CNN several times cut to floor shots of the Utah delegation, whose pro-Mitt Romney supporters were seen cheering Ryan on.
That’s all well and good. And it’s what national delegates are supposed to do.
But among those cheering delegates were a number of GOP Utah legislators, and several of their leaders.
As the crowd cheered Ryan when he criticized President Barack Obama’s $800 billion stimulus package – and as those Utah GOP delegates cheered as well – one has to wonder if they have forgotten just how much they appreciated (maybe even loved) the hundreds of millions of dollars that came to the Utah state government in 2009 and 2010.
It was those millions of federal dollars that allowed the GOP-controlled Legislature and Gov. Gary Herbert (cheering down on that convention floor Wednesday night) to keep from laying of hundreds of state workers and trim back needed programs.
I recall sitting in an open Utah House GOP caucus at the end of one of those general sessions and – perhaps a bit sheepishly – several fiscal conservatives asked if there was any more federal stimulus money coming to the state, so they could balance the budget without having to cut any more.
Out of one side of their mouths they condemned Obama’s economic policies, while out of the other side they asked if there was more.
That is understandable. It’s human, if not only partisan.
And faced with the tough decisions Utah lawmakers had to make in those days, the federal money was welcomed.
Along with a forward-looking Rainy Day Fund (which, by the way, was set up in part by one of Utah’s more moderate GOP lawmakers – former Utah House Majority Leader, Lt. Gov. and Gov. Olene Walker), with good fiscal management from years of Republican legislative leadership, and responsible GOP governors, Utah government was well placed to weather the Great Recession.
But without the federal money so condemned by Ryan Wednesday night – and cheered by the Utah GOP delegation – Utahns would have had to suffer a lot more pain over the last four years.
And sometimes, during fine national convention speeches, the facts should be remembered, also.