(Denver Post, Sept. 5) “McInnis: A Jobs Governor,” say the bus benches and billboards that were to give the former GOP congressman a lift toward November after he won in August; only he lost. Still you see the slogan everywhere, as sad as a Christmas tree in spring, a reminder of how strange politics can be. (And stranger yet if the Dan Maes candidacy also ends, a possibility when I wrote this.) Meanwhile the finalists for senator forge into fall with their own bizarre blemishes left over from summer – Democrat Michael Bennet alleged to have been a corporate looter, Republican Ken Buck scolded for joking that “I don’t wear high heels.” (Has declining to cross-dress ever before been deemed politically insensitive?)
(Denver Post, May 30) An Alaska mayor shocks the governor in a primary, then humbles an ex-governor in the general election, then electrifies the nation as John McCain’s running mate. A legislator from the laughing-stock Massachusetts Republicans upsets the attorney general to capture a perennially Democratic Senate seat. A lowly Pennsylvania congressman ignores the president’s support for a party-switching senator and retires him in a primary, Obama endorsement and all.
(Denver Post, May 2) “Son, you have become a man. Mom and I are so proud of your maturity. In turning 21 today and taking a bride tomorrow, you reach the age of emancipation. This is literally your time of being set free, entering upon self-determined adulthood. What a milestone. “Because we care for you and your wife and children, we’ll stay involved as parents in a few small ways. We will provide a house for you, and cars as needed. We will supply you energy for all those. Of course we’ll always cover the medical bills for you and the kids. Costs of school and college will be on us as well. Plus an income floor. Pay a share of these things if you can, but don’t strain yourself. It’s our tribute to your independence.”
(Denver Post, Jan. 24)) Why did Gov. Bill Ritter fold his reelection campaign? Why is Sen. Michael Bennet so far behind in the polls? Why did Scott Brown win in Massachusetts? Why is Barack Obama struggling to save his presidency, one year after taking office in triumph? Because Americans have completely lost patience with irresponsibility. For years this column has talked of the need for a responsibility movement to challenge both political parties. “We’ll call it Element R and launch it today, right here in Colorado,” I wrote in 2007. What the country has seen in recent months is Element R, in fact if not in name, starting to take charge.