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January 07, 2009 07:55 PM UTC

Schumer Heart Bennet--Who The Hell Cares?

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Rocky Mountain News reports:

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, praised Bennet’s selection on Tuesday, despite political analysts – both Democratic and Republican – who called Gov. Bill Ritter’s appointment of Bennet risky.

Was Bennet the strongest person Ritter could have appointed? Many had expected him to tap better-known Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper or a political veteran.

“I’m not going to compare. He was a very strong choice, and we’re very pleased with it,” Schumer said. “I spent an hour with him yesterday, and the guy’s got the goods.”

That’s super. Schumer is super. Still, we can’t help but wait until, you know, the people of Colorado–yeah, that pesky flyover electorate–know enough about Bennet to, um, decide for themselves if they agree.

This is not idle gadfly kvetching, okay? First impressions are being made all over the state regarding this appointment, and a lot of them aren’t real good. Bennet may have eighteen months to serve before the next election but the window to his getting off on the right foot with the voters is closing rapidly. Every day that passes with even loyal Democrats asking “Mike Who?” is going to cost Bennet precious time and money to overcome. Moreover, it’s been nearly a week and we have yet to see any meaningful issue ground staked out other than ‘glittering generalities’ from Bennet and chorus–this is totally unacceptable and invites “Silent” Bob Schaffer-style criticism.

For our part, we have some measure of trust that Bennet will ultimately put forward a reasonable moderate Democratic platform, knowing what we know about his record and the parties involved with his selection. But it’s suicidal to imagine a majority of Colorado voters will be so deferential.

Less gladhanding in DC, more bus touring in Colorado–and right now, please.


54 thoughts on “Schumer Heart Bennet–Who The Hell Cares?

  1. It strikes me as likely that Coloradopols is fronting for the state’s unions, trying to intimidate Bennet into toeing the unions’ line.

    1. What is legitimate though is that most people outside of Denver don’t know who he is, and as time passes without him visiting a few major areas in the state like the Western Slope and Pueblo, C Springs, Fort Collins, they may come to think he dosen’t give a crap.  He has to work hard and quickly to change that perception, and he hasn’t so far.

      Bennet already has the stink of upper crust Washington insider, effete Ivy Leaguer about him and that dosen’t sit well in Colorado.  He’s got to do something to change that.

        1. Time is not on his side.  I hope for his sake he wows the crowd there and charms everybody.  IIRC you are in GJ, so i’d be interested to know how it goes from your perspective.

        1. It appears that a few of our elected reps have made a new year resolution to keep in touch with Colo Pols.

          Morgan Carroll and Diana DeGette just yesterday.  Polis has been here a long time, to his credit.  I am sure there are more that I can’t think of now.

          Doug Bruce blogs here as “another skeptic”, so that dosen’t count.  You have to use your own name.

          1. and that is correct.  Someone else, I don’t remember who, confirmed that those were numbers they had seen as well.

            My concern all along about the Senate pick was someone who not only could win election in 2010, but more importantly can have some coat tails for Ritter (I know you don’t care about that but Dems do).

            I don’t think Bennet can do that.  He may well win his own election but he doesn’t provide any help to Ritter or others down the ballot.  Firstly he has a bigger task establishing himself and postioning to run when he has never done so.

            The other names considered for the Senate pick had less of a time postioning themselves and frankly could provide a bit more help to Ritter.

            The best of course would have been John Salazar as he would drive a lot more people to the polls and that would benefit Ritter.

            What must be remembered is that 2010 is the most important election in Colorado in at least 8 years since redistricting and reapportionment will hinge on who is elected governor.

            I don’t often agree with Susan Barnes-Gelt but her assessment of Ritter’s choice as politically naive is spot on.

    1. Susan, the Governor didn’t consult you.  Your editorial collapses under the weight of unfairness from not giving Bennet any quarter.  Try looking at his distinguished finance record and his incredible bright mind and demonstrated ability to bring people together.  He’s not any better than Romanoff, just different.

