January 21 2005, 7:10 AM
I'd seen this article by Rep. Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) in an e-mail that was circulating, but I didn't see a link to it on-line until Coyote Gulch posted it the other day. It's Udall's contribution to the ongoing discussion about the emergence of the Rocky Mountain West as a political battleground between Democrats and Republicans. But you can also view it as Udall raising his political profile, positioning himself as someone ready to challenge for a higher office such as Governor in 2006 or Senator in 2008. This excerpt is especially interesting:
[T]he Republican Party does not have a monopoly on moral values. Western Democrats respect and celebrate people of faith, but when it comes to civil liberties, Westerners want their privacy to be respected and value the right to be left alone. My Mormon ancestors came west to pursue religious freedom and in the process discovered how inspirational our landscapes could be. Our Western culture is rich because of our diversity, not in spite of it. Faith plays an important role in people's lives, and we should embrace that fact and not condescend to it or dismiss it.I think this statement is a pretty clever way of defusing any possible anti-Mormon sentiment that might be out there, letting people know that yes, Mark Udall has a religious background, and going on the offensive against the Colorado GOP's cultural warriors all at the same time. Those are things Udall will have to do in order to win the governor's race -- especially if the Republican candidate is identified with the religious right. One good article isn't going to get Udall elected governor all by itself, but this one isn't a bad start.