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August 04, 2010 06:05 PM UTC

Zombies for Bennet: Must. Vote. For. Incumbent.

  • by: oldbenkenobi

Does Bennet have any core principles or is he inventing himself as he veers toward November?  On 8/3/10, Susan Daggett sent out an email in which she said their campaign is “focused on solving problems rather than playing politics” and she went on to quote her husband as saying “his job as Senator is not to protect his own job by doing what’s politically expedient; rather, his job is to do what’s right for Colorado.”  Yes, that is his job — but is he doing it?

Let’s look at Bennet’s votes on gun control.

2/26/09.  A bill that coerces Wash DC into gutting its gun laws in exchange for a vote in the House of Representatives.  Bennet votes yes, passes 61-37.

5/12/09.  An amendment to allow loaded guns in national parks.  Bennet votes yes, amendment rejected 58-39.  

7/22/09.  An amendment to allow concealed weapons across state lines. Bennet votes yes, amendment rejected 58-39.

Bennet, under Udall’s tutelage, boosts his NRA rating without worrying two of the three would pass. The one that passed has been tabled indefinitely.  But he pisses off gun control advocates so what to do?  

In April 2009, a bill to close the gun show loophole was introduced.  A year later, in April 2010, and after getting reamed for his previous gun votes, Bennet signed on as a co-sponser.

I agree with the Second Bennet but not with the First Bennet.  But wherever you stand on gun control you can’t be too impressed with this voting record.  I guess his principled position here is that he wants to make it hard for people to get guns but once they get them he wants them to be able to take them everywhere?  I’m glad he doesn’t play politics and doesn’t just do what’s politically expedient! What a joke.  (If you look up “politically expedient” and “playing politics” in wikipedia you should find a paragraph about Bennet and the public option.)

Bennet supporters will not see any inconsistency to these votes.  That’s because they are no longer sentient beings.  They are zombies for Bennet.  Ritter made his choice and something clicked in their head.  Must. Vote. For. Incumbent.  Never mind that he is a special class of incumbent, an incumbent who has never received a single vote.  Michael Bennet — All the advantages of incumbency without the hassle of having to get elected first.

So the core of Bennet’s campaign became his incumbency, illegitimate though it was.  Incumbency was Bennet’s entitlement, even as he and his supporters launched a whisper campaign against Romanoff over entitlement.  “Romanoff thinks it’s his seat,” they said.  Meanwhile, they quietly believed it was their seat — when in fact it’s nobody’s seat.  Ritter and Obama don’t decide who sits there.  As Romanoff has always said, “Let the people decide.”

But the Bennet campaign pushed their entitlement and fed their zombies. In the debate, Bennet said to Romanoff, “I love you, and I just wish you were running a primary against one of the people causing the problems.”  This is my seat!  Bennet was saying.  Why are you trying to take my seat?  And the campaign pushed the “fireable offense” talking point.  The idea was that Bennet has not committed a fireable offense.  But we are deciding whether to hire Bennet, not whether to fire him.  Big difference.

Bennet’s campaign thrives on two big myths.  First, the presumption that this is his seat.  Second, the idea that he has stayed above the fray and on the issues while Romanoff has gone negative.  The truth is that Bennet has been attacking Romanoff from day one.  First, the whisper campaign about Romanoff thinking this is his seat, the whisper campaign denigrating Romanoff supporters as “Mike Miles dead-enders” and other insults, and the whole career politician line of attack.

As I go through this, keep in mind Michael Bennet has had one (1) job in the private sector during the course of his life.  And that job was helping a rich guy shuffle his money around.  He’s had about five public sector jobs, most highly political.  Romanoff has also had one private sector job but he has devoted zero (0) years of his life to helping a rich guy shuffle his money around.

Emails sent by the Bennet campaign.  On 2/17/10, “…unlike most of his colleagues, he’s not a career politician.”  They must have felt that was too indirect.  Susan Daggett (who later tells us she’s diasppointed by negative attacks) says on 2/20/10, “I think Michael has another important advantage in this race too: he’s not a career politician. This means Michael doesn’t owe any favors to the entrenched special interests that stand in the way of real progress.”

