Some politicians have much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving weekend. Others not so much. Using FBI-style email investigative techniques, perfected in the Petraeus scandal (although we only send shirtless email messages to our dear wives, and even they are grossed out), we were able to ascertain the expressions of gratitude made by political leaders and others.
Rep. Jim Matheson: I'm thankful for the hard work on redistricting accomplished by my Utah congressional colleagues, ensuring themselves highly Republican districts, leaving just enough Democrats in the 4th District for me to squeak out a win. Thanks, guys.
Utah mental health therapists: We appreciate the extra business from all those Republicans disappointed by Mitt Romney's loss … especially the big bucks we're making from the hundreds of deeply traumatized Utahns descending into depression as reality sinks in that they won't get appointments in a Romney administration.
Republicans in Congress: We are grateful for the sensation caused by United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice and the Benghazi affair because it's a great distraction from the terrible decisions we have to make regarding the fiscal cliff.
Democrats in Congress: We are grateful the Obama administration had the good sense to leak a scandal regarding the CIA director because it's a distraction from the Benghazi affair and the fiscal cliff.
Gov. Gary Herbert: Please allow me to express appreciation to the Obama administration for demonstrating the dangers of federal overreach as the messy and complicated details of Obamacare start to roll out.
Political reporters: We are grateful for the gifts of Susan Rice, the Benghazi affair, the fiscal cliff, and David Petreaus and his embedded biographer. Who said the news would be boring after the election?
Normal Utahns: We offer thanks to the founding fathers who possessed the wisdom to ensure that presidential elections occur only every four years. We are very grateful the whole thing is over.
Advertising agencies, TV and radio stations, political consultants, graphic artists: We are deeply grateful for the cornucopia of blessings our democracy delivers -- especially in even numbered years. We are also thankful for a healthy new revenue stream – from the Super PACs. May they prosper and raise ever more money.
Common sense political observers: We appreciate seeing Pres. Obama and congressional Republicans talking to each other in respectable tones about the fiscal cliff – before they kick the can down the road and once again postpone the difficult decisions.
Salt Lake County Mayor-elect Ben McAdams: I am extremely thankful for the wisdom and sensitivity of my soon-to-be predecessor Peter Corroon. He knows how important it is for elections to be decided on the merits of the candidates, not on silly distractions like tax increases. Proposing a tax hike right after the election, but in enough time to ensure passage before I am sworn in, was absolutely brilliant!
Republican Party Chair Thomas Wright: I'm pleased that my Democratic friends will have an opportunity to experience a nasty, acrimonious interparty battle like those that have blessed my life for the last several months. The cat fight over who will replace Ben McAdams in the State Senate will be great fun to watch.
Utah Democratic legislators: We're grateful that Mitt Romney's coattails were shorter and thinner than expected.
Republican legislators: We're grateful that Mitt Romney's coattails were shorter and thinner than expected. It would have been a shame to wipe out every Democrat in the Legislature except those Salt Lake City liberals. We need a legitimate adversary or we just fight among ourselves.
Democratic Party Chair Jim Dabakis: I am happy that the Legislature agreed to release all the remaining records surrounding redistricting, even though they contained nothing of interest. The fight gave us fodder for press conferences, statements of outrage, and vindicated my bizarre obsession with boxes of documents.
Congressman-elect Chris Stewart: I appreciate tea party favorite Carl Wimmer. Had Jim Matheson not switched to the 4th District, wanting to face Carl, I would have had to run against Matheson in the 2nd District.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch: I am grateful for the opportunity to show how to defeat the tea party – hire a great campaign manager (Dave Hansen), spend $3 million on grassroots organizing, watch the LDS Church turn out unprecedented numbers of mainstream Utahns to party caucuses, avoid primary election debates, show vigor despite a few memory lapses, and then coast to victory.
Congressman Rob Bishop: I appreciate big Republican majorities, little-known Democratic opponents, and the luxury of an easy win. Life is good.
Speaker Becky Lockhart and President Wayne Niederhauser: We are thankful for the Goldilocks state budget forecasts – an increase big enough to cover growth and ongoing expenses, but not so much that we are inundated with unrealistic funding requests.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz: I'm have deep appreciation for CNN, Fox News, and all those reporters and producers who find me so quotable. For your safety, please don't get between me and a camera.
Pignanelli & Webb: We are grateful for politicians, for their dedication, for their willingness to serve, and also for their human frailties – ensuring a never-ending supply of content for our columns.
Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and Deseret News managing editor. Email: [email protected]. 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 protected].