  2. It strikes me as MORE likely that Pols is pushing the fact that Bennet is unpopular in order to delegitimize him to both Democrats AND Republicans in the 2010 elections, making him weaker and shooting Tom “The Tank” Tancredo into the Senate.

    Wait. That’s not right…

  3. Has anybody else noticed the silence from Prince Andrew since Bennet’s nomination?  The day after Buescher was announced, Andrew put out a congratulatory statement.  Now I know he’s told several people he didn’t really want SoS, but where was Andrew at the press conference? Where is the public statement from him supporting Bennet? Where is the post or statement from him in response to those that are calling for him to challenge Bennet in a primary?  No doubt he’s licking his wounds and polishing his resume to send to the transition team, but the silence is deafening.  There are those who do support the Bennet appointment yet also would be there to support Andrew in his future efforts (Lt. Gov possibly?) – drawing lines in the sand and splitting into factions doesn’t seem helpful to Bennet’s re-election or Andrew’s future aspirations.

    1. The guy is a team player and a class act.  He just took a huge one on the chin, and I am sure the sting hasn’t gone away, so forgive him if he’s not cheerleading for Bennet just yet.

      1. Finish his law degree, then get a job somewhere in the private sector – or at least outside of legislative work. I often wonder if he will ever be labeled as having no “real-world” experience if he stays a career politician.  

      2. I do agree that for the most part Andrew has been a great team player and a class act which is why this silence is all the more odd and out of character.  Much as he is normally a team player, he also has never run a contested race for anything and this year went 0-3.  I’d like to support the guy in the future but would also like to see him get behind our new Senator and show he can lose three in a row and still stand up to fight.  I know he’s a great administrator and leader, I’m waiting to see if he has the fight in him.

            1. Thanks for the reply. I was really asking.  Finally, the decision not to choose Romanoff makes sense.

              Obama is consolidating his support within the party. I predict Caroline Kennedy gets the nod in NY, unless she withdraws her name because of all the criticism.  The Hillary people are not going to have power independent of Obama.  It will be interesting to see what happens to Terry McCauliff in VA.

              I know North Denver, the party splits up there go back decades, and the power swings back and forth. It is a fun game to watch, (I remember Pat Schroeder brought C-SPAN  to one District meeting) but terribly destructive if you want to get anything done. Obama looks like a good party strategist.

              This train has left the station.  

    2. i.e. does Bennet have the right stuff to serve the people of Colorado as an appointed (possibly elected – later) U.S. Senator.  If you have never run for office – or worked on someone else’s campaign in a key position – you might not fully appreciate the importance of candidates/officeholders getting “out there” among the masses (voters).  Politicians like Ken Salazar, for example, have understood this for a long time – Salazar used to travel regularly around the state speaking to groups small and large when he was Attorney General (not a common practice for someone in that office, I’d guess).

      I hope Romanoff is enjoying the powder in the high country – he deserves it!

    3. “I called Michael Bennet to offer my warmest congratulations on his appointment to the United States Senate. Michael has been a friend for many years, and I wish him great success representing our state in Washington.” – Andrew Romanoff, outgoing speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, who had been considered a possible Senate pick

      Try a little research.

      I’m not really sure what you think he should be doing.  Do you run around shouting “He’s the best!” after you don’t get a job?  I’d be disappointed if he was already campaigning, but a private phone call and a public mini-statement seems fine to me.

      1. I had looked around in the usual places he posts/releases statements and did not find that.  Thank you for sharing that.  I stand corrected, my comment and reaction amended and revised.

  4. It might be a good thing if the big guys recognize Bennet is in a weak spot and throw him a few bones.  (So in that regard – keep asking the above questions)  If Bennet (aka Schumer) can help deliver some aid to Colorado’s budget disaster – with some good stuff outside of metro Denver to calm the elitism – Bennet could get some good and quick firepower to stand behind statewide.  If Bennet is kissing babies in Dove Creek or Lake City, and meeting all 100 residents, he’ll probably miss out on a critical 100 days.

