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December 29, 2005 09:00 AM UTC

The 2005 Polsie Awards: Winners

  • by: Colorado Pols

Since every other media outlet on the planet is doing their year-in-review, we didn’t want to be left out. We’ll start today with our 2005 Winners, and tomorrow we’ll reveal our 2005 Losers in Colorado politics. On Monday, we’ll give you our picks for the politicos who have the most at stake in 2006.

The 2005 Colorado Polsie Awards

And the Winners are…

U.S. Senator Ken Salazar (D)

Salazar started the year as a freshman senator from Colorado, and ended the year as one of the major players in Washington D.C. Thanks in part to well-deflected attacks from Focus on the Family, Salazar stood atop the national stage over the confirmation with Supreme Court Justice John Roberts and continues to be in the thick of things on virtually every major national issue emanating from the Capitol. You could make a case that there is no member of Colorados congressional delegation with more national influence right now than Salazar. Not bad for a junior senator.

Congressman Tom Tancredo (R)

While Tancredo is approaching the line that defines passion and lunacy, and may have crossed it on several occasions (remember Bomb Mecca?), theres no doubt that 2005 was the coming-out party for the Colorado congressman. With recent front-page stories from the likes of The New York Times and an upcoming Presidential bid, Tancredo is getting the spotlight for his drumbeat on immigration reform  even if he isnt doing any of the actual heavy lifting himself.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper (D)

Theres no argument that Hickenlooper is the most popular politician in Colorado at the moment, and everything he touches these days seems to turn to gold. His commercials during the 2005 elections were well-received, he was named one of the nations best mayors, and even the negative stories that come out of Denver never seem to make a direct hit. If he runs for governor, its his race to lose, because in 2005 Hick cemented his place at the top of the Colorado political ladder.

Gubernatorial Candidate Marc Holtzman (R)

Can Holtzman win the governors race? Thats a 2006 question. For 2005, nobody had a better political year when you consider where Holtzman started. When we first reported that Holtzman was running for governor this time last year, we had to Google him to make sure we were thinking about the same person. One year later, his name ID is high enough and he has raised enough money that he has a legitimate shot at winning the governors race. Since he was a virtual unknown at the end of 2004, wed say that 2005 was a good year for Holtzman.

Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff (D)

No politician had more at stake with Referenda C&D than Romanoff, who had essentially tied his entire political career to TABOR reform. It was an up-and-down year for Mr. Speaker, but overall things ended on a high note. He started 2005 as the golden boy of the Democratic Party after the stunning 2004 election victories that gave Democrats control of the legislature, but by the end of the 2005 session he had angered some constituencies, including organized labor, for not doing enough for traditional Democratic friends. But the Referendum C victory was his crowing achievement that trumps any other troubles, and that makes 2005 a good year for Romanoff  even if he doesnt have anywhere to go from here.

Check back tomorrow as the 2005 Colorado Polsie Awards continue with the Losers of 2005. In the meantime, give us YOUR winners for 2005 in the comments section below.


46 thoughts on “The 2005 Polsie Awards: Winners

  1. Nice move, dead Dem govs…announcing as “winners” the two Republicans who have done the most to disrupt the GOP over the last year.  The Democratic Party can only hope for Tancredo and Holtzman’s further “success” as those two continue to damage the GOP.

  2. Ken Salazar will be the Dem nominee for VP in 2008.  Bank on it.

    Red stater.  Hispanic.  Demonstrated ability to bring folks on both sides of the aisle together.  Not afraid to call the big, bad, religious right on their antics.  He is the perfect package for whomever the D’s nominate…

  3. No Hillary.  Please, no more dynasties.

    I truly think Tancredo is a winner in politics this year, despite his ongoing attempts at in(s)anity.  The fact that we’re even debating immigration issues at a level deeper than Bush’s attempts at creating a legitimized version of illegal immigration for corporations is an indication that Tancredo is a “winner”, no matter how divisive, over-the-top, or pick-your-favorite-adjective he might be.

