I am a supporter of Ken Buck in the U.S. Senate race. My vote for him did not come automatically or without careful study and consideration. My first instinct several months ago was to support Jane Norton. At the time, I viewed Jane as an attractive candidate, coming onto the national scene on the coat tails of Sarah Palin. I read her as a tough, gritty conservative woman. I assumed she was a woman of character, ethics, old-west integrity and a person whose handshake equals an absolute bond of truth and sincerity. I had not heard much of anything about Ken Buck, but before I signed up as a volunteer for Jane, I felt compelled to make sure I was making the right decision. I started doing some homework on Ken Buck. When he was somewhat close to where I live, I made an effort to go and listen to him. Did the same with Mrs. Norton, to be fair, and it wasnt long before I started to doubt my friends in the GOP that were coaxing me to stand with Jane. Trust them, they said, we know which candidate can win.
I had a complete change of heart one Saturday morning in late winter when I heard a woman speak at a GOP monthly meeting. It was planned as a U.S. Senate candidate forum but neither Norton nor Buck could attend. At that time, the field was crowded with other candidates. The room was overwhelmingly full of Norton enthusiasts, including many elected officials, both local and state-wide. Well respected persons in government positions took to the microphone to endorse Jane Norton. There was one woman that had come to speak on behalf of Ken Buck. I was absolutely struck by her passion in talking to the group. She was a woman I definitely could identify with--middle class, about my age, not comfortable in such situations, no rehearsed talking points and coached public speaking--but full of a fire that I believed was the true heart and soul of the Voice of the People Movement. Having attended many tea parties and grassroots meetings hosted by a myriad of organizations, I knew a good, solid from-the-heart appeal when I heard one, and I heard one that morning. When the meeting adjourned, I was approached by the purple t-shirts of the Norton camp, asking me to fill donation envelopes, sign up to walk precincts and just to "Stand with Jane", afterall, I was a woman--all Republican women in Colorado were automatically expected to march in lockstep. By the time I made it to my car, I was no longer a blind follower of my county GOP's pick, and I was ready to learn more about Ken Buck, the DA from Weld, County.
In May, I was one of the very fortunate folks in Colorado to be able to attend and cast votes at the GOP State Caucuses. By that point, I was fully convinced I'd vote for Ken Buck, even though I had cast a straw poll vote for Norton back in March at my neighborhood caucus.
It's been a journey of enlightenment. That cold night in March at my local elementary school and then the high energy experience in Loveland at the State Caucuses both seem so long ago. As the heat of mid-summer and evening storms bear down on us in these final days before the Primary, I've held out hope this race would remain civil and dignified. America has had enough of lies and platitudes and disingenuous politicians. I felt all year we could do better.
I attended a very informative lecture last evening given by KUSA's Adam Schrage, co-author of "The Blueprint..." Locally, we'd been encouraged by conservative radio to hear this young man speak and learn from his research and published findings. He was, indeed, an impressive speaker and presenter. I knew in advance the actual details of how Progressives organized and snatched Colorado from the GOP. I'd read the book but hadn't heard Mr. Schrage's presentation. The one point he made that I took to heart and took home was the reality that we will never, ever have one candidate that totally and completely meets all our requirements. No one, other than ourselves, lines up exactly with all of our ideals and positions on different issues. While he was party-neutral in his discussion, he was clear that it is essential to put aside petty issues once a primary is over and stand firmly with the candidate of your party---provided you want your party to win.
I knew as I left that he was right and I was committed that come Wednesday, August 11, I was going to be 4-square behind the electorate's choice for U.S. Senate and Colorado Governor. I kept reminding myself that we must win. We must put a Republican in those seats, even though the persons filling them may not be as conservative as I or may differ on an issue or two.
I've been disappointed by the childish attacks Jane Norton has levied against Ken Buck. I expected more from her. The behavior definitely does not line up with my ideals of ethics and sense of decency that help define my political agenda. I'm old-fashioned because I believe persons in positions of authority deserve our respect and in turn, they need to live their lives and model behavior that compells the rest of us to try and elevate our own behavior and conduct in society. It is very discouraging to watch a political campaign use tactics and words that I wouldn't allow my family to use in our home.
Today, I received a glossy, high-dollar campaign flyer in the mail and while I understand a candidate has no real control over campaign slurs put out by independent groups, I know that the slur presented in this flyer is something Jane herself has hammered on for over a week.
"Grow Our Party", the powerful 527 group headed up by Bill Bloomfield, a California developer, was officially organized in March, 2010, according to an article written March 25, '10, by ABC News political correspondent, Matthew Mosk. (http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=10198868 The irony is unavoidable because Mrs. Norton has avoided her connections to Sen. John McCain for months and has tried unsucessfully to garner the support of Colorado's grassroots voters. Grow Our Party is top heavy with operatives from McCain's '08 run and now Sen. McCain is coming to Colorado to stump for Jane. Grow Our Party hand-picks candidates and only seeks elitism in terms of the ad agencies, polling groups and other entities to associate with. They know what's best for the Republican Party and someone like me is expected to follow their lead without question. That's hard to do since I've been very vocal about the sorry effects Insider Politics have had on our country, especially in recent years.
