With the resounding voucher defeat behind them, Utah Republican legislators have another brilliant idea. Now they are talking about both reducing the power of the State Board of Education and turning their election into a partisan election. Because everyone knows that this is what is wrong with politics in the U.S. today: not enough partisanship.
Payback for the boards refusal to go along when the legislature tried to forcefeed vouchers down the state’s throat? I’ve little doubt retribution is playing a role in the timing. But, as Representative Greg Hughes pointed out, they’ve proposed this idea before vouchers (okay, since Utah Republicans have been trying for vouchers for the last millennium, nothing is before vouchers. But it was before this latest, most narrow brush with vouchers). No, this is part of a deeper pathology of the Utah Republican party.
Looks like part of a pattern to me. The party closed their primaries—you know, because we underhanded liberals had been infiltrating their primaries, rigging their elections, and had turned the legislature into a rats nest of liberalism. Party leaders in the legislature a year or so back talked about restoring an outdated principle requiring the state’s national congressmen report and be more accountable to the state legislature. And despite the fact that the party likes to talk about minimal and local government every time the feds step on the legislature’s toes, the party had no qualms about stepping in on the local county government’s turf when the Salt Lake Real deal was up in the air.
Utah Republican leaders aren’t looking to learn them school boarder’s a lesson. They simply don’t believe in rule by the people, for the people.
The leaders of the Utah Republican party believe that they, the kakoi, should rule; not quite a council of philosopher kings, but perhaps theocrat kings. Closed primaries mean that the party bosses have more control over who runs and therefore who governs. Binding the national congressmen to the legislature makes those congressmen more answerable to the party and less to their constituents. The Salt Lake county interference? Why should such an august body allow their desires be thwarted by some little fiefdom? And the shenanigan with the second, referendum-proof bill on vouchers was for our own good, you know.
Turning the board into a partisan body accomplishes the same thing. The party bosses would have more control of who runs. The expansion sounds like an opportunity to pack the board.
This megalomania isn’t entirely their fault. You can’t blame them for letting their power go to their head with such overwhelming dominance over state politics.
But the citizens of Utah can help. What the Utah Republican party needs is an intervention. Most may be teetotalers, but they are clearly drunk on power. Let your legislators know that we don’t accept by unrighteous dominion. And in upcoming elections, lets provide them with an opposing presence strong enough to keep the Republican egos in check (I’d much prefer multiple parties, but one will do for now).
After all, its for their own good.