We’re not going to take up too much time with it, but we wanted to provide a forum to discuss the Denver paper’s endorsements published in this weekend’s editions after a sneak preview Friday afternoon. Being the state’s newspaper of record, their endorsements can be significant (depending on the race), and will be used heavily by endorsed candidates in the election’s final weeks.
It’s really too bad, then, that the Denver paper decided to waste the opportunity with milquetoast “play it safe” endorsements of every single incumbent member of Congress in Colorado.
Now to be fairer than we probably should, that may not be as bad a cop-out as it seems. The methodology used (at least in theory) by the Denver paper’s editorial board, like many major papers, is to make endorsements based on the makeup of the district in question. In their mind, it doesn’t matter what the ideological positions of, say, Rep. Doug Lamborn are–what’s important is that Lamborn’s positions represent those of his constituents.
And by that yardstick, we concede the majority of these endorsements make sense.
Two still questionable, however: to a lesser extent the endorsement of Scott Tipton in CD-3, but especially Mike Coffman in the new CD-6. In both cases these are very closely-divided districts that call out for a moderate–either a moderate Republican or Democratic–representative, but are both presently represented by men significantly to the right of the political center.
In Coffman’s case, we’re talking about a representative who used to represent one of the most steadfastly conservative districts in Colorado–the district that happily re-elected the toxically hard-right Tom Tancredo to Congress term after term. From declaring Social Security a “Ponzi scheme” to a Todd Akin-like position on abortion to his recent disastrous foray into the realm of “birtherism,” Mike Coffman stands out among all of these races as a candidate fundamentally out of place in his newly diverse and competitive seat. If there’s an endorsement among these that the Denver paper just plain screwed up based on their own alleged methodology, this is it.
Of course, anything else would have rained on the milquetoast incumbency parade.