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November 12, 2006 12:14 AM UTC

Mountain States Decisive In '08?

  • 67 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols

Professor Kevin Vranes of the CU Center for Science and Technology Policy Research has a cooler title than anybody writing for this blog (at least as far as you know), so we’ll let him sum up what our readers should already understand very well:

The obvious and quick lesson the Dems should learn from this election

If they want to win the POTUS seat in 2008, the Democrats need to realize how the results of 2004 and 2006 reflect on each other.

The simple lesson is this: the right kind of Democrat can do very well in the Mountain West, and take the electoral votes here to the White House. With very popular Democrat governors in Montana, Arizona and New Mexico and a governor elect in Colorado that won by a 15-point margin, the Democrats are set up very well for the Presidential election in 2008. These four states carry 27 electoral votes. Purple Nevada gives five more. Bush won in 2004 by 35 electoral votes and each of the five states I mentioned went to him.

What’s the lesson? That the right Democrat can carry all five of these very purple states on to a win. John Kerry was not the right man. He lost by huge margins in Montana and Colorado even when local and statewide Democrats made incredible gains in the same election. Any honest westerner would tell you that if they did vote for John Kerry it was a vote against Bush, not a vote for Kerry. You need look no further than Kerry’s staged photo op in hunter orange and a shotgun to understand why.

Would Senator Clinton be the right woman?

You already know the answer to that, too: somewhere between “no” and “hell no,” just like Dr. Vranes does. He suggests that Barack Obama would do well here for President, especially with New Mexico governor Bill Richardson or Montana’s governor Brian Schweitzer riding shotgun (pun intended).

Whether or not you agree, he correctly points out that as a bloc of contentious but winnable states, solidly demonstrated as such last Tuesday, Colorado and neighbors are flyover country no longer for the Dems. And with the election results showing a clear partisan division between blue northeast and red southeast states this year as well, it makes sense that the decisive battle for the presidency could be fought on our doorstep.

Comments

67 thoughts on “Mountain States Decisive In ’08?

    1. Hillary Clinton leads in national polls for the Democrats and McCain for Republicans, but it’s not clear who will win the nominations or could win the general.

      At this point, I’m guessing Obama or Hillary could win the nomination but would fall to any of several potential GOP candidates. I don’t think independents would support them unless the GOP puts up a dud.

      What this election proved to me is that it’s going to be a ticket splitters election in 2008. The candidate who best appeals to the independents and “moderates” in each party will win. Those who go only for the base will lose, unless both parties’ nominees are hardline radicals, then, who knows.

      And such a race, which would replicate 2000 and 2004, is highly likely.

      I don’t think Clinton nor McClain would make good presidents. She doesn’t have the flexibility nor platform skills, and he’s not the brightest bulb in Washington. But if it’s a healthy and vigorous McCain vs. Clinton, it would be a close race, and McCain probably would win, especially in this part of the country.

      McCain will be pretty old for a first run at the presidency, and he has a history of skin cancer. He might not run.

      Cllinton looks likely to run despite predictions by some that she won’t.

      Clinton would be easy to demonize even though negative ads failed to stop her in 2000. McCain’s support of Bush on the war and his sell out to the RRRs would be easy to demonize, along with his minor role in the S&L scandal.
      Tancredo could give him the Mark Holtzman treatment on illegal immigration.

      Romney’s gaining support in the GOP, I think, but he’s so radical on social issues that I don’t think moderates or independents would support him against Hillary, Bayh, Biden, Richardson, Edwards or Obama. He’s probably the best candidate out there in terms of smarts, experience and skills. But his ideology is scary when it comes to social issues. It will be interesting to see whether he tries to move back to the middle for the primaries.

      Rudy and Newt have had  too many marriages and other skeletons to go far, imho.

      Newt would be a, smart, articulate creative and entertaining president that the Dems could hate even more than they hate Bush. I also like Rudy, but just can’t see him winning the nomination nor the general.

      What the GOP proved in Colorado this year is that the “smart money” often is placed on losers. I hope the GOP “establishment” doesn’t stick us with another loser in the presidential campaign and that the base backs off it’s radicalism. Otherwise, I and many other independents and Republicans will give any Democrat a serious look.

      To analyze the election based on what has happened in the last couple of years is mildly interesting, but not that telling.

      1.   Mitt Romney may have a “Both Ways” problem of his own.  Romney has consistently opposed same sex marriage.  But when same sex marriage was first legalized in Massachusetts, he supported civil unions (like those available in Vt. and Conn.) as an alternative.
          Subsequently, he took a more extreme position and opposed civil unions as well.
          Looks like Mitt may have been trying to have it both ways….trying to appeal to the moderates as well as the RRRs.
          Republicans should also keep in mind that after 16 years of successful Republican governors in Massachusetts (a dark blue state), Mitt managed to turn the governorship over to a Dem!

        1. Take it to the bank.  Tim Pawlenty won in a state where the GOP got demolished and his conservative credentials stayed in tact.  Romney will be the consensus conservative candidate.  Rudy is a great guy and tough on terror but he can’t win in a party that is looking to return to its conservative roots.  McCain is pretty much despised by conservatives and loved by liberals.  He only gets in running as an Independent.

