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Michael Bennet, The Gazette, and the AARP

Wed, Oct 13, 2010

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Still trying to figure out just why Michael Bennet refused to schedule an interview with the Gazette, which is endorsing candidates for the first time since it passed from local ownership more than 60 years ago.

Dissed by Bennet, the Gazette endorsed his Republican rival, Ken Buck, and threw in a couple of zingers as well. Complaining that Bennet refused to speak to “the board of the second-largest newspaper in Colorado,” the paper also said, for all the world like a guy who had been blown off in his neighborhood bar by the hot girl from out of town, “Democratic senatorial candidate Michael Bennet seems to have little interest in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. For that reason alone, southern Colorado should get out the vote for Ken Buck…”

Had Bennet bothered to show up, he might not have gotten the endorsement, but he would have forced the editorial board to note his extensive experience in business, government, and education. Instead, he allowed himself to be portrayed as an arrogant jerk.

Personal note: I went to Wesleyan University with Michael Bennet’s father, Doug, who recently retired as Wesleyan’s president. Didn’t know him well, but maybe I should call him and ask him to tell his boy to git his butt down here to the Springs – he’s got some splainin’ to do!

Meanwhile, AARP sent out an interesting press release yesterday afternoon. Here it is, in part.

“Since 1994, the gap between voters age 45 and older and those under 45 who show up at the polls in a mid-term election has been widening. If the trend holds this November, two-thirds of voters will be age 45-plus, doubling the number of voters under 45, this according to a new analysis of voting trends by AARP out today.

“The impact older voters have on elections is well documented, but the margin of difference between voters older and younger than age 45 continues to widen,” said AARP Senior Vice President Drew Nannis. “When the votes are counted on November 2nd, two of every three voters are expected to be over the age of 45. Certainly, demographics are driving this trend, but regardless, the trend exists and anyone running for elected office would be wise to note who is voting them into office.”

The AARP analysis released today examines turnout patterns of older voters in both Presidential and mid-term elections since 1994. In 1994, older voters represented 56% of those voting. By 2006, older voters represented 65 percent of those voting. Over this period, the gap of those voting in elections has increased from a +6 percent to a +16 percent margin for voters over 45 in Presidential elections and a +12% to +30% margin for voters over 45 in mid-term congressional elections.”

Older voters (and I’m one of ‘em!) clearly control midterm elections. Given the lousy economy, dispirited Democrats, an unpopular incumbent president, and all of us angry, motivated geezers, no wonder things are looking gloomy for incumbents, especially those with a “D” after their names.

All the more reason for Sen. Bennet to have spent an hour or two with the peevish geezers on the Gazette’s editorial board. Really, Michael, I’ve known some of them for 20 years or more! They’re pretty good guys! They don’t bite – unless you don’t pay any attention to ‘em!

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