Palin targets Salazar, but Coloradans should have his back

Even allowing some latitude for political hyperbole during the heat of an argument, drawing a bead on the opposition is poor taste at best and an incitement to violence at worst. By using the crosshairs of a gun sight to mark the districts of targeted Democratic House members, Sarah Palin managed to do both.

Continuing her militaristic rhetoric, Palin told her supporters, “This is just the first salvo in a fight to elect people across the nation who will bring common sense to Washington ... Join me in the fight.”

Appealing to “commonsense conservatives” not to be discouraged by their failure to derail health insurance reform, she urged them, “Don’t retreat, instead — RELOAD!”

“Is your choice of words inciteful or ignorant?” tweeted one targeted congressman to Palin.

Inspired by Palin and other GOP (Gaga Over Palin) radicals who use the language of war and violence as political speech, some people have hurled bricks through Democratic office windows, and threatened even worse violence against supporters of the America’s just passed health care legislation.

Fortunately, none of that violence has infected Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

According to Rep. John Salazar’s Communications Director, Eric Wortman, “the Congressman received many of the angry, nasty phone calls that have been generating news coverage.” However, these have not included physical threats against Salazar, Wortman said.

Many of the initial uncivil calls, Wortman continues, “were from outside Colorado.”

Most significantly, “In the week since Congress passed health care reform, thank you calls from Coloradans have outpaced negative calls by a margin of two to one,” according to Wortman.

As the hysteria generated by Palin and some tea party radicals subsides, and people become more familiar with the actual provisions of the health care bill, the target Palin put on his back may become a badge of honor for Salazar.

“Given the political environment right now,” Salazar’s chief of staff Ronnie Carleton predicts, Palin’s inflamatory language “is only going to further energize and activate our supporters.”

Palin and the tea party may also discover that commonsense Coloradans will respond more positively to the benefits of the health care bill than to the ideological arguments of the radical right.

What, after all, could make more common sense than closing the prescription “donut hole” for seniors, cutting taxes for small business to expand health care for employees, ending insurance company abuses and covering over 32 million Americans who currently lack medical insurance? All while reducing the federal budget deficit and protecting Medicare benefits.

“I ... believe that Congressman Salazar’s vote on the health care reform bill will be a positive for his campaign,” Carleton says. “Up to this point, the opponents have mischaracterized and lied about the reform effort ... The more people hear the truth about the legislation ... the more they support it.”

Meantime, Scott Tipton and Bob McConnell are scrambling to claim Palin’s mantle as they prepare for the 3rd Congressional District Republican primary.

“I’m thrilled,” Bob McConnell told NBC news about Palin. “I think her target is right on. I think John Salazar is incredibly vulnerable.”

“We’re seeing this confirmation from a variety of different sources now that the 3rd Congressional District seat is in play,” Scott Tipton adds.

Both GOP candidates, NBC reports, “say they’re thrilled to see ‘Sarah PAC’ join them in their mission to unseat Salazar.”

Salazar made the right decision for his constituents when he voted for health insurance reform, despite some reservations. Even though he knew it could energize opposition against him, he recognized that the benefits of an imperfect bill — especially one that recognized the special problems of medical services for underserved rural communities — outweighed its faults.

As he prepares to defend that decision against the GOP’s chosen Palinite in November, Salazar needs to hear from his 3rd District constituents.

Thank Congressman Salazar for his vote on health care, and let him know you stand with him against the Republican “repeal and replace” health care agenda.

Tell him when Sarah Palin comes gunning in November, District 3 Coloradans have got his back.

Bill Grant lives in Grand Junction. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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