Three Names You’ll Soon Forget (If Republicans Want To Win)

Before Thanksgiving, FOX 31’s Eli Stokols profiled three Colorado Republicans who profess, or are at least rumored to be interested in statewide office in 2014–one of whom appears on our introductory 2014 Big Line, the other two do not. In none of the three cases do we see a winning prospect for the GOP, but that does, we suppose, merit a brief explanation.

Three Colorado Republicans whose names are being mentioned as possible statewide candidates in 2014 all tell FOX31 Denver that it’s way too soon to even think about mounting a campaign.

But none of those three – former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer, state Sen. Greg Brophy and former Congressman Bob Beauprez – would rule out the possibility that their name might be at the top of the GOP ticket in two years.

Bob Schaffer parasails off the Northern Mariana Islands. Photo credit: CSU Library

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer’s run for the U.S. Senate in 2008 against Mark Udall almost certainly ended his viability for high elected office. In the course of Schaffer’s 2008 campaign, several incidents in his record emerged as permanent disqualifiers. The worst of these was Schaffer’s alleged assistance in the coverup of labor abuses in the Northern Mariana Islands, a place Schaffer visited as part of a junket arranged by now infamous ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Schaffer’s involvement in Abramoff’s lobbying campaign to prevent federal labor law from being applied in the Northern Mariana Islands was exposed in a devastating series of front-page stories in the Denver paper by Michael Riley. Although other items in Schaffer’s record would certainly cause problems, such as his time on the board of directors of an energy nonprofit that collapsed in allegations of defrauding the federal government, the Abramoff/Marianas scandal is the one we honestly think Schaffer cannot live down.

Failed 2006 gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is the one person in this story who does appear on the 2014 Big Line, as a possible candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Mark Udall. He also has more familiar aspirations for statewide office: in 2010, Beauprez’s name briefly circulated as a potential alternative to the imploding GOP gubernatorial candidate, the laughably unqualified Dan Maes. This year, Beapurez faithfully served as the leading Colorado surrogate for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

We listed Beauprez only because of the recent work he has done to re-up his name ID after several years of relative obscurity, and the lack of the kind of career-ending scandal in his past like Schaffer’s Abramoff debacle. But as we noted in our write-up of the Line, Beauprez was perhaps the worst serious gubernatorial candidate in the state’s history–certainly the worst before Maes himself. Beauprez’s 17-point loss to Bill Ritter in 2006 was a truly disastrous end to Beauprez’s long and expensive effort, which began with a nasty (though aborted) primary challenge from Marc Holtzmann.

The fact is, now that Beauprez is not in line for a Romney administration job, we can’t rule him out of a 2014 run. We can, however, pretty safely rule him out from winning.

The inclusion of state Sen. Greg Brophy in any list of potential candidates for 2014 statewide office is one of the more humorous developments in the aftermath of the GOP’s sweeping losses in Colorado this year. For reasons that even were forced to occasionally concede, Brophy has been regarded as an intellectual heavyweight in the Colorado Senate Republican Minority. As one example, we gave Brophy props during this year’s legislative session for joining with the ACLU to abolish criminal libel in Colorado.

Unfortunately, Brophy has otherwise done everything he can to ensure the GOP stays a minority.

The biggest profile-raiser in all of Brophy’s years in the legislature came this year, after he crassly insulted Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke via Twitter over insurance coverage for birth control–in defense of radio shock-jock Rush Limbaugh’s infamous reference to Ms. Fluke as a “slut.” In doing so, Brophy gave a local face to the Democrats’ “War on Women” campaign, while Fluke began campaigning in Colorado for Barack Obama.

The result is that more Colorado voters, especially women voters, know Brophy’s name for his insults to Sandra Fluke than anything else he’s done. For a man frequently touted by Republicans as a guiding intellectual force in the Senate Minority, this was unforgivably stupid of him. The facts show once again that women voters were a major component of GOP losses in this state, and Brophy proudly played a key role in setting the scene that alienated them. In any race the GOP would ever hope to win, Brophy is not the candidate.

As a result, our friend Eli Stokols continues:

To many conservative activists, “the Bobs”, Schaffer and Beauprez atop the 2014 ticket, would amount to another GOP ticket of older, white, establishment Republicans…

[Colorado GOP chairman] Call told FOX31 Denver that the party is indeed looking at more people than those who have sought or held elected office before.

One problem the GOP has is many of their “rising stars,” like former Navy pilot Lang Sias and Colorado Springs civic patron Jennifer George, lost their elections. Continued defeats in election after election rob the Republican bench of fresh faces, and leaves the last generation of Republican candidates feebly bearing the party’s standard. As we’ve said, we don’t honestly know how Republicans are going to escape this compounding problem.

But we can tell you that these three has-beens are not the way.

92 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. BlueCat says:

    Beauprez campaign?

  2. Jones Smith says:

    A hypocritical hack, a rank opportunist, or a vicious little psycho. God help us all.