Apparently, when it was politically expedient to deny connection to John McCain other than being friends, Mrs. Norton did so, but now she needs his endorsement and the influx of money from his pals at Grow Our Party, who solicits and often collects donations in the $500,000 range. That's quite a step up for the hometown girl from Grand Junction, educated at CSU (her claim to grassroots fame).
I know Ken Buck and other candidates I'm supporting this cycle also have external special interest groups running ads, as well. But Mrs. Norton has been over the top. I've heard her at several debates. I've heard her repeatedly dodge questions during radio interviews and I've seen her lose her cool when questioned or challenged. She cannot be budged from her memorized scripts. Here's the thing that has literally broken my heart about this particular race:
"Grow Our Party" sent out this fancy flyer today which has a '50's era woman on the cover saying, "Whoa! Aren't we past this?" Inside, the memory of Ginger Rogers is invoked with the statement, "Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels." I've heard that comment alot and I've always wondered what Ms. Rogers would say about it. She made a career out of dancing with Fred Astaire and she valued his friendship and the fact that worked so well together. She could have danced entirely alone and had as much fame and fortune, but she knew the two of them together were even better. The flyer is cutsy and clearly aimed at undecided women voters, but for me, it had the opposite effect.
Anyone with any political knowledge of this race knows the reference being made. Jane Norton made some off-handed comment about her high heels, and later Ken Buck made a comment, also off-handed and done with humor. It's been a gold mine for the Norton camp, who failed to encourage "Grow Our Party" to include in this flyer the fact that a woman in Norton's camp recently went on record as saying something to the tune of, "It's time to sex up this campaign." They also fail to mention that the upper tier of Buck's campaign staff is all women. This smear campaign ad goes on to state, ...Ken Buck says the only reason to vote for him is because he doesn't wear high heels. They complete the lie by noting that his "disdain for women is obvious."
Jane Norton's husband hired Ken Buck many years ago. Did she question h is 'disdain' for women back then? Does Jane Norton honestly think he disdains women when she sees the devotion, love and commitment he receives from his wife and daughter and that he clearly returns to them? According to Jane Norton and the big-money team in Washington, D.C., that has hand-picked her for the Senate, Ken Buck is not fit for about anything, yet as a concerned citizen of Colorado, I had not previously heard her complaints and concerns about him in his public service life.
As Sean Hannity says, it's the silly season right now in politics. Our country faces so many horrific challenges. We have problems that I never expected to see within the borders of this country in my lifetime. Jane Norton and her camp have resorted to petty politics as usual. Win at any cost. Defame and demoralize a good man and his family. Whatever it takes. She is a woman with a vision of a long career in politics. She is propped up now by the power players in D.C., even though she has repeatedly denied associations of that sort all along. Her agenda is clear. Voters are also clear in what we want and what we will and will not accept anymore; our kids are watching all of this and the bar should have been set higher. This is not behavior moms of most young girls would endorse and hold out as an example for their child to follow.
The results will be in come Tuesday night. Colorado will have spoken and we'll know which candidates to unite behind and which to reject. In walking my precinct this evening, I visited with several Republican neighbors that also received that same flyer. They find it replusive, immature and one went so far as to say it's downright un-American. Mud-slinging for the sake of one's own political advantage doesn't rate too high these days. Our opponent is Barack Obama and his Congress. Folks are so tired of it and the nasty ads that a debate in Pueblo has been cancelled because citizens simply don't want to sit through it anymore.
I have asked repeatedly to be taken off of Jane Norton's phone, email and mailing lists. I wish the cost of that flyer that came today had been donated to a disabled vet instead. If I'd gotten a small notice that said money that might have been used to attack Ken Buck had instead been donated to a Veteran's Home, my opinion of Jane Norton would have really improved--alot. Up until today, I was sure that if Jane Norton was the candidate on the November ballot, I'd put aside my feelings and vote for her. The young man giving the lecture last night also encouraged it: vote for the party candidate because you never get everything you want anyway.
After getting the mail today; however, I have new questions. What about personal integrity? What about decency and Christian charity? What about taking responsibility for your behavior and keeping in mind you have an obligation to set a good example for kids and people we'd love to coax into the Republican Party? What about expecting a fellow Colorado woman to be above petty, sophormoric, unbecoming behavior? How does a person reconcile your vote when one candidate resorts to behavior you could not accept in your family, church or place of employment?
Ken Buck's chances are now in the hands of the Lord. Only He knows whom He will bless with a win on Tuesday and whom He has deemed as the standard-bearer for us in November. I can overlook a few policy differences. I'm not so sure I can forgive an utter betrayal of common decency and treating one's fellow man with respect and dignity.