Plenty of obstacles for Colorado's Republicans.
Oct 27, 2008, Vol. 14, No. 07 • By DAVID HARSANYI
Udall has displayed few qualms about customizing his positions to appeal to any audience that happens to be listening. He has taken U-turns on offshore drilling (literally inserting it into an existing commercial on energy) and nuclear power. He flipped and voted for a FISA bill that included retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies. He voted against the financial bailout (twice) and has newfound appreciation for the Second Amendment. While Salazar perfected the bolo-tied cowboy populist charmer shtick, Udall, a prodigy from a well-known political family, brings the newer template: the mountain-climbing, granola-crunching, wind-worn man of the West.
Schaffer has struggled to match this appeal. Meeting recently with the Denver Post editorial board (which endorsed Udall and of which I am a member), he contrasted himself with his opponent saying, "You always know where I stand on an issue." And, well, that's the problem. Voters' knowing where you stand doesn't get you elected.
Though it might be too late for Schaffer to mount a comeback against these forces, McCain needs a Colorado miracle to compete. The Centennial State has not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate in 16 years, and then only with the help of Ross Perot. Colorado is a microcosm of the troubles Republicans face. The party has been unable to find top-notch candidates, generate grassroots enthusiasm, raise money, and deal with Colorado's changing demographics.
How Republicans regain their footing and repel this strategy is still a mystery. They certainly haven't begun to do the job yet.
David Harsanyi of the Denver Post is a nationally syndicated columnist.