    Let’s face it, when it comes to a U.S. Senate seat, the only Republican left who could get in the race and have immediate statewide credibility is Bill Owens.  

  3. fatboy says:

    There is already a closet R in the governor’s office.  Fracinlover has his knee pads out for the O&G boys more than the western slope wing nuts.  He is more anti-worker in practice than Billy Owens ever was.

  4. PitaPita says:

    I mean seriously folks, he’s the Statesman’s go to guy?


    After blaming Romney for 2012, he sees the two Bobs as 2014 contenders.  D’s should be so lucky!  

  5. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I don’t see how they win. If they run a conservative they lose by 5+ points (probably by 7+ in another 2 years). And if they run a moderate, when the voters are given the choice between a moderate Republican and a moderate Republican, they’ll select the incumbent – if he’s popular, and Hick is popular.

  6. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    He seems to be too enamored with Twitter. Didn’t he recently tweet some really rude comments after a Democratic (female) leader was hospitalized?

    Plus, he’s just totally unknown.

  7. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    How come he’s not under consideration?

  8. onebigrepublican says:

    He should have never made the term limits pledge.  That was silly.  It was even more silly (although honorable) to have kept that pledge.  

    I think his time to have truly jumped back in and became relevant again would have been after Musgrave lost to Markey.  He could have easily beat Markey (as Gardner did), and it would have set the stage for him (Schaffer) to have postured for Gov. or Senate.  Now that time has passed…move on.

  9. thiokuutoo says:

    The guy has a crowd presence Hillary will never match.  

  10. Diogenesdemar says:

    that the GOP runs Brophy across the board . . . Senate, Congress, Governor, AG, SOS, and Treasurer?

    Then he could choose, post-election, just how to serve from all his multiple winnings . . .

    (Alva, could even provide encouragement to one of Colorado’s leading conservative intellectuals by listing Brophy in every applicable potential race on The Big Line.)

  11. Tom says:

    that he’s taller than Hillary. Statistically, the presidential election goes to the tallest candidate so I think he has a real chance. He’s screwed if there’s a contested primary

  12. Craig says:

    You’re joking, right?  How many women do you think will even look at voting for him? And frankly, the men who have been faithful in their marriages, even when it is hard, aren’t going to look very kindly at his either.  Lastly, there is that thing about the very, very, very thinly veiled threat in the Denver paper from when he was going to win the Senate last time.  Don’t you remember?  Basically, the Denver paper said that they had the terrible and embarassing information on him and that if he didn’t retire, they were going public with it.  Maybe you’re new to Colorado, but people here hate, hate, hate hypocrits like Bill Owens.  There’s a long line of failed GOP candidates to prove it.  Frankly, they aren’t even that popular with the rank and file Republicans who claim to hate the sin but love the sinner, but lie every time they say this.  Oh, did I mention a little think like a tax hike he worked for.

    Frankly, the only one with any statewide hope is Coffman, and as POLS will tell you he had a bad year this year.  I don’t think that means he won’t run and I don’t think it means that he can’t win.  But even that is a stretch.

  13. BlueCat says:

    Coffman wanting to run for Senate for as long as he’s been in congress.  In any case, I think he’s quite beatable statewide.  He’s said plenty of idiotic things in the past couple of years trying to establish credibility with the Tea Party wing. He’d have some of the same problems Romney had.

    It would be nice to have him decline to run for CD6 in 2014 and lose a statewide election while leaving the new district without an incumbent. Under those conditions I think CD6 goes Dem with a strong candidate and plenty of money and motivation to make history by electing the first Dem ever to represent CD6.  Not to mention every competitive district will get plenty of national Dem support in 2014. And, in spite of all the gerrymandering there still are some competitive districts to target.

    Agree about Owens.  The stories are so many and so widespread with credible sources, they approach a kind of common knowledge kept barely under the radar only by common agreement to keep the powder dry for when and if it might be used to do the most damage. Not to mention he’s also tainted by, horrors, cooperating with Dems on issues that are deal breakers with the wacko primary deciding right.

    Owens will no doubt just keep on keeping his head down. He’s done as a viable potential candidate and he knows it

  14. Lurker19 says:

    Coffman’s inability to appear in public will prevent him from being effective in any statewide campaign.

  15. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Let’s assume that Bill Owens did have an extramarital affair.  Please explain the extreme popularity of Bill Clinton if you think that is an automatic disqualifier.

      Bill would, however have a problem with the far-right, which has never forgiven him for Referendum C.  Putting the future of the state ahead of Doug Bruce’s orders is a sin to the Tea Party.

      On balance, I think Bill is just enjoying having a private life again.  I also assume he’s enjoying a pretty good private sector income.  Senator’s don’t starve, but all the expenses eat into it a bit and above all, the need for 24/7 fundraising is enervating.  I think bill will stay in honored retirement — and I think he should be honored for Ref C.  

  16. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    Anyone know? From whence came ol’ Ben Nighthorse…down around there wasn’t it? Anyway, there is a Republican from down that way, Ellen Roberts, as I recall.

