Welcome to Behind the Lines, a weekly conversation with Salt Lake Tribune cartoonist Pat Bagley and BYU economist Val Lambson.
Bagley: Last week a Robert Gehrke story in The Tribune confirmed what everybody already knows: Mormons are Republican. It's like saying water is wet. Or the sky is blue. Or if you lie down with dogs you will get up with fleas.
Lambson: I suppose it is a lot like those things: Water isn't wet when it is frozen, the sky isn't blue when it is overcast, and some dogs have flea collars. Like any other group, Mormons are not all alike.
Bagley: I'll bet you $10,000 that two-thirds of Utah Mormons are registered Republicans.
Lambson: I'm not in the betting business, but I found it interesting that the numbers were significantly different outside of Utah.
Bagley: Mormons outside of Utah self-identify as Democrats at twice the rate as those in-state: 14 percent as opposed to 7 percent. To me this means you can cram the total number of non-Utah Mormon Democrats into two phone booths instead of one.
Lambson: Not all of us non-Republican Mormons are Democrats, as you know. Your cartoon makes an important point for Mormon Republicans, though: They may not have as many allies as they think.
Bagley: What I want to know is, why are Mormons happy to carry water for folks who hate them? I suppose that is the Christian thing to do. Despite their good works and knowing their Bible better than anyone this side of Galilee, Mormons are called cultists by right-wing Evangelicals, who would rather vote for a glib, thrice-married, religious dilettante than a devout Mormon family man. Go figure.
Lambson: Samuel Johnson might call it the triumph of hope over experience.
My favorite comment from last week was from LooHoo:
All of us hate wasteful spending that's easy; the hard part is defining wasteful spending as a nation. Congress's approval rating can get lower and lower, but on an individual, in-state basis, elected officials that "bring home jobs" and other earmarks are going to stay in office.