Friday, August 12, 2005

Denver Young Dems president's take on the Gov's race

The Denver Young Dems just recieved this email from DYD President Andrew Luxen.

Yesterday afternoon, with the Rutt Bridges bombshell announcement that he
was withdrawing from the race for governor, everything changed. This, the
biggest political news of the cycle thus far, means that there is only one
declared Democrat for governor and the otherwise narrow field has suddenly

Why should you care?

You should care because the people who climb into the race now are likely to
be in for the long haul. That means that if state Senate President Joan
Fitz-Gerald, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper or U.S. Senator Ken Salazar
decide to jump in, they most likely will defer to one another and one will
become the instant favorite to win the August 2006 Democratic primary.

Currently, former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter is the other
announced Democratic candidate.

So who's it going to be?

The blogs and political gossip is a flurry with who should run, who
shouldn't and why. Here's my take:


YES RUN: A fiery and devoted liberal, she has the tenacity to lead across
the aisle and thoroughly understands Colorado. Plus, she helped engineer
the Dems takeover of the state House and Senate in 2004.

NO RUN: Some people dislike her aggressive approach and think she should
run for U.S. Rep. Mark Udall's CD2 seat in 2008 when Mr. Udall runs for U.S.
Senate. Plus, Ms. Fitz-Gerald would likely have to resign her Senate
presidency to run, if not her seat itself. Her current term is up in 2006
and she is eligible to run for one additional state Senate term.


YES RUN: With over 90% approval ratings, two separate, major ballot measure
victories (1A and FastTracks) and the sort of populist appeal that William
Jennings Bryan only dreamed of, Mr. Hickenlooper is the rockstar of Colorado
Democratic politics. Plus, he wins crossover votes because of his extensive
business background.

NO RUN: He has only been the Denver mayor for two years and held no previous
political office. Mr. Hickenlooper has stated that he is content with his
current job and couldn't imagine a better one. Also, it seems that his
wife isn't too keen on the idea of a statewide race.


YES RUN: Mr. Salazar is a proven winner statewide. He won handily in a
state that went to Mr. Bush in 2004, won two terms as Colorado attorney
general statewide and is beloved on the West Slope. If he won, he would get
to appoint his successor to the Senate seat for two years, until a special
election could be held in 2008 (two state-wide U.S. Senate races at once?!).
That keeps the seat in Dem hands.

NO RUN: He just got a new job as senator. Why would he want to come back
and do another statewide race so soon, when he hasn't had a real opportunity
to effect change for Colorado in DC?


YES RUN: His long experience as a Denver prosecutor and early campaigning
both work in Mr. Ritter’s favor. He has been riding the summer county fair
circuit and meeting people across the state.

NO RUN: Personally, he is anti-choice, which he says won’t impact any
decisions he would make as governor. The left in Colorado would likely run
a candidate further to the left than Mr. Ritter, making it tough for him to
emerge victorious from a Democratic primary. Plus, he may have little name
recognition outside of Denver.

Thanks for reading,

Andrew Luxen
Denver Young Democrats

Big Oil isn't interested in ANWR, but Vincent Carroll is...

In today's Rocky Mountain News editorial page editor Vincent Carroll write a piece entitled "Oil Obstructionists". Carroll claims that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is being held up by obstructionists. Carroll writes,

To the obstructionists who oppose increased energy production - not just in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but also on the continental shelf of the lower 48, in western Colorado and indeed just about anywhere with genuine promise - pumping more oil and natural gas is never the answer.

Which obstructionists would those be Mr. Carroll? Big oil has stated that they are simply not interested in drilling in ANWR. From the New York Times on February 21, 2005

Once allied, the administration and the oil industry are now far apart on the issue. The major oil companies are largely uninterested in drilling in the refuge, skeptical about the potential there. Even the plan's most optimistic backers agree that any oil from the refuge would meet only a tiny fraction of America's needs...

...Whether that battle will be worthwhile, though, is not clear. Neither advocates nor critics can answer a crucial question: how much oil lies beneath the wilderness where the administration wants to permit drilling?

Advocates cite a 1998 government study that estimated the part of the refuge proposed for drilling might hold 10 billion barrels of oil. But only one test well has been drilled, in the 1980's, and its results are one of the industry's most closely guarded secrets.

A Bush adviser says the major oil companies have a dimmer view of the refuge's prospects than the administration does. "If the government gave them the leases for free they wouldn't take them," said the adviser, who would speak only anonymously because of his position. "No oil company really cares about ANWR," the adviser said, using an acronym for the refuge, pronounced "an-war."

Wayne Kelley, who worked in Alaska as a petroleum engineer for Halliburton, the oil services corporation, and is now managing director of RSK, an oil consulting company, said the refuge's potential could "only be determined by drilling."

"The enthusiasm of government officials about ANWR exceeds that of industry because oil companies are driven by market forces, investing resources in direct proportion to the economic potential, and the evidence so far about ANWR is not promising," Mr. Kelley said...

...ExxonMobil also has shown little public enthusiasm for the refuge. Lee R. Raymond, the chairman and chief executive, said in an television interview last December, "I don't know if there is anything in ANWR or not."

