Jason Jarred | Opinion | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Jason Jarred

“Chaffetz is perfectly safe in his gerrymandered congressional district that he won by over 100,000 votes.”


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In this new age where the word Trump is often switched with the root of another word—such as when dystopian becomes Trumpian—we learn that facts don't matter. When facts don't matter, we become Alice in an ever changing Wonderland ... or Trumpland. We no longer lie about the size of the fish that got away. Fish is served for dinner and we are told it is Kobe steak. People are so happy to experience Kobe steak, they ignore that what they just ate was a Jordan River carp, and whoever says it's not steak is a damned liar. This is the world where Jason Chaffetz lives.

Chaffetz is the consummate liar and he pays no consequence for lying. Or, shall we be alt-nice? He pays no price for equivocating. He pays no price for flip-flopping. He pays no price for selling his dignity and the honor of a U.S. Congressman upon taking advantage of any opening that will lenfd him more television time, another finger-sniffing photograph in the newspaper or one more chance to curry favor with those who really run the show in his party and in Washington, D.C.

Older readers recall that in 1988 and 1989, Jason Chaffetz was the placekicker for the BYU Cougars football team, where according to a 2015 Thomas Burr article in The Salt Lake Tribune, Chaffetz first displayed his glaring ego by "pulling off his helmet after a successful boot and fanning his curly locks for the cameras." While punters are associated with talent, humor and machismo (fully due to one man, Tom Hackett of the University of Utah), most coaches and fans cared little for the place-kicking runts who just as often lost games as won them (notable exceptions are Utah Utes Louie Sakoda, Andy Phillips and Bryan Borreson for beating BYU 3-zip in 2003). Chaffetz was a career 64-percent field goal kicker.

That sucks. If only the great LaVell Edwards had cut the preening Chaffetz from the team, the United States would be much better off today. Alas, the butterfly effect. Yet, if Chaffetz held that same ratio (telling the truth just 64 percent of the time) as a congressman, one might consider that downright presidential. It's all in a day's work for the formerly Jewish, formerly Democrat, formerly plebeian Chaffetz. That he flip-flops and equivocates at such an astounding rate is amazing, even for a politician. What's more amazing is that he apparently doesn't bear any awareness that while at the same time he's obsessing for the cameras—whether holding before them the world's worst X-Y axis graph or glad-handing, then tweeting at his useful foe Hillary Clinton during Trump's inauguration—he's the only person in the room that hasn't noticed he has pissed himself.

I'm pretty sure Chaffetz visited our office early in the gubernatorial term of Jon Huntsman Jr. It's no secret City Weekly was a big fan and supporter of Gov. Huntsman. Chaffetz had served as campaign manager and then as chief of staff for the popular Huntsman, so it was, if memory serves me well, that we were all very nice to Chaffetz during his visit. My own encounter was nothing more than a glance and a wave, so do forgive. I am not making up alternative facts here; I am simply not certain. The person I'm thinking of could well have been the postman in street clothes. But the point is, even we were duped by the young up-and-comer. And so, it seems, was Jon Huntsman Jr., for he later coined the term "Chaffetzed" ostensibly to describe a person who either cannot be trusted or one who stabs another in the back. If only Huntsman had not promoted him to chief of staff, the country would be a better place today. Those damned butterflies.

Maybe not, though. The Chaffetz ego is boundless. And who knows? Had neither Edwards nor Huntsman pipelined him, he could instead have become a car salesman, an MLM CEO or—dread the thought—a Secret Service agent, then rising to agency head, then onto a cabinet position in the Trump presidency. Mercifully, the Secret Service rejected Chaffetz' application in the early 2000s, so that track led nowhere. Sort of. It could be irony or carelessness or more Chaffetz buffoonery, but from the ignoble Valerie Plame spy outing to the possible revelation of state secrets during the Benghazi hearings, Chaffetz has pretty much toasted the CIA ever since.

Chaffetz is perfectly safe in his gerrymandered congressional district that he won by over 100,000 votes in 2016. So any of the above matters not to those voters, nor that he cognitively lied about not being able look his own daughter in the eye should he support Donald Trump after the infamous Access Hollywood recordings were leaked. At the first opening, he announced he would vote for Trump—just not endorse him. He used his daughter as a kicking tee, that's all.

People are clamoring for Chaffetz to use his position as chairman of the House Oversight Committee to call for investigations into possible conflict of interest violations by President Trump. Ain't gonna happen. He will distract us all with Hillary Benghazi nonsense as long as it's useful for him and his party. On cue, Chaffetz last week pointed his snarky grin at the bipartisan head of the Government Ethics Office, outlandishly claiming an ethics breach by that office. Ethics be damned on all counts and to all comers. To Chaffetz, it never mattered if the field goal was good or not, it just mattered that he got to take his helmet off and wave to the crowd.

And it landed him in high government. He wants to go higher. You've been warned.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said Chaffetz applied to and was rejected by
the CIA. It was in fact the Secret Service.