Debating the Tea Party's Decline in Colorado

October 27 2010, 12:00 PM

The New York Times invited seven locals, including yours truly, to explore the Tea Party's strengths as its numbers decline in statewide polls, as well as why three anti-tax measures (amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101) have such little support. Here are some highlights from a handful of the participants:

Anne Hyde, a historian at Colorado College, opines, "Coloradans might be labeled as selfish, since what we really want is federal largess spent exclusively on us. Indeed, our long history of utter dependence on a giant federal pie overwhelms any Tea Party message."

Robert Duffy, chairman of the political science department at Colorado State University, writes that the "greatest strength of the Tea Party in Colorado is the enthusiasm of its supporters. That is also its greatest liability, and the primary reason why Democratic prospects are brighter here than in many other states."

According to Barry W. Poulson, a professor of economics at the University of Colorado, the Tea Party "is alive and well in Colorado, but perhaps suffering from election fatigue. Unconstrained growth in federal spending deficits and debt continue to be the most important issues in this election for the majority of Colorado citizens."

Denver Post political reporter, columnist, and journalism-ethics instructor Fred Brown says, "Colorado voters are individualistic by nature, and they may indeed trend libertarian most of the time. But that only goes so far."

As for me, I point out that the campaign against the anti-tax-and-spend measures claims more than 650 groups on its side, from the AARP to a long list of city councils and corporations: "The non-partisan 'no' coalition is so far proving to be the most powerful group in Colorado this election."

Meanwhile, the for-profit Tea Party Nation is drawing fire for urging supporters in Minnesota to "retire" U.S. Representative Keith Ellison for a few reasons, including the fact that he is Muslim (via Talking Points Memo).