Monday, February 18, 2008

Political Commentary Through a Fun House Mirror

Newspapers match their readership or they won't survive. It is no surprise that The Gazette is somewhat conservative in its outlook given that it must sell papers in a conservative county.

Likewise the Boulder Daily Camera must be quite liberal or it will not survive. It comes as no surprise that its analysis of the Senate race tilts leftward.

They managed to find CSU political science professor John Straayer for some quotes that were very sloppy if someone wants an accurate analysis of the political climate in Colorado:

About Schaffer, he said:

"He's continually dogged by the image that began to be created when he was in the state Senate, and that's that he's close to the more right fringe of the party, particularly on social issues like abortion and gay marriage," Straayer said.

We have been carefully monitoring the campaign for six months. The msm and even the liberal blog political coverage never seems to mention any of these issues, nor does the Udall campaign. The big complaint from Udall supporters is that Schaffer hasn't given them any issue to latch on to, something Straayer leaves out. This makes us curious as to what campaign Straayer is watching.

Likewise, John Straayer dismisses the fact that Mark Udall's liberal allies and the msm routinely describe him as liberal, reliably left wing, and even extremist. Look at the first comment at the bottom of the Daily Camera article for another example of how far out of touch Straayer is:

Mark! Mark! Mark! Go Mark [ Udall ]! Boulder's Best deserves the upgrade from Congressman to Senator. The rest of Colorado will see that being a "Boulder Liberal" can be good for all. Mark is a "Coloradan's Coloradan."

Last summer, the political buzz was that Colorado would be an easy pick up for Udall and the Democrats. As poll after poll shows the race to be a dead heat, most knowledgeable observers are rating Colorado as a toss-up. Once again, John Straayer is in his own little world:

Straayer said Udall should be considered the favorite to win the race.

The Daily Camera appears to have reported Straayer's over all analysis of the Colorado political scene without giving him a direct quote:

Straayer and other political observers say there's ample reason to think Colorado, traditionally a strong Republican state, will be much more rewarding territory for the Democratic candidate this year. Recent history has been good to donkeys, starting with Salazar's victory in 2004, followed by Democrats winning control of both chambers of the state Legislature for the first time in four decades. In 2006, Denver prosecutor Bill Ritter -- a pro-life Democrat -- won the race for the governor's office.

What John Straayer leaves out is the excessively abusive gerrymandering that allowed Republican candidates to aggregate the most statewide votes in legislative contests but elect only 40% of the legislature.

He also ignores the Republican infighting that handed Ken Salazar and Bill Ritter their elections, infighting that seems to have subsided.

Straayer might also have mentioned that the Denver Post appears to have soured some what on the Democrats in general and Bill Ritter in particular, which will negatively impact the ability of leftist candidates to pretend to be centrists.

If John Straayer wants to have some credibility, he would do well to read, consider, and answer our September essay "why the left wing prognosticators are wrong." The left wing prognosticators have turned out to be wrong, realized that they are wrong, and modified their positions, all except for Straayer.

All in all, John Straayer comes across in this piece as a prognosticator operating in a fun house whose mirrors distort reality to the point that his comments cannot be trusted by either side.

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