Convention delegates gave Utah GOP an eye
Civility is once again central to Utah politics. This time, Utah Republican Party delegates gave Utah a national black eye by booing Sen. Mitt Romney during his convention speech at their recent organizing convention. A national black eye because it was covered by the New York Times, CNN and many more in the national media.
I read a comment that called the GOP the party that eats its own. And isn’t that the truth?
Why did they boo Romney? Because they are unhappy with his impeachment votes. Trump, once again. And the big lie.
Get. More than. He.
Romney said during his speech at the convention, “Now you know me as someone who says what he thinks, and I don’t hide the fact that I wasn’t a fan of our last character issues. President.”
He went on to say, “You can boo whatever you want… [but] I have been a Republican all my life. “Something Trump certainly cannot say.
Still, for some Utah State GOP delegates, Romney isn’t Republican enough.
The irony, of course, is that the poor behavior of delegates likely caused a vote later to fall on whether to “censor” Romney for his impeachment votes. The delegates who were on the fence probably didn’t appreciate the stench coming from those boos.
So how should adults disagree with Romney’s policies? They can email her office, call her office, or write to her office. Or, more importantly, a disgruntled and disapproving voter may voice their frustration at the polls and attempt to eliminate them.
It would be the most mature thing to do. It would be the civilian thing to do. But apparently this is not the Utah way. (This isn’t the first time delegates booed elected officials at convention.)
Maybe the anonymity of a large convention hall encourages some to behave so badly – because they won’t be responsible for their behavior. But is this really how we want to behave?
If our kids disagree with their teachers and the teacher doesn’t call them to express their disapproval, do we really want our kids to start booing in the middle of the class? While the teacher is talking?
Of course, these are the same delegates who refused to respect private property and a company’s right to control its own premises, most refusing to wear face masks, which the venue demanded.
I mean, it’s one thing to protest a government mandate, but when a private landlord demands that entrants wear masks and delegates refuse – do they really care about private property rights?
Guess I should be happy that these maskless delegates didn’t boo the children’s choir that performed at the start of the convention. Hopefully those kids were all gone before we could see adults behaving so badly.
These are probably some of the same people who recently overturned a school board meeting in the Granite School District with protests against mask policies. The 30 to 40 protesters drowned the speakers with chants, and several even physically confronted the council members. The council members had to be escorted by the police to their cars.
Criminal charges can be laid, and these “adults” deserve them. Honestly, I couldn’t better typify their comedic claim to subsequently vote in new board members by Robert’s rules.
But these examples of Republican Party members do the GOP no favor.
And yet, I still have hope (eternally hope). Delegates voted for new leadership at the convention, and outgoing president Derek Brown left them with a healthy party, at least financially. New leaders are young and eager to make a difference.
Sure, some of them may have expressed extreme views in the past, and one of them even witnessed the January 6 coup attempt in Washington, DC, but I’ll tell them give the benefit of the doubt and see what they can do.
Additionally, as officers of the Republican Party, they have limited authority to push specific policies that party members disagree with. And, as officers, they must remain neutral during the Republican Party primaries – including next year’s Senate race. This is true even if the new president believes the government is beholden to the party, not the other way around. (Hahahahaha. We once tried running a party without donors – it didn’t work well.)
In other words, they have little power to do anything other than run the party administration, raise funds, plan events and other similar activities. They certainly do not have the power to censor elected Republican officials alone, or even to express their disappointment at the votes.
As party leaders, their job is to support elected officials, help elect the right candidates, and pitch the big tent.
So of course everyone likes to be upset, and these new leaders certainly weren’t supposed to win. But they did, and I’ll keep my hopes up.
In fact, I remain hopeful that all moderate Republicans will continue to pledge, to come forward, to voice their concerns that the Republican Party is standing up for things worth standing up for.
I hope they won’t prove me wrong.
Michelle quist is a Salt Lake City attorney and a columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune.