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June 09, 2010 09:09 PM UTC

Camp Romanoff Weirdness Becomes Comedy

  • by: MADCO

A few days ago I posted a  diary about some recent silliness from the Romanoff campaign.

Specifically , a slogan – Senator Festavus, a Senator for the rest of us.

And some branding- The Backbone Express (a Chevy van) and The Backbone Tour– the van and candidate driving around Colorado.

For even posting about something so silly, I was slammed a little bit – it’s just a campaign tactic, it’s  a weak “attack”.  My post was not an “attack” and this kind of messaging is not a campaign “tactic” either.

Meanwhile, the Denver Post also noticed the similarity to John Andrews’s Backbone America. And that it is recognizable to Colorado politicos as an John Andrews Republican thing.  

The Post  referenced comments from other D’s

Some Democrats, including former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Feeley, admitted they did a double take when the saw that Romanoff was using the Backbone theme.

I contacted John Andrews.

Pretty funny – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery –   JA

The Post also quoted a Romanoff spokesman trying to be funny

Romanoff’s campaign spokesman, Roy Teicher, was asked about Romanoff

choosing a phrase so closely identified with Andrews, one of the chief

critics of Colorado Democrats. Teicher had some fun with his response.

“Is it your understanding that he owns the word? Or did Russ Feingold own it? Who owns the word? Let’s get to the bottom of this,” Teicher said in an e-mail.

It sounds like  Teicher and I agree: this is silliness. Not a campaign tactic. Not a message. Just silly.

Of course Andrews doesn’t own the word.

Obama doesn’t own the words Hope and Change.

Pailn doesn’t own “that hopey, changey thingy” nor “hockey mom.”

Likewise, no one owns the phrase “put lipstick on a pig.”

But for a campaign that has a message control problem, or at least a perceived message control problem, which is even worse, this kind of silliness does not inspire confidence that he can win the general.  It certainly isn’t going to persuade anyone who is not already attending Camp Romanoff either as day camp or sleep away camp.  Instead, like the songs and slogans we learned at camp when we were kids, this kind of silliness  leads to fun reminisces and strong friendships for the campers.  

Meanwhile – the van broke down.  

Perfect.  The Breakdown Express

A campaign that is challenged to budget for media or staff, instead bought a custom van.  And painted it.  And built a branding message around it. And it broke.   Just perfect.


30 thoughts on “Camp Romanoff Weirdness Becomes Comedy

  1. posted their van article, Stryker was there to comment. Somebody’s on Google Alert 24/7 these days.

    Gosh, I can’t imagine why some of us continue to assume he’s a shill for the campaign.

        1. My car is equally spineless. Although I just got the transmission fluid, power steering fluid, and oil changed, so maybe it will grow a backbone.

          1. I have always hated this car, which is sort of unfair to the car, I suppose. There is nothing about this car that I like other than the fact that it runs. I bought it brand new and hated it from Day One.

            My car before this was a VW Fox and I loved that car more than I loved my own family. My nickname for it was “German Perfection.”

            That car was the cutest, fastest thing and it was great…right up until I blew the engine on I25 on my way home from the airport. I mourned that car when it died.  

  2. That wasn’t the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever seen. This is.

    From my comment on your other crock of shit, let me reiterate,

    “For the rest of us” is a common phrase.

    Rational people know that the Backbone Express relates to his quote at the state assembly. “Stiffen your spine, or step out of the way.” Not a reference to conservative groups.

    I congratulate your dedication, but you need to stop grasping at straws. It’s a bit pathetic. Although, I do enjoy watching you make a fool out of yourself, so I’m conflicted.

    1. If I really am amusing you- enjoy the moment and be amused.  Comedy is rare.

      Sure, “for the rest of us” is kind of common phrase. So common in fact it makes the Sienfeld thing even funnier.  (Please don’t make me explain- comedy is not amusing in the bright glare of explanation).

      But here’s a common phrase: “He could go all the way!”

      Is there an American sports fan alive who wouldn’t think of Chris Berman and ESPN?

      “Worst person in the world”


      “Top Ten list of ____”


      “Just Do It”


      ANd thousands of other “common phrases” that instantly remind us of something specific.  

      Festavus for the rest of us for me.

      The most awesomest legilator in the galaxy for you.

      YMMV, 4 out of 5 dentists, Intel on the inside, and FOAD.

      Oh- and thanks for one thing. While I’ve always thought Lewis Black was pretty funny- I now totally get his frustrated man routine.  I don’t have an Uncle Schmooley – but, yes, I do. Don’t we all.

      1. this is really pathetically sad.  I’m sure someone over at Bennet Incorporated thinks that some obscure Seinfeld reference is really funny, but it’s actually really lame.  The show ended a long time ago.

        Romanoff is out campaigning…it’s what candidates do.  He has a campaign vehicle that’s painted up to get attention…clearly it’s working.  He has a slogan that apparently gets under your skin…because it’s true.

          1. now try this: google “senator for the rest of us” (the actual slogan) – with or without quotation marks.  

            I brought up Andrew Romanoff, Bernie Sanders, and Ted Kennedy.  Not a bad trio.

            1. I’d love to see a Bernie Sanders/Ted Kennedy leftie get elected from Colorado.   But I’m pretty sure reasonable people would consider it highly unlikely in 2010.

              If it’s so meaningless and trivial to you – shut up about it already.  And stop defending it.  Your defense makes it look like maybe it isn’t so trivial after all.

              Whatever works for you.


              Festivus is first and third either way

              for the rest of us


              “for the rest of us”


                1. My candidate wasn’t compared to someone, I guess all my arguments are null and void.

                  Nothing against you rsb as I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way but so many people use the argument that “my candidate has been compared to blah blah blah,” as a valid reason for supporting them. (and not just in this case but in every election)

                  Why is that? I could compare my fish to Michael Phelps because they both like to swim. Just because someone is compared to someone else by some random person, it doesn’t make it a valid argument.

                  Oh, and Madco, this is still a crock. Just FYI. When the sun comes back out, go for a walk. Go to the Dumb Friends League, adopt a buddy, stop with this foolishness. It’s sad.

                    1. Stryker was the one comparing AR to Edward Kennedy. I was just trying pointing out that neither of them are ever going to be Kennedy, and I remembered that Willie Brown quote from last year.

              1. First, he is too Conservative to use “Backbone,” and now he is too much of a “lefty” to get elected?

                You need to make a decision Madco, unless you enjoy making yourself look silly, then by all means, carry on.

                1. Oz- in the primary moving your guy to the left is great electoral math.  And it’s helped Romanoff.

                  But in the 2010 Colorado general election, it’s likely to fall short.  If Romanoff wins the nomination and continues running against the President, outsider that he is, or allowing his supporters to run him as the Bernie Sanders of the Rocky Mountain west- he’s going to lose.  And while a 51/49 loss would be impressive for a liberal Teddy/Bernie-esque candidate here – it still means the D’s lose the seat.

                  He’s neither too conservative to borrow Backbone from Andrews or Feingold nor is he too lefty to get elected. Not really.   Backbone Express, Backbone tour and Senator Festavus are all silly trivia.

                  He’s a moderate D with message and budget problems. And a pack of supporters who want everyone to ignore his history of pragmatism and paint him into the lefty corner, which appears to have worked in the caucus/assembly, is questionable for the primary and will hurt in the general.

                  My decision is made.  

                  1. MADCO, that’s one of the most succinct and dispassionate (and sadly accurate) summations of the Romanoff campaign I’ve seen so far. Good job!

  3. Every time I see that, Frank Costanza’s voice pops into my head.  Kinda like the Staypuff Marshmallow Man.  Then I can’t get it out.  Then it’s the Staypuff Marsmallow man speaking in Frank Costanza’s voice.  Damn, I need to go read some other thread.

    1. First- I think it’s “Stay Puft Marshmallow Man”

      And I totally know what you mean.  I picture the imaginary stryker, SH, JTB, and others and the airing of grievances, a critical component of Festavus for the rest of us.  And then Uncle Festus creeps in, just because it sounds so much like Festavus.

      And now that there’s a van and everything and it’s in the shop getting fixed, I can’t help think of the pole.  That’s right, the Festavus pole.

      Second- remind me never to team up with you to strap on proton packs and attempt to defeat Gozer.

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