Opinion | Morgan Liddick: In U.S. Senate race, keep it Colorado-centric
On your right
It looks like déjà vu all over again.
Is anyone in Colorado not running against U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet this November? To date, he has 11 – or 12, or 13 – opponents, most Republicans but at least one from the Boiling Frog Party.
Frontrunners, to the extent anyone can talk seriously about that at this point, seem to include businessman Robert Blaha and former CSU athletic director Jack Graham; they both have sufficient means to self-fund a campaign, should that be necessary. They are joined in the top tier by former Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier and former State Representative Jon Keyser who, it seems at the moment, is the darling of the “GOP Establishment” and is gaining endorsements, money and odium thereby.
These four are joined by seven or eight others who have decided to try their hand at running for Colorado’s second Senate seat; while several will be knocked out early on, enough will persist to insure Colorado’s Republicans will have a choice among half a dozen of their fellows who want a swing at Michael Bennet in November. For anyone intent on choosing wisely, this is a daunting number. It is doubly so considering their opponent, who is not as weak nor as vulnerable as they might think.
Michael Bennet is well-regarded in the Democrat party, for which he has undertaken administrative duties in the Senate. He is personable if not voluble, and his politics are not those of an Obamabot. That said, he has taken questionable stands on very serious and prominent issues, amnesty for illegal aliens and approval for the president’s $500 billion executive agreement with Iran among them. This last — and the threat it poses to US national security interests in the Middle East and beyond — was specifically named by three of the Senator’s opponents as a principle reason they joined the fray.
One of the obstacles to an eventual Republican victory is the heat that such a crowded primary field may produce. Just as on the national stage, desperation to differentiate oneself from the pack creates pressure to embrace the negative soundbites we have already seen in profusion this election season. As seductive as it might be, such a strategy is ultimately self-defeating if the anger it produces among one’s rivals is such that their supporters will sit the general election out or vote for the other guy in a fit of self-righteous pique.
It is necessary instead to focus on the primordial goal of the process: how exactly will one’s proposals be better for the country and one’s fellow citizens than those of one’s Democrat rival? The potential candidate who does this best will be the wisest choice to face Michael Bennet in November.
Remember, it’s not a question of being “likeable enough.” It’s a question of who has the better solutions to a whole range of problems — most of them poorly addressed or exacerbated by the policy failures of the past seven years.
The press will not make this easy. As an example, see the first candidates’ debate, which was truly shameful: The first question was “Will you support Donald Trump if he is the Republican nominee?” and much Trumpology followed. Perhaps one of the participants should have reminded the moderators that Donald Trump is not running for a state office in Colorado, and that both the ninth and tenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution are still in effect. And that perhaps candidates’ positions on Colorado-specific issues might be more appropriate than “Is waterboarding torture?” or whether they agree with Trump on abortion.
The punditocracy will not make this race easier either, having already decided that it is an example of Snow White and the 11 – or 12, or 13 – dwarves. That no one of any stature is running. That it will be a walkover.
But these are the same types who said in 1991 that the Democrats could find no one effective against George W. Bush, and, in 2015, that Donald Trump would fade by April; or June; or September, October at the least. One should not pay them too much mind.
Instead, candidates should push ahead with their own plans, explaining why more liberty is preferable to more government regulation and intrusion, why more freedom is preferable to more government control and why spending should be directed to constitutional goals rather than private benefit. Those are winning principles in any season, and, now more than ever, they have a clear contrast with those on the other side of the aisle.
This opportunity should be grasped, and Michael Bennet’s seat won by Republicans working together — not distracted by the commentariat’s bright shiny objects nor sulking about imagined slights.
Failing that, there’s the Boiling Frog Party. They oppose same-sex marriage, too…
Morgan Liddick writes a weekly column for the Summit Daily News.
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