          There are few men in politics as polished and articulate as Mitt Romney.  He is strong on values but he has proved his ability to think outside the box on healthcare.  His ability to fix Massachusetts’ fiscal train wreck should bolster his credentials.

          He is the Reagan the GOP is looking for.  I know his flip-flop history could be shaky.  He will have to prove himself on issues like abortion.  But his eloquence should win most doubters over.

          Realize, also, that he doesn’t need to win the fence-sitters over so much unless you see a conservative dem win the nomination.  Hillary will not win unless McCain or Rude wins the GOP nod.  I’m praying for a liberal to run against because it will de fact win the race for Romney or Pawlenty or whomever. 

          Because the country is solidly center-right (as is Colorado) a conservative–repubican or Democrat–has a big head start in a race.  Liberal Kerry could never make up that difference and lost to Bush.  Richardson could start even with Romney and puts the Mods in play. 

          My advice to you libs is this: put it back in your pants for a few years.  Liberalism didn’t win this election and it won’t win for a while until you do some work culturally.  If you want more power in ’08 go after someone more in line with the American mainstream.  Do you think Hillary or Obama can win in Colorado if neither Gore, Carter, or Kerry could?  Richardson or Mark Warner or even Tom Vilsack would have a tough time but a fighting chance, at least. 

          1. I’ll just a few snippets.

            Besides Hillary’s politics being shakily left for the nation as a whole, there is the 500 pound gorilla of the sunspeakable….she is not a man.  Many Americans are closet mysogynists, and some not so closeted. 

            Obama has a great history already of being a deal maker.  Unfortunately, that means he listens to his banker contributors and votes for the new bankruptcy act.  There are other sins, too.  I would also say that with only two years in the senate by 08, he’s a bit wet behind the ears.  Maybe 2012.  Also, see closeted biggots, above.

            That Al Gore, Kerry, etc didn’t do so well, may I remind you that Al got the popular vote in 2000.  Add to that that he has become quite a spokesman for various causes – that most of the public agrees with – and that he has become himself, and not what handlers told him to be. he’s much more appealing.

            Another “pro-Gore” factor is that the country is much more open to traditioanl liberal thinking now than in 2000.  When the country sees what the Dems will do for Joe Twelvepack in the next two years, Gore is Lazarus like. 

            In the liberal blogs, Gore keeps winning the “Who would you like to see as President” polls, I’ve noticed.

            He’s my first choice, as of the present. 

            I worked hard for Dean until he was pushed out by the MSM.  I think that his “think outside of the box” ability was well proven in his 50 state strategy.  I am vidicated. Kerry?  Sigh.  A vote against George, that’s all.

            1. “Another “pro-Gore” factor is that the country is much more open to traditioanl liberal thinking now than in 2000″

              Hardly.  Nine-eleven has pushed the country even more to the right.  Notice how this year it wasn’t liberals who won key races to win the majority.  Don’t mistake a new liberal leadership with a new liberal mandate.  In fact, if anything, conservatives are the ones who have emerged most unscathed from this election.

              Gore will not win in America, period.  Gore has tacked waaaay to far to the left.  He now holds up the Dems’ left flank and that means he is likely a relic of American politics.

              But I do believe he may get (please God!) the party’s nod in ’08.  He was viewed as a centrist Clinton-esque Democrat from the South in 2000 and he now is viewed as a very liberal Euro-fetishist from the South in ’06.  That will appeal to the Democrat primary electorate but there’s not chance he can appeal to much of the general electorate.  He will be a Dukakis or McGovern.

              You need someone who holds the values of most Americans.  Gore doesn’t come close.

              1. I swear that you are repressing some tendencies. Your constant focus on gay european pot smokers and fetishists is hilarious.

                How is conservatism winning when John “I want to repeal the Patriot Act” Tester the new senator from Montana? I could go on.

                And keep thinking that 9/11 has made this country hard right. If anything, what the president did after 9/11, read iraq war, has disillusioned the country as to what conservatives stand for (read: corruption). When the liberal nominee wins in ’08, and the hard right conservative goes down, it will be a great day.

                1. Yes, if a liberal beats a conservative when they both battle it out on ideology you will be right.  Liberals win.

                  But that’s not what happened this year.  Conservatives ran as not-conservatives and Democrats ran as conservatives.  The conservatives won.

                  I, like you, want a battle of ideas here.  I’m fully confident that America will stay true to its roots and values and vote for the conservative.  It’s a mighty bold claim to assert that America has shifted left in any meaningful way.  Post-9/11 the country has not gone hard right but center-right.  If you look at who represents us and if you looks at polls and you look at ballot initiatives you can’t be terribly happy if you’re a true-blue lefty. 

                  For the record, a Euro-fetishist is a Euro-phile–one whose love and admiration for a defunct continent is ranging on the absurd.  It must be a fetish to melt over a set of countries that is being overwrought by radical Muslims and radical secularists.  If you can’t see that train wreck coming from an ocean away I gauge your civilizational eyesight to be officially blind.  Gays have become the new 50-yardline for culture war talk.  It’s all about gays these days.  Marriage, civil unions, gay pastors, etc.  There’s a reason that most conservatives in Colorado were still celebrating Tuesday night.  The fact that we beat “I” was meaningful for our progress in the culture war.  In Boulder I saw many yardsigns for Ref. I but hardly any for Ritter.  The whole gay ballot was a left-right battle and the right emerged victorious then.  I saw plenty of long faces in Boulder Wednesday.  It made not sense to me.  Democrats won but liberals lost.  Homosexuality is the new sign of whether the country tilts right or left.  Do we stick with Biblical values and traditional family life or do we enter a bold new enterprise of sexual dowhateverthehellyouwanttodo ethos?

