Rollie Heath: Like Warren Buffett, A Bad Choice For An Ogre

With Proposition 103 headed for November’s ballot, the opposition to Sen. Rollie Heath’s initiative to restore 1999 sales and income tax rates–3% and 5% respectively, up from 2.9% and 4.63%–is heating up. Through most of the spring and summer, opposition to this initiative generally consisted of laughing it off, scoffing at its (formerly) small base of support, confident predictions that the campaign wouldn’t even get enough signatures to reach the ballot, etc.

Needless to say after the Proposition 103 campaign submitted over 142,000 signatures, that line of attack was in need of some retooling.

So what seems to be happening now, as we’ve seen in conservative blog posts and an editorial in the Colorado Springs Gazette this weekend, is a shift to attacks on the person of Sen. Rollie Heath. In this weekend’s Gazette, editor Wayne Laugesen goes positively nuts in a confused but bitterly angry editorial, denouncing Heath using just about every right-wing cliché in the book. Laugesen declares Heath an “extreme Boulder liberal,” but then pivots to a very different description of Heath as a “limousine liberal” so as to acknowledge his long corporate record as director of ARMCO Steel and numerous other executive positions–and still somehow bash him. It’s just weird and inconsistent, to the point of being downright silly.

And it’s also where their caricature of Sen. Heath breaks down. In terms of his actual record, Heath is about as far from a “Boulder liberal” as you can get while technically being a registered Democrat in the city of Boulder. On the contrary, Heath has frequently served as the middleman in negotiations between majority Democrats and business interests–as in the recent debate over payday lending reform–and he’s in no way considered an “anti-business” lawmaker by any stretch (witness the very same payday lending battle). Proposition 103 itself represents a compromise from the position of many Democrats who favored a competing more progressive tax reform proposal, and Heath says his initiative can win over business support.

Bottom line: a couple of weeks ago, another wealthy businessman named Warren Buffett published an opinion column in the New York Times calling on lawmakers to stop “coddling the super-rich” like himself. Republicans answered Buffett with a furious bout of character assassination and ridicule–too much, actually, to the extent of underscoring Buffett’s point.

Once Colorado Republicans figure out if Sen. Heath is a Che Guevara-loving communist or Montgomery Burns from The Simpsons, they might want to ask themselves if this ad hominem campaign against Heath is really a good idea. Or if it might actually backfire.

19 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    Sounds more like one of Winnie the Pooh’s little friends.

  2. pay your taxes! says:

    Heath and his coalition are still underdogs here. Cons are just pissed that they’ll actually have to waste money and resources on fighting this thing now, so they’re taking it out on Rollie.

    But really, unless the coalition gets up on TV, this isn’t going to be close. Grassroots can get you 3-5%. They need around 10%, PPP polling to the contrary notwithstanding.

    • Libertad says:

      One thing S&P got right in downgrading our debt was to link fiscal policy with the political process. At this time, nothing invites confidence. Were there should be leadership we find none. On the Democrat side we continue to overplay the hands we’ve dealt since 2007. The Republican side is reflexively stuck due to backlash amongst centrist Democrats, moderates and the right. These natural republican supporters have been pickled by the massive macro policy shifts laid at their feet. It’s no wonder Joe 6 pack – only 38% of whites support Obama* – feels left-out. The net is this: due to these policies, economic growth will be slow at best.


      If you examined the stimulus broadly, there was no way to know what permanent effects might occur, which should have been a sign of impending failure to even the most liberal Democratic leaders. It was a $787 billion bet ingrained with broad fiscal and social policies meant to bring hope and change without a principled approach. The government ended up putting parks in that make constituents happy, but don’t replace the pipes underneath the roads, because you wouldn’t see that. It drove out state spending capabilities, when masking the actual deficits meant keeping the people happy.


      Our political process has been hijacked so that elected representatives and appointed officials are tempted to rewrite economic law based on political need rather than common sense. Rollie has been straight with the people on this matter …. he wants to hike taxes to spend more on education. The question is will the spend be for “parks” or “pipes”.


      *source Gallup

    • DavidThi808 says:

      And all the Dems who declined to step and try to pass anything then being shown that the problem was not the voters, it was a bunch of party leaders who are wusses.

      Rollie is demonstrating what actually trying looks like. And he’s doing a damn good job.

  3. ArapaGOP says:

    Photos like this one from CBS make it so hard to mischaracterize good Sen. Heath.

    “You’re not paying enough taxes!”

    67% No. Get in your “character assassination” outrage while you can.

  4. Ray Springfield says:

    People indicated that they would pay more for education without my asking anything about education.  

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