    Question is: Can Udall take a back seat as the senior senator and let the junior freshman take a few home run trots?

    FYI: the planes landed in Colorado this election year.

  5. My first bit of advise to Senator Bennet:  After the Ft. Collins/ GJ events this weekend, stop traveling with Ritter.  I can not think of one large constituency that supports Ritter outside of K-12 superintendents.  Senator Bennet should establish himself and get away from an increasingly less popular Governor.

    1. Unfortunately for both of them, they will be very visible together until after the 2010 election. They are going to be on the top of the ticket together, and that’s usually how those things go.

      Can you think of someone who would be better to travel with? Maybe Bernie Buescher on the West Slope? John Salazar might be a good person to be seen with as well.

      I think the biggest problem for Bennet though, is not the Governor–it’s the fact that nobody knows how he stands on anything. The Governor’s biggest problem right now, however, is Bennet.

      1. I expect he will be travelling across the state quite a bit too. Both for work and for campaigning.

        For work, the Sec of State works closely with the County Clerks. The soS can a better idea of how a county is functioning by visitng the Clerk’s office.

        For campaigning, Bernie also needs to raise his profile a notch. He is well known in political circles, but needs to be get in front of regular voters a little more, especially along the front range where he may not be as well known as he is in Grand Junction.

        1. Good point Dan about Bernie needing better name ID in 2010 too. I don’t expect we’ll see a strong challenger on the Republican side, but why phone it in just because he was appointed initially?

          Actually, it’d be perfect for those two to campaign together because–especially from the Governor’s standpoint. If they end up doing well this year, then they could definitely be listed among the Governor’s accomplishments.

          I don’t know how Bennet will pan out, but I think Bernie will be a good SoS.

  6. One thing I may have missed in the conversation about this is the message Ritter has sent to electeds. That message is,  work hard for the people of the state, and I will pass you over for someone who has never served in elective office. Then I will force you to explain to your constituents who this person is and why he should be representing you.  

  7. Bennet was on Obama’s short list for Sec of Education. According to what I heard, it came down to Bennet and the Superintendent of the Chicago area schools. Obama chose the later but was very impressed with Bennet. It’s a bit of a guess, but, I believe Pres. Elect Obama let Ritter know that his Senate-designate favorite was Bennet. Ritter’s short list seemed to be Hick, Perlmutter or Romanoff before the call from D.C. Ritter chose not to tick off the new President and in the mean time hurt a few feelings closer to home perhaps. We’ll see how it works out. From most reports it sounds like Bennet is more then capable and Ritter may get more contributions/help from beyond Colorado for his re-election in 2010. I’m sure there is a job for Romanoff in Obama’s administration somewhere. That may be the consolation prize. Caroline Kennedy will probably get the nod in New York because that is Obama’s Senate-designate choice there. We’ll see what the Gov of N.Y. does the same thing as Ritter.

    1. heeded a call from Obama.

      If that same kind of call had gone to the Governor of Illinois, Obama would have denied being involved in any designation process.

      You can’t have it both ways.

      1. Comparing the Gov of Illinois to our Gov is not fair to Gov Ritter. Gov. Ritter is an honorable man who may have chose the Senate-designee that the Obama folks like as well. There is nothing wrong with that. I was just guessing why Gov Ritter may have chose Bennet over Romo, Hick or Perlmutter. If Gov. Ritter thought that all four were qualified, folks from the Obama camp may have just given Bennet the nose at the wire.

      2. Was not trying to sell the seat. If there isn’t any impropriety within the appointment process, then what’s wrong with Ritter getting Obama’s input?

        Are you suggesting the appointment process was less than kosher?

        1. No. The appointment was up to Gov. Ritter. Bennet is qualified. There was absolutely no impropriety here and nothing wrong with Ritter taking input. I was simply stating my theory on why Ritter chose Bennet over the top contenders. Sorry for the delay with Reply. just noticed you replied to mine.  

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