                  On SNL last night Nancy Pelosi hilariously going over her agenda for the audience and she talked about minimum wages laws, prescription interstate pooling, and multiple partner orgies involving deadly weapons.  Funny, no?

                  No society views sex and family is the root of our cultural values.  It’s no mistake that the pro-values crowd tends to also overwhelmingly support the war, low taxes, the market, etc.  Conservatism is based on the traditional family and liberalism is based on “deconstructing” that core value.  Homosexuality shouldn’t matter.  But the left has decided that would be the new frontier of the culture war.  So onward I fight.

                  1. First of all, your title and subject dont match. Second of all, republicans ran as they are today and lost. Democrats ran on their own personal prinicples and won. How do you explain Tester and McCaskill or are you going to continually dodge that question?

                    Continuing on, you dont know what a true-blue lefty is. You can claim that you know liberals like every inch of your naked body, but that doesnt disguise the fact that you have no idea what constitutes liberalism today. I am looking at who represents us and I got to say that I am mighty pleased. Dems in charge of both the house and the senate is pretty nice. South Dakota’s abortion ban was overturned, oh wait! that is one of those pesky liberal thingies isnt it? Damn.

                    Now that we have cleared up what a Euro-fetishist is, who is a Euro-fetishist? If you dont mind, I would appreciate quotes and sources of people that you claim are euro-fetishists making statements that would be construed by the average person as being a statement that a euro-fetishist would make. Thanks in advance.

                    That ethos is long past my friend. Dont you think, from a sociological perspective, it is interesting that the bible belt has the highest rate of divorce in the country? Dont you think it is interesting that like the Mark foley Scandal, higher ups in the fundamentalist movement knew that ted Haggard was gay, but did nothing about it? You can say that homosexuality is the new fifty yard line, but that is a tired horse to ride. In fact, how many states are left to enact gay marriage bans? If you want that to be the metric we use to determine political leanings that is up to you, although I think that it is mightly naive.

                    As far as biblical values are concerned, so you are for stoning deaths for adultery? That a man should not touch his wife during her menstraul cycle or he is unclean? I bet you are breaking a biblical law right now, in that you are wearing clothes made of different materials. How about shellfish? Do you eat that? Sounds a little absurd to me, but, hey, to each their own, no?

                    I dont own a tv and I dont watch SNL so I really cant comment.

                    “No society views sex and family is the root of our cultural values.”

                    That sentence doesnt make any sense. Explain to me why the pro-values crowd supports the war, lower taxes, the market, etc. For that matter, how do those things relate to the traditional family? Finally, something we can agree on. Homosexuality should not matter. Rove put it on the ballot in 04 to drive the conservative vote. Your people carry the banner as if it mattered as much as the war. Keep deluding yourself, it will only make you look more absurd. By the way, did you ever get around to responding to my question in that diary by lynsazia?

              2. FFF, you are merely regurgitating all the RW excuses why they lost. 

                I’ll grant ya, most folks today couldn’g tell you anything about the labor movement or civil rights, but, yes, many victors were decidedly liberal relative to where this country has been.

                And please, stop saying Gor lost.  He not only won the popular vote, but was up against a stacked Supreme Court, AND after the waters stilled, a large effort by the various news organizations deemed that Gore got the popular vote in Florida, too. Which if not for the court, would mean that Gore would have been prez.

                And he would not, is not stupid enough to invade Iraq.

          2. McCain is despised by liberals. That guy is further to the right than Bush.

            I ask you this seriously, as a subscriber, I assume, to fundamentalist christian ideology: How do you think Romney’s mormon faith will play with your brethren? Xenophon, brought this up the other day, and I thought it was a good point.

            Liberalism was a big factor in this election. The tired ways of Carville and the DLC are over, or at least they should be if we libs expect to keep the majority that we have now. The reason why we won was because of Dean’s 50 state strategy. Culture cultivation is going on in places like Montana (Tester) and Wyoming (the dem didnt win, but came close) and Missouri (Mccaskill). If the dems want to win they need to put a candidate that is to the left of the people that are left of center. They do that and they will win.

            1. You’re both wrong!  This wasn’t an election about liberals or conservatives.  It was about people waking up to the idea of participating in the political process and expecting their representatives to listen to them.  The newly elected representatives around the country are a mix of social conservatives, self-proclaimed socialists, and everything in between.  Ideology has little to do with it.

              Dean’s 50 state strategy DOES have a lot to do with it; but not because Dean is a liberal.  It’s because Dean apparently believes in a party that appeals to people, rather than just doing what strategists say they need to do in order to get Democrats elected.  That’s why there were a lot more strong candidates even in places where they were unlikely to win.

