Quotable: Owens vs. the vandals

It seems my friend Gov. Bill Owens got carried away in addressing the Referendum C & D event at Children's Hospital last week. Perhaps trying to get the rhetoric down to kid level, he told the bipartisan tax rally, according to Mike Littwin of the Rocky, "We love Colorado, and we're not going to let them take it away from us." Yes, you read that right. Mr. Conservative, Republican Bill Owens, not liberal Democrat Ken Gordon, says the reason to raise taxes and weaken TABOR is as follows: "We love Colorado, and we're not going to let them take it away from us."

Now there's a sentence so packed with meaning, a deconstructionist hardly knows where to begin. Let's start with the very first word, "we." Does the Governor mean that you don't love Colorado unless you agree with him and his Democratic allies about higher taxes, deeper debt, and bigger government, the whole C & D package?

Next comes, in classic counterpoint, the unnamed enemy, "them." Does the Governor mean that everyone who just wants to leave the revenue and spending limits as they are in current law, everyone in the 57% of a recent poll who doesn't favor C & D, thus becomes part of a take-it-away wrecking mob?

Finally there is the absurd phrase itself, "take it away." Is Owens charging all the no voters, the entire status quo constituency, with some sort of selfish grab at the expense of their more loving neighbors? Does he picture the entire state just vaporizing if the ballot issue's $5.7 billion plea fails -- notwithstanding the $15 billion-plus in pocket change that government will go right on spending?

Apparently the Governor has joined the Regent Jim Carrigan school of doomsday spelling and puns, where we are warned that "Without C & D there is no Colorado." (Get it?) Well, if that's true brace yourself, everybody, because unless the polls shift fast and far, after Nov. 1 we're all going to be residents of *olora*o. Horrors.

In the column praising Gov. Owens for his C & D stance, Mike Littwin closed with Bob Dylan's immortal words, "The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles." Vandals R Us, it would seem -- me and Jon Caldara and Joe Stengel and a million-odd other citizens who are skeptical of bigger government.

That's okay, I've been called worse.