A test of Colorado common sense

By Hugh Hewitt

If you live in Colorado, please read this carefully.

If you live outside of the Rocky Mountain state, please forward this column to anyone you know who does live and vote there.

Colorado faces a test of its common sense. Voters are presented with two candidates for the United States Senate who could not be more different.

Incumbent Republican Sen. Wayne Allard is a quiet and plain-spoken proponent of a strong military, missile defense, and sensible conservation policies that include forest management to avoid repeats of the devastating fires that swept Colorado in the past year. He’s a center-right conservative, and President Bush has campaigned hard for his re-election.

But thousands of liberal Californians have moved to Colorado in the past few years, and they have helped re-nominate Tom Strickland, a Clinton appointee and a lawyer-lobbyist for, among others, Global Crossing – the one-time high-flying but now-bankrupt telecom that turned Terry McAuliffe’s $100,000 into millions, while destroying thousands of employees’ life savings. Strickland himself made a quick $25,000 in a single day of trading Global Crossing, but he still finds himself able to deplore corporate trickery on the campaign stump.

Allard beat Strickland six years ago, but Strickland is back like a bad joke, running thousands of ads that pretty much accuse Allard of abandoning babies in the snow. The question before Colorado voters is not who is the better-qualified man. That’s easy, as you will see below. The real question is whether a majority of voters in Colorado can be fooled.

You need to know two things about this race.

The first came in the opening line of yesterday’s Denver Post profile of the race: “Tom Strickland’s food of choice is sushi. Wayne Allard prefers his wife’s Crisco cherry pie.”

Really, can a cowboy state elect a sushi lover? Santa Monica, maybe, or Santa Cruz. But are there that many voters in Aspen?

More important by far, however, was Strickland’s response to a question about the war on terrorism in last week’s debate. Here’s what Strickland said:

“The real enemy we have is not a particular terrorist group or a particular extremist philosophy. It’s the hopelessness and despair that so many people around the world feel.”

That is a fool’s comment, of course, and almost everyone who hears it shudders to think that its speaker could be a United States senator. If Strickland were challenged on the point, he would have to retreat from it, because the World Trade Centers did not collapse because of hopelessness, and the Pentagon did not suffer an assault because of despair. Bin Laden isn’t poor, and his fanatical followers are not motivated by living conditions in the slums of Cairo. Strickland’s ridiculous assessment springs from a world view that refuses to view the world, but insists on its own preconceived solutions to every issue.

On matters of domestic policy, Strickland’s foolishness is usually just expensive. On matters of national security, it is at best dangerous and it could be deadly.

So will Colorado elect a sushi-eating, dreamy “I’d like to teach the world to sing” Clinton wannabe who talks trash and spends freely on attack ads, or a quiet incumbent that concentrates on getting things done in Colorado and whose support for the president is strong?

Allard is getting outspent. You can help redress that imbalance at Allard For Senate. But can Colorado be bought? – that is the question.