Governor Ritter – The Last Four Years, and Some Thoughts on the Next Twenty

This was a very sad interview for me. Governor Ritter has done a superb job and I hate to see him go. We’ve been really lucky to have him as Governor. As always, he was very straightforward as he answered questions, both looking back at his term and looking forward at Colorado’s future. So with that, on to the interview.

I started with pointing out that he’s now had two jobs where you get no thanks for doing well, get pounded on for everything done poorly, and there are times where you can say yes, but the best thing to do is say no – and you get major drama. So my question is – which is harder, being a parent or Governor?

Governor Ritter replied that it’s a tie. There are days when there’s nothing better, and there are low moments. He went on to talk about how he appreciated the opportunity to serve as Governor and every day was a good challenge for him. He continued that he enjoyed it, although he did not enjoy the fundraising or politics parts. He then went on to discuss how he absolutely enjoyed moving the agenda forward and that requires politics to accomplish that.

The Governor went on to discuss how running for office is not a picnic anymore. But the governing part, the policy and thinking about the future of the state – that he has really enjoyed. He lit up when talking about being about to change where the state is headed.

I next asked about the Oil & Gas regulations. The Republicans claimed that the regulations had a major impact on how many wells are drilled, so I asked if he agreed that his regulations are the cause of the present boom in drilling. Governor Ritter responded with a Latin phrase that means “after(?) the fact means because of the fact” (or as I’ve often heard it – correlation does not imply causality). He then went on to discuss how the price of natural gas tanked after the rules were passed does not mean the rules had any impact on that price or amount of drilling.

He then went on to discuss what is presently occurring vindicates his approach to the new regulations, modernizing the rules to protect the environment and communities, and at the same time the industry can thrive here. Even with hindsight he thinks the new rules are a very good balance for everyone involved. He went on to say that he thinks they came up with a well-balanced set of rules because they brought everyone in to the process to craft the rules and listened to everyone. And the end result is we now have other states looking at Colorado as we’re now the model for effective, efficient, fair regulations on this.

Governor Ritter then said something that I think defines not just this issue, but his policies across the board – “We took the long view in so many things where we knew that we were going to have some pain at the front end of things but that it was the right thing to do for the state.” He then discussed how doing a good job governing requires that you take the long view.

I next asked him what is his proudest accomplishment. He started off saying that they made the quality of life better under very difficult circumstances. He then immediately dived in to specifics starting with education policy. He talked about the package of education policy bills that have been passed and how that is of dramatic importance for the future of our state, especially to address the drop-out rate and achievement gap. He next discussed healthcare policy, calling out in particular the healthcare availability act. He completed his list with sustainable transportation funding (FASTER).

He then switched gears and discussed what he thinks the history books will say. He thinks history will remember his administration for changing the energy culture in this state. He talked about how Colorado is now a world leader in new energy, both in where we get our energy, in the R&D facilities in the state, and in the manufacturing to provide items like wind turbines to the rest of the country. And another nice payoff of this is it has generated new jobs.

My $0.02: I think he’s right points above. The history books will credit Governor Ritter with transitioning our state to green energy use and making us the silicon valley of green energy R&D and manufacturing – because that’s a much simpler story. And I think his greatest legacy, if the education bills bear fruit, will be making this state competitive in the world economy. We can have a great future even if we trail on green energy, but our future would be bleak if we don’t significantly improve our educational system.

Next I told Governor Ritter he gets a time machine, but gets to go back 4 years for 10 seconds to tell Governor-elect Ritter one thing. What would it be. He immediately answered that he would tell himself to pay more attention to the relationship between labor and the business community. He then said he would go back 5 years before the campaign started and stop himself from over-promising where was then not able to deliver. He later said that this was his biggest regret.

I then asked the Governor what was the biggest surprise over the last 4 years. He said it was how difficult it was to reach across the aisle to find common ground. He thinks a large part of that was a giant shock to the Republican party to lose so much ground since 2004 that they decided to focus on harming him politically as much as they code for electoral advantage rather than focusing on what is best for the state. (Gee, I’m shocked, repeat shocked.)

He then went on to discuss how fortunately we Democrats had a majority in both houses and so we were able to get legislation through on a party line vote. But he clearly found it frustrating that at times Republicans would vote against what they knew was in the long term interests of the state merely to gain a political advantage. He then observed that once he announced that he was not running for re-election, it suddenly became a lot easier to craft bi-partisan bills, because there was no political win in handing him a defeat. Governor Ritter also gave props to the Republicans on educational reform saying that the Republicans consistently supported education.

