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Front Page » May 28, 2002 » Opinion » States find that if the Mitt fits, wear it
Published 4,440 days ago

States find that if the Mitt fits, wear it


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By RICHARD SHAW
Staff reporter

Remember the old fairy tale about the kittens who lost their mittens?

"Three little kittens, they lost their mittens, and they began to cry."

It seems that it is that way with mittens or in our case a "Mitt." People cried when he left Utah to go back to Massachusetts where the Republican party was also crying because they needed him to shore up their beleaguered party in the Bay State. Despite the fact that they already had a GOP governor, Jane Swift, many in the party felt he would be much more electable than she would be.

Of course speculation ran rampant when Romney was selected to run the Olympics that he would remain in Utah and eventually run for political office here, probably the governors job when it was vacated by friend Mike Leavitt. The rumor goes that Leavitt is in line to run for senator when Orrin Hatch retires.

A third state, or kitten as we can call it, also entered into the picture as well. Romney was born in Michigan, the son of the famous George Romney who was not only called the "Lee Iacocca" of his day for saving American Motors Corporation in 1957, but went on to capture three terms as governor of the Wolverine State. Republicans in that state would like to see the return of a home grown Romney to their land in the middle of Great Lakes country.

So all three kittens were crying the end of March because at least two of them would lose their "Mitt."

It was then that Romney returned home to Massachusetts, where he has lived full time and had business connections for over 30 years, where he took on Ted Kennedy in the 1994 for the senate and came closer to beating him than any candidate in history, and held a news conference.

At that point he said he was home and was there to stay. Despite his apparent huge success in Utah and with the Olympics, he hardly even mentioned us, except to call the Beehive State, "out there."

We are certainly used to being called things like that.

So he dropped off the local radar screens until last week when lo and behold he showed up back here in good old Utah.

This time looking for money.

Apparently the money in Massachusetts is not good enough to support his campaign so he got his friends to set up a couple of fund raisers for him.

The first was a $5000 a couple luncheon (for that price I hope they had some great appetizers) that was run for him by John Huntsman. It appears a little over 30 people showed up for that event at the Huntsman Chemical world headquarters.

That evening he was set to dine with Leavitt and about 100 close friends at a dinner which went for $500 a plate at the Union Pacific Railroad Station in downtown Salt Lake.

According to reports he garnered about a quarter of million dollars in the one day in Salt Lake. Money for him to run for the governor of Massachusetts.

Now, people can spend their money any way they want; that's their business. But this is a state that is presently in a huge financial crisis according to our governor and those in the legislature. And I also know in the realm of things, $250,000 is not a lot of money, when we are looking at deficits in multiples of millions of dollars.

But tell that to the guys who got laid off at CEU last month because of the shortfall.

Tell that to the thousands of teachers who will have more kids in their classrooms next year because of the lack of funds.

Tell that to state programs that will have to be cut to the point where some seniors won't receive the benefits they need to just survive.

Now I understand the relevancy of having powerful friends in high places. But the governor of Massachusetts has less power over anything that happens in Utah than any under secretary of the under secretary of any department in the U.S. government.

So what's the point? Is it just that these contributors have such a strong friendship with Mitt that they want to help? Or is there more here than meets the eye when it comes to where Mitt is headed in the future?

It has often been reported that Orin Hatch was brought to Utah from Pennsylvania in the early 1970's to defeat then Democratic Senator Frank Moss. Technically that was not true. Hatch didn't move to Utah just before the 1976 election when he defeated Moss. He had been here seven years, having moved a law practice to Utah after growing up in Pennsylvania.

And he did have Utah ties, somewhat like Romney. Actually, he had ties to Carbon County. His parents had met in Hiawatha when they were young and were later married in the midwest.

Mitt's ties go back to his father and the prominent Romney family here in Utah.

Even though he is running for governor of Massachusetts right now, one has to ask if there is a back up play on the drawing board just in case he doesn't win? He apparently still owns a home in Utah, and just like Hillary Clinton could switch states at the blink of an eye to run for something here.

There is no question that Romney did a good job running the Olympics although one police officer near Snow Basin said he wasn't very polite when he decided to take over traffic direction on the second day of the events there however.

I guess you can't do everything right.

All I can say is that there is more than meets the eye going on here, and I worry that it is the typical "meet behind closed doors" kind of politics that have been going on since one party started to dominate the political scene in Utah during the 1970's.

In the end, the kittens in the fairy tale got their mittens back, subsequently soiled them, had them washed and then got some pie. They also smelled a mouse close by.

Maybe we should be smelling a little larger rodent.

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