Huntsman serves as an example to out-of-touch Utah Legilsature

By By John Hannon

By John Hannon

Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is exactly what many of our legislators are not8212;in touch. Although the governor is the voice of reasonable bipartisanship in Utah politics, the Legislature is left kicking and screaming, holding on for dear life to its ideals, and thumbing its noses at Huntsman.

Although the governor concedes it won’t be the end of the world to give same-sex couples basic rights, the Legislature holds tight to its logically unsound “slippery slope” argument.

Additionally, despite his religious beliefs, Huntsman is able to see that modernizing some of Utah’s strange liquor laws can only help a sagging economy that depends partially on tourism. While the Legislature spent days debating an intrusive liquor law policy, Huntsman was forced to do damage control in order to keep national press from writing stories that make Utahns look like some unusual society devoid of civil liberties.

While a House Committee is contemplating removing Utah from an environmental group, The Western Climate Initiative, created to measure, manage and limit carbon emissions in the western part of North America in favor of a more localized approach to climate control, our environmentally progressive governor stands strong in his belief that it’s important to have a seat on such a significant organization.

Huntsman is a very interesting figure8212;a centrist governor who fully embraces bipartisanship, an idea that is becoming increasingly popular among Americans jaded by the time-wasting components of the political process. If Barack Obama is the Mick Jagger of the Democrats, then Huntsman is the GOP’s Springsteen8212;OK, maybe closer to Billy Joel, but you get my point. In a party that’s in the midst of an identity crisis, Huntsman is the consummate cool politician. Huntsman truly has some very progressive ideals. He has taken the concept of “middle ground” to an entirely new arena8212;a state where middle ground is sometimes hard to come by. He’s someone who is willing to look at what works as opposed to what he wishes would work.

These are qualities we need from our Legislature. There are a myriad of reasons why it has become so ineffective and certainly each needs to be addressed. Still, it’s interesting to examine what Huntsman has done so well, and why our lawmakers seem to be decades behind. While Huntsman is running forward with Utah, the Legislature seems to be running in circles. Instead of learning from him, our lawmakers seem to be bent on showing him who’s boss in Utah politics. You’d think they’d catch a hint that he isn’t the problem.

U students could help them learn that as well8212;write a letter.

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John Hannon