He went on to say that elections mean a lot. If you don’t win elections, you don’t get to govern. He also discussed how the same thing happened with Governor Owens, once it was clear he was never going to run for political office again, it was a lot easier for both Governor Owens and the Democrats in the legislature to find common ground.

I asked if he was still comfortable with his decision to not run for re-election. He replied with an emphatic YES! He went on to discuss how this has improved his relationship not just with his family, but with a lot of people he knows. He talked about how this is an all-consuming job (and that’s understating it) and relationships suffer from that. He also made a really good observation that it not only is good for his family, but it’s good for him personally.

He then added that he thinks there are a lot of people who are able to do both, do a good job in office and put in the time required to have a strong relationship with family & friends, “but I wasn’t one of them.”

My $0.02: I think it speaks incredibly well of Bill Ritter that he put family before political office and that he is totally upfront about it. I think he’s wrong though that some people can do all of it well – an all-consuming job does negatively impact your relationship with your family because there are only so many hours in the day.

Next question for Governor Ritter was “what next?” He said he has not decided yet but he is in discussions with a number of folks and will probably make a decision shortly after the first of the year. I asked what type of job and he said he hadn’t decided on that yet – but he will definitely stay in Colorado (which makes sense as elsewhere would have an impact on the family).

Next I asked what is the big issue Colorado will face in 20 years (assuming we are a green energy center and education is better). Governor Ritter replied “that we can get more for less money” (he’s right – people who say that are lying!). That we can get more services, more jobs, and at the same time we can shrink government. He said that yes we need to always be fiscally prudent, but there are a number of things that would be better for the state that would cost money.

He went on to say that higher education is a good place to start. We are underfunding higher education and we cannot continue to underfund it without losing an edge. We’re 5th in the country for jobs that require a college degree. Yet our most rapidly growing segment of the population is Latino/Latina and we’re doing a lousy job providing them education. That we need to fund the programs that get people through K-12 ready for college, get them in to college, and get them to successfully graduate from college.

He went on to say “if we haven’t figured this out 20 years from now, we’ll be in real trouble.” He says the people of this state have to figure out what they really want going forward. And they have to understand the impact higher ed has on the quality of life, economic development, etc.

I asked if the root problem is that a significant chunk of the populace doesn’t care about the benefits higher ed brings, or if it’s that people think they can keep taxes low and should be able to get the services they want. He replied both. First that people don’t know, or that they haven’t made the case to the people, about how key higher ed is to the future of this state.

Governor Ritter then said that an equal problem is the cynicism people have for the government. They look at the federal government with the deficit spending and the debt to GDP ratio is worrisome. And that reflects on to the state government. And with that comes people’s lack of trust in the government to do these things, and do them well.

My $0.02: Governor Ritter is spot on about this. The biggest limit my company faces is finding qualified people to hire. And we’re a software company that sells world-wide, we’re exactly the kind of company Colorado needs more of for a better future. But without employees to fill the jobs, we’re limited in our growth. This is a problem today and it’s getting worse at present.

I next asked if he was only about to give Governor-elect Hickenlooper one piece of advice, what would it be. He replied that while he has talked to Hick, he is keeping his advice to him private.

So I flipped to, if he got to give one piece of advice to the upcoming legislature, what would it be. He immediately answered “they have to reach across the aisle.” With a split between the legislative houses and a 3:3 split on the JBC they will have to work together to create a budget that is balanced both literally and figuratively. That no one group bears the brunt of the cuts.

I next asked how he managed to handle the significant budget cuts required by the economy and do so in a way that there was no drama and everyone was pretty accepting of how the cuts were allocated. Governor Ritter first pointed out that there was push back from the business community. (Note: Just the greedy I’ve got mine so screw you businesses.) He said it was due to their warning people what was coming, that the state was in better shape than other parts of the country, and that they did their best to do it in as fair and low-impact a way as possible.

So that led to my asking if TABOR is truly a problem. Governor Ritter first spoke to how we should have built up a rainy day fund when the economy was booming but instead refunded taxes due to TABOR. He then said it is not an issue in the near future because of the Ref C adjustments, especially how the base year is now the best year rather than the last year. But he sees it being a serious issue again by 2016 because of all the necessary things we don’t fund. The state can’t survive without investing in the future.

