31 May 2012

Editorial: 'Paid' Opinions

I've been accused of many things over the course of my time in politics.  But, as they say, there's a first time for everything, and for the first time in 14 years, I was accused of having bought opinions yesterday.

I find this so nauseatingly repugnant that I thought it might be worth it to explain how I pick candidates--those I work for, volunteer for and/or generally support.

Arguing with those who are so clearly set in their opinions (not backed by any facts or reason, I might add) isn't worth my time.  But responding to this is important because it is foundational to what I do and what, in many ways, I think sets me apart from other "operatives" in this state.  I believe very strongly in principle and character, and to claim something that calls either my character or principles into question is something I take very seriously and is not wise to do.  Politics 101 says don't piss off potential allies unless there is a very good reason to do so--I've done this many times, so it’s not that you shouldn't do it.  Just have a good reason first.

When I hear about a race or meet a candidate, the first thing I do is look at their website.  What a candidate chooses to tell the world is important.  What they say, or often... what they don't say, is huge.  I also ask others who know them (political folks I trust and know from the area, etc.).  I usually get a pretty good sense of a candidate after meeting them anyways, and so far, I'm only rarely proven wrong about my initial impression.

Before I would ever consider volunteering or working for a candidate, I do a little more extensive research.  I want to make sure that, beyond all reasonable doubt, I have no concerns about supporting that candidate in that particular race.  I have a hard time doing anything I can't put my all into, so it would be very difficult for me to work for a campaign that I didn't thoroughly and whole-heartedly support.  If I can't do that, I'll elect (pardon the pun) to stay out of that race.  I don't generally like being approached by someone to work for or support them and then going to work for their opponent if I have already decided I can't support that candidate (unless there's a really, really compelling reason to do so--but those are rare).  

You'll notice, for example, on my Primary recommendations, there are some that I didn't give an opinion on.  I know most of the candidates running this year, but I don't know some well enough to completely and totally support some of them over another in their specific race.

Of course, my support of a candidate in a race doesn't mean that their opponent is bad--it just usually means they aren't qualified for that particular job (granted... there are some who are just total sleaze-buckets, but that's not always the case).  In fact, there are many times I think reasonable Conservatives can disagree over who is the Right Republican in a race--and there are times that it's hard to decide who is the best candidate.  On the other hand, there are times when a candidate is so bad that if they end up winning... rather than supporting them over the Democrat in a race, it's better to let the 'lesser' of evils in that one win.  

Simply put, there are some candidates, Republican candidates, who I will not support and, in fact, secretly hope lose.  The only way to bring this Party back to its roots of principle is to make sure those who have none are not reelected.

Ultimately, I form my opinions (which are entirely my own--anyone who knows me knows that I am not easily swayed once I form my opinions) long before I would work for or even support a candidate in a race for any office.  Any insinuation otherwise shows a lack of knowing me and how I operate, and even, maybe, is a projection of character deficiency on their part--but perhaps that's just the cynical side of me speaking.  

There are many whose opinions, endorsements and work can be bought (too many, in fact).  I am not one of them.  Those who do hire me do so for my expertise once I have already decided to support them.  It's certainly never to "buy" my support.  Anyone who thinks otherwise is just plain ignorant.

Oh, and since I'm also apparently a paid blogger (ha... with 10 posts over 4 months?  I must be really good...), feel free to send in your checks.  Cos I haven't gotten any of them yet--for what are you waiting?

25 May 2012

Opinions: A little campaign advice...

Normally, campaign strategists keep all their work and suggestions secret for fear of someone else picking up on what works for them and then stealing it. And you never give information to your opponent’s campaign! Why would you do that?

Well, good thing I’m not a normal campaign strategist. Let me give a little (albeit probably passive-aggressive and certainly snarky) campaign advice that, while it is directed at a specific campaign, is applicable to many races I’ve seen and will probably see in the future.  Don't take it too seriously—if you can't have a little fun in politics, what's the point of being in it?

