Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The (not-so) Democratic Party

[Democratic convention] Last weekend’s Utah’s Democratic State Convention lacked the entertainment value of its Republican counterpart. One exception was the race to see who would have the honor of getting slaughtered by Jon Huntsman Jr. in the governor’s race.

Some convention delegates were chagrinned that party leaders felt the need to repeatedly hammer them over the head about which of three gubernatorial candidates they were supposed to vote for—eventual nominee Bob Springmeyer even selected his running mate before convention delegates had voted on a candidate for governor.

Not that delegates were going to vote for someone else. Their complaint was more … just how stupid do party leaders think we are?

The two other candidates vying for the gubernatorial nod included Matt Frandsen—an earnest number cruncher with an earnest proposal to reform Utah’s tax system to help the poor. It was among the best ideas of the night, but delivered with a spot-on impersonation of Saturday Night Live’s frightened perennial candidate Tim Calhoun. Frandsen appeared so nervous at having to speak before convention delegates at the Salt Palace that the podium literally shook every time he touched it.

At the other end of the spectrum was gubernatorial hopeful Monty “Millionaire” Nafoosi—a partially paralyzed real estate developer who rode onto stage in a the coolest motorized contraption ever—something like a Segway from the 23rd century—and whose entire platform for being governor of Utah consists of a plan for a fleet of state-built electric cars that residents could rent for $300 per month.

Now that nomination could have at least brought some fun to what is likely to stack up as among the most boring gubernatorial races in Utah history.

Instead, Utah Democrats will put forward Springmeyer, a not-crazy planner and longtime party activist affectionately known as “Bowtie Bob” because—get this—he always wears a bowtie.

When, oh when, will politicians understand that what the people want is bread and circuses. (Ted McDonough)

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