View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Salazar and Outside Ads 

I'm going to take issue with Guy and Hugh on this one. I don't think Salazar is particularly out of line, and I don't think either this ad or this issue is going to hurt him any.

First, all of the papers, the Post, the Rocky, the Colorado Springs Gazette, and the Grand Junction Sentinal don't think that Salazar acted improperly. The abuses started before his watch, and he was partly responsible for putting and end to them. When the time for settlement came, he got a deal that more than paid for the damage, without having to go to trial.

Secondly, Salazar has already run and won two statewide races where this issue was raised. These are fairly recent races, so it's not like the state's population has turned over in the interim. In fact, this points out one of the problems with the group sponsoring the ad: they're from out of state, and clearly don't have any clue about the history of either this issue or Colorado politics.

Thirdly, Salazar himself has called, somewhat disingenuously, for outside groups not to advertise in state. Coors has joined him in this, even though the Rocky has editorialized in favor of outside groups. There's a limit as to how much Coors can say without being charged with collusion, though, and Salazar knows it. There's a fine line between being offended and grandstanding. In any event, Salazar isn't running for President, so it's going to be hard to judge him by Kerry's antics, no matter how much he's tried to run as a third member of the ticket.

Finally, this group is not a 527, but a 501(c), and if the ad stops before Labor Day, they won't have to reveal their funding sources. That's ok, although the eponymous Karen Crummy prefers "secretly funded" to "anonymous," and it does make it easier to draw inappropriately sinister conclusions about the people behind the ad.

In the end, this ad is almost likely to help, rather than hurt, Salazar. I've got nothing against third-party groups. My position on McCain-Feingold is pretty much that of the Wall Street Journal and National Review: it is an abomination in the eyes of the Constitition and the Founders. That said, if third parties are going to advertise, they need to do their homework.

Cross-Posted at Salazar v. Coors.

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