Our Bellwether State

November 17 2004, 10:28 AM
Colorado is a bellwether state when it comes to politics and elections, John Hazelhurst writes. He bucks conventional wisdom and says the recent election results show support for Bush and the far right agenda have peaked and they won't be winning any more elections. First, Colorado turned left:
Like it or not, every major national political trend of the last four decades has first appeared in Colorado. Ours was the first state to loosen restrictions on abortion, well before Roe v. Wade. Coloradans were environmentalists, were committed to participatory sports, were into organic food and were flocking to brewpubs long before most Americans. Our progressive politicians -- Dick Lamm, Pat Schroeder, Gary Hart -- were national superstars. Indeed, Hart might have been president had he stayed away from Donna Rice. And just when we'd come into focus as a laid-back, countercultural, Rocky Mountain High kinda place, we turned sharply to the right.
Then Colorado went right:
Urban sprawl? No one does it better. And long before gay rights had become a hot-button national issue, we passed an anti-gay constitutional amendment. The sleepy, amiable traditional conservatives who had governed the state for so long were swept away by fiery-eyed young radicals, disciples of Doug Bruce, James Dobson or both. Bill McCartney won a national championship at C.U. and quit to found Promise Keepers. Focus on the Family relocated to Colorado Springs and made an already-conservative city even more so. Ted Haggard started the New Life Church with a handful of parishioners; today, it's one of the country's biggest mega-churches.
Hazelhurst says Colorado has turned again -- this time to the center:
Start with the Salazar brothers, newly elected to the House and Senate. Look at the legislature, now controlled by the Dems for the first time in 40 years. Look at the newly enacted tobacco tax, at Fastracks in Denver, and at the passage of Amendment 37 that mandates renewable energy. And look at Michael Merrifield, overwhelmingly re-elected to a second term.
Is anyone else getting dizzy?