On Tuesday night, President Obama kicked off his re-election campaign with one of the most baldly political State of the Union speeches in memory. On Wednesday night, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert emulated the president with his State of the State address.
Herbert is fending off election-year challenges from his political right in the Republican Party, and his speech obviously was intended to shore up his credentials as a movement conservative. It offered the red meat that states' rights ideologues love, seasoned with attacks on "an overreaching, out-of-control, and out-of-touch federal government."
At one point the governor intoned: "As a sovereign state, we not only have an obligation to find Utah solutions to Utah problems, we have a right to do so. We will not capitulate to a federal government that refuses to be constrained by its proper and constitutionally limited role. Whether fighting the federal government on ownership and control of our RS2477 roads, restoring our mule deer population, defending multiple use of our public lands, ending the budget-busting drain of Medicaid, or challenging the constitutionality of mandatory nationalized healthcare in the Supreme Court, be assured that this Governor is firmly resolved to fortify our state as a bulwark against federal overreach."