February 14, 2005

Senator Salazar

I thought I'd get around to answering a question that a friend asked me about a week or so ago: what up with the new Democratic senator from Colorado, Ken Salazar?

Salazar, you might not remember, embarrassed himself by voting to confirm Alberto Gonzales as Attorney General. Right out of the gate, he's lined himself up with democrats like Joe Lieberman. This is not a good sign.

I'm really disappointed in Salazar, and I don't understand why he felt the need to support Gonzales. Salazar was a moderate state attorney general back in Colorado, but I would have thought this experience would leave him less well-disposed to someone like Gonzales.

It might be that Salazar voted for Gonzales because Gonzales was a Latino. If so, I'm even more disappointed. That kind of shallow adherence to cheap identity politics isn't good for anyone.

Perhaps Salazar just made a (costly) rookie mistake. Somehow, though, I don't think Mike Miles (Salazar's opponent in the primaries) would have made the same mistake. If Salazar didn't make a mistake, if his vote is a real indication of what kind of Democrat he is likely to be, then the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's snubbing of Miles in the primaries looks even worse now then it did then.

The DSCC's argument was that Miles had no chance of winning, and the important thing was to put Democrats in the senate. Allowing the Democratic voters in Colorado to actually chose their candidate was, apparently, unimportant to the DSCC. If the DSCC hadn't been so quick to endorse Salazar, who knows if Miles could have won the primary election? And even if Miles had won the primary and lost the general election, it would have been no great loss, at least as far as the Gonzales vote is concerned.

It might in fact turn out that having Salazar in the senate is a good thing for the Democrats. But after the Gonzales vote, that issue is still not settled.

Posted by Carey at February 14, 2005 09:43 PM

On a brighter note, I've been very pleased thus far with Ken's brother John Salazar who replaced the dismal Scott McInnis in the 3rd district in western Colorado. John voted for HR418 the "Real ID Act" which includes some very important immigration provisions. He has shown with this one vote that he is no doctrinaire Democrat, and is likely to represent his constituents well.

Posted by: Nick R at February 15, 2005 12:35 PM

Excellent post. I riff on this theme on my blog and link to you, just so you know. I'd trackback, except my permalinks are all fucked up. See ya in jurisdiction!

Posted by: Julie at February 15, 2005 08:55 PM

Wouldn't Scott McInnis have voted the same way? Or maybe that was Tom Tancredo. I was always getting those two mixed up... I actually don't know too much about that bill; I'll have to look it up. You know I always enjoy our discussions about immigration policy.

Thanks for the link, Julie. I'm holding my breath about (Ken) Salazar, but I like his statements on Social Security so far. See you in Jurisdiction!

Posted by: Carey at February 16, 2005 08:36 AM

I don't think McInnis would have voted for the bill. He was more of a Wall Street Journal neo-conservative, and generally favored open borders. His career ranking from "American's for Better Immigration" (a group who keeps track of such matters) was D+. Generally, Rep. McInnis was a champion of "cheap labor."

Posted by: Nick R at February 19, 2005 10:18 PM