Ken Buck wins crowd; Michael Bennet distances himself from Obama
When you get two Ivy League Easterners debating Colorado issues, you never can be sure which one will talk specifics and which one will talk generalities.
In the Pueblo Chieftain debate tonight, Republican Ken Buck (Princeton) talked specifics about water and the Army's expansion plans for Fort Carson and Pinon Canyon, and appointed Obama Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Washington, DC, Yale) talked about keeping the Federal government out of Colorado issues. But he bragged in his closing comment about helping Pueblo get its first commercial airline flight in a long time—to Las Vegas. Buck made the point that the Federal government has a role Colorado. The Federal government owns much of the land in state, employs thousands and serves as the mediator of water and other disputes between Colorado and its neighboring states. Most important, the Feds' Medicaid program is bankrupting all states, which pay about 50% of the cost of the program.
After Bennet took credit for resolving a 50-year-old campaign to bring clean water to Colorado ranchers and families, Buck said that he shouldn't be taking credit for the work of others.
Buck reiterated his proposals for reforming Social Security and blasted Bennet and his supporters for "scaring seniors" by running ads that accuse Buck of wanting to scuttle Social Security entirely. Buck also blasted Republicans who he said are scaring seniors about losing $500 million in Medicare Advantage benefits. Bennet called the $500 million cuts in Medicare Advantage "the heart" of ObamaCare. It's not.
Buck charged Bennet and his supporters with false negative advertising, which Bennet defended with moderate success.
Buck charged that Bennet voted against sanctions against Iran and companies that do business in Iran. Bennet tried to fuzz the question by saying the law on sanctions passed. Buck countered that Bennet voted against the sanctions. Bennet insisted that he voted for the sanctions. The way Senate committees and floor votes work, Bennet probably voted both for and against sanctions on Iran. Both guys could be correct.
Buck said he would vote to repeal ObamaCare and replace it with new reforms that kept the Federal government out of the health insurance business. Buck's positions on ObamaCare and health insurance reform are here.
Bennet said he would vote for changing parts of ObamaCare without being specific.
Both men agreed that the process of enacting ObamaCare was, as Bennet put it, "horrible."
Bennet voted for ObamaCare and was not only one of its strongest advocates in the Senate but also wanted to give the Federal government even more power that it wound up with. He supported the public option, which would have made the government the insurer of last resort. Bennet's record on health care is shown here.
The crowd seemed to be more with Buck than with Bennet who seemed to distance himself from his home town of Washington, DC, and its politically corrupt culture as much as he could. But Bennet still defended Obama's failed stimulus bill, and the union folks in the crowd loved him for that. Bennet's record on spending is here.
Buck very credibly stated his positions, stated policy specifics and stayed on the attack.
Because Buck has lived in the state longer and has been in Federal and local government jobs here longer, it seemed, he displayed more knowledge of the state's issues.
Neither man hurt himself or the other guy. Buck won points when he attacked Bennet for his votes on the stimulus bill, ObamaCare, cap and trade enery bills, taxes and spending. Bennet won points when he attacked Buck for changing his positions on various issues. But both candidates have done that.
My wife and I talked about the show on the drive home and agreed that the debate was basically a draw in terms of performance. The candidates disagree on about every major issue. Both are serious, smart lawyers who know how to attack, defend and spin. Democrats liked and cheered Bennet, and Republicans thought Buck did great.
Disclosures: This is a blog with my opinions, not a news story that pretends to be objective. I support Buck because he is a fiscal conservative and Bennet rubber stamps President Obama's hard left agenda. (I've edited, rewritten and added comments and links to this story this morning.)
Bennet, Buck butt heads in Senate debate, by Peter Roper.
Bennet, Buck punch hard in Pueblo senatorial debate, by Michael Booth.
Interview: Ken Buck predicts Michael Bennet would be a 'rubber stamp,' not a leader. By Donald E. L. Johnson, 10.19.2009. Political junkies will enjoy this relatively long interview, I hope.
Kopel: Ad targeting Buck misfires, by David Kopel.
Economy, health care, government ethics and corruption remain top issues, by Rasmussen Reports.