    I don’t think she ever drank the koolaid.

  17. Littletonian says:

    No idea whether she’s interested in higher office.

  18. GalapagoLarryGalapagoLarry says:

    had (has?) a ranch near Ignacio and launched his career from there. He wasn’t born nor reared anyplace in or near Colorado, though.

  19. BlueCat says:

    but then, on the national level who cares what McCain says anymore?  I guess  has beens like that just like hearing themselves talk, still have high name recognition and the talk shows and political sites and reporters can can always get something out of them at a moment’s notice. So sad. So pathetic.

  20. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    However, I think her moderate social views would trigger a tea party veto on anything involving federal office.

  21. BlueCat says:

    just an extramarital affair. Why struggle against the far right and risk having a very sordid can of worms opened up when he’s, as you say, doing just fine in the private sector.  

  22. Diogenesdemar says:

    remembered for having the extreme foresight and spending two billion dollars just to facilitate creation of Colorado’s first ever ten- and twelve-lane traffic jams . . . now, almost a daily spectacular.

    Other than that single-greatest accomplishment, I think the guy was pretty much George Bush light, sans the charisma, charm, and intellectual gravitas.  

  23. AristotleAristotle says:

    The infidelities of one politician aren’t automatically equatable with those of another. It isn’t just that they had affairs, it’s how they conducted them, and what they tell us about the politicians. Clinton is forgivable, but Edwards is not.

    I wonder how people would perceive Clinton today if Hillary had divorced him? I think her forgiveness made a pretty big difference there.

    Anyway… I don’t know much about the Owens rumors. Looking online, they seem to run pretty wild. But it does look like that, if there is truth behind them, that he falls closer to Edwards than he does to Clinton. If so, he would have a very tough time in the general. But remember – he’s a Republican, and he’d first have to win the primary. I think this would be a deal breaker there, even without Ref C. (And I agree that Owens is to be commended for that.)

  24. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    hell, even the live boy probably wouldn’t hurt anymore, assuming he was of legal age at the time.  We’ve just elected our first openly gay U.S. Senator.    

  25. gaf says:

    Who cares what McCain says anymore? Sadly, “the talk shows and political sites and reporters…” Some of the same with Owens. And, yes, sad and pathetic.

  26. BlueCat says:

    I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for the guy to run. Just sayin’.

  27. Diogenesdemar says:

    Mr. Clean Jeans for St. Williamhood, perhaps it should be remembered that while Owens likely does not have sole parental responsibility for Colorado’s fiscal problems, his refusal to consider fixes earlier, after having made reckless permanent revenue cuts instead of smaller or temporary ones, after his draining of the various State Agency contingency operating funds, and after all the budgetary gimmicks and shenanigans he advocated to avoid the meaningful necessary and permanent fiscal corrections, that Ref C was a desperate fiscal bandage that would never have had to have been applied if St. Bill hadn’t been such an irresponsible limb slasher.

    I hardly think he should be lauded for being somewhat slightly less fiscally irresponsible than he ultimately could have been.  And, just because the hard line righties were dismayed by his support of Ref C, it doesn’t warrant any special recognition from the responsible left.

    One last thing, Clinton never once positioned himself as some Гјber-moral choir boy . . . And, the DNA proof of his infidelities only made it onto the fabric of a blue dress.  

  28. FREMONTDEM says:

    He is the only one on an upward trend, but will he accept the decrease in pay?

  29. AristotleAristotle says:

    Just sayin’.

  30. AristotleAristotle says:

    But we will have to see. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a chance Hick will face a primary. We still have to see how he governs with the Dems firmly in charge of the GA, and whether he’ll piss off his own party or not.

  31. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    He’s one of the few that can speak directly to the conservatives as one of them and tell them that it doesn’t work. Yeah he made a lot of mistakes, but he also learned from them and was willing to revise his ideas to take into account what happened. He could be an interesting candidate.

    As to his personal life, I would not trust Clinton with my daughters, but I did trust him to run the country effectively. A lot of other voters are willing to separate the two.

  32. AristotleAristotle says:

    Hope is nice, Dave, but you really have to learn how to set it aside when judging, especially when it comes to things like how to demonstrate reality to idealists. Here, it is blinding you to the fact that the base does not consider Owens to be a fellow “conservative.” They won’t listen if they don’t trust him or regard him as one of their own.

    Also, if your daughters are adults, you get no say over whom you’ll “entrust” them. Believe me, they’re going to be around men like Clinton in almost any career they choose. You’ll just have to hope that they have more sense then Monica Lewinsky.

  33. Diogenesdemar says:

    wins public office (or personal chaperon for any of your daughters) on a platform acknowledging that Ref C was a partial cure for his prior fiscal boneheadedness, will be the day that I publicly acknowledge that your sig line (even in its most recent permutation) isn’t a steaming pile of GOP apologist claptrap . . .

