PERRY: Don’t lie to yourself about which candidates bode ill for Colorado’s ailing poor and middle class

1304
State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, left, and Congressman Jared Polis during a Channel 7/Denver Post debate at the University of Denver Oct. 23, 2018. Screen Frame from The Denver Channel

We’ve suffered the attack ads, the non-answers, the propaganda and the outright vicious lies for more than a year as the 2018 Election rolled into Colorado.

Time for the closing argument: Go with your instinct.

That makes choosing a Colorado governor easy. My instincts told me Walker Stapleton was a problem when he was running for state treasurer eight years ago. He’s a dodgy and uninformed guy who uses simplistic, indefensible arguments based on “numbers” to camouflage the fact that he really doesn’t have a clue.

If Stapleton was more articulate or agreeable, he’d be a decent flimflam man. But he can’t even keep his own stories straight or keep his act intact. Watching Stapleton debate is like an awkwardly painful scene  from a Wes Anderson movie.

If there’s one mystery left unsolved that came from a tsunami of mud drenching Stapleton during the last year, it’s why he would subject himself to this kind of scrutiny knowing he was vastly unqualified for the job. Even more mysterious, why would Republicans, who had real-deal candidates, back this guy?

My instincts tell me that Jared Polis is honest and genuine about everything he says, even if I sometimes think he’s wrong. I know this because I’ve seen his work here in Aurora and in Congress. The guy is stinking rich, and he could spend his cash on anything. But Polis has for going on 20 years spent his money on things like schools for the downtrodden and immigrants. In Aurora, he opened a cinema just for Spanish-language films, long before it became politically fashionable to “hab-lay” a little “es-pan-yol” in front of the cameras. Polis has spent his vast fortune on financing his own elections. Whether you think that’s wise or not, he wasn’t spending it on hushing up liaisons with porn stars or amassing a collection of gold-plated golf clubs.

If you listen closely and watch Polis as he speaks, especially off the debate stage, you can’t miss that he really is unhappy so many Colorado kids can’t afford go to preschool.

You can’t help but feel confident that he is much more concerned with people getting the health-care they need than protecting an institutionalized system that hands out life-saving drugs and treatments only to select recipients.

I don’t agree with every plan either candidate tosses out like favorite movie titles. But having watched this unfold hundreds of times across Colorado, I know I instinctively trust men and women who fight to win a race for the people and causes they’re passionate about, not to get elected because they think they’re right for the job.

People like Bill Owens, Bill Ritter, Al Meikeljohn, Lucia Guzman, Steve Hogan, Stephanie Takis and Andrew Romanoff all lived by a code of passion, righteousness and compassion that made them sometimes mistaken, but always trusted leaders. Polis gets a place on that list.

At the top of the ballot is the biggest question for Aurora area voters: Congressman Mike Coffman or challenger Jason Crow.

Unlike Stapleton, Coffman is a savvy and smart guy, who, with very little prodding, will lay aside his political armor and talk genuinely about people tripped up by the government.

His mom, who’s lived in Aurora for-almost-ever, is a World-War II vet bride from abroad. Coffman said that when he was a boy and his family moved to Aurora because his father was stationed at Fitzsimons, his mom was overjoyed by the free “beautiful” yellow flowers on their modest home’s front lawn: dandelions.

His mother’s endless optimism and appreciation for how amazing everything in America is imprinted his outlook on life.

I’ve long admired his perseverance and sacrifices, because public officials honestly make huge sacrifices.

But Coffman has never been able to see that the very actions of the Republican Party he’s beholden to undermine almost all of his constituents. The region’s poor, struggling, middle-class, dinged and dogged immigrants and natives are hardly served by much of anything Mitch McConnell, President Donald Trump and Speaker Paul Ryan cook up.

Rather than just play a Democrat on TV and Twitter, Coffman should just become one in Congress. My instincts tell me that’s not going to happen.

My instincts also tell me, however, that Jason Crow is just what he appears to be. He’s really smart, he’s pretty green and he really knows how bad it is for middle-class and poor Americans under the GOP and Trump regime.

Common sense should tell you that massive tax breaks for extremely rich people and already wildly profitable companies won’t do squat for people who work, hard, for what’s often not even a living.

We told Coffman and the GOP that the tax-cut for the rich would mean little for working Americans and mean big trouble for the U.S. budget. We were right. Here comes trouble.

My instincts tell me we want Crow and people like him in the next Congress to right this and other wrongs — not double down on it. And even if you’re willing to look away from the train-wreck that Trump and his regime are so you can feel good about an economy he has really very little to do with, you can’t look away for long.

You instinctively know Trump has long been an un-indicted white-collar criminal who hoodwinked less than half of the country to elevate him even beyond his ego.

Even if the Coffman-Crow question is a coin flip for you, instinctively, you know that the political party opposing Trump’s malfeasance is going to be far more valuable to you in the next two years than the one that endlessly works to give Trump cover.

Go with your instincts on this one, and send Crow to Congress to get the country back on track. Because unless Coffman switches parties, he won’t do that.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Facebook and Twitter or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]