Another email from a week later, 2/27/10:  “Because Michael Bennet isn’t a career politician he can’t sit back and rely on a political machine to ensure his success at the caucuses — he needs your grassroots support to get on the ballot.”  Again, on 3/13/10, “Unlike his opponent, Michael isn’t a career politician. He doesn’t have a political machine built up over the years.”  

Romanoff has no “political machine.”  His supporters are the people he has talked to and worked with across the state of Colorado for the past 15+ years.  Ironically, Bennet really did have a political machine working for him in the caucuses, Organizing for America.  Later, in a moment of high unintentional comedy after they lost the caucuses, the Bennet campaign spun their loss by saying they were fighting Romanoff on his “home turf.”  Exactly.

I noticed the email from Vicki Kennedy did not call Romanoff a “career politician.”  Because her husband was the biggest career politician of them all and yet he was greatly respected, wasn’t he? Daggett is playing politics by saying they don’t play politics and by pushing the career politician line of attack.  And by the way, Daggett seems to be fighting all Bennet’s battles.  Why isn’t she the candidate?  

This idea that Bennet has been all about the issues is utter bullsh*t.  The idea that Bennet should be granted deference as the incumbent is also utter bullsh*t.  But the zombies won’t see it.  Must. Vote. For. Incumbent.

After the Ritter appointment, Obama said, “Michael Bennet perfectly reflects the qualities of the ruggedly independent state he has been chosen to serve.”  More unintentional comedy.  Ruggedly independent?  Our Michael Bennet?  The guy who follows Mark Udall around the Senate like a puppy dog?  Ritter said Bennet has a “bold new approach to problem-solving.”  So far that approach seems to be to ask Mark Udall how to vote and panic at the first sign of trouble.

Connected parents, connected brother, Bill Ritter, the President, Organizing for America, Washington Post columnists, East Coast elite money, the Denver Post, ColoPols, his wife, his three daughters, is this guy going to ever earn anything based on his own merits?  We aspire to a meritocracy, right?

All that help, and he’s still on the verge of losing.  It’s gotten so bad the President had to do a virtual town hall last night to beg us to vote for his pet project.  Everybody else has carried the ball 99 yards for Michael Bennet.  He just has to get one more yard and he’s having trouble doing it.

Romanoff, in contrast, has had to run the whole length of the field, fighting for every yard, with only the people on his side. He’s almost there.  Help Andrew get that last yard.  Convert a zombie today.


Bennet should not have been appointed: Ritter’s Gamble

He’s run a lousy campaign: Bennet’s Cliche Cavalcade

Romanoff is the proven leader: Leadership, Romanoff v. Bennet


55 thoughts on “Zombies for Bennet: Must. Vote. For. Incumbent.

      1. This diary starts with a point: Bennet has been inconsistent on gun-control votes. From there it devolves into a rambling string of poorly worded insults.

        Here’s a hint, Ben (and Wade): If you’re trying to change somebody’s mind, it’s a bad idea to insult them.  

        1. I am still absolutely amazed by the fact that Wade thinks the DSSC has two piles of money: 1 PAC pile and 1 non PAC pile.  This concept of giving only non PAC money from a group that takes PAC money is so nuts it really makes me question anything Wade would ever say.

  1. Romanoff, in contrast, has had to run the whole length of the field, fighting for every yard, with only the people on his side. He’s almost there.  Help Andrew get that last yard.  Convert a zombie today.

    That has to be one of the most hyperbolic, hypocritical couple of sentences written in this race. And that’s saying a lot. Zombie, meet zombie.

    As far as “playing politics” I’m just wondering how these votes that you say are doing just that are somehow worse than the votes and the legislation that Andrew Romanoff introduced in the special session on illegal immigration in 2006. Countless times I’ve seen people point to that special session as a bright spot in Andrew’s career, and a reason why he would be a good leader.

    You can’t have it both ways. Pragmatic leadership doesn’t just apply when Andrew Romanoff does it. Nice try, though.

        1. Nobody denies Bennet has a big pile of money.

          Romanoff has a lot of nerve, not realizing this Senate seat belongs to the guy who has never been elected to anything.

          Are all politically savvy people such as yourself also bad spellers?  It is savvy to support Bennet if you mean, politically safe.