  4. From a purely political point of view, Another T, Salazar beats Obama.  A-There are now more Hispanics than blacks.  B-blacks tend to vote Democratic en banc, at least when they bother to vote at all.  Obama might energize them, but Salazar would do the same to Hispanics — who are more likely to be swing voters and hence would help the Ds more if they turned out for Hillary/Salazar.
    On the other hand, the Veeps traditional role is the modest one of bringing your home state into the fold.  Colorado’s 9 electoral votes lags Ill-noise’s 21, for sure.  But Salazar, as a westerner, could help energize western voters 9who include many hispanics and have a regional impact.
    None of that takes away from my respect for Obama, frankly I think he’s a better senator than finger-to-the-wind Ken Salazar.  But Salazar would add more to the ticket. 
      Of course, if we’re taking about energizing traditionally excluded voters, how about Hillary?
    Isn’t it time we recognized that women, as 53 percent of the electorate and about 85 percent of the brains in this country, deserve a share of the power?  If the Rs don’t like her, let them come back with Liddy Dole or Condoleeza Rice at the top of their ticket.

  5. There at least I can agree, Voyageur.  I do think it’s time to see a woman leader.  And I’d vote for Hillary over pretty much all of the GOP field right now, despite my cringing about dynasties.  Salazar is an interesting VP choice; as you note, he only brings 9EV to the table directly, but he would bring out the Hispanic vote in FL, NM, AZ, NV and other key states.  Obama wouldn’t deliver IL, because IL is already a Dem state.

    Your two GOP offerings on the female side are questionable: Liddy’s going to be crucified over her handling of the NRSC at this rate, and Condi wont’t win the primary battle.  My guess the GOP will front up with either McCain (if they don’t smear him again), or Hagel.  Interestingly enough, both candidates are making at least some noises against the war as currently implemented, torture, and other Presidential abuses of power.  But I don’t see anyone else emerging from the top of the pack yet on that side.

  6. No Hillary, please!

    My preference would be Evan Bayh/Ken Salazar or Mark Warner/Ken Salazar. 

    If you want a woman, then Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landreu or Janet Napolitano would all be better choices than Hillary.

  7. No Hillary, please!

    My preference would be Evan Bayh/Ken Salazar or Mark Warner/Ken Salazar. 

    If you want a woman, then Blanche Lincoln, Mary Landreu or Janet Napolitano would all be better choices than Hillary.

  8. I’d love to see McCain or, failing that, Hagel. 
    But God help the Grand Old Party is it’s a Romney  (proof enough of your anti-dynasty worries, he’s no George Romeny, that’s for sure) or heaven forgend Bill “I saw a dead woman on TV and she looked great to me, speaking as a doctor” Frist.
    What’s interesting about Hillary, to me, is she would continue the Bill Clinton pattern of reigning in the Ds from the far-left.  But if you do nominate a man and don’t at least put someone like Diane Feinstein in number two, the Ds will continue to show they are living in the past.
    Hell, with my luck, it’s going to be John Edwards vs. Bill Frist.  Can I borrow your forester to move to Canada in that case?

  9. Evan Bayh? Why another spineless DLC Dem – haven’t we learned anything? If we’re going the DLC route I’d much prefer Warner over Hilary or Bayh or Biden.

    I’ll support Feingold in the primary, knowing full well he won’t be the nominee.

    As for Salazar – sure would be nice to see him become the VP nominee at the DNC in Denver.

    The GOP side is very interesting. Who comes out of that primary? Rudy is too moderate for the wingnuts, we all know the problems McCain will have. I think George Allen is a real possibility but the rumor mill is already abuzz about his homosexual tendencies – that could sink him.

  10. Hadn’t heard the rumor that Allen was gay, 3BM.  So far, that’s about the only reason I have for NOT being against his possible candidacy.  Rudy is my kind of Republican, but the reality is that my kind of Republican doesn’t win nominations, at least not since John Love left the fray.  OK, Arnold Schwarzenegger, but in addition to being constitutionally barred from running for president, I think America’s headline writers would vote against him en masse.

  11. I think we may be a bit far removed from VA for the Allen rumors to make much of an impact here but my friends on both sides of the aisle in VA say there are very strong rumors.

    True or not it’s interesting that the slime machine is already working on him.

    I think Rudy is a winner in the general but not in the primary – that’s the catch-22 of current GOP politics.

