Salazar v. Coors

Covering One of the Most Vital Senate Races in the Country.
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Saturday, August 28, 2004

Coors and Jobs

The Denver Post seems detemined to keep thos going, with its editorial this morning. The paper gives Coors a fair shake on his management of the company, but then adds this:

His staff insists the advertising is accurate because of the jobs created by companies that emerged from reorganization at Coors Brewing, but these are the fruits of others' success.

Maybe. But these small companies started out with only one client: Coors, and while the new management there made the thing grow, and deserves credit for that, they got a big boost at the start. This whole argument is a fine enough line that the Post ought to find something better to write about.

Note also that the union has tried to organize the Coors Brewery four times and failed. This usually indiciate good management-employee relations. The single most important issue to potential union members is the continued existence of their jobs. Pensions don't matter if you haven't paid into them. Benefits don't matter if there's no job to take leave from. It doesn't sound as though brewery employees are sufficient worried about this issue to organize.

Cross-Posted at View From a Height.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Salazar Responds

Ken Salazar has unveiled a new ad, aimed at countering the Summitville ad that's been running in the state. It's a good ad, for what it is, and it quotes the papers' condemnation of the outside ad, without naming Coors or trying to link the Coors campaign to it. You can see it here. It's the one titled, "Protect."

Salazar's got a long history with water issues in the state. From the August 7, 2003 Rocky: "From 1981 to 1986, he specialized in water and public lands law as an attorney with Sherman and Howard; from 1990 to 1994, he was executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, and from 1994 to 1998, he specialized in water, environmental and administrative law with Parcel, Mauro and Spaanstra."

Western water right and water rights law are tremendously complex, but I'm sure the Coors campaign is looking into Salazar's long record on the subject.

Job Creation vs. Job Welfare

I'm worn out today and don't have the energy or patience to tackle this article by Mark Couch. This "hit piece", masquerading as a news story, is so blatantly obvious in it's intent as to be laughable. However, the most telling of the quotes from the piece is as follows:
The numbers tell the story of a company more concerned with profits than people, say union officials who have tried to organize workers at the company's Golden plant.
One quick word for the union organizers...Corporations [ed-according to Websters Dictionary, evil is not a synonym for corporation], because it suits their best interests must be concerned about individuals. However, they are not in the business of acting as welfare agencies for the unemployed. The board of directors of any large company is responsible to the shareholders of the company, not union bosses.

Perhaps one of the other members of the highly esteemed RMA would care take up the baton of truth and run with it.

UPDATE: KOA AM850 radio talk show host, Mike Rosen has picked up on the afore mentioned article by Mark Couch....I'm gonna enjoy this!

Cross Post at Damascus Road

Edwards In Town

What If There Was A Rally. . .

but nobody important came?

John Edwards was in town today to give a little talk at the JeffCO Fairgrounds. By most accounts, a couple thousand people were there to greet him, along with a handful of demonstrators.

There are three interesting aspects of this. One is the purpose of the speech: health care. Of course, nobody in the town-hall style meeting was willing to ask this question, but some reporter should: how much of the "administrative waste" in the health care system is a direct result of your profession--the tort?

Second aspect is the coverage: I've searched the websites of both dailys in town and all three "major" network affiliate newssites. As of posting, the Denver Post and Channel 9 (NBC) both cover the event in "real time;" but the Rocky Mtn News, Channel 7 (ABC),and Channel 4 (CBS) either neglect the story altogether or have this morning's "Edwards will be here" coverage. I find it interesting that the man who would be Vice President doesn't even rate a mention on the website of half the major media in Denver.

But the third aspect is what has my interest most piqued. I wasn't there, and haven't talked to anybody that was there, so I can't say for sure. . . but none of the coverage mentions Ken Salazar's presence at the rally. Neither of the major media stories mentions Salazar, and the Salazar website is bereft of mention or picture of him with his arm around John Edwards.

Now, it could be that the coverage is just not hitting this point. And I did not see any of the live reporting on the evening news, so I could be speaking out a little prematurely. But when Vice President Cheney was in town three weeks ago he was introduced by Bob Beauprez and, with the primary still a week away, both Pete Coors and Bob Schaffer were prominently in attendance. One would think that with the Veep candidate in town that Salazar would make a point of being there and of being VERY public about his presence--something like posting a picture on his website.

Could it be that the Salazar campaign recognizes that, his crafted persona notwithstanding, putting the candidate next to Sen. Lightweight would be a giant net minus in this state?

cross-posted at Best Destiny

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Salazar Goes Over the Edge

At press time last night (hah!), Salazar seemingly had played the Summitville issue the right way - show outrage at an unfair attack, get your opponent to condemn it, have the newspapers print editorials defending you, and generally get the word out that the attack as isn't worth the ether it travels through.

