Coloradans prove they care in election
With so much to comment on, it’s time for “Cheers & Jeers,” a liberal scribe’s meandering, meaty musings.
If George W. Bush’s 51 percent in 2004 was a mandate, then the 52 percent for Referendum C was an overwhelming rejection of TABOR. Both are delusional, of course, but it is gratifying to see the voters making a firm statement about paring government ought not go to the point of performing a lobotomy on it. While the ballot measure was rejected by a majority of voters in Clear Creek, it is interesting to note the percentage voting no on C fell from what TABOR initially garnered here in 1992, from 53.3 to 51.8 percent. That was consistent with many communities across the state including archconservative El Paso and Douglas counties. The outcome confirms the majority of Coloradoans cares for their state and trusts its elected officials to do right. Our love for our four-legged friends in the form of anew shelter was overwhelmingly affirmed. The kids’ vote, though, barely squeaked by, by six votes; but as Coach Shanahan might put it, “A win is a win.” So, a big thanks to all who gave so much of themselves on both issues, especially Beth Luther and Patti Mulvihill, the leaders in their respective campaigns.
One lesson learned from the campaign itself is the realization a sizeable number of voters are unknowledgeable about TABOR, which is understandable given it was enacted in 1992 and many of our fellow citizens are more recent transplants. The problem is without a fundamental understanding of the constitutional amendment that most dictates the state’s plight, voters can and were very susceptible to false claims, and those came fast and furious from the Vote No side. As H.L. Mencken wrote, “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not to your own facts.” Nonetheless, facts about TABOR and Referendum C lay decimated in their wake. Regarding the financing, we do know from where the Vote Yes money came, but the source of the Vote No Dough remains quite murky, for only the Shadow, Jon Caldera of the Independence Institute, knows. Perhaps from deep-pockets, rightwing loony Richard Mellon Scaife? One outcome for sure—whatever credibility Douglas Bruce and Jon Caldera had has been shredded.
Zealotry has raised its ugly head despite the dearth of social wedge issues. Governor Bill Owens is now anathema in the Orthodox Church of Secular Conservatism, having been excommunicated by reigning pontiff Grover Norquist and his acolyte Joe Stengel, Minority Leader of the Colorado House of Representatives, for putting the needs of Colorado and its people above ideology. Look for the two Republican 2006 gubernatorial candidates, who derided Referendum C as a tax grab, to do some flip-flopping. For sure, governing Colorado with Referendum C in place, if either gets the opportunity, will be far more pleasant than it would have been without it.
On the national scene, all seems to be going well for the President. His latest 37-percent approval rating keeps him ahead of George Custer’s standing among Indians at Little Big Horn, but not by much. His reception in the sauna of Argentina was about as warm as a January morning atop Mt. Evans. On the other hand, he can feel proud of being the first President in over 100 years to have one of his White House officials indicted. “Scooter” Libby—one heckuva name for a chief of staff to a Vice-President—is facing 30 years in the slammer for doing all he could to “throw sand into the umpires eyes,” as Prosecutor Patrick Fitgerald phrased it, in order to obstruct the probe into why anyone would be so dastardly to out a CIA agent and into the order of the food chain of that conspiracy. Vice-President Cheney’s fingerprints along with those of Karl Rove, “Bush’s Brain,” will likely be found all over the smoking gun, or should I say, “mushroom cloud.”
It really goes back to the “Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal,” the term Colin Powell’s former chief of staff Col. Lawrence Wilkerson has coined, manipulating intelligence in order to get you to support their war against the guy who had nothing to do with the September 11 attacks. In response, the President has called a mandatory meeting to review ethics standards the rest of us already adhere to. Of course, that is like the Marquis de Sade putting out a memo on safe-sex practices.
Former Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives Tom Delay, aka “The Hammer,” is doing his part as well to resist coming clean in Texas on charges of money laundering and more to avoid doing time in the Slammer. Likewise, Majority Leader of the Senate Bill Frist has been of late in a state of denial regarding the Martha Stewart-like investigation about his insider trading. Throw in the indictments of Jack Abramoff, super Republican lobbyist, and David Safavian, former White House official, and you got a full slate of potential Big House guests for Bush to pardon before he leaves office, that is, should he survive impeachment.
At long last, the Senate has gotten around to approving what we’ve all been awaiting—the rape, pillage, and plunder of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In contrast, it overwhelmingly, 91 to 9, said no to Bush and Cheney’s demand that the U.S. continue torturing its prisoners. Bizarrely, Senator Allard was one of the Dirty Nine that pledged his troth to torture. On the bright side, it’s back to business as usual in the Senate with the vote on a new Supreme Court justice. After abandoning their demand that all nominees get an up-or-down vote in the Harriet Miers’ case after the Religious Right threatened to hang her as a witch, thus causing Republican senators a potential embarrassing conflict of conscience, soon-to-be-indicted Majority Leader Frist has put his cherished Nuclear Option back on the table if Senate Democrats dare to filibuster Bush’s second-rate choice of Samuel Alito, sometimes referred to as “Scalito.”
Looping back to Colorado, I want to second Steven Graeber’s chastisement of those who wouldn’t take the time to mark and mail their ballots. As he pointed out, people in Iraq are forced to overcome incredible life-threatening obstacles for that right, and I might add, as are our fellow Americans in Florida and Ohio. So doggone it, get yourself informed and involved and VOTE!