  34. AristotleAristotle says:

    about how much Owens wrecked the state’s finances during his tenure. I was not a Colorado resident for most of his time in office, and had only come back in time to vote for C and D. So I had forgotten things like T-REX being paid mostly on borrowed money. (Which is my understanding of how it was financed – if that’s essentially wrong, I welcome correction.)

  35. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    piss them off MORE…right? Most of my friends are Dems and I haven’t heard many nice things said about Hick, lately.

  36. BlueCat says:

    Don’t know what planet Dave lives on if he thinks today’s wacko GOP base would ever see Owens as anything other than a tax and spend RINO traitor.  

  37. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Hate seeing people blame Monica. Sure, she had a choice, but she was also in a pretty vulnerable position and being pursued sexually by the leader of the free world, who happens to be, by all accounts, one of the most charismatic people alive. There’s a reason supervisor/employee relationships are banned in most workplaces. If implied coercion is a serious concern even between an assistant manager in retail and a cashier in the same store, imagine how much the power differential affected a young, vulnerable intern who thought she was in love with the most powerful person in the world.

    Shame she didn’t bond (platonically) with Hillary instead… strong female mentors are the best defense against unscrupulous male bosses.

  38. BlueCat says:

    (fat chance) I don’t see why you should back down on the GOP apologist claptrap thing, Dio. But you have to make allowances for Dave.  After all, since everything Dave related is the bestest and that includes a kind of weird mishmash of policy stands, not to mention a bestest ever mom who is a Republican pol and presumably supports Republican candidates, you can see where a certain amount of apologist clap trap is necessary for maintaining the entire everything Dave and Dave related is the bestest edifice from collapsing.  

    He could solve this problem by admitting that he is simply a Davist and that his apparently incoherent collection of views are, in fact, perfectly coherent when viewed through the prism of Davism. Naturally only Dave can do that so the rest of us needn’t bother to make our heads hurt by trying.

  39. BlueCat says:

    a can’t lose candidate.  We’ll see, as you say, what the all Dem state legislature brings to the uneasy relationship between the largely on technicalities Dem Governor and the rest of the state Dems.  

    To be sure, some of those technicalities are extremely important and we’re much better off with this D than with any R. I don’t think a statement making, hissy fit primary would be a very good idea.  And I’m cautiously optimistic he won’t issue really stupid infuriating vetoes.

  40. AristotleAristotle says:

    by which I don’t mean people who are really active in the party at all. Hick’s approval rating stood at something like 75 or 80% among registered Democrats, the last time I checked. That number is going to have to go WAY down before he’s vulnerable to that kind of challenge.

  41. Diogenesdemar says:

    planning on having to back down, since I don’t believe Owens (like David) would ever admit to having made any mistakes or policy stands that required correcting . . .


  42. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Since I don’t follow your one true way, there isn’t any point in discussing issues with you and I don’t want to debase myself by replying in kind. So henceforth I won’t reply to any comments you make about me.

    I do feel sorry for you as the path you have taken is not a happy one.

  43. Lurker19 says:

    only Repubs primary an incumbent.

    I like Hickenlooper a lot better than I ever did Owens.  I met Owens once and found out that the Denver Toast didn’t select photos for a goofy grin shot with Owens.  That’s how he looks walking around Centennial.

  44. Littletonian says:

    *and Andrew Romanoff.

    Also, who walks around Centennial? When I’m there, I only see people in cars, buildings, and parking lots.

  45. Diogenesdemar says:

    those people get into Centennial buildings from their cars parked in lots?  Segways?

  46. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Like here and here. As to Owens running (unlikely) and then winning on that – who knows. My only point was that he could do it like only Nixon could go to China.

    I’m curious, do you think Obama has done a good job on the economy?

  47. Diogenesdemar says:

    interesting metrics you’ve chosen — a scale ranging from somewhere between “incompetent” and “good” . . .

    Second of all, please permit me to express my doubtfulness as to the sincerity of your curiosity towards my mundane and pedantic opinions . . . methinks your expressed curiosity is likely ulterior in motivation.  

    Anyway, those two caveats aside, yes, I’d rate his handling of things a lot closer towards the “good” end of things, all realities considered.

    But — since you do so much enjoy dwelling on President Obama’s failures — I do think his biggest failure was probably not letting the “Bush” tax cuts expire as originally scheduled, and then replacing those with a comprehensive program of middle- and lower-lass tax cuts and educational/training incentives.  IMHO he listened way too much to the politics-being-the-art-of-compromise GOP and corporate apologists; let’s hope that doesn’t happen again this cycle.

    Psssst, David, don’t tell anyone, but the stimulus worked . . .

  48. BlueCat says:

    Drama queen much? Smelling salts should help.

  49. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I also think he should have let the tax cuts expire, but I think that was mistake #3. I think #2 was that the stimulus bill was not large enough. Yes it worked, but that is an argument for how much more effective a larger one would have been.

    And I think mistake #1 was he didn’t put in the political effort to sell the effectiveness of what he had done and to get the people to pressure Congress to continue with more efforts. Presidents like FDR & LBJ were constantly lobbying the people.

