We should, I guess, be flattered that Colorado has been designated by the national-political-pundits-who-know-everything as a “swing state.” And no, they’re not talking about rampant sexuality — they’re talking about the fall election.
We’re no longer an automatic Republican check-off.
For the first time since 1976, Coloradoans might give a majority of their votes to the Democratic nominee. And yes, Bill Clinton carried the state during 1992 — with a plurality. George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot together carried Colorado by a comfortable 58-42 margin, but Slick Willie’s 42 percent of the vote was enough to claim the state’s eight electoral votes.
So if we’re in play, who’s got the best chance of winning?
Will it be, as a particularly nasty comedian put it the other night, YouTube or feeding tube? Will it be youth, inexperience and a crazy preacher or age, experience and a different crazy preacher?
Will young folk flock to the polls as eagerly as they text their American Idol votes or will they just blow it off when they find they can only vote once? Will the geezers surprise us all by refusing to vote for one of their own, as in “Darn it, Donna, I’m 71 and I had to retire — why can’t McCain just stay on the golf course?”
That said, there are five compelling arguments for a Barack Obama victory in the Centennial State come November — and five equally compelling reasons for a John McCain triumph.
McCain will win because:
He’s a Westerner, with traditional Western views. He has defended property values, individual freedoms, gun ownership — and environmental stewardship. That’s the kind of conservatism that appeals to Colorado voters, who are no longer comfortable with Bush-era religious conservatives. In Colorado, moderates like Bill Ritter, Roy Romer, Bill Owens and Ken Salazar win — and McCain’s moderate conservatism will prevail.
His personal story is not only compelling, but heroic. Few Americans have been tested as McCain has, and fewer still have behaved as admirably in circumstances so dire. Americans (and Coloradoans) have supported candidates such as Dwight Eisenhower, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, who have proven themselves not by words, but by deeds.
Just as Ronald Reagan defused the age issue by humorously promising not to make an issue of Walter Mondale’s “youth and inexperience,” McCain will turn age into a virtue. He’s amazingly healthy and energetic for a 71-year-old, and voters will base their decisions upon other factors.
The numbers are in his favor. Republicans outnumber Democrats and unaffiliated voters have historically trended to the right.
The Hillary Clinton/Obama split will leave Dems dispirited and divided. Clinton supporters will ignore Obama, and spend their time, money and energy working for other Democrats.
Obama will win because:
He perfectly exemplifies the spirit of Colorado and the Mountain West. He’s a problem solver, not a traditional politician. He’s free from the taint of Bush/Clinton/Bush Washington politics. Just as so many of us came here to build better lives for ourselves and our families, Obama wants to build a better political world — free from the rancor and bitterness of the last 20 years.
The numbers are in his favor. Unaffiliated voters outnumber both Republicans and Democrats, and Obama’s candidacy has attracted widespread support among their ranks.
His personal story is both compelling and inspiring. His is a uniquely American story and his election would reaffirm the fundamental principles of this nation, and make us once again a beacon of freedom and equality.
Colorado voters, regardless of affiliation, have moved sharply away from the GOP during recent years, handing Democrats Ken Salazar and Bill Ritter easy victories in statewide races. Democrat Mark Udall should easily win the senate race during November against a weak, right-leaning Republican opponent who has been linked to Washington scandals — and that can only help Obama.
Bush, Iraq, Katrina, the economy — in Colorado and nationally, it’s not a good time to be a Republican. And while we might have turned the corner in Iraq and the economy will eventually right itself, as it always does, that won’t help McCain — it’s too little, too late.
Meanwhile, I’m happy to report that my old friend, the Seasoned Political Observer, is still as cynical as ever. Ran into SPO at a geezer-filled garden party last weekend, and got filled in about the Jeff Crank/Doug Lamborn/Bentley Rayburn donnybrook.
“Lamborn must be cackling,” SPO said. “Rayburn can’t win, but he and Crank will split the anti-incumbent vote, and Doug will sneak in with 35-40 percent of the vote. And (District Attorney John) Newsome will probably win, too — and the county tax will go down in flames. You know something? The voters here are morons — but I’d never live anywhere else.”
So, I asked about SPO’s plans for election night?
“Oh, I’ll go downtown and celebrate/mourn with my fellow Republicans — and maybe have a couple of beers with Newsome and Lamborn.”
John Hazlehurst can be reached at John.Hazlehurst@csbj.com or 227-5861.