Dems could run ballot from president through Eagle County commissioner |

Dems could run ballot from president through Eagle County commissioner

Don Rogers
Vail, CO, Colorado

Asked to predict the elections today, I’d have to tip to the Democrats all the way through Eagle County commissioner.

They’ve got the war, the economy, eight weary years of perhaps the worst presidency in history going for them.

And still it looks like a close race at the top. Seems you can always count on the Dems to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Four years ago they put up a candidate who got even worse grades at Yale than President Bush. They’ve squandered their opportunity when they took back the majority in both houses of Congress in 2006, with leadership now even less respected by the public than possibly the worst president in history.

So here we are, still in Iraq and with Afghanistan slipping, waiting as New Orleans for economic Katrina, and weighing our votes.

Here’s where Barack Obama will have the edge. I like both candidates very much. I believe both are smart, decent choices for the toughest job I can imagine. Each is a huge step up from the candidates who ran for the job in 2004, thankfully.

‘Tis the season now for trashing each as the worst sort of scum, and I hope the zealots have all the fun in the world whipping themselves into frenzies. I also hope the vast bulk of us understand what the zealots are up to. The historic success of negative campaigning suggests otherwise, but there you go. If a candidate can’t handle the crucible, well, they probably are not fit for the real heat that comes with the job.

I do think McCain peaked already, and Obama will be climbing on Election Day. The Democrat has displayed cool poise where the Republican touting his experience and superior judgment has been jumpy and erratic. Politicizing the bailout without helping the situation hurt. And out of all the choices McCain had, it’s an awfully difficult argument to make that he chose Sarah Palin in the very best interests of the county.

Usurping the “change” mantel was clever but ultimately cotton candy for a conservative Republican who will follow the same path as the administration before him, if not every footprint. I can see “reform,” which would have had the added benefit of accuracy.

I’m spending this much space on the top of the ticket because my best guess is that how we vote for president will follow down through the ballot in Eagle County.

John Kerry won in Eagle County, and so did every other Democrat running for office other than sheriff. And the sheriff’s race was awfully close even though the candidate running against the Republican incumbent was obviously unsuited for the role.

The county’s voters have only grown more blue since then. Just this fall the registered Democrats outnumbered the registered Republicans for the first time in memory, if not ever. Still, unaffiliated voters outnumber either party.

The fly in this theory lies in the county commissioner races. The Democratic board has managed to open doors wide for competent Republican candidates to walk through.

The current board demonstrating disregard for the taxpayers’ viewpoint, spending “progressively” and lately appearing to try to slide controversial items into consent agendas for the attentive Republicans to feast on looks like a political disaster that could easily have been avoided.

The commissioners have tripped over their own feet, and I swear it sometimes looks like their own staff wants to undermine them. They are in a bit of trouble. And deservedly so, frankly.

If I were a Democrat running for commissioner, I’d be very thankful that this is a presidential election year.

And praying every night for an Obama landslide.

Don Rogers is the editor and associate publisher of the Vail Daily, Vail Trail and Eagle Valley Enterprise. He can be reached at 748-2920 or He welcomes your comments.

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