If you're male, white and Christian, have a halfway decent suit, never have voted for/married/been in business with/publicly spoken well of a Democrat, and you currently hold or have held petty elected office, then you're eligible to be selected for the Softest Job of All: representing Colorado's 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
This is a window that opens about once every 25 years, given that only a half-wit would choose to leave one of the safest Republican seats in the nation. For all of these amiable right-wingers who have had to conceal their ambitions for so many years, it's nut-cutting time.
Which of the supplicants will be allowed to kiss Cardinal Dobson's ring? Upon whose face will Ted Haggard's radiant light shine? Who will be rewarded for years of toil in the wilderness of Republican activism? Who has listened to the most boring speeches, spent the most time with true believers, sucked up to the most donors, condemned the most abortionists, gone to the most church services, raised the politest kids, married the plainest woman, and most fulsomely praised our troops? Who loves George W. the most, and Bill C. the least?
In the end, who cares? It doesn't matter, because there's not a lot of difference between the candidates. None of the current leading lights is particularly smart, particularly accomplished, particularly insightful or particularly charismatic. They're dull, ambitious and eager to carry water for the powerful. They're unburdened by any knowledge of the past or any vision of the future. They're the perfect avatars of the unearned prosperity of our time, confident in their oft-stated belief that Ronald Reagan was the greatest (and smartest!) president of the 20th century.
And you guessed it like every other cast-off local politician, I'll be insanely jealous of whomever manages to snatch the prize.
For the favored few, the name of the game is to win enough delegates at the County Assembly to avoid a primary. That would mean getting the Republican power brokers to unify behind a single candidate a virtual impossibility. You'd have to get the religious right, the business community, the gunnies, the old-line campaign workers who've done the grunt work since the '70s, the military retirees, the developer/HBA/realtor axis, the eccentric old lions like Steve Schuck ... forget about it.
We're gonna have a richly delightful slugfest, and why not? After all, it's not as if the combatants have to worry about spilling so much blood that an actual, like, Democrat could be elected. And even if the state party would like to avoid the nastiness, so what? No one down here cares one bit what the lame-duck governor or the party chief thinks.
Expect a multi-candidate primary, and expect a surprise winner, since it'll only take a plurality to win. Remember the four-way contest for mayor a couple of years ago, which featured two moderates (Ted Eastburn and Jim Null), one moderate conservative (Sallie Clark) and a conservative (Lionel Rivera)? The moderates split the vote, and Lionel walked right in. In retrospect, totally predictable; at the time, amazing.
So, who knows maybe we'll see the same thing in reverse, with a moderate candidate (Clark? Marcy Morrison? Mary Lou Makepeace?) sneaking past all the guys in suits trying to out-conservative each other.
Meanwhile, you may have noticed that the city, as of a year or so, formally has taken over sidewalk maintenance and replacement. That's great, thought I, contemplating my 200 feet of cracked, broken and heaved sidewalk. Along with several thousand other property owners, I called the city and asked 'em to fix it.
It may take a while. Last year, the city replaced 2.1 miles of sidewalk, out of 3,000 total miles. At that rate, it'll take 1,428 years, 5 months and 21 days to replace every sidewalk in town.
Solution: federal sidewalk funding! Are you listening, wannabe congresspeople? Remember, you might be talkin' to an Assembly delegate ...
Editor's note: For more on candidates and potential candidates in the 5th District race, check out Public Eye on page 17.