On the EDge: A Utahn could end up second in line to the presidency

Image composite. Forefront Jason Chaffetz | Graphic by St. George News

OPINION — For such a small, insignificant state — at least in terms of political clout — it is possible that Utah could find itself in the maelstrom of national politics.

Jason Chaffetz, who represents Utah’s 3rd Congressional District in the House, has tossed his hat in the ring to take over for Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, who is packing his desk and heading home soon because he has been deemed as not being conservative enough to please the far right, which has put a chokehold on the Republican Party.

While not a fan of Boehner, I do feel sorry for the guy, who was a lifelong party stalwart who carried the conservative banner proudly, only to get tossed out on his ear by a new generation of ultra-conservatives who would make the late Barry Goldwater blush.

I just don’t get it.

Boehner stood toe-to-toe and duked it out with President Barack Obama and Democrats in the House with tenacity. Like him or not, he put up a heck of a fight from the conservative side of the aisle.

He won some, he lost some, but he was never afraid to throw down the gauntlet.

Of course, the same could be said of Bob Bennett, the former senator from Utah who also was unfairly dumped by Utah voters because he wasn’t considered conservative enough anymore. I didn’t, by the way, understand that either.

Make no mistake, my politics have never been in alignment with either Boehner or Bennett, but I thought they were solid Republicans with true conservative positions.

I never met Boehner but knew Bennett from his many press junkets to Southern Utah and found him a fascinating historical study because of his connections to the Richard Nixon administration and widespread speculation that he was involved in the Watergate scandal. There are those who, to this day, believe he was in on planning the Watergate break-in, while others, including Nixon, thought he was the informant Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward identified only as “Deep Throat” in their stories that resulted in exposing and toppling the Nixon administration.

These are guys who, I swear, would take a bullet for the GOP. I never suspected the party would fire a politically lethal shot at either of them.

But, such is the oddball world of politics these days.

A relative rookie along The Beltway — Chaffetz was first elected to the House in 2008 — it is a rather gutsy move for him to go after Boehner’s job, especially considering that his only previous experience in politics came when he successfully managed the campaign of Jon Huntsman Jr. in 2004 and worked for the former governor as chief of staff for a little less than a year.

Other than that, the only time the public heard of Chaffetz was when he was a placekicker for the BYU football team.

I knew Chaffetz when he worked for Huntsman. I remember him as an intense campaigner and strategist. I’ve sat in on meetings with Chaffetz and Huntsman and watched him study the room as if he was sitting at a table at the World Series of Poker, looking for a “tell” that would tip the hand in his favor.

He’s sly, wily but also a bit of a tyro who has been dutifully working his way up the ranks in the House since his election in 2008.

Now, he is hoping to become the highest-ranking legislative official in the federal government, a position that would also make him second in line in succession to the presidency. As a matter of trivia that might win you a drink in the corner bar, the Senate president pro tempore is third in the line of presidential succession. Sen. Orrin Hatch has that position nailed down, which could put the Utah delegation in a rather unique position.

This is all rarified air, of course. Especially for a guy who has flip-flopped politically — he was originally a Democrat — and went from a fairly moderate position when working with Huntsman to shifting to the far, far right where he is acceptable to the Tea Party types.

I thought he did a good job when he worked for Huntsman, but I also think something went sour there with Chaffetz bailing out a scant 11 months after Huntsman took office. When he began his political campaign, I wondered what happened to this guy who had been a reasonable moderate but, seemingly overnight, started hugging the white line on the far right of the political expressway so tightly.

But it worked, and he was elected because he convinced voters that the six-term incumbent Chris Cannon, who had rightly earned a reputation as one of the most conservative members of the House, had “failed us for not instituting conservative principles.”

It was the kind of savage political doublespeak that ushered in a new generation of baffling conservative politics.

