Ritter’s Gift to Republicans

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Engineering has a principle called KISS — Keep It Simple Stupid.  I guess there is no corollary in the law or in Ritter’s experience.  Choose the most qualified, experienced, skilled and willing candidate who can run a campaign, serve the constituency well and keep getting elected.  Every opposition candidate’s nightmare.

Ritter had at least a half-dozen candidates that fit the bill.  

Ok, so Ritter’s contrary enough to reject the easy way to solidify Democratic party gains in Colorado.  What’s next?

The race for both the Governor’s office and this Senate seat in ’10 has already begun.  It’s going to be extraordinarily expensive and bloody, I believe. Unnecessarily so IMO — but, so be it.

Presuming Bennet is not a placeholder (or a bone tossed at the other senate hopefuls to keep them out of the Governor’s race), what can he do to win his first election?

It seems Bennet’s fate will be tied to Obama’s, not so much Ritter’s (the ‘pubs will try to do both anyway, particularly to whomever is the weaker politically).  So he should join himself to Obama’s hip by being seen bringing federal dollars to Colorado in the way of energy, transportation, educational infrastructure and defense projects (especially to the Western Slope or the ‘burbs) with full PR fanfare is paramount.

Appealing to independents by being on the forefront of fixing NCLB through common sense measurement standards, while maintaining accountability; working to improve accountability and efficiency in government, and modernizing our information systems for greater visibility and accountability (healthcare, education and open government budgeting).

Leave the bleeding heart liberal issues to the other candidates (even if some are near and dear to many of us, they’ll either get done or not depending on the economy and the labors of the other 57 (D) Senators).  Bennet doesn’t need to lead on those.

With his connections, and political insider experience, I suspect he’ll have plenty of people to draw upon to fill both his Senate staff as well as his campaign staff.  He’s plenty sharp to know what talent he’ll need to support the Herculean challenges he faces in the coming 24 months.

I think fundraising will be the least of Bennet’s problems.  Thank goodness for small favors!

I don’t know that 24 months (or about 2 weeks, depending on when you start counting) will be long enough for anyone, no matter how talented, to build the organization and track record to win re-election.  So the doors are wide open to not just every Republican, but to many highly qualified Democrats that smell blood in the water.

It’s probably too much to hope that Dick Wadhams will deliver another election to us on a silver platter.  We are about to find out just how “Blue” Colorado has become.


76 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Another skeptic says:

    Seems unlikely to me, but I’m not a Dem.

    Will GOP have a primary?

    I’m not a Repub, but seems likely.

    Can the Republicans come up with a candidate who has both good name recognition in the state and a reputation for being more than a political hack?

    Seems unlikely, but we can hope.

  2. ptarmigan says:

    So Ritter’s charge was to “solidify Democratic party gains” in Colorado?  

    I think not, and why should he worry about Party concerns?  The party, if I remember correctly, was late in jumping on his bandwagon, desperately searching all the while for someone they REALLY liked to run as Gov.  He won w/ a more centrist coalition, one he still plays to.

    The Bennet pick is very much consistent w/ Ritter’s  evident philosophy.  Bennet will also have to run from that same centrist place – Colorado is purple, not blue.  He’ll have the war chest, organization, and smarts to win in 2010.  I predict no primary.

  3. Jambalaya says:

    …unless something major happens (along the lines of a Republican-style sex scandal), Bennet won’t face a serious primary challenge.  Hell, Ritter, Salazar, Salazar, and Udall just endorsed Bennet for 2010.  What serious Dem would volunteer to run against that brick wall?  Career suicide is not a noble cause.

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    We can all come up with someone we think would have been better. But I don’t see it being a big difference.

    First off, one of the most successful Dem politicians in the state picked Bennet. Based on his track record I’m going to trust that Ritter’s selection is solid.

    Second, while Bennet does not have a campaign staff, he’ll get a good one very fast. And he also does not have a voting record that the Republican’s would twist out of context and then hammer him on.

