Seeing the Round Corners

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December 1, 2020

Partisan politics on the national scene has reared its ugly head at the highest level – presidential politics. It seems that each presidential election get more bitter and uglier.

This writer remembers a time when local politics were so far down the list, paying attention to presidential politics out here in the west was almost unheard of, at least to ordinary Americans.

Fraud was only discussed behind closed doors, if at all, and certainly not so ordinary Americans knew of such. Stuffing ballot boxes was another matter and certainly not acknowledged.

Today’s column from this writer’s archives 2012) is one showing how partisan politics can come back to bite one in the behind. Never forget watching your back (backside).

(NOTE:  This writer reserves the right to modify or downright withdraw the positive comments in the 2012 column once former Governor Hickenlooper settles into his new position as junior Senator from Colorado. Remember, Hickenlooper handily unseated Senator Cory Gardner.)

February 13, 2012 

Term limits for Colorado elected officials are believed to be a “good thing” by most citizens. The legacy of political office has been a part of American politics almost since the country’s founding. Many citizens of the country live out their adult lives through decades of representation by the same person – think Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia (he won re-election nine times).

In the early days of the country, being wealthy was pretty much a prerequisite for election to public office, that is until Abraham Lincoln.  His log cabin humble beginnings were the mainstay of his rise to the Presidency.

The cynicism of voters toward today’s politics is at an all-time fervor, and it is part of the recognition of the bitter partisanship that exists in federal, state and local politics. Lost in all the partisan politics is what the job of a legislator is, whether it be to Congress in Washington or to the General Assembly in Colorado. That old cliché provides an analogy – “do as I say, not as I do.” Those running for office quickly learn all the catch phrases and words to push the buttons of voters to get elected.

Voters should not get a pass on this issue either. How many voters are willing to make the effort to become fully informed about a candidate’s qualifications, position on the issues, even recognition of the issues? How many vote for the last names seen on campaign signs on the way to the polls? Far too many voters prefer to rely on word of mouth passed around without ever making any effort to verify information for truth and accuracy.

Colorado’s 2012 General Assembly is split with a Republican majority in the House, a Democratic majority in the Senate and a Democratic Governor in the beginning of the second year of a four-year term.

To be fair and objective, Governor John Hickenlooper is probably the least partisan of any governor in Colorado’s history, which provides a good balance for the citizens of Colorado. The balance provides a political climate that could be parleyed into good things for Colorado, if and it is a big if, the 2012 legislators put aside partisan politics. With this Governor at the helm, his incredible track record as Mayor leading the City of Denver out of near financial ruin, his ability to work with both sides of the aisle, and the improving state economy, Colorado can become the model for the country, a vision Hickenlooper expressed during his State-of-the-State address, with all Coloradans benefiting.

Presidential election years are the impetus for heightened partisan politics as we are seeing in the 2012 General Assembly with the effects of the redistricting process adding real acrimony for Colorado.

How often does “good” legislation suffer the killing of “postponed indefinitely” or never gets introduced because legislators get involved in partisan politics and lose sight of what they are elected to do – represent the citizens (not just the voters) of Colorado? Whether citizens vote or not, as taxpayers they are entitled to fair, adequate representation by legislators who get elected to office. That cliché “if you don’t vote, don’t gripe” comes to mind.

Perhaps forgotten is the purpose of redistricting, at least the historical intent of the process, which is to ensure congressional districts roughly have the same number of voters. The process was never meant to serve the political parties, or the voters of particular groups, far from it. Former Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon, D-Denver, weighed in on redistricting with this statement: “The problem with having the legislature do redistricting is like having a judge be the judge in his own case.”

Partisan politics and redistricting reared their ugly heads early in this session when the speaker pro tem, Representative Kevin Priola, R-Henderson, backed out on sponsoring a bill in the House that was originally his bill. It concerned government agencies that regulate or inspect and then post information about a person on line. Senator Cheri Jahn, D-Jefferson, was to sponsor the bill in the Senate but having reached her limit of five bills already, asked Senator Linda Newell, D-Arapahoe/Jefferson, to carry the bill. Newell won her seat in 2008 in a district traditionally held by Republicans and apparently, Priola has not forgotten that upset.

To date, a bill addressing the subject matter has not been introduced. With the broadening of the assault on privacy, partisan politics may have shot down an opportunity for a bit of protection to ordinary citizens. Only time will tell.

The reader's comments or questions are always welcome. E-mail me at