  50. parsingreality says:

    We’re all on the liberal side of politics.

    We’re all, somewhere on the scale, Democrats.

    Bickering over matters of degrees only serves to help the R’s win elections.

    I disagree with all of you, individually, from time to time.   But that doesn’t make me hate any of you, or tell you where to get off.

    “Keep your eye on the prize.”

    “Perfection is the enemy of good enough”


  51. AristotleAristotle says:

    That’s mostly on the Democrats for nominating him over candidates with greater experience (I never got behind him fully until he cinched up the nomination for that reason). But any good manager will cut slack for the inexperienced, rather than judge them against the job done by veterans.

  52. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    The only person who could screw up being the Speaker of the House to rival Frank McNulty was Josh. Not to mention all the bad blood that was spilled when he got dumped for Scooty, back in the day.

    Joshs’ road back to the top will be slow and difficult.

  53. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    I observe with a view from the gaspatch, it is true. From here, there isn’t much to like about Gov. Hickenlooper.  

  54. BlueCat says:

    I fail to see where I’ve said anything hateful or requiring lightening up. I also wasn’t addressing disagreement or asking anyone to conform to any particular party line.

    I simply and honestly have never been able to detect any unifying thread in Dave’s views based on liberal or any other coherent set of core beliefs, while I have no problem detecting coherence in the views of most others here.  Many views with which I disagree nonetheless have an understandable inner logic apart from the question of agreeing or disagreeing with the views expressed.

    So I’ll honor Dave’s wishes and leave him alone but I won’t concede either hatefulness or excessive humorlessness which would require “lightening up”.

  55. Diogenesdemar says:

    the lensing effect of history a handful of decades after death.  I was still pretty young in the mid-sixties, but I’d be willing to bet that the consensus view of LBJ at that time was not nearly as positive as many believe it to be today.  

  56. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    It’s too important of a job. And I also supported Hillary, in large part because she had the experience and Obama did not.

    I’ll cut an inexperienced person at my company slack because they are still learning. But if I’m going in for heart surgery – nope, not willing to cut the surgeon any slack.

  57. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    He had an incredibly positive view for his civil rights efforts and the way on poverty. Then he escalated in Vietnam and blew all that to hell.

    Now with Lincoln you can make that point. But a lot of the reason Lincoln was not well regarded by many was he was pushing forward with what he believed. So basically it was due in large part to how effective he was.

  58. AristotleAristotle says:

    We aren’t talking about grading the presidency like a high school history class. We’re talking about a job assessment. And there is no job where it’s fair to assess the guy with 20 years experience equal to the guy with five.

    Also, that’s unfair to judge your heart surgeon that way. Every surgeon has to have a first time leading an operation. But that isn’t the only point that founders your comparison (although it’s enough to do that). There’s also the fact that surgery is always a team effort, and that all surgeons assist on hundreds of operations before doing it the first time. People generally don’t get a crack at being assistant president, and although they do try to get some other kind of requisite experience (and Americans tend to favor those who have at least been elected to high office before), it still doesn’t compare to the specialized experience of a surgeon.  

  59. AristotleAristotle says:

    but there’s a reason why it’s a well-known no-no to mess around with married individuals. And keep in mind that she kept the semen-stained dress in a semen-stained condition and then blabbed about it. I believe other young women have worked with Bill Clinton and not ended up in the same compromised position.

    She lacked sense. Full stop.

    Now, a careful reading of my remarks will demonstrate that I’m not blaming her. They were both adults and made an adult choice. And naturally the burden was more upon him – 23 is adult, but it’s also a kind of late-stage childhood as far as the maturity level and experience of most 23-year-olds are concerned, so the 51 year old should have taken care not to let anything happen. But it did, and if she had been at least a little more sensible, it could have remained secret.

    And yes, most workplaces ban such relationships. But… they have a way of happening anyway. Which is why I expressed my hopes to Dave about his daughters.

  60. AristotleAristotle says:

    and it’s definitely a lensing effect to say that he “had an incredibly positive view for his civil rights efforts.” He probably wouldn’t have faced a primary challenger or two, and had to control the convention in order to avoid discussing civil rights if it was that popular.

    But the GOP nominated Barry Goldwater. We like to laugh at Mitt Romney for his unelectability, but Mitt was the reincarnation of Reagan in comparison to Goldwater.

    So, it’s my opinion that Dio carries that point as well.

  61. Diogenesdemar says:

    in a historic landslide.  Many attribute that in no small part to electoral sympathy for the assassinated JFK. (And, don’t forget what an extremist douche BMG was — really crappy timing to be one of the original Strangelovian nuclear extremists just less than two years after the national terror of the Cuban missle crisis.  Compared at that time to Eisenhower, and even Nixon, Goldwater was as much a gift to LBJ’s election as Romney was for President Obama.)  There are many factors in Johnson’s election beyond just Americans’ enthusiasm for a long, tall Texan. (h/t Lyle Lovett)

    Yes, Johnson did push (Kennedy’s) civil rights and anti-poverty agendas . . . those were both notable and remarkable indeed.  At the same time, however, I think even you will have to admit that those great accomplishments were not by any means overwhelmingly popular throughout the entire country.

