Daily Archives: March 9, 2011

An Impressive New Blog in Utah: the “Utah Political Summary”

Reading up on some of the local blogger commentary on HB 477 this morning, I ran into a blog I’d not seen before: the Utah Political Summary.

Written and published by local attorney Curt Bentley, the blog purports to provide a political commentary with dual purposes: “(1) to help people who want to know get informed about local politics despite the existence of these traditional barriers and a federal-focused media, and (2) to give me a place to vent intelligent commentary.” (Ignore for a moment the ironic placement of “vent” directly before “intelligent,” and just assume that such is possible…)

Although he’s an attorney, it is by no means a site intended for attorneys, or to provide a legal perspective on politics. That said, Bentley does a great job of integrating his legal training to enhance his analysis of policies and politics. A few examples:

On the Commerce Clause :

Although the exact extent of Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause can be (and has been) debated ad naseum, I think we can safely say one thing: the Constitution’s drafters and ratifiers never intended for the Commerce Clause to give Congress a general legislative power like that enjoyed by the states. Constitutional lawyers refer to the general legislative authority of the states as the “Police Power,” or the power to legislate broadly for the health, safety, and welfare of the people. And if we interpret the Commerce Clause as authorizing Congress to legislate to require people to purchase health insurance, one can make a persuasive argument that we have just conferred on Congress the functional equivalent of a federal police power.

On “American Exceptionalism”

In its original sense, American Exceptionalism refers to view that the developmental path taken by the United States of America (and its citizens) was, and is, objectively different from the developmental path taken by other countries and their citizens.  The concept has its roots in some obvious contrast between America and other nations, particularly  that fact that America was both republican in government and had a quasi-religious zeal for commerce.  People who subscribed to, or studied, the idea of American Exceptionalism, acknowledged only that America was different in significant ways from other countries and had a different developmental history — not that anything about that history was inherently superior.

And speaking of “exceptionalism,” Utah Political Summary is exceptionally well written and very readable, for layman and wonk alike. Thoughtful and articulate, Bentley’s style manages to walk the line between analysis and information without falling over into heavy rhetoric or ever spouting a party talking point. With so many blogs sounding more like trumpets for one political ideology or another and without any regard for reasoned analysis, Bentley’s voice is a fresh take on politics, and one you should consider adding to your reader.

(Just to be clear, I do not know Bentley and he has not asked me to write this to plug his site. I just like it that much.)

What is American Exceptionalism, Anyway? | Utah Political Summary.

The Commerce Clause, Federal Police Power, and Judicially-Enforced Federalism | Utah Political Summary.