A GOP that can win: Thoughts on Fred Anderson’s passing

(‘76 Editor) Five Republicans have presided over the Colorado Senate in the modern era since 1974, when voters transferred that duty from the lieutenant governor to a member chosen within the body. Fred Anderson of Loveland, who died last week at age 83, was the most senior amongst us.

He yielded the gavel to Ted Strickland in 1982, after which it passed to Tom Norton, then Ray Powers, and finally in 2002 to me. In 2000, Stan Matsunaka had become the first Democratic senator to serve as president, interrupting the GOP reign. Since 2004, it has been all Democrats with the gavel: Joan Fitz-Gerald, then Peter Groff, and currently Brandon Shaffer.

Six weeks into the 2003 session, my first as Senate President, former presidents Fred Anderson, Tom Norton, and Ray Powers (L-R) returned for a tribute from the body. Ted Strickland had to cancel.

Will we see a Republican Senate President back in the saddle a year from now? It will depend on the newly drawn 2011 map, the national trend in 2012, the quality of candidates, and the GOP’s ability to unite for victory.

We surely won’t get there if one faction in the party insists on 18 or more senators (out of the 35) who are as conservative as John Andrews, while another faction insists on 18 who are as moderate as Fred Anderson. That’s not the way you build a coalition that can win and govern.

Cooperation with each other on the basis of 80% ideological agreement, or some such congruence short of unanimity, is the condition of prevailing as a party.

The same axiom holds true in all the coming year’s contests, whether in trying to take the state Senate and the White House, or in hanging onto the state House and the 4–3 edge in our Colorado congressional delegation.

The alternative is letting the progressive liberal left hold power by default, because we on the center–right allowed the perfect to be the enemy of the good. Shame on us if we do.

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