    And, then the war . . . that sad, sad, God damn war . . .

    I think I’ll stand by my assertion that the consensus view of LBJ at the time of his Presidency was nowhere near as favorable as it is now, viewed a half-century after the fact.

    I would even expand this further and say that that is more often than not true of all Presidencies; with only couple of exceptions in that last 100 years — maybe Hoover, who history has not treated well (but who was also pretty much reviled during his time in office).  And, then that biggest exception — Reagan, who was pretty much widely loved (albeit inexplicably, IMO) during his time, but who is now very much a historical question mark at best (except among the dunce-and-denial wing of today’s GOP).

  62. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    And then lost it to a mis-pressed key.

    The short version is: Sexual harassment in the workplace is something women SHOULD “blab” about. I won’t call Monica Lewinsky “brave” or a “whistle-blower.” I think she was confused and hurt and didn’t know what else to do. I don’t think she had any particularly altruistic motives in going public. Nevertheless, sexually harassed women are not obliged to keep their harassing bosses’ secrets.

    I don’t think marital fidelity is a job qualification for President. If Hillary forgave Bill, that’s the end of it. However, there are plenty of powerful people who manage to sleep around without doing it with people in their chain of command, because they understand that a power differential in a workplace sexual relationship can create all sorts of problems for both parties. If Bill wanted his secrets kept, he shouldn’t have entrusted them to a vulnerable young intern working for his office.

  63. Gray in Mountains says:

    and Monica for hers. i’m reminded that when the whole episode(s) became public a friend of hers in CA reported that when she announced that she had gotten a WH internship she told said friends that she was getting her Oval Office kneepads.

  64. AristotleAristotle says:

    While I will admit to not reading about the affair in depth, I am unaware of allegations that she was the victim of harassment. Other than in the sense that some employer’s guidelines would define ANY sort of flirtation as “harassment,” which is a good policy to have to keep things under control, but is still a deviation from what the term really means. And that would matter, because it appears that the White House had no such policy at the time.

    So, assuming that the relationship was completely consensual (based on pretty much everything I’ve seen about the matter), the saying “it takes two to tango” applies here. It also takes two to keep an affair secret. Also, I’ve seen little to suggest that Lewinsky was emotionally vulnerable. Just being young doesn’t make one that way.

  65. BlueCat says:

    is a case of harassment. Groupies tend to  flock powerful celebs including political celebs. Clinton was an idiot to leave himself so exposed (no innuendo intended but there it is) when he knew his enemies were watching like hawks for anything to use as a weapon against him. Monica was groupie. It ended badly. A very common story except when it involves the President of the United States and one that doesn’t cover either party in glory nor confer victim-hood.    

  66. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    I think in most jobs you assess based on how good they are, regardless of experience. Because what matters is getting the job done well.

    I do agree that we should elect people who have experience. Which means governors, very active vice presidents, or equivalent (Eisenhower’s experience in WWII was great prep).

    I think being a Senator, for either a short or long period of time, is of minimal value as prep. It’s a legislative role, not an executive role.

  67. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Many were livid over the passage of the civil rights legislation and the war on poverty. How about instead I phrase it that there was widespread regard for how effective he had been. And a majority favored that effectiveness, but a sizable minority disliked it.

    You are absolutely right that time changes the view of presidents. But we do have to make the best evaluation we can at the moment rather than wait 50 years.

  68. BlueCat says:

    there were liberals, moderates and conservatives in both parties and the filibuster wasn’t on automatic with every member of the minority party willing to present a united obstructionist front.  Politicians of former days felt their job was to make deals to get things done if they possibly could, not to tie themselves up signing pledges of no this or that and drawing lines in the sand to be crossed at peril of losing the next primary. The total obstruction of the filibuster was a rarity.

    The political world  in which Obama must operate is hardly comparable to the one in which Presidents as recent as Clinton and even, in some ways, Bush functioned making many of the comparisons  apples to oranges variety.

    This is not to say Obama couldn’t have gotten a lot wiser a lot sooner but only that he is dealing with a very different kind of congress and minority party than any of the greats mentioned here were dealing with.  

  69. AristotleAristotle says:

    Someone who has done it for a short period is fairly given slack that someone who has done it for longer wouldn’t get.

    Since you acknowledge that Obama was inadequately prepared for office, will you reassess your judgment accordingly?

  70. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    Elect a teenager president (ignore the age limit) and they might do a great job based on their experience. But it would still be a horrible job.

  71. AristotleAristotle says:

    You have to be 35 years old to be president. If you need a theoretical, it still has to be something that is possible.

    Also, “they might do a great job based on their experience. But it would still be a horrible job” is contradictory. Is it great, or is it terrible?