          I’m sure that’s why Colorado’s Democratic delegation supports Bennet.  It’s politically safe.  You can’t risk pissing off a Senator.  It’s why many people have lined up behind Bennet.

          The people who’ve lined up behind Romanoff are courageous.  I’m more impressed with courageous people.  Savvy people embrace the status quo.  It’s much easier.  Courageous people change the world.

          1. changes his opinions on a daily basis then you support the right guy. If it’s courageous to support a career politician who needs gimmicks to get elected ( I may or may not take pac money – better ask my campaign manager ), then you support the right guy.

            If it’s courageous to support a career politician running on ego and entitlement, thenyou support the right guy.

            None of those are the qualities I want in my senator and the state of Colorado deserves better than that.

            Why are no pregressive groups supporting Romanoff? With all his statewide connections and single handidly according to his supporters, having turned the state blue, why does he never poll above 50% statewide?

  2. and short sentences.

    Did any of those votes have unintended consequences? Were any of them more than just their titles? Were the amendments written poorly?

    I feel like we’ve been over this a number of times. It says a lot about you and your candidate that you expect your Senator to vote on a bill according to cursory examinations.

  3. Not that it’ll do any good, but what the hell. I think it needs to be said. In the middle of the screed, OBK writes:

    So the core of Bennet’s campaign became his incumbency, illegitimate though it was.

    What’s illegitimate about it? State law says that the Governor is entitled to appoint a Senator to fill a vacancy. The only requirements are the Constitutional ones: namely, that you be 30 years of age, been an American citizen for 9 years, and an inhabitant of the state you’re representing. The Governor can appoint whomever he wants.

    Wait…I know why it’s illegitimate – because Andrew Romanoff didn’t get the appointment!

    No, sorry. Bennet is the legitimate incumbent. If you have a beef with the laws as they’re currently enacted, that’s fine. I’m personally in favor of special elections, and I think unrestricted gubernatorial appointments are bunk. But my thinking they’re bunk doesn’t make them illegitimate. It means I change the law.

    But if people have been saying that the Romanoff supporters reek of entitlement, they can look right at the statement that you wrote, and I quoted.

    I’m sure that if Romanoff instead of Bennet had gotten the nod, you’d have been totally copacetic with that, and you’d have totally thought that the process was legitimate.

    I’m sorry, but you can’t have it both ways – much as you’ll try.

    1. incumbent, illegitimate though he is, Secretary of State Bernie Buescher sign something involving this appointment? This just keeps getting more suspicious.

    2. I’m arguing that his incumbency is illegitimate because he has never been elected.  By illegitimate I mean it should not be viewed by voters in the same way normal incumbency is viewed.  I feel there are many voters out there who like Romanoff but lean Bennet only because he was appointed.  

      I would have felt the same way no matter who was appointed but to a lesser degree if it was someone who had a constituency, as I tried to explain in Ritter’s Gamble.

      We all know incumbency is a tremendous advantage, right?  But at least most incumbents have to be elected at least once before they become incumbents.  That adds an extra level of injustice to this election.  I don’t think anyone believes Bennet could beat Romanoff on an even playing field, do they?

      75% of Bennet’s work was done for him the second Ritter appointed him — and his campaign is still a mess.  If Bennet was as great as all the Bennet zombies think he is, he would have put Romanoff away a long time ago.

      I agree with you on this:

      I’m personally in favor of special elections, and I think unrestricted gubernatorial appointments are bunk.


      1. That’s right, just like Bernie Buescher’s incumbency is illegitimate. Wasn’t that the other vacancy Romanoff applied for but didn’t get? It’ a good thing he didn’t, because then you’d be railing about the extra level of injustice if he ran for election, right?

      2. We’ll find out in a few days.

        Special elections can be interesting. But they are expensive and time consuming.

        If Bennet wins- will you get on board,or are you going to sit it out and make up some other reason to not support Bennet?

        1. His primary election victory will be illegitimate too. Because of Obama and OFA and BennetPols and all those mean, mean — I mean so boring I can hardly watch them — ads he’s run.  

