Printed on: December 09, 2012

Staying vigilant ... just in case

It began this spring, when the war for the soul of the Bonneville County Republican Party was won by Doyle Beck. Gone was our old foil, Chairman Don Schanz, the cold, cruel competence of a successful businessman replacing the zany antics of a far-right true believer.

And now, at the state level, the coup has been completed. Serious and studious Scott Bedke, a Republican from Oakley, toppled the Boss, former House Speaker Lawerence Denney, the ethically deficient Midvale farmer who perfected the art of protecting friends and punishing enemies.

And now a confession: For all the ink we hurled at Schanz and Denney, today we are in mourning. A deep, dark funk. Because no matter how slow the news cycle, no matter if everyone and their dog was on summer vacation or coasting into Christmas, we could count on Schanz and Denney. One, or both, would pull a stunt so outrageous, so indefensible, that your local newspaper could not help but wade into the battle.

Will anyone ever again, upon election, display the temerity shown by Schanz when he declared that, at long last, local Republicans had elected a "constitutionally principled conservative?"

Who else but Schanz would lead the movement to express "disappointment" in elected officials because they would not shred the Constitution to fight Obamacare?

A member of Schanz's merry band urged a local radio show host to not celebrate Veterans Day. Another accused local Democrats of stealing elections, not realizing, apparently, that in order to steal you have to win. And the Gang That Couldn't Think Straight screwed up the paperwork on poll watchers ... not once, but twice.

And the Boss, what a record he amassed. Denney attempted to illegally fire his own appointee to the Redistricting Commission, a respected GOP lifer, because she would not violate the Constitution by loading the map with Republican districts.

He assigned a tax dodger to the committee that sets tax policy. And, for one of his final tricks, the Boss signed off on ethics reforms prior to the 2011 Legislative Session and refused to go near them again.

Beck and his newly minted officers have kept a low profile. And Bedke began his reign by embracing inclusiveness, even tossing the vanquished Denney a meaty bone, the chairmanship of the House Natural Resources Committee.

But then, just when hope appears dead, you hear something, a juicy little tidbit: the local GOP Executive Committee, led by Beck, endorsed Denney in the speaker's race, in part because the Boss is a more enthusiastic nullifier than Bedke. Best of all, this declaration from upon high was not shared with the rank and file, the publicly elected precinct officers, some of whom still haven't seen a copy of the resolution.

And then, you remember something: Last year, Bedke joined forces with Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, and his partner, former State Sen. Stan Hawkins, to pitch a county budget-busting road right of way bill, even as that duo was fighting a similar battle in our own county.

Ah, happy day. Looks like we'd better keep an eye on Beck and Bedke ... just in case.

Corey Taule