Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why Morgan Bowen?

I'm getting a lot of email from friends and readers wanting clarification on my interest in UT-1 candidate Morgan Bowen's campaign, perceiving a contradiction between my personal politics, openly displayed on the front page of The SideTrack, and what they read at

Much of the email is coming from out of state, where many understand that Utah is a "red" state, but don't fully grasp just how tragically "red" the political DNA here is. But for Utah readers, I can explain (and hopefully engage others in the district to join me).

Admittedly, I abhor the word "bipartisan." While a nice notion, it's become a dirty word in our federal and state institutions, and can be found attached most often to bad legislation, or weak minded whining during campaign seasons (watch how often you see an incumbent respond not with factual defense of a policy, but a childish "Oh, how partisan!" distraction from issues). And I'm not much more keen on the word "Independent". It means very little in Utah, where too often "Independent" simply means voting Republican without introspection while bitching about Republicans.

So, I have to acknowledge the irony in my fondness of a candidate who can easily be described as both of these things. But it's not quite that simple. Morgan Bowen is running as a Democrat for a reason; he is one. And a proud one at that. But when it comes to policy, Morgan isn't concerned with party so much as good decision making, and being true to himself, and this sometimes takes him as close to conservative policy as a Democrat can get and still use the Big D. He believes in the populist notion that the more people playing a role in his policy formation, the better it will be, and I believe if elected Morgan would hold true to this, simply because it is his nature. It is the way he reaches his conclusions that engages me, even if I might disagree with his final conclusion.

He does trend much further right than my personal politics care for, I agree, but in contrast he would also not, as a representative, fit into the cess pool that is the Blue Dog coalition. He finds the middle on issues where (I believe) there is room to do so, and to disagree about it. On the important issues, such as Iraq and energy policy (where, incidentally, he outs himself as a T. Boone Pickens fan!), he reaches the same conclusions I do, often just through different ways of thinking. And it's this pragmatic nature of his that allows me to easily put aside my quest for liberal domination in order to volunteer and support, whenever I can, a candidate that I believe deserves to be a United States Congressman much more than those we have propped up as "leaders" for far too long.

But a more specific (and being a blogger I have to say more important) reason for Morgan's appeal is an example I'll provide below that had an effect on me very similar to the reasons I became an Obama supporter very early in the primary. Morgan "get's it." This video is Morgan's response to news that Rob Bishop had accepted large sums of money from Energy Solutions this campaign season (a fact that Bishop's chief of staff would have us believe is just "nasty and thoughtless" to even point out... which still makes me laugh). It was produced by Morgan and his son from a patch of lawn overlooking the Energy Solutions Arena, then uploaded to his YouTube page later that evening. It cost him nothing but a little time and know how. And for me, watching this (beyond the merit of the message it conveys, of course) gives me hope that Utah is not completely left behind in the use of technology and responsiveness to further engage each and every voter in the political process, and how easily we all become activists for change. Morgan understands not only the necessity but also the opportunity of campaigning this way.

Enjoy. And give, dammit.


  1. Very nice post Jason. I agree wholeheartedly.

  2. You're not alone Jason in stepping outside of your comfort zone. I've never voted for a Democrat in my life (albeit I am only 39 years old), but I plan to vote for Morgan in the fall. He has appeared several times on local radio in my area and has impressed me with his passion for changing the way our government works.

  3. jason is back to an internet feed welcome back my friend hope you had a great vacation

  4. Here's a note from California, I went to college with Morgan. I haven't seen him for many many years, but I can tell you about him in college. He was an amazing guy way back then, very intelligent, very easy to talk to, just a good natured guy who got along with everyone. There is no one you could ever meet that would have a bad word about him...Morgan is a very rare guy, he is honest as the day is long and has incredible integrity, something that is lacking in politics.

    I'm very happy to see that he is running for office. He is exactly the kind of person our country needs in Washington.

    Utah will be lucky to have a representative of the likes of Morgan Bowen.

    Jim Knapp CSUS Class of 90