    The guy also effected wrenching change in DPS without everyone turning out with torches & pitchforks to crucify him. That shows tremendous political skill.

    • dwyer says:

      Bennet was the tool of BDM which demanded and got the change…there was no power or money for anyone to oppose him….a bunch of poor kids got thrown to the wind…that doesn’t take political skill……it would have taken personal integrity NOT to toss the poorly perfoming kids to the four winds….Bennet took the easy way out.

      Have you ever been to Denver?  You take the Boulder Turnpike east, turn south on I25 and get off at Speer.  You could visit a DPS school. Even talk to someone who actually has had contact with Bennet et.al, who is not a rich, politically well connected dem….

      • BoulderDem says:

        I suspect it’s dead wrong, but that doesn’t matter. Is it widely held among minority or other groups in Denver? He can’t have a hole in his base, or he’s sunk from day one.

        • dwyer says:

          The minority community, IMHO, is well integrated into the so-called power structure.  The social structure in Denver is very different from that of Boulder.  There are not independent minority advocate groups.  The suggestion that there are or that they have any power, independently,  is simply not true.  Their leaders, if any, are part of the so-called “power elite.” Pena was the first Hispanic mayor of Denver years ago. He carried the Obama banner well.  Webb was the first black mayor and he was a strong Clinton supporter.

          When Manual High School was closed, a group of black ministers showed up at the BOE meeting, sang “We shall overcome” to protest the closing….and then nothing else happened…..

          Poor kids in Denver don’t have groups which support them.  Many of them are the childlren of illegals and the parents are scared to be vocal or visible.  There are various funded groups which posture to speak for these kids, but they go along to get along….

          My anger at Dave, and I should apologize for the harshness of my tone, is that Bennet is not a hero for closing schools.  He didn’t close schools where rich kids go.  He closed the schools with large minority and poor populations.  He established a committee which had everyone and his brother on it…including Pena and Webb…to make recommendations on which schools to close.  That is how you “co-op” the minority community..

          Now, closing schools may well have been necessary; however, what pisses me off is that Bennet did not plan for transition with these kids.  He tossed the kids into new configurations which may or may  not work.  In Bennet’s DPS, the plans are always for the kids who might come tomorrow, not for the kids caught in the mishmash today.   Let me give you an example,  he closed some schools and consolidated the population in another school which has elementary kids walking further to get to school across Leetsdale, one of Denver’s most dangerous streets. Sadly, a high school student was killed crossing that street a few months ago.  Some parents protested, that is why I even know about it.  But poor parents in DPS have no power.

          I don’t like Bennet, but I have no illusions about what kind of power he will now yield.  You see, I live in Denver. I know what power smells like.

  5. CrazyFox says:

    Suthers has already announced and is apparently already putting together a campaign/fundraising team.  Given that he’s already run and won statewide, he’s probably doing enough to scare off any serious (ie: who cares what tancredo does) challenge.  McInnis can’t contend in a primary, Beauprez can’t win a general, and Dan Caplis is, well, Dan Caplis.  Did I miss anyone legit?

  6. dwyer says:

    You  repubs have that silver tongued fox…D. Caplis…

  7. Ranger77 says:

    From 1997:

    Susan Diane Daggett, a daughter of Patricia B. Palmer of Little Rock, Ark., and Jesse B. Daggett of Marianna, Ark., was married yesterday to Michael Farrand Bennet, a son of Douglas J. Bennet Jr. of Middletown, Conn., and Susanne K. Bennet of Washington. The Rev. Arnold W. Hearn, an Episcopal priest, performed the ceremony at Crystal Lake in Marianna.

    The bride, 33, a lawyer, is to join the Earthjustice Legal Defense Fund, formerly the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, in Denver next month. Ms. Daggett, who is keeping her name, graduated magna cum laude from Mount Holyoke College, and she and the bridegroom received law degrees from Yale University.