The fight over ANWR is not about America's present oil needs, as evidenced by the complete lack of interest in ANWR by America's big oil companies. Instead ANWR is a purely political battle, it's a chance for the Bush administration to flex their muscle and prove that they can drill anywhere they want. To pretend that ANWR is somehow the end all of our oil needs is just absurd, just ask the big oil companies.

Bridges out...

So Rutt Bridges has dropped out of the Governor's race. A couple of thoughts...

1. That's the end of Bridges political career. This is the 2nd time he's dropped out of a race and I'm afraid that it's 2 strikes and you're out. Bridges will continue to be a voice within the Party on policy matters thanks to his Big Horn Institute but his days as a candidate are over.

2. I have to believe that someone else with a big name is going to enter this race and that's why Bridges dropped out. When Bridges dropped out of the Senate race it was to make way for Ken Salazar, are witnessing something similiar? I would anticipate that if an announcement from another candidate is forthcoming it would come on Monday

I know Bridges is claiming that this decision was borne out of his aversion to campaigning and I appreciate him getting out now instead of stringing us along but did he just now realize that campaigning wasn't for him?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Independence Institute editorials in the two dailys

Both the Denver Post and the Rockymountain News ran editorials today about the II and the court challenge to the group's 501(c)3 status. Not suprisingly the Post comes out in favor of more transparency from the II and the Rocky defends the II and buy's Caldera's talking points hook. line and sinker.

The content of the two editorial's is really secondary to the point that the legitimacy of the II is now being questioned by the Post and is having to be defended by the Rocky. In the arena of public opinion when you have to go on the defensive - especially when that defense involves citing obscure tax laws and drawing legalistic distinctions - you are losing the fight.

The de-legitimization of the II has begun...

Musgrave: Running Scared

The Denver Post has a piece this morning on Marilyn Musgrave, specifically the fact that she's running away from the Gay Marriage Amendment she wasted her first term hawking to the American people. Musgrave is extremely vulnerable and one of the reasons why is that she spent so much of her time in Washington D.C. working for the fringe right on social issues instead of working for the people in her district who actually elected her.

State Rep Angie Paccionne chimes in with her two cents,
"It's quite convenient, considering that she might have a challenger in '06 who might give her a run for her money," said state Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins, who is considered the most likely Democrat to mount such a challenge.

I have to say Angie, if you're running then run. Paccionne's choice of language here certainly isn't going to do anything to inspire the Democrats in the CD-4. She might have a challenger? Who might give her a run for her money?

Angie, it's time to get off the fence and run and start talking and acting like a winner.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Report: "The Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere"

A new report was out today on the political blogosphere and the emergence of the progressive blogosphere. It can be found here.

Here's an intro that the Swing State Project put together
Two guys well-known in the blogging world, Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller, have authored a report for the New Politics Insitute about the progressive blogosphere - sort of like a primer for establishment-types not wholly familiar with the warp and woof of blogistan, but also packed with a lot of information that even experienced bloggers will find interesting.

It's a great read, highly recommended.

Denver Post goes after Bob Novak...

I didn't really expect to see this when I looked at the Denver Post this morning, but there it is. The Denver Post calling Bob Novak to the carpet,

It's time for Robert Novak to give a public accounting of what led up to his 2003 newspaper column in which he revealed the identity of a heretofore clandestine CIA operative, Valerie Plame...

It's clear the 74-year-old Novak is tied up in knots. Last week he was put on leave by CNN after uttering a barnyard epithet during an exchange on an unrelated political matter. He stalked off the program just before host Ed Henry was to question him about the Plame leak.

Novak reportedly told Henry beforehand, "My lawyer said I cannot answer any specific questions about this case until it is resolved, which I hope is very soon." Novak put his toe in the water Aug. 1 and should complete his public explanation now.

The good folks over at Colorado Pols have asked repeatedley throughout the Rove-scandal just how it would play in Colorado. Up until this point the scandal really hadn't taken on a local flavor; no one from our Congressional delegation had commented (save for Ken Salazar), none of the candidates had commented. While today's editorial is hardly earth shattering it does, for the first time, make the Rove scandal an issue in Colorado. It's still too early to say that the Rove-scandal will drag down the GOP ticket in 2006 in Colorado but the door may have just been opened.

Beauprez on C&D: All talking points, no substance..

Peter Blake's column in this morning's Rocky Mountain News is quite the eye opener. It appears that Bob Beauprez is doing all that he can to prevent Marc Holtzman from staking out a claim as the Anti-C&D GOP Gubernatorial candidate.

In Blake's column Beauprez spews forth talking point after talking point, sounding more and more like the all talk no substance Holtzman every day.

Government has to respond just like private business when there's a downturn, he said: "Be more efficient, defer purchases and do without."

As for C and D, "If we need a fix, this isn't the fix."

Is it bad "if government has to do what families and businesses have to do?" he asked.

