Editorial round-up: A review of a wild night
REPUBLICANS RESONATE WITH VOTERS
Cory Gardner took a big risk this year when he gave up a safe Republican House seat in order to challenge Sen. Mark Udall. No one had defeated a sitting U.S. senator in Colorado in more than three decades, not since Bill Armstrong beat Floyd Haskell in 1978.
But Gardner’s gamble paid off, not least because he has proved himself during the past few months to be a skillful, steady politician with a reassuring presence and a message that resonated with voters — the need to get things done in Washington. He presented himself as a young, energetic alternative to an incumbent he insisted has been a rubber stamp for the president’s policies.
In defeating Udall, Gardner also upended the idea that Colorado has become a blue state where Republicans no longer have a chance to win big races. Colorado may still be trending blue, but for the time being it remains a deeply unpredictable purple, where both parties will need to bring their “A” game to every contest.
For that matter, Gardner’s victory may actually reinvigorate the Republican Party and help keep it competitive — especially if he becomes a force in the Senate, as many expect.
To be sure, Gardner didn’t pull off this feat alone. He ran in a climate that favored Republicans across the country, as voters were disillusioned with President Obama and still worried about the slowly growing economy. As a result, Republicans flipped enough seats to take control of the U.S. Senate.
And Gardner got unexpected help from Udall, too, when the senator chose to run a lopsided, negative campaign that focused obsessively on abortion and contraception — repeatedly suggesting Gardner favored banning birth control, when he did not. This theme achieved its apex of absurdity when outside groups for Udall released an ad in which Gardner was blamed for a possible future shortage of condoms.
Not only did Gardner hold his ground in the polls during the onslaught of negative ads, he actually gained ground over time. Voters clearly lost patience with the “War on Women” theme.
It is clear that Colorado Republicans had a good night in other races, too. 6th District Congressman Mike Coffman, for example, prevailed rather easily over former state House speaker Andrew Romanoff in what had been expected to be a tight race.
The hard-working Coffman’s re-election is a healthy development because he brings a realistic and knowledgeable perspective to military and veterans issues, one that is needed more than ever at a time when the United States continues to be engaged in active military campaigns in the Middle East.
Finally, Coloradans demonstrated impressive good sense on statewide ballot issues. They decisively defeated three measures that deserved a thumping — the anti-abortion “personhood” Amendment 67, the cynical pro-gambling Amendment 68 and the GMO labeling Proposition 105 — while approving an initiative to promote transparency in school district collective bargaining talks.
Prop 105 was losing late in the day even in organic-food friendly Boulder County.
It was that kind of night.
— Denver Post, Nov. 5
VOTERS CALL FOR LEADERSHIP
Voters have spoken. They don’t care about political parties. They don’t care about incumbency. They don’t fear a make-believe war on women. They want results.
Americans want jobs, energy independence and a better economic trajectory. They want cooperation and progress. So they voted for change, putting the U.S. Senate solidly in control of the GOP.
Nationally and in Colorado, Republicans must show they can reach across the aisle and govern wisely or they will squander this victory along with any hope of taking the White House in 2016. They must stop fussing about President Barack Obama and start working with him and his party to achieve the policy changes they promised would create more opportunity for businesses, individuals and families.
We don’t need a Republican version of Harry Reid. As presumptive Senate majority leader, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell cannot flex his majority muscle and manipulate the process by restricting colleagues from voting on difficult and controversial bipartisan measures.
Sen.-elect Cory Gardner, as the first candidate to defeat an incumbent Colorado U.S. senator in 36 years, should lead the charge and meet Obama with the intent to help him succeed in wisely wielding executive authority. Sell him on the merits of improvements to the Affordable Care Act, constructive immigration reform combined with border control, and a host of Republican issues that Democrats could be persuaded to support.
Republicans must resist waging war with Democrats. They should avoid confrontations that merely flaunt majority status. Govern to enhance the dignity of this country, not as bullies in charge of a playground.
Republicans don’t like the Affordable Care Act, but they need to be realistic. Voting to overturn a law called “Obamacare” won’t survive the veto power of a man named “Obama.” So drop the symbolic repeals. Two chambers repealing the act will mean nothing more than House-only repeals, so long as Democrats control the White House. Suffice to improve the law by eliminating some of its worst elements and enhancing some of its best. Pass an increase in family tax credits, to make health care more genuinely affordable, and persuade Obama to sign it. Find ways to get more young people interested in the practice of medicine. Let the president win a few rounds if it means a better law for the people who live with it. Help move Obama to the middle. Doing so will benefit Republicans in the next presidential election more than it will hurt them. Leadership is respected; obstruction is punished.
Help President Obama approve the Keystone XL pipeline in a manner that acknowledges environmental concerns. That means accepting reasonable environmental protections as a condition of moving forward. Help the president restore work requirements for welfare programs, which President Clinton enacted when having to work with a Republican majority. Spend more time working with Obama; less time opposing him. Lead.
At the state level, we offer the same advice to both parties. Set aside ego, rise above and reach across the aisle. Don’t compromise principle but find common ground.
Let this election be one of genuine change, in which each party gets to achieve the best of what it stands for.
— Colorado Springs Gazette, Nov. 5
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