    Dave, when you can no longer rely on sense to defend a position, it’s a good indicator that the position isn’t based on reason.

  72. BlueCat says:

    I’m feeling perfectly cheerful and comfortable with everything I’ve said. Whatever I’ve said in reference to Dave being flaky and inconsistent is truly nothing compared to Dave’s high dudgeon about how hateful I am (seriously?) so I reject, with no hard feelings whatsoever, your characterizing us as peas in a “he said/she said” equivalency pod, don’t feel the need for lightening up (pretty light already), won’t be following your advice on taking deep breaths (feeling quite calm as it is) or any other well intentioned efforts to fix what ain’t broke. Simply disagree, which, as you say, is no biggy.

  73. Diogenesdemar says:

    but perhaps absurd points require absurd lengths?


  74. DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

    The bottom line is I think you’re making excuses for Obama. My point is this job is too important to grade on a curve.

    What I meant by great job based on experience is, if neither of us had any experience painting, and we both painted a horse, in your painting people might recognize that it was a horse while mine was some kind of animal. So you did great based on no experience. But it still is not going to hang in any museum.

  75. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Is any more “consensual” than a relationship between a 14-year-old girl and her gym coach, no matter how much the participants say it is.

    Imagine saying “no” to the President when you’re an intern after having said “yes” before. A fully consensual sexual relationship is one where active, positive, affirmative consent is given by both parties continuously, and where that consent can be withdrawn. If you consented, fully willingly, to sex with someone who just happened to have a loaded gun to your head, how comfortable would you feel not consenting to the same person with the same gun tomorrow?

    I’m not using this in a legal, criminal way, but rather in a moral one. Like I said, I think Clinton was an extraordinary President and I’d have him back for another 8 years if I could, immoral sexual behavior aside. But I do consider any workplace sexual relationship between the most powerful person in the “company” and the least powerful one to be at best dubiously consensual.

  76. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    That the then-President made a mistake that he could take back at any time. She made a mistake that she, an intern, could not take back without serious, permanent risks to herself. That’s the problem with a relationship in the workplace between the most powerful person and the least powerful person. One can back out without much fear, the other can’t. The one who can so easily coerce the other bears the brunt of responsibility, in my opinion.

    Yes, Clinton got in trouble–but he got out of it scot-free in the end. We all still love him. Nobody really seriously brings that stuff up anymore.

    Monica will never go anywhere without people thinking about it, and in the way you think of her as shown in your comment above, rather than in the “Playa!” way we think of Clinton.

    And I hope you wouldn’t judge me or any other woman you know by what a “friend” reported to the press. A friend does not call her friend a slut to the media.

  77. AristotleAristotle says:

    … invalidates comparisons to relationships between teachers/coaches and minors.

    We’re getting very far from the original point that set this off. Regardless, I’m going to go along for a bit longer. You seem to be alleging that Clinton coerced Lewinsky. Is that true?

  78. onebigrepublican says:

    He peaked too soon.

  79. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    In a workplace sexual relationship makes ordinary notions of consensuality (I know that’s not a word) irrelevant.

    We prohibit relationships between adults and sexually mature minors because a minor is not mature enough to give informed consent to an adult, whose greater life experience and power over a child could cause coercion to occur even unintentionally and without malice on the part of the adult–even if that adult is only 21 or so him or herself.

    Even between adults, a huge, glaring power differential and an employment relationship make coercion possible and even almost a certainty even without intention or malice on the part of the extremely powerful person approaching an intern for sex.

    I do not allege that Clinton intentionally or maliciously coerced Lewinsky or even that either of those two adults would themselves describe it that way under any circumstances. I allege that a sexual relationship between the most powerful person IN THE ENTIRE WORLD and his new intern is so grossly unethical that it cannot be said (in ethical terms, separate from criminal law) to be consensual under the circumstances. A 23-year-old intern with no personal influence cannot withdraw their consent from the most powerful person in the world in the same way they could end any other sexual relationship.

    Yes, it happens, but the fact that it happens doesn’t make it right. As a lot of Republicans casually mentioned before losing their races this year, rape happens, too.

  80. AristotleAristotle says:

    if this is true?

    I don’t buy your argument. Being POTUS confers great responsibility, but it doesn’t confer such power as to reduce an adult’s ability to consent back to that of a minor.

    There is a problem with power differential, naturally, as there is in any work environment. But that’s where it matters whether coercion was taking place or not.

  81. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    But in this context, it means the ability to give informed consent for sexual relations with other adults, and also means the loss of the privilege of sexual relations with minors.

    If Monica had been my best friend (and if I wouldn’t have been, like, eight at the time) I’d of course have advised her to walk away from the internship with her dignity if she felt that sex was expected of her as part of her internship, and of course I would have shaken her by the shoulders and told her to grow up if she professed undying love for her married boss, the President of the United States.

