Sunday, August 15, 2010

Democrats' lesson from Dan Maes

"I'm voting against every incumbent; that's my theory."

Denver Post writer Christopher N. Osher quoted that little bit of wisdom from an unnamed Dan Maes supporter in a story on the front page of the Sunday Post about Maes' remarkable Republican primary victory. Photo credit: Boulder County Democrats

Democrats should learn a lesson from the story. Incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet beat former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in Tuesday's Democratic senatorial primary.

If you've read my blog before, you know I would have liked to see Romanoff win, reflecting the same anti-incumbent sentiment in my Democratic choice as was expressed in the Republicans' gubernatorial primary race, where Maes claimed his victory.

On Wednesday, I contributed $25 to Bennet's general-election campaign, and offered to work for him. If my offer is accepted, I'll have to stop writing about him on this blog, so maybe the Bennet campaign will accept the offer just to shut me up.

The contribution, however, won't silence me on the issue because I believe bloggers, as long as they disclose their leanings to readers, have just as much right to write about politics as anyone else protected by the First Amendment. Working for the guy goes beyond a mere contribution, however, so I'll quit writing about that particular race if I actually do some work for Bennet's campaign.

But until then, I suggest the Democratic establishment, who were the real winners in the Bennet nomination, beware of the anti-incumbent sentiment expressed by the Maes supporter.

Many traditional Democratic voters feel the same antipathy toward the ongoing partisanship of Congress, and don't have much sympathy for Democrats who can't use the legislative majorities given them along with a Democratic president in 2008 to affect the "change" in government they had hoped to see come out of Washington over the past two years.

A public option among health-care reforms is just one of those disappointments.

So Michael Bennet had better keep his campaign rhetoric tilting toward the populist view that Washington remains broke, despite his nomination, and he still needs to help fix it. Making up to his establishment mentors and contributors is no task to be undertaken now -- nor ever for that matter.

Ken Buck is going to be coming after Bennet with the Tea Party in tow. Bennet needs independent thinking Democrats and independents in his camp if he expects to overcome.

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