Unlike many wingnuts, Utah Senator Mike Lee is not stupid, but he’s not as smart as he thinks he is. In my experience, men who think they’re the smartest guy in the room are mistake prone. Lee’s buddy Ted Cruz is proof positive of that. He thinks he can outsmart and outlie everyone. It hasn’t worked for Tailgunner Ted and it’s not working for Mike Lee.
You’ve all heard about the Lee-Meadows text exchanges in which Lee tiptoed to the brink of supporting an all-out coup before retreating. I think he kept on the right side of the law but he lied about what he knew and when he knew it. That a bad look for someone who claims to be a “constitutional conservative.” He’s really just a Trumpified teabagger.
Repeat after me: don’t call them conservatives.
Lee’s clumsy lies have gotten him in trouble with his hometown newspaper, the Salt Lake Tribune, which published a scathing editorial about Lee’s confabulations:
“Confession, it is said, is good for the soul.
It should also be good politics.
It is past time for Mike Lee to start fessing up to all he knows about the plot to set aside the results of an honest and fair election to keep Donald Trump in power. We know Utah’s senior senator had a much greater role in that plot than he has previously acknowledged, his constituents deserve a much more detailed accounting of what went on and the extent of Lee’s participation in it.
Yesterday would be a great time for Lee to come clean. Saturday’s Utah State Republican Convention would be a really good opportunity, too.”
I’m inclined to be dismissive of newspaper editorials. I agree with former NYT editor Turner Catledge who said: “Editorials are like wetting your pants in a blue serge suit, you get a warm feeling and nobody notices.”
The quote has been attributed to others, but I first saw it in Gay Talese’s history of the NYT: The Kingdom and the Power, which was published in 1969 long before the other contenders. A quick aside: Catledge retired to New Orleans. I bought his copy of the Talese tome at his wife’s estate sale. It was unsigned, alas.
Back to Mike Lee. He has issues with democracy, so his flirtation with the coup plotters is no surprise. His lone memorable phrase is this bit of nonsense, “America is a constitutional republic, not a democracy.”
That may have been true in the 1780’s but it’s not in 2022.
Utah is not only the Beehive State, it’s a semi-theocracy dominated by the Mormon church. Lee is a devout LDS-er who rose to power in the Tea Party wave election of 2010. The Tribune’s mention of the state GOP convention should give Lee night sweats. He ousted three-term Senator Bob Bennett at the 2010 state GOP confab. Turnabout strikes me as fair play.
The Tribune urged Mike Lee to come clean. They published an even more scathing column by Reed Galen who went much farther than the editorial:
“Mike Lee’s attempts to find “legal” remedies on Trump’s behalf demonstrate either an active desire to overturn the 2020 election or a shocking lack of judgement. I suspect both. Either taken individually would be disqualifying to an individual in a powerful position of public trust. On Jan. 6, Lee, sniveling coward that he is, wouldn’t vote to object to the electoral count. Trump’s earlier public criticism of Lee must have finally been a bridge too far.
Lee is up for reelection this November. As Utahns being to think about their choices, they should take to heart that when given every chance to choose fealty: to faith, to country, to Utah and to the Constitution, he’s put himself, his ambition, and his grasping for power first.
He will of course claim that everything he advocated was motivated by “legal” options, but that is thin cover and ignores the fact that his efforts helped create a crisis not seen in this country since the Civil War. Like so many members of Congress who supported the Confederacy, Lee should no longer serve in high office.”
I expect that Lee will hunker down and count on the support of Beehive State Trumpers to cling to office. He wears his faith like a shield to ward off the less salubrious aspects of Trumpism and it might just work.
Mike Lee’s egregious malakatude and cowardice makes Willard Mittbot Romney look like a senator out of Profiles In Courage. As a presidential candidate, Willard gave good pander but after a brief flirtation with becoming Trump’s secretary of state, he’s landed on the right side of history.
After years of political trimming, Romney has finally taken a stand. Mike Lee stands with the Impeached Insult Comedian, Sidney Powell, and John Eastman. So much for “constitutional conservatism.”
Repeat after me: don’t call them conservatives.
The last word be bee songs by Papa John Creach, Wilson Pickett, and Tom Petty: