Monday, March 31, 2008

Bob Schaffer or Mark Udall: Which Candidate's Votes Mirror Yours?

Knowing that Colorado's U.S. Senate race between Republican Bob Schaffer and Democrat Mark Udall presents an exceptionally clear philosophical contrast for voters, the Rocky Mountain News is offering an interesting online quiz (H/T Rossputin).

The Rocky has picked 20 issues which you can vote up or down in order to help determine which candidate you agree with more. The results are based on the actual voting records of Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall.

I agree with Schaffer on 17 items, and with Udall on 3 items.

If the Rocky or another publication should wish to sponsor another quiz highlighting the differences between the two U.S. Senate candidates, here's a repository of information on Udall's positions that might bring up some key contrasts.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

In Schaffer v Udall Battle, Coloradans Offered Clear Choice

"The two likely candidates in this year's U.S. Senate contest, Rep. Mark Udall, a Democrat, and former Rep. Bob Schaffer, a Republican, served side-by-side in Congress from 1999 through 2002. Over those four years, they cast 2,036 votes together, often on symbolic or non-controversial matters. And yet they still managed to disagree more than half the time - 1,078 times, to be precise"--Rocky Mountain News

As the Rocky Mountain News points out, Senate candidates Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall are as different as night and day:
If you think Rep. Mark Udall, a Democrat, and former Rep. Bob Schaffer, a Republican, disagree on 1,000 different things, that's close.

From 1999 through 2002, when they worked across the aisle from one another in the U.S. House of Representatives, they cast opposite votes a whopping 1,078 times.

That long and detailed record makes the 2008 contest a rarity in state politics. Not since 1986, when Democrat Tim Wirth faced Republican Ken Kramer, have two one-time House colleagues gone head-to-head in a U.S. Senate race.

"Talk about a paper trail. This is a paper trail that leads into the Rockies for this Senate race," said Norman Provizer, a political science professor at Metropolitan State College in Denver. "They represent two very differing views on all kinds of issues. If you look at it from an issue perspective, they aren't Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum."

The Rocky Mountain News analyzed all 2,036 congressional votes, big and small, that Schaffer and Udall cast during their four years together in the House. It's more than enough to keep the ad-makers on both sides busy in the run-up to November.
Fair use prevents a lengthier quotation (the article is quite long and extensively researched), but here are a few highlights:
Schaffer's stance is first, Udall's second

Military issues

* IRAQ WAR: Resolution authorizing use of force against Iraq. (Oct. 10, 2002) YES NO

* SPENDING: An amendment that would have imposed a 1 percent, across-the-board cut on military programs. (May 18, 2000) NO YES

* RECRUITING: Amendment to education spending bill that would have prohibited funds from being used to block military recruiting at secondary schools. (June 13, 2000) YES NO

Homeland security

* ANTI-TERRORISM LAW: The anti-terrorism law, the Patriot Act, first enacted in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. (Oct. 12, and Oct. 24, 2001)YES NO

* ARMING PILOTS: Legislation to allow airline pilots to carry guns in the cockpit as a defense against terrorism. (July 10, 2002)YES NO


* SCHOOL CHOICE: Amendment to the proposed "No Child Left Behind Act" that would have allowed students from low-performing schools, or crime victims from "unsafe schools," to choose to attend private schools using public funds. (May 23, 2001)YES NO


* BUSH TAX CUTS: Approval of White House-backed tax cuts of the "Economic Growth and Tax Relief Act of 2001." (March 8, 2001)YES NO

* TAX LIMITS: A proposed constitutional amendment requiring two-thirds majority votes to approve new tax increases. (June 12, 2002)YES NO

This contest pits candidates from rival parties that present a clear difference in viewpoints. The common charge that most candidates in any election are "basically the same" can simply not be applied in this case.



The move to the "middle" where both sides believe the election will be won features an unaffiliated voting bloc poised to become the largest pool of registered voters in Colorado. Schaffer acknowledges that the state's tilt has been blue since 2004; Udall realizes that he is not the "moderate" that either Sen. Ken Salazar or Gov. Bill Ritter were (or purported to be) when they ran statewide.

The most recent poll shows both candidates within the margin of error (Udall leads 46-43), a clear toss-up, in spite of the MSM's continued meme that the seat is really Udall's to lose.

The votes revealed (or re-revealed, in some cases, for those political junkies who have been following this blog) will be the subject of campaign fodder, political ads, and 527 mudslinging for the next 7 months.

The only thing that can be agreed on--the stature and importance of this race. Republicans see the seat as an opportunity to roll back further losses due to retirement and a generally unfavorable political climate that has persisted since 2006. Democrats envision not only a pick-up, but an advance toward the potential 60 vote filibuster-proof supermajority.

Exit question: with Republicans settled on Sen. John McCain as their nominee, and the Democrats witnessing a fierce race rage on between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama, which candidate stands to benefit from their respective party's nominee? Who is helped more, or flipping that proposition, who is hurt the least?

Ryan Sager is rather pessimistic about the GOP's chances in the "interior West" unless Sen. Hillary Clinton is the nominee, but Daniel Larison has a different explanation for the region's recent trend to blue, and asks--is it really a recent development, and can short term trends be extrapolated into long term outcomes?

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Thanks, Bob!"

Yesterday the national grassroots group US Term Limits sounded off on one of the key figures in Colorado's Senate campaign, touting the praises of Republican candidate Bob Schaffer for his support of charter schools and other successful education reforms:

Why is US Term Limits a big fan of Bob Schaffer? Because the former Congressman not only made a term limits pledge, but kept his word. A new story in Fort Collins Now explains the pressure Schaffer faced in making his decision:
The morning of Aug. 14, 2001, Bush was raising his national stature after a bitter election and looking ahead to his first four years as president. He stopped by Estes Park to clear brush with some children at the YMCA of the Rockies, and Colorado’s congressional delegation came along.

At one point, the van carrying Schaffer and congressional colleagues stopped and a young man asked Schaffer to get out. The president wanted to ride with him, the young man said.

Schaffer climbed into the armored car, noticing the machine-gun-carrying man in the rear, and sat across from the president.

“He said, ‘Bobby, I heard a bad rumor,’” Schaffer said, affecting a raspy, Bush-like twang. “‘I hear you’re gonna leave the Congress.’”

“Well, I hadn’t really come to that point yet,” Schaffer said. He had planned it, but the decision hadn’t been announced.

Bush said he knew about Schaffer’s term limits pledge.

“He said, ‘Well, you should break it, because the last thing I need is another open seat to worry about,’” Schaffer recalled.

He hesitated, and told Bush it wasn’t that simple.

“And he said, he actually used the words, ‘It’s your patriotic duty.’ Well, that’s about as flattering as it gets,” Schaffer said. “All I could think was, ‘My mom is an immigrant. And here is her son, sitting in the car with the president of the United States.’ All I could think of was that my grandfather would never believe this. Only in America can the grandson of a Ukrainian peasant be sitting in the car with the president of the United States, considering whether to run again for the U.S. House of Representatives, and I’m about to tell him no.”

And say no he did. He explained his promise to his constituents — 70 percent of whom had voted for a (eventually overturned) statewide measure to term-limit Colorado’s congressional delegation — and he talked about his kids.

As Bush waved out the window, Schaffer discussed his responsibility as a parent of five, and how his then-12-year-old son would remember if his dad didn’t keep his word.

“Then he turns to me, and he says, ‘You know what, Bobby? That's a pretty good answer,’” Schaffer recalled.
A pretty good answer, indeed. Schaffer's integrity and his commitment to his family are two of his strongest characteristics.

NRSC: Mark Udall On Gun Rights

Mark Udall, Addicted to Lying

It is hard to believe that the Mark Udall campaign is so disjointed that it doesn't know how often they have been outed as liars on this blog. It is happening again, today.

Let's do some quick and simple math. For the last several reporting cycles, Mark Udall has been reporting raising money at the rate of about $13,000 per day.

That is quite impressive, and the Udall campaign has been touting those figures hard, though not on a per day basis.

Two days ago, we put up a graphic that the Mark Udall campaign has been using to fund raise. It claimed that Mark Udall had raised via the grass roots $27,443.

Yesterday, we checked the graphic again. It was up to $28,888. Today it is up to a whopping $28,958.

Does this mean that Mark Udall will be reporting in 15 days, or so, that his campaign donations have fallen dramatically? We don't think so. It means that Mark Udall thinks the public so dumb that it can't catch him in a lie as simple and obvious as this one.

