Why Not Andrew?

Monday before the caucuses, a friend sent me an email asking:

What do you think of Bennet v. Romanoff?  Are there good arguments for one versus the other?

The caucuses were over by the time I gave this reply:

I was a Romanoff supporter up ’til a few weeks ago.  Now I’m officially a delegate to the Assembly for Bennet.

 

I was going to vote for Romanoff out of respect, loyalty and true like for the man.  I’ve voted for him 4 times since 2000, met him on many occasions, and have exchanged several emails with him and his staff when he was Speaker over some legislative ideas (he actually passed a bill that was one of the issues we discussed).

I wanted him to be appointed to the Senate position, and blogged about Ritter’s Gift to the Republicans in picking Bennet, who had never held elective office before.

So it was natural that I would support him at the caucuses.  However, a few things changed.  Bennet has really done an amazing job of Senator.  He has positions on several powerful committees, and has the ear of Obama and Senate leaders.  He re-ignited the Public Option, and has introduced legislation to put limits on lobbying, earmarks and limiting filibuster abuse.

He has the financial wherewithal to run a competitive campaign against any GOP candidate — Romanoff’s quixotic stand against taking PAC money (he actually had his own PAC in the State House) makes a nice slogan, but is suicidal.  The tone of his campaign is to paint Bennet as corrupt, but Romanoff’s policy decisions aren’t demonstrably different from Bennet’s.   The final straw was the overall negative tone of Romanoff’s campaign along with his hiring (however briefly) Patrick Caddell, a turncoat Democrat who regularly bashes Democrats as a Fox News consultant.  

Tonight’s vote was purely symbolic, as the actual primary in August determines the winner.  Tonight was mainly for bragging rights, measuring voter passion (turnout will exceed 20,000 — which is very strong for an off year), and to get up and personal with the candidates and delegates for fundraising, volunteers and party recruitment.

The real bottomline is that symbols matter, so I decided that if the caucus results would send a message, for me it would be that we have a powerful, effective Senator in Michael Bennet.

I certainly cannot find any cause to throw a sitting Senator out of office.

The postscript to this exchange:

I went to my very first political function of any kind this evening, and heard the exact same things you said here so eloquently, and left with the same position — delegate for Bennet for April 10th.

It was more interesting than I was expecting, and the people were lovely.  

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33 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MADCO says:

    I wish I would have thought of that as a reply.

    I went in for Bennet, came out for him even stronger.

    And while I have been talking about the Senator for many months – my replies have rarely been that good.  

    • harrydoby says:

      And see how many others might feel the same.

      One thing that was discussed at our caucus, was the fact that regardless of who wins, we all agree we want a Democrat in the office, so we’ll pull together and support either Romanoff or Bennet in November.

  2. Steve Harvey says:

    Very well said.

    Andrew’s choices have bewildered and dismayed me. He needed to distance himself from the people going negative on his behalf, and he hasn’t. At one house party for Andrew, the hostess referred to Bennet as “that bastard!” Andrew’s only response was to joke, “well, I think that would be a good place to cut the U-tube video….” That was very disappointing. He should have said, “no, that’s not the kind of campaign I want to run, and that’s not the way I want people to speak of my opponent.” He didn’t.

    If that had been an anomaly, I could overlook it; it’s a gruelling schedule, and you can’t be on top of everything in every moment. But it seems to be the tone of the campaign. And that’s not something I can ever get behind.

    Michael, in contrast, is utterly gracious. He has not a single unkind word to say about his opponent. And he is able, while being passionately committed to the values at the core of our Party, to speak kindly of specific members of the Republican opposition as well, a trait absolutely necessary to being an effective U.S. senator. If that were the only distinction between them, it would be enough. But it’s not.

    Michael does not ring the populist bell to rally support; he strives mightily to advance the cause of reason and good will, as both the ends and the means of our efforts. And that is exactly want I want in my government office-holders.

    I still like and respect Andrew. While I am critical of his recent choices, I understand that good people can make bad choices at times. Andrew won the sincere, profound respect and affection of the people he worked with, day-in and day-out, year after year, in the intensity of the state legislature, and that speaks volumes to his character and his qualities as a human being. I will still support him in his future endeavors, whenever and however possible.

    But Michael Bennet has my full support in this race, this year.

    • harrydoby says:

      Because Bennet is doing a pretty successful job — high visibility in the Senate, his positioning as a change agent (from within), his extremely thoughtful and clear way of expressing himself — leaves Andrew with very few weaknesses to exploit.

      So basically, I think his advisors are pointing out the only proven path that can significantly move the numbers — negativity.

      Barring a major mistep by Bennet as the primary gets closer, Romanoff’s lack of funding will mean he’ll need all the YouTube/internet exposure he can muster, and any free publicity from press releases.  But that’s not nearly enough to get by in a Senate race.

      In the meantime, Bennet will have plenty of both paid and free publicity to leverage based on his accomplishments in the Senate.  He just needs to prove savvy enough not fall for any traps laid by Romanoff, or the GOP opponents.