My $0.02: I think fundamentally what has occurred over the last 15 or so years is the cutbacks have forced us to stop investing in our future and instead run out the previous state investments. In other words we’ve been spending our principal, running up the credit cards, and you can only do that for so long. Now we not only have to get back to investing in our future, but we have to invest even more just to get back to where we were.

Last question – I asked him about the money we spend on prisons and should we treat drugs as a mental health issue instead of a criminal issue. Governor Ritter first talked about how he started the state’s first drug court. But he then said we cannot legalize drugs. He then went on to say that 75% of violent crimes are committed because people are intoxicated. He then continued saying we have to continue to educate kids about the problems that come with drugs, we have to spend money on treatment, and you have to address those people who won’t obey the law. But you cannot legalize it because if you do then drug use will become normative. He then went on to discuss how crime has dropped over the past two years and with that the number of people in prison has dropped.

Saying Goodbye Sucks

Family should come first so I have to agree that Governor Ritter made the right decision to not run for re-election. But he’s done very well for this state. Minimizing the damage during economic cratering does not get the accolades that building during economic booms gets, yet the tough times are the much harder job. Getting us through the depression as well as he did makes Ritter a really good governor. Setting in motion efforts to significantly improve K-12 education and making us a green energy center, on top of handling the terrible economy, makes Governor Ritter an outstanding governor.

I have every expectation that Governor-elect Hickenlooper will also do an outstanding job. But I hate to see Governor Ritter go. I respect him a lot as both a Governor and as someone who puts family first. So I’ll leave it with this message to him.

Thank you

Recording at Governor Ritter – The Last Four Years, and Some Thoughts on the Next Twenty

33 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Ralphie says:

    We were fortunate to have him at the helm during this awful time.

  2. GalapagoLarry says:

    I was astounded he gave such short shrift to Labor toward the beginning. Perhaps he felt he had to to go ahead with other things. But, all in all, he was a good Colorado governor. He’s got political talent to spare. Considering the budget restraints, he deserves our thanks. Just goes to show you: it takes a Democrat to be fiscally responsible.

    A very sympathetic human being, as well.

    • BlueCat says:

      He failed to work with the legislature before the labor bill got to his desk when changes could have been made and the unfortunate situation of a life long pro-labor D Guv vetoing D majority labor legislation could have been avoided. But he is a fine man, a man of integrity and, on the whole, a fine governor whose accomplishments were many, especially in support of green energy. He deserves wishes for all the best for himself and his family as he leaves office.

  3. davebarnes says:

    to shift to Disqus for its commenting system.

  4. David – I think this was your best interview to date

    Governor Ritter also seemed to provide honest answers and insight – I’m critical of Governor Ritter, but kudos to him for doing the interview – outreach like will end his tenure on a high note

  5. nancycronk says:

    and think he did a great job. His relationship with labor was disappointing, but I do understand that CO is a very anti-labor state and he was doing what many (misguided) Coloradans wanted him to do.

    He had one of the toughest jobs I can imagine — cutting millions and millions of dollars out of an already lean budget. Not only that, but after interviewing a handful of candidates for US Senate and choosing Michael Bennet, he took a lot of grief for his decision. Seemed he couldn’t win no matter what he did. (I wouldn’t touch that job with a ten foot pole. I still can’t understand why anyone would want it!)

    As someone who grew up economically challenged in a huge rural family in unincorporated Arapahoe County, Gov. Ritter never forgot his roots. He always had Colorado’s families at heart, I believe. His work to make life better for our children’s future is to be commended. Lt. Governor O’Brien was also impressive in that regard.

    I will miss Governor Ritter being in office. I wish him and his family well. Thank you for the respectful interview, David.

  6. SamCat says:

    Thank you David for all your hard work.

  7. Ellie says:

    and thank you for giving David this excellent interview.

    David, this is one of your best interviews this year.  I’m sending it along to one of Ritter’s big supporters now living in Arizona.  

  8. Gray in Mountains says:

    and told Governor Ritter myself that I think he has done a fine job.

    If there is more that you haven’t yet told us about his views re transportation and forest health I’d like to read that as well.

