Second opinion: excerpts from commentary in other publications |

Second opinion: excerpts from commentary in other publications

Compiled by Summit Daily staff

Vail Daily editorial, Oct. 3

No question, Christine Scanlan is the safe choice for the state House district serving Eagle County. The Summit County Democrat works hard, reaches across the aisle, passes legislation and fits right into the bureaucratic woodwork in Denver.

We trust Scanlan to fit in, make mature and thoughtful and largely incremental decisions with her party’s mindset that the state government absolutely needs more revenue to solve its myriad of issues. She has lots of company there, and you may well agree.

Her Republican opponent, Ali Hasan, is loud, often sounds loony, and can only stand out in a crowd. He’s not the fit-in, go-with-the-flow candidate in this race.

Of these two candidates, Hasan’s the more creative thinker whose allegedly loony ideas about a monorail, or bullet train, have his opponent and others suddenly talking more about the same thing in a more positive light. To the majority of us on the editorial board, this is an example of leading a discussion down a more productive path.

Considering everything, Hasan doesn’t sound so crazy to us. We’re also mindful of that classic definition of true insanity, expecting a different result from doing the same thing over and over.

Editorial, The Aspen Times, Oct. 3

Congressman Mark Udall, a Democrat from Eldorado Springs, faces Republican Bob Schaffer, a former Congressman from Fort Collins, for the seat now held by U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, a Republican. We heartily support Udall, a thoughtful politician with a deep knowledge of Western issues who knows how to work across the aisle. Unlike Schaffer, who is for the most part a loyal partisan foot-soldier, Udall is genuinely engaged in problem-solving, coalition-building and decision-making.

Udall has been pivotal in assembling a bipartisan “gang of 16” lawmakers to push comprehensive energy legislation with an all-important emphasis on renewable sources like wind, solar and biofuels; this effort is not only good for Colorado, which is trying to build a new energy economy, but is also good for the nation, which desperately needs an alternative, forward-thinking vision for its energy future. Udall correctly understands energy as both an environmental and quality-of-life issue for Western Colorado and an economic and national security issue for the nation at large.

Through a blitz of negative advertising, Schaffer has depicted Udall as a “Boulder liberal” and an obstructionist on energy development, but Schaffer has done little to articulate a vision of his own, and he left virtually no mark during his three terms in Congress representing Colorado’s Fourth District. Since Schaffer’s onslaught, Udall has adjusted his energy stance to include fossil-fuel strategies like offshore drilling; this politically expedient move could be seen as flip-flopping or as common-sense politics, and we prefer the latter description. Udall comes from a family of skilled and pragmatic public servants like Stewart Udall and Morris Udall ” the first made his mark as an Interior secretary during the Kennedy and Johnson years, the second as a conservation-minded Arizona congressman ” and he’s willing to bend if the end result constitutes progress.

That’s the way politics work, and we’d rather have a problem solver than an ideologue in the Senate. Vote for Udall for U.S. Senate.

Sam Harris in Newsweek

Sept. 20

The point to be lamented is not that Sarah Palin comes from outside Washington, or that she has glimpsed so little of the earth’s surface. The point is that she comes to us, seeking the second most important job in the world, without any intellectual training relevant to the challenges and responsibilities that await her.

The problem, as far as our political process is concerned, is that half the electorate revels in Palin’s lack of intellectual qualifications. When it comes to politics, there is a mad love of mediocrity in this country. “They think they’re better than you!” is the refrain that (highly competent and cynical) Republican strategists have set loose among the crowd, and the crowd has grown drunk on it once again. “Sarah Palin is an ordinary person!” Yes, all too ordinary.

I believe that with the nomination of Sarah Palin for the vice presidency, the silliness of our politics has finally put our nation at risk. The world is growing more complex”and dangerous”with each passing hour, and our position within it growing more precarious. Should she become president, Palin seems capable of enacting policies so detached from the common interests of humanity, and from empirical reality, as to unite the entire world against us. When asked why she is qualified to shoulder more responsibility than any person has held in human history, Palin cites her refusal to hesitate. “You can’t blink,” she told Charlie Gibson repeatedly, as though this were a primordial truth of wise governance. Let us hope that a President Palin would blink, again and again, while more thoughtful people decide the fate of civilization.

Editorial, The Washington Times

Oct. 4

Being in the midst of a so-called ‘financial crisis’ which requires our leaders to work together for the common good did not stop senators from loading the bailout bill with earmarks that will add $112 billion to budget deficits over the next five years. It is bad enough voters are being asked to swallow $700 billion in order to bail out Wall Street: The Senate then “sweetened” the bailout pie with pork. Yuk.

How do the following provisions ease the credit and housing crisis? Our leaders have added $6 billion in tax breaks for the manufacturers of kids’ wooden arrows. Apparently, children’s toys can jumpstart an economic recovery. And if that appears silly, consider the beneficial impact of giving a $192 million tax break to the rum producers in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The logic here is that when you are about to foreclose on your house, calm down: You can now economize on the rum you will consume as you sign your bankruptcy papers.

Our legislators have also learned an invaluable lesson. When you really want to bring pork back home, object to “emergency” bills. Your colleagues will soon get so desperate for your vote, you can return to your constituents with prizes galore.

The earmarking process is how the sausage is made. Even John McCain, who has made a career of objecting to earmarks, said the pork in the bill was “unacceptable.” But he voted for it anyway. OINK,OINK.

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