Western battleground state Colorado got a taste of GOP general election politics last week at the Republican convention. The bad news for the Republicans-- in Colorado and nationally -- was that during what has decidedly shaped up to be an election season about change, the convention looked and sounded decidedly old school, an event that might have been transported whole out of the Reagan era. Indeed, the retro-convention seems to underline the reasons why McCain's chances of winning the demographically shifting mountain state in the fall may be slimmer than even the backpedaling McCain campaign imagines.
An early speaker was firebrand former presidential candidate and illegal immigration warrior Tom Tancredo. He swiped at the Democratic Party presumptive nominee by referring to him as "Barack Hussein Obama" and called out that, Yes, the time for change was overdue! -- as if people with names like "Hussein" had been running the country for the last eight years. Later, Representative Marilyn Musgrave lamented her life in the House the last two years under the Democrats, complaining that only free-range chicken was served in the cafeteria. "We must fight and win in November," she said. Key note speaker Mitt Romney opened big with a cliched line he retread from previous speeches: "Boy, there are more Republicans in this room than in my whole state." Another featured speaker was one of 2004's "Blonde Babes for Bush," State Rep. Amy Stephens -- her presence on stage at the convention a symbol, in effect, of the short distance the Colorado GOP has come in the last four years, even given Bush's record-low approval ratings and voter excitement, in Colorado and around the country, about the groundbreaking candidacies of Obama and Clinton.
In fact, Colorado Representative Tancredo's presidential bid this year was marked by his stance on immigration. He has become known nationally as the spokesperson for the hard line on the issue and was in large part led to take it up because of the frictions caused by the increasing immigrant population of Colorado -- a population that was nevertheless little on display among the state convention's roughly 4,500 guests. The photos from the event conjure a party aboard a sinking ship.
Read more on the state's politics at the Colorado Independent.