It was a whirlwind two weeks for politics as the major national parties held their respective conventions, first the Republicans in Tampa, Fla., and then the Democrats in Charlotte, N.C. As far as we know, all the Utahns survived the trek and the parties.
But comparing the two conventions, it seems that the Utah Republicans might have had a better run than the Democrats. Here's why: Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz got a speaking role at the Republican convention, as did Saratoga Springs mayor and congressional candidate Mia Love.
No Utah Democrats appeared on stage in Charlotte, and no speaker even made a passing reference to the state, but former President Bill Clinton may have offer a veiled shout-out to the election loss of ex-Utah Sen. Bob Bennett when arguing that the Republican Party has been hijacked by the tea party.
"Just in the last couple of elections, [extremists in the GOP] defeated two distinguished Republican senators because they dared to cooperate with Democrats on issues important to the future of the country, even national security," Clinton said without mentioning Bennett by name.
Most top Utah Democrats stayed home • All the big name Republicans wanted to be in Tampa to see Mitt Romney accept the nomination and were overjoyed when he stopped by the Utah delegation spot on the convention floor on his way to the podium. The most notable Utah Democrat who headed to Charlotte was Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker. Senate candidate Scott Howell made a brief appearance at a few religion-based events but didn't step foot in the convention hall.
Six-term Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, has never been to a Democratic National Convention and he wanted nothing to do with President Barack Obama's second go-around. That said, Matheson and his staff did lend a hand when the Democrats switched Obama's speech from the football stadium to the much smaller Time Warner Cable Arena. The congressman's office was able to secure a few extra passes for Utahns who were less concerned about being seen cavorting with liberals.
Obama doesn't have a potty mouth • The Utah Democrats did score an audience with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who headlined their LDS Democrats event, which drew almost as many reporters and TV cameras as it did LDS Democrats from the North Carolina region. Reid dismissed the novelty of Romney's run, saying plenty of other Mormons have run for president, before he turned to why he supports Obama.
Reid said the president shares his values of compassion and fairness, then noted something that we're sure pleased the LDS audience: "He is not a foulmouthed man, even in private."
Republicans win the food contest, barely • Democrats were stuck with menu items of hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken fingers at their convention. A limited number of veggie burgers sold out quickly. Republicans had similar fare, but they also branched out to empanadas, pizzas and Cuban sandwiches.
A colleague of ours bought apples at a grocery store to help round out our diet, but security forces at the Republican convention wouldn't let her through the gate with the possible terrorist weapons. Once inside the security perimeter, though, you could purchase non-weaponized apples.
Dems urge recycling and composting • The differences even extended to garbage disposal. At the Democratic convention there were three separate containers to get rid of your waste: Recycling, compost and trash. And there were even garbage monitors around to suggest where your refuse should go.
At the Republican convention, they just had trash cans.
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Burr and Canham report from Washington, D.C. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or via Twitter @thomaswburr or @mattcanham.
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