National security is the election’s defining issue |

National security is the election’s defining issue

Jim Morgan

One of the editors at the New York Times thought it would be a good story if he sent a reporter out among the people of the great metropolis to see if they had been swayed politically by the Republican Convention being in the Big Apple.The assumption, obviously, was that New Yorkers wouldn’t vote for the re-election of President Dubya Bush, being that they’re such sophisticates. While I’ve certainly not polled them, it would not surprise me that most members of the news staff at the New York Times probably find it difficult to understand why anyone would vote Republican.Fact is, people do … by the millions.In the interest of complete disclosure, I should point out that I love the New York Times as a newspaper. I might not agree with its editorials, but it is one helluva a great newspaper.The editor sent the reporter to an Upper West Side restaurant to a neighborhood that has called itself the “conscience of the nation.”Anyway, in an unremarkable example of the self-fulfilling prophecy, the reporter found that the New Yorkers he interviewed are not going to vote for Bush.

Among those interviewed were a retired college professor who indicated he did not socialize with Republicans, a woman of color who devises marketing programs for multicultural events and a dance teacher.And they said things like:”I don’t know anyone in this city who is supporting Bush.””The Bush agenda is totally corrupt.””This is the most tragic administration that has ever happened to the United States.”Surprise, surprise. Liberals in New York aren’t going to vote for Bush.If you follow polling data, you can go to either coast of the country and find Bush is not likely to gain a majority of votes – California and New York are seen as “leaning strongly toward Kerry.”

Like New York City, places like San Francisco or Los Angeles are not Bush country. But that’s hardly surprising because folks in those cities did not vote for him four years ago.But if you go to the middle of the country, the opposite is true. You can draw a line from Texas to the Dakotas and every state the line touches is seen as “leaning strongly toward Bush.”In another story, the Times quoted a doctor from Missouri who was in New York for the GOP convention. What he said was interesting: “There doesn’t seem to be any room for debate with liberals here … they’re right and all of us from the fly-over states are stupid.”I know New Yorkers feel they’re worldly and cosmopolitan, but in some ways they are pretty provincial.”That is a fascinating observation and accurate. By definition, provincial means “unwilling to accept new or different ways of thinking.”So the question becomes, are places like New York or San Francisco out of touch with the rest of the country? In Colorado, the same question can be asked about places like Boulder or Aspen, and for that matter Summit County. The answer’s obvious.While I doubt if he would play well in some Summit County venues, Zell Miller, the Democratic senator from Georgia who addressed the GOP convention last week, would play well in most of the fly-over states.

Admittedly, I had the passing thought in listening to Miller Wednesday night that he may have passed Howard Dean as the craziest-sounding Democrat on the planet, still, I couldn’t help but chortle when Give ’em hell Zell suggested that Kerry was so weak on defense that he wanted to protect the United States with spitballs.Within hours of Miller’s appearance at the convention, Democrats were predicting his speech would backfire by providing evidence that Mr. Bush’s campaign was all about attacking Kerry, impugning his patriotism and scaring voters into the arms of Republicans.That hasn’t happened. Why? Because in this time of uncertainty, Miller touched a chord among voters of all stripes by voicing doubts about Kerry’s record on national security issues. And while the sophisticates of the Upper West Side may not be worried about national security, that’s not true with much of the rest of the country.Publisher Jim Morgan writes a Tuesday column. He can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 240, or

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