Sunday, January 17, 2010

Utah Eagle Forum Hosts Republican U.S. Senatorial Candidate Debate In Sandy; Bob Bennett Exposed As Weak On Immigration

On January 16th, 2010, Utah Eagle Forum hosted a debate at Salt Lake Community College in Sandy, Utah between the five Republican U.S. Senate candidates. Before an audience of around 200 people, Bob Bennett, Mike Lee, Cherilyn Eagar, Tim Bridgewater, and James Williams III expounded on the issues. The only media story so far has been published by the Salt Lake Tribune, although KSL Channel 5 aired an early background story before the actual debate.

And it turned into a four-on-one fray, as the four challengers started grilling Bob Bennett on his record and platform. It wasn't long before Bob Bennett was exposed as having the weakest position on immigration, particularly after Bennett spoke of "building a high fence, but with a wide gate to permit workers to flow in and out of the country". That might have been reasonable - and digestible - ten years ago, but nowadays, immigration has become such a polarizing issue that any compromise, no matter how slight, is viewed as weakness.

James Williams III responded by calling for the revocation of driving privileges and other benefits for undocumented immigrants. He continued to stake his claim as as a voice of small business, championing limited government and a free-market approach to health care. This appearance was important to Williams, whose campaign suffers from a severe case of media disinterest.

Cherilyn Eagar called for an uncompromising return to conservative values as the best medicine for the nation. She condemned decisions to remove prayer from schools and legalize abortion. She urged an audit of the Federal Reserve. She pledged to counteract feminism's influence on national policy. The latter is of particular importance because feminism is divisive, corrosive, inherently anti-male, blaming men for all the sins of the world past, present, and future. Like Margaret Thatcher and Sarah Palin, Cherilyn Eagar is also out to prove that a woman can be strong enough to get things done without becoming a ball-busting feminist.

Tim Bridgewater pledged to get government out of the way of business, characterizing government's heavy-handed interference as an impediment to the private sector. Bridgewater also said he wouldn't chase federal perks for Utah. That means no earmarks. Fueled by a favorable KSL opinion poll and an interview with Utah Policy, Bridgewater appears to be making some inroads.

Mike Lee committed himself to a strict adherence of the Constitution, saying he would oppose any measure that strays from that text. He criticized the stimulus as the wrong approach to economic recovery and promised to push a balanced-budget amendment, explaining that it's easy for Congress to expand government now if they know they won't have to pay for it until later. This is the approach Obama and Congressional Democrats have employed - and they blithely assume we will be able to pay for it later. But what if they're wrong? One person in attendance posted a comment to the Tribune opining that Mike Lee stood head and shoulders above the rest of the candidates, staying within the confines of the Constitution.

So who's up and who's down after this debate? Here's how it looks from my vantage point:

-- Mike Lee &uarr &uarr
-- Cherilyn Eagar &uarr &uarr
-- Tim Bridgewater &uarr
-- James Williams III &uarr
-- Bob Bennett &darr


Anonymous said...

Were you in attendance? It doesn't appear so since your comments are basically just a rehash of the Trib's article...

Gerry said...

Completely ridiculous. This blog has repeatedly proven to be a hoven for racist ideas when it comes to immigration, and a balanced budget amendment will never get through a house and senate charged with actually governing, not appealing to the type of talking points that get the average utah conservative, not the most politically informed of breed to put it nicely, excited. It is a sad day when a business man like Bennett is challenged by such vapid candidates. The debate taught me one thing, we conservatives have got to get real. These four were a joke to listen to.

Deseret Dawg said...

Gerry - interesting that you would characterize control of our borders and protection of our country against those who break into it as "racist". That's an SPLC position. Why would someone who proclaims himself to be a conservative accept SPLC guidance on immigration? The SPLC is notoriously left-wing.

Deseret Dawg said...

Anonymous - No, I was not in attendance, but I referred to at least one who was. Furthermore, the Tribune story disappears behind paid archives after 30 days, rendering it unavailable to the public. So yes, I "rehashed" it, summarizing it with some analysis so the information would be readily available to the casual browser in the future.

Anonymous said...

I was there. Cherilyn Eagar did the best. Tim Bridgewater faltered on the Constitution Convention question, Mike Lee was Lee, the professor, Williams was Williams, not quite ready. Bennett had guts to show up, and did as well as he could with his record and non-conservative views.

If you pick the last few days, this race looks like at race between Eagar and Bridgewater.

Anonymous said...

I was there. I thought Bob was uncomfortable. I thought Eagar pandered. I thought Williams was principled but not up to snuff. I thought Bridgewater was funny but not a lot of detail. I thought Mike Lee was passionate and insightful.

So, if you were to ask me; Mike Lee did stand head and shoulders above the rest. He is the only one capable to dethrone Bennett and I think he will at convention

David said...

@anonymous at 11:50PM
I guess who the race is between depends entirely on what sources of information you are attuned to. Looking at everything I have been reading at various sources Eagar has fallen to almost sideshow status. Everything I have heard points to a race between Bridegwater and Lee as primary challengers to Bennett with Bridgewater having a head start and Lee making a big splash.

I don't claim to know what is going on in the heads of the various candidates, but I would be surprised if Williams himself believed he had a chance of winning, and although I am confident that Eagar believes she can win, I don't think her belief is grounded in reality.

Personally I wonder if the picture will get any clearer before the convention.

TFC Utah said...

Somehow, I get the feeling that the majority of the commentors on this post (and many others like it) are simply shills for the various campaigns they are working for.

For me, this boils down to a few simple questions: (1) who has the experience in both public and private sector to make an immediate impact (no learning curve required)? (2) Who can back up his/her promises to be and stay fiscally conservative even in the heat of the current DC environment? (3) Who can put pressure on both the party and the Senate as a whole when they arrive in DC?

For me, it's a close call between Eagar and Lee. To be quite honest, I don't know enough about Tim Bridgewater to make any educated comments. I'll try to remedy that in the coming days, as I've heard he handled himself well at the Forum.

So, back to the two person race. While I think Eagar could be an interesting face for the media and DC aristocracy et al., I don't think her experience adds up to someone who will be able to immediately make significant strides in the Senate. Mike Lee, having experience in both the public and private sectors, (even clerking for the Supreme Court) has a broader background to draw from. If I were to declare a leader right now, I'd give the slight edge to Lee. That's always open to change, however.

I think one point we need to emphasize and understand as an electorate is that whoever we elect now will probably be the Senior Senator from Utah in another two years. Once Orrin steps down or is dethroned, this Senator will have to be one we can rely on to represent our state in the best way possible.

When we put our best foot forward, we'll want to be careful what we're wearing.

mack said...

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mack said...

This is fascinating.
I’d been taught that left-aligned labels are preferred, to support the prototypical F-shaped eye-tracking heatmap of web browsing. The idea is that it supports easy vertical scanning.
online education