It has also enabled Chaffetz to gather a little political muscle, which is why so far, the only others who have announced they would run for Speaker are Rep. Daniel Webster, R-Florida, and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, who has a snowball’s chance of regaining the spot this time around.

Chaffetz said he would withdraw if Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, enters the race. Ryan, of course, has the full blessing of the farthest reaches of the far right and was Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012.

It appears Ryan has the votes if he can be persuaded to make a run, but that is doubtful because he has claimed that the job would put too many demands on his family.

The problem here is that while all three of these men repeat the Tea Party mantra that “Washington is broken,” none have come up with a way to mend it.

But, that’s typical of politics these days, where, no matter which side you sit on, it is easier to attack the opposition rather than offer substantive solutions.

Ryan, Webster and Chaffetz are no exception.

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Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: edkociela.mx@gmail.com

Twitter: @STGnews, @EdKociela

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2015, all rights reserved.

 

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39 Comments

  • Brian October 13, 2015 at 9:31 am

    The thing you’re missing Ed is that Boehner and Bennett would take a bullet for the ~GOP~ (ie. the party, the establishment, the corrupt, power-hungry elites), but wouldn’t lift a finger for the conservatives they’re supposed to represent, or the ideals they’re supposed to uphold. The GOP (including in Utah) has been compromised, entirely turning its back on its own ideals and values. Boehner almost never stood up to Obama in any measurable way. He regularly rolled over and let Obama rub his belly, then ran to get his newspaper and slippers. Boehner failed because he was out of touch with most members he was supposed to be speaking for (standing in their way more often than not), and was WAY out of touch with most conservatives. Bennett was the same. Those two are the poster-boys for term limits. Bennett got term limits imposed by the people. I wish Hatch got thrown out on his ear the same way, but unfortunately people were convinced his seniority mattered. All his seniority has meant is that he is more out of touch, more compromised, and less likely to stand up when it matters because HE has so much to lose. One of the things I love about many of the junior congressman is that they don’t have “so much to lose”, because they haven’t been bought off yet (unfortunately, many have already). I’m back to “Throw the bums out!”. Principles matter, politicians don’t.

    • Rainbow Dash October 13, 2015 at 6:43 pm

      “The GOP (including in Utah) has been compromised, entirely turning its back on its own ideals and values….I wish Hatch got thrown out on his ear the same way, but unfortunately people were convinced his seniority mattered. All his seniority has meant is that he is more out of touch, more compromised, and less likely to stand up when it matters because HE has so much to lose”. Brian I dare say that those are the truest words to ever escape your mouth. Republicans today care nothing about the American people or what we want and everything about how much money is in their pockets. It’s why we’ve seen nothing good from them in the last 15 years (unless you count three failed wars, $4+ per gallon gas prices, the worst economic recession since the great depression, a government shutdown , the “patriot” act, NCLB the admonition by Mitts Romney’s admonition that “corporations are people, my friend” etc as “good” things). It’s also one of the many, MANY reasons I don’t vote Republican.

  • FWIW October 13, 2015 at 11:29 am

    “Boehner stood toe-to-toe and duked it out with President Barack Obama and REPUBLICANS in the House with tenacity. Like him or not, he put up a heck of a fight from the conservative side of the aisle.”

    …There…I fixed it for you….

    You’re right, he DID in fact put up a fierce fight from the conservative SIDE…but the fight was usually directed AGAINST the conservatives. He should have been gone LOOONG ago. He might have stood toe to toe with Obama, but it was in the steam bath.

  • Accountable October 13, 2015 at 11:34 am

    Exactly Brian: Principles matter, politicians don’t. Excellent post:

  • fun bag October 13, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    ONLY WAY WE FIX THINGS IS TO GET THE $$$ OUT OF POLITICS. IT WILL CONTINUE TO BE CORRUPT TO THE CORE FOREVER OTHERWISE… WHAT WE’RE HEADING TOWARDS IS A OLIGARCHY BY THE FEW WEALTHY ELITISTS

    • anybody home October 13, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      When have $$$ not been part of politics. Excuse me, but I really want to see an example. The government here has long been an oligarchy going back as far as the first time I voted, at least, and that was for John Kennedy. And he didn’t last long, once the Texas oligarchy got into the picture.

