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Jason Chaffetz just keeps kicking away at the conservative core of the country

October 7, 2015, 5:19 pm

If you’re Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz, you vengefully kick people while their down. It’s what you do.

jason chaffetz

Jason Chaffetz

Chaffetz has been making headlines all week by piling on presumptive Speaker of the House nominee Kevin McCarthy, who most observers had already slotted into John Boehner’s Tea Party whipping boy post. At least until McCarthy badly stumbled by copping to the worst-kept secret in Washington – that the Benghazi hearings have been a Hillary Clinton political witch hunt.

Chaffetz threw his hat into the three-ring-Speaker circus on Sunday with the same gusto he’s shown in going after the Secret Service and Planned Parenthood as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. His longshot Speaker bid has enraged the GOP mainstream and hammered home the conservative credo of confrontation over compromise.

Again, that’s how Chaffetz and his ilk roll. He’s already promised us a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding, as contrived as the controversy is, and called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for “caving in” to Democrats who want to keep the country actually functioning. A secret ballot is set for Thursday to nominate the next Speaker.

The kind of paralysis Chaffetz is calling for in Congress – a hallmark of the last seven years of the Obama administration – would likely guarantee Democrats the White House. But it won’t solve any of the pressing problems facing the nation. In fact, it would only exacerbate them.

But Chaffetz doesn’t care. For him, it’s all about grabbing the spotlight and exacting revenge – a tactic he learned early on as a placekicker for Brigham Young University. As a cub sportswriter for the Rocky Mountain News in Denver, I wrote a story about Chaffetz kicking the winning field goal for BYU in a victory over the University of Colorado at the 1988 Freedom Bowl.

Chaffetz ran off the field pointing an in-your-face finger at then CU coach and future Promise Keeper Bill McCartney, who refused to give Chaffetz a look at placekicker coming out of tiny Middle Park High School in Granby, Colo.

Chaffetz moved to Utah, converted to Mormonism and Republicanism (he briefly worked for Democrat Michael Dukakis’s presidential campaign as a family favor), and rose through the GOP ranks to chief of staff for Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman – the lowest vote-getter and only GOP presidential candidate to acknowledge global climate change in the 2012 primary race.

Huntsman took a shot at Chaffetz on Twitter Monday, saying McCarthy just got “Chaffetzed” by his former chief of staff, “something I know a little something about.” He then tossed on a couple of very unflattering hashtags (#selfpromoter and #powerhungry) in case we didn’t know exactly how he feels about the man.

And to think, just five short years ago as a rookie lawmaker, Chaffetz mugged with fellow freshman and political polar opposite Jared Polis of Boulder, who several times now has joked he definitely isn’t in the Speaker mix. Chaffetz at the time was gunning for the NCAA and considering congressional action to force a college football playoff. Oh, and he also talked energy policy and the burning need (pre-Fukushima) for more and more nuclear power.

Now the former Coloradan converted to ultra-conservative Utah pit bull is looking to “Chaffetz” the House of Representatives and maybe, just maybe, the entire nation.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is an award-winning freelance reporter based in the Vail Valley of Colorado, writing on health care, immigration, politics, the environment, energy, public lands, outdoor recreation and sports. His work has appeared in 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Chicago Tribune, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Daily Trail (Vail), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington),, the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the London Daily Mirror, the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, Atlantic Media's (formerly Government Executive State and Local), SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail and Westword (Denver). Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of and

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