Bright, principled Sen. Lee makes the establishment cringe

Photo: Hannibal Poenaru

There’s a lot of hostility toward Mike Lee from the the Washington and Utah Establishment. (Photo: Hannibal Poenaru)

The following post is a transcript of a 4-minute weekly radio commentary aired on several Utah radio stations.

Just when I complimented my friends at The Salt Lake Tribune for being authentic for owning the cause of anything other than Mormon and Republican in Utah, they have to go and act like their journalistic editorial standards trump their politics – which is, of course, nonsense. When the Media Research Center in Washington, D.C., cited dozens of reports and editorials issued by the Tribune painting Utah Senator Mike Lee negatively throughout the drama over the shutdown of the federal government, the Tribune balked.

But why take umbrage? The Tribune editorial team has no affection for Senator Lee’s politics – everyone knows it. Is it likely that its editorial tone might influence the type of stories the Tribune produces about Senator Lee? Of course! I’m not questioning their reporting. I’m just saying that it is ridiculous for the Tribune to act like the stories they choose to focus on don’t project its bias. Well, if the Tribune thinks the news is a crazy Utah senator shutting down the government, that’s what its news will be – and you won’t read other reports in its pages about how the Democrats gamed the whole thing.

But there’s more to the attacks on Mike Lee than just whatever the Tribune chooses to report.

Senator Lee and his colleagues make the Washington and Utah Establishment cringe. Senator Lee is bright, prudent, conservative and principled – and that drives the Establishment nuts. The Establishment in Washington and Utah need predictability that every elected official will fall in line behind Big Government.

The attacks against Mike Lee come from all directions within the Establishment. Inside Utah, the most disingenuous effort is the Count My Vote initiative. Once a reasonable idea to tweak the caucus/convention system to protect democracy from being held hostage by extreme voices, the Count My Vote effort has moved beyond smart fixes. There’s only one reason any prudent political effort is ever abandoned – partisan politics. Senator Mike Lee is the target for Count My Vote. Utah’s Establishment wants their own guy in that seat, not Mike Lee.

Partisan interests seize on a moment of weakness in public perception about Senator Lee and are trying to drive a wedge between voters and his credibility. Part of this effort comes from Democrats who are never at a loss to say anything negative about a Republican, and part comes from Utah’s Republican establishment who try to exploit the sense that Senator Lee’s Senate seat might be vulnerable.

I heard from friends throughout the congressional fight over Obamacare and the debt ceiling that Senator Lee went too far. I respectfully disagree. He did what was available for him to do – my guess is that he did what I would have done.

For any critic or skeptic thinking that a stable functioning government is the main priority in a free society, they should be reminded that what we have isn’t stable and isn’t functioning – unless you believe that imperialism, oligarchies and bureaucracies create stability.

Within proper constitutional authority, and when no other political leader had the courage, Senator Lee fought back. He used every line inch of the Constitution as well as the rules of the United States Senate to fight back. He did so prudently and respectfully of those who disagreed with him. Far from embarrassment, Senator Lee brought honor to Utah.

For Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero. Thanks for listening.

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  • Maggie

    Mike Lee is my idea of a great elected official. I believe he and a few other elected officials are the last best hope for this nation. Many have forgotten what a principled individual who actually knows and understands our Constitution looks like. They are not afraid to call the USA exceptional or understand capitalism is NOT a dirty word and financial success is good for all involved.

  • Sky Harrison

    Mike Lee is the epitome of right wing Taliban politics. He uses the front of religion to justify his narrow minded views and remarks. His pathetic attempt to keep the government shut down because of the affordable care act only makes him more absurd. Moreover, Mike Lee is a slap in the face to American Politics. I truly believe our founding fathers of this nation are turning in their grave listening to his foolish, nonsensical agenda. The government has no place for idiotic clowns like Mike Lee and all of the Tea Party politicians.

  • utah_1

    Whether you like Sen. Mike Lee or not you should consider the following. The delegates almost eliminated him at convention… That is true.

    re: Sen. Bennett in 2010. He was not in the top 2 coming out of convention. In fact the more moderate of the two, Tim Bridgewater was selected by 57% of the delegates in the last round of voting by the delegates. If he had received 60% Tim Bridgewater would have been the party nominee and Mike Lee would have been eliminated.

    Sen. Bennett endorsed Tim Bridgewater during the primary, but with voters ticked at TARP and ObamaCare, they went with Mike Lee.

    Sen. Mike Lee was the party nominee after the primary

    The Neighborhood Election and Convention system in Utah is the best way to make sure a grassroots process can win over large amounts of money. It is the only way someone with $100,000 can go against someone with $2 million in election funds.

    We have a system that that does NOT favor the incumbent, the wealthy or the famous. This is a good thing, and should be preserved.

    • utah_1

      So when the US House recently passed a compromise, backed also by Rep. Matheson as well as Sen. Lee, that wouldn’t have defunded ObamaCare, but delayed implementing part of it, and Sen. Harry Reid refused to even let it be heard, that was the GOP’s fault?

      Who hasn’t had even one budget passed during his entire time as US President, when even his own party wouldn’t buy in to his proposed budgets?

      OK, there are people on both sides that aren’t being smart, but the majority of the problem has been with the US Senate Democratic Majority Leader and our current US President.

      Our US President isn’t implementing all of ObamaCare. He thinks not enforcing the law because it or the Country isn’t ready for it is fine, but if Congress delays implementing part of it because we don’t have the money, that is not OK?

  • utah_1

    5 reason not to sign their petition

    1. The “bill” Count My Vote, or proposed law is flawed, terribly so. Even some of the strongest supporters admit the legislature will have to fix it if this mess passes.

    We tell public officials to kill these kind of errors in committee, not skip the public hearing, not read the bill and vote to send it to the floor of the legislature to decide if it should
    pass or not.

    That is exactly what Count My Vote is telling people to do. Sign it, unread, and hope everyone realizes next fall it doesn’t deliver. They could have amended it but chose not to and by law, can no longer amend the “bill”.

    2. This proposed law will cost taxpayers millions, $1 Million the first year and almost that every 2 years, with about 1/2 of the unfunded mandate being picked up by the less populous counties, the ones that the same proposed law will cause to be flyover places where the candidates and elected officials won’t come anymore.

    3. When Utah tried a direct primary in 1937 to 1947, it came with a run off primary, so the majority would elect the nominee. When the voting turn out and the cost drove the
    public and the media to reject that system – a compromise, caucus/convention and run off primary was created. We have that today. Count My Vote not only removes the nominating for general elections using delegates, it removes the run off primary system we have and nominees will no longer be selected out of a 2 person race. …

    4. The political royalty sponsors of Count My Vote loved the current system when the turnout to the neighborhood caucus elections meetings (GOP) was about 25,000, but when it exceeded 50,000 and 100,000, they no longer want that system because they no longer have the power. They don’t tell you that the same delegates, proposed to be elected by closer to 10,000 attendees will still pick nominees such as the replacement for Spencer Cox.

    5. They claim more people will be able to vote. A large percentage of voters will not affiliate to vote in the GOP primary election and those same people will not be able to vote in a “GOP” direct primary under Count My Vote. They will get to pay more as Count My Vote makes sure the parties will not be picking up the tab they currently do, it will be
    the taxpayers, unaffiliated or not.

    Don’t sign, just to vote on it later. Do read it. Do find out more. I trust if you actually understand what you will get, you will not sign the Count My Vote / Buy My vote initiative.