Michelle Quist: Extreme politicking is so unattractive. And we all lose.

(CSPAN) Sen. Mike Lee uses an image of Ronald Reagan on a velociraptor to denounce the Green New Deal.

The Utah Republican Party lost its court battle to overturn SB54, the legislation that allows for dual paths to a primary election. But that doesn’t mean much to the staunch conservatives who know they won’t find success in a dual path system. Because apparently the United States Supreme Court isn’t the last stop for these whackadoos.

Legal battle financier Dave Bateman commented this week, saying, “I don’t think the fight is over.”

Hmm. OK. The United States Supreme Court rejected the bid to overturn the 10th Circuit’s holding that the law is constitutional, but apparently that isn’t the last stop. They’ve burned the party to the ground, but they aren’t done yet.

The only thing that could save this short-sighted effort now would be rainbows and unicorns. The last five years of bitter divisiveness that has led the party to the brink of bankruptcy mean nothing when egos trump logic.

Their Phoenix-style, fearless leader is ready to push on, common sense be damned. Bateman mentioned he might pursue a citizen’s ballot initiative. Again.

Go for it. Waste your money. Because it is a zero sum game.

As a feather in the cap of SB54’s truculence, Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed SB123 this week, which would have eliminated the dual path process for filling congressional vacancies. If SB54 is good enough for elections, it’s good enough for special elections, too.

The extreme politicking is so unattractive. And we all lose.

I stepped in it this week on Twitter when I responded to a tweet from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about what has become known as Sen. Mike Lee’s Velociraptor Machine Gun Reagan speech. No joke.

After noting Lee’s impressive resume, I ended up stuck between MAGAites and AOC apologists as the insults were lobbed back and forth. Some were worried I would get ratioed. Ratioed is when a Twitter post receives more comments — telling you how stupid you are — than likes.

I did not get ratioed. People often underestimate Lee’s popularity.

But what I realized, again, from this Twitter war between two sides of a really important issue (environmentalism) is that no one was winning.

Yes, Lee’s performance of showing pictures of Ronald Reagan riding a dinosaur in order to relay the message that Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal legislation was similarly fantastical was clever. I laughed. But it didn’t get us anywhere on the actual issue.

It was an unserious ploy to highlight an unserious bill, but I’ve never seen Lee stoop to such antics before. He usually honors the standards of respect and decorum required in the Senate. His denigration of a colleague – albeit a member of the House as opposed to the Senate – was not a good look. And honestly, Ocasio-Cortez’s legislation was a bold idea introduced by a member of Congress who deserves as much respect as Sen. Lee can muster.

There’s a question as to whether his gloves came off because he was responding to legislation proposed by a woman he doesn’t respect. I’ve never seen him act this way toward male legislators he doesn’t agree with. But I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt on that.

Antics don’t elevate the conversation. Yes, the Green New Deal was dead on arrival. But he knew that. What did he accomplish other than disaffecting the other side of an important issue? Environmental concerns are legitimate – like the increased miscarriage rate of women in high-pollution areas – and we can do something about it. No, the Green New Deal isn’t the answer, but it deserved a vote without such flatulence, at least.

Does he not see that his disrespect only reflects on him, and not on her? His confidence in his righteousness led him to demean and attack a fellow legislator, and she took the opportunity and ran with it.

Listen, I love Mike Lee. I love his family. He’s smart and hard-working and genuinely trying to make a difference, as with his efforts toward criminal justice reform. We’re friends. At least we were before I started writing a weekly column. And while his theatrics were clever, people are tired of toxic politics.

Is this really where we are now? Americans want more. Utahns want more. Everybody can’t be ready and willing to burn things to the ground in order to register a win.

Because then we’ll just be left with ashes.

Michelle Quist

Michelle Quist is a columnist for The Salt Lake Tribune.