After everything he did for John McCain, Utah’s adopted son Mitt Romney was left at the altar. Sad for Romney, but a win for everyone else. While Democrats salivated at the prospect of Romney as a target, McCain’s veep pick—a first-term governor of Alaska currently facing an ethics investigation—is proving more entertaining. For Utahns still wishing for a Romney presidency, the news also is good, since it looks like Republicans are in self-destruct mode this year. Romney’s exit also leaves the stage clear for Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to be the face Utah presents to the nation. He is supposed to showcase the new, moderate GOP, assuming the RNC gets off the ground and Utah delegates don’t insist on a roll call for Romney.
Utahns began breathing a little easier when the price of gas dropped below $4—then realized that they are still paying more at the pump than almost anywhere else in the nation. The $3.85-or-so price per gallon around Salt Lake City remains about 30 cents higher than the national average. The only places with higher pump prices are Alaska and Hawaii. The state commerce department decided against an investigation of possible price fixing, noting that gas station owners won’t cooperate. In the meantime, drivers can rest assured that, as their wallets get lighter, Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. has a “laser-like focus” on the problem. Maybe Democrats should have nominated as their gubernatorial candidate that guy who promised a state-funded fleet of electric cars.
The immigration debate is so monopolized by grandstanding hotheads it makes recent input from the sometimes wacky Sutherland Institute sounds reasonable. The conservative Salt Lake City think tank recently presented its arguments for welcoming illegal immigrants to a skeptical meeting of the Legislature’s Immigration Interim Committee. In Utah’s Legislature, the debate over illegal immigration hasn’t been complex: it’s illegal, therefore bad. Sutherland argues it’s the immigration law that’s bad—for Utah. Most illegal immigrants are “people of good will” whose presence is required “for maintaining American prosperity,” the institute says. It isn’t the immigrants’ fault—and shouldn’t be Utah’s problem—that federal immigration laws are messed up. Besides, Sutherland says, whether Utah lawmakers like it or not, the immigrants are here. tttt