The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care) | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/blueprint-how-democrats-won-colorado-and-why-republicans-everywhere-should-care[12/8/2015 12:45:17 PM] Home The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care)The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care)Submitted by jainlayconley on 7-22-2010 09:42 AMAuthor: Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer Publishing: Golden, CO: Speakers Corner Books, Fulcrum Publishing, Inc., 2010. Index. xxiv + 226 pages. 8 x 6. $15.95 paperback. Reviewer: Richard D. Lamm Reviewer Affiliation: University of Denver The history of Colorado politics has largely stayed within our borders. Colorado has produced many fascinating, even dynamic political actors, but it has produced few ripples beyond the state. No William Jennings Bryan (Nebraska), no Grange (Kansas), no Progressive movement (California) has had its genesis in Colorado. John Evans was a major-league visionary, Ralph Carr was courageous, and Gary Hart grabbed for the golden ring. But no Colorado personality or institution or movement really cast a significant, paradigm-changing national shadow. That may be about to changeand I fear it will not be to Colorados credit. This is not a Colorado story about a positive change in American democracy. The subtitle is Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care But a better subtitle is Why Lovers of Democracy Everywhere Should Care This book tells a story of a Colorado initiative that further undermines traditional democracyand one that is becoming a blueprint for Democrats around the country. It is a story of a group of political venture capitalists who with massive contributions (many of them tax-deductible) and unseemly campaign tactics, took over Colorados political system. In one ad they portrayed an incumbent Republican Congresswoman stealing from a corpse and picking the pocket of a soldier fighting in Iraq. Beginning in 2004, they ultimately elected two U.S. senators, a Colorado governor, and attained majority control of the Colorado legislature. I am not a political virgin. I spent twenty years in elective office and have seen the dark side of democracy. I have seen money do its nefarious work and and have supported every campaign and lobbyist reform in the last 30 years. But money was always a subplot, and political parties in my time always mattered and cared about issues first and foremost. We Democrats always believed in the ideals of the Democratic Party. But Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer show in this book that winning has become everything and that any state could build a donor-built and donor-funded conglomerate that can buy and control the state. Four extremely wealthy Coloradans funded a garden of think tanks, political 527s, 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, new media outlets, progressive watchdog groups, and assorted activist organizations that would play a key role in the political transformation of Colorado from 2004 to 2008 (40). They succeeded brilliantly, turning Colorado from a red state into a blue state. The authors show how campaign reform laws have made political parties obsoleteand easily replaced by EXPLORE BY MEDIABook Reviews Photographs Video Biographies New Publications Resource Guides County Newspaper HistoriesEXPLORE BY TOPICLand & Natural Resources Government & Law Agriculture Mining Commerce & Industry Transportation People & Places Communication Healthcare & Medicine Education & Libraries Cultural Communities Recreation & Entertainment Tourism ReligionEXPLORE BY CULTUREHispanic Native AmericanWe were most agreeably surprised to find him a polished gentleman. Description of James P. Beckwourth, African American mountain man, fur trader and explorer.
The Blueprint: How the Democrats Won Colorado (and Why Republicans Everywhere Should Care) | Center for Colorado & the West at Auraria Library http://coloradowest.staging.auraria.edu/book-review/blueprint-how-democrats-won-colorado-and-why-republicans-everywhere-should-care[12/8/2015 12:45:17 PM] Auraria Library 303-556-4587 1100 Lawrence Street Denver, Colorado 80204 In the News Partners & Donations About Us Contact Us a sophisticated network of nonprofit organizations that can focus political resources to maximum targets of opportunity. As the authors observe: By coordinating their efforts, members of the Roundtable stretched their dollars and eliminated duplicative efforts. Each resource was a separate tool in the toolbox, but everybody was in sync when it came to the overall blueprint. Everyone knew his or her place and everyone was accountable to the group. (76) I dont argue with the results (Im a Democrat) but with the methodsin which principles got lost in the strategy. No large issues, no utopian liberalism, this was about winning and power and only winning and power. Truth and honesty were M.I.A. No dirty trick, no exaggeration, no mendacity was beneath this group. In one campaign in Durango, the new coalition sent an anti-abortion mailing to Republicans fraudulently designed to keep pro-life Republicans from voting for a Republican moderate. It was anonymous, deceptive, and, upon investigation, sent by a political firm with ties to the Clinton administration. Not that Republicans were any different. They have been masters of political dirty tricks for years. Schrager and Witwer show a right-wing Republican Party, increasingly ideological, that would rather throw sand in the machinery of government than oil the problem-solving mechanisms. Call me nave, but I expected more from the Democratic Party than power at any price. While this is a story of brilliant political organizing, the process has been marred and stained by the unfair campaign tactics the group used in campaign after campaign. So people everywhere should be concerned. We are in a race to the political bottom. Just at the time when our society needs honest dialogue and constructive engagement, both parties have turned negative and stop at nothing to win. We forget that many of the great Greek philosophers didnt believe that democracy was sustainable. I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that democracy works when it is distributing the bounty of a growing continent, but is unable to make the hard choices we now face in America. Whatever hope I had previously has been severely tested by The Blueprint Reviewer Info: Richard D. Lamm is a professor at the University of Denver, a three-term governor of Colorado (1975 1987), and coauthor of two books on Colorado public policy Add new comment