2016

2 March 2016: The campaigning has just begun

One of the fun aspects of writing for a weekly paper that comes out on Wednesday and having to submit one’s column several days before is that I cannot write an immediate response to the outcome and consequences of the election held on a Tuesday.

Perhaps that’s just as well. By the time you read this, either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders will have prevailed in the Colorado Democratic Party’s caucus vote. And either Donald Trump smoked the guys left standing in the Republican scrum or he obliterated them.

The Republicans’ last-men-standing hardly inspire confidence. Their last food-fight/debate was long on insult and short on intellectual rigor. Trump and Marco Rubio laid into one another just like elementary boys in the schoolyard.

It’s tough to shed tears over the GOP’s plight. After all, they brought their house down on themselves by inviting crazies to enter through the front door beginning with John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin for his running mate. Then came the Tea Party and the “birthers,” those who insisted Barak Obama was not American born. Their likely nominee, about whom they’re in a frenzy to stop, was birther-in-chief. Now they dread that he might be commander-in-chief.

But they have far from learned. Now the Grand Obstructionist Party is causing their Supreme Court hero to spin in his new grave by flagrantly disregarding their oath to defend the Constitution. Antonin Scalia insisted he always considered cases from original intent and strict constructionism. It’s likely he’d find the Senate Republican leadership in contempt of court.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), a blend of fundamentalist and obstinate political fervor, is the face of worthless do-nothingness. His disdain and contempt for President Barack Obama has been clear since Obama was sworn in in 2009 when he proclaimed his one goal was to make Obama a one-term president. He obviously failed miserably on that effort.

What is passing for public discourse, what might be labeled “inarticulate eloquence,” is an embarrassment. I find it ironic that many of those who dump on public schools for not being sufficiently rigorous themselves display shallow thinking when it comes to social, political, and economic issues.

The electoral season can be analogous to a football game in terms of time. If the Iowa caucuses were the kickoff, we’re well into the first quarter. The first half will end with the nominating conventions. As fans know, games are not done until they’re done, as the late, great Yogi Berra taught us. The second half will bring surprises and unanticipated twists that will test the candidates. Recall the Lehman Brothers collapse and economic crash that came during the 2008 campaign that help do in John McCain.

Still, Trump was right when he described how difficult it is to run for office. Those with super-sized egos like Trump thrive on it, but the ordeal can and often does tax the soul of the individual who is in it because of principle. An alligator, thick-skin hide is requisite. And a candidate needs to not only find the courage to pick him or herself back up but also the wherewithal.

It’s going to be a nine-month slog to the November elections. But with rancor roiling the national scene, it’s important not to lose focus on state and local elections. The big race in Colorado is for Senator Michael Bennet’s seat and here in Clear Creek both Phil Buckland and Tom Hayden are seeking reelection. The contests in Clear Creek will be far more personal, not in the attack sense, but in that the candidates for commissioner are friends and neighbors.

I have written over the past few weeks about “boring pragmatism.” My hope is that the electorate is able to set emotive passions aside and support candidates that offer problem-solving approaches to the great issues from how we deal with the impending closing of the Henderson Mine to the disparity between the ever-increasing disparity income gap.

My other hope is that voters say no to politicians who simply say no, who in the process shirk their legislative, constitutional, and ethical obligations as well as those who set forth unrealistic, pie-in-the-sky solutions that have no chance to be implemented.

It’s game on. November is nigh. Time to do your homework.

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