It will be interesting to see if Governor Owens reacts as voraciously to these latest comments from Beauprez as he did to similiar comments by Holtzman last week.Specifically,

And so I ask Holtzman and others who oppose Referendums C and D: Where in next year's budget will you cut $400 million? How will you fix the long-term fiscal problem we face? Tell us now before we vote on Nov. 1.

Colorado's budget problems cannot be solved by mere "belt-tightening." I understand belt-tightening. As governor, I have implemented more than $1 billion in budget cuts during my administration. But you can only go so far before you start to affect essential services.

The Governor has shown no inclination to retreat from a debate amongst his own party members on C&D, will he keep the pressure on and go after Beauprez?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Blogging Of The Institute...

There is a campaign underway which began over at Soap Blox: Colorado which will be an expose of sorts on the right-wing Independence Institute.

This is part one of my Blogging Of The Institute (BOTI). I will focus on the trustees of the Independence Institute. Who they are, where they live, and how much they have given to political candidates since 1992. I will make an argument against the nonprofit façade of political neutrality. I will show that the Independence Institute is not “independent” at all. That it is in fact, very partisan and pro-big business.

EMRosa does a wonderful job in part one of examining the trustees of the II, their past campaign donations, their business interests, and where potential FEC violations may exist based upon those business relations and their work at the II.

Since 1992 the 7 trustees and 1 chair have cumulatively contributed $196,415 to Republican candidates, nothing to independents, $1,289 to Libertarian's, and $10,000 to Democrats


So the scoreboard at the II reads, R: $190,825 to D: $10,000

that doesn't really strike me as particularly non-partisan.

Here is a link to an Excel Spreadsheet that em rosa put together, thanks again for all of the hard work em rosa.

Fantastic new Progressive Colorado blog

Just found today, it's a new community based progressive blog focused on Colorado politics. It looks great so far, lots of good content. I'm looking forward to adding it to my daily reading. Best of luck to them!

Cindy Sheehan situation about to reach a tipping point?

It sure looks as though we're about to see some fireworks in Crawford Texas over Cindy Sheehan and her ongoing protest outside Bush's ranch. Sheehan's son was killed in Iraq last year and she has since become a dedicated anti-war protestor. Sheehan tried to approach Bush's ranch on Saturday but was turned back by police and security. She has since setup camp outside of the ranch and vowed to stay until Bush himself talks to her or he leaves the ranch in a few weeks. Yesterday the administration tried to placate her by sending out Deputy Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin. Sheehan met with them but still says that she's not leaving until Bush speaks directly to her.

The New York Times had an interetsing article on the political problem that Sheehan is posing for Bush. She is a woman who lost her son in war which makes her very sympathetic in the eyes of the public and press, that precludes the White House from deploying their usual smear machine (though I did catch a few minutes of Drudge trying to smear her last night on the radio). Also the general public, as evidenced by recent polls, is sympathetic to her position. From the Times article,

Her success in drawing so much attention to her message - and leaving the White House in a face-off with an opponent who had to be treated very gently even as she aggressively attacked the president and his policies - seemed to stem from the confluence of several forces.

The deaths last week of 20 Marines from a single battalion has focused public attention on the unremitting pace of casualties in Iraq, providing her an opening to deliver her message that no more lives should be given to the war. At the same time, polls that show falling approval for Mr. Bush's handling of the war have left him open to challenge in a way that he was not when the nation appeared to be more strongly behind him.

It did not hurt her cause that she staged her protest, which she said was more or less spontaneous, at the doorstep of the White House press corps, which spends each August in Crawford with little to do, minimal access to Mr. Bush and his aides, and an eagerness for any new story.

So the problem is building and is about to get worse this Thursday and Friday,

It is not clear how the White House will handle Ms. Sheehan. Mr. Bush usually comes and goes from the ranch by helicopter, but he might have to drive by her on Friday, when he is scheduled to attend a Republican fund-raiser at a ranch just down the road from where Ms. Sheehan is camped out. She will no doubt get another wave of publicity on Thursday, when Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice join Mr. Bush at the ranch to discuss the war.

Just this afternoon it appears that the White House has decided to avoid this potentially embarrassing situation, from DailyKos

Cindy Sheehan phoned me from Texas a few minutes ago to say that she's been informed that beginning Thursday, she and her companions will be considered a threat to national security and will be arrested. Coincidentally, Thursday is the day that Rice and Rumsfeld visit the ranch, and Friday is a fundraiser event for the haves and the have mores. Cindy said that she and others plan to be arrested.

It appears that the story is still developing but should be an interesting one to keep an eye on throughout this week

more on Roberts and privacy...

I wrote last week that if it is true that Judge Roberts does not support a right to privacy he would be unfit to serve on the United States Supreme Court. Today the New York Times has an article on Roberts and the right to privacy,

The positions [on privacy] Judge Roberts sketched out do echo those of Robert H. Bork, whose nomination for the court was defeated in 1987.

"Robert Bork was blocked in large part because he said in his writings that there was no constitutional right to privacy," said Erwin Chemerinsky, a law professor at Duke.

Judge Roberts could face serious trouble, liberal and conservative law professors agreed, if he were to embrace similar views at his confirmation hearings in the Senate next month.