But I did say that Salazar had to be careful not to overplay his hand. Fortunately, he's gone and done just that. From this morning's Rocky:

Salazar noted that both Denver daily newspapers editorialized Wednesday against the ad. Like those editorials, Salazar asked that the ad be stopped, and called upon his Republican opponent, Pete Coors, to join in that demand.

Although Coors has denounced ads by outside groups, Salazar said Wednesday that isn't enough.

The two-term state attorney general labeled his brewery executive opponent a "handmaiden" to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries that fund Americans for Job Security, and said it was "almost a hypocrisy" for Coors not to try harder to get the ad off the air.

Coors spokeswoman Cinamon Watson decried the tone of Salazar's message, noting that immediately after the primary election Salazar had pledged a positive race.

"I'd say that anybody who's calling for a positive campaign and in the same breath starts name-calling Pete is a hypocrite," she said.

Good for Coors. Salazar knows full well that the law concerning collaboration is unsettled. Were Coors to successfully call for the ads to be pulled, it would effectively make him responsible for all outside advertising, even though he can't possibly control it. Salazar is trying to manufacture an issue now where none really exists. And he's setting up his own sadder-but-wiser pose when the Sierra Club comes in with ads showing Clear Creek flowing with sludge and explaining that it's all those Coors trucks that cause the Brown Cloud.

More worrisome is the tendency at both the national and state levels to turns debates about policy and record into debates about campaign finance. Today, after McCain-Feingold's warping of the First Amendment, such debates have a somewhat menacing tone. In a way, it's worse that Kerry, since these ads never really threatened Salazar's candidacy. Complaining about mud is only slightly more recent than mud itself.

Cross-Posted at View From a Height.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Salazar and Outside Groups

I'm going to take issue with Guy and Hugh on this one. I don't think Salazar is particularly out of line, and I don't think either this ad or this issue is going to hurt him any.

First, all of the papers, the Post, the Rocky, the Colorado Springs Gazette, and the Grand Junction Sentinal don't think that Salazar acted improperly. The abuses started before his watch, and he was partly responsible for putting and end to them. When the time for settlement came, he got a deal that more than paid for the damage, without having to go to trial.

Secondly, Salazar has already run and won two statewide races where this issue was raised. These are fairly recent races, so it's not like the state's population has turned over in the interim. In fact, this points out one of the problems with the group sponsoring the ad: they're from out of state, and clearly don't have any clue about the history of either this issue or Colorado politics.

Thirdly, Salazar himself has called, somewhat disingenuously, for outside groups not to advertise in state. Coors has joined him in this, even though the Rocky has editorialized in favor of outside groups. There's a limit as to how much Coors can say without being charged with collusion, though, and Salazar knows it. There's a fine line between being offended and grandstanding. In any event, Salazar isn't running for President, so it's going to be hard to judge him by Kerry's antics, no matter how much he's tried to run as a third member of the ticket.

Finally, this group is not a 527, but a 501(c), and if the ad stops before Labor Day, they won't have to reveal their funding sources. That's ok, although the eponymous Karen Crummy prefers "secretly funded" to "anonymous," and it does make it easier to draw inappropriately sinister conclusions about the people behind the ad.

In the end, this ad is almost likely to help, rather than hurt, Salazar. I've got nothing against third-party groups. My position on McCain-Feingold is pretty much that of the Wall Street Journal and National Review: it is an abomination in the eyes of the Constitition and the Founders. That said, if third parties are going to advertise, they need to do their homework.

Cross-Posted at View From a Height.

Double Standard

It looks as if Ken Salazar is taking a play from Senator Kerry's playbook.

U.S. Senate candidate Ken Salazar challenged his opponent, Pete Coors, to have the "guts" to stand up to a secretly funded political group that launched a television attack ad targeting the state attorney general Tuesday.

In an attempt to stifle free speech, Salazar has attacked the Coors camp over a 527 advertisement that criticizes Salazar's handling of the Summitville mine. Mr. Salazar, my question to you is: Will you condemn, as well as Michael Moore, for their ad hominem attacks against George Bush? Will you ask Teresa Hines Kerry to withdraw her financial support of Democrat shadow groups? Or, will you, in the tradition of John Kerry, send a delegation to the brewery demanding that Coors denounce the ads?

