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It could have been a scene out of a storybook fantasy.

The damsel is rushed to the palace by specially appointed stately escorts in a fashionable carriage just in time to make her entrance at the ball and leave the handsome prince utterly smitten.

That could have been the scenario at Gov. Gary Herbert's inauguration Monday, when House Speaker Becky Lockhart's arrival from an out-of-town trip was scheduled too close to the bewitching hour and the governor's office needed to know if she would be there for the introductions.

At one point in the discussions between the governor's office and the speaker's husband, Stan Lockhart, the possibility of a Utah Highway Patrol escort came up. But Stan Lockhart said he didn't request it. He just said that if the governor's staffers had angst about her arriving on time, they could go ahead and order up the cop car. Stan Lockhart was told his wife could request the escort herself, but he said she didn't want to do that.

The escort idea was scrapped. But it would have been a great scene: A UHP car with flashing lights and sirens barreling through Salt Lake City streets to get a legislator to the ceremony on time — a la Derek Fisher.

The royal snub? The Governor's Office believed the Provo GOP lawmaker wouldn't make it for the beginning of the inauguration, although the resourceful speaker had found her own way to get to the ceremony on time, after all.

But the Governor's Office didn't see her arrive, so she wasn't announced among the VIP introductions. That led to speculation of a rift between the two since those in attendance noticed Lockhart there.

In the end, there were no hard feelings — and, alas, no glass slipper was left on the Capitol steps.

Send in the clowns •Among the agenda items listed this month for the Davis County Republican Party is the annual conference of the Utah Eagle Forum (in case you didn't already know that the Eagle Forum is a subsidiary of the GOP — or vice versa).

Speakers at the daylong conference Saturday, at the Salt Lake Radisson, boast a who's who of right-wing conspiracy theorists, including:

• Curtis Bowers, the former Idaho legislator who once wrote in an op-ed piece in the Idaho Press-Tribune that he had disguised himself with a fake goatee, revolutionary T-shirt and shaggy pants to infiltrate a meeting of "radical college students." He discovered they were communists and favored gay rights, environmental initiatives and feminism to further the communist cause.

The newspaper wrote a follow-up column debunking his claims after talking to people who had actually gone to the meeting.

• Tom DeWeese, president of the American Policy Center, who, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, has been on a "jihad" for decades against a 1992 nonbinding, volunteer U.N. initiative for a global environmental program with a statement of principles emphasizing sustainable development.

• Emmett McGroarty, executive director of the Preserve Innocence Initiative at the American Principles Project, who alleges that the Common Core, a set of standards established by educational leaders from most of the states, is an Obama conspiracy to brainwash our children.

Cause and effect • I heard my buddy Rep. Greg Hughes recently on his Red Meat Radio program blasting the liberal media for setting up tea-party U.S. Senate candidates with questions on side issues to make them look extreme and deflect the conversation from deficit spending and high taxes.

He cited as examples Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin's comment about "legitimate rape" and Indiana Senate hopeful Richard Mourdock's remark that pregnancy from a rape is "God's will."

Well, Greg, review the Eagle Forum agenda endorsed by the GOP and you might have a clue why Republicans these days are asked those kinds of questions.

I'd say Republicans such as Mike Leavitt, Nolan Karras, Olene Walker and Lane Beattie — all of whom are trying to bring the party back into the mainstream— have their work cut out for them.

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