      Now, please name me a time when $$$ were not part of it, and the candidate who won in that case.

      • fun bag October 14, 2015 at 11:15 am

        ur right, the US has probably been an oligarchy for at least most of it’s history

  • BIG GUY October 13, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    Excellent article, Ed, especially for those of us who don’t have your experience and longevity in Utah politics. Unlike the fire breathing Tea Party posts above, I see the far right tail wagging the conservative dog, and I don’t like it. Boehner’s experience as Speaker demonstrated that the nation can not be governed from Congress without compromise with the president.
    .
    Sadly, Obama’s unwillingness to compromise on almost every issue, unlike Clinton and Bush before him, is the source of our deadlock and forced Boehner out. Obama is a doctrinaire far left progressive. The great powers of the presidency allow him to avoid compromise and impose his will via regulation and executive order to the extent that the courts allow him. In turn, this gave rise to the far right which feeds on resulting public frustration: case in point, Obamacare which essentially created the Tea Party.
    .
    Those on Congress’ far right somehow want to “stand up” to a far left president but their only options are government shutdown and refusal to raise the debt ceiling, both weapons of mass destruction which wreak damage on the public and their own cause. Unlike the president, they are unable to issue new regulations of their own or, for example, overcome Obama’s treaty with Iran. The Iran treaty (and I use the term advisedly) typifies Obama’s governance style: he unconstitutionally claimed it is merely an “executive agreement” over which Congress has no “advice and consent” authority and instead submitted it to the U.N. Security Council for approval.
    .
    In the words of Cool Hand Luke, “What we got here is… failure to communicate.” Few are ever satisfied with compromise solutions but compromise ever has been and always will be the only path to governance.

    • fun bag October 13, 2015 at 4:36 pm

      “It’s all Obama’s fault” LOOOOOOOOL. The AM kook radio is strong in this one

  • fun bag October 13, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    BG likes to sound like he knows what he’s talking about, but he just makes up “facts” out of thin air

  • anybody home October 13, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Chaffetz is brash and a political climber. He wants to be speaker, but he’s not going to get it.

  • FWIW October 13, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    (Sadly, Obama’s unwillingness to compromise on almost every issue, unlike Clinton and Bush before him, is the source of our deadlock and forced Boehner out.)
    So Big Guy, the solution is for Boehner to “roll over” and agree to whatever the Prez decides he wants?….That’s “compromise” ??? Sheesh, Obama’s rarely even MET with congress to DISCUSS anything in his entire presidency. You mention “the great powers of the Presidency”…well, if you think about it, they aren’t really great powers… they’re more like illegal acts committed by someone with a phone & a pen, KNOWING that the spineless congress won’t lift a finger to stop him …Here’s another way of looking at “compromise”….maybe the Prez could get back to how the country is supposed to be run ….oh I dunno…maybe with 3 branches of government…each doing their EQUAL part……also, The Tea Party was around long before ObamaCare. (btw…I usually agree with much of what you normally post)

