It’s time to roll up the sleeves and let the mud fly

Filed under: Hazlehurst |

Attack ads! They’re everywhere, inescapable unless you’ve managed to leave the 21st century and dwell in an idyllic, undefiled wilderness, without TV, Internet access, cell phones, newspapers or mail.
Otherwise, you have to put up with various screamers telling you all about Bob Schaeffer, Mark Udall, Barack Obama, and John McCain.
None of these gentlemen, it would appear, are worthy of office.
In fact, they deserve your contempt! Voting against them isn’t enough — you need to send money to their worthy opponents. And if you’ve already sent money, send more.
Traditionally, politicians gave us a break during August.
It’s getting toward the end of summer and nobody’s paying attention, so let’s have our conventions and wait until after Labor Day. And in the same glorious tradition, the candidates assigned the job of attack dog to surrogates.
Republican candidates for statewide office would use Dick Wadhams, famed for calling Ronald Reagan a “Boulder Liberal,” while Democrats relied upon spurned Republicans such as erstwhile gubernatorial candidate Marc Holtzman, who first called Bob Beauprez “Bothways Bob.”
And no candidate for president ever got down and dirty with his opponent — that’s what vice presidential candidates are for. Absent duly anointed second bananas, the fight card can’t be filled out.
Remember all the prattle about the decent, principled campaign that we were going to see this year? Remember Obama’s lofty dismissal of “politics as usual?”
Forget it — and let’s admit our shameful little secret.
We like politics as usual — we like it, like it, yes we do (as the Stones sang before 1968 was created, let alone re-created).
We revel in the mudslinging, the outrageous falsehoods, the faked indignation, the pseudo-pious religiosity, the nasty innuendos, the baseless rumors, the doctored photos and the attack dogs of left and right.
We love it when Focus on the Family calls for the Lord to drown out Obama with a deluge, and we love it when they’re forced to withdraw the suggestion. We’re genuinely sorry for Elizabeth Edwards — but delighted that Breck Boy got caught.
And what could be more fun than dueling mansions — and finding out that McCain is essentially homeless?
Yup, it’s all in Cindy’s name, so if he misbehaves, he’s out on the street.
We like politics as usual for the same reason that we like workplace gossip, celebrity magazines, the NFL or “War and Peace.”
Great books, great gossip and great sports illuminate our lives and help us to better understand the world. Politics as usual, especially presidential politics, combines the best features of all three: combative, earthy, continually absorbing and, like a great novel or a great football game, you don’t know how it’s going to end.
So I’m looking forward to more — and remembering the great moments of the past.
Lloyd Benson to Dan Quayle: “I knew Jack Kennedy — and you’re no Jack Kennedy!”
Michael Dukakis in the tank.
Young woman voter talking about Bob Dole: “He’s like the mean old man who yells at you to get off his lawn …”
“I will not make the youth and inexperience of my opponent an issue in this campaign.” — Ronald Reagan, neatly defusing the age issue.
A few days later, his 52 year-old opponent, Walter Mondale, inexplicably announced “I will raise your taxes …”
Meanwhile, we’ll see multiple initiatives and at least one tax hike on the November ballot.
In our present sour economy, I can’t imagine that the voters will approve any “revenue enhancement” measures. And it might be that a certain “malaise” (to quote Jimmy Carter’s infamous gaffe) could lead Colorado residents to reject most initiatives, be they carefully structured measures to improve Colorado’s governance, nakedly partisan examples of grudge-settling or strange mixtures of biology and religion.
And finally, big ups to Pueblo for landing the Vestas wind turbine plant last week.
Much of the business community looked askance upon Gov. Bill Ritter’s fulsome embrace of alternative energy as a key to Colorado’s future. Apparently, the governor was right.
This is the fourth major wind energy investment in Colorado by Vestas, which is to wind what Exxon used to be to oil. It’s reasonable to expect that many investments by similar companies will follow.
Not bad for any governor, let alone a Democrat.
But lest you get too carried away, governor, remember that our exemplary business climate is a product of the conservative economic policies that your two predecessors helped create, aided by Republican majorities in the legislature.
So, don’t go all Ralph Nader on us …
John Hazlehurst can be reached at John.Hazlehurst@csbj.com or 227-5861.