All four Republican candidates for Utah governor extol Donald Trump’s leadership. Like 57 percent of Utahns, they just can’t get enough of the president who has somehow confused victimhood with knighthood.
But nobody’s perfect and Trump is a real conservative with real conservative values. He dislikes environmental regulations and has ended protections on clean air and water that cripple industry. He loathes the Paris climate accords and our skinflint NATO allies. Let’s make America go it alone again. And he’s all in for tax cuts that make our banking and corporate CEOs great again.
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, former Gov. Jon Huntsman, former House Speaker Greg Hughes and businessman Thomas Wright say they support Trump all the way, even though they might not appreciate some of his tweets. Like recently, when Trump tweeted that MSNBC host and critic Joe Scarborough murdered a young female intern in 2001, although that was debunked long ago. But let’s not get bogged down with the president’s recreational past-time.
Honesty can be so overrated. And when someone criticizes you, hit 'em right back times 10 harder — don't worry about pettiness or vindictiveness or statesmanship, whatever that is.
Cox has shown himself to be a competent lieutenant governor and even conceded that Trump's “style of politics” is not exactly what they teach in Sunday School. But Cox supports the president anyway because … well, let's see, why does he support him? It's not the alleged adultery and hush money. It's not the way he messed up the response to the coronavirus, costing uncounted lives and jobs. It's not that other world leaders consider Trump a bad joke. Maybe it's the way Trump helped small farmers after they were crippled by his trade war with China.
Huntsman, too, has a good record as a former governor, as well as holding the important posts of ambassador to China and Russia. Huntsman likes Trump because he created “an economic dynamo,” even though GDP economic analysis reveals Trump's first three years in office were practically identical to Obama's last three.
You have to admit Trump is a good politician because, although he became president during the seventh year of a 10-year economic expansion, he got Huntsman and a lot of others to believe he was responsible for all of it. Who was it who said, if you tell a whopper long enough people will believe it.
Of course, it's obvious why Hughes supports Trump. He just loves the way Trump swaggers and orders people about. It's such a rush when Trump holds a cabinet meeting and one-by-one everyone must say how great the president is. And if not — Sayonara. Now that's leadership. Who dares get on the wrong end of that?
Just since April 3, Trump has fired four inspectors general, those independent officers who keep a close eye on waste, fraud and abuse. But they messed up — they told the truth. And did you see how those pandemic expert scientists have had to tiptoe around Trump’s mendacity for fear of losing their heads? No wonder the U.S. is leading the world in COVID-19 infections. “It’s a badge of honor,” Trump proclaimed.
If Hughes could support Trump more than 100 percent, he certainly would. Checks and balances are such a waste of time.
Let's not forget Wright, who sells himself as a successful businessman who would, therefore, be a good governor. As Trump has demonstrated, business leaders slide into government slicker than snot on a doorknob. Trump ran his businesses like many CEOs — unilaterally with an iron hand. And that technique has worked so well in this administration that people are just blown away — call it collateral damage.
When it comes to governor of Utah, we ought to elect someone who can hold the ship of state steady, even against a blow hard. As Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” And, we might add, by playing along with the pretense that Trump has beautiful new clothes.
Christopher Smart is a freelance journalist who lives in Salt Lake City and writes “Smart Bomb” https://cksmart-world.tumblr.com