I have never before used my blog as a pulpit for politics. I can't guarantee that I never will again, but at this time and at this place I feel it is simply necessary to go on the record for Senator Michael Bennet, who is in a tough re-election bid for the Second Senate Seat in Colorado against challenger Andrew Romanoff. Many of my readers will find it funny, odd funny, that I am not in the Romanoff camp. He would seem a natural match to one who considers herself often a salmon swimming upstream, an outsider, and an oddball. Many of my friends support Romanoff and I respect that. We're lucky in Colorado to have two viable choices for the Senate seat on the Democratic side... except that it is splitting the party.
And, that is at the heart of my argument with the Romanoff candidacy. Here was a fellow with good experience, but out of work during hard times. We know he sought a job in Washington, DC. There is nothing criminal about that. But, when that didn't pan out, and being Lt. Governor with Gov. Ritter didn't work out, he took a look around and found what he thought was a weakling in the party -- Senator Michael Bennet. Then he willfully split the Democratic party in Colorado in two by entering the race against our incumbent. I fully believe he expected gentle-seeming Michael Bennet to shrug his shoulders, and say "Aw shucks, you can have it, Andrew."
This can only come from an inane, insane sense of entitlement even though the world clearly pointed out to Romanoff that he had more work to do to convince people in power that he could accomplish necessary goals. Part of this is the Colorado Democratic Party's fault. Along the way while Romanoff served in the State House they must have filled his head with how indispensable and important he was. I remember listening to him talk on Colorado radio, and I enjoyed his full-of-himself ideas at the state level, but I can't think of it at the National level without chagrin.
If you've been reading me, you know I can't separate "reality" from "spiritual" in the sense that I look at a person's story from that angle, and I look at a group's story from that angle. What I see is that a group of people who I observe as working very hard to turn around a misguided ship that is nearly ready to run aground after eight years of Bush, Owens, etc., has come out in support of Michael Bennet, and that causes me to wonder about the notion that Romanoff so deserved to be appointed Senator that he has the right to split our party in this election. Spiritually, I see Andrew Romanoff heading for a big surprise that I hope will help him grow and evolve as a human being less interested in pointing at himself and saying, "I deserve it!"
So, I listened to their speeches at the County and State Assemblies. I saw that Romanoff garnered a lot of excitement, but I found that it boiled down more to personal magnetism than actual policy transformations or a drive to get things accomplished. When I heard Michael Bennet I observed a different, and somber tone. It wasn't a salesman selling me a personality by any means. It was a sober assessment of the problems we face, and the work, the chopping wood, carrying water WORK it is going to take to get the change we apparently long for in this country.
There was a time that I wanted to believe that we could think-system our way towards a better world, but as I have matured, I appreciate that those ideas must be married to the reality of hard, patient, non-thanked, low-attention getting work. I believe that this is Michael Bennet's true gift. Already he's accomplished in a short year and a half in Washington, DC, many legislative maneuvers that far more experienced Senators seem to fluff up. He's on good committees. He's proposing changes in the way the legislative process works so that people have to identify themselves and their beliefs instead of being wolves in sheep's clothing. Here's his website: http://bennet.senate.gov/ Please go and check out what he's been up to and make your own assessment.
The only way that Romanoff has been able to differentiate his basic legislative views from Michael Bennet is by claiming that he won't take Corporate funding for his campaign. He claims this will protect his vote. However, I believe it will leave him as a marginalized figure from a remote state, lost in the muckety-muck that is Washington, DC. I believe it will make him a prime target for the Republicans of Colorado to scare people into thinking he won't work with businesses towards a better economy. At a time of 8.5% unemployment, it just makes me scratch my head.
I want our Senator to be able to look anyone, an individual or a "Corporate Citizen" in the eyes and tell the truth, even when it hurts. I believe that Michael Bennet knows how to tell the truth. I believe this is why he has the support of the Colorado Democratic Leaders, and why he deserves our vote in August.