Chaffetz Outclasses Wonnacott in 3rd District Debate

Brian Wonnacott might be a nice guy.

He certainly appeared so Tuesday night when the Democrat met U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in the Utah Debate Commission’s 3rd Congressional District debate.

Heard of the term “outclassed?”

Well, it certainly fits here.

In fact, it was clear that this debate would have been really interesting and productive if the moderator, well-known BYU political science professor David Magleby (rumored to be a Utah County Democrat), had just debated Chaffetz himself and left poor Brian out of it.

At times it seemed that Wonnacott felt the same way.

Wonnacott stumbled over his words.

He went off track and didn’t answer the questions.

At one point, after a really embarrassing pause, Wonnacott said: “I’m struggling here” to come up with a coherent sentence.

But he did get some zingers in – several times saying that this past Congress was the most do nothing in history, and that Chaffetz, House Republicans and the Democratic-controlled Senate all were to blame.

For his part, Chaffetz went easy on Wonnacott. Kind of like not hitting a man when he is down. Not only down, but clearly out of it.

Unlike several of the Utah Debate Commission debates this summer, this one, held on the Utah Valley University campus, at least ran smoothly.

And that’s to the credit of Magleby, who let the two men answer the questions (posed by UVU students, Debate Commission members and the public), but then honed in on particulars in his own follow-up questions.

It’s kind of a sad commentary when the moderator is clearly more knowledgeable on the federal issues than one of the candidates; maybe both of the candidates.

Too bad Magleby’s name won’t be on the 3rd District ballot this November.

Anyway, here’s some news:

— Chaffetz doesn’t believe in the science of global warning.

Scientists can’t tell you what the weather was like 100 years ago, nor can they predict what it will be like 100 years from now, he said.

While saying we should “of course” be careful about what we put into our air and water, the United States should work overtime to become energy sufficient, and that includes developing more oil, natural gas and coal, while working on nuclear energy and other non-polluters.

— Chaffetz says his House Oversight sub-committee (he wants to be the full committee chairman after the election) will soon investigate were all the millions of dollars went in fines imposed on the financial industry for wrongdoing in the housing crash and Great Recession.

“I don’t think I’ve said that” publically before. “But we are going to look into that.”

— Chaffetz says there shouldn’t be a federal Department of Education. And the feds have no business in Common Core.

(At least Wonnacott took him to task on this subject, saying the federal government has nothing to do with Common Core, doesn’t give grants on it, didn’t set up the educational standards).

— Chaffetz says it is only right and the proper use of power for Congress to sue President Barack Obama. Asked by Magleby to give a specific example of presidential overreach, Chaffetz didn’t give a detail, but said that everyone should be scared by Obama’s threat to make law by himself, and that when the two branches of government have a disagreement, turning to the courts is proper.

— Wonnacott said the lawsuit is a perfect example of the GOP-controlled House wasting of taxpayers’ money and time. “It is all for show,” and meaningless and wasteful, the Democrat said.

“It’s a stunt to make the president look bad,” said Wonnacott.

— Chaffetz said while it is a right for a teacher to carry a properly-license concealed carry weapon in school, parents should be told that the teacher is carrying.

“Parents should know everything that is happening in the school,” the congressman said. He added that something does need to be done about mentally ill persons access to weapons, but didn’t give a specific.

— Chaffetz started the debate by saying it is only proper that there should be such debates, adding that there should be more of them.

But it’s unlikely Chaffetz will meet Wonnacott again, partly because it would be pilling on, partly because Chaffetz will walk to a huge victory in November.

The congressman closed by saying 3rd District voters shouldn’t consider this race over. “I ask for your vote.”