Democrats try to avoid controversy 
during troublesome election year

It’s been a short week because of Martin Luther King’s holiday, and events like that have a tendency to snap into relief the kinds of things that are important.

Take our state Legislature, for instance, which is tasked with bringing prosperity to citizens and making a real difference in constituents’ lives.

To Democrat state Rep. Crisanta Duran, of Denver, what’s important is what time the bars close. The representative apparently believes it’s not employment and industry that are important to consider during the time allotted to the Legislature, but what time people have to stop drinking.

She’s concerned that having everybody stop serving alcohol at 2 a.m. in Colorado causes a wave of intoxicated people onto sidewalks and streets of the state, which leads to fights, drunk driving and generally scandalous behavior.

Apparently, when dealing with an intoxicated person, it is important to make sure he or she does not see another intoxicated person. Additionally, being in a room full of drunken people is not the same as being outside with drunken people.

Duran would like to change the bar closing time to 7 a.m. because there’s nothing that cuts down on traffic problems like releasing people who’ve been in bars the entire night into rush-hour traffic.

Better yet — assuming there were some sort of problem created by everyone cascading out of drinking establishments at 2 a.m. — we should ask the question: Does the idea of keeping them open until 7 a.m. improve anything?

Of course not. What this highlights is the real problem with most legislatures and Colorado’s in particular: the desire to muck about in everyone’s business, without regard to consequences or if there’s even a problem needing to be solved.

I mention this not just to highlight the larkish content of our representatives’ thought process, but to help us understand why nothing really gets better in regard to important things. It’s because too many representatives think things like this are important.

Over the last four years, our Legislature has hamstrung the business climate of the state in general, and western Colorado in specific, with legislation designed to alleviate problems that either don’t exist or probably don’t exist — such as global warming and fracking dangers.

Moreover, lawmakers and their bills offer solutions that wouldn’t fix these problems if they exist, like expensive and inefficient renewable energy requirements for rural electrical associations and solar subsidies paid for by other energy customers.

Duran’s desire for early-morning bar closings isn’t a solution, it’s a symptom, an omen that nothing important is sought by the Democratic majority in the Statehouse this election year.

When Democrats nationally and statewide see the possibility of taking substantial election losses, the impulse is to do nothing substantive. Substance engenders controversy and controversy creates attention and attention from the electorate may result in Democratic losses.

Consequently, substantive ideas, particularly those of Republicans, will be placed into Senate committees that are the state equivalent of a Siberian work camp. There they will be placed on an ice floe and glided out to sea.

In the meantime, Gov. John Hickenlooper will gambol about the state, seeking to convince people he is a moderate who loves and identifies with the people of western Colorado, which he used to think meant Vail but now understands extends all the way to Moab or somewhere.

So, if you’re Republican, you should hope that some of our far-left friends get some ideas they love placed in front of the public through referendum, like, say, a statewide fracking ban.

This will chase some progressives out of the bushes and into the light of voters’ attention. The governor’s already indicated he is, by golly, against such a ban, but the rest of the progressive left needs to be flushed out on the issue.

For illustration, there’s going to be an important state Senate race for the term-limited seat being vacated by Snowmass Democrat Gail Schwartz, where energy could be a big topic. However, even though she is not up for re-election, Schwartz has chosen to make her big finale in her final year to be — Internet access.

The Democrats don’t want any fights this year. Let’s hope the Republicans can find one worth fighting.

Rick Wagner writes more on politics at his blog, The War on Wrong.


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