Opinionated @ CFE

A Reality Check for the Matheson Haters


Hey Democrat Matheson haters? I know you’re angry. I understand it. No really, I do. You don’t like it that he won’t support your pet issues like the current healthcare bill, overturning DOMA, and the FISA junk. (Believe it or not, I’m with you on the last one.) That said, do you really think you’ll be better off if you take him down in the convention or a primary? Not bloody likely.

Here’s the reality: Jim lives in a district that contains a lot of Republicans and independents. By most accounts, he shouldn’t even still be in elected office. Remember that narrow victory of 1600 votes back in 2002? Given how badly gerrymandered his district is, it’s a wonder he’s still there. Since then, he’s widened his lead to 28 points in the most recent election. Given that a Republican should hold a 15-point advantage, that’s quite a feat.

So what, then, would you hope to accomplish by putting a more liberal candidate into the general election? Anyone you put in Matheson’s place that isn’t about as conservative as he is would get creamed in the general election. It also sends a message that moderates and conservatives had better get the heck out of your party or you’ll force them out. As Ethan pointed out so well, it’s hypocritical to demonize Republicans for demanding acquiescence to the party line when you’re all too willing to to it yourself.

I’m not saying you have to love Matheson or excuse him when he doesn’t vote your way. I’ve happily voted for another candidate when I thought they were better-suited to the task. But you have to ask yourself a simple question: is it more important to have the seat in your camp or feel good about pushing out anyone who doesn’t push the party line? You can’t have both.

5 Responses to A Reality Check for the Matheson Haters

  1. I have a thought on the Primary challenger thought. However, I’m saving that for my next post… 🙂

    But, I will say that I’m not sure what advantage holding the seat has for Utah Democrats. Prestige?

  2. For Utah specifically, I don’t think it holds much advantage at all. For Democrats nationally, it gives you another seat when figuring out who has majority party status. I would think that’s worth something.

  3. but not when national democrats have a wide margin, and the seats lost next year will be those like matheson’s anyways(lean to strong r districts, moderate and freshman democrat incumbents). if he was the 218th democratic vote, what democratic legislation would get passed that wouldn’t if a republican held his seat? when you combine that with his, for a while, running gig on fox news as the token democrat that agrees with them in campaigning against the health care bill, i really don’t see what good he’s doing democrats anywhere. but maybe i’m just mad now. perhaps there should be a five day waiting period for posting comments after key votes, but i doubt i’ll feel differntly on thursday.

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  5. Reforming our broken health care system is not a pet issue. It is a core of what is the modern Democratic party. If Matheson can’t be convinced to use some of his political capital on this issue then what issue can we depend on him for? Matheson stands for nothing but getting re-elected and that is my major problem with him.

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