    • BIG GUY October 13, 2015 at 7:40 pm

      FWIW, how do you propose Congress should deal with a president who refuses to listen to, much less compromise with, Congress or the American people? Any ideas short of shutting down the government or refusing to raise the debt ceiling?
      .
      Legislation in recent years has not been specific but instead, Congress has taken the easy road by giving the president great latitude in implementing various programs. In the past, Congress used earmarks to make specific directions to the president but these were abused by lawmakers of both parties. An example: the Republican-sponsored “bridge to nowhere”. It was earmarked in Congressional spending bills but was subsequently removed when public outcry over this “pork” became too loud to ignore. Congress’ response to public scrutiny of earmarks has been to appropriate pots of money and let the president do what he/she will, e.g. Obama’s 2009 $831 billion boondoggle, sold to implement “shovel ready projects” of which there were none. Similarly, more general statements of legislative intent allowed Obama’s EPA to declare the carbon dioxide that you exhale as a pollutant subject to its regulation and other such regulatory overreaches as the FCC declaring the Internet subject to 1930s telecommunications law. This problem is a quandary for Congress: writing detailed legislation is time consuming and subject to error, abuse and unintended consequences. Bottom line: our government is trying to do way too much and as a result is becoming increasingly burdensome and costly for citizens.
      .
      Here’s a possibility that doesn’t solve the problem but at least highlights it. If narrow, single issue legislation (i.e. defund Planned Parenthood) can be crafted on a topic that will capture the attention of the public, minority Democrats in the Senate (who can filibuster any legislation), could be put in an awkward positon, especially those who face voters next fall. Better yet would be legislation that captures enough Democrat support to overcome a filibuster, force a presidential veto and force Democrat presidential candidates to define their positions on the issue. This is difficult but at least forces Democrats to declare on issues where they don’t have majority public support.

      • FWIW October 14, 2015 at 8:54 am

        BG…Your example is spot on…Repubs need to put the onus on the Dems and prez & make THEM/HIM take some responsibility for passing or rejecting a bill. All the pork clouds the issue so much that most of the time they don’t even know what they are voting on. I know this might not be popular with everyone but last time the govt shut down, was it that big of a deal? Utah actually made MORE money off the national parks than they did before they were shut down. All the Govt employees lost no money…they all got back pay plus the time off. I.E paid vacation …Was it an inconvenience? …sure…Crisis?…far from it. Granted, the Repubs got a bad rap and the blame but imho, they brought it on themselves by consistently rolling over, over the years so that when it comes time to finally “draw that line” in the sand,(shut down the govt) it’s so out of character, that they get blamed. I think we both want the same thing, just 2 different ways of getting there. There was a time for negotiation/talk but it appears that time has passed. When only one side talks, that’s not a negotiation, that’s a speech….and most people are sick & tired of just continuous speeches with no tangible result. There were plenty of bills that could have been discussed/negotiated on over the years but ole Harry Reid would never pass them on for a vote. Raising the debt ceiling?…..how long can this go on??? I don’t know if you watched the debate last night , but Sanders/Clinton want an entire new round of giveaways that will add another 18 tril over the years…where’s the money gonna come from?…It’s time to stand your ground & let the chips fall where they may….The problem with shutting the govt down now, is the looming election and God forbid anything gets done that might have an effect on getting re-elected. It’s a tough situation but it’s time for action…not more talk. Oh…you mentioned the EPA, FCC, overreaches etc…Although not really an regulation here’s one to chew on http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/launch-strong-cities-network-strengthen-community-resilience-against-violent-extremism

      • fun bag October 14, 2015 at 11:12 am

        blah blah blah trying to sound like an expert again, but just parroting right-wing propaganda

      • KarenS October 14, 2015 at 11:56 am

        Big Guy really missed the facts concerning the Stimulus Package of 2009. He called it “Obama’s 2009 $831 billion boondoggle, sold to implement “shovel ready projects” of which there were none.” Let’s see, everyone got a tax credit even Big Guy. The new St. George Airport had several shovel ready projects that were paid for by the Stimulus Act. It was reported in all the newspapers. I remember seeing local leaders from across the country standing in front of cameras with their Stimulus Act checks, saying how proud they were of “getting that money for our constiuents”. Amazing how people have such selective memories!

        • FWIW October 14, 2015 at 3:38 pm

          KS..I just did a quick search…..is this the money you speak of?

          http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2012/08/16/st-george-awarded-grant-to-improve-air-service-1/

          if not, any facts to back up your claim?…Not trying to be argumentative…just curious

          • KarenS October 14, 2015 at 6:40 pm

            No, FWIW, that is one from 2012. Read my response below to Big Guy for the funds actually from the stimulus act of 2009. St. George Airport got at least $3 in federal stimulus funds.

