PERRY: Darryl Glenn can’t keep courting the tea party and enlighten the rest of Colorado


I can see how El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn is the perfect candidate for right-of-center Colorado Republicans.

The Colorado Springs man carries legitimate Air Force creds. He’s legislated from that town’s city council and, now, the county commission. He’s a vocal Christian. He’s anti-abortion, pro gun rights and has nothing good to say about the Obama administration nor the Democrats who support it. In particularly, he has nothing positive to say about Sen. Michael Bennet. At Tuesday’s primary election, Glenn handily won the right to battle Bennet with relative pocket cash, spending little more than $100,000 to take the title away from four other candidates who spent millions trying to do what Glenn seemed to do easily.

And Glenn recently has won the praise and endorsement of Sen. Ted Cruz and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.  If he were running in Texas or Oklahoma for U.S. Senate, he could order his business cards today.

This ain’t Texas.

The Republican’s perfect candidate doesn’t have a prayer against Bennet if he doesn’t change fast. To win Colorado, a Republican or a Democrat has to win the real prize of unaffiliated voters. What sounds like victory to Colorado’s notoriously vocal and powerful tea party wing of the GOP sounds like serious trouble to Colorado moderates.

Don’t take my word for it. You can easily watch and listen to Glenn online in a number of candidate forums where Glenn was consistent in his responses and totally on target with his message.

An extended interview on Colorado Public Radio broadcast Tuesday, and available online, concisely sums up what won Glenn the GOP vote on Tuesday. Now, he will either push up against a well-funded Democratic incumbent and possibly take the seat, or he will wither as a conservative extremist in a place that has no statewide tolerance for heavyweights on either side of the political spectrum.

Like most of you, I’m fed up with the healthcare mess in this country. I get what Obamacare set out to do, but I’m no fool in thinking I, nor the country, can afford the over-priced and under-serving mess we’ve created here. I worry about global warming and oil prices, and what all that means for jobs in Colorado. I worry about whether we can ensure our own safety against crazy terrorists from abroad, and from crazy terrorists we raise right here.

And I like the message he has consistently told his tea-party faithful: The government isn’t listening to the people. It, and those who run it, listen to someone else.

The problem is, Glenn has clearly confused listening to the far-right Republicans, who ultimately gave him a primary victory, with having listened to the rest of Colorado, which is much, much different.

And he knows it. He’s not only consistent in telling people that he is an unapologetically Christian and hates the Iran nuclear weapons deal, he’s consistently evasive in answering direct questions about immigration, terrorism, global warming, abortion and gun-ownership rights.

On several occasions when pressed on global warming, he goes circular and says that reporters are making an invalid statement by saying the vast majority of science researchers agree that humans are responsible for global warming, and does he agree or disagree. He says he hasn’t seen the data and the questions are nothing more than political baiting.

He uses similar tactics when confronted with questions about whether he backs Donald Trump’s ideas about temporarily banning Muslims and possibly targeting those who live here, and whether we should build a wall along the Mexican border, and make the Mexicans pay for it.

Glenn launches into a circular civics lesson about the Senate and House having different roles in the U.S. government, and for some reason, that should excuse him from answering the question. The closest he comes is saying that national security is important.

I’m sure he figures that this high-school debate technique worked for Sen. Cory Gardner, it can work for him.

It doesn’t work for me. Whether it’s Glenn or Bennet, I want to know specifically what they think the Senate should do about fossil fuels since the educated and knowing world of scientists has unequivocally determined that fossil fuel use has led to an increasingly overheated planet. If either candidate wants to show how that assumption is mistaken, I’m anxious to hear how. Otherwise, the conceit is a dodge.

If a candidate doesn’t believe what he or she is saying, no one else will.

Same with banning Muslims or targeting them for “special attention” as potential terrorists. I get that national security is important, what I don’t understand is how Glenn would vote on a bill that directs the government to bar Muslims from entering the country.

I haven’t heard solid, understandable answers from either Bennet or Glenn on how Obamacare could be modified to continue expanding health insurance coverage and reduce the costs to residents and businesses.

If there’s a better answer, I’m dying to hear it. But anything less than concrete plans that can be scrutinized is no answer at all.
Like the rest of Colorado, I’m fed up with the lack of progress we make on a wide range of issues: taxes, education, roads, gun violence, racism and a world that expects us all to work harder, longer and for less money.

I know what’s wrong, I want concrete answers about what would make things right. And that’s going to mean I want to know how Glenn and Bennet would vote on the flood of proposals that presidential candidates will be floating.

This is where both candidates must stop listening to their fans and bases, because those votes were sewed up before either candidate officially made the November ballot. This is where Glenn convinces moderate Colorado voters they should change their minds about how they feel about global warming, abortion rights, immigration, and selling guns to people on the government’s no-fly list.

Good intentions hasn’t done crap for this country for decades, and so it’s time to answer the questions clearly and directly, and bravely defend the answers.

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