Colorado has gone Republican in 12 of the last 14 presidential elections by an average of 15.4 percent; in nine of the last 10 by an average of 13.7 percent; in three consecutive elections by an average of 4.8 percent. (Bill Clinton carried it in 1992, perhaps because Ross Perot won 23.3 percent of the vote. In 1996, Colorado was one of just three states to abandon Clinton for Bob Dole.) Colorado was the only state considered safe for Republicans in 2000 but a Democratic target in 2004.
An eccentric target. Lamm and Roy Romer -- he later was chairman of the Democratic National Committee -- held the governorship for 24 years. Colorado sent two different flavors of liberalism -- Gary Hart's and Tim Wirth's -- to the U.S. Senate while also sending Republican Bill Armstrong's high-octane social conservatism. Ben Nighthorse Campbell was elected to the Senate as a Democrat, then switched parties, was re-elected as a Republican, then rode off into the sunset on his Harley.
O'Donnell, who understands the patience required of politics, urges fellow conservatives not to sulk in their tents this autumn. Remember, he says, "how long it took the Progressives to get the New Deal'' -- they started in the late 19th century and before they got to FDR, they had to pass through the 12-year Harding-Coolidge-Hoover era. Republicans, he says, really began their drive for a limited-government, ownership society agenda only 12 years ago, with the 1994 capture of the House.
National Democrats understand that if they are going to flip 15 districts to win control of the House, O'Donnell must lose, so their help for his opponent will be unstinting. But his opponent will not be known until the Aug. 8 primary. Meanwhile, the two contenders in that Democratic primary are tormenting each other with arguments calculated to make voters feel tormented: Who has the deepest roots in the district? Was it sinful that one of them skipped an optional caucus contest? If they keep arguing about the politics of politics, the phrase "Speaker Pelosi'' will not be heard in 2007.
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