By John Andrews firstname.lastname@example.org Bob Beauprez, the Republican congressman running for governor, spoke for less than 10 minutes at the D'Evelyn High School graduation on May 27, and his "personal reflections" to the graduates included not a word about politics or issues.
But his eloquent, moving statement of America's goodness and greatness summed up the advantage Beauprez holds in this year's bitterly contested election. Bob's unapologetic faith and patriotism connect him to the average Coloradan in a way the other candidates simply can't match.
This not only gives him an edge with voters; it stamps him with the caliber of moral leadership our state needs.
Without sentimentality or staginess, Beauprez touched on the Declaration of Independence, Lincoln, Genesis, Jeremiah, and St. Paul. At a public-school occasion where the courts have tragically banned most prayers, he boldly supplied the deficit by reminding the students God made them in His image and holds a good purpose for each one.
"All created equal" means you each have an opportunity to achieve without limits in this country and with your Creator's endowments, the congressman assured the D'Evelyn Class of 2006.
We live in a land of answered prayers, he added -- for our petition "God bless America" continues to be abundantly met. We're a people who have learned by experience to believe the impossible.
Delivered not from a text but from notes, it was a speech that came naturally from who Bob Beauprez is. So I would judge, anyway, having given and written a lot of speeches myself, and having known the man pretty well for years. The rap against Bob, that he is bland or fake or prone to play it safe, was belied by the unguarded genuineness of these remarks. Here was a guy entirely (as the cliche has it) comfortable in his own skin.
It was not a speech that could have been given by his Republican rival, the ambitious, calculating, scripted Marc Holtzman, or by the Democrat whom one of them will face in November, Bill Ritter -- hostage to his party's leftist and secularist orthodoxy, though personally sincere as a Catholic.
Even our outgoing governor, the conservative and Catholic but cautious Bill Owens, seldom matches the warmth and openness Beauprez showed in that brief commencement talk. It's this winning demeanor -- from the heart-- that I believe gives Bob a significant advantage down the stretch for Election 2006.
Personal PS: After the speech, Donna and I commented how much David D'Evelyn, her late brother, would have approved what Beauprez told these students at the school named in David's memory. His son Kenny was among the graduates and served as the congressman's introducer. Kenny D'Evelyn's words on May 19, after running to a state relay championship, seemed to me equally fitting for the Beauprez address on May 27: "I'm pretty sure dad saw that one."