Annoy Mark Udall today, think.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Colorado Voter Registration And Party Affiliation--March Update

From the Sec. of State's office, these updated figures for March 2008 of Colorado's voter registration numbers and party affiliation:

Since February 2008:
Democrats +7,849
Unaffiliteds +5,672
Republicans +2,527
The trend since January 2004:

Takeaways--the rapid trend for the state's unaffiliated ranks continues, as Republican recovery rate lags behind that of both unaffiliateds and Democrats since early 2007.

It will also be important to watch the numbers heading into the summer, and especially the final two reports--September and October--following the Democratic National Convention. Should Recreate '68 and its allies create the disruption and mayhem they are so eager to achieve, it may not matter if unaffiliateds have overtaken Republicans as the largest voting bloc in Colorado. Voter backlash against the Democrats could be considerable statewide, if not nationally, especially if the Democrats add insult to injury by having a heated, brokered convention.

Stay tuned.

Cross posted from Slapstick Politics

Sure Am Glad

After seeing Ben's last post, I am glad that about three weeks ago I took the time to go through the blog and correct our misspelling of Chris Cillizza's name. Oops, looks like I missed one. That will be fixed shortly (chuckle).

More seriously, we do try to influence the Colorado Senatorial campaign. One of the best ways to have influence is to avoid admitting publicly that you have had influence and with whom. We won't be doing much of that.

Those looking for an open source example might consider name calling. Our recent dust up with unofficial Mark Udall spokesman Absurdicus, a lover of name calling, caused us to detail how we had tried to stop name calling by both camps. Others can judge if we succeeded and to what degree.

For those bloggers who come here in search of a model, I'd give the following advice 1) always be truthful; 2) always provide links; 3) know your target better than his staffers know him; 4) let your target(s) and their allies help you develop themes; and 5) work the themes.

You are welcome to browse the blog to see how we try to do each of those things.

It's Nice to be Noticed -- Even if it's from Inside the Beltway

One of the most influential Inside-the-Beltway political bloggers, Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, unveiled last evening the first draft of his "Best of State Political Blogs" list. This humble site - frequently listed as #1 or #2 most influential Colorado blog by Blog Net News - was featured as the sole entry for Colorado.

For new visitors to the site, you may want to check out features like our "Mark Udall is not a moderate" scoreboard. Regardless of whether you agree with our observations and conclusions, we take care here to support our arguments with documented facts. Enjoy the visit, and hope you bookmark Schaffer v Udall as a major source for the upcoming U.S. Senate election in Colorado.

To Mr. Cillizza: Thanks for noticing!

Schaffer on John McCain

Lynn Bartels reminds readers in the Rocky Mountain News of a negative comment Bob Schaffer once made on the Aaron Harber show that may have been directed at John McCain:

Schaffer said he disagreed with some GOP presidential candidates' views, and had to consider the possibility of running for the U.S. Senate "in parallel with somebody whose views on America I find somewhat destructive."
Many people in the party felt this way a year ago, but like Bob Schaffer, have set aside their differences. We recognize a need for a united run against the true threat to the Republic and economic freedom - a congress and an executive branch in the firm grasp of the left wing.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Spring Break - Few Promises

The Grandchildren (for whose future I really write this blog, if they knew it) will be visiting over the next several days.

They are all very bright and very demanding. Blogging will take second or third place which means that we make few promises that you will see a daily post.

Happy Spring Break!

Bob Schaffer: One Weekend, Two Lincoln Day Dinners

According to the Vail Daily, U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer is slated to be the keynote speaker at Friday's Eagle County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner.

Bob Schaffer will be busy this weekend. As we highlighted before, he also will be speaking to the Douglas County Republican Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday.

Another Day, Another Mark Udall Lie (or two)

This is becoming tedious. There are actually two Mark Udall attempts to mislead the public today.
Mark Udall's campaign web site has the above graphic. It clearly claims that he has only raised $27,443 in grassroots contributions. If that were a graphic next to an appeal for $10, we might buy it as potentially truthful. It is next to an appeal for as much as $2,300. That makes it an attempt to deceive the public, a lie.
Of course, our favorite unofficial Mark Udall campaign spokesman opines that "a lie is a campaign tactic that someone else doesn't like" or something like that.
The second attempt to deceive the public came in the Denver Post today. It's author was our very favorite official Mark Udall spokesperson, Taylor West. We often refer to Taylor as God's gift to this blog because it is so easy to document the lies.
[ Mark ] Udall campaign spokesman Taylor West said the congressman did not support the 32-year-old ban but also didn't think Congress was justified in overriding the district while the issue was before the courts.
And yet, Mark Udall's own congressional web site refuses to call the ban unreasonable. Indeed, when asked to sign on to a congressional amicus brief to the Supreme Court that advocated overturning the ban he now claims not to have supported, he said:
If the brief stopped there, I would support it without hesitation. However, it does not stop there. Page 30 of the amicus brief includes declarations that “the District’s handgun ban is unreasonable on its face”
The lie is quite obviously documentable when the two statements are compared.

Mark Udall Finds a New Reason for Being on Both Sides of Gun Issue

Last week my colleague pointed out how Boulder liberal Rep. Mark Udall has struggled to take sides on the Second Amendment issue:
His stated position is that we citizens have the right to have a weapon with which to protect ourselves except when we don't, and he would side with the Bill Ritter's and the John Morse's who are too quick to say that we don't ever have that right.
Of all places, the Denver Post today picked up on the theme:
When the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week about the Washington, D.C., ban on handgun ownership, U.S. Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado issued a news release saying he hoped the court would affirm the right of citizens to "keep and bear arms."

But on four occasions when Udall, a Democrat running for an open U.S. Senate seat, could have voted in Congress to repeal all or sections of the gun ban, he did not.

Udall campaign spokesman Taylor West said the congressman did not support the 32-year-old ban but also didn't think Congress was justified in overriding the district while the issue was before the courts.

"He believes in self-rule and the rights of local government," West said. "The people should be able to set their own laws."
Mark Udall believes in the right to keep and bear arms except when he doesn't. But here is a new reason for Udall to be on both sides of the issue: local government control.

First of all, keep in mind this is from the mouth of Taylor West, who has shown a predilection for not telling the truth.

How honest then is the excuse West offered on behalf of her boss Mark Udall? I wonder if we searched through the Boulder Congressman's voting record, would we find a consistent dedication to the principles of "self-rule and the rights of local government"? Or, much more likely, is this just a convenient and disingenuous way for Udall to avoid publicly airing his support for gun control? To say something that won't estrange him from the Washington liberal club while trying to appear that he holds mainstream Colorado values?

Though Colorado has changed in its demographics, it still retains in many ways its traditional Western character. A lot of Coloradans care deeply about their Second Amendment rights, but they also appreciate public officials who are authentic and not phony. Mark Udall hasn't been too reassuring on either front.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Bob Schaffer to Speak

Bob Schaffer will be the featured speaker at the Douglas County Lincoln Day Dinner this upcoming Saturday, March 29th, 2008.

Boulder Democrat Assembly

Our friend at Liberal and Loving It live blogged the Boulder County Democrat Assembly. He has a lot of good stuff in his live blog. This is a Senatorial race blog, so we will let you meander through it.

Here is what he wrote about the Mark Udall reception:
Does Mark Udall exist? He sent his wife to speak for him - at the county that is his biggest base of support. Mark is apparently over at the JeffCo assembly. The speech is all about how we need a Dem as Senator. And how "we all need" to support Mark regardless of what is said. Interesting not a word about what Mark himself would do...

We're over with the Udall presentation. Ow. The second half was 4 people with pretty generic items about Mark. The response to each was pretty perfunctory except for one presenter when he stated he was one of the lost boys of Sudan, and is now a US citizen. He got a strong emotional response - for him.

If this is the response Mark is getting from the Dems in Boulder who are delegates - he may be in a lot of trouble. We'll all vote for him, but I don't know if he is going to get much passion or effort. There were only 2 people waving Udall signs during the speech - out of several thousand here.

It appears that Mark Udall should have gone to the Boulder Assembly with his touchstone speech.

It is beginning to look as though Mark Udall has a lot of support from the checkbook liberals and not a lot of enthusiasm from the rank and file. Keep in mind that this was written by a Udall supporter.

Isn't it interesting that none of this got reported in any newspaper?

DailyKos: Mark Udall, a Progressive Patriot PTMD

Scoreboard time again, and so soon. That paragon of liberal thinking, DailyKos, is promoting a poll with a $5,000 prize:
Russ Feingold's Progressive Patriots Fund is holding a poll to pick the next Progressive Patriots. One of these candidates will get a $5,000 contribution.
The poll has closed. There were 26 votes. Mark Udall won with 12, so he gets $5,000 and another notch on our "reliably left wing" scoreboard line, which is where we put "progressive:"

The Mark Udall is not a moderate scoreboard:
extremist 2
reliably left wing 14
liberal 30
moderate 0
conservative (chuckle)

We started this scoreboard when we noticed that liberal blogs and the msm were routinely calling Mark Udall a "liberal," "reliably left wing," and even "extremist." We do not count comments from conservative blogs and we didn't count a comment on a liberal show by a conservative politician. Those who would like to check our methodology can follow the bread crumbs backwards.

Long ago, we started using music titles to make it easier to find earlier posts and to differentiate scoreboard posts from other posts. Recently, Mark Udall admitted that in 1971 he had his automobile seized in a drug related arrest. Most states don't seize vehicles unless the amount of drugs involved suggests drug dealing. Mark Udall has been quite coy about what happened. An enquiring public wants to know. In that spirit, our future scoreboard entries will be titled Puff the Magic Dragon or PTMD.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Open Memo

Dear absurdicus:

Please continue wasting your time trying to find non-existent evidence - namely, proof that any of my fellow contributors or I am paid by, or receive any form of direction from, Dick Wadhams. I wish you could see the amusement on my face.

Now back to more important things....

Snooze Time

Some months ago, we considered the establishment of a certain similarly named blog a complement. The authors started it up and then sputtered for lack of material. In the five months of 2007 that it existed, it had 18 posts. It had none in the first two months of 2008.

This month, they have repurposed their blog and started posting. Instead of the friendly competitor they might have been and probably intended to be, they now look upon themselves as our arch enemy, dedicated to debunking all we say. Lost in all of this is their apparent original goal of writing about the Senate race:
UdallvSchaffer is a response to the long known playbook of Colorado GOP Chair and Bob Schaffer campaign manager Dick Wadhams in employing anonymous bloggers to attack the media on how they cover a senate race. While that may have worked for John Thune in South Dakota, it isn't going to work for Bob Schaffer in Colorado in 2008. We're here to watch the watchers, point out their inaccuracies, and show just how off base they are.

Let's examine this "mission statement." They are obviously now fixated on one blogger, this blogger. There is only one watcher, not multiple watchers. The identity of myself and el presedente are readily available as absurdicus demonstrated, so a claim that we are anonymous is a stretch. More accurate would be a statement that we choose to write under screen names.

They are also fixated on Dick Wadhams which is curious. Dick Wadhams has nothing to do with this blog and has never had anything to do with this blog, before or after he became Bob Schaffer's campaign manager. The blog existed at least a month before Dick Wadhams found out about it, and at least two months before Bob Schaffer found out about it. We don't even think Dick Wadhams reads it.

We do intend to influence the media, to keep it honest. Too often the media is dishonest when it covers major campaigns and initiatives. We are quite open that the purpose of the scoreboard is to discourage the Denver media from calling Mark Udall a moderate. They helped liberal Bill Ritter position himself as a "moderate" when they knew he was no such thing.

We wish that there had been a truth telling blog around when Ref C was being fed to the public by the media as something it was not. The media conned this author into voting for Ref C, something that won't happen again, hopefully. This dishonest coverage has been well documented by the Independence Institute. (link to be provided)

We have looked at the udallvschaffer blog and are sufficiently unconcerned about the antics of its authors that we won't be back. They claim that we are paid and that our failure to respond to their claim is proof. We answered that question before their blog existed. A simple word search on "paid" would have provided the answer in about two minutes of reading.

They have no arguments worth reading and they know it. Why else would they substitute untruths (that we are paid, that we work for and are directed by Dick Wadhams) and name calling (shills, global warming denier, McGrumpy, Grandpa McGrumpy, Big Oil Bob to name a few) for honest argument. Absurdicus has stated that a lie is merely a campaign tactic that someone else doesn't like says a lot about their journalistic ethics. Absurdicus' claim that he and his partner are not Mark Udall spokesmen and that Mark Udall will not be damaged by their words and tactics is naive, but we hope they keep on thinking that.

The "almost pathetic" article is a great example of what they are about. They demand of us standards that they refuse to meet. Their demand that we link to our sources ignores the fact that we usually do. In "almost pathetic" they demand that we link to our source's sources and attack us because we do not which is quite amazing. They link to nothing.

Their writing style is long, dreary, and tedious. It wasn't an accident that I named this post "Snooze Time."

We wish absurdicus and company well but they shouldn't expect us to be reading what they write. If they expect us to be responding to drivel and demands they are likely to be disappointed. Our eyes are on the prize, and they intend to be a distraction.

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

We have a friend in Boulder, a fellow blogger whom we have never met. He runs Liberal and Loving It. We like him because he is a free market liberal. Too many people consider that term almost oxymoronic. Too many liberals, elected and unelected, simply do not understand that it is the free market which made this country great. LALI does, but that doesn't make him less a wild eyed, impeach em all liberal.

He went to the Boulder County Democrat assembly and wrote about it. He started what he wrote about Mark Udall with the words:
Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid.

He ended his comments with:
To win Mark [ Udall ] needs to start actively campaigning on why people should be charged up to vote for him. To get the base energized and to get the middle sold. And he needs to get his ass in gear yesterday.

Democrats and Republicans will want to read what LALI said in the middle.

The Washington Post and Lying

We find it unfortunate that so much of the space in this blog of late has been devoted to exposing and documenting the bodyguard of lies being told to get Mark Udall elected.

It seems that the Washington Post has discovered that the same thing is happening with the Democrat Presidential candidates and a lot of folks aren't all that happy about it.
With colleagues in Congress quick to claim credit where it is due, word moves quickly when undue credit is claimed.

"If it happens once or twice, you let it go," said Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), an Obama supporter. "If it becomes the mantra, then you go, 'Wait a minute.' "

We are reminded of the words of Mark Udall's unofficial campaign spokesman who observes that "a lie is just a campaign tactic that the other side doesn't like," or something to that effect.

Do read the Washington Post article if you care about the Presidential election. Our interest is limited to our regular theme that too much of Democrat politics and strategy is tied to keeping the Big Blue Lie Machine well oiled and well fueled, in an environmentally friendly way, of course.

Scoreboard Updates PTMD

We've been a bit lax in trying to keep our Mark Udall is not a moderate scoreboard up to date, so today is catch-up day.

Two weeks ago, the Denver Post did a lengthy article on the relative positioning of Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer against well known members of Congress from the last 70 years. The Post noted that Mark Udall was 509th and:

falls squarely within his party's liberal wing — and based on his votes is more liberal than Clinton or Obama.
We will count that in our "reliably left wing" category. We are doing that in part because when we did additional digging into the numbers, we discovered that before Mark Udall decided to run for the Senate, his voting record put him as the 25th most liberal member of Congress. Since he decided to run for the Senate, he has tried to move his record closer to the center. Again, from the Post:
Udall's ranking is 509th from the left, more moderate than Schaffer but still well within the party's left wing. [ Kieth ] Poole's study shows that Udall has shifted to the middle somewhat since 2002, when an earlier version of the scale put him at 379th from the far left.

Meanwhile left leaning magazine "In These Times" has added its assessment of Mark Udall's politics:
Tom and Mark [ Udall ] are progressive U.S. representatives in New Mexico and Colorado, respectively, who have each set their sights on an open, Republican-held Senate seat in their home states.

We count "progressive" as "reliably left wing" because it is most frequently used to describe a liberal's liberal.

Thus, the the "reliably left wing" scoreboard line advances by two, today.

The Mark Udall is not a moderate scoreboard:
extremist 2
reliably left wing 13
liberal 30
moderate 0
conservative (chuckle)

We started this scoreboard when we noticed that liberal blogs and the msm were routinely calling Mark Udall a "liberal," "reliably left wing," and even "extremist." We do not count comments from conservative blogs and we didn't count a comment on a liberal show by a conservative politician. Those who would like to check our methodology can follow the bread crumbs backwards.

Long ago, we started using music titles to make it easier to find earlier posts and to differentiate scoreboard posts from other posts. Recently, Mark Udall admitted that in 1971 he had his automobile seized in a drug related arrest. Most states don't seize vehicles unless the amount of drugs involved suggests drug dealing. Mark Udall has been quite coy about what happened. An enquiring public wants to know. In that spirit, our future scoreboard entries will be titled Puff the Magic Dragon or PTMD.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Schaffer Featured in Denver Post

This is mostly a marker. Those who are following the contest will already have read the Denver Post piece.

This author's very least favorite spoiled brat Republican is quoted in the piece:
Because of his term-limit pledge, [ Bob ] Schaffer "was pretty much written off by leadership. In six years, you can't do much," said former Rep. Joel Hefley, a Republican who represented Colorado Springs for 20 years...

