Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Jason Chaffetz Show

I like having Jason Chaffetz around. He is fun to follow. He has kooky ideas, a weird personality, boyish enthusiasm, and really kooky ideas. Don't get me wrong, I'd rather have a liberal representing that district, but since it is arguably the most conservative district in the nation, and any representative they elect is going to be an extreme right-winger anyway, we might as well be able to sit back and enjoy the show.

Chaffetz, remember, won his seat by ousting Chris Cannon, the 16th most conservative representative out of 435 by one measure, by running to Cannon's right. I still find that fact horrifying and entertaining, like watching the audition stage of American Idol.

Interestingly, however, sometimes there are bizarre issues that Chaffetz latches onto where I can kind of see his point. For instance, Chaffetz recently had a vendetta against TSA whole body imaging devices at airports. This is a device that creates something like a 3D image of the persons body for security purposes. Chaffetz's money quote is that "Nobody needs to see my wife and kids naked to secure an airplane."

I have got to say, I kind of agree with him. The images are not like photographs by any stretch of the imagination, but they kind of do look like a human body naked, kind of, and it seems maybe a little too far. And what is wrong with all the other security measures we have at the airports that we need this new thing? Does our right to privacy have some bounds that this maybe encroaches? I get where he's coming from.

But don't forget that he is still Jason Chaffetz. He recently went to the airport, purposefully got in line for one of these machines, and then reportedly went berserk and made a big scene about them and caused a ruckus and claimed he was being harassed because he was the Congressman that introduced the bill to get the things banned. Again, weird dude.

He went to Congress with this real absolute personal quest to end all earmarks. Again, there is something to that. Earmarks, while just a fraction of the federal budget, are a place where a lot of money gets wasted on pet projects, like the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere." He was incredibly adamant about this and used it as a major campaign issue. Remember he is still Jason Chaffetz, though, and now has a set of rules where it will be okay for him to get some of his own earmarks.

Which brings us to the latest Jason Chaffetz issue. He wants the census going out next year to require people to mark if they are legal U.S. citizens. Okay, so I understand the problem. The House of Representatives is configured by the number of citizens in each state and in each district. There are 435 seats which can get switched around from state to state as populations shift. We should make sure we have a pretty good idea of where U.S. citizens are before we move around seats. For instance, Utah is going to get a new seat, probably at the expense of South Carolina, with the new census. That should not be done willy-nilly.

But it is such a horrible idea to make people check a box if they are legal citizens in the census questionnaire. First, it would obviously depress responses. If I was not a citizen I wouldn't mark it and send it back in. I would be afraid that would be used against me, even if I was in the country legally. Second, the census is used for more than just redistricting, it is used to track population trends, income trends, gender trends, and the like. It is more important to get as many accurate responses as possible than to use it as what looks like an attempt to further his extremely offensive immigration stances.

Anyway, since we are going to get an extreme conservative out of Utah's Third District no matter what, we might as well get one that is entertaining (again, in an American Idol audition kind of way) and harmless.


arc said...

Jason is not an extreme conservative, and has great ideas.

You don't have to agree with all of them and he responds to your ideas.

Personally, out of the people being discussed for US Pres in 2012, I would vote for someone like Jason Chaffetz, than any of them.

(No, as far as I know Jason isn't running for US Pres in 2012).

Daniel H said...

Arc, I don't know where you base your views on Chaffetz being "not an extreme conservative."

Chris Cannon, who was deemed "too liberal" by the local district was rated as 96/100 by the American Conservative Union.

If he was unseated by Jason Chaffetz for being too liberal, I'm sorry, but that makes Jason Chaffetz even more conservative and his congressional record tends to back that up.

And some of his ideas, like deportation camps? I would not call that a great idea.

I will agree that he responds to his ideas, and I will say that he seems to be quite interested in doing well for Utah, but I must say that he is not a mid-line conservative.

Andrew said...

Man... That's almost better than Tom Delay on Dancing with the Stars; the only reason it's not is because Delay is much more contemptible and even less powerful. If I ever move back to Utah, I'm gonna be like a kid in a candy store...

Iliana said...

Jake, I agree! He's one strange guy. Why were my choices Cannon and Chaffetz? It was a loose loose situation.

Anonymous said...

Hey, you out there in left field, Chaffetz didn't "purposefully [get] in line for one of these machines." You better get your facts straight or else you'll lose ALL credibility.

Jacob S. said...

Every news story on the web seems to indicate that you are wrong. Here are just a couple:

Chaffetz is denying it, but TSA has rules that apply to everyone, no matter the situation, and they simply followed those rules. Those facts are straight, from different sources, and plausible. I have a feeling I don't have any credibility with you anyways, anonymous, so I'm not too concerned.