The Republicans boast of being "fiscal conservatives" and accuse the Democrats of being "big spenders." But the Utah Republicans are throwing away big bucks on a frivolous lawsuit against the Bureau of Land Management. They want discussion before there is anything to discuss. The logical order is: fact finding first, discussion second. Where is your common sense, gentlemen?

The Republicans accuse President Clinton of creating The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in a dictatorial way. Not so. The Antiquities Act, empowering him to do so, was passed by Congress - the people's choice - in 1906, a long time ago. Didn't Utah Republicans know this before?President Clinton tried to talk with the Utah Republicans. All they could do was some grand posturing under the banner of "states' rights," as if the federal government were a foreign power, and a hostile one, too. They excluded themselves. But the president did let other Utahns in on it, including Ross Anderson.

Governor Leavitt had a plan for a national monument, a good one, too. What was he waiting for? Jim Bradley would not have waited. Now someone else has done it.

A good word for Bill Orton - he persuaded the president to make concessions to the ranchers. Good work, Bill. We would like to invite you back into the Democratic Party. Let the Republicans tilt against windmills.

Send out the clowns. Bring Utah back into the Union with the dream team of Ross Anderson and Jim Bradley.

Leon Johnson

Salt Lake City