              Ideology frames the electoral process; you need candidates who are ideologically right for their districts, of course.  DeGette would lose in CD-3, and Salazar may well lose to the Green Party in CD-1.  Once that’s done, though, the final decision isn’t up to the people who are casting ideologically motivated ballots; it’s up to the people who just finally want someone in power to pay attention to them for a change.

              1. I was highlighting two races where the dem won in heavily conservative areas as a counterpoint to FFF. Tester made repealing the Patriot Act a big part of his platform. McCaskillmade stem cells a large part of her platform. You are right there is a multitude of ideas of people that are incoming. And believe me, I am the last person to accuse Dean of being liberal. He isnt and his record is quite clear on that.

                Further, my point was that the DLC, which makes up a large portion of the consulting dem class, is a waste of money. They suggest that people need to be like their opponents. That is a horrible idea. As we saw in CD-5 anything to the left of Lamborn was “liberal.” To me, liberal is a very fluid word.

                1. Just as Washington and Kennedy said that they were:

                  JFK, Sept 14, 1960:

                  “What do our opponents mean when they apply to us the label “Liberal?” If by “Liberal” they mean, as they want people to believe, someone who is soft in his policies abroad, who is against local government, and who is unconcerned with the taxpayer’s dollar, then the record of this party and its members demonstrate that we are not that kind of “Liberal.” But if by a “Liberal” they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people — their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, and their civil liberties — someone who believes we can break through the stalemate and suspicions that grip us in our policies abroad, if that is what they mean by a “Liberal,” then I’m proud to say I’m a “Liberal.”

                  And,

                  “I believe in human dignity as the source of national purpose, in human liberty as the source of national action, in the human heart as the source of national compassion, and in the human mind as the source of our invention and our ideas. It is, I believe, the faith in our fellow citizens as individuals and as people that lies at the heart of the liberal faith. For liberalism is not so much a party creed or set of fixed platform promises as it is an attitude of mind and heart, a faith in man’s ability through the experiences of his reason and judgment to increase for himself and his fellow men the amount of justice and freedom and brotherhood which all human life deserves.”

                  Chokes this Lib all up.

                  It’s morning in America.  Sorry, Ron.

          3. It seems like when somebody is regarded as being successful, they are considered a RRR. Well, that is total hypocrisy. RRR has been known for invasions into other countries, running obscene deficits, and leaving problems for others to solve. That description fits W. and the current round of republicans to a tee. W. has modeled himself 100% after RRR. In fact, Rumsfield, Cheney, and nearly his entire staff is from RR staffs. Even the current round of deceit and corruption by W., Cheney, Delay, Musgrave, Foley, Hastert, etc is straight from the RRR office.

            OTH, Romney and some of the republicans are NOT RRR. They have learned to adopt gov. solutions where private enterprise is failing. They know how to balance a budget (but does mass. require a balanced budget? if so, then it was not necessarily Romney’s management). They appear to not be corrupt and full of lies. They are closer to real republicans than the neo-cons (RRR) that have infected the republicans.

              1. THe RRR’s lost because they listen to themselves rather than the rants at the voting polls as evidenced by your earlier denials and rants. Funny thing, the ONLY place that republicans won was the areas that are loaded with more than 60% registered republicans (and even some of them went over). I think that the days of RRR are over due to 20 years of corruptions, lies, and deficits. Now, if we can just get the democrats to stop being corrupt, liars and, well, at least they can balance a budget.

    2. Why hasn’t his name come up?

      Became a Republican to run for Mayor of NYC, but still sounds like a Democrat on social issues.

      Has an experienced staff who played a major role in first, getting the mayor re-elected, and this year in getting Lieberman re-elected.

      He can buy the election with a little help from his friends, and he’s no Neslon Rockefeller who was all about his silver spoon and knew little about real life.

      A two-term mayor of NYC who is a billionaire, fresh face and pretty much a clean slate on major national issues could run in either party or as an independent.

      Is he what Ross Perot always wanted to be?a self-made billionaire with friends, political experience and an experienced political machine?

      1. “Became a Republican to run for Mayor of NYC, but still sounds like a Democrat on social issues.”

        That appeals to independents, centrists, and quite possibly many Democrats. He would have to run as an independent – no way the hard right GOP will nominate this guy. “RINO” would become a nationally known epithet should he try. And despite the new inclusiveness of the Democrats his party switch probably means he won’t be welcomed back anytime soon.

        It’s interesting to speculate because the most popular Republicans are too moderate to ever gain any traction with the national party (Guiliani, Schwarzenegger – whoops, Ahnold’s not an American-born citizen).

  1. Completely agree.  Anyone with more brains than a piece of toast knows that the next Dem President is NOT going to be a New York Senator, much less one with Hillary’s negatives. It also won’t be a major hawk who has to choose between “the war was the right thing to do. Bush just didn’t it right” or the lame “I was had”.  Dems need a candidate who doesn’t have to tap dance every time the war comes up, period.  I think Schweitzer is greatest candidate nobody’s ever heard of and Obama has a lot of star power.  Neither have Iraq baggage. 

  2. General Wes Clark is my favorite for the Dems in 2008. He got a late start in 2004, but still managed to win one primary and finish second in several others. He has been campaigning tirelessly on behalf of Democrats all around the country. Also, he has been a military analyst on Fox News, telling the truth to voters who never hear it anywhere else. Plus, he has an army (no pun intended) of supporters who are just waiting to go to work.

