August
1st 2010
Who ever would have predicted?

Posted under: American history, jobs, local news, nepotism

OK, OK–I know it’s getting tiresome to read about me being right all of the time.  But–seriously:  Who ever would have predicted that it’s a bad idea to appoint a man to the U.S. Senate who never ran for office or won a single vote in his entire frikkin’ lifeThe Denver Post reports today on a new Survey USA poll on all of our statewide races, but of course the result that is really interesting is the poll showing former Colorado Speaker of the House Andrew Romanoff pulling slightly ahead of Unelected Senator Michael Bennet in the August 10 primary, 48 to 45 percent (margin of error 4.1 percent) with 8 percent of Democrats undecided as to how they’ll vote.  (That’s a twenty-point turnaround from where the race was in a mid-June Denver Post poll, with Bennet at 53 and Romanoff at 36.)  ColoradoPols has some analysis here–clearly, they’re crapping their pants because they’ve been mocking and laughing at Romanoff’s campaign all year long and have been shilling pretty hard for Bennet for reasons that are difficult to fathom.  (Strangely, they spin this poll as “a story you already know.”  Well, not if you’ve been following ColoradoPols for the past year!)

The Denver Post article has a pretty good laff line here:  “‘The fact that Bennet has Barack Obama ads on everyone’s television screens multiple times a day right now shows that he’s scrambling to win this primary,’ said Eric Sondermann, a Denver political consultant. ‘That is not an ad you’d run in the general election.’”  Well, no wonder Romanoff is pulling ahead.  If Bennet thinks running ads featuring President Obama here is a good idea even in a Democratic primary, then he’s a bigger idiot than even I would have guessed.  Obama is not popular here, not even among Democrats, and especially not among the kinds of Democrats who are inclined to mail in a vote this week.  Even many liberal Coloradoans go for the “I’m an independent thinker and I’ll represent the people of Colorado against Washington interests” blah blah blah.  This is a state that likes its mavericky Senators, left, right, or center.

Here’s a little recap as to why I think Bennet is such a supreme tool:  his  first job in Colorado was downsizing and raiding companies on behalf of right-wing, union-busting billionare Phil Anschutz and his money.  Then with zero political experience, he was named Chief of Staff for then-new Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, who happened to be a fellow alum of Wesleyan University (and Bennet’s father just happened to have been President of Wesleyan.)  Next, Hickenlooper appointed Bennet as the head of Denver Public Schools in spite of the fact that he had zero experience in education either as a teacher or as a lower-level administrator.  Bennet stayed only three years in that job as a Michelle Rhee-style downsizer and school-closer, and then was appointed to the U.S. Senate by now-lame duck Governor Bill Ritter.  As I wrote at the time of his appointment, “Bennet has learned well that career educrats rarely stick around more than three or four years–sticking around means being accountable for your decisions and ‘reforms,’ whereas there’s a lot more flash and a lot more cash in delivering the appearance of a reformer, making a big media splash, and moving on before the chips fall.”

Nice work if you can get it, eh?  Bennet is the Condoleeza Rice of the Democratic Party, serving all of his masters very well and being richly rewarded in the process.  I don’t have any illusions that Romanoff is any kind of progressive Jesus Messiah for the Front Range–but at least the dude has experience and has had the patience to build his career the old-fashioned way.  I’d love him more if he were a Latina–but being the not-Bennet in this campaign is good enough for me. 

More funny:  the two men who are to blame for foisting Bennet on the people of Colorado, Ritter and Hickenlooper, are both doomed but for different reasons.  Ritter announced in January that he wouldn’t run for re-election this fall, and Hickenlooper, who is running to succeed Ritter, looks like he’ll coast easily to victory because of the total meltdown in the Republican governor’s raceAnd as I’ve written here before, being governor of any state is going to be a whole lot of no-fun for at least the next four years.

5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Who ever would have predicted?”

  1. Jonathan Rees on 01 Aug 2010 at 11:28 am #

    Historiann:

    You should be delighted to fill in that Romanoff arrow on your mail-in ballot because Romanoff is the guy responsible for Referendum C, without which Bah Ram U would be in much, much worse shape than it already is. He also has a keen interest in governing – you know, doing crazy stuff like making everyday life better for people who aren’t mega-billionaires. Yes, if I ran the world Romanoff would be a little further left, but he has to pick up more than few votes in Colorado Springs if he’s going to be our next Senator.

  2. Historiann on 01 Aug 2010 at 1:07 pm #

    Jonathan–I’m interested to hear that we agree. Are you as offended by Bennet’s rank opportunism as I am?

    Fratguy and I are prejudiced, I suppose–although we’re also carpet-bagger Ivy-leaguers, we bothered to work in the fields in which we trained for 13 years now. So Bennet’s career trajectory just amazes us–and not in a good way. (Not to mention all of his pro-Wall Street votes.)

    That said, either Romanoff or Bennet will have a hard climb against the Rs this year. My sense is that Bennet supporters will rally around Romanoff in the end. (Not sure about the money, though.) But people like me who voted/are voting for Romanoff really, really hate Bennet and will either not vote or vote Republican rather than give Bennet a vote. What are you hearing in Colorado Springs?

    I predict that Buck will be the Republican nominee, and he appears to be running an effective insurgent campaign that will only be all the more effective against Bennet. He’ll be able to run a similar campaign against Romanoff, who had a long career in the Colorado statehouse, but it won’t be as effective as a run against an incumbent closely aligned with Obama. Romanoff may end up thanking his lucky stars that Obama backed Bennet, and that he’s got Bill Clinton’s endorsement instead. If I were Ken Buck (or Jane Norton), I’d be lining up all of those videotapes of Obama’s visits to Colorado and pictures of him huggin’ & kissin’ Bennet.

  3. Jonathan Rees on 01 Aug 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    Bennet doesn’t offend me. I just think he’s slimy. Ask him what he thinks about the Employee Free Choice Act and he won’t answer the question. I saw him do a healthcare forum on campus maybe a year ago, and he said the right things. However, he also bent over backwards not to offend what were just then being called Tea Partiers.

    What I heard is that Democrats are appearing out of the woodworks in Colorado Springs to support Romanoff because, shock of shocks, they know who he is and actually like the guy. Romanoff went all over the state while he was still speaker impressing absolutely everyone, just as he’s always impressed me. Indeed, I think he’s the smartest politician I’ve ever met. By the way, did you know that his main job is teaching Poli. Sci. at one of those Denver-area community colleges that I always get mixed up?

    Predictions? I actually got kicked out of the Pueblo Latino Chamber of Commerce for supporting Romanoff (long story) and I’ve already given him more money than I ever gave Obama, so I’m way too biased to be any good at those.

  4. Historiann on 01 Aug 2010 at 4:46 pm #

    Wow–I’ve withheld my donations this year, but because I’ve been so generous (or such a patsy) in the past, I had personal phone calls from Romanoff and from Susan Dagett, Bennet’s wife.

    (I must not have given so much money to have merited a phone call from the Unelected Senator himself. But, I have given in the thousands of dollars to other candidates, so I’m wondering just how high you have to go to get his personal attention.) Even aside from the fact that I think Bennet is a tool, I thought it was weird that Dagett was making calls on behalf of her husband. Maybe that’s S.O.P., but Romanoff doesn’t have a wifey he can delegate to deal with the low-rent Dems like me.

    One of the things I kind of like about Romanoff–although it’s a minor one–is that he’s unmarried. Don’t the never-married deserve representation in the U.S. Senate, too?

  5. Jonathan Rees on 01 Aug 2010 at 10:16 pm #

    Romanoff’s mom does events for him though.

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