Bob Bernick’s notebook: Sins of the father


What an interesting political year 2017 has become.

If you had told me in early January that U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz would resign halfway through the year to become – among other things – a commentator on Fox News, I would have said: “Ok, that’s weird, but I can see it.”

But to now say that an unknown (except for his last name) GOP replacement candidate’s campaign could hinge on an NBA player’s decision to leave the Utah Jazz?

No. Never could anyone see that coming.

Yet, that is where we are.

Fascinating, politically speaking.

Gordon Hayward – the All-star shooting forward that many believed was the future of the franchise – is gone to the Boston Celtics, who are run by Danny Ainge, father of Tanner Ainge (the newbie candidate).

Hayward is trying to leave Utah in the best way any serious breakup can occur.

But he is no LeBron James, and Salt Lake City ain’t Cleveland, and Hayward won’t be coming back to lead us to our first-ever NBA title.

There’s no redemption down the road for us. Or for Hayward, either.

Which leads us to Ainge – the Younger, not the Elder.

If, as a 3rd District voter – especially a GOP voter in the Aug. 15 primary election –you don’t know much about this Tanner – what he stands for, what he wants to take to Washington, D.C. on your behalf — and all you do know is that his father played a huge role in ruining the Jazz’s next half-dozen seasons, well, then, what do you do?

Oh, of course, if a friend asks or a pollster calls, you take the high road: “Hayward doesn’t matter in this important political decision,” or, “I really don’t care that much about a professional basketball team, I’ll vote for the best man in this race,” or, “The country’s future is more important than a game,” and such.

But, come on, here is a chance in the ballot box to make a vote really sting.

It’ll be interesting to see how the GOP candidates campaign over the next few weeks – the primary election just a month away.

Will Provo Mayor John Curtis have enough money to run a TV spot bringing up Hayward’s departure – pulled away with all that Democratic Boston’s big money, fame and allure of an NBA championship?

A light touch is needed here – perhaps something like Hayward leaving with a suitcase stuffed with cash and Tanner Ainge arriving with a carpetbag in hand, also overflowing with $1,000 bills.

Will erstwhile constitutional hardnosed Chris Herrod try appealing to broken-hearted Jazz fan voters in like manner?

 The fact is, Tanner Ainge could lose this primary over this very issue – for a father’s name and actions can cut both ways in this race.

Sons of Mitt Romney beware: Don’t let your dad do anything inside and outside of politics to break the dreams of a large segment of Utah society.

For that way leads to all kinds of unintended political consequences.

And to campaigning that has less to do with Congress’s future and more to do with a thing deep in our collective soul, which normally doesn’t deal with politics at all.