Love your disclaimer. I recently had a run in with Curtis Hubbel, as you know the politics editor of the DP over Michael Booth going off the charts pretending a Dem party poll had as much or more relevance as Rasmussen.
I confessed my support for Buck. That elicited a response that it was basically pointless to talk to someone who was an avowed supporter of a candidate, and he would not waste his time trying.
I responded being an overt supporter was better than being a poorly closeted supporter. I guess Liberace wasn’t really gay and Michael Booth doesn’t really support Bennet. He’s just truly moved as a journalist to write puff pieces.Posted by Laura Victoria on 10/08/2010 at 06:19 AM
BTW, Don. Do you have problems with folks with Ivy educations, or West Coast Ivy, Stanford? Should they instead go to US News #86 CU?
By the way, when I brought up the topic of CU’s ranking in response to the usual Coloradan’s blind worship of this dump of a school, I was told it would rank higher if they just eliminated all the UC campuses from the rankings in the west. They offered no reason why they should have been eliminated. This was after all the bufflas already eliminated all private schools from the list, like Stanford and CC. I was like, OK, my Kid’s ranked first in his class, if you just eliminate the 15 ahead of her. Isn’t this really the biggest problem in eduction, this gleeful dumbing down of standards?Posted by Laura Victoria on 10/08/2010 at 06:25 AM
Laura, thanks for the comments. I worry that having Senators imported from out-of-state weakens the state’s representation. In effect, we’re electing either a DC or NJ Senator who will occupy a Colorado seat. I’m not totally comfortable with that, but it is what it is. Pardon the snark.Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 10/08/2010 at 06:55 AM
Fair enough, but why the Ivy comments? I’m real sensitive on this issue having gone to Stanford, and I find a lot of anti-intellectualism in Colorado. The worship of CU borders on the obscene. It’s a mediocre school at best, yet gets lauded all the time as “very good.”
It’s not “very good,” except maybe in a couple of majors. It is the home base for most of the folks in power in this state. That should speak volumes in itself.Posted by Laura Victoria on 10/08/2010 at 07:36 AM
I guess I don’t like the fact that the Ivy League runs the country.
Very smart people are destroying America, and that makes me very unhappy.
Elite educations are great, but they don’t produce the best leaders. Ivy league educations are way over rated in terms of the lousy jobs those schools’ graduates are doing in government, imho.
I’m in no way anti-intellectual. To the contrary, it bugs me that so many politicians and political activists are so uninformed and ignorant about the major issues. I think you know I care about the issues as well as about the campaigns.Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 10/08/2010 at 08:02 AM
First, hope you exempt my west coast alma mater from your conclusions. I was real intimidated by the Princeton and Yale grads at firs (Harvard’s a poseur, at best). They were really pretentious. It was like they were slumming coming to Stanford instead of going to law school at Yale or Harvard.
We Cali natives got the last laugh on them. There is a big difference between East and West. Mark Hurlbert went to Dartmouth on a ski scholarship for crying out loud.
I of course never thought you were anti-intellectual, Don, though I think Colorado as a whole is, and extremely provinicial. I think there’s an issue of correlation vs. causation.
In general, the Ivys from the east manage to get into positions of power a lot more than other people. Those people in power in the past say 20 years have been failures. Ergo the Ivy schools produce more than their share of losers.
Check out Bill Ritter’s Ivy-free education. Check out most of out elected “leaders” in CO. They’re from the dump known as CU. It also doesn’t count to grade those who cheated to get in via affirmative action, like BHO.
All other things equal, I’d take the Ivy student over the CU student, assuming I’d be allowed access to their SAT scores. Why is that a state secret with Obama? I cannot believe he gets hyped as some big Ivy brain trust when it’s obvious Econ 101 would have him playing with his pencil for the entire exam. Maybe he could have gotten by as a Ram with Cs.Posted by Laura Victoria on 10/08/2010 at 08:18 AM
I agree on Obama. I don’t think he’s as smart as his flacks say he is. Even Ken Buck and Michael Bennet do better without notes than Obama does. Some people write better than they speak, and I think Obama’s that kind of guy. He’s smart enough to be president, but I don’t think he’s as smart as W, Clinton or Gore. More like John Kerry.Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 10/08/2010 at 10:16 AM
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