Why Mike Lee Should Be Utah's Next Senator
There are any of a number of litmus issues for which Senator Bob Bennett has illustrated that he is no longer constitutionally qualified to be a United States senator. His recent finagling with regard to a national health care regime is only the most recent. His support of George W. Bush in rewarding taxpayer money to Wall Street failures is another. In my opinion, Bennett's very worst vote as a senator (over which I spit nails), was when he and Senator Orrin Hatch voted to give even more expansive surveillance powers to the federal government under the already expansive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
I must give credit where credit is due, however. The Senator does clearly understand that he is constitutionally required to stand for re-election every six years.
Last night James Williams, Cherilyn Eagar, Tim Bridgewater, and Mike Lee participated in a very informative debate at the Provo Downtown Marriott, sponsored by Independence Caucus. I think any one of these candidates would be an improvement over Senator Bennett, for the reason, as I described above, that Senator Bennett has over time developed a greater and greater aversion to the United States Constitution.
Mike Lee, however, distinguished himself from his debate competition by his understanding and application of the constitutional principles. Here are a few of my observations why.
Making the Constitution Understandable. Mr. Lee has the ability, innate or otherwise, to take a complex subject and explain it in such a way that makes people not only understand it, but agree that the explanation makes perfect sense. In a day when a lot more people need to be given the opportunity to ask "Why didn't I think of that?", Mike Lee has the skill to give them that occasion. Both my wife and I came away from the debate with a much refurbished understanding of the Constitution. We also determined to use some of our future Family Home Evening discussions for review with our children of these integral but oft-forgotten principles and concepts.
Constitutional Statesmanship. At many times during the debate, Lee cited Article and Section from the Constitution in his concise explanations of how to identify and foster good federal government. This was to me quite refreshing when juxtaposed with the legislative behavior of most current members of Congress. Most or our representatives don't even see the need to have legislation comport with the Constitution, much less knowing how their bills ever would agree with it. Each of Lee's responses--regarding the proper role of government, sound fiscal policy, the duties of a senator, and the limited powers of Congress--demonstrated fidelity and integrity. While others of the debate candidates gave sometimes pragmatic or purely political answers to the questions posed to them, Mike Lee stayed on course with clear and concise constitutional reasoning. I can trust that, with his meticulous knowledge of our founding documents, Mike Lee's moral compass would forbid him from legislating in a manner other than the way the the Constitution intends.
Pinpoint Focus and Coherence. As I sat in the debate audience listening to the questions, I formulated in my mind how I would have responded to them. In every case, I was compelled to admit that Mike Lee's response not only agreed with mine, but that each was better than the response I would have been able to give. While the answers of other candidates often wandered without cohesion from one theme to another, each of Lee's responses quickly cut through the big picture to explain in very direct and coherent terms not only his understanding of the question, but also why the question was important.
It is for these reasons that I support Mike Lee for Senate. It is also for these reasons that I oppose term limits. When one finds the attribute of skill coupled with the characteristic of statesmanship, wouldn't one want to benefit from both for years to come?
What are your thoughts on the Utah Republican Senate race? Am I too hard on Bob Bennett? Do you have a different candidate that you support? I'd appreciate your perspective on this race, especially if you attended the debate last night (January 15th, 2010) at the Provo Marriott.