    Nevertheless, she was in a position where she could have one indiscretion and feel trapped permanently, whereas after the President’s initial indiscretion he could (and did) walk away unscathed at anytime. She is screwed as a professional and individual for the rest of her life, even if she changes her name, because her married boss, who happened to be the leader of the free world, chose to pursue her sexually. She will never go anywhere for the rest of her life without being looked at as a slut and homewrecker. All I’m saying is that she deserves the same forgiveness we gave Clinton and more.

    The way she is treated and portrayed by the men and women who are so eager to say Clinton did nothing wrong is shameful and anti-feminist. I respect you and don’t think you are in any way sexist, but I would ask that you look back at your comments in this thread and consider honestly if you would describe a young man having an affair with an attractive, powerful married female employer in the same negative ways.  

  82. Duke Coxdukeco1 says:

    interesting discussion…thanks to both of you for your insights. I just wanted to throw in a book recommendation. I learned a lot at a tender age from a book entitled “Seduction is a Four Letter Word” by Germaine Greer. I recommend it to all, and have done so here before.

  83. AristotleAristotle says:

    I don’t call impeachment “unscathed.”

    You’re continuing to portray her as a victim without reasonably demonstrating how that can be. Do we even know which one of them initiated the affair? Do we know how it went down? I don’t. Do you? If not, then your interpretation of the affair is not based on the facts.

    Here’s what we do know, based on what has been said (and also what has not) – they engaged in a sexual relationship for a brief period of time. Lewinsky knew she was doing this with a married man. (Unless the Clintons have an open marriage, AND Lewinsky knew that, I’ll always judge the unmarried partner to be senseless when the affair is consensual.) She has never alleged that she was pressured into it, so we can assume that it was consensual. She has never alleged that he played with her emotions (e.g., promised to leave Hillary for her) or that he promised her any reward (although it’s a pretty safe bet that he promised to give her good references, since that’s always the result of friendly boss-employee relations, both appropriate and inappropriate).

    And yes, in your theoretical question, and assuming it was identical to the Lewinsky/Clinton affair in every respect save the participants’ gender, I would use the exact same words to describe it. The young man, having been indiscreet and chosen to confide in a coworker rather than a close friend, would be judged by me as lacking sense.

    It’s interesting to me that you’re borderline accusing me of sexism here, while apparently blind to Dave’s paternalistic attitudes regarding his daughters. Remember – that’s what kicked this off. I think you have probably had a bone to pick regarding the real sexist treatment Lewinsky has suffered from this and misinterpreted my comments as being of a kind.

    Let me ask you this. If your father told you that you couldn’t work for some man who had a reputation for being something of a Don Juan, would you be offended by the implication that you can’t handle yourself, or maybe by the notion that he has any right to tell you whether you can sleep with someone or not? Because that was how Dave’s comment struck me. And I have two daughters myself.

  84. Gray in Mountains says:

    did nothing wrong. Clinton did not emerge unscathed, he is only the second President to have been impeached. That is forever

    I would agree that Monica should not be pejoratively judged at this point, but I’d never hire her because others might assume I was involved with her. I assume she has a job.  

  85. sxp151 says:

    The point is not sexism at all. It’s the fact that a powerful person having sex with a subordinate is implicitly coercive. If SoS Hillary Clinton had an affair with a male college intern, it would be exactly the same.

    Two teachers can have an affair, and depending on the circumstances, it may be acceptable in the workplace (though usually not a good idea). But a teacher having an affair with a student (even if the student is above the age of consent) is a whole different matter. Even if it’s not illegal, it violates any sense of ethical behavior. The subordinate may be intensely attracted to the superior, but a good chunk of that is often the attraction to power and the potential fear of consequences for saying no. An ethical supervisor has an obligation not to take advantage of that.

  86. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    friendly boss-employee relations, both appropriate and inappropriate

    …Appropriate? What, pray tell, is an appropriate sexual relationship between a boss and employee? Can you think of an example? Would you be comfortable with your son or daughter telling you they’d agreed to sleep with their boss in exchange for good references?

    As for your question about my father, I tend to agree that you were correct in your assessment of Dave’s attitude (but it’s not surprising he’s “paternalistic” toward his daughters–I mean, the word MEANS father-like, and he’s their father!) but I think BOTH of you are incorrect. I didn’t mention Dave, because you already accurately called Dave out.

    I think my father would be the last person to tell me who to work for on that basis (I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m gay — I’m not, for the record, but I wouldn’t kick Shirley Manson out of bed for eating crackers), but I would appreciate it if he warned me that he knew someone I was intending to work for was a sexual harasser. A “Don Juan” is a different story; I know and am friendly with many people, both male and female, who have Don Juan proclivities… which they keep OUT of the workplace.  

  87. AristotleAristotle says:

    I believe that every relationship has a unique dynamic. And the only coercion is the one that’s being leveraged against someone.

  88. ProgressiveCowgirlProgressiveCowgirl says:

    IIRC, you’re an educator yourself–I would say you’re explicitly qualified to comment on how being in a position of power changes the relationship dynamic even without intent or malice on the part of the person in power.


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