    Her mother is a painter and an instructor at the Arkansas Art Center’s Museum School in Little Rock. Her father is a partner in Daggett, VanDover, Donovan & Perry, a Little Rock law firm.

    Mr. Bennet, 32, was until recently a counsel to the Deputy Attorney General of the United States. He graduated with honors from Wesleyan University.

    His father is the president of Wesleyan; he was the Assistant Secretary of State for international organizations in 1993 and 1994 and the president of National Public Radio from 1983 until 1992. The bridegroom’s mother is an art historian specializing in Roman antiquities.  

  8. Bondo says:

    As long as a statewide candidate has a D by their name, they are going to win. I keep telling you guys this is a blue state, but you keep acting like one has to make decisions with the Republicans in mind.

  9. sxp151 says:

    Anyone know if he spent time in Boulder? If he’s a liberal?

    Nobody’s won a first-time election in Colorado for years without being one or both.

    I smell exciting Democratic primary in 2010! And it smells like patchouli…

  10. …that I will stand on street corners for, make hundreds of personal calls, and knock on doors for, should they announce for US Senate:

    Bob Schaffer

    Mike May

    David Balmer

    Jerry Sonnenberg

    Matt Smith

    Stella Garza Hicks

    The above six people are AWESOME, hard working, LOVE COLORADO, and top quality — I’m throwing some major wild cards in there (Sonnenberg, Garza Hicks) but wanted to show some public love for those that I want leading our Party in the future

    I’ve never personally met John Suthers, but he surrounds himself with good people, which reflects well on him

    Caplis and Eid look like good folks, but again, they’ve never ran for office before… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… running for HD56 was much harder than I thought… good luck to any political-novice that thinks they can run for US Senate as their first race… that’s just a recipe for disaster… seriously, at least run for County School Board first and knock on a few hundred doors… you’ll either love it or hate it, but it’s terrible to have that epiphany during a US Senate race

    Lastly — I’m definitely a socially-liberal Republican, but I’m getting really sick of ‘moderate’ Republicans who dramaqueen that our Party is too right wing — my message to those ‘moderates’ is to shut up and run, like I did… I believe our Republican Party should be more socially-liberal and inclusive, but I ran to make that change, I didn’t sit in a big office in Denver and dramqueen… that’s the only way we’ll change our Party

    peace and love all!  

  11. Barron X says:


    Evan Dryer, Bill Ritter said weeks ago that the appointment would be used for the good of the State, not the good of the Party.  

    Look it up.

    Ritter apparently thought that it was important enough to do something about the problems the nation faces to appoint the person who he thought would do the best job.  

    If you put the good of the Party ahead of the good of the Nation, then these last few days at Colorado Pols make sense.

    Otherwise, not so much.


    • harrydoby says:

      … but I also make no bones about the fact that we could have had the best of both worlds (from my admittedly partisan point-of-view).

      As I and many others have pointed out, serving the best interests of Colorado and the nation with a similar brilliant dedication to a middle-of-the-road record could have been accomplished by a few other candidates without the risk of intra-party in-fighting that this appointment poses.

      • RedGreen says:

        I appreciate your perspective, but do you seriously think if Ritter had tapped Hickenlooper, Perlmutter or Romanoff, that we would’ve been spared intra-party in-fighting? That’s a sincere question, but I also have an answer in mind.

        • harrydoby says:

          … that knowingly or not, Ritter may have given this “gift” a 2010 expiration date.  I’m ready to support Michael Bennet, but yes, I do feel the struggle for re-election would have been vastly less, and for equal, if not better results, policy-wise.

  12. parsingreality says:

    When Vern Buchanan was elected two years ago he called the RNC and asked for the names of the best congressional aides from losing districts.

    He picked up experienced, top notch aides in a few days.  No learning curve beyond how to spell “Buchanan.”  Damned smart.

    Although I’m a die hard liberal Democrat, Vern is unpredictable enough to like, grudgingly.  He refused the White House free knee pads and goes his own way.  I can live with that.  

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