To guarantee smooth sailing for Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court? To assure a Republican friendly in the upcoming fight over immigration reform? How 'bout plain ole' Chicago-style politics? Why might Obama appoint a Republican to U.S. Attorney for Utah?---
Former Congressional candidate Claudia Wright, radio personalities Mills Crenshaw and Troy Williams, as well as business man Jim Dabakis hosted a press conference at the Avenues' Sweet Library to demand answers not only from Obama, but locals like Orrin Hatch and Jim Matheson as to why Obama is now considering appointing Republican Scott Burns to be the top federal law enforcement agent in Utah, the U.S. Attorney.
Admittedly, dear readers, this is about as "inside baseball" as politics gets, but stick with me here. This strange thing may have a totally boring and banal explanation--albeit a secret one, at this point--but it could get really juicy, so you might want to do your homework now.
As I wrote yesterday, it's a matter of quite firm tradition that the president reaches out to local Congress people from the states to find names of potential lawyers who would be good candidates for U.S. Attorney in that district; for Utah, that's the entire state. So it's mysterious to those aware of that tradition why Obama would first ditch a qualified Democrat-favorite, David Schwediman, and next float the name of a Republican who's twice run for public office in Utah and lost, Scott Burns, who also happens to be a personal friend of Hatch, according to Wright. Being the only Dem. in D.C. from the Beehive, by tradition, Rep. Jim Matheson would be calling the shots on this appointment, but that doesn't seem to be the case, as Matheson is not taking credit for forwarding Burns' name to Obama. Nevertheless, horse trading for jobs and policy acquiescence is about as traditional as anything, so what makes this panel think the powers that be are going to tell us anything?
"With Barack Obama, we thought we had someone who set the bar higher," on transparency, Wright said.
I never trusted Obama for a second; in fact, I cried on election night pondering the years of this crap where hopeful people who trusted Obama would be betrayed repeatedly... but I digress.%uFFFD
Here are some theories--and my thoughts on their plausibility--that surfaced at the press conference:
I think Tribune blogger Glen Warchol had the best theory, though, which is basically that an unreliable Blue Dog Democrat like Jim Matheson is basically worthless to Obama and his agenda and that--on balance--a friendly Republican Senator--even one who pretends to hate you in public--is slightly more valuable, thus he chose Orrin's friend, not one of Jim's. Plausible? Yes. Likely? I don't know.
No one seems to want to be on the first one on the dance floor with the following theory, so let me give it a go.
I told you this might get juicy.
Do you want to live with a Republican U.S. Attorney in Utah for the indefinite future even though by all tradition and means, that position should go to a Democrat? In a state of one-party rule, only occasionally is there a member of the other side playing cop over our parochial little state government in Deseret. It seems a shame to give them a pass.
I'm with the panel: We have a right to know what the deal was. But it's the age-old problem: those who know won't even tell you what they had for lunch, much less what icky details are in their political horse trades; and those who will tell you (maybe) what's going on (like me), simply don't know.
Did I leave any of the best theories out? If so, let me know in comments.