Oh, what we wouldn’t give to have Utah in the eye of the political storm. Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Missouri and Minnesota voters feel the texture of politics at white-heat intensity. These are the “key states.” You know, places where people and candidates actually raise their voices over health care and such.
Here in Utah, we’ve got to get out the microscope to tell the difference between Democrats who are really Republicans and Republicans convinced the world is going to hell in a handbasket unless we have gun lockers in courthouses. Two years ago, most of us noticed the all-too-palpable differences between a silver-spooned Texas governor with a limited vocabulary and a seasoned politician from Tennessee. Now the Green Party rhetoric sounds more convincing with each passing day. Democracy on one-party autopilot is the surest sign of trouble.
• Our own Salt Lake City mayor seems dangerously close to becoming a career politician. Rocky Anderson’s appeal always seemed to rest in his take-no-prisoners approach. He defended gay rights on local television. He still would, no doubt. He’s the kind of person who, once he finished talking, left few questions unanswered. He still is.
Never mind the mayor’s seeming turn-around over smoking on the sidewalks. Everyone knows cigarettes are the worst bit of health news since the plague. It’s the mayor’s back-and-forth approach to Main Street Plaza that gets you dizzy, doesn’t it? First he said he’d consider capitulating the plaza’s easement. Then he said the city would keep it. Now, according to reports in the daily press, we learn that he’s “still open” to giving it up to the Church. What Rocky needs, he says, is a good argument as to why the Church should retain it. Well, not really. What the mayor needs is a decision he can stick to.
Maybe there’s a plan here. Perhaps our mayor simply gets a charge out of toying and teasing with the powers in the Church Office Building. Perhaps he wants to chart a course that will give him room to maneuver if the legal aspects of this whole mess change course. Maybe when the Church starts calling you a political opportunist who just likes an expensive park free of cost, maintaining a veneer of cooperation is the best possible strategy. Or maybe when the Church starts calling you a political opportunist who just likes an expensive park free of cost, the best possible strategy is ditching the “opportunist” label by sticking to principle. At bottom, however, there’s a sense of disappointment. Who’da thought that our mayor would ever be in need of deciphering. That’s for tea leaves.
• What Gaul! After having its various restaurants vandalized in the south of France, McDonald’s aired a French advertising campaign telling people their little ones shouldn’t eat the restaurant’s artery-clogging fare more than once per week. As much as the French hate American pushiness, they should have no problem following those orders. And America—land of the free, home of the obese—will no doubt gobble up any French leftovers.
• Salt Lakers go giddy whenever our city pops up on Money magazine’s list of best places to live. But are you ready for some real humbling, offbeat trivia? Salt Lake City didn’t even rate in the top 100 “Best Lesbian Places to Live” as rated by Girlfriends Magazine. Even humble little Missoula, Mont.—Missoula, Mont.!—ranked an impressive No. 7 spot. The humanity! At this rate, we’ll never get Howard Stern inside Salt Lake City limits.