      3. The question of whether an arbitrary percentage of the work was done is different. Considering that only 59% of appointed incumbents win election on their own right, it’s certainly a stretch to think that Bennet was a lock for election.

        Moreover, I don’t see the injustice that you see. If Romanoff is as well known and possessed of a constituency as you claim, then I’d argue that the burden lies on Bennet’s side, having gone from being Superintendent of Schools to U.S. Senator in one fell swoop.

        Regardless, it’s a moot point. Both candidates, in this interminable election (and it certainly feels that way), have had plenty of opportunities to make their case to the voters. I just don’t see that Romanoff has been hampered in any way, beyond the normal obstacles and barriers that any challenger faces.

        The way you’ve framed the question really does indicate to me that you’d regard any result other than a Romanoff victory as an inherent injustice. Which, OK, you’re entitled to that consideration, but it’s not the massive violation of democracy that you contend it is.

        One other thing: it’s a heated election, we all have our preferences, &c. But for all your references to “Bennet zombies”, I could make the same equivalences to Romanoff zombies 🙂

        Either guy would be a credit to this state. I happen to think that we shouldn’t change horses in midstream.

        1. Both candidates, in this interminable election (and it certainly feels that way), have had plenty of opportunities to make their case to the voters.

          Romanoff hasn’t.  Bennet’s incumbency has given him many subtle advantages, such as the prestige of the office.  But also not so subtle advantages, like in fundraising.  People and PACs donate to incumbents because it’s smart business.

          Bennet has also had the Denver Post in his pocket for this entire campaign.  The Post does not cover or dismisses stories critical of Bennet or twists them into anti-Romanoff stories.  But it pursues Romanoff stories to the hilt, such as the website header or the PAC issue.  Remarkably, it even molded the White House job dangle story into an anti-Romanoff narrative.

          But Bennet’s biggest and most insidious incumbent advantage is what I’ve been talking about, this deference he is getting with voters.  He is the incumbent because of one vote, Bill Ritter’s.  But he gets the deference accorded true incumbents — people who have actually been elected by votes of the people.

          Can you admit that if Bennet was not appointed he would not even be in this race?  That’s how much he needs the advantages of incumbency.

          1. If Bennet wins this primary, your resentment and frustration will destroy our chance to keep the seat D.

            My guy got all the negative press….

            Your guy got deference…..

            The media screwed my guy and loved your guy …..


            boo hoo hooo

      4. to suit your argument.  Illegitimate means illegal, unlawful, irregular, unsanctioned.  You said what you meant, you just wish you hadn’t and now won’t admit it.

        You act as tho Ritter did something wrong, and Bennet is a criminal for having accepted the position that Ritter offered him and the Pres. recommended him for.  Of course, many others have pointed out that you and your fellow ARzombies would have been happy as clams if Ritter appointed AR.

        And according to you all, Bennet was a one-dimensional, corrupt, lying bastard from day one.  Yet, you’ll never say that Ritter then had to be either stupid, or corrupt himself to make that appointment.  

        Just more hypocrisy, spinning, and outright lying because you had to have an enemy to be against, to prop up your White Knight fantasies about Andrew Romanoff.  

    3. he meant illegitimate claim at incumbency, which I think he meant as “elected to the position.” The definition of incumbency, or at least the one that I found, just means “current office holder.” I think there is a common misconception that incumbent must mean elected. I think Bens points are all valid, but that word does not mean what he thinks it means.  

      1. But as for OBK’s other points, I don’t know how valid they are. I’ll address them, in turn.

        “Bennet supporters will not see any inconsistency to these votes.”

        I could say the same thing about Romanoff supporters not seeing any inconsistency with Romanoff’s record as a politician. The fact that many folks are willing to give him a pass merely on him saying that he’s reading from the right page in the prayer book is just as uncritical.

        I’ve supported and worked for candidates like Mike Miles, Ned Lamont, and Paul Wellstone; it takes more than a deathbed conversion for me to grant you absolution, so to speak. Many of the things that Romanoff takes credit for now were initiatives advanced by other legislators, where he either came to the table late or not at all.