  1. Don’t call your opponent a “budding career politician” if you’ve held elected or appointed office (from student government on up) in almost every year since your junior year of college—especially if you already have a campaign committee open for the next cycle, just in case you lose for the second time in a row (hey—third time’s the charm, right?). 
  2. Don’t tell other folks you “didn’t read the emails sent out by your campaign” and then take delight in remembering the baseless attack you put in it months later. I don’t know which is worse… not actually approving communications going out from your campaign, or lying about it to CYA. 
  3. If you want to be taken seriously as conservative and pro-Second Amendment, don’t have Hank “Assault-Weapons Ban” Brown as your honorary campaign chair. 
  4. If you want to be taken seriously as an “experienced” and “credible” candidate, you might want to show you have some credible experience. Like in a statewide race, for example, it might behoove you to show up outside the Denver-Metro area (only five times since September? In order: Logan County Lincoln Day Dinner, Weld County Lincoln Day Dinner, Mesa County Republican Luncheon, Grand County Assembly, El Paso County Assembly.). People respond better to folks showing up than sending letters (or not even returning emails and phone calls from County Party Chairmen). 
  5. Additionally, if you’re going to have surrogates speak for you, you might want to find some who don’t put the audience to sleep as much as you do in your job.
  6. Fundraising is key—so much so that you’ve claimed your opponent can’t raise money. Except when he’s outraised you since he got into the race… every. single. reporting. period. Oh, and throwing $1,000 of your own money into your campaign the last day of a reporting period because you’re raised no funds and want it to look like you have been doing something? Totally classy. 
  7. Do you so lack any common sense that you’re really willing to spend 71% of your funds so far on a campaign consultant who is clearly doing you no favors? P.S. Please tell Mike Ciletti it’s time to let this one go before he gets outperformed by a “little girl” in Colorado’s only statewide race in 2012 to save himself from the embarrassment. Dick Wadhams might want to consider dropping this one, too.
  8. When you look for people to endorse you, usually you go to the folks who know you best. Not so with this race. This one sought titles… and as he even says himself, he doesn’t know most of these people. His retort, of course, was, “Well, I may not know them but they know my opponent”. Ooh, ominous. Except that most of them endorse him BEFORE his opponent was in the picture. Oops.
  9. Speaking of titles… most people aren’t nearly as obsessed with titles as you seem to be. Get over it. No one else really cares.
  10. If there is even the appearance of a conflict of interest, one might consider running for another office (since clearly, this guy just wants another title and has no real interest in doing the job that goes with it). And yet, with no regard for the rest of the Republicans in this state who will be tarred with your sticky brush of hypocrisy and conflict, you plow ahead. At that point, you’re not a team player... you’re a power-seeker.
  11. Reagan’s 11th Commandment was “Thou shalt not speak ill of your fellow Republicans.” This means no personal attacks in races, but you can vehemently disagree on issues—and should discuss those. But when you don’t have the high ground on any issue… I guess the only thing you have left is personal attacks, something at which your campaign excels. I suppose when you’re not right on anything else, making up lies about your opponent is the only thing that’ll get you elected. Oh wait. That’s why every Republican in a statewide election in Colorado since 2004 with a nasty primary has LOST.
  12. And finally… if you’re going to regale the fact that you narrowly escaped victory in a previous election, you might want to get your numbers right. If you lost by, as you say, less than 0.4%, there would have been an automatic recount. Which there wasn’t. But hey, since you’re willing to lie about your opponent, why not lie about your previous race too? It’s not like you can’t easily find this information out or anything…

21 May 2012

The 'Right' Republicans Initiative

See?  To told y'all I was a terrible blogger.

With the Primary just around the corner (1 month and 5 days!), I wanted to update this with a little project I am working on.  It's called "The Right Republicans Initiative" and is to promote our liberty and principled candidates in both Primary and General elections.  You can read it here.

If you don't want to read all the reasons why I picked who I did, here's a quick synopsis:


Congressional Districts

  • District 1 (Adams, Denver): Danny Stroud
  • District 2 (Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Eagle, Gilpin, Grand, Jefferson, Larimer, Park, Summit, Weld): Kevin Lundberg
  • District 5 (Chaffee, El Paso, Fremont, Park, Teller): Doug Lamborn

State Senate
  • District 8 (Grand, Garfield, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Summit): Randy Baumgardner
  • District 10 (El Paso): Owen Hill
  • District 21 (Adams): no opinion 
  • District 23 (Broomfield, Larimer, Weld): Vicki Marble
  • District 28 (Arapahoe): no opinion 

State House

District Attorney
  • District 11 (Chaffee, Custer, Fremont, Park): Thom K. LeDoux
  • District 18 (Arapahoe, Denver, Elbert, Lincoln): Leslie Hansen
  • District 22 (Dolores, Montezuma): no opinion