|View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
One of the emerging themes of the Republican Senate primary has been the campaign itself - the increasingly personal and unpleasant tenor of it. If House District 3 Republicans have managed to pull off relativley issue-driven race, the lack of real issues has driven the Senate candidates to attack each other. It's now become both a source of comfort to the Democrats, and the focus of much of the press coverage.
The Rocky, in a story about the Democrats, leads with the Republicans:
Here's how the Ft. Morgan Times began its review of a editor-to-candidate interview with Schaffer:
The Boulder News picks up the AP Story:
The Ft. Collins Coloradoan issued a blistering editorial taking both candidates to task for this stuff:
No, it's not. Peter Blake now brings us the story of more campaign ads gone bad. Turns out the Coors folks are accusing Schaffer of junketing while in Congress. Sure. To the Ukraine. I don't know about you, but my idea of a scenic vacation isn't Kiev, Chenobyl, and the seaside slums of Odessa. Maybe he was there to campaign for revoking Duranty's Pulitzer, but I suspect that he and W.C. Fields had at least one thing in common during the trip.
Coors claims the airing was a mistake.
Blake's reconstruction makes a lot of sense, and before we turn this into the Senate Primary equivalent of Pearl Harbor, take another look at those quotes up above. Still, less like Pearl Harbor and more like Dresden is bad enough. It wastes time, it wastes money, it doesn't go after the real target, and it makes both guys look bad. Imagine making Ken Salazar look Senatorial.
Even if Blake's right, it doesn't speak well for Coors. They committed money and time responding to an attack that never happened. It gives the moral high ground back to their opponent. Worse, we don't know if they we faked into it by Armstrong & Co. That may be giving CCV too much credit, but you can't blame people for not running attack ads. It adds to a number of mis-steps by the Coors camp, including the earlier (honestly mistaken) airing of a Coors Beer ad featuring the candidate, and the presence of a Coors truck in a campaign parade. None of this exactly reeks of competence.
The reason Coors and Schaffer are going after each other on non-issues is that they agree on so much. This primary should be decided on electability, for exactly that reason. Electability isn't so much how far to the center a candidate can appear to be, but how effectively they can make the case for themselves and against Salazar. So you know what you do? Make the case. Show that you're the best man to run by taking on the Attorney General, and making the case. Instead of creating ill will and bad impressions of the eventual nominee, it'll be helping to prepare the ground for the fall.