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The Senate Race
Rocky Mountain Alliance of Blogs, 2.0
My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
I've had some time to mull over the results of last night's votes on Ref C and D, and, while my analysis is by no means expert, I will share my impressions nonetheless.
Reasons C won:
1. Money, money, money, MUUU-NEE-EEY! John Andrews yesterday, on KHOW with Dan and Craig, estimated that the pro-C forces had spent about $6 million on the ref, while anti-C had only been able to raise about $2 mils. When you couple that with the endorsements of nearly every newspaper in the state, and factor in the bipartisan support for the measures coming from the Statehouse (ahem, Gov Owens . .. ), it's a miracle that it was just a four point race. This could EEEasily have been a ten- to fourteen-point win.
2. Losing the Catchy Slogan War. pro-C had "Move Colorado Forward", anti-C had "Vote No, It's Your Dough." The one invokes the entire state and implicitly calls on a sense of civic necessity; the other not only invokes our "best" isolationist urges, it makes it remarkably easy to caricature opponents (read: Republicans) as selfish, greedy, and not civic-minded. When faced with that choice, I think a lot of people guilt themselves into doing what they've been told is "best" for the whole community; in this case, if the last batch of polls are to be believed, the undecideds split in the last two weeks almost two to one FOR Ref C. I believe a lot of that is out of a misplaced sense of civic duty.
Look, why should they have complicated this? I suggested long ago "Ref C: The $3 bil solution for the $1 bil problem." It doesn't rhyme, has no cadence, but immediately puts the pro-C on the defensive and (appropriately) paints the politicians as over-reaching. And it frames the debate in terms of the politicians, not the average citizen.
3. Losing the Spokesperson War. Pro-C had Gov. Owens, Hank Brown, and several memorable ads from Mayor John Hickenlooper; anti-C had John Caldara, Jon Andrews, and Marc Holtzmann. Two Republicans who have won statewide races and a quirky, charismatic political chameleon versus a liberatarian think-tank operator, a former state senator and a former President of local university. On both stature and reputation, not to mention Hick's watchability, the pro-C side had it all over the anti-C side. Joshua has some good thoughts on the wisdom of having John Caldara front this effort.
Reasons D Lost:
1. Coloradans need therapy. Jared agrees.
Why one, and not the other, since they were tied to one another? Who on earth knows. Commentators are fond of fawning over the state's long history of, shall we say, schizophrenic political decisions, and they often point to the state's tendency to vote for both liberal and conservative causes as evidence of its sophistication. Sure...we may be sophisticated, and, as a one-time Presidential wannabe might have said, nuanced, but then again, we may simply be prone to idiocy.
But, it's all over now. I suspect I will barely notice the change, since I'd grown accustomed to not getting that refund check. One thing to ask of the candidates for Governor next year, in indeed of the sitting Governor, is "how far are you willing to go to limit fiscal excesses by the legislature in light of Ref C?"