          • KarenS October 14, 2015 at 10:30 pm

            Oops, I meant $3 MILLION for the St. George Airport.

        • BIG GUY October 14, 2015 at 4:56 pm

          KARENS, you’ve missed the point: I said “shovel ready.” The economy needed help in 2009. Your example is dated 2012 by which time Obama was claiming his policies had already turned the economy around. And of the $831 billion, less than 6% was for “infrastructure.” (See my link above for details.)
          .
          No government does all the land acquisition, engineering design and environmental permitting and only then tries to figure out where the construction money is coming from. I say again, there were no shovel ready projects; that was only a slogan to justify the massive expenditure.

          • KarenS October 14, 2015 at 6:43 pm

            Sorry, Big Guy, another person suggested it was from 2012, not me. The St. George Airport did indeed get $3 million from Stimulus funds. The Mayor was almost giddy about getting the money right as the airport was being constructed. There were plenty of shovel ready projects around the nation. Read this – http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=5580927.

          • BIG GUY October 15, 2015 at 11:04 am

            KARENS, shovels had been in use on the St. George Airport long before the stimulus bill: ground was broken in October 2008. My claim is that no shovels were used in 2009 as a result of the stimulus package when the help was needed. Some new engineering design work was undoubtedly started but no shovels.
            .
            Stimulus construction money spent in 2009 was a windfall for projects already underway but did nothing immediately for the economy. Example: Dan McArthur being “giddy” about having to come up with $3 million less of local funds for our airport. This is undoubtedly what UDOT’s director meant when he talked about putting the money “right to work” which he had to do for the state to qualify for funding. Nothing new appeared on UDOT’s 2009 project list as a result of the stimulus. (Note the list’s July 2010 date at the bottom of each page.)
            .
            Not much stimulus construction money was spent until late 2010 and thereafter. Democrats knew this but coined the misleading “shovel ready” phrase to give the appearance of doing something (as any politician of either party would), even when less than 6% of the $831 billion was for construction and that having little effect until late 2010 and thereafter. It worked: most of us remember the “shovel ready” phrase. Most of the rest of the money was used to keep liberal pet projects alive during the downturn.

          • KarenS October 15, 2015 at 8:42 pm

            Big Guy, your information is incorrect. Mayor Dan did not have to come up with $3 million less from city funds for the airport because they got stimulus funds as you claim. The stimulus added EXTRA funds so they could build the greeting area at the airport. It was not going to be that large or as nice. It was a shovel-ready project and came into being directly because of the stimulus. If you remember, the story got quite a bit of attention because Mayor Dan happened to say that it would be a great area for returning missionaries and families to meet. He then quickly added it would be great for everyone to watch and greet incoming flights. Mayor Dan acknowledged that the meet and greet came from stimulus funds, just as I said.

          • BIG GUY October 16, 2015 at 5:41 am

            KARENS, please focus on my point which is the TIMING of the stimulus, not its impact. I agree that stimulus funds were used across the country and that these funds resulted in additional construction jobs, but only beginning in late 2010 in most cases. That was certainly true at the St. George airport. Construction on the terminal building itself had only just started by late 2009. Once additional stimulus were committed, architects could revise/expand the terminal design and actual construction work was expanded during 2010 when most terminal construction was underway.
            .
            This expansion certainly was not “shovel ready” in 2009. No idea or plan existed for the expansion until summer 2009 when unexpected funds were made available. Please focus on construction TIMING: stimulus didn’t help much anywhere until late 2010. That didn’t make it bad but it did mean that the stimulus was not applied at the depth of the recession when politicians claimed it was.

