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No, Jane, No!

July 25, 2010

The negativity of the Norton campaign, which started back in April when Josh Penry was hired away from the McInnis campaign, has reached embarrassing heights.

I wrote a piece on April 22 with a question mark about the negativity; this time it’s an exclamation point. There seems to be no positive message left; it’s all about attacking Buck.

One of the authors of these attacks is Cheri Ofner of Colorado Springs, a long-time GOP activist. Writing to my blog as “Char” and sending emails as “Kremer Post,” she concludes that Buck “can’t win” and that therefore the Democrats hope that Buck will win the primary so Bennet can easily defeat him. Odd, then, that the left-leaning Denver Post has endorsed both Jane Norton and Michael Bennet; the Durango Herald has done so as well.

The chief attacks against Norton have been two: that she was foisted on Colorado by the Republican Senatorial Committee and that she supported Referendum C, the largest tax hike in Colorado history and a measure that all but gutted TABOR. Neither of these are personal attacks. The Ref C complaint is a policy position and the RSC complaint involves an endorsement which I suspect she sought. I hear the persistent rumor, on the other hand, that Sen John McCain recruited her to run. In either case, in a year with strong sentiment against tax-and-spend policies, against incumbents and against the GOP generally, these criticisms get to the heart of what this election is all about.

Last Thursday I was invited to a talk by Freedom Works. Freedom Works has just endorsed Ken Buck and the reason is largely Norton’s stand on Ref C. As speaker Russ Walker described it, when Colorado passed Ref C it destroyed all the work that Freedom Works had done to expand TABOR to about 11 other states. Think of the position this country would be in today had TABOR been enacted broadly.

True to form, Ms. Ofner showed up in her purple Norton t-shirt and proceeded to harass the speaker. He handled it well–better than members of the audience who repeatedly asked her to pipe down. With her purple shirt and bullying tactics, she reminded me of nothing so much as an SEIU thug. I don’t know what her intent was; suffice it to say she was not a good ambassador for Jane. On the other hand, Jane did force her way onto the dockets of the district assemblies, so maybe she was a good representative of the campaign.

This past week the negativity has reached new lows. Ken Buck–who likes to make a joke now and then and usually has a really good sense of humor–made a silly remark about high heels. The first radio report I heard said that Jane was not offended but that stand apparently didn’t last long. Within a day I got a campaign email from State Sen Nancy Spence who “was appalled” by the comment. Really, Nancy?

The next day Jane was out campaigning with former Sen Rick Santorum charging that the whole GOP is sexist. Really, Jane? Were you not present at the RNC-funded Republican Women’s Conference in Denver in November 2009, who’s whole purpose was to promote Republican women as candidates? Did you not hear RNC Chariman Steele endorse you? I was and I did.

The politics of gender belong to the left. On the conservative side, we support candidates based on principle, issue and record. Maybe Josh Penry can turn this fiasco into a job with the Democrat Party of Colorado, but playing the gender card can only hurt you, Jane.

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