Friday, June 03, 2011

Why I Can't (At Present) Support Jason Chaffetz

Rep. Chaffetz/Sen. Hatch.  from Fox News
A lot of the hullabaloo in Utah right now is about Jason Chaffetz running against Orrin Hatch for his Senate seat in 2012.  I hope he either chooses not to run or is defeated.  This doesn't come down to policy reasons, but to a couple of practicalities:

1. Rep. Chaffetz' staff in Washington are not helpful.  I go to Washington every year to lobby for my industry and company.  I have been greeted and treated warmly by the staff and offices of the following individuals: Rep. Cannon, Rep. Matheson, Rep. Bishop, Sen. Hatch, Sen. Bennett, and Sen. Lee.  Some have been okay, some have been good, and some have been great.  Sen. Hatch's staff fall in the latter category.  I would put Sen. Lee's staff above them, in large part to his amazing Chief of Staff, Spencer Stokes.  They really were incredible for us this past year.  You'll notice that I didn't put Rep. Chaffetz' staff in this list.  The reason for that is because, while they have been kind enough to meet with us, the niceties ended there.  We were herded in like cattle, asked what the bill number was that we wanted him to support, told he doesn't sign letters, and then, when we asked his office to make a call to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on our behalf to stop a rule that was almost universally called ridiculous, told that they were too busy for such trivialities.  I know that calling hearings about the latest TSA insanity or talking about how illegals are ruining the country are great kabuki, but when it actually gets down to what he should be doing - representing his constituents and their concerns, he's fallen short.
One thing I would like to make clear is that this is not a blanket condemnation of everybody who's worked with him.  I know great people who have been a part of his campaign and/or regional offices, but where it really matters, in representing my concerns on my behalf to the Federal Government, he's so far behind Senator Hatch that I could never make the switch without a complete 180 on their behalf.

2. Seniority. Senator Hatch beats this drum, and it's a legitimate claim.  Assuming the Republicans gain control of the Senate (a very real possibility) he'd be chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, while Senator Chaffetz would be a junior Senator and member of some randomly picked committee.  You know who would be chair of the Senate Finance Committee if he was defeated?  Olympia Snowe.  You may feel that Sen. Hatch is too liberal, but you don't know the meaning of the word if you think he'd be worse there than Sen. Snowe.  Not that she's a bad person, just that if you care about the makeup of the people who hold the pursestrings to the nation, you may want to reconsider who you're supporting.

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