    1. Wes Clark came out to Colorado, campaigned for some dems in primaries and they lost and his support made no difference.

      Kerry wrote off Colorado.  There is an eastern hubris which truely believes that we still have have the NY times delivered by stage coach. Wasn’t his state campaign manager  someone from California?  The professor ought to be reminded that Westerns are independent and we don’t need any pointy headed effite ivy tower elite telling us how to wield our newly discovered influence…for gods’sake.

      1. be an interesting choice, but I think they’ll go with Obama, whom I don’t think is ready to run at the head of the ticket.  They’ll go Northeast;  25 electoral votes is chump change compared to NY, NJ, Mass, etc.

        1. Bush is the poster-child for candidates who are “not ready” to be President.  Despite being unqualified by almost any measure one might choose, Bush came close to achieving a majority over Gore in 2000. 

          Obama has similar qualifications to Bush 2000, and is far, far more articulate.

    1. He voted with Lieberman and 8 other dems to approve torture and be rid of that pesky habeus corpus.

      I sent his office the following fax.  I am dedicated to work against in 2010 if I’m still around.

      29 September

      Senator Ken Salazar
      FAX (303) 455-8851

      Dear Senator Salazar:

      I sit here in my home tonight with a knot in my stomach, sort of a need to throw up.  Why?  Because of your support of the McCain/Salazar “Torture is Fun” bill.  I also find myself wanting to cry as I witness in my very own lifetime how Hitler came to power.  I never would have guessed that my “Golden Years” would be under a semi-totalitarian government and that a Democrat would have voted to help it.

      HOW DARE YOU VIOLATE OUR SACRED CONSTITUTION? 

      HOW DARE YOU PUT IN DANGER OUR TROOPS WHO MIGHT FIND THEMSELVES IN CAPTIVITY? 

      HOW DARE YOU CALL YOURSELF A DEMOCRAT? 

      Great presidents both Republican and Democrat have taken the higher road fo over two hundred years, and in one vote you side with Hitler, Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet, and our very own John “Mr. Nicaraguan Death Squad” Negropointe, whom you helped into office. 

      As a Democratic activist, precinct chairman, and a volunteer at the state capitol for a Democrat, I am outraged. As an American, I am outraged.  As a Quaker, I am outraged.  As a human being, I am outraged.

      You have my appreciation for many good votes for the people of the US and Colorado.  But this vote, sir, is like a great citizen found to be a child molester: Nothing else counts.

      I will be doing my best to unseat you in 2010.  I will work with any Democrat running against you, and I will even vote for a Republican, which I have never done in my life. 

      1. I assume that you sent a similar letter to Senator Allard right? Or any of the other Senators that voted for this bill? Or are you, instead, picking on Salazar simply because he is a Democrat. If that is the case then I would suggest that your priorities are backwards. There were two choices for Senate in 2004, Pete Coors or Ken Salazar. Mike Miles would have gotten thrashed by the GOP in this state and don’t fool yourself into thinking otherwise. So here is the question… you have found a vote that you disagree with Ken Salazar on… do you disagree with most of his votes? If not, I want you to ponder the consequences of putting someone further to the left than Salazar up on the Dem. ticket in ’10. They will lose, and you could very probably be handing the entire Senate back to the GOP. Then, instead of having one vote that you disagree with, you will have ALL the votes that you disagree with. Don’t be a traitor and jump ship because you disagree on one vote. If you do, you might as well vote for Nader and get Bush elected instead of Gore. It is the same principle.

      2. I think the “HOW DARE YOU”s are a little childish, as are the “in one vote you side with Hitler, Saddam Hussein, the Shah of Iran, Pinochet…” Give me a break. I am opposed to the legislation as well, and think there are constitutional issues with it, but that doesn’t make anyone Hitler. The law does not “legalize” any forms of torture. It is arguable that POWs don’t have a right to the Writ of Habeas Corpus anyway (see US Const “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”) It is clearly a valid argument that the public safety requires suspension of the writ for terrorists. I’m not saying I agree, what I am saying though is that this far from “totalitarian.” My biggest concern with the whole thing is that we aren’t defining these folks as POWs. Anyway, try not to fly so far off the handle that you lose a grasp of reality.

        1. I picked on Salazar because he is Dem, he is one of two Colorado senators and Allard is just another man of worn out knee pads.  Of course he voted for it. 

          I do believe that this legislation IS a tragedy and a travesty.  If we have to examine the nuances of who and how someone can be tortured, or disappear into thin air, it is radical, it is un-American.

          One of the techniques that many dictators have used is the incremental change.  So, although details vary with my list of “evil doers”, the principle holds, I maintain. We have absolutely no need for a suspension of HC. I agree that we are far from classic totalitariansim, but we are half way around the track. 

          Yeah, I know Mike stood little chance, but that’s especially so because the state Dems just found him annoying. He hadn’t played the game as they define it. They didn’t pitch one dollar his way.  As soon as Ken won the primary, the next day the money spigot was on. 

  3. Please God, let the Dems running the Party GET THAT – Right away.

    You’d have better luck running Mark Foley for the head of Boys and Girls Club of America.

    If she runs, we lose before we start.

