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’ life? The 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 race. And 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.
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