David Rodeback's Blog

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Thursday, January 14, 2010
Mike Lee for Senate

Last week, Mike Lee declared his candidacy for US Senate, opposing fellow Republican Bob Bennett. I'll scrutinize the other candidates, too, but there's now at least one intelligent conservative in the race.

In August I went to Alpine and heard Mike Lee speak, at one of those meetings he's been holding all over Utah. The title of my subsequent blog post was, "I Think I Found a Great Candidate." I was hoping he'd run this year against Congressman Jim Matheson, but he's running against Senator Bob Bennett instead, as he officially announced last week. That works for me, too.

I'm not ready yet to say that Mike Lee is the best candidate in the race. There are other Republicans running against Bennett, and at least some of them are conservative. I'll be looking at them, too. But they'll have to impress me quite a lot, or Lee will have to stumble, if they're going to eclipse him in my mind.

There are various sorts of conservatives out there. Most of them swear fealty to the US Constitution, and some of them wrap themselves in it. Mike Lee is immersed in the Constitution, to be sure, and particularly the notions of limited government and enumerated federal powers, which I take to be the critical points right now. But he's not just caught up in the ideal of it all. He has a very practical, historical, and experienced view of our constitutional government. He has an unusually deep understanding of the principles, and he has a good resume, too. He may or may not win, and, if he wins, he may or may not prove to be a great US Senator. But he's the kind of leader I want to send to Washington. I'll be scrutinizing the other candidates to see if they are this good, too.

In case you're wondering, Bob Bennett lost my vote -- assuming there's a promising alternative -- over two matters. The first, chronologically, was his failure (as a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee) to raise the alarm and do something before the mortgage crash, even if it required doing something beyond politics-as-usual. The second was his sponsorship of legislation which acknowledged a universal right to health care -- because the only place that leads, we might say, is to a right to universal health care, provided by the goverment. (I'm all for health and health care, but that's a separate discussion.) I noted these objections in more detail in September in "Two Questions, Please, Senator."

To investigate Lee for yourself, you may want to start at his campaign Web site or his Facebook page. No doubt I'll have more to say about this race in months to come.

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