On PointVincent Carroll, editor of the editorial pages, writes his On Point column most weekdays. He is also an author and freelance writer. Reach Vincent Carroll at carrollv@RockyMountainNews.com.
Who was that woman hyperventilating about big business at the state Capitol earlier this week? Ah, yes, the House majority leader, Alice Madden, who provided a stark lesson in why populist rhetoric should be used sparingly: In large doses, it invariably insults the listener’s intelligence.
“This was a [legislative] session of the people vs. the powerful special interests,” Madden said, according to a party press release. “Ordinary Coloradans won over shoddy homebuilders, ordinary Coloradans triumphed over big insurance, ordinary Coloradans beat back big pharmaceuticals, and most significantly, big oil and gas was trumped by ordinary Coloradans. A short time ago, oil and gas generated most of the power and held massive political power. We now have a range of alternative power sources and more balance in the power structure.”
Yes, we “ordinary” Coloradans are a doughty lot, are we not? In four short months we scared off more dragons than St. George, and an ugly bunch of monsters they are, too.
Some of them do awful things like expecting to make a profit for inventing and marketing drugs that save millions of lives; others produce the fuel that allows Madden to commute so effortlessly between Boulder and the Capitol. As for insurers, we won’t even try to explain their function: It’s too ghastly.
The scoundrels. Why can’t the people who run these businesses do something useful with their lives, like send out press releases demonizing the labor of their fellow citizens?
If Madden and House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who is quoted in a Rocky article making nearly identical points, wish to crow about higher mandates for renewable energy, for example, or legislation to expand the availability of discount drugs, then they should by all means do so. Those measures were key to this year’s Democratic agenda, and their passage is therefore worth trumpeting by party leaders.
But they really ought to think twice before addressing “ordinary Coloradans” as if we walked around in torn bib overalls whose pockets were stuffed with faded screeds by Huey Long. It’s irritating to be treated like a bumpkin.
Still mighty useful
Speaking of “big oil and gas” and renewable energy, it’s worth remembering that we’re not dealing with a choice of one or the other. Not yet anyway. Most renewable energy — certainly wind — requires backup generation. And those backup plants usually run on natural gas because they’re far more easily fired up than base-load coal facilities.
Big oil and gas is what allows big wind power into the marketplace to begin with.
Gov. Bill Ritter’s language was mild and optimistic Thursday when he signed a bill putting Colorado in opposition to any condemnation of land in order to triple the size of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado.
“My conversations with the Army have all focused on their desire to expand Piñon Canyon without the use of eminent domain,” Ritter said. “And that is still my hope.”
It’s great that Ritter stands with the legislative majority on this matter. But his hope for a conflict-free expansion is hard to square with existing maps. Condemnation or the threat of it will almost certainly be employed if the Army is committed to acquiring 418,000 additional acres of land.
Vincent Carroll is editor of the editorial pages. Reach him at carrollv@Rocky
So Mr Carroll, if Ritters actions are inadequate, just what do you suggest he should he be doing to resolve this problem?
But oh, you sure applauded Musgrave and her bit of puffery over Piñon Canyon.
You are clearly playing the pundit on this issue, pumping up the Republicans and dissing the Democrats (as usual). The best resolution to the issue and interests of the local landowners obviously isn't your goal here.
It's pathetic and disgraceful that you put your political party interests above the interests of the Pinion Canyon landowners and choose to use them as pawns, casting your petty little pebbles of pessimism in your selfish little political games.Posted by on May 4, 2007 08:05 AM
MOTS from Carroll. Must be something in the water.Posted by sick & tired on May 4, 2007 10:28 AM
Well said. Thank you.
Andrew & Alice are good folks. That said, they know better.
Just like Hillary and her "black talk," we must avoid those charades -- be honest and forthright.
Smoke and mirrors is a dishonest approach.Posted by Biker Chick on May 7, 2007 05:55 PM
I think Vince pretty well nailed it. We can pass all the nice-sounding protests we wish to, but the Army will do what the Army wishes to do, with or without eminent domain. I find it vascinating that libs want the feds to step up to the plate and quash any perceived threat to politically correct beliefs, but not to arrest marijuana smokers or other scofflaws. Stomp on any foreign power involved in god-forsaken holes like Somalia, but don't expand the military readiness necessary to do so..............Egads!Posted by Michael on May 8, 2007 09:39 PM