If it wasn't for the honor of it, I'd rather have walked. Lincoln's account of the man's reaction to being ridden out of town on a rail is exactly my reaction to seeing the woes of our state's GOP proclaimed on the front of a national magazine. Fred Barnes of the Weekly Standard and Fox News, one of the best political reporters out there, takes a hard look at Colorado Democrats' recent successes and their national implications in this week's Standard cover story, "The Colorado Model." What he sees won't cheer up my fellow Republicans, but it's a picture we need to face unblinkingly.
I talked to Barnes for an hour on July 1 during his time on the ground here, and the story quotes me a couple of times. This one appears at the end...
"Colorado is being used as a test bed for a swarm offense by Democrats and liberals to put conservatives and Republicans on defense as much as possible," says Andrews. The initial results of that test are favorable.
And this one a bit earlier...
"The bitterness of Coors-Schaffer in '04 still exists," says John Andrews. "The bitterness of Referendum C persists. And the bitterness of Marc Holtzman versus Bob Beauprez in 2006 persists." Moreover, Andrews says, "I'm not sure our party has learned the lessons it needed to learn. Republicans and conservatives missed our moment to be the next wave of the Reagan revolution at the state level. We didn't seize the center, and we didn't seize the imagination of Colorado voters."
Such reality is tough medicine for my side to swallow -- but if we're to regain our competitiveness against the opposition juggernaut this year and into 2010, we need to choke it down the sooner the better.