  12. “Evan Bayh? Why another spineless DLC Dem – haven’t we learned anything?”

    Yes we have.  They are the only types of Dems who can win…  Witness Clinton (2x’s) and Gore (majority vote in ’00).

    Incidentally, standing up for moderate positions does not make one spineless.

  13. Another interesting option:  Gov. Richardson in NM is supposedly in the Presidential hunt, but chances are he won’t make the primary cut.  He would be a good alternative Hispanic VP candidate, and he’d keep Salazar in his important (to Dems) Senate seat.

    Rudy’s slipped a bit of late; he might be able to pull off a primary win if the GOP locals pull off a coup in 2006-8 and dump the Christian NWO… Otherwise you’re right – my kind of Republican doesn’t win primaries any more, either.

    Finally: no Ahnold, please!  I’d be dreaming Demolition Man for months, fearing that every time I turned around I’d find my favorite restaurants turned into Taco Bell.

  14. Bayh has a great message for the Midwest; he understands his people and knows how to talk to the average home in his region.  I’m not sure how he’ll play to the cityfolk, but since our first three contests are still looking like Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire, he might do well in the early races.

    You really think Gore was a centrist?  I wouldn’t put up money on that.

    Personally, the DLC has outlived its functionality; it sounds more and more like the apologist wing of the Democratic Party every day.  We could do just as well with a more Progressive approach and some better framing.

  15. Clinton won because he was the greatest politican of his generation. Gore didn’t win.

    Tell me, besides Clinton winning in 92 and 96 what else was happening to Dems nationally? Once the DLC consultants, pollsters, and candidates became ingrained the party started to get it’s ass kicked in Gubernatorial races, state legislatures, and Congress. Too often Dems focus only on the Presidential races to the detriment of the Party as a whole.

    The problem with the DLC crew is not necessarily their policies (though I strenously disagree with their centrist message – see Thomas Frank’s “Kansas” book) but they way they let themselves get out campaigned and bullied by the GOP.

    The DLC campaign methodology is to run polls, determine what the most popular positions are with voters, and run on those positions/issues. That is spineless and that is why the general perception of the Democratic Party is that they stand for nothing.

    Look at the way Hilary has been acting on Iraq – tell me what her position is on the war.

  16. Personally, the DLC has outlived its functionality; it sounds more and more like the apologist wing of the Democratic Party every day. We could do just as well with a more Progressive approach and some better framing.

    Well said.

    With the rise of the DLC came an entire culture of pundits, pollsters, and consultants who have a miserable won-loss record. That culture needs to change in order for the party to get back on the winning track. I am a firm believer in the politics of contrast and hope to see the Dems move in that direction – and in a non-strident/screaming banchie manner.

    Amy Sullivan wrote an excellent piece on this issue of the losing DLC culture in the last 6 months or so – I’ll see if I can find it.

  17. Hillary’s position on the war is, no matter how dumb it was to go in there, we can’t betray the millions of Araqis who put their faith in us after the war and leave them to die at the hands of Baath revanchists.
    It’s not only her position, it’s mine and, I think, the only possible position in light of American honor.  Yes, it’s the china shop rule…you break it, you own it.

  18. I don’t think that’s actually her position V. She’s very non-commital on the issue.

    If someone can show me where she has taken a firm stand on Iraq I’d love to see it. She’s straddling the fence on the issue – on one hand she talks about how she doesn’t regret her vote and then on the other she talks about being misled. On one hand she talks about staying the course, on the other she talks about the mismanagement of the war.

    It’s a very nuanced position that is extremely confusing.

  19. The problem is, Hillary hasn’t been willing to say much about how dumb it was to go in there in the first place.

    I’ve been a proponent of the Geneva Convention theory on Iraq, which has turned into the china shop rule.  But at some point, unless we make some radical changes, we will not be able to sustain nevermind improve our situation there.  I think the best we can hope for is that the new Iraqi government (if it lasts long enough) decides it would rather have help from Iran and tells us to get lost.  And no, I don’t think that’s a good solution.  When asked how to get to a solid postion in Iraq, Mark Udall basically responds: “don’t start where we are now.”  And that’s where we find ourselves…

  20. Mark Warner is the obvious choice if all of us Dems want to get realistic and vote for someone who is electable to a wide population. 
    How electable is Ken Salazar nationwide?  His political beliefs will fly but I’m not sure the cowboy from Colorado persona will hold up nationwide.

