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Rolly: Libertarian candidate uses slain dog as campaign fodder

By PAUL ROLLY

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Aug 15 2014 04:23 pm • Last Updated Aug 15 2014 04:23 pm

A Libertarian candidate for the Utah Legislature has come up with a novel campaign tactic: He is courting voters by suggesting if they vote for him, cops won’t kill dogs anymore.

Why can he stop that? Because he adheres to the Ayn Rand philosophy.

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So you’re wondering what the connection is between saving the dogs from police officers and the anti-government novelist Ayn Rand, right?

Well, stick with me here.

Utah politicians, as you know, have been a constant source of entertainment over the years, and this year is no exception. But once in a while, one candidate goes in a direction so interesting, he or she warrants special attention.

Introducing Rainer Huck, the Libertarian candidate for House District 40, covering the Millcreek Township area currently represented by Democrat Lynn Hemmingway.

Huck recently sent a campaign flier to residents of the area featuring a picture of Geist, the now-famous 110-pound Weimaraner shot to death in his own backyard by a Salt Lake City Police officer who was looking for a lost child and felt threatened by the dog.

A Justice for Geist website has been established, and several rallies have been held in support of the dog’s owner, Sean Kendall, who wants the officer who shot his dog to be held accountable.

So Huck has exploited that emotional issue by posting a picture of Geist on his campaign flier with the caption: "Geist was a victim of police arrogance and lack of accountability."

Next to the picture of Geist is a picture of Ayn Rand, with a caption that quotes her: "We are fast approaching the stage of ultimate inversion: the stage where government is free to do as it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission."


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The Ayn Rand addition will appease a segment of the right wing that has made the author and her books their rallying cry against government. These are the same folks who spoke as if the television series "24" was a documentary and the Kiefer Sutherland character, Jack Bauer, was a real person.

As the woman who received the flier and passed it on to me said: "I’ve read all of Ayn Rand’s books and I loved them. But they’re fiction."

The picture of Geist and the caption are the only references to the dog on the flier, but it seems to correlate with one of Huck’s list of objectives as a legislator: to increase police accountability. Other objectives are to limit terms for legislators (remember when Orrin Hatch was a champion for limited tenures of U.S. senators?), reduce state spending by 2 percent per year, enact attorney and judicial integrity laws that work, reduce state bureacracy, etc.

Huck has been a prolific contributor to the Public Forum in the Salt Lake Tribune, usually espousing his opinions against closing sensitive public lands to motorized vehicles and debunking those who warn about global warming.

And he has tried for elective office before.

He ran for the Salt Lake County Council in 2012, but was beaten badly in the Republican convention. He ran for Salt Lake City mayor in 2007 and posted such policy positions on his campaign Web site as: "Mormons will get what they want with no questions asked," "The worldwide environmental movement is at its heart a pagan church," and "environmentalists’ heroes are Chairman Mao and Stalin."

It didn’t work. He finished eighth out of nine candidates in the primary election, garnering 37 votes.

Maybe Huck, who wrote a letter to the editor published in The Salt Lake Tribune in 2006 that likened Al Gore’s movie "An Inconvenient Truth" to Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propoganda film "Triumph of the Will," will find more traction with the dog lovers and Ayn Rand enthusiasts.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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