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Rolly: Rocky Anderson says adieu to the Democratic Party

Published August 16, 2011 9:50 am

PAUL ROLLY
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Political junkies have speculated for months that former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson might run for Congress in 2012 — especially if someone slipped a hallucinogenic drug into the chocolate malts of legislative leaders and they created a liberal Salt Lake City-dominated district this gerrymandering session.

Forget about it.

Even if Anderson wanted to run for Congress — and he says he doesn't — it's unlikely the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee would give him any money. Especially after the scathing note he sent to the committee this week.

Anderson, Utah's most liberal Utah elected official in memory, told national Democratic leaders he doesn't want to be a Democrat anymore.

"Until the Democratic Party shows some spine and draws a line in the sand — that an end to the tax breaks for the wealthy needs to be part of any debt/budget bill — please take my name off your list," Anderson wrote to the DCCC. It was a response to the committee's form letter to him, asking for money to help the Democrats "stand strong" for the election year in 2012.

Anderson also chastised the Democrats for not pursuing impeachment against former President George W. Bush for his administration's advocacy of "torture" when the Democrats controlled Congress. In the letter, he praised former Republican President Ronald Reagan for his stance against torture and Reagan's respect for international laws against torture.

"How dare you send an email with the subject line 'Standing strong,' " he added. "You didn't do it on Iraq, you didn't do it on torture, you didn't do it on signing statements, you haven't done it on Afghanistan, you haven't done it on defense spending, you haven't done it on real health care reform, you haven't done it on energy policy and the climate crisis, you haven't done it on the evisceration of our system of checks and balances through the invocation of the state secrets doctrine, and you haven't done it on the debt ceiling fiasco. Those who have stood strong in Congress can be counted on one hand — and they have faced nothing but opposition by Nancy Pelosi and most of the rest of the so-called Democrats."

So here is Utah's liberal icon slamming the Democrats for their timidity while praising a conservative Republican hero.

No checks from the DCCC for you, Rocky.

And tell us how you really feel.

Speaking of torture • Salt Lake County residents Dick and Diane Arner were returning from a road trip into Canada last week with their dog when they ran into trouble trying to cross the U.S. border at a checkpoint in Blaine, Wash.

The 76-year-olds had their passports in order, did not possess anything that would be considered contraband in their car, but ended up being detained for more than two hours while their dog was taken to an outside pen in the middle of the August afternoon that had no shade.

Their offense: They had an orange in their car.

Arner says when they earlier passed into Canada, the Canadian border guard asked, "Do you have any firearms, ammunition, alcohol, tobacco or drugs?" Arner didn't have any of those things, so the guard said, "Have a nice visit," and let them through.

When they returned, the U.S. border guard asked, "Where have you been?" "Telegraph Cove on Vancouver Island," he responded. "Why?" asked the guard. "Visiting relatives," he said.

"Take off your sunglasses," came the order.

When the guard asked, "What do you have?" Arner said, "Nothing," thinking the question referred to the same types of taboo items the Canadian guard asked about earlier.

When agents found some fruit in the car, Arner says they acted as though he had lied, told him they were conducting an agricultural inspection and made him surrender his car keys.

Two hours later, after Arner and his wife had been separated and interrogated while the guards went through all their property, they were let go.

Arner's conclusion? He could only quote Pogo: "We have met the enemy, and it is us."

prolly@sltrib.com

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