighter Moment
For years, pro-life Republicans have been told that we shouldn't call Democrats pro-abortion, instead they prefer pro-choice. In a recent Republican/Democrat debate I used the phrase pro-choice to describe Democrats and my opponent took exception to the description. I commented that if we can't use pro-abortion or pro-choice, what should we use? I didn't get much of an answer.
After trying to figure out whether Democrats are pro-abortion or pro-choice, I received my biggest applause line of the day when I suggested that Republicans are pro-choice. There was silence in the room because everyone there knew we are pro-life. I told them that we just believe that the choice is made at time of conception and from that time on, we are on the side of defending the unborn.
Democrats have a problem. Utah government is viewed as a model of effective government for the rest of the country. Republicans are able to claim credit for this success with veto proof majorities, making it very difficult for Democrats to make a case for change.. Instead, they have tried to make the case that Republicans aren't living up to our high standards of integrity and decency by making gossip, rumor and innuendo the standard news stories of the day. Make no mistake; the hue and cry that Republicans are disreputable is a bid for the hearts and minds of the people of Utah. It is also pure baloney. Republicans stand for morality and integrity in government and the easiest way to undermine our candidates is by taking an isolated incident or two and smearing all elected officials.
Democrats succeeded with this strategy at the national level in 2006, using extremist groups like Moveon.org to make an isolated incident (Mark Foley) and an unethical lobbyist (Jack Abrahamoff) symbols of Republican misdeeds. The mainstream press followed along. Gary Bauer paints Democrat 'suppress the turnout' strategy this way in the following article: "Their plan was simple: Convince ethics-minded voters that Republicans are, well, devoid of ethics".
Fred Barnes, a national pundit has an interesting article in the Weekly Standard on a similar strategy Democrats used in Colorado to gain control over the House and Senate and Governorship in 2006. Regardless of whether they were true or newsworthy, make accusation after accusation until the mainstream media feel pressured to report it.
Does any of this sound familiar? It's happening here right now. We cannot let Democrats and even a few Republicans who have bought into this propaganda succeed with this same strategy in Utah. With our children's future at stake, the price is too high. Many commentators have suggested that Barack Obama is the most liberal Democrat to run for President since George McGovern in 1972. The truth must be told.
No matter how much Utah Democrats try to sound like Republicans, they are a part of the Obama bandwagon just like they were foot soldiers for John Kerry, Al Gore and Bill Clinton. Here in Utah, Democrats seek to cover up their Party's real agenda by claiming to be socially conservative, but fiscally moderate. Instead of calling themselves liberal, they call themselves progressive. All that rhetoric means is that taxes will increase, government spending will rise, and our economic prosperity will be at risk. Our commitment is to the Republican cause of equal opportunity, not equal outcome; of self-reliance, not entitlement; of protecting God-given rights, not the redistribution of wealth. It is time to work hard to get Republican candidates elected.
Odds and Ends
Since the primaries we have been training our Republican candidates on how to run campaigns. Over 40 Republican candidates have participated in the training sessions.
Our Utah delegation is getting ready to attend the National Convention in Minneapolis this year. The planning logistics for about 200 people is difficult. We have a dedicated group of volunteers helping us get ready. Governor Huntsman, Attorney General Shurtleff, Senator Hatch, Senator Bennett, Congressman Bishop and Jason Chaffetz are all sponsoring events for the delegation.
Some may wonder why we are voting for Mitt Romney for President on the first ballot at the convention when John McCain is the Republican Party nominee this year. Our long standing rules are "winner take all" meaning that the candidate who gets the highest vote total in Utah wins our 36 delegates. Mitt received over 90% of the vote. Even though Mitt dropped out of the race and sent our Party a written request to give our delegates to John McCain, any change to our rules could result in our delegates being challenged at the national convention. It may come up before the State Central Committee and they will evaluate what should be done, if anything.
Thank you to all of you who made suggestions and comments on the State Convention in response to my last Chairman's letter. They were very helpful and will be considered as we plan for future conventions.
Let us invest our time, talents and resources to educate friends and neighbors that timeless, traditional values are never out of style. Constitutional principles that protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can be as relevant today as they were over 200 years ago. That is what Republicans stand for. That is what has made Utah a model state in this great nation. That is why we need to work to see our fellow Republicans elected in November.
Utah Republican Party Chairman