  9. allyncooper says:

    I would rate Ritter an 8.8 out of 10 on his Governorship. There are things that could have been handled better, like the labor- business issue mentioned, but overall I think he did a good job in a very difficult time.

    Just my personal opinion, but I think he found the job not what he thought it would be. Ritter had never been a legislator or  previously held statewide office, and while capable and qualified for the office, simply didn’t have the “fire in the belly” for the job.

    So my hat’s off to him for being honest with himself. Most of us at one time or another have had a job that just wasn’t a good fit for whatever reason, and the sooner you realize that and move on the better.

    It will be interesting to see what he does after he leaves office. Obviously he’s keeping his options close to the vest right now, but where he lands may give greater insight why he declined to run for re election.  

  10. Algy Moncrief says:

    Agreed, Ritter had many accomplishments while he was in office, but the bottom line is that he opted to be one of the few Governors in US history to attempt to take contracted retirement benefits from the elderly.  This has tarnished his legacy.  Did he stipulate up front that he would not address any questions on this topic?  This action is too immoral and momentous to be ignored.  The following post documents the theft of benefits.  It’s long, don’t feel obligated to read all of it.


    What do the Colorado Legislature and Bernie Madoff have in common? Both stole retirement benefits that were earned over many decades.

    We have 80-year old widows in Colorado, who worked hard for the State for thirty years, who trusted the State and made their pension contributions like clockwork for decades, only to see their contracted retirement incomes stolen by the State. This money was taken out of their pockets because the State failed to make pension contributions as recommended by their own actuaries, to the tune of $2.7 billion in the last seven years. If the state had responsibly followed the recommendations of its actuaries, the PERA trust funds would now be more than 90 percent funded. The Colorado pension shortfall is primarily a result of legislative action over the last decade, Bill Owens, et al, in 2000 cut contributions and allowed the purchase of cheap service credit, and now the Legislature wants retirees to bear the cost of legislative ineptitude. In testimony to the Legislature even the proponents of the reform bill acknowledged this historic under-funding of the pension. PERA claims that the pension fund was unsustainable without their actions, because the funded ratio of the pension stands at 68 percent. However, the funded ratio of the pension was in the low 50 percent range in the 1970s, and the pension still exists. If a funded ratio of 68 percent this year is unsustainable, how has the pension been sustained since the 1970s when the funded ratio was in the 50s? Not much of a rationale for breaking retiree contracts.

    If you find yourself short on funds, you rearrange your spending priorities, or raise additional revenue, YOU DON’T BREAK CONTRACTS! Why would the Colorado Legislature choose to break pension contracts before breaking other contracts, such as construction contracts? How can a state that is in default, that breaks contracts, maintain its credit rating?

    The fact that what Colorado did to public sector employees in this year’s pension reform bill (SB1) cannot be done to private sector employee pensions under I.R.C. Section 411(d)(6), says quite a lot about the moral underpinnings of SB1. This federal “anti-cutback rule” for private sector DB plans permits changes to the plans only if the changes operate on a prospective basis.

    Colorado PERA’s actions make it clear that the time has come for the inclusion of public defined benefit plans under all Internal Revenue Code Qualified Plan requirements. It is now obvious that allowing the states to regulate public defined benefit plans does not afford equal protection to state and local government employees.

    PERA has put it in writing in pension plan materials over the years, that the COLA “is guaranteed”. Members purchasing service credit gave PERA thousands of dollars based on these materials. Money that they could have left in their 401Ks. PERA officials now claim that the members cannot rely on their pension plan documents regarding their defined benefits. However, Goldman Sachs recently paid a half billion dollar settlement to the SEC based on promises made in plan documents. Apparently, some judges believe that plan documents can set forth contractual terms. In any event, the contractual pension language is set forth clearly in Colorado law.

    Colorado’s retiree COLA (and those of 36 other states) are “automatic COLAs” as opposed to “ad hoc COLAs” (which exist in about a dozen states and can be periodically altered.) Colorado’s COLA of 3.5 percent is guaranteed in Colorado law in an identical fashion to the base retirement benefit itself. So, the PERA retiree’s claims are based on both statutory language and plan documents. This 3.5 percent COLA won’t look so hot in the coming years if inflation spikes.

    The Colorado pension reform bill’s (SB1) proponents should accept that states cannot legislate away a debt for work that was completed in the past. What the state is attempting is a claw back of deferred pay. The bill’s sponsors should accept that states cannot avoid their contractual obligations simply because they prefer to spend resources on alternative public services or obligations.

