Sunday, October 19, 2008
Esquire Magazine Endorses Democrat Bennion Spencer Over Republican Jason Chaffetz In Utah's Third Congressional District Race
Esquire Magazine has issued their political "endorsements" for the 2008 election cycle, and they've weighed in on Utah as well. Click HERE for their list of all states, then select the state of your choice. Utah media coverage provided by the Salt Lake Tribune.
You can view Esquire's endorsements for Utah HERE. Of course, Esquire is not exactly the first name in political punditry; they represent a metrosexual venue catering to the typical urban metrosexual constituency. They currently feature a half-clad Halle Berry on their cover. But one of Esquire's most important endorsement criteria is "political independence"; does the candidate have the gumption to swim against the party tide? And so, their opinions are at least of passing interest. Ironically, despite their professed "contrarian" streak, Esquire actually plays it safe with their endorsements, with one glaring exception.
They've endorsed Democrat Bennion Spencer over Republican Jason Chaffetz in Utah's Third Congressional District race.
Well, sort of. It's actually one of the weaker endorsements I've ever seen, almost damning by faint praise, if you will. They don't endorse Spencer because of Spencer, but because of Chaffetz. Read it for yourself and you'll understand what I mean. They state, "In the primary, the Third District ousted a reasonable Republican incumbent in favor of a reactionary".
Not a word about Bennion Spencer's prospective legislative qualities. Perhaps this explains why a September Dan Jones poll showed Chaffetz with a 42-point lead over Spencer, although that gap will undoubtedly close somewhat by November 4th. Nevertheless, if I was Bennion Spencer, I wouldn't waste my time house-hunting in the Washington D.C. area.
In their other endorsements, Esquire plays it safe, in reality calling the election the way it will actually go down on November 4th:
GOVERNOR: Esquire endorses Republican incumbent Jon Huntsman Jr. They cite Utah's sustained financial prosperity, the recent huge budget surpluses, and Huntsman's penchant for funneling extra cash into education as strengths.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 1: Esquire endorses Republican incumbent Rob Bishop. They cite Bishop's opposition to the USA Patriot Act as his primary strength. Bishop was justifiably concerned about the adverse impact upon civil liberties. Bishop also voted against the $700 billion mortgage bailout. Of course, Esquire did not take note of Utahns' growing concerns about the relationship between Rob Bishop and Energy Solutions. The word "cheerleader" is beginning to form in my mind.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES DISTRICT 2: Esquire endorses Democratic incumbent Jim Matheson. As Esquire states, Democrats in Utah are as "rare as rain", but Matheson, unlike many Democrats, places constituency ahead of party politics on a regular basis with his independence and his local focus. He is officially a "blue-dog Democrat". Conservative-to-libertarian on fiscal and social issues, center-left on labor and health care, he's a good example of the new Western Democrat. Matheson also voted against the $700 billion mortgage bailout. Republican Bill Dew is by all accounts a standup guy, but people are just too satisfied with Matheson.
To see more of the Esquire Endorsements 2008 package, including their recommendations for who to vote for in other states, please click this link.
Esquire also rates the top ten worst and best members of Congress in this same issue. The ten worst can be viewed HERE; Joe Lieberman is considered the worst because he's viewed as excessively vindictive and sanctimonious. The ten best can be viewed HERE; Indiana's Mike Pence is considered the best. The lists are relatively bi-partisan; no current member of Utah's Congressional delegation makes either list.
Oh, and by the way, Esquire endorses Barack Obama for President. But then again, I'm sure you're not surprised.