There are very few Republicans that this 5th CD author won't vote for. They can be pro-life, pro-choice, fiscally conservative, somewhat fiscally moderate (not liberal).

The one thing that we cannot abide is a legislator who lies to the public on any subject. Joel Hefley did that on term limits, saying that he would vote for them. He didn't. This statement shows he wasn't sincere. He thought he could scam the public and from that time forward he did not get this author's vote for that reason and that reason alone. Consider this implied criticism of Mark Udall. Udall appears to be a less than honest politician, even more so than Joel Hefley.

Contrast Joel Hefley's action on term limits with Bob Schaffer's and you will easily see why we work hard to see Schaffer elected.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Almost Embarrassing

In trying to chase a story about a talk given in Pueblo West, about 45 miles from here, I had to follow it literally around the world from blog to blog. One of the blogs that I stopped by was called Blowing Our Tax Dollars on Wind Farms. Now, that is a title one could grow to love. I digress.

It is my view that if people start paying attention to the real facts about global warming, they will be less willing to be piped by our local pied pipers, Mark Udall and Bill Ritter, into a bitter ocean, a bitter future of an intentionally depressed economy.

I finally found the original article, printed of course in the Pueblo Chieftain.
The hype surrounding the issue of global warming is a bunch of hot air, a retired physics professor told members of Rotary Club 43 on Monday.

"Global warming is not a problem," Howard C. Hayden said. "Go find something useful to do."

Hayden is an emeritus professor of physics from the University of Connecticut and now resides in Pueblo West.

"Yes, the polar ice caps are shrinking . . . on Mars," he said, "On Mars, the ice caps are melting and small hills are disappearing."

Hayden added that there is warming occurring on Jupiter, Saturn and Triton.

Of course the Big Blue Lie Machine that is Colorado Media Matters put its nose into the article:
However, the Chieftain did not note the scientific consensus that rising global temperatures are not part of a natural cycle and that climate change is being caused primarily by human activity...

The article did not note that former Vice President Gore and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) were awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change." It also failed to point out that organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the IPCC share the consensus view that, as stated in a June 2006 NAS report, "human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming" of the planet.

The word consensus is being misused by the left to stampede the public into actions that are not in its interest for the purpose of taking political power. The word "consensus" is defined as "general agreement." There is far too much disagreement to use that word.

Professor Hayden put it eloquently when he told the likes of Media Matters, Mark Udall, and Bill Ritter that they should "go find something useful to do."

Off Topic, or Perhaps Not

We've been trying to figure out why Mark Udall and his environmentalist allies are so addicted to lying about important issues. Could it be because environmentalists have a thirty year plus history of lying? Could it be because environmental based lying works?

We found a very long 2001 Sacramento Bee article on environmental organizational fundraising. It lays out the lies that were being told then to raise money. It is far too long and detailed to quote at length, so we will just provide tidbits:

The letters that come with the mailers are seldom dull. Steeped in outrage, they tell of a planet in perpetual environmental shock, a world victimized by profit-hungry corporations. And they do so not with precise scientific prose but with boastful and often inaccurate sentences that scream and shout:

From New York-based Rainforest Alliance: "By this time tomorrow, nearly 100 species of wildlife will tumble into extinction."Fact: No one knows how rapidly species are going extinct. The Alliance's figure is an extreme estimate that counts tropical beetles and other insects -- including ones not yet known to science -- in its definition of wildlife.

From The Wilderness Society: "We will fight to stop reckless clear-cutting on national forests in California and the Pacific Northwest that threatens to destroy the last of America's unprotected ancient forests in as little as 20 years."Fact: National forest logging has dropped dramatically in recent years. In California, clear-cutting on national forests dipped to 1,395 acres in 1998, down 89 percent from 1990.

From Defenders of Wildlife: "Won't you please adopt a furry little pup like 'Hope'? Hope is a cuddly brown wolf ... Hope was triumphantly born in Yellowstone."Facts: "There was never any pup named Hope," says John Varley, chief of research at Yellowstone National Park. "We don't name wolves. We number them." Since wolves were reintroduced into Yellowstone in 1995, their numbers have increased from 14 to about 160; the program has been so successful that Yellowstone officials now favor removing the animals from the federal endangered species list.

Notice that global warming wasn't a subject that environmental fund raisers had tapped into in 2001.

It is instructive to realize that the exact same false kinds of things were said about the Roan Plateau-that it was pristine and beautiful.

The environmentalists aren't the only ones using environmental lies for fundraising. Politicians like Bill Ritter and Mark Udall are doing the same thing. Our children and grandchildren will live in a different world, but it will be a poorer world, a world built on lies.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Mark Udall Staffer Lie - But What's New?

We've referred to Taylor West, Mark Udall's spokesperson as God's gift to this blog in the past, and nothing has changed. How difficult and thankless must it be to try to reinvent past Udall positions in a way that will be palatable statewide?

Today, she was reinventing the Department of Peace that Mark Udall co sponsored at the urging of some high school students. The Longmont Times-Call reports:

Udall campaign spokeswoman Taylor West said in a Thursday interview that [ Mark ] Udall initially supported that bill “because there was a severe lack on the part of the Bush administration of using the tools of diplomacy ... as part of our overall foreign policy.”

Misuse of the "tools of diplomacy" sounds like a serious charge, a serious purpose for a Department of Peace. We looked back to see what Dennis Kucinich staffers were telling the Summit Daily News about the Department of Peace when he was pushing it and Mark Udall was still a co sponsor. Look closely to see if the proposal even mentioned diplomacy or foreign policy:

We have lived with war, violence and abuse for far too long," said Kucinich spokeswoman Denise Hughes. "By establishing a Cabinet level Department of Peace, we have the unique opportunity to confront the root cause of these evils and the ability as a society to build a safer world."

Methods would include mediation, nonviolent intervention and encouraging communities, religious groups and nongovernmental organizations to develop initiatives.

The department would be responsible for developing policies that address domestic violence, child abuse and mistreatment of the elderly, create new policies to reduce drug and alcohol abuse, protect animals from violence, develop new approaches to deal with gun-related violence and develop programs that address school violence, gangs and racial violence and violence against gays and lesbians.

Additionally, the department would take under its wing civil rights, labor law, community-based violence prevention and racial tolerance programs.

At the international level, the department would work with the U.S. Secretary of Defense and U.S. Secretary of State to reduce international conflict, train those who work to reconstruct war-torn societies, sponsor countrywide and regional conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives and encourage international sister city programs to exchange artistic, cultural, economic, educational and faith-based values.

The department also would submit recommendations to the president regarding how the sales of arms from the United States affect peace and develop strategies for the sustainability and distribution of international funds.

The secretary of the Department of Peace also would develop a peace education curriculum to include the civil rights movement in the United States, how peace agreements have worked to stop conflict and to work with teachers to help students work on peace through reflection and conflict resolutions.

A highlight of that would be a Peace Academy, which would provide a four-year course of instruction in peace education, after which graduates would be required to serve five years in public service in domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution programs.

It looks to us as though a Mark Udall staffer Taylor West was telling another whopper. But as a now famous unofficial Udall spokesman recently opined, "a lie is just a campaign tactic that someone doesn't like," or something to that effect. (Yes, we are laughing because blogging is so much fun.)

Added: The article quoted extensively above was originally published on Tuesday, April 8, 2003 by the Summit Daily News (Vail, Colorado). Its title was "Udall Backs Creating Department of Peace."

Is Calling Mark Udall a "Boulder Liberal" Namecalling?

Yesterday, Politicker reported that John Randall had called Mark Udall U-Turn Udall. That is unfortunate, but it should be noted that we are unaware of Randall ever before calling Udall a name.

It is interesting that only three folks have called Mark Udall a name, and all of them have called him U-Turn Udall. If a name could be made to stick, it is probably that one. So far, all of them have done it only once, and they each did it when speaking or writing on different subjects.

We hope it stops.

Today, the Longmont Times call has this very interesting quote:
For more than a year, [ Dick ] Wadhams and other Republicans have brandished the “Boulder liberal” label when talking about [ Mark ] Udall, but the Democrat’s campaign staff has dismissed the tag as narrow and misleading.

But [ Taylor ] West said [ Dick ] Wadhams and Schaffer “know that Bob Schaffer’s record is far out of the mainstream for Colorado. The only way they can deal with that is by calling names and making up labels.”

The problem is that "Boulder Liberal" is not a name, it is a label that liberal blogs and msm outlets have used in various forms for nearly a year to describe Mark Udall.