    Say no to Hillary. Before the idea even BEGINS to get creedence.

    Please, think of the bloggers.

  4. The last sitting Senator to be elected president was John F. Kennedy.  That was a really, really long time ago (even though I can still vividly remember where I was when I heard he was shot).

    Unless the Dems can find a flyover-state governor to carry the flag, they’re toast in ’08.

    1. I think it is a bit of a red herring to say that a senator can not be elected, because the last one was JFK. In fact, that is a bit of a misnomer, because LBJ was a senator before he became VP, and subsequently President.

      People like to think that the only way you can get elected is to have some sort of executive experience this day and age, but that too is a little off base. Nixon was never governor, although he tried. Carter was an obscure governor from a little southern state, much like clinton, who road the wave of discontent in and out of office. Clinton, in my opinion, leaned left and that, along with perot, helped get him in. His charisma kept him in though. Bush held the most constitutionally neutered governor position in the country. His win has more to do with other factors than his resume.

      There are many great dem leaders who could run and win, who are from the senate.  My two favorite contenders have pulled themselves, but Biden, Bayh, and others have a decent shot and I bet the dems will take it.

      1. The statement about Senators being unelectable. There have been four elections since JFK’s where the loser was a SITTING Senator (Goldwater ’64, McGovern ’72, Dole ’96, Kerry ’04). I think they count Humphrey (’68) too because he had been a Senator but wasn’t holding elected office at that time.

        My theory is that these men lost not so much because they were Senators as much as they were very prominent politicians whose positions were very well known to the people of the US. As such it was easy for their opponents to take advantage and emphasize the negative connotations of their positions. (Of course Nixon and Reagan were very well known when they won the Presidency too, but just about everyone else who has been elected since then was kind of unknown to the general electorate.

        1. I cant speak for McGovern or Goldwater as I have not researched them as much as I would have liked, but Dole and Kerry had at least one thing in common: Neither were very likable. I think that has a lot to do with election results when you are up against Clinton, who is extremely smart and charismatic; and bush who is the type of guy that people “would like to have a beer with.” More on this in my response to Ralphie.

          1. Dukakis. Governor, but defeated. Yes he was not up against a senator, but he lost. And he was greek! Apparently the US is not ready for my girlfriend’s people.

      2. That’s an unfair characterization.

        First, I said “sitting senator”.

        Second, LBJ was not ELECTED president from his position as VP.  He ascended to the presidency upon the death of Kennedy.  When he did run, it was neither as senator nor VP, it was as an incumbent president.

        You have to go back a long time before Kennedy to find the previous sitting senator who was elected president.  That was Warren Harding.  When Harding got elected, it had been more than 130 years since a sitting senator was elected president.

        I’ve never been one to confuse correlation with causation, however the “sitting senator” jinx is hard to ignore.

        There’s a nice article about it in Campaigns and Elections

        1. It was a bit of a mischaracterization on my part. Honestly, I am hearing it a lot, and while it does have historical precedence I think a lot of things will be different this time around.

          First of, there are a lot of senators who are thinking about throwing their hat into the ring. The article you linked to was a good read, and did offer some historical insight that I was unaware of (mea culpa). A few of the names listed can be effectively checked off, thankfully, but a lot still remain. Quantity doesnt mean quality, but you flip a coin often enough and sooner or later it will come up heads.

          Second, as the article mentioned senators often receive extra scrutiny because they cast so many votes. The oft-lampooned Kerry line “i voted for right before I voted against,” is the classic example. But times, they are a changing. Tester is a great example; he wants to repeal the patriot act. Feingold had a lot of respect because he didnt vote for that or the war, sadly not running. Voting records give us insight, but they can also show progression. And the political maturity of a candidate can play a large role in the upcoming election.

          Another aspect that I think will be big is the divide between the DNC and the DLC. Depending on which candidate takes which side could have a large impact on how things turn out.

    2. Senators have a hard time shedding that “Washington insider” label that for some reason people don’t want in a Pres. I know it intellectuaslly makes sense to have a Pres. who knows his way around DC, but more likely than not, the next President will be a governor or former governor. I think voters consider the skills necessary to be a good Governor similar to what it takes to be a good Pres.

      Recent Presidents:
      GW Bush – former Gov. of Texas
      Clinton – former Gov. of Arkansas
      GHW Bush – former VP and an Ambassador before that
      Reagan – former Gov. of California
      Carter – former Gov. of Georgia
      Ford – (never elected Pres)
      Nixon – former VP

      Also the people who seem to be tops of everyone’s lists very early (2 years out) generally do not get their party’s nominations. McCain has found himself in this position before and could again. I expect Hillary will be in the same boat.

      I think the more likely Dem candidates are some of our more experienced Governors out there. Gov. Vilsack (sp?) of Iowa has already (or is about to) formed an exploratory committee. Schweitzer of Montana would be a hoot simply for his humor. Richardson of NM is also an often mentioned potential POTUS candidate.

      Here is another historical trend: Guys with uncommon surnames don’t win. Since 1900 we have had had 4 Presidents with uncommon surnames: 2 Roosevelts, Coolidge, and Eisenhower. The first Roosevelt & Coolidge both became Pres. by succeeding a dead predecessor (McKinley & Harding). The 2nd Roosevelt had the advantage of the popularity of the 1st one (though a Mr. Michelheimerschmidt could have probably beaten Hoover), and Eisenhower, while not common, was a household name because of WWII. This does not bode well for Vilsack.