  21. the cowboy from Colorado

    what about the cowboy from Texas or the cowboy from Wyoming that are currently running the country? That seemed to work out okay.

  22. Mark Warner is the obvious choice if all of us Dems want to get realistic and vote for someone who is electable to a wide population. 
    How electable is Ken Salazar nationwide?  His political beliefs will fly but I’m not sure the cowboy from Colorado persona will hold up nationwide.

  23. Mark Warner is the obvious choice if all of us Dems want to get realistic and vote for someone who is electable to a wide population. 
    How electable is Ken Salazar nationwide?  His political beliefs will fly but I’m not sure the cowboy from Colorado persona will hold up nationwide.

  24. Oy Vey, another good man falls victim to the multi-le post problem caused by this incredibly clunkly interface.  Don’t worry, jmah, it happens.
    But in terms of the world hating cowboys, let me just say you’re wrong — ten times!

  25. I like Hillary well enough, but nominating her is about the only way the Dems can lose in ’08, if things continue on as the have the past couple years.  Unless the Repubs nominate McCain, who I think would have a great shot against any one in a general, warts and all.

    Like JMAH, I rate Warner’s a strong pick for the Dems.  Richardson’s star seems to have faded a bit, but maybe that’s just the baseball idiocy speaking.  I see him more as a rival to Salazar as a VP pick, for very much the same reasons.

    Regardless, its going to be a lot of fun to watch.  No heir apparant on either side.

  26. George Allen gay? Are yall serious?  He’s like the straightest man I’ve ever met.  He chews tobacco (which might be an actual problem for somebody running for president), loves football, has three kids, a beautiful wife.  That is a complete slander and nothing else.  totally ludicrous

  27. What’s the Matter with Kansas is a perceptive and useful book.  But the conclusion that Democrats will rule if only they hew to a far left…excuse me, “progressive” … program defies history.  Jay Lovestone, in his communist days, was much closer with his theory of American exceptionalism.

  28. Do you really get the impression that Frank is advocating some sort of far-left platform? I don’t at all. It’s a principled message but not one that is really all that far-left.

  29. Not far left in the sense of outright socialism, but unremittingly liberal, tbm.  His dissection of right-wing conceits is lethal, but the fact is that Democrats who win in this state, like Salazar, keep the Dennis Kucinich types chained in the basement.

  30. Why I think that Obama is too junior to run for pres. this time he would make a great vp. I prefer him to Salazar because while salzar may add more electability (although Obama is a great speaker) is that Obama is a Liberal and the sort of Insperational person who could revive the liberal movement.

  31. It’s nice to see your lovefest of Romanoff continue.  I think someone there has a serious crush on him.  He’s been a terrible leader.  First off, he didn’t have anything to do with the 04 victories (I wish you guys would at least admit that.)  Nada.  Alice Madden played that role.  He couldn’t run a caucus in session – the lobby community couldn’t stand him (not just labor).  The Senate had to cut the C&D deal with the Gov.  While he held town hall meetings in small town Colorado (only Ken Gordon’s antics were more useless) the Gov. and other real players raised the money and developed the strategy to get C passed.  Why does the lovefest continue?  Call a spade a spade.  Andrew Romanoff is the most overrated politician in Colorado.

  32. Hi;

    In modern times, we have elected people from one of three categories as president, with JFK the only exception to this rule:
    1. Governors
    2. People with experience running large government organizations (Eisenhower, Bush I)
    3. Vice Presidents who became president due to the death of the president.

    Even Bush’s victory (if you can call it that) over Gore as well as his victory over Kerry followed this rule.

    To win, the Democrats almost certainly need to nominate a governor or ex cabinet secretary. Hillary might be able to be an exception, but I don’t think any other Democrat has a prayer.

    So, to win, for better or for worse, we’re left with the governor’s we have that are very competent and very good politicians.

    – dave

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