        While I welcome his conversion to progressive politics, and, frankly, respect that he’s come this far waging the kind of culturally progressive campaign that we, all too often, pay lip service to, I can’t help but continue to wonder where this progressive champion was for eight years in the Colorado legislature; where this progressive champion of, for example, comprehensive immigration reform was when he rammed through legislation that could be rightfully considered the spiritual and philosophical father of Arizona’s SB 1070; and where this progressive champion will be if he is elected to the Senate.

        These are all questions that, frankly, have been asked over and over and over again, for the last year, and the only answer we’ve gotten is that he’s seen the light now that it’s convenient for him to do. So you’ll have to color me skeptical on that.

        “First, the presumption that this is his [Bennet’s] seat.”

        Again, I could just as easily say the same thing about Romanoff supporters. Earlier in the piece, OBK referred to Bennet as an “illegitimate” incumbent. And while, when I challenged him on this, he quickly backtracked, one can’t help but think that had Romanoff received the appointment, very, very, very few people would have considered Romanoff “illegitimate”.

        Without getting into the specifics again, suffice it to say that we are engaged in a great contest to ratify the choice that Governor Ritter made. This is as it should be. Both Romanoff and Bennet have had a year to make their cases before the Democrats of this state; in six days, we will render the verdict.

        This is the process writ in law. We’re a nation of laws, not men. If people have a problem with the law, and not merely with the man, then there should be a parallel movement to reform the laws so that this doesn’t happen again. Sadly, I suspect that that won’t happen.

        “Romanoff has no “political machine.”  His supporters are the people he has talked to and worked with across the state of Colorado for the past 15+ years.  Ironically, Bennet really did have a political machine working for him in the caucuses, Organizing for America.”

        A number of things here. First, the idea that Bennet’s experience in politics is equivalent to Romanoff’s experience in politics is just simply laughable. Romanoff served on the Democratic National Committee, then spent eight years as an elected official, the last four as Speaker of the House. He’s the very definition of a career politician. To suddenly act as if he’s just a simple, down-home, just-folks kind of guy is insulting.

        Moreover, it becomes even more insulting when Romanoff supporters turn around and use the very same record they just got done insisting wasn’t a mark of a career politician as proof that Romanoff would be more effective than Bennet in the U.S. Senate. Newsflash: you can’t have it both ways. Either he’s a man of the people, virginally unsullied by the mark of the special interest beast, or he’s a smooth operator who’ll excel in the halls of the Senate – but he can’t be both. Pick one.

        As for the political machine known as Organizing for America: yes, it’s part of the DNC. It’s also composed of regular people who volunteer because they want to make this a better country. Furthermore, the claim that OFA is a political machine is an attack straight out of the Republican playbook. The claim is that Obama and his minions are engaging in dirty Chicago-style machine politics, as opposed to the clean politics that “real Americans” engage in.

        What’s next – that ACORN and SEIU silently whispered to Bill Ritter that he should appoint Michael Bennet? One begins to wonder whether the Trilateral Commission will pop up, or maybe the fearsome Gnomes of Zurich.

        For what it’s worth, having participated in Democratic Party politics for half of my young life, I can tell you that many of the Romanoff supporters that OBK sings paeans to as simple, good-hearted folk engage in dirty machine politics every bit as foul as those found in a Chicago alderman’s office.

        The attack becomes especially rich when you consider that Romanoff will be the first person asking when the DSCC, OFA and other “political machines” will come to his rescue, should he win the primary. And, again, had he been appointed, no one would’ve been decrying his support by OFA. No one.

        Let’s be blunt. When it comes to this primary, we’re looking at about 15 shades of grey. This idea that one guy is sainted, and the other is Satan, is absolutely ludicrous. Michael Bennet and Andrew Romanoff are, in this sense, just like the rest of us: highly gifted in some areas, highly flawed in others. More on this shortly, but I’ll segue to the last bone of contention here.

        “The guy who follows Mark Udall around the Senate like a puppy dog?”

        Bennet’s a freshman Senator. To be honest, all Senate freshmen have a certain puppy-like attitude about them. They follow people around, they ask a lot of questions – it’s what they do. The Senate, and more to the point, its procedures, are well-nigh impenetrable.