      I predict that Romanoff’s numerical base will remain relatively flat, while Bennet’s will inexorably grow towards August as his profile continues to rise.

      And Bennet is more likely to win the August primary (barring economic collapse — in which case, no incumbent will be safe).

      I do wonder if Bennet will remain non-negative in the general election.  Certainly the GOP won’t.  If Andrew does win the primary, I suspect the campaigns on both sides will basically be a mudbath.  Andrew’s will be sharper and more clever, however 😉

      I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when Ritter interviewed Bennet in late 2008 for the position.  It must have been quite the revelation to Ritter for him to risk making such a unprecedented, and thankless choice.  

      Guess I owe the Governor an apology.

      • Steve Harvey says:

        At a house party for Governor Ritter in Ken Caryl Valley (in my district), he gave the clearest explanation I’ve heard him give for his choice to appoint Bennet: He asked sitting and former U.S. Senators what qualities they thought made for the most successful senator, and then evaluated the candidates he had in mind according to that set of criteria. Having done so, the person he thought best matched the criteria was Bennet.

        Given both Ritter’s centrist and reason-biased character, and Bennet’s subsequent success, I’d say that that account seems to be very probably exactly how Ritter made the decision. And it turned out to be a good one.

        • harrydoby says:

          Thanks so much for relating that in-person conversation.

          I can almost see the Governor’s thinking in not feeding that to the newspapers, but rather taking the criticism in silence instead.  I suppose he didn’t want to drag his Senatorial advisors into the controversy, thus appearing to shift the “blame” to those who trusted him with their counsel.

          Nor by discounting the electoral success of the others, get into a debate about whether ’tis better to rule ably, or merely to grasp the reins of power?

          So instead of simply saying Bennet was the most Senatorial of the candidates, he let the rejected candidates believe the fix was already in due to the influence of Obama’s team.

          Definitely puts a new spin on events.

        • sxp151 says:

          was that 81% of all appointed Senators lose their first re-election campaign, and so Ritter knew this and decided to appoint someone he didn’t mind losing much in order to clear the way for Romanoff or someone else.

          This was from a Romanoff supporter at the caucus. Much of the room burst out laughing.

          • MADCO says:

            That’s awesome.

            They even got a “real sounding” niumber.

            Never MSU with “most”, “some, “many”

            Make it specific, and numerical.

            81.3 would have sounded approximately 14,3% better.

        • Dr B says:

          And Ritter is so good at assessing things, isn’t he?

          So reliable.  So persistent.  

      • Dr B says:

        This

        the only proven path that can significantly move the numbers — negativity.

        Is simply false.  

        There are other paths.  One of them is the outside/inside dynamic.  Bennet is now attempting to look like an outsider, which is a false perspective on himself.  He got himself appointed, which is an insider’s game.  

        • peacemonger says:

          Andrew Romanoff could pull off being a government outsider! The guy was practically born in his safe seat in Denver. He didn’t even pass the bar because “all he ever wanted to do was be a politician”. Give me a break. Yes, I’ve seen him pose in his oil rig helmet out on the plains. It looked as disengenous as Bush posing on the aircraft carrier in a flight suit.

          Neither candidate owns a peach farm on the western slope, but so what?  I want the guy who can win, and that candidate is Michael Bennet.

    • oldbenkenobi says:

      Unfortunately, he does not deserve your high praise:

      Michael, in contrast, is utterly gracious. He has not a single unkind word to say about his opponent.

      Not true.  For one thing, he paints Romanoff constantly as a “career politician” who is running a nefarious (by implication) “machine” and “network.”  That “machine” and “network” are people throughout Colorado, including many good Democrats, with whom Romanoff has built a relationship over the years.

      And how about the Bennet campaign’s response to the caucus, dismissing both the results and the people who voted for Romanoff.  Was that gracious?  Get real.

      Michael does not ring the populist bell to rally support; he strives mightily to advance the cause of reason and good will…

      Reason and good will?  He continues to call himself an outsider which is a blatant lie by any definition.  And the public option letter is a farce.  Ironically, Bennet is the candidate in this race who is behaving like a “career politician.”  He is far from an agent of change.  He’s an agent of more of the same.

      You Bennet supporters need to take a step back from your Bennet Bubble and honestly assess your candidate.  Because you can bet the voters of Colorado will.  

      • Aristotle says:

        So stating a fact about an opponent is saying something unkind? Romanoff is many things – career politician among them. And what is Bennet supposed to do after the caucus – concede defeat?

        You should take your own advice regarding Romanoff, and ask yourself why you can only mildly criticize Bennet.

      • Steve Harvey says:

        Someone who has assiduously praised both candidates all along, who sincerely respects and admires both candidates, who has refrained from publicly siding with either until recently, most of whose closest friends and associates are Romanoff supporters, is in a “Bennet bubble” the moment he says anything positive about Michael or anything negative about Andrew?

        Can you say “hyperbole”? Can you say “false allegation”? Can you say “what the f***?!”

