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A friend from Steamboat Springs responds to January 18 entry on Bennet…

August 13, 2009

This on Bennet, Romanoff..

This whole scenario about Bennet is very intriguing, what with the shadowy Mr. Anschutz’s involvement. Ritter came with Bennet to Steamboat, but I didn’t go hear him speak…should have I suppose. Seems he wants an appointment to the ag. committee. That would be interesting but I suppose he could apply the same skills that he applied to Denver schools. Actually, I’m being very facetious there. In truth, Bennet strikes me as just another neo-liberal who socially parades as a liberal dem but would privatize everything in sight…pension funds, social security, schools, etc. There are all sorts of theories about why Ritter chose him: place holder for Ritter to run in two years and Bennet would run for gov; picking a “neutral” Bennet because Ritter wouldn’t have to choose among the others he is friends with or beholden to. Of course, the Anschutz money speaks loudest. You don’t suppose Anschutz is grooming Bennet to be president someday?

A lot of our people here were pulling for Mike Miles to be appointed…even the Romanoff supporters, which really surprised me. Romanoff support waning?

CPJNews Responds

Most of what you wrote is right on target…or maybe that is just a way to say that I agree with you..

There are several unknown factors involved

1. the first is the role of Anschutz and the degree to which Bennet is linked to him. Not clear, but other than a few passing references, it was hardly mentioned in the media. Indeed, Anschutz, one of the richest and arguably the most powerful man in Colorado, rarely gets much press. I hope to explore the man, his evolution into a power broker – starting with oil and gas, evolving into railroads and now just about everything else – in future entries…

2. Why was Romanoff snubbed? I put out what is at best a hypothesis. Although popular in Democratic Party circles, we know he didn’t get either position he was lobbying for – Secretary of State or US Senate – and that he is associated rather closely (to my mind) with the Brownstein-Farber circle of political power (and behind them a number local developers among others). I think that Ritter snubbed the lattter, but since the fortunes of Ken Salazar, now Secretary of the Interior, are so linked historically to Brownstein and Farber, it would be off base to argue that this power network lost much. Actually their position both in state politics and nationally has never been stronger. An indication of their influence can be seen from the fact that of the $61 million that Colorado had to raise to bring the Democratic Convention to Denver, that Farber alone raised $55 million (for which he was awarded the Colorado Businessman of the Year Award by the Rocky Mountain News.)

My impression is that whatever tension might have been triggered by Ritter’s choice of Bennet, that Brownstein and Farber, the ultimate sophisticated political players, well schooled in working both sides of the aisle, made their peace with Anschutz (at Romanoff’s expense) and will adjust to the new realities with the flexibility – and cunning – that they have in the past. The non-chalance with which Romanoff was abandonned is impressive but as he has, to my knowledge, nowhere else to go politically, he’ll have to take the blow and hope his services can be useful in the future. Cold winds blow at the top even for ivy league trained liberal yuppies.

I don’t think Anschutz is grooming Bennet to be president…although it is not out of the realm of possibilities just too early to tell. And as for Romanoff’s support waning – he is still pretty popular among those in the Democratic Party state machinery (the country chairs) and among some grass roots elements (including some of my friends who object to my take of him) but lacks, at least at this moment, sufficient `bipartisan’ support across the aisles and he is too much in a hurry to rocket himself to power. But these are times when things change quickly. Obama `came from nowhere’ (well from Chicago) and made the leap to the presidency – an indication that those in power have to try some new faces and political approaches, so Romanoff reasons…why not me too. In the end politically we got Romanoff’s politics with Bennet’s face. … or so it appears.

There is one other `dangling participle’ in all this – where the labor movement comes in on the Bennet appointment. Were they consulted? Did they approve? I don’t know and simply wonder if they had an opinion and if it was taken into consideration.

Glad to hear people were pulling for Miles, me too. He’s the best of the lot by far…but his road in this state dominated by finance capital, oil and gas will be a tough one to hoe…

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