"I don't want to risk it," Speaker of The House Becky Lockhart smiled after Rod Decker of 2News asked her to repeat some incendiary words she had uttered in a speech just moment earlier. "You can read the speech," she urged reporters. It's hard to say what Lockhart would "risk," by re-tossing her hand grenade at Gov. Gary Herbert, you can't un-explode and explosion. Lockhart, in what is usually a ceremonial pep talk to members of the state house on the first day of the legislative session, called the governor "an inaction figure," because of his support for accepting ObamaCare money to help Utah pay the health care bills of the poor.
Lockhart had to know her, "inaction figure" phrase would get attention, from legislators, certainly the governor, and of course, the press, but when questioned, she was dodgy when pressed by reporters about the comments, and at times seemed a bit put off by the repeated grilling from my colleagues.
Political watchers believe this was her first salvo in the long battle for the governor's office. Lockhart jabbed then played defense with the press afterwards. She tried to soften the ax she'd swung by saying she was simply trying to encourage all in the legislature, including herself to be "action figures," an odd metaphor which made me envision a bunch of tiny law makers encased in plastic resin. Not emblazoned in ties and pant suits but rather encased in scuba gear, skin tight superhero garb, and toting little plastic machine guns, while sitting at a committee meeting listening to a division head droning on about an appropriations bill.
Lockhart's reluctance to go "all in" with her "inaction figure," comment, reminds me of my friend who had been eyeing a British racing hat. He told me, "you know, I'd really love to wear that around if I could, but I'm afraid people would make fun of me." I told him I would definitely make fun of him, but I'd be less likely to do so if he wore the hat with absolute confidence, as if that's, "Just the way it is."
Lockhart wore the hat, for a while, but when she noticed people looking, she quickly took it off and tossed in the back of the closet. If she plans on throwing that hat in the ring for governor, she might want to get comfortable with wearing it all the time.