The Longmont Times Call itself reported that Mark Udall had said about himself and his connection to Boulder:
Said [ Mark ] Udall, who lives in Eldorado Springs: “It’s wonderful to be home.” He said Boulder County is “home base for me. This is the touchstone; this is where I take my inspiration.”

It is hard to understand how the Times-Call could imply that the "Boulder Liberal" tag is a Republican invention when Mark Udall clearly applies it to himself and does it in their own paper.

It is also hard to see how Mark Udall can claim to have clean hands in the name calling arena when absurdicus is hard at work using name calling as a substitute for honest debate.

Taylor West would like to believe that only her friends see Mark Udall fundraising letters. Mark Udall routinely calls Bob Schaffer an "extremist" and signs his name to those letters. Her feigned "shock" that someone would label Mark Udall something as mild as "Boulder Liberal" is nothing short of hypocritical.

Too Cheap to Invest In Himself

Politicker is reporting that Mark Udall can't seem to find the confidence to invest even a dollar in his own campaign:

One of those candidates is Democrat Mark Udall who is running for US Senate and has raised over $3.7 million in contributions with none of that money coming from himself as of the last filing. His opponent, Republican Bob Schaffer, has donated $4600 to his own campaign, according to the website

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rocky Mountain Right Poll Tracker

The most impressive new addition to the Colorado blogosphere is Rocky Mountain Right (RMR). Here we frequently write up and analyze poll results in the U.S. Senate race between Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall. Well, RMR has created a poll tracker graphic feature to show trends in public opinion. This tool should come in handy as election season heats up, as we seek to get a sense whether this very tight race starts to move in one direction or the other.

RMR has gathered some well-deserved attention and quite a few regular visitors in its first month on the Net. It just goes to show that finding a creative niche, combined with consistent posting and an attractive site design can be a simple formula for blogging success.


I'm a bit busy today with my private life, so I haven't been posting. I'll be busy tomorrow as well.

I choose to use the screen name "a watcher" for a number of reasons, but anonymity isn't one of them. When I send emails, I always use my name. When I write to others, I tell them that they can use my name anywhere they like, but I would prefer that they not publish it on the internet.

There are too many crooks running around the internet. I don't need to have any part of my body enlarged. I am sufficiently well off that I ignore messages from Liberia informing me that I have won a lottery I never entered and that my very rich great great uncle left me a fortune.

The following people have met me, have participated in meetings with me, or have received emails from me where I have identified myself as "a watcher" and at the same time used my name:

Dan Haley and several individuals from the Post, the Gazette, and the Rocky; at least twelve members of the legislature, including five Democrats; the past president of the Colorado Bar association, Former Justice Kourlis; current Supreme Court staffer Jeffrey Clayton; Dick Wadhams in his capacity as chairman of the Colorado GOP, Greg Garcia in his capacity as El Paso county GOP chairman; Jeff Crank; Doug Lamborn; and Bentley Rayburn.

I would guess that there are at least 200 well known people in Colorado who not only know who I am, they know me by sight. With few exceptions, they wouldn't know me except as a blogger.

With the exception of Jeff Clayton, and the possible exception of Dick Wadhams, I have, at one time or another been publicly critical of every one of those folks listed above. That means that I have written about them in a less than positive light on one of my blogs or, using the same screen name, as comments on newspaper articles.

Every one of those folks, regardless of how hard I have criticized them, has had the class not to put my name on the internet. They also have had the class not to allow their subordinates and supporters to put my name on the internet.

Now comes Mark Udall supporter absurdicus. He can't seem to hold his own in an argument so he decides that name calling will win him and Mark Udall support. When it is pointed out that I have been fighting name calling in the Senate race for months (and elsewhere before that) with a lot of success, he decided to step his own personal Mark Udall slime machine up a notch and publish my name.

I have given Mark Udall a lot of credit, though not publicly (if I had given him public credit, it would have run the risk of undoing what I was trying to do). Because of the way I went after the name callers, I have thought that someone on his staff was asking them to stop. I never linked to the name callers so they wouldn't have known about my campaign and stopped on their own. The name calling literally stopped in two weeks and it stopped across the board (with one outlyer and an occasional outburst that I ignored).

Politicians are known by the company they keep. If Mark Udall endorses the tactics of absurdicus, I'll be sending him down my favorite chicken excrement smeared slide to see how much sticks and what he smells like when he gets to the bottom.

If all of the above folks can endure criticism and have the class to keep my not so secret secret, why is it that Mark Udall lacks the class to do the same?

For the record, I had other things to do today that I didn't get done because I had to do this.


I'm not going to waste much time on this: anonymous Mark Udall blog operative "absurdicus" - who ironically challenges the credibility of transparent bloggers who make fact-based arguments and link to their sources - has resorted to name-calling to advance some otherwise weak arguments.

At one point Bob Schaffer was being called a name five days out of every seven. That stopped when my fellow blogger "a watcher" started writing about it. Less obvious is the fact that "a watcher" worked behind the scenes to keep Republican operatives from calling Mark Udall names. Trust me, I've seen it, and I've seen it work for the most part.

So, ironically, the Udall surrogate absurdicus comes along and decides to center his arguments around name-calling against the blogger who has worked hardest and in an evenhanded way to keep the name-calling out of the Senate race.

Does the Udall campaign want to stake its case to the voters on name-calling? Does their side want to be responsible for the kind of politics that turns off independent voters? We have no problem laying absurdicus' name-calling at Mark Udall's doorstep. If Udall thinks it's in his interest that his spokesman resorts to name-calling, absurdicus will continue. If he doesn't, absurdicus will stop. Simple as that.

While we continue to publish and post comments that provide disagreement and debate, those comments left here that resort to the juvenile and distasteful tactic of name-calling will no longer be published. Let's hope Udall and his anonymous surrogate are willing to engage in a debate free of name-calling.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Roan Plateau Drilling

The Denver Post is reporting that Bob Schaffer has adopted the Bill Ritter position on the Roan Plateau. That should tell all readers that we are not the recipients of inside campaign information. We don't want to be.

Politics is the art of compromise, and we don't object to this pronouncement of position. It isn't a change because Bob Schaffer hadn't announced a position to us or anyone else.

What we do object to, and will continue to write about here and elsewhere is the dishonest way this policy was sold. The environmentalists, including Bill Ritter and Mark Udall, must be held to some standard of truth by someone. If they are not, this kind of dishonest campaign will happen again and again.

We want to puke every time we read about how the Roan Plateau is a pristine natural wonderland, beautiful beyond belief, because it isn't. This newly announced Bob Schaffer position doesn't change the character of the Roan Plateau. It is still scrub land.

added: The Denver Post has rewritten its article this morning.

He Was For It Before He Was Against It

Mark Udall must have been out playing golf when 300 plus members of Congress asked him to cosign the congressional amicus brief on the Second Amendment case that went to the Supreme Court. He couldn't decide whether to use a wood or a putter and in the end, he could only decide to pick up his ball and go home.

Read this statement from Mark Udall's official site. The reasoning sounds exactly like John Kerry's "I voted for the $87 Billion before I voted against it."

If the brief stopped there, I would support it without hesitation. However, it does not stop there. Page 30 of the amicus brief includes declarations that “the District’s handgun ban is unreasonable on its face” and further, that “The lower court’s categorical approach in holding a prohibition on handguns to be unconstitutional per se was correct.”

Clearly, Mark Udall thinks that it was reasonable for the District of Columbia to criminalize the possession of hand guns within its borders for everyone except retired policemen. His stated position is that we citizens have the right to have a weapon with which to protect ourselves except when we don't, and he would side with the Bill Ritter's and the John Morse's who are too quick to say that we don't ever have that right.

Justice Alito asked:
“How could the District code provision survive any standard of review when they totally ban the possession of the type of weapon that’s most commonly used for self-defense…?

Most troubling is that, as a member of the Senate, Mark Udall would insist on confirming only clones of Breyer, Souter, Ginsberg, and Stephens who would, in the words of Justice Breyer, make the Second Amendment a dead letter. He would let those clones do his dirty work while he piously claimed to be "for gun rights before he was against them.

More on this later in the week.

Second Amendment Question for Mark Udall

Since the Second Amendment is in the news, it seems fair to ask Mark Udall what his position might be on that issue.

A few factoids:

The District of Columbia sought to regulate the possession of hand guns to the point that only retired police officers might own them.

If the purpose of that law was to cut down on deaths, it was a law that didn't work. In the late 1980's the District of Columbia the law was 15 years old. At that time, D.C. was recognized as the Murder Capital of the US. Only the criminals had guns.

The Second Amendment was written at a time when the total strength of the United States Army hovered in the neighborhood of 600 to 1,000 men. The US was so weak that the British refused to honor the peace treaty requirements to abandon their forts south of the Great Lakes and were inciting Indian tribes to attack settlements.