        To be brutally honest, the idea that Romanoff is somehow going to waltz into the Senate and start on an orgy of legislating and policy-making is simply ludicrous. It’s also the corollary to the “career politician” point; that despite him being a simple guy who’s just interested in politics, he’s also a skilled legislative savant who’ll dazzle the world with his political legerdemain.

        Yeah, not so much. If Romanoff gets elected to the Senate, particularly a Senate with a diminished Democratic majority, he’s going to do what Dick Durbin and Chuck Schumer tell him to do, in exchange for which they’ll let him make floor speeches that have the policy substance of a jelly donut. If the Republicans are in charge, you can forget about even that.

        That’s not Romanoff’s fault, incidentally; that’s how the system is constructed. In Senate tradition, freshmen are little seen or heard. And while Romanoff has the potential, if elected, to be a great Senator, the idea that he’s somehow a world-historical figure who’ll be the exception to the rule in the Senate feeds into my last point.

        “Convert a zombie today.”

        And here’s the problem, in a nutshell. No, not the zombie.

        When you talk about belief, when you talk about conversion, you’re talking about something deeply personal. You’re also talking about something that anchors you down, and keeps you from going further. As Chris Rock said, you can always change an idea; it’s a lot harder to change a belief.

        The other thing about conversion and beliefs is that they don’t really mix well with the free exchanges of a democracy (cue the “it’s not a democracy, it’s a REPUBLIC!” guys. Yeah, yeah. Listen, Patrick Henry called and wants his breeches, three-corner hat and musket back in 1774, ok? Thanks.)

        We’ve gotten, lately, into a really bad habit of believing that the political leaders we support are imbued with all manner of good virtues and that the ones we don’t are Hell’s own spawn. You saw it with Barack Obama, and now you’re seeing it with Michael Bennet and Andrew Romanoff.

        The problem with doing that is that it forces us to concentrate on the other guy’s flaws, and makes us ignore our guy’s own deep shortcomings. Furthermore, when another person attacks our guy, we feel deep down inside as if we’re the ones being attacked, so we go nuclear on the other guy and his supporters.

        But that’s not the the worst thing. The worst thing is, when our guy fails to live up to the inhuman expectations that we place on her or him, we immediately call down the thunder on our guy and scream betrayal to the heavens.

        Our guy didn’t betray us; we betrayed ourselves. We betrayed ourselves because we surrendered our power in a democracy to our guy. He didn’t take it; we gave it away, with a pretty little bow on top.

        The only way we keep the power is by thinking critically and acting critically. There’s no way to do that if we’re talking about conversion and belief.  And frankly, in this primary, we’ve done that to ourselves and each other far, far too many times.

        We have to do better than that.

        1. You said:

          And while, when I challenged him on this, he quickly backtracked, one can’t help but think that had Romanoff received the appointment, very, very, very few people would have considered Romanoff “illegitimate”.

          I didn’t backtrack.  I told you what I meant.  And yes, fewer people would have found a Romanoff incumbency illegitimate for the reasons I laid out in Ritter’s Gamble.  Bennet is a complete unknown and every effort has been made by the Preident and the Democratic Party to give Bennet a free ride to the general election.  That is undemocratic.

          Yes, we are a nation of laws and one of those laws is that the people elect Senators. So it’s upsetting to me when the President — even a President I still support — tries to appoint a Senator, which is what is happening here.

          You seem unwilling to admit there is an uneven playing field in this primary.  I don’t know how you can say that with a straight face.  

          I didn’t say Organizing for America is a corrupt political machine, I just said it is a political machine, which it is.  And it should be out fighting for progressive causes, not involving itself in a primary using money donated by Romanoff supporters against Romanoff.

          I don’t believe Romanoff will walk into the Senate, wave a magic wand, and cure cancer.  But I do know he will FIGHT for the causes I believe in.  Bennet may be a nice guy and a hard worker but he has no political common sense and, much worse, he is not a fighter or a leader.

      2. Technically you are right about the word “incumbent” — my point is that it’s a deceptive word.  And people are giving great respect and deference to Bennet’s incumbency (as they do other incumbents) when his incumbency deserves zero deference and respect.

        1. That is the point I was trying to make, I should have been clearer. You were saying it in the way people understand it, not the actual definition. It is deceptive.

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