    Some pension reform advocates argue that public sector pensions should be held to the same standards as private sector pensions. My response to that is “I agree wholeheartedly!” Under the federal Internal Revenue Code reducing accrued pension benefits for private pensions is illegal. If the public sector PERA pension were covered under this I.R.C. law and held to the same standards as private pensions, then last February’s theft of accrued benefits by the Colorado Legislature would not have been attempted. Essentially, federal law provides higher protection to private pensions than it does to public sector pensions. Public pension members are forced to appeal to the courts to prevent the theft of their benefits. (Happening.)

    Members of the Legislature pointed out many times, to no avail, that the so called “pension reform bill” was a violation of contracts to which the State was a party. Here are some examples (on tape from the floor debate):

    Rep. Lambert: “I have heard from my constituents, as many of you have, that this proposal will breach retiree’s contracts.”

    Rep. Swalm: “We’re breaking new territory in this state by trying to reduce the COLA. We’re probably going to get a lawsuit out of that. If we cut the 3.5 percent COLA there will be a lawsuit.

    Rep. Gerou said that it is a disservice to the state to rush a bill through when her committee knew that it will go to litigation, and said what we are doing to the retirees is wrong.

    Rep. Delgroso said that it is tough for him to tell people that he is going to break their contract.

    Senator Harvey said “We have made a commitment. We have a contract with current retirees. That is already in place. Reforms should be made for new hires. We do not have that commitment to new hires.

    Senator Spence said “The bill places an unfair burden on retirees.”

    Senator Scheffel said “We are breaching our promises to existing retirees.”

    Senator Lundberg said “This bill is a deal that was cut before this body met.”

    The cavalier abandonment of contractual obligations brings shame to the state of Colorado, aligns Colorado with Third World countries like Bolivia. No person, Republican or Democrat should countenance the breach of contracts. Conservatives support contract law as the foundation of capitalism.

    So, why is the SB1 theft more egregious than the Madoff theft? The Colorado Legislature stole money from retirees who are less well off than Madoff’s pre-qualified hedge fund clients.

    The Madoff victims were taking risks to seek a higher return on their investments, the Colorado PERA victims simply trusted that their contracts would be honored.

    Colorado PERA and the Legislature justified their theft on false premises, citing 2008 market numbers when they knew the markets had recovered approximately 20 percent in 2009. PERA’s General Counsel stated on tape before the 2010 legislative session began that he expected a pension return “north of 15 percent”) for 2009.

    It appears that Colorado PERA used the very resources of PERA members to hire a team of lobbyists (up to a dozen) to take earned benefits from those same members. That’s just insane.

    Many members of the Legislature acted in ignorance. Spoonfed by the lobbyists, they ignored the legal rights of PERA retirees, and swallowed whole without question the assertions of PERA’s CEO and its chief legal counsel. If the members had read any case law, (for example, the state defined benefit pension case law summary by Prof. Amy Monahan at the University of Minnesota School of Law, Google it!), or even the 2004 Colorado AG opinion on pension benefits (retiree benefits are inviolate) they would not have supported the bill.

    PERA’s own General Counsel was quoted in a 2008 Denver Post article as follows: “The attorney general’s opinion seems clear that fully vested employees – those retired or with enough years of service to retire – cannot see any benefits reduced, including cost-of-living adjustments, Smith said.”

    Although members of the Colorado PERA Board of Trustees are fiduciaries, charged to act only in the interests of the members and the retirees, they recommended SB1, acting primarily in the interests of PERA employers who were concerned with keeping their contribution rates low.

    Adding insult to injury the Legislature stole more money than it needed. The pension theft bill sought to increase PERA’s funded level to 100 percent, although an 80 percent funded level is considered well-funded among pension experts. You don’t have to pay off your mortgage tomorrow, and PERA doesn’t have to pay off all of its pension obligations tomorrow.

    There were many other options available to address the pension shortfall, options that have been adopted, or are under consideration in dozens of states. See the legal, prospective pension reform that was accomplished in Utah this year.

    Members of the Legislature have taken an oath to uphold the constitution and yet voted to violate the Contract Clause and the Takings Clause. Proponents of the bill refused to see that the retiree COLA (annual benefit increase) is set forth in Colorado law with the same force, status and weight as is the base retirement benefit. Only tortured legal reasoning, and wishful thinking, lead them to believe otherwise.

