Opinion Briefs: Don’t Do it Mitt

LaVarr WebbMemo to Mitt: Run, don’t walk, away. Mitt Romney is a patriotic fellow.

If and when a call comes to serve his country, he’s apparently willing to consider it – even if the invitation comes from a bitter political enemy.

I don’t understand why Romney has allowed the drama to continue over his possible nomination by Pres.-elect Trump as secretary of state. I can’t see how this ends well for Romney, even though I think he would make a terrific secretary of state. 

If Trump decides against him, he will be the subject of scorn and derision by the Conway/Hannity arm of the Trump crowd. If Trump selects him, he will be part of an erratic administration with senior staff close to the president continually stabbing him in the back. 

Worse, who knows what constitutes Trump’s foreign policy? And will Trump separate himself from his business holdings in countries across the globe? A serious, responsible secretary of state is probably going to quickly end up the fall guy in a tangle of infighting and dysfunction.

If Romney really believes the things he said about Trump in his famous Hinckley Institute speech, he should not have gotten even close to this mess.   

Start early to win 2018 Senate race. Machinations over the 2018 U.S. Senate race in Utah are already under way, and it’s none too soon. Sen. Orrin Hatch is clearly interested in running again, although I doubt he has made a final decision. Whatever he does, it’s going to be a very interesting race, and potential candidates who aren’t wealthy or famous must start their behind-the-scenes campaigning immediately.

Hatch will raise several million dollars and has plenty of time to announce his intentions. Likewise, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., if he decides to run, is wealthy and famous enough that he can hold off for several months. But a number of younger, less well-known potential candidates must begin now to develop campaign plans and strategies, raise money and recruit support. If they don’t, they’ll be overwhelmed by Hatch and/or Huntsman next year.

All the early activity can occur below the radar, of course. It’s far too early to make formal announcements or to kick off the public part of the campaign. But myriad tasks need to be completed, especially the obvious one of visiting with as many civic and opinion leaders as possible to make the case for one’s candidacy.

One likely candidate who isn’t well-known to the average voter is Derek Miller, a former chief of staff to Gov. Gary Herbert and the current president/CEO of the World Trade Center Utah. Miller is clearly interested in the race and is taking important first steps to build a strong campaign.

We’ll see if others join the fun.     

Human trafficking in Utah? It’s a little-noticed pestilence that is more common than most of us realize – even in Utah. Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes, along with state and local law enforcement agencies, are working to prevent this crime. It’s not just a problem in faraway lands.

Human trafficking is discussed in the video series County Seat, produced in cooperation with Utah county governments. Host Chad Booth interviews Assistant Attorney General Daniel Strong, Captain Tyler Kotter of the Utah Department of Public Safety, and Sgt. Jason Ackerman of the Unified Police Department. Click here to watch the episode.