The attorney representing the District of Columbia claimed that he took a trigger lock off a weapon in three seconds in daylight. Presumably he had the key in his hand. How far can a burglar move in three seconds in the middle of the night? If guns are to be for self protection, which the majority of the Court seemed to be arguing, are trigger locks reasonable?

The Liberals on the court clearly did not want to recognize the language of the Second Amendment as a right to have a tool with which to protect one's life and property.

Where does Mark Udall stand on the issue of Second Amendment Gun Rights? If his touchstone is Boulder as he once said, he is clearly a liberal. Is he in lock step with the liberals on the court?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Colorado Senate Poll March 2008--Udall 46%, Schaffer 43%

Still within the margin of error--this continues to be a close race--the latest poll just posted at Rasmussen Reports:
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey in Colorado found that the state’s U.S. Senate race remains very close early in the general election campaign. Democrat Mark Udall now holds a very modest advantage over Republican Bob Schaffer, 46% to 43%. A month ago, Schaffer had a statistically insignificant lead of one point over Udall in the Centennial State. Both election polls had a 4.5 percentage point margin of sampling error.

Schaffer earns strong support from male voters, while Udall does well among women. Udall also leads Schaffer 48% to 37% among unaffiliated voters.

The two Congressmen have very similar favorability ratings. Schaffer is viewed favorably by 53% and unfavorably by 32%. Udall is viewed favorably by 52% and unfavorably by 34%.
. . .
Like most of the nation, Colorado voters see the economy as the most important issue in the upcoming election. While 39% feel it is the most important issue, 18% say the War in Iraq holds the highest importance, while Immigration is the most important issue to 12%.
Crosstabs are available to premium members only.

Schaffer First to Agree to Online Debate

Good news today. A representative from the Bob Schaffer for Senate campaign has expressed the candidate's agreement in principle to an online debate versus Mark Udall, a debate co-sponsored by David Thielen on the Left and by us here at Schaffer v Udall on the Right.

Here's the word from Vicki Blanton in the Schaffer camp:
I wanted to let you know that Congressman Schaffer would be interested in participating in an online debate with Congressman Udall. As we move closer to June and July, please let me know the potential dates of the debate. We’re very flexible and willing to work with you to find a date and time that works for all involved parties.
I'm personally honored and grateful that Bob Schaffer has agreed to the debate.

As of right now, the Udall campaign has said maybe. With this race in a statistical dead heat in the early going, each candidate has about the same to gain - or to lose - from such a contest, as low-profile as it figures to be.

In his announcement at Colorado Pols, David expresses a bit of surprise. But anyone familiar with Schaffer and his career will recognize he is up to this kind of a challenge. Let's hope Udall follows suit soon.

We'll keep you posted here on the scheduling of the summertime debate, as well as other details. Though the candidates' schedules ultimately will determine when it happens, any input you have regarding the timing of the debate is appreciated.

Theatre of the Absurd

First, let there be no mistake. We are laughing at Absurdicus. Laughing out loud. Belly laughs.

His turn around time is pretty amazing. We only wrote our Dueling with Absurdicus essay a few hours ago and already he has torn it apart. Or tried.

It seems that Mark Udall isn't really lying to the public. He is using perfectly acceptable campaign tactics that just happen to not be truthful. It's not quite the same thing. Anyone who calls his untruths lies is subject to a libel suit:
Telling a lie is quite a different thing than using campaign tactics you don't agree with. I'd love for [ Mark ] Udall to bring a libel case against you.

We stand uncorrected. Is it any wonder that the public dislikes politics and politicians when lies are "campaign tactics you don't agree with." What would Mark Udall bring a libel case for? You should go back and follow the Udall as a liar labels. Perhaps you can help him make a case.

You really shouldn't ask us to list the lies you have told:
1. The main argument that is being used against drilling on the Roan Plateau is that it is pristine, untouched country, beautiful beyond belief, and that is the argument that we have responded to. The published photographs don't show little critters. They try to show the terrain in a deceptive way. Your argument has evolved from an admission that the terrain isn't what is being described to an argument that the argument being put forward is about the critters. That is untrue. We link to the articles we reference. The best label to follow is "Roan Plateau."
2. We don't own an SUV and never have. We have a wonderful little 2000 Ford Ranger with terrible shocks and reasonable gas mileage for a truck. The wife doesn't own a SUV either, and never has. None of our children own SUV's. We don't think any of our siblings or siblings-in-law own SUV's.
3. Grandpa McGrumpy, eh? Name calling isn't lying. It is just good campaign tactics, lol.
4. A claim that misleading photographs and misleading descriptions isn't propaganda is a lie.
5. Your assertion that oil companies could match the campaign donations of Sierra Club members was a lie. Your assertion that oil companies shouldn't have the right to have a mechanism to protect their interests is offensive.
6. You have no idea what your argument is and claiming that you do is a lie. You haven't used the same argument twice. First it was that you couldn't see anything from 10,000 feet. Then it was an admission that the Roan Plateau wasn't all that pretty with an assertion that we shouldn't suck the land up like a milkshake. Now it is that Google Earth doesn't reveal all of the wonderful and unique critters. The middle argument had integrity. The same can't be said for the other two.
7. BLM is not going to allow drilling on all of the Roan Plateau, so your latest critter argument is a misrepresentation of the facts, another lie.

Is seven lies enough?

Your desire to "continue to slap [us] around" if we name the conditions under which we would like to see the discussion in the political realm is telling. We could "respect" an argument free of the kinds of lies and misrepresentations you and Mark Udall seem to love. Lies aren't really lies - they are only campaign tactics in your book. In mine, they are still lies.

This discussion is at an end. Post any comment you like. This author won't respond. You are not consistent enough or ethical enough in your arguments to make continuing worthwhile.

Dueling With Absurdicus

Readers may wonder why we would spend any of our time responding to Absurdicus instead of concentrating on the real subjects of this blog, Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer.

The answer is simple. Absurdicus is a prolific writer. He usually either speaks for Mark Udall in the blogosphere or parrots those who do. Too often he wanders away from the truth, sometimes far away. If Mark Udall wants to get elected surrounded by a bodyguard of lies and liars, the public has a right to know what is happening.

Here is his latest comment left under our Absurdicus makes a plea post:
So you're admitting you didn't read what I wrote. Wonderful.

No, you wrote two sentences. You can't doubt that we read the second sentence because we wrote a whole post around it. We read the first sentence and didn't understand it. Once you clarified your point, we wrote a whole post around what you claimed your first sentence said, something we would have happily done if you had been more clear the first time.
How is showing pictures of the Roan Plateau propaganda? Are you saying they doctored those photos and the Roan plateau doesn't really look like that?
We absolutely are saying that the scrub land character of Roan Plateau is being misrepresented and concealed by the photographs that make the news and made it into the Mark Udall commercial. That makes them propaganda in the same way that a film of any despot patting the head of a little girl is propaganda. It doesn't present the whole picture and that part that it does present is misleading as you admitted in your last argument.
Let's just take your argument to it's eventual conclusion. The Roan Plateau doesn't look all that great at 10,000 feet. Ooops, the Roan plateau doesn't look all that great from 1000 feet away. Just like judging what you look like from any large distance away, why not just not look at all and then make your argument for what the Roan Plateau look like. Let's not even get into the species of plants, animals, etc exceeds that of other lands that already have protected status. You don't even need a picture for that.

Our argument might reasonably be that every square inch of the Earth cannot be protected from human development. We elect politicians to make decisions about what should be protected and what should not. When politicians like Mark Udall and their supporters routinely lie about the nature of the land they want to protect or any other matter of importance, they cannot be trusted to help make public decisions. More importantly, they shouldn't be trusted and shouldn't be placed in a position of trust. That is what elections are about.

Your comment about the "protected status" of other places could easily be turned against those other places if the Roan Plateau is to be the measure.

Your claim that it is impossible to understand the nature of a landscape from 1,000 feet elevation is silly and intentionally misleading. Enough Americans have bought window seats on airliners to know that.
As for big campaign donations. Who are you trying to fool? Do you really put the Sierra club on the same level with Exxon Mobil and their astroturf group Americans for American Energy?

The last we heard corporations cannot make legally campaign contributions at all, and individuals are limited to making $2,300 donations per cycle. The Sierra Club can mobilize individuals to donate. Exxon cannot.

Who are you trying to fool? This isn't a high school debating class where you get to try out an argument or a piece of propaganda and discard it if it isn't convincing. That is what you are doing. If you and Mark Udall are truthful, and make truthful arguments based on accurate facts, you have a right to expect that the public will trust you.