Cross Post at Damascus Road

Monday, August 23, 2004

Media Love Republican Factions

One disgruntled Schaffer supporter writes an e-mail to Republican leaders saying he can't bring himself to vote for GOP Senate candidate Pete Coors, and it gets splashed on the Rocky's pages. What is my reaction supposed to be? Shock and surprise that there are people out there like this? Hardly.

One of the most important questions to ask is: how many people like this are there? It's a question the RMN's Gwen Florio can't answer unless there has been a neutral poll with objective analysis to figure out the views of Schaffer supporters. But believe me, I'm not waiting by the phone for a pollster to call and ask me any such question. Nor am I anticipating a reporter to interrogate me as to why such a "diehard Schaffer supporter" (they love that phrase) as myself is now wholeheartedly supporting Coors.

Florio highlighted Loveland's Jeff Andreski, a strong supporter of 2nd Amendment rights.

Andreski said that the lengthy e-mail was a reflection of the frustration he felt after a campaign in which Schaffer was outspent by his high-profile opponent.

Laura Teal, the grass-roots coordinator for Schaffer's campaign, said, "I hear that message consistently" from other Schaffer supporters.

But Teal said she continues to take her cues from Schaffer and his support for Coors.

"He has set a very high level of moral fortitude for the rest of us Schaffer supporters," she said.

Coors spokeswoman Cinamon Watson concurred, saying that "quite frankly, Bob Schaffer has been one of our best ambassadors in that effort" to bring his former supporters into the Coors camp.

Is there frustration out there? Sure there is. It's only natural after such a hard-fought primary. Most Schaffer supporters, such as myself, were solidly back in the Republican fold mere hours after the primary results were disclosed. We followed the lead of the former Congressman himself. Some will take a little longer, and in the end a handful on the fringes may sit at home and make a statement that no one in any political party leadership will be moved or influenced by. The way to have made a meaningful statement was in the way I (and many others) supported Bob Schaffer up through August 10: with enthusiasm, with vigor, with dedication and passion. Now we have to be united again... there's simply too much at stake.

Then Florio slipped in a subtle remark like this one about one of the Colorado Republican party's leaders:

The day after the primary, Schaffer and Coors staged a "unity tour" of Denver, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Last Friday, Allard and U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell joined Coors in another Front Range unity spin.

State Treasurer Mike Coffman, who had grumbled after the primary that Coors wasn't the best candidate for the job, attended both events.
[My emphasis]

Coffman and I still believe that Coors wasn't the best candidate for the job, or else we would have supported him from the beginning. But come on... we understand that the race is now between two men; and Pete Coors is far better than Ken Salazar.

And to call the rally "unity spin" could be fair enough, except I challenge you to find a comparable Democrat event described in similar terms. Good luck. Stories like this in general wouldn't bother me, if there were any similar coverage on the other side. Maybe I'm naive enough to believe that gruntled dissenters exist on both sides of the party aisle. Maybe I'm naive enough to believe that the press should try to give them balanced coverage. Can you imagine a story on one of the Denver daily's pages that went something like this?

Dennis Kucinich stood next to Ken Salazar - the man who hopes to join him in Washington - last Friday and declared that Colorado's Democrat "family feud" is over.

Antonio Magurski, of Boulder, begs to differ.

Magurski is among the die-hard supporters of former U.S. Army Ranger Mike Miles, who unsuccessfully opposed Salazar in the Aug. 10 Senate primary.

The day after the primary, Miles and Salazar staged a "unity tour" of Denver, Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Last Friday, Kucinich and U.S. Congressman Mark Udall joined Salazar in another Front Range unity spin.

Kucinich, who also backed Miles during the primary, said Friday that "this is a time when Democrats need to come together."

Unity, schmunity, says Magurski.

In an e-mail sent to several Democratic leaders, Magurski said he won't vote for Salazar in November, nor will he vote for Salazar's Republican opponent, beer magnate Pete Coors.

"I will not be part of a charade like what just transpired," he wrote.

Magurski said that the lengthy e-mail was a reflection of the frustration he felt after a campaign in which Miles was not only heavily outspent by his high-profile opponent but stifled by the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee and other Washington heavy-hitters....

Keep dreaming.

Back to the real article, where a very important quote from pollster Floyd Ciruli was pushed to the end.

But the fact that this year's Senate race is so close, and that its outcome could decide the balance of power in the U.S. Senate - which potentially could confirm a new Supreme Court justice - likely will bring those people back into the fold in November, Ciruli said.

And the Rocky Mountain Alliance of Blogs will do its part to bring as many into the fold as possible.

Cross posted at Mount Virtus.