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Private Eye

Claudia Wright: The Right Choice

It's time for a change—not of direction, but of heart.

By John Saltas
Posted // June 16,2010 - Some Utah Democrats living in Rep. Jim Matheson’s congressional district are wringing their hands about what to do come next Tuesday’s primary election. Should they vote for the guy who has, time and again, forsaken them, believing it’s better to have a Democrat in that seat—any Democrat, even one whom they often despise—or should they vote for political neophyte Claudia Wright, perhaps risking Utah’s only congressional seat held by a Democrat?

I’m not a handwringer on this one. I’m voting for Wright and have three reasons for doing so. First, Matheson abandoned his Salt Lake County base long ago. The only kinship he retains with that crowd are on environmental and land-based issues in Utah, and claiming he is against open-air nuclear testing. Outside of backsliders like Tim Bridgewater and Mike Lee—the Republicans vying for Utah’s open Senate seat—most are against such nuclear testing. Thanks to Matheson being descended from Utah’s nuclear Downwinders, he’s gotten lots of mileage out of that issue. Every two years it mushrooms up, then blows away. It’s time to put that old Geiger counter down, Jim. We get it. It’s not only your problem; we’re all in this together.

Secondly, he’s been a lousy representative. If you voted for Matheson in the past, did you expect that he would thank you by not taking your phone calls? Or not returning your e-mails? Or asking you to talk to him instead via electronic public meetings? Or by talking to the press only when it suited him—as with the little-boy-in-the-sandbox cold shoulder that he gives to City Weekly?

When Holly Mullen was our editor, she began publishing a regular tick of how many weeks had elapsed since Matheson had granted an interview or talked to a City Weekly reporter. It was a number that equated to years of elapsed time since Matheson had spoken to this paper. According to his press aide, we weren’t nice to Jim. Holly’s been gone for over a year, and only this week—the one just before his most important election date ever—has he finally been sufficiently scared into answering a couple of questions. So, no thanks, Jim, I’m not voting for a pandering fool such as yourself, and I don’t feel bad about saying so.

And third, I’m with the Tea Party on this one—it’s time to vote the cynical, incumbent scoundrels out of Congress who do less for us than we can do for ourselves. Matheson, for example, cites his allegiance to due diligence and fiscal responsibility when he defends his vote against what is derisively called Obamacare. He says the bill was flawed. All congressional bills are flawed. The real flaw is that he doesn’t mention how much money he reaps from the health-care industry. He can claim fairness all day long, but it just isn’t so.

It isn’t fair that the health-care bill is lambasted as socialized medicine when he has a taxpayer-paid health plan that is more socialist than the one he would deny his constituents. What is fair is if Matheson finds himself without health care and without health-industry-support dollars in his pocket. It would also be fair if he would do as some Americans have done—shoot himself. That way, he wouldn’t be denied admission to an emergency room where he could then show why he’s really there, to renew a lapsed medication, perhaps. Not to worry—if he loads a gun the same way he handles his public comments, he’d be firing blanks anyway.

Jim Matheson entered office nearly a decade ago upon the backs of tens of thousands of formerly disenfranchised Democrats, their hopes pinned tightly to him. He turned on them. Forget the narcoleptic argument that his district is equally rural, equally Republican and his votes reflect his constituents’ wishes—he’s been consistent at licking that shoe from Day 1.

He’s made his money. He’s made fools of his Democratic supporters. His Republican detractors know he will do it to them, too. He’s not a man of substance; he’s a man of opportunity. His bus left the depot, and, this time, I and many others, aren’t along for the ride. He’s just one long night of empty foreplay—not only will he never kiss you back, he wants you to pay for the gas that burned in his engine while he let you fool around.

I don’t want to fool around, but neither do I want to be fooled again. Claudia Wright can win this primary election and she can win in November. It is indeed time for a change—not of direction, but of heart.

John Saltas:

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Post a comment
Posted // June 22,2010 at 23:44

I would call Barack Like Me a Loser and a sellout, but mostly a republican.