    • munchie October 13, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      Really FW, Obama won’t meet with Congress? These Republicans, especially the tea party minions, are scared to death to meet with the President for fear of being photographed with him. How would that go over with the white folks back home? They would be primaried (or impeached) by the next election. Coming to a compromise with him would produce the same results. You tea partiers need to get out of your bubble occasionally

      • BIG GUY October 14, 2015 at 8:27 am

        MUNCHIE, try reading my comments before launching into a rant. I specifically and clearly rejected Tea Party tactics in my several comments above. Your ill-considered accusation exposes a lack of substance.
        .
        Here’s a chance to redeem yourself. Please name a single instance of any consequence where Obama has compromised his far left progressive approach to imperial governance by compromising with Congress. Just one. I’ll provide examples where he refuses in the face of all logic. He has promised to veto any change to Obamacare, no matter how inconsequential, yet at last count he has chosen not to implement 41 different provisions of the law because they are unworkable or would aggravate the public. Or how about his executive order granting legal standing to illegal immigrants when he himself said the president lacked authority to do so for the first six years of his presidency? Who needs Congress when the president picks and chooses what he will do and not do with the laws of the land?

      • FWIW October 14, 2015 at 8:59 am

        Munchie, you’re right…I seem to remember a pic that was quickly taken down for fear of the retribution you mention…it was a pic of Boehner & Obama together…of course it was taken while they were playing golf…

      • BIG GUY October 14, 2015 at 9:00 am

        MUNCHIE, as you search for any sign of a compromise by Obama, compare him to the examples set by our previous four presidents. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill worked together on tax reform. George H. W. Bush agreed to a tax increase that he had disavowed as a candidate. Bill Clinton signed a bill the “ended welfare as we know it” as passed by Newt Gingrich’s Republicans. Likewise, Ted Kennedy and George W. Bush worked together on “No Child Left Behind.” I don’t defend or deride any of these laws but only use them as examples of how responsible presidents work with Congress and with the expressed will of the American people. Seen anything like that in the last six years?

        • Rainbow Dash October 14, 2015 at 8:37 pm

          Actually Im sure that you will recall that the Affordable Care Act was originally aSingle Payer System which, had it been implemented as originally written, would have set up something similar to what Britain has had since (I believe) 1947-8. If President Obama hadn’t compromised with tea baggers who care more about money then anything else we would have a single payer system instead of the mess we have now. That’s my opinion. Take it or leave it.

          • BIG GUY October 15, 2015 at 6:05 am

            RAINBOW DASH, where on earth did you get the idea that Republicans had ANY input on Obamacare? NO Republican voted for Obamacare in either the House or the Senate, not one! All attempts by Republicans to tone it down were rejected out of hand. You are entitled to your own opinion but not to your own facts.
            .
            ALL Obamacare compromising was done between Democrats! Nancy Pelosi and the progressive far left of the Democrat party, which controlled House and Senate leadership, wanted a single payer system while moderate Democrats knew that would never fly with voters. But all 60 Senate Democrats were needed to impose cloture on a Republican Senate filibuster so Democrat compromise among themselves was needed. Nebraska Democrat Senator Ben Nelson was the last moderate who opposed Obamacare but was bought off with the “Cornhusker Kickback ,” providing the 60th vote.
            .
            Virtually all Democrats from swing states who were corralled into supporting Obamacare, including Sen. Nelson, were swept out of office in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections, giving Republicans their greatest Congressional majorities in decades in a striking repudiation of progressive Democrat arrogance. Why? Because Obamacare remains the least popular and least effective piece of major social legislation in the country’s history.
            .
            The Tea Party came into existence in 2009 as a reaction to progressive Democrat excesses. Far left progressive hubris and its short-lived control of Congress animated conservatives and contributed mightily to today’s polarized politics. Obama’s refusal to compromise in any measurable way continues that polarization.
            .
            I’m still waiting for any meaningful example of compromise on imperial Obama’s part.

