My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Salazar Speaks--Republicans Should Listen

How could a Democrat win statewide office in a red state like Colorado? That's the question I've been asked often since I beat Pete Coors by 5 percentage points in 2004.

So begins the article on RealClearPolitics by Sen. Ken Salazar today--and I would strongly advise the Republican candidates to listen.

Salazar's main points are these:

Security first. As the Attorney General of Colorado, he had a lot of credibility on this count--sadly, something not too many Democrats do.

The second defining theme for me was my work in the rural parts of Colorado. This made a huge difference in Colorado; Salazar was already going to do well in the Denver-Boulder corridor, but his strength in "red" rural CO was what got him over the top, and, again, his credibility in that area is both strong (as a small rancher) and, again, unique among Democrats, who tend to hail from parts urban.

The third key issue was faith. But not in a Johnn Kerry-like, Howard Dean-like way; Salazar is open and honest about it, and is strong enough on it that he did not get endorsements from NARAL and NOW because he supports some restrictions on abortion. But crucially, his faith was an authentic part of who he is, not something he puts on like a cheap coat to impress the right crowd.

But his most important piece of advice is this: Besides the issues, the most important thing that a candidate can do is to be authentic. If a candidate tries to wear religion [or security, or a good personal story, . . .] like clothing without really having it, that tactic will backfire.

Of course, he's right. The problem most Democrats will have in following his advice is that they just aren't credible on these counts. They, as a party, have spent so much time pandering to the narrow interests that make up their coalition that it will be difficult to convince too many voters of their authenticity on too many of these fronts.

And, besides which, Salazar left out the most important ingredient in his successful run for office: have an opponent who is completely inexperienced at campaigning and who is completely wooden in his appearances for the first nine months of the campaign. If they could just arrange for that to happen everywhere, the Dems could score a huge landslide . . .

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