        I’ve listened attentively to, and spoken with, both candidates, in person, repeatedly. I’ve listened attentively to both campaigns. I’ve listened attentively to both camps of supporters. And I’ve formed my opinion. No bubble, just well-considered independent judgment that doesn’t coincide with yours. Get used to it.

      • peacemonger says:

        I have heard him speak many times and rarely does he even mention he has an opponent, let alone refer to him with those words. Michael Bennet speaks about doing a great job in the Senate and how he wants more time to get things done. He rarely even mentions there is an election. He is focussed on his job, not his critics.

      • Steve Harvey says:

        I don’t care who calls whom, or who is or isn’t, a career politician. Nobody should.

        I don’t care who is or isn’t taking PAC money. I do care about campaign finance reform, but unilateral actions on that front are either strategic or stupid. I don’t think Andrew is stupid. Not taking PAC money is a way to try to make a virtue out of necessity.

        To those who base their opposition to Bennet on the fact that he has ties to the financial community, or on the fact that he receives PAC money from the financial community, my only response is that I consider those concerns misguided. I’ve written elsewhere my reasons for this belief, and won’t repeat them here.

        Focusing on the things I do care about and do consider relevant leads me to support Bennet. I’ve seen Michael answer a question that was premised on a dubious assumption in a way that neither credited the assumption nor offended the questioner, but did give a cogent and substantial answer. I thought, “Now that’s the stuff!”

        Andrew, conversely, seems particularly talented at saying exactly what his supporters want to hear. Either he is being completely sincere in doing so, in which case my respect for his intelligence is diminished, or (more likely) he is being politically strategic in doing so, in which case my respect for his integrity is diminished.

        The only thing that has ever come out of Michael’s mouth or campaign that has struck me in a similar way is his ad promising to freeze congressional pay. But that is a single drop of populist pandering against Andrew’s flood.

        I want a senator who will go to washington intent on serving the public interest to the best of his formidable ability, rather than one intent on convincing supporters that he is indistinguishable from them. But that’s just me.

        I’ve always said that I consider governance to be a job for which we should hire those with the best skill set for carrying it out. Michael Bennet impresses me very strongly as being just such a person.

        The problem is that Andrew has won a great deal of personal loyalty among the party faithful in Colorado, while Michael has not had as much of a chance to do so.

        If the most important consideration in choosing our Party’s candidates were to reward those who have worked long, hard and successfully on behalf of the party, then Andrew would probably have to be our candidate for the U.S. Senate. But if the most important consideration is to elect the person most able to successfully advance the best conceived legislation with the greatest likelihood of serving the public interest, then Michael has to be our candidate. Michael is simply the more adept of two very talented men.

        • Dr B says:

          What about the Public Option letter?  What ever happened to that?  Pandering?  Of course it was.  Now that Andrew is in the race, almost everything Bennet does is pandering.  

          • MADCO says:

            Well, June is before August.

            But which letter are you referring to?

            The one where Senator Bennet basically told the House they if they could get the votes for a public option in reconciliation, he’d work to do it int he Senate?

            Or

            The one where Romanoff says the Senate should roll the dice on the entire bill and amend it now to include a public option in the hope that the House will still approve it?

            I would agree that one of those letters was ridiculous political pandering. I suspect we’ll have to disagree on which one.

  3. Dr B says:

    Hardly.  

    That is the same bunkum read aloud to us at our caucus.  It amounts to saying, Bennet is the incumbent!! Vote for the incumbent!!

    As noted, you hold that the policy positions are a wash, so, you must have another reason than that.  What is it?  Its incumbency!

    Making your argument of no value at all.  No one deserves a job because they have it.  

    Bennet “has power” because he got appointed a year ago.  Bennet is no more effective than any other Senator, and is in fact under-prepared for his role.  

    • Steve Harvey says:

      you reinforce the sense that Andrew’s supporters are his biggest problem. This kind of combination of snide but contentless remarks, false assertions, inability to distinguish arguments about electoral chances from arguments about individual merits, and a generally pervasive and highly motivated irrationality are what drove me to be more vocal in my support of Bennet.

      • otoole says:

        How is calling out the lies, supported by facts, perpetrated by the Bennet supporters snide comments?  I personally love coming on here and calling you and your kind out.

        Here is one: the last contribution Romanoff took into his PAC was in 2006.  Also, hasn’t Romanoff, like candidate Obama, stated that he was wrong to take PAC money in the past?

        On another note – I have without question made snide comments.  It is really an ego thing when I prove you and all of your friends wrong.  

        • Steve Harvey says:

          in a somewhat clearer and more straightforward manner, to save other readers the time of parsing out your words:

          kahl;ildhvncmioqcewithc;nnvjneriouer!

          The only thing you’ve ever proven is your combination of belligerence and irrationality. And now you’ve added delusional vanity into the mix. Kudos.

    • MADCO says:

      I like Bennet because I think he’s taller.  

  4. peacemonger says:

    Is that like “your people”?

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