  5. while a consummate Washington insider, will always be perceived as an agent of change simply by being a woman.  The old boy’s network has had its day, indeed, its millenia.  It’s time to give the more intelligent sex a shot.

  6. If the dems, my party of choice, is going to win in ’08 there are some things that they need to do. First, they need to get rid of the DLC. It has done nothing ever. I take that back, it has done somethings, all of which helped the republicans and hurt the dems. Whether it be restraining Gore or leaking Kerry’s strategy on Ohio, they are not successful. Another notch in their anti-dem stance is there attacks on Dean, during 2004 and today. It is hurting the party and like any thing that causes pain they need to be dispatched.

    Next, They need to drop this race to the middle. When a candidate is put up that says I am just like my opponent, but I am a dem, they will lose. Harold Ford is the best example of this. What were the differences between him and Corker, besides party affiliation and skin color? Not much. Interestingly enough, Tester was markedly different than his opponent and won in a very “red state.” The reason why he won, in my opinion, was that he stood up for the things that he believed. He was unwavering in his opposition to the Patriot Act, call me crazy, but that is not a very conservative thing to do.

    In short, for a dem to win in ’08, they need to stop coveting the voters that wont vote for them. That is the FFFs and the Geckos (no offense). They need to state what they believe and keep on stating it. People can say that the new dems are conservative, I disagree. They represent their own values and the values of their constituents. Some liberal, some conservative, but all of them are their own.

    1. With a Dem Governor and two Dem Senators they must be having a wild party up there complete with Honda Civics, Marijuana, and tofu, right?

      You sound like you’ve done quite a bit of listening to Airhead America, by the way.  President Bush won the same amount of votes in Colorado as Beauprez and Ritter—COMBINED.  Don’t read too much into this year’s elections.  Your liberal pipedream for Colorado is nothing more than a pipedream.  It’s amazing what whacky stuff ideologs think up.  You really believe a died-in-the-wool liberal can win in America let alone Colorado?  Seriously?

      I’m willing to admit that a really solid, center-right, independent Democrat in the mold of John Salazar would do great here.  Ken Salazar wrote an essay about how he won in a red state and it’s all about talking to the people and independence.  He’s hardly an ideologue and he won because of it. 

      I don’t know about the DLC or anything of that sort.  But I know that if you’re rockin’ with Obama or jumping aboard the H-train you’re headed straight for a wall.  Look at America.  Look at Colorado.  How many stellar leading-liberals do you see out there that are popular.  Rasmussen did a poll that showed approval of both Hastert and Pelosi at about 23%.  She’s your glory gal at 23%?  Woo-hoo.

      It’s that silly lack of pragmatism and overdose of East Coast liberalism that’s put you guys off the reservation.  We have not had a liberal president since Carter for a reason!  We have not had a liberal majority in the country or the state since Carter for a reason! 

      Toodle-oo.

      1. Why are you so obtuse? Are you intentionally belligerant and ignorant or do you just play one on this site?

        When you realize that turnouts for pres elections and off year elections are vastly different then come talk to me. Actually, when you put down the bible and pull your head out of your ass and realize that this country is not and does not want to be a christian Iran, then we can have a discussion. You want a debate about policy that is fine, but your vitriol and ad homs are intellectually lazy and the sign of a defeatist attitude.

        So keep on talking about air america and east coast liberalism. I’ll contentedly  sit here with my majority in both houses and a lame duck repub. president. Enjoy the next two years. I know I will.

        1. The collective liberal head will explode when impeachment, the Ritter gay bonanza, and the immediate withdrawal from Iraq doesn’t quite work out.

          You misunderestimated Bush once, twice and…..

          Fool me once…..

          I hope you’re going to sit back for this ride.  I’m afraid you may be losing your lunch soon enough.

          1. What the eff are you rambling on about?  Pelosi and Dean have both said,”No impeachment.”  And Iraq is working so well that any alternative is stupid? Ritter gay bonanza?  Where does this come from?  It was Re-pubes and Evangs that were forced out of the closet.  (And Barney Frank is now a senator, neener neener.)

            No, we did NOT misunderstand Bush. WE got him.  And now if he wants to get a glass of water he will have to ask permission.

      2. Bush got 1.1 million votes to Kerry’s 1.0 million votes.  Combined Beauprez and Ritter will have about 1.4 million votes.  You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

    2. If the voters like a candidate they can disagree on a host of issues and still win. I think Dems should give Richardson a serious look.  He is very likable, experienced, and successful.  I think Moderate R’s and a lot of Unaffiliated voters would vote for him.

      Obama is very likable but lacks experience and yes, there is the issue of racism in both parties. 

      Hillary?  She is every R’s wet dream.  Please run her. She has to do something with all that money.

      On the R side, Mitt looks good but don’t underestimate how Fundies view Mormons.  Many believe Mormonism is a cult, and won’t see him as a Christian Conservative.  Conservatives hate McCain, he won’t get through the primary.  Guliani can’t get through the primary either, too much baggage and that whole abortion issue.  Newt? He is too feared and has too much baggage as well.  Allen imploded.  Who is left? 

