Ali Hasan: Colorado’s governor makes big mistake with Bennet as Senate choice
Beaver Creek, CO, Colorado
The Republicans in Colorado will win back the state’s U.S. Senate seat in 2010, and we could very easily get the governorship back, as well. Again, mark these words: Michael Bennet will not win his re-election for the United States Senate.
There are two reasons why.
First, Gov.Bill Ritter may have committed political suicide with this selection. By picking Bennet, Ritter has single-handedly agitated every major Colorado Democrat, along with most activists. More than any other state in our union, Colorado boasts a deep bench of qualified Democrats, including former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, Mayor John Hickenlooper, and U.S. Reps. Degette, Perlmutter, and Salazar.
So why Bennet?
I personally don’t know why. However, the reason Colorado has turned blue in this last decade is because the Romanoffs, Degettes, Hickenloopers, Perlmutters and Salazars have worked tirelessly in making it happen.
Today, every grass-roots Democrat claims a membership in one of the above political camps, and while a Perlmutter activist would want to see the seat go to Perlmutter, he/she would not have protested the seat going to a Romanoff, knowing that both men fought on the front lines from the start.
But where has Bennet’s fight been these last 10 years? Alienating your most core supporters is a recipe of disaster for both Ritter and Bennet.
However, the second reason could be more haunting, which is that of political vertigo. Political vertigo is a syndrome that is experienced by a candidate running in his/her first race, which causes the candidate to lose touch of all good reality and intelligence.
It is an important note because Michael Bennet has never ran for public office before.
Now imagine the following scenario: It is October of 2010, you’re running for Senate, and absentee ballots are about to be sent out. With half the state ready to vote within days, one is feverishly making personal phone calls, standing every morning on new street corners with a big sign that reads one’s name, checking on internal poll numbers, recording new radio ads, designing newspaper ads, researching the issues in preparation for a debate, and fundraising enough money to sustain the entire operation.
At some point, everything will stop, panic will hit, and one will ask him/herself, “Have I done everything possible to convince people that I’m the right man for the job?”
And in this panic, many candidates will go to the media and say something stupid.
Others will hide, becoming invisible to the public. And some will just make awful decisions, like releasing a slew of negative ads that hurt more than help.
I would say that I didn’t fall victim to political vertigo during my run for House District 56 because I had an excellent campaign team and great advisers. However, I was weakened to my core.
Now, while many will boast Bennet’s credentials of being a graduate of Yale and a self-made millionaire, no business, no college, no experience can prepare you for political vertigo, other than running for office in a close race.
Sen. Michael Bennet, may God be with you in October of 2010.
Republican Ali Hasan is Beaver Creek resident.