If you and Mark Udall get caught making false arguments often enough, the public won't trust you even when you are truthful. Mark Udall doesn't seem to understand that, which is why we have a "Udall as a liar" tag. For his supporters who can't be truthful or make truthful arguments, we simply dump them into the "Big Blue Lie Machine."

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bob Schaffer, Prince of Darkness

One of the slick tricks of modern electronic journalism is to use lighting to "throw a bad light" on subjects the journalists do not like. Photo journalists sometimes photoshop photographs to make them black and white because black and white photos are less appealing. Television journalists have their own tricks.

Our colleague thoughtfully posted links to the Your Show videos of Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall. You all watched those, right?

Note that Mark Udall is well lit. Bob Schaffer, by contrast, is sitting in semi darkness with a light behind him to make the camera less able to focus on his facial lighting. It is hard to imagine a less attractive lighting setup. It is also hard to imagine that this wasn't intentional.

Another observation: Bob was a bit more verbose than Mark. By going last, we'd bet his long answers and bad lighting made part of the audience go away.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

US Senate Candidates Bob Schaffer, Mark Udall Answer Questions On YOUR SHOW

Bob Schaffer

Mark Udall

Brief description:
YOUR SHOW celebrated its one-year anniversary this week by focusing on Colorado's U.S. Senate candidates for the seat being vacated by incumbent Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colorado). Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colorado) was our first guest one year ago and once again, he answered your questions and comments. Former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R-Colorado) first appeared on the program shortly after Udall and he, too, answered your questions and comments for a second time.

In our first segment, Rep. Udall appeared on the program live Sunday morning, discussing the war in Iraq, health care, what history will say about President Bush's administration, which candidate he would support for the Democratic presidential nomination and renewable energy.
. . .
The second segment featured a taped interview conducted on Friday with former Rep. Schaffer. He spoke about No Child Left Behind, the war in Iraq, his stand on the future of fossil fuels, and balancing the needs of American companies with the immigration debate.
More later.

Absurdicus makes a plea

Our friend Absurdicus is back with a comment on the Big Blue Lie Machine Post. It is too long to repeat here and keep to our short post format, so we will pick and choose:
Apparently my entire argument is lost because of my mistake of elevation. God forbid I would assume elevation above the earth was not normalized to elevation above ground level.
Go use Google Earth now. You will find it to be addictive. Your real mistake was to respond to what we wrote without even looking at what we were writing about. Had you done that you would have had to assume nothing.

Absurdicus is now the first individual that we know of to admit that the Roan Plateau is no Garden of Eden, no pristine untouched land worthy of saving because of its uniqueness:
Despite my basic math mistake, the argument that at 1000 feet a piece of land should be drilled on just because it doesn't look "pretty" is still my argument. Please address my point, that just because it looks ugly at any distance it should be drilled and drunk up like a milkshake.

Frankly, we didn't know that was your argument.

No one, not Bill Ritter, not John Salazar, not Ken Salazar, not the Sierra Club, not Trout Unlimited, not the Wilderness Society, not the Denver Post, not the Rocky Mountain News, and especially not Mark Udall nor any other individual or organization involved with pushing the environmental agenda has had the intellectual honesty to make that argument.

Instead, they use words and photographs intended to fool the public into believing that the land is something it is not. We never would have thought to look at the land using Google Earth but for the obviously deceptive video ad that we wrote about in Looking More Closely at The Udall Commercial - Part 3. We've driven through that part of Colorado many times and it is a lot of things, but it is not wet.

Absurdicus, we don't know how to respond to your argument. It is one that needs to be had in an honest way by the politicians who represent us, unencumbered by the false propaganda that is pumped out daily.

Instead, we have the politicians like Mark Udall and Bill Ritter as well as the newspaper editorial boards who should be demanding and engaging in an honest discussion unwilling to do so out of fear that they would lose in that environment. There can't be another reason.

The politicians spend their time pushing the false propaganda and taking big campaign donations from the organizations which generate it. The organizations collect big donations for supposedly "protecting the environment" when they are often doing no such thing.

There will never be a response to your argument from us or anyone else because none on your side, probably including you, will allow it to be held under conditions we could respect.

Mark Udall Profiled in the Denver Post

The Denver Post had a well balanced piece on Mark Udall today: Shrewd moves set up Udall's statewide run.

The Post left a few things out. There is much more that could have been written.

As usual, we tried to help them. Our comment is the fifth in line. It lists eight items that they might have included.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Absurdicus - Part of the Big Blue Lie Machine

Absurdicus (how appropriate) appended a comment to our Roan Plateau post where we explained how to use Google Earth to see for one's self what the roan plateau looked like.

We told readers to go down to a level of 10,000 feet and look around.

Absurdicus writes:
Uh, didn't your oil industry shills already push this laughable explanation some 6 months ago? It was preposterous then and it's preposterous now. In contrast, I look really good from 10,000 feet, so you really can't see what the Roan plateau looks like at that altitude either.

The altitude of the Roan Plateau is 9,000 feet. If you "fly" over it at an altitude of 10,000 feet, third grade math suggests that you are only 1,000 feet over the terrain. If there were anything but scrub land, you would see it at that altitude. A picture is worth 1,000 words. We simply want folks to go look at the picture. You don't.

Your screen name is Absurdicus and your argument is intentionally absurd, intentionally misleading.

We expect that you are not so stupid that you can't do third grade math. That makes you a willing part of the Big Blue Lie Machine. Mark Udall is tarnished by these kinds of lies by his supporters. It happens so often that we have a tag for it: "Big Blue Lie Machine."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Roan Plateau

For those interested in the truth about the Roan Plateau, rather than political subterfuge, we suggest you visit today's Rocky Mountain News article on the Roan Plateau.

Ignore the verbiage for now and just look at the map. Click on it to get a bigger version. Get your bearings. You are looking at the area just to the west of Rifle and to the north of the Interstate.

Now, go to Google Earth. You may have to load the new version, but do so. It is worth it. With Google Earth loaded, type "Rifle, CO" in the location box in the upper left hand corner of the screen. This lets you "fly" to that town.

You will be looking down from 34,000 feet, but you want to get closer. Move your mouse wheel to adjust your altitude down to about 10,000 feet and your left mouse button to move to the west about one screen width. Once you get down low, you can tilt the screen so that you are looking at the land horizontially. To do that, move the slider in the upper right all the way to the right.

What you are looking at has routinely been described by the environmentalists, including Mark Udall, as land too beautiful, too pristine to touch. You decide. You also might want to decide for yourself if the Rocky Mountain News areal photograph is deceptive, given the unrepresentative foreground.

Here is what Mark Udall had to say about the BLM decision:

"It was clear last year that in order for the BLM to give the state's input the serious consideration it deserves, it would be necessary for the agency to change its plan to reopen the Record of Decision regarding drilling leases on the Roan Plateau — as Rep. John Salazar and I asked them to do last year," said Congressman Mark Udall, D-Eldorado Springs.

"The BLM's refusal to do so is deeply disappointing because it means a refusal to properly fulfill what the Bush Administration should - but evidently does not - recognize as its obligation to the people of Colorado."

If the Bush administration has an "obligation" to protect scrub land, where would Mark Udall allow the Bush administration to drill to fulfill its other obligations to the people of the nation?

We can't overlook the Denver Post's input to the discussion. We wonder if they have looked at Google Earth.

Great (or Small if you Prefer) Minds Think Alike

As happens from time to time with a blog written by two or more authors, two authors published similar essays within minutes of each other.

The time assigned to the essays reflects the time work on the essay commenced, not the time it was completed and published. Neither of us had a way to know that the other was doing any writing.

Helpful Neighbors

Yesterday, one of my colleagues called into question the Mark Udall campaign's judgment in letting Cara DeGette carry their latest gem of opposition research into the public square. Last night, Michael at Best Destiny issued a substantive response exposing the utter lack of logic in DeGette's attack:
But, again, what's most laughable is the complete lack of an argument from DeGette. Maybe it no longer matters in the Democratic world to actually articulate your points and defend them with reason--certainly, Barack Obama seems content not to actually make an argument about anything.

But if this "professional" is to be the standard of argument we should expect from the Udall campaign, then I feel better about Schaffer's chances.

In the meantime, DeGette should try to get some editorial assistance. Or, at least a friend willing to say to her "Yeah. And?"
Good point, Michael.

DeGette's supposed "expose" only exposes her foolishness (and by extension, the Udall team that trusted her with the story) on two levels: reminding Coloradans that Bob Schaffer has a consistent record as a mainstream conservative and letting Coloradans know how far out of the mainstream you are for trying to label his record as extreme.