Posted // June 23,2010 at 10:36 - Sorry, Jody but I am a Libertarian. Facts are facts. In Utah a candidate like Claudia Wright has no shot. SLC is a trailer park pretending to be a real city. Get used to it, or move to Denver or Portland. You and MNW can car pool or share a bus ticket.


Posted // June 16,2010 at 23:40

Claudia just got back from a tour of the sprawling district. Why vote for her? She's actually _talking to the people._ Why will she win, now and in November? She's actually listening. If I get another massive glossy postcard from Jim this week (and I'm sure I will), I will puke. $800,000 for glossy postcards that keep him, as usual, at a distance. Claudia went on the road. 'Nuff said.


Posted // June 16,2010 at 22:31

One thing that you forgot to mention is that Claudia Wright is excellent-a true Democrat, recollecting FDR (and Eleanor). Her talk at the Democratic Convention was truly inspiring! She also reminded us that most people who vote are voting for ~3 people, since the last voter turnout was appallingly bad. At first my vote was based purely on voting out Matheson, but now I can truly say that I am excited about voting in Wright.


Posted // June 16,2010 at 20:33 Claudia Wright has, indeed, ruffled Matheson’s feathers. Good for her. Good for us. I appreciate her knowledge, honesty, and straight-forward responses to issues: universal health care with a public option, gun control, the need to put American back to work, to mention a few. Matheson seemed outraged during their radio debate when Claudia said that he is supported by corporation money. The facts loudly belie his denial. If the money he receives does not influence his vote, why would corporations waste it on him? If they know he will vote their way without the dollars, why would they send donations? Are the dollars, instead, a “thank you” for his support –a reward for doing the job their way? This should be an even stronger reason for him to “refuse” such donations. Corporations know money talks. It is a strong lobbyist. They expect a return for every dollar spent. Claudia is running a grass roots campaign with dedicated volunteers. She will listen to her constituents, respond to their e-mails, represent their concerns.Corporations and Jim, beware the truth.


Posted // June 16,2010 at 17:09

You mentioned several reasons why you don't like Matheson, but not one single reason why ANYONE would vote for Wright. Here's the most important reason to NOT vote for her. She can't win. Not in Utah, and not in this political climate... so Dear Utah voters... pretend all you want that you live in Colorado... you don't. You live in Utah, and Claudia Wright can NOT win in Utah. Period.


Posted // June 22,2010 at 22:56 - Can I call you dream weaving unicorn followers now?... or is 70/30 not a bad enough ass kicking for you?


Posted // June 17,2010 at 11:25 - Interesting, how off the mark you are. Calling us dream weaving unicorn followers, who's the one slinging juicy rhetoric? We are not so jaded as to deal with or give up our fight for AUTHENTIC/REAL representation. Besides, with a user name Barack Like Me, shouldn't you know and recognize these lame attempts to dissuade voters by saying it's nothing more than a pipe dream? Think about it, how many times did we hear that Barack was unelectable? Your pessimism can't change the fact that his constituents have had enough and it certainly will not change our vote, we're not that easy! Sorry if our calling a spade a spade makes you uncomfortable, but we're not that desperate to seek validation from thumb twiddler's like you!


Posted // June 17,2010 at 09:44 - MNW... Yes really! I know that's the hip new thing to say for sheep like you. Spare me the juicy rhetoric and reply next Wednesday when your candidate is officially out of the race and you dream weaving unicorn followers have to choose between Matheson the idiot and the Republican who will more than likely beat him.


Posted // June 16,2010 at 19:14 - Really "BLM"? Do you not get it? Claudia was pulled in by the people, she has the support and CAN and WILL win this Tuesday as well as in November. She has gained the support of the constituents and the momentum is downright astonishing. She has single handedly pulled Matheson out from under his rock to fumble over his weak excuses for his shady voting record. Let's be honest here, no amount of nay saying will negate the fact that Matheson has continually voted to appease big corporations rather than the issues and concerns of his constituents.