        • munchie October 14, 2015 at 10:52 pm

          And the biggest difference in the last 6 years? The emergence of the tea party faction in the House that holds both sides hostage to try and get their way and weak Republican leadership that let’s them do it. Compromise? Anything that has passed , ( budgets, debt ceilings) had to be done with Bohner asking Democrats to vote with him to avoid total chaos. Did Presidents and Congress work together in the past? Of course they did, that’s how we became a great nation. But I recall the Republican leaders getting together on the night of Obama’s first inauguration and pledging to do everything they could to prevent the second, the country be damned. And I don’t think I would ever use George W. Bush to prove anything except total incompetence

          • BIG GUY October 15, 2015 at 9:12 am

            MUNCHIE, your “recall” doesn’t match the facts any better than RAINBOW DASH’s recall does. Obama repeatedly offered during his 2008 campaign to “reach across the aisle” to work for the entire nation. His true colors were shown at his first meeting with Congressional leadership of both parties. Sen. McConnell started to offer some ideas on where the new president could work with Congress. Obama’s infamous reply as reported in the reliably-liberal Christian Science Monitor: “Elections have consequences. I won.” That remark was the closest Obama has come to compromising with Republicans.
            .
            You offer no example of compromise and for good reason. Obama and the Democrats had complete control of Congress for two years and ran rampant. If Democrat policies were successful and had enjoyed the support of the American people, Democrats would still have that control. But the voters soundly rejected the Democrats in 2010 and continued housecleaning in 2012 and 2014, installing an overwhelming Republican majority.
            .
            Have Republicans opposed Obama’s far left wing agenda since 2010? Absolutely; that is what they were elected to do by the voters. Has Obama made any attempt to get at least “half a loaf” of what he wants? No. Boehner is out as Speaker because he tried to find compromise positions and failed. Had Obama been willing to try for common ground, he could have found it among mainstream Republicans like Boehner: neither side would have been happy but that’s how things get done. But Obama’s intransigence has energized Tea Party Republicans and given them life. They do not control their party but there are enough of them that Republican leadership must account for them just as Democrats had to bribe Sen. Nelson into supporting Obamacare.
            .
            Similarly, Pelosi’s far left progressives are a minority of Democrats but they have the great advantage of a president who is one of them. A president’s ability to direct the machinery of government and his “bully pulpit” give him great sway over his party, all the way from directing allocation of campaign funds to appointing local postmasters. Moderate Democrats chafe under Obama’s thumb but have little choice.

          • munchie October 15, 2015 at 9:56 pm

            I have two suggestions for you BG; Decaf and switch the channel from Faux News once in awhile. You write a lot but you say nothing, neither interesting nor factual .

          • BIG GUY October 16, 2015 at 5:56 am

            MUNCHIE, your ad hominem reply above is the last resort for someone who is unable to counter another’s argument. If, as you say, I haven’t been factual, please be specific and reply with facts of your own. You are entitled to your opinions as I am to mine, but none of yours above have been supported by facts.

          • BIG GUY October 16, 2015 at 6:02 am

            P.S. MUNCHIE, I never watch or read Fox News and I have never listened to Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh or any other conservative talk show host.

  • mesaman October 13, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    Thank you Ed for standing up for Chaffetz. He is certainly worthy of your support and would be a breath of life for the Republican party. He is a strong contender but lacks the visibility of Paul Ryan. In deference to his party, Chaffetz has avowed to step aside for Ryan’s nomination.

  • beacon October 17, 2015 at 1:04 pm

    This column’s title “On the EDge” is certainly appropriate when considering Jason Chaffetz next in line! Perhaps “Over the EDge” would be even more appropriate.

  • fun bag October 17, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    SO THEN “BIG GUY”, IF NOT FAUX NEWS, ARE YOU GETTING YOU’RE “FACTS” FROM HARD-RIGHT-WING RADIO? OR KOOK FRINGE WEBSITES?

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