Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Belated Endorsement

I had planned to write something on this since Jeff Bell announced his candidacy for state party chair, but never gotten around to it. I have blogger ADHD. To be honest, my real reason is that, while I enjoy and encourage other bloggers to endorse, it always seemed pretentious to do it myself. Jeff (Presser), Craig, and myself are but three political junkies working collectively inside but one meager blog. We try not to forget that.

That said, it comes as no surprise to anyone reading, or any of my friends at the state party office that I fully support Mr. Bell's candidacy, and I've confirmed that I speak on behalf of the other 2/3's of The SideTrack crew when I say so.

Wayne Holland and I have talked many times. I have a great deal of respect for him, and I have also been openly critical what I feel are missed opportunities for the Utah State Democratic Party. But let me also say that the response to that criticism has always been met with a productive reaction. Rather than a defensive approach, I have been invited into the conversation more fully each time I speak up. And they are, indeed, stepping it up. I think that is something that distinguishes Democratic leadership in Utah from that of the GOP (I've met with nothing but resistance there the few times I've tried to start the same conversation, Ric Cantrell and his crew aside, of course). I've even discussed my support of Jeff with them openly, and you know what? They still let me into the office to bug them with my latest idea. Regularly! That's integrity.

But political challenges are good. Disagreements in the form of campaigns are some of the most productive. And nothing keeps us on our toes and far from the complacent status quo as effectively as being reminded that in politics, nothing is guaranteed.

That's why all of us here at The SideTrack have thrown our support behind Jeff Bell's candidacy.

I have known both Wayne and Jeff for a long time, and I respect the skills of both for many different reasons. But to say Jeff has a skill for creative problem solving is an understatement. He can make what is technically impossible to most of us happen in five minutes, and his wealth of knowledge when it comes to politics, campaign messaging, and new media is unmatched in Utah. And it's my belief that aggressive messaging and the influence of technology for voter/volunteer engagement are what we have lacked in our plan for the future.

We're at a time when the question isn't what direction the party should go, but how to get the party pointed to where it needs to be. We are faced with opportunities unrealized that can take the Utah State Democratic Party to a new level of success. And if the past legislative session and budget cuts have reminded me of anything, it's the need for us to get there. Not just for the party, but for Utah.

Jeff Bell has the skills to do it.

Listen to both Wayne and Jeff via the Politics Up Close series, and several of their convention speeches are still viewable on our YouTube page.

See you at the convention.


  1. I was wondering what you thought of last weekend's post by Bell that was later pulled down. Does this endorsement mean that you endorse that type of behavior, or don't you care?

    I know of J.M.Bell and I enjoy his blog, but Rob Miller is one of the reasons I vote for Utah Democrats today. And, I can tell you that I'd have a hard time taking anyone seriously who believed that type of behavior is becoming of a party chair.

    I can appreciate the debate, but that type of behavior doesn't cut it for me.

    What are your thoughts?

  2. J-Man

    I wouldn't be too hard on Jeff about that post.

    There is a history of anonymous/pseudononymous comments like the one mentioned in that post coming from Rob's IP address on other Utah blogs.

    Jeff is a good man and he has more than enough integrity to assume the position for which he is running.

  3. Anonymous,

    Just another ridiculous accusation to avoid the truth, that Jeff Bell has little to no integrity, and the same goes for you anonymous.

    And, to all those bloggers and Bell supporters who saw Bell's post and said nothing, shame on you too.

  4. Johnny,

    I thought we decided to leave this alone and that there is no reason to get in a pissing match. No harm, no foul, so move on my brother.

    Thanks for your friendship.


  5. J-Man, your naivete here is almost cute.

    But pause for a second in your high-horse condemnation of all these bloggers you want to cast your shame upon from a self imposed position of superierority.

    I've spoken with several people who were at DL that night, and for every person I find who objects to what Bell posted, I've found an equal number who found Rob's question to be a personal attack on Bell. But wanna know something? I don't care. I really don't. What this is about is the message Bell is putting forth, and simple fact that it's a message the party needs to take seriously.

    If you are determined to let a personal pissing match play out, by all means it's a free internet. But it's naive. There are always too sides to a story, and the bloggers are stearing clear of this one because they know that no one is perfect, and if we begin a childish game of airing dirtly laundry to satisfy personal beefs, or defending our BFF's, no one come out clean, and the entire discussion is reduced to that of a GOP caucus meeting.

    So check your condemnation, my man. Silence on this one is doing everyone a favor. And pretending that anyone involved -- Rob, Wayne, You, Me -- is above taking things too personally, or saying something mean spirited in the heat of anger is bullshit, plain and simple.

    Be happy bloggers are staying silent on this one. In fact, thank them for it.

  6. J-Man -

    Rob Miller wouldn't have had a chance to get himself elected in 2005 without Jeff Bell.

    In fact, Jeff has stood up for Rob so many times over the years when Miller stepped out of line that Rob's behavior over the last few months is all the more disgusting.

    Rob is now the perfect model of a Utah Politician. Dishonest, two-faced, disloyal and naive.

    There is little doubt in my mind that Rob left that comment - just as there is little doubt that Rob sent you in here to say what you said, giving him the opportunity to pop in and pretend to care about rumors that HE STARTED!

    I was at Drinking Liberally and had to strain to hear Jeff speak because Rob was so loud making smart alec remarks the whole night. Rob's childish outburst - calling Jeff a liar in front of a whole room about something I still don't understand (but that Jeff proved - on his website - that Rob was the liar) - was the perfect endorsement for Jeff and against anyone that would have Rob Miller as a spokesman.

    Get your facts together "JMan" before you end up painted in the brush as Rob - childish and wrong.

  7. Jeff, most of us who sail through the Utah political blogosphere know that you are anonymous and Anne.

  8. really? that's where you guys want to take this? really? i mean it's not like there are actual issues that could be talked about or anything like that. instead we're left with anonymous commentors claiming to know who other anonymous commentors are (doing so anonymously was a nice touch, lends so much credibility to your statement). jason's right, with the egos in these comments we might as well be at a republican caucus meeting.

  9. Well said Craig, well said.

  10. I'm writing this anonymously so forgive me but frankly you wouldn't believe me if I used my real name anyway. Let me just say I know both Jeff and Rob and I respect and admire both Jeff and Rob for their passion and dedication to making Utah a better place. It is very unfortunate to see them lose such a long lasting friendship because they have both chosen to take a political competition personally. It's unfortunately all too common in political circles and not at all unique to these two or this race. But I still would like to see them both burry this hatchet, and enter tomorrow's convention as friends who mutually respect each other's differing visions for what is best for this state party.

  11. For the record...I was the first anonymous.

    That said...the most sensible comment so far was left by the most recent anonymous.