We're just trying to be helpful neighbors here.

Blogosphere Pushback

Yesterday, we reported Mark Udall's ill-advised decision to use Cara DeGette as its front person on any subject.

Today, we note that the blogosphere is beginning to comment on the eight year old document she published:

Best Destiny has a memo to Cara Degette - go back to logic class:
Your writing is without a point...

But, again, what's most laughable is the complete lack of an argument from [ Cara ] DeGette. Maybe it no longer matters in the Democratic world to actually articulate your points and defend them with reason--certainly, Barack Obama seems content not to actually make an argument about anything.

Best Destiny then proceeded to make arguments about several issues that DeGette could only mention as part of a reprinted list with no supporting argument.

Also today, The Colorado Index produced an essay observing that DeGette needs to check her dictionary before she tries to use words longer than four letters, having abused the use of the word "screed." She seems to understand four letter words and use them regularly without problem.

The real point of that essay was laid out in its title: Gun Rights - Still a Sharp Contrast Between the Parties.

One of the dirty little secrets of the 2006 campaign is that the Democrats bamboozled a number of Republican voters into voting for Bill Ritter because he claimed that he would build shooting ranges throughout the state and because he would protect "hunter's rights." So far, there doesn't seem to be money for shooting ranges and Bill Ritter's record on guns more closely matches his earlier gun control stance than any expansion of rights.

It is difficult to see what value Mark Udall's campaign got from 1) using Cara DeGette as its publicist and 2) digging up a document that will help Bob Schaffer far more than it will hurt him, if it hurts him at all.

Wikipedia on Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer

One of the more interesting features of Wikipedia is that it is possible to track weekly visits to any given article.

This week, for example, the Mark Udall article has been visited 2837 times while the Bob Schaffer article has been visited 1797 times in the last 29 days.

A quick look at the two Wikipedia articles suggests that work needs to be done. Someone appears to have photoshopped Bob Schaffer's congressional photo to make it black and white. It seems very unlikely that Congress would be using black and white film or digital photography as late as 2002.

While Bob Schaffer's article mentions Mark Udall, Mark Udall's article does not mention Bob Schaffer. This alone might account for the statistics difference above.

Because it is too easy for both sides to manipulate the statistics, we won't be mentioning them again.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cara DeGette Strikes Again

Apparently someone in the opposition research section of the Mark Udall campaign forwarded a hot item to Cara DeGette in the last day or so. Cara ran with it.

We have commented elsewhere that Mark Udall's choice of people to carry his message reflects directly on Mark Udall. In our more colorful writing days, we suggested that Cara DeGette would be exactly the wrong person to promote Mark Udall after she wrote without justification or provocation:

Perhaps Haggard should consider moving back to Colorado and challenging Schaffer in a primary bid for the Senate next year.

Lord knows, he has some issues.

We suggested in the most colorful terms possible that when Cara DeGette wrote about the race, she dirtied Mark Udall:

Much as they might like to claim otherwise, [ Wendy ] Norris and [ Cara ] DeGette are not journalists in the traditional sense. They are paid to smear Republicans. Apparently, anything goes.

Mark Udall has to know that we will be more than happy to link him to his supporter's more colorful and tasteless antics. If [ Mark Udall ] wants to take a ride down a slide greased with chicken excrement, he can't expect to arrive at the bottom without some of it sticking.

Anyone who has ever worked with chickens will know why we picked that version of feces. Those who haven't can probably guess at least one of its two attributes: It is semi liquid and the smell is overwhelming.

Wendy Norris got involved because of her equally distasteful and unjustified remark regretting that a prominent Republican objected to sex with sheep. We opined:

It is hard not to think that Ms. Norris and Ms. DeGette have some very serious sexual issues of their own. DeGette and her close friends can't seem to avoid the temptation to write material about Republicans that is, to use a kind word, "strange."

For months, Cara DeGette and Wendy Norris took the hint and had Jim Spencer write about the race. He has gone on to a better and better paid life. Perhaps they have someone else to write about this one issue, important though it is. If they keep writing about this race, we will be more than content to send Mark Udall down that slide smeared with chicken excrement from time to time.

Mark Udall's Policies: Leaving Us "Vulnerable to an Attack"

Over at View from a Height, Joshua plies his typically keen insights on the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. He begins his argument this way:
Mark Udall - a good, patriotic American - is a threat to national security.
And concludes more precisely:
Mark Udall's policies leave us both more vulnerable to an attack, and more vulnerable to the effects of that attack.
Read the whole post - titled "Mark Udall, Natural Gas, Iran, and You" - and see another instance of how good intentions often don't translate to good policy.

But if you're Mark Udall, where do you find time to focus on good policy when you're busy working on your golf game?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Another Mark Udall Handicap

Now we know what Mark Udall does with his time when he should be studying bills so that he doesn't have to explain "present" votes on legislation that is important to the people of Colorado.

It is almost as embarrassing to be at the top of this list as it is to be at the bottom. Go to the bottom and laugh, as we did.

We weren't certain if we should use the tags we did, but decided "what the heck."

Big Blue Lie Machine - Huffington Post Version

The Huffington Post has always been a Big Blue Lie Machine outlet. Even so, you have to laugh when a lefty, Bob Burnett writes two back to back sentences that make no sense when taken together:

Maine Republican Susan Collins has an uphill fight for her third term in the Senate. Her Democratic opponent will likely to be Congressman Tom Allen. Early polls give Collins a double-digit lead over Allen, but political observers expect the gap to narrow.

In our own Colorado Senate contest Bob Burnett seems to forget that no poll has shown more than a one point separation between Mark Udall and Bob Schaffer, with the most recent poll showing Schaffer ahead. For reasons we don't understand, Republicans do better at the polls than polling would suggest, so if Schaffer can keep it this close, it is hard to see how self described Boulder Liberal Mark Udall can be favored:

Boulder-based Democratic Congressman Mark Udall is favored in a race against arch-conservative Republican Bob Schaffer. Representative Udall has the lead in money and public sentiment; however, Schaffer recently hired dirty tricks master Dick Wadhams, the architect of South Dakota Republican John Thunes' upset win over Tom Daschle in 2004.
Did you ever notice that any Republican operative who is successful must be employing "dirty tricks?" Tom Daschle was a high profile ultra liberal in a conservative state. The surprise shouldn't have been that John Thune beat him. The surprise should have been that it took so long.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Udall Afraid Continued Clinton/Obama Battle Will Have Negative Down-Ticket Consequences

From the New York Times:
Suddenly the Democratic presidential race is teetering on the edge — not just between Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, but between boost or burden for the party’s hopes in the fall.

So far, the clash between the two history-making candidacies has appeared to be an unalloyed benefit to the party. In state after state, Democrats displayed their enthusiasm through robust primary turnouts that drew in many new voters. If Clinton and Obama supporters have fallen into consistent niches by gender, income, education and ethnicity, polls show that most Democrats would happily support either one in November.

But now the threat of stalemate, vituperation and disillusionment hangs over a contest structured to declare a verdict a month ago. Potential fallout could imperil Democratic hopes for both the presidency and larger Congressional majorities.

“I’m very concerned,” said Representative Mark Udall of Colorado, who needs Democrats in his state to unite behind his bid for the Senate seat held by Wayne Allard, a Republican who is retiring. Mr. Udall warned that unity “could be a real challenge, especially as this thing grows more fierce.”
No doubt the threat of violence and mayhem at the Democratic National Convention in August--with groups there to Recreate '68--will not play well if Denver is trashed or the scene from the convention floor is one of intraparty rancor and argument.

But Udall is also concerned about the money, as in the money he can't raise if it is siphoned off by warring Democratic factions:
A prolonged fight poses special risks to the party’s drive to build a working majority in the Senate. Frenetic fund-raising by the Clinton and Obama campaigns, which collected $90 million in February alone, diminishes the pool of cash available to Senate candidates.
. . .
Mr. Udall said he opposed second-chance “mulligans” for Michigan and Florida. But he said he favored one last contest after the primaries end in early June — a “national caucus” in the form of swift decisions by superdelegates who remain uncommitted. Mr. Udall is one of them.

“Another 60 days probably doesn’t hurt us,” he said. “At that point, we’ve got to decide on a nominee.”
It will take at least $7-10 million for each candidate to wage a formidable campaign. The liberal big bucks will still be there, but tapped-out small time donors that have given to Clinton or Obama may not be there in as great a number should the Presidential nomination come down to the wire in a brokered and messy Denver convention.

The continued focus on the nomination will also prevent Udall himself from stealing the spotlight on Denver for his own promotion, becoming completely overshadowed in the intervening months.