“To the victor go the spoils” applies to politics as well a war. But there’s got to be a limit to how much those who consistently lose can take. In Utah, the Democratic Party consistently loses. In fact, the name Democrat in Utah has become synonymous with losing. One would think that Utah’s current state of affairs might be a wake-up call, not just for Democrats, but for all freedom-loving Utahns.
With each new Republican victory begetting even more Republican victories, the ominous specter of ubiquitous Republican control becomes an ever-present danger. With the governor’s office, the attorney general’s office, the Legislature and the Senate all under Republican domination, cherished constitutional freedoms like proportional representation and checks and balances are threatened.
Utah state Auditor John Dougall’s recent Tribune commentary, co-authored by Utah Republican Senate leader Wayne Neiderhauser (“Congress should follow Utah’s ‘sound principle of tax reform’,” Nov. 12), exemplifies the very lopsidedness that permeates Utah politics. In this article both men sing the praises of recent tax reform in Utah and in particular legislation that Dougall championed as a legislator just a few years ago.
While such seemingly innocent cheerleading might seem benign to some, it’s yet another example of how deeply the Republican machine has metastasized its tentacles into every facet of Utah government.
Dougall, it would appear, can’t decide whether he’s still a Republican legislator or the state auditor. Nevertheless, his election to state auditor might embolden more legislators into parlaying their current offices into permanent positions of their own. Positions like Dougall’s, by law must maintain a wall of separation and remain independent from the governor and the Senate. Any hint of favoritism or mission creep in these departments becomes problematic.
Should Dougall get re-elected to his current post, Utah voters would once again be sending a clear message that the wall of separation means nothing when you’re in a position of public trust.
Thomas Smith, Salt Lake City