Last week, President Barack Obama was attacked by Republicans and Democrats for vacationing too long and appearing disengaged by heading back to the golf course after announcing a tragedy. Too bad the president didn’t take his cue from Utah politicians — all of whom put their summers to highly effective use. To provide inspiration for future leaders, we provide the results of a scientific survey asking the time-honored first-day-of-kindergarten question, "What did you do on your summer vacation?"
Avid Utah Mitt Romney fans: “Every summer day we clapped our hands and jumped up and down to prompt Mitt to run again. No word from him yet, but we did keep Tinkerbell alive.” (Go watch "Peter Pan" if you don’t get it.)
Gov. Gary Herbert: "It's tough being a popular governor in a state with a great economy. I had to spend my summer squelching people who want my job. By the way, Becky Lockhart really would make a great school superintendent, especially if she selected Jonathan Johnson as her deputy."
Republican legislative leadership: "We spent our vacation working out so we can keep up with Sen. Wayne Niederhauser on his epic bike rides. On Labor Day we’ll have a contest to see which one of us looks best in Spandex.”
Attorney General Sean Reyes: "I had a marvelous summer until someone told me last week that I had an election in November, and I couldn’t avoid debates. Can’t I wait until Halloween?"
Democratic attorney general candidate Charles Stormont: "Reyes thinks he has it bad. I'm running against my boss Sean Reyes. But I spent the summer developing my campaign talking points, exposing him as a poor administrator who hired and retained the wrong people in the office. Wait let me think this through. Never mind. How about those Bees!"
Republican 4th District candidate Mia Love: "I spent a very productive summer building my image as a substantive candidate with deep policy insights. Now where are those talking points on why we should ban deficit spending?”
Democratic 4th District candidate Doug Owens: "I was hoping to spend more time this summer debating Mia. I know I can prevail against her when arguing the finer nuances of environmental law."
State Sen. Curt Bramble: “On my vacation I was elected president of the National Conference of State Legislatures. My main goal is to convince the public that the bar scene in Star Wars was not a re-enactment of a legislative session.”
Democratic State Chairman Peter Corroon: "Much of my vacation was spent in deep introspection and meditation. In other words, I was trying to figure out why I volunteered for this awful assignment."
Republican Party Chairman James Evans: "I believe that the last 60 days were well spent convincing Utahns that the 15 percent of the population registered as Democrats are a grave threat to other 85 percent."
U.S. Sen. Mike Lee: “I used my vacation to enroll in a rehab program — Constitutionaholics Anonymous. The 12 steps are going well, although I will always be in recovery. I acknowledge that the Constitution does not have all of life’s answers. I am close to admitting that Ted Cruz is not a Founding Father.”
Congressman Rob Bishop: "A hellish summer — absolutely miserable. Running for chair of the House Natural Resources Committee required me to pick up the phone and make a few fundraising calls.”
Congressman Jason Chaffetz: “Utilized the summer to work for appointment as chair of the House Government Oversight Committee. If I get the post, so many federal agencies are involved in so many scandals that my future as a permanent fixture on Fox and CNN is guaranteed!”
Congressman Jim Matheson: "A summer without campaigning, fundraising or boring policy summits. So this is how real people live?"
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch: "During Senate vacation, late at night, I sneaked into the offices of Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden and polished his gavel. I just want to be ready."
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox: "I am black and blue all over. I spent the last several months pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Ouch, I just did it again. I really am lieutenant governor."
State Sen. Jim Dabakis: "All summer long I screamed, shouted and demanded the designation of more wilderness lands, protecting the Salt Lake Tribune, advocating for same-sex marriage, looser liquor laws and a bunch of other things. You really can annoy all of the people all of the time if you work at it.”
Eagle Forum President-for-Life Gayle Ruzicka: “During the summer many left-wing liberal organizations questioned Common Core. How did I end up on their side?”
Deseret News management: "We spent the summer as we do every season — apologizing for the antics of Frank and LaVarr."
Pignanelli: “Wonderful summer! Binge-watched all four seasons of 'Game of Thrones' on the patio, with the proper libations in hand, of course.”
Webb: “I raised five baby pigs at my farm and named them after Utah governors: Gary, Jon, Mike, Norm and Scott. If you want to eat one, give me a call. (They’re all barrows — castrated males — so it wasn’t appropriate to name one Olene.)”
Republican LaVarr Webb is a political consultant and lobbyist. Previously he was policy deputy to Gov. Mike Leavitt and a Deseret News managing editor. E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org. Democrat Frank Pignanelli is a Salt Lake attorney, lobbyist and political adviser. Pignanelli served 10 years in the Utah House of Representatives, six years as House minority leader. E-mail:email@example.com.