    The Legislature had the ability to investigate the legality of its actions up front, but chose to act with no legal advice. Throughout the floor and committee debates on SB1 the members displayed an ignorance of, or an intentional disregard for the relevant case law. They failed to conduct the due diligence expected of an elected body. State legislatures across the nation are examining the legal limitations on their actions regarding pension reform, exploring all legal options prior to acting. (PERA claimed to have a legal opinion to justify their actions, but never released it.)

    PERA has been disingenuous by claiming that the reform bill represents “shared sacrifice” among employees, employers, and retirees, by not making it clear that retirees bear most of the burden of their proposed reforms, for many retirees the confiscation of benefits will reach one-quarter of their total retirement benefits received over the rest of their lives. In debate, the bill’s sponsors said that retirees would bear 90 percent of the cost of the reform. In any event, I am not relieved of my contractual obligations just because someone else has better terms in their contract. The entire premise is ludicrous.

    While ignoring its own contractual pension obligations (underfunding of $2.7 billion in the last seven years according to PERA’s own actuaries) the State of Colorado has pumped half a billion dollars into pension obligations that are not its responsibility, those of local governments (Old Fire Police Pension obligations).

    The Legislature made a pact with unions to support the “pension reform bill” (SB1) to protect union jobs. Incredibly, these union members tossed their former members, their retired “brothers” under the bus. From the beginning the plan was “let’s steal the money we need from retirees.”

    Finally, Madoff eventually admitted to his crime, but the Colorado General Assembly is still pretending that their theft of pension benefits is something to be celebrated. They tout it as a “bi-partisan accomplishment. This will be a long-standing embarrassment to and black mark on our state.

    • Ralphie says:

      Running a state is a much more difficult problem than any ideology that you might harbor.

      When the state is broke, everyone must sacrifice.  Even the people you’re shilling for.

      Ritter did a good job spreading the hurt around.  That wasn’t easy to do.  I certainly wouldn’t want to have been faced with the choices he was faced with.

      Sorry that your people weren’t exempt.  Oh well.

    • Sir Robin says:

      I won’t read your “post”.

    • Ellie says:

      Not really but if it makes you feel better now… feel free to log off!  (Said as one who had thought she would be working against Bill Ritter’s reelection at one time.)  

      The Governor did the best he could or thought he could in the worst of times.  He’s a good man and I repeat what I said yesterday, I appreciate the interview he did with David for CoPols.  

    • DavidThi808 says:

      The PERA reform was members of both parties stepping up to make hard decisions and find the best solution. It was our political system at its finest. Like the others, I’m not going to bother reading your verbal diarrhea.

    • GalapagoLarry says:

      when your own post includes reference to quite a bit of stressful legislative debate on the subject? Nothing about the recent budget cuts has been done by either the legislature or Gov. Ritter with cavalier attitude. It’s been agonizing for all concerned. I hope the SSA is agonizing over the lack of COLA for those of us under their management, although our isn’t contractually stable. How about re-addressing how “cost of living” is calculated? For everybody.

      The fault for PERA’s underfunding is clearly not Ritter’s. You state yourself that, besides the PERA board and the PERA employers, one of the major villians was Owens, governor before Ritter. Yeah, I think the public sector retirees got shafted. But Ritter had a budget to balance and this was included in what the legislature gave him. In fact they gave him a lot of shafts to share among all Colorado citizens.

      Here’s the crux if you really want a solution instead of a shoulder to cry on:

      Under the federal Internal Revenue Code reducing accrued pension benefits for private pensions is illegal. If the public sector PERA pension were covered under this I.R.C. law and held to the same standards as private pensions….(elipse mine)

      Rather than bring your grievance up here, how about directing your screed (severely edited, please) toward rallying support for a change in IRS policy? Or, as some commented in your post, bring on the lawsuits.

      Whatever. My Ovaltine in hot milk and vokada is getting cold.

  11. Canines says:

    I always figured that Ritter had looked at the polling numbers, realized he’d lost a lot of his base without picking up new voting blocs, and decided to call it quits. That’s my $0.02, at least.

  12. ohwilleke says:

    Few in the MSM have gotten such a revealing narrative.

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