Last night, after I finished up my assessment of the Schaffer-Udall race for schaffer v udall, I chanced upon Robert Novak’s four paragraph assessment in Human Events. There are clearly two Colorado’s, his and mine. Since I live here, and write about the race daily, I suspect and hope that mine is a bit more valid.
Let’s dissect Novak’s work and let the reader be the judge.
“Udall, while on the liberal half of the House Democratic caucus, has portrayed himself as a moderate.”
This is a statement out of the blue, totally unsupported by anyone else's reporting. Over the last two months, I have kept a scoreboard where msm and liberal blogs have consistently referred to Mark Udall as an “extremist” (2), “reliably left wing” (4), and “liberal” (13). This isn’t from conservative sources, it is from liberal blogs and from msm sources like the Denver Post and The Gazette. Just this week, 5280 magazine opined that Mark Udall didn’t need to move to the middle.
It is conventional wisdom that politicians who want to win try to occupy the middle, to portray themselves as a “moderate.” Udall isn’t following that wisdom. If you have any evidence to the contrary, please provide it.
“His negatives are low, and his campaign is organized and very well funded.”
Mark Udall is totally unknown in six of the seven Congressional districts in Colorado. Except on environmental issues where he has developed a reputation as an extremist, and been called that by a major paper, he has maintained a low profile. It is a bit early to speculate about his “negatives,” when there has been no statewide polling.
This is a race that pundits estimate will take $15 million to win. Udall has been able to legally raise money continuously, and to dump money from his last campaign into his Senate race. He has $2.5 million in the bank. It is true that Schaffer has $700,000, but he raised that in the just over two months that he could legally raise funds. Considering these numbers, no one can credibly claim either that Udall "is well funded" or that Schaffer’s “fundraising is very poor.” My college statistics professor said about the kinds of conclusions you draw: “Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure.” You are not a liar, sir, but this is really poor and misleading reporting.
“…His reformer image is already tarnished by accusations of bribery,”
This proves that if you repeat a lie often enough, and say it loudly enough, even people on the east coast will hear it. The issue of tying a campaign contribution to a vote was raised by a funded group whose sole mission is to try to tarnish the reputation of Republicans. Dan Haley of the Denver post noted in a recent forum that the organization that started the tempest, fondly referred to as PlagiarismNowAction by this author, had written that it only needed to be right half of the time.
The accusation was vote selling. Not knowing, or bothering to find out if PNA was accurate, the Denver Post amplified the story, at least twice. It finally died after two weeks when the Rocky Mountain News did what the Post should have done. It compared the date of the vote with the date of the contribution. The contribution came after the vote. They also noted that the vote was consistent with previous Schaffer votes.
But there was more. It turned out that while the Schaffer amount was $4600, Udall had taken $75,000 from the unions. He had co-sponsored and voted for a labor bill that he said publicly he didn’t agree with. That information somehow never filtered to Denver Post readers.
If you folks had done any real reporting, you wouldn’t have amplified the PNA claims, and you almost certainly wouldn’t have used the word “bribery,” which was never used in Colorado.
“One politico in Colorado described the problem as “Republican donor fatigue,” with causes ranging from conservative frustration with former Gov. Bill Owens (R) to a string of Republican losses at the legislative, Senate, congressional and gubernatorial levels.”
Your statistics on campaign donations are flawed and ignore the short time Schaffer had to collect what he had collected. Now you attempt to support what you have written with information from a source you don’t name, and who apparently didn’t alert you to the story behind the numbers.
“Possible primary battles could shake up the race”
Fully agree. Of course the folks promoting the mindless primary in the 5th CD will take no responsibility if Schaffer loses.
“…it's a bad time to be a Republican in Colorado.”
You really do need to do some better reporting. Bob Schaffer is likely to bring the party together for the first time in years. He will be campaining on traditional Republican values of lower taxes and smaller government, the message that national Republicans ignored at their own peril. Dick Wadhams will also be a factor in reuniting the party. State Democrats are severely overreaching on taxes, labor, schools, and health care.
It is a good time to be a Republican in Colorado, and we will prove it in 2008!