Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Bennet angle

I was talking to a reporter yesterday who had a somewhat Machiavellian explanation for Ritter's choice of Michael Bennet for the Senate seat. Ritter is likely facing a difficult reelection campaign in 2010. The economy is souring, his approval ratings seem iffy (although they're not polled very often), and the initiative he championed last year (Amendment 58) went down, suggesting he doesn't have a ton of mojo right now. Perhaps Ritter wanted to put an even weaker Democrat on the ballot to draw the most qualified Republican competitors away from him and toward the Senate seat.

It's like that joke about the two gazelles running from a lion. One gazelle stops to put on sneakers. The other says, "What are you doing? That won't help you outrun the lion." The first one says, "I don't have to outrun the lion. I just have to outrun you."

It's an interesting theory, but I kind of doubt there's much to it. For one thing, it doesn't square with what we know about Ritter's personality. For another, it's not like there's only one or two qualified Republicans out there who could make a capable run for statewide office.

Interesting reactions to this decision abound. Most state Democrats seem willing to give Ritter and Bennet the benefit of the doubt, although a few were surprisingly critical. Here's one:
Susan Barnes-Gelt, a former Denver City Councilwoman, questioned how many people a Denver-centric educator with no experience in campaigning would appeal to in a statewide race.

She also wondered why Ritter would choose him over [Andrew] Romanoff when the outgoing House speaker had the legislative support that Ritter needs to pass his agenda.

"Here's yet another example of Bill Ritter making a strange choice that reflects nothing but the fact that he has not been listening to an overwhelming number of Coloradans," she said.

Another interesting reaction came from Wally Stealy in Pueblo:

"We're in total shock," Stealey said. "We don't think he can win the next election. We think he is the wealthy man's candidate."

Meanwhile, Politico interviewed me about the Bennet pick. You can read it here. I sound like an idiot, and I don't think that's entirely my fault.


Anonymous said...

You don't sound that bad in the Politico piece. But their decision not to throw a link your way, well that's just cruelty.

Anonymous said...

Seconded. You come off as an experts speaking in a casual conversation, and personally approachable, not idiotic. And if you're not careful, this sort of thing makes you a go-to type for east coast media who have no sources west of Rosslyn.