Ok, Colorado Politics – lets hit one of the state senate primaries. Up here in the People’s Republic the Republicans don’t even have a sacrificial lamb. So the primary truly is it.
We have 2 good candidates running for SD-18. I will be fine with either one representing us in the legislature. But when we get the ballot we have to choose. And the ballots get mailed soon.
First off, here is how I see them:
Cindy Carlisle – Cindy is a firecracker. Tremendous energy and that will make her one of the most active Senators under the dome. And she is ready to go in and solve our energy and health-care issues in the state. Not tweak things a little – but fix the damn things. Will she come up short? Probably. But she will find out exactly how much is doable by trying for everything. And with her energy level, she might just pull it off.
Rollie Heath – Rollie takes things one step at a time. And his background is from an executive perspective, both in the jobs he has held and the race he ran (for governor). This makes him take the high-level view of issues as opposed to diving into the details. He leans towards finding consensus in solutions. He will accomplish more of his goals, but he will not push the envelope as much.
But there are two other issues that I think bear strongly on this race. The first is experience. Candidates do not spring from the womb as exceptional politicians. Regardless of native talent, it takes practice and practice, and even more practice to get better. Cindy & Rollie are both good, but neither is great. In my interviews with most of our elected officials, I have found that as you move up the food chain, they get better. That makes sense as they have run for more offices, have spent more time in office – they have a lot more experience at this.
This office is Rollie’s swan song. He clearly has no intention of running for anything after the Senate. Now there is value in that as he will put 100% into his job in the Senate. But his improvement stays there.
Cindy is on a roll. If she does well in the Senate, I have no doubt she’ll be running for something else when her terms in the Senate end. It could be the U.S. Congress. It could be Secretary of State or Treasurer or ???. If we elect Cindy, we build up our bench. I think with a couple of terms in the Senate she could be a very good politician. We may not care about that tomorrow – but we will care a lot in 8 – 12 years.
Second, Cindy’s clear commitment to liberalism. Mark Udall’s noxious vote on FISA brought home how important it is on some questions to do what’s right rather than what’s expedient. Cindy will fight the good fight even if she’s going to lose. Rollie will be compromising to craft legislation that can pass. Sometimes compromise is called for. But sometimes it’s not. And with Cindy we will see the principled stand, maybe too often, but better too often than almost never.