Western Democrat, an excellent new blog that launched in November, has uncovered an interview with Colorado’s former U.S. Sen. Gary Hart. Among the highlights:
Well, I have also been unorthodox in the sense of challenging the conventional wisdom about the North and the South. In the east coast corridor, all the analysts and the commentators and pundits talk about what the Democrats have to do to recapture the South and “NASCAR Dads” and all this kind of nonsense.
I’ve argued for an East-West strategy for the Democratic party in which the Democratic states east of the Mississippi combine with potential Democratic states in the west, and I think Colorado is a prime example of what can be done out here. Now we win California and often win Washington and Oregon, but you can combine with that New Mexico, Colorado, possibly Arizona — which is a winnable state for Democrats–and then recapture Montana, which we used to win, and make gains in other parts of the Midwest and the West.
I think in the contest of ’84 in the Democratic party, I carried every Western state, and it was because I was from this region. The issues here are different from those of the North and the South, particularly the South, which often have a hidden racial agenda behind them. Race is not the issue it is in the South. We’re more concerned about energy, about environment, about issues of growth, about how you accommodate growth and opportunity with protection of the environment and the outdoors and conservation of resources. It’s a whole different set of issues which Democrats can address in a progressive way.
The entire interview is well worth a read.