      1.   Jeb and Condi…….although I seriously doubt that there are any circumstances under which Jeb would allow himself to be drafted for the GOP nomination.  He understands that the nation is pretty much Bush-wacked after the last six years.
          Condi would have a problem with her position on social issues.  (Rumor has it, she’s pro-choice.)  Her race would be a problem with the Trent Lott-David Duke faction of the Republican Party.  And there would be questions about her marital status, and you know what kind of speculation (groundless or otherwise) that would lead to…..

      2. a few months ago they were having a discussion about Mott’s Mormon beliefs and how it would affect his presidential hopes.  I was raised a mormon, and have a heavily mormon family, so the subject always interests me.

        I was realy surprised at the vitrol spewed his direction because of it.  One uber-fundi even said that he would rather vote for Hillary because everyone already knew she was evil.

        Sadly, Mitt hasn’t got even a Mormon prayer to make it through the primaries.

        1.   I have a hard time working up much sympathy for Mitt Romney as victim of discrimination.  I’m so sorry that his gay bashing hasn’t endeared him enough to the right wing nuts to such a degree that they’ll overlook his religious beliefs.
            And for what it’s worth, his bizarre religious beliefs are no stranger than those of the fundis.  (I read that one member of the panel monitoring Ted Haggard’s “progress” towards wholesome heterosexuality speaks in tongues! That’s a tough act to follow….)

          1. Mitt is a great reminder to all of the right wing Mormons that they have been sleeping with the enemy.  Many have been counting themselves as a part of the christian conservative community. My family has been very hopefull for Romney to positavely represent Mormons on the national stage, but I think that they are going to be reminded of the hate and persecution by the fundi’s that they experienced in the early days of their church.  Maybe they will wake up a bit… 

  7. Nice to see my post sparked some good comments.  Some thoughts:

    1- not that it matters much, but I’m not a professor.  I’m a research scientist who has lived and worked in academia and government (as a Hill staffer on the Senate side) and spent most of my life in the west, including CA, OR, MT and CO.  (Sorry dwyer, “pointy headed effite ivy tower elite” is somebody else….whatever “effite” means.  I’m guessing I’ve shot more animals than you and I’m sure I’ve spent more time off my computer and in the woods than you.  Not sure if that’s what it takes to shore up my “westerner” cred, but, well, I guess I don’t care that much either.)

    2- I get a sense from the reply strings that the consensus is that nobody is really sure who can be a good D POTUS candidate (here or country-wide).  The only certainty seems to be that Hil is DOA.  I wasn’t ready to agree to that until I read the Josh Green article on her in this month’s Atlantic Monthly.  The only “on paper” potential candidate that looks to me like an amalgamation of the freshmen D’s who won the House back is Wes Clark, but I’m not sure of his gravitas.  My suspicion is running toward Gore. Others around my office who have spent time on the Hill saw Inconvenient Truth and came out of it saying, “there’s no way he’s not going to run.”

    3- I saw some comments here and on my original post that I think missed the point about why the D ’08 candidate should want to win out here (some of you may not have clicked over the original — there was more than was printed here).  It’s simply this: the Mountain West and the midwest are the only block of states I see as really swingable.  Keep every other state in the US the same color it was in ’04 but swing a few of the Mountain West states and bingo, you have a wiener.  (Or, just win Ohio, which may be easier, considering how close Kerry got and how the tide turned so hard there in this election.)

    4- As for McCain, “McCain Democrats” is a term I’ve been pushing around for a few months, too.  I think he’s going hard conservative right now (did you see his “I’m a conservative!” quote the other day?), then will get much more moderate later if/once he’s wrapped up the R nom.  (Obviously…that’s what Bush did in 2000.)  But unlike Bush, McCain will have moderate legs to stand on, as he’ll highlight his pushes for climate change legislation and other such….  (FWIW, I sat behind McCain in enough CST hearings and worked with his staff a lot, so I think I have a sense of where he’s going.  On the Hill you judge people by their staff and McCain’s staff I’d describe as pretty damn moderate.  By that token, Chafee’s staff was as Dem as they come….)

    5- Dan Willis hit the nail on the head: “Also the people who seem to be tops of everyone’s lists very early (2 years out) generally do not get their party’s nominations. McCain has found himself in this position before and could again. I expect Hillary will be in the same boat.”

    1. My comment about “pointy head…etc” was an attempt to be humorous…a horrendous failure. (The reference goes all the way back to Spiro Agnew)  But,  don’t take yourself so seriously.  I know the Hill is a humor free zone but you are out here in Big Sky country, now.  No, I am not a hunter. And that is important because? 

      My point is that the successful Democrats in the West are notable because they are not easily pigeonholed.  Because the region has been such a backwater, we have been spared the consultants and the focus groups and the “selling the candidate like soap.” Your post sounded as if it were time for dems in the West to come up with an ideal candidate…one part Salazar; one part Richardson, throw in some Ritter…etc.  I find that as pretenious as it is counterproductive. You know,  Jerry Brown won the democratic presidential preference  primary in Colorado in 1992….could do it again.

      What would be good to hear from you is a description of what a sound energy public policy might look like or which candidate you supported in 2004 and why.

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