The ‘none of the above’ race
Their campaign advertising makes the case for a “none of the above” choice. Frankly, we find it revolting. This nonsense of digging for any personal life issues, no matter how irrelevant to public life, to heave at candidates and deceitful ads lowers what should be a high calling. It turns off a large mass of ordinary voters, the cornerstone of our type of democracy. At worst it could ruin American government. Some observers argue it already has.
Whoever “wins” this race, the loser is Colorado politics. Where are the standup candidates like Grand County’s Paul Ohre, who two years ago when a “helpful” outside group ran gutter ads on Republican rival Jack Taylor stood up very publicly and called for a quick end to those ads?
A shrug and quick “wasn’t me” step away from the authors of such ads is all we’ve seen from this year’s crop of local and statewide candidates who have had similar “help.” We’ve watched quietly, indeed hoping for such a response.
Accurately portraying a rival’s history and record while offering alternatives should be the lifeblood of a candidacy, and most campaigns have been pretty good about this. We commend those campaigns.
In person, Strickland and Allard are both smart, energetic and committed people. If you favor liberal approaches to national decisions, go with Strickland. If you favor a more conservative outlook, go with Allard.
We recommend the less telegenic Allard largely because we believe a Republican majority in the Senate is the better prescription for America at this time. That alone is a significant reason to opt for Allard and not truly turn to a throwaway vote for one of the fringe candidates in protest of despicable campaigns by the major parties.
Boulder Republican Sandy Hume would make an excellent congressman. No question in our minds about that. We love his door-to-door, person-to-person touch, and he’s a thinker as well as an experienced political office holder who has served in the state Legislature and his lifelong home’s county commission.
Udall, however, is one of the stronger congressmen from either party. He’s a Democrat who can work well across the aisle – which may make him an endangered species in that nation’s seat of rancor. Though he has not served as Eagle County’s representative in Congress, yet, he has involved himself in our issues and has high marks for constituent service.
We may not always agree with him, but we recognize him as a fair-minded thinker at the local and national levels who do the district proud. We recommend voting for Udall in this election – and keeping an eye on Hume in the future.
Gov. Bill Owens has done a reasonably good job of helping put the state in better shape than most for weathering the current economic downturn. He’s helped fulfilled 1998 campaign vows to cut taxes, pick up the pace on road construction and bring report cards for schools in addition to students.
He has shown a willingness to reach across the political spectrum to fill cabinet seats. He wisely pushed for improving Colorado’s high tech capabilities in high-speed Internet access and by initiating the Colorado Institute of Technology – even with the dot.com bust, this industry is and will continue to progress.
He is widely praised for his handling of the Columbine tragedy and widely panned for infamously exclaiming “All of Colorado is on fire” on national television – earning scorn from the practitioners of the state’s third-biggest business, tourism.
Rollie Heath, the Democratic challenger, deserves more consideration than the polls are suggesting he is receiving. A military officer who found success in the business world, Heath is pragmatic fiscally but seems to have a better understanding about how investment in education and tourism, for example, can make a big difference in the future for Coloradans. He also shows more knowledge and interest in the ski towns and we believe the West Slope issues and interests than the governor does.
The I-70 traffic jam during peak hours, West Slope water needs, resort community life seem much closer to Heath’s heart than Owens’.
Owens was particularly strong in balancing this next tough state budget where the Legislature, bless them, couldn’t complete the job. Looking at what’s best for the state as a whole as opposed to a narrower interest in Eagle County, we recommend Owens.
But we also call upon him to put more focus on tourism, take care not to consider Front Range interests over West Slope needs, and to think just a little longer before uttering a piece of hyperbole about the state blazing away when in fact less than 1 percent of the wildland is burning. He should understand the value of image.