Rolly: Utah tea party loyalists find defectors in the ranks

By PAUL ROLLY

Tribune Columnist

Published: July 5, 2013 09:13AM
Updated: December 7, 2013 11:34PM
image
Paul Rolly, Tribune columnist

I wrote in Wednesday’s column about tea party goddess Cherilyn Eagar’s rant to fellow Republicans that the investigations of Attorney General John Swallow are the evil-doers’ attempts to wipe out the last bastions of righteous conservatism, which are hanging by a thread in Utah.

Well, one victim already of the conspiratorial liberals, moderates, RINOS (Republicans in Name Only) and vegetarians is failed gubernatorial candidate and tea party favorite Morgan Philpot.

At least according to his wife, Natalie.

She wrote a post recently on the Facebook page of Utahns Against Common Core (the same ilk as the anti-International Baccalaureate Program and Eagle Forum folks), claiming a former Philpot supporter had defected and was now being rewarded by RINO Gov. Gary Herbert.

Herbert defeated Philpot for the gubernatorial nomination in the GOP State Convention last year.

“The State School Board is full of people who think they know better,” Natalie posted to her fellow conspiracy theorists. “It is one avenue the governor uses to pay back people whom he owes political favors to.”

She was speaking of Heather Groom, whom Herbert recently appointed to fill an opening on the State School Board. Groom had worked on Philpot’s campaign when he ran for Congress against Democrat Jim Matheson in 2010, but she supported Herbert in 2012.

Groom’s appointment was confirmed by the Utah Senate, so perhaps the conspiracy against good tea party people goes deeper than we imagined.

Groom has been in a dispute with Philpot over money she claims he owes her from the 2010 congressional campaign. She isn’t the only one Philpot has had disputes with over debts. Former Philpot campaign supporter Kara Harrison filed an unsuccessful claim against Philpot with the Utah Labor Commission, alleging he owed her several thousand dollars.

Just another chapter in the ongoing soap opera: “As the Tea Party Turns.”

To serve and transport • Another example of how the overpaid executives of the Utah Transit Authority ignore the needs of their actual customers can be seen in the holiday schedules this month for bus, TRAX and FrontRunner services.

On Independence Day, UTA brass, in their wisdom, chose to have no service on buses, TRAX or FrontRunner. On Pioneer Day, Wednesday, July 24, UTA will provide reduced Sunday service for buses and TRAX and the Saturday schedule for FrontRunner.

What a strange dichotomy: Both holidays featured Salt Lake Bees games and fireworks shows. On both, some businesses close and some are open. Salt Lake City has the big parade on the 24th, but Provo had all the Stadium of Fire and Freedom Festival activities on the Fourth.

And what bad timing in view of Utah Highway Patrol’s goal of no fatalities on the Fourth and its emphasis on no impaired driving, given the likelihood that a few beers were enjoyed right along with the burgers and dogs. There went one less option to getting behind the wheel after tipping a few in honor of the day.

At least we can relax with the knowledge that nobody drinks on Pioneer Day, right?

Water works • Jackie Breslawski passed the Lone Peak Elementary School on High Mesa Drive in Sandy at the start of her bike ride on a recent draught-stricken, 100-degree morning and noticed the sprinklers were on, the sidewalks were wet and a sign cautioning pedestrians to be careful because of the slippery sidewalks due to “spring runoff.”

prolly@sltrib.com