Rule Five Friday

2014_09_05_Rule Five Friday (1)Our own Colorado is, of late, a peripatetic swing state, maintaining a rather schizophrenic purple status for the last few election cycles.  Now, to challenge Senator Udall in this November’s election, we have Republican Cory Gardner, who is calling himself a new kind of Republican.  Excerpt:

Senate candidate Cory Gardner has released a pair of campaign ads reaching out to Colorado’s all-important centrist voters, who have soured on some GOP positions, and cast himself as a “new kind of Republican” who supports over-the-counter birth control pills and renewable energy.

The TV spots released this week come in a close race against Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in a swing state that has become increasingly reluctant to elect conservatives as coastal transplants have pushed the politics to the left.

2014_09_05_Rule Five Friday (2)Democrats have won every top-of-the-ticket statewide race in Colorado since 2004, and Udall and his allies have followed the established playbook by attacking Gardner as being against reproductive rights and the environment.

But Gardner, a U.S. House representative, has hit back with his new ads.

In the first, which launched Monday, Gardner walks past wind turbines and asks, “So what’s a Republican, like me, doing at a wind farm?” He notes that he co-authored legislation, backed by a former Democratic governor, to create a state agency to support new Colorado renewable energy businesses. The ad’s female narrator calls Gardner “a new kind of 2014_09_05_Rule Five Friday (3)Republican.”

You’ll forgive me, True Believers, for a little – no, a lot – of skepticism.

It seems that every time a Republican in a close race refers to himself as a “new kind of Republican,” or a “compassionate conservative,” what he really seems to be saying is “I’m tacking to the left to try to garner the moderate vote.”

Caveat:  The term “RINO” – Republican in Name Only – has been overused to the point of meaninglessness.  It has become too often used by anyone on the political Right to mean “any Republican who disagrees with me on any given issue.”

With that said, back to Cory Gardner.   What is the aspirant to Colorado’s Senate seat up to hawking wind energy, which can only 2014_09_05_Rule Five Friday (4)survive as a heavily subsidized boondoggle?

Isn’t the GOP supposed to be the party of smaller government?  Free markets?  Fiscal responsibility?

Isn’t the GOP supposed to be in favor of removing Federal Imperial barriers to domestic oil and gas development?

Gardner is, unfortunately, playing right into Senator Mark Udall’s hands with this strategery.  He is tacking towards positions that Udall can claim higher ground on; no matter how much Gardner comes out in favor of wind farms, Udall was already there, the firstest with the mostest on this issue.

Polls show Gardner in a statistical dead heat with Udall.  And Udall’s 2014_09_05_Rule Five Friday (5)position is far from secure; he’s still polling below 50%, not a good place for an incumbent to be.

But Gardner is making his position weaker, not stronger.  To take out an incumbent in a tight race,  you have to offer an obvious alternative – not a pale shadow, not a little bit of “more of the same, only slightly less.”  Gardner should be running on fiscal responsibility, on energy independence, on a strong national defense, on the issues that the GOP is known for – and, in the not-particularly-humble opinion of yr. obdt., if he is going to tack, tack not to the left but to the libertarian, a position that will get him farther than presenting as a Democrat-Lite.

2014_09_05_Rule Five Friday (6)