Copyright © 2004 Henrietta W. Hay
Politics in 2004
January 16, 2004
It's politics time again and I keep flipping back and forth between the
nine Democratic primary candidates and the new session of he Colorado
legislature. I'm not sure which is more -- exciting/maddening/fun/or
all of the above -- to watch.
Once upon a time I wanted to be a politician I would have been willing
to start as President, but I didn't know anything about it, not that
knowing anything about the job is a prerequisite for the presidency.
This was back in the days when I was on the Commission on Women, and
spending a lot of time around the State House. But when the Commission
got killed by Ann Gorsuch on a purely political maneuver I got sort of
Anyway, I was having too much fun at the Library. It is hard to see
why anyone would expose her/himself to running for public office today.
It is a major rat race. But fortunately, many people do. Else we
would have anarchy.
Certainly the Presidential race is going to be exciting this year I've
been having fun tossing the nine Democratic candidates around in my
head, trying to decide which one I could support. Whoever wins is
going to have some problems because he has already been dissed by the
others. No decision yet on that one, but I am hoping for the best.
Surely somebody can send George Bush back to Texas.
Statewide, we're off again. Yesterday (as I am writing this) was the
big day. The Legislature opened with pomp and circumstance and speeches
from the gov and various leaders. Actually, when there is that much
good nature and back slapping and laughter in the State house it is time
to get suspicious.
I will say they landed running. 150 bills were introduced the first
day. It would be nice if all the Legislators read all the bills. It
might lead to more important bills being presented and a bit more
There are probably as many opinions as there are legislators as to what
is most important thing to be done this year But we can't miss the Axis
of Pretty Bad Government, which caused a budget gridlock last year and
is scheduled to do it again this year. Tabor, The Gallagher Amendment
and Amendment 23 together tie up our budget with chains.
From the beginning the Guv has said he likes the Tabor amendment and
will allow no change. He even suggested to the California movie actor
that they try it out there. But this year, he announced that he is
ready to deal, so there is some hope of a little bit of compromise.
With a shortfall of nearly $1 billion last year, and about the same this
year, a lot of things are going to get cut even more than they were in
2003. One of the ones that I am especially watching is the cut in
Higher Education. Every college in the state was hurt and will be hurt
further. And just to add to the confusion, a California conservative,
David Horowitz has been meeting with Governor Owens and John Andrews
hoping to present the Academic Bill of Rights that would require
Colorado colleges and Universities to hire more conservative faculty
It is interesting that the conservatives who hate quotas for minorities
think it is perfectly fine to have quotas for conservative white guys.
"The CU system, as all higher education, is at a crossroads," Betsy
Hoffman, President of CU told the Legislature's Joint Budget Committee
late last year. She went on to say that Instead of chasing liberal
faculty ghosts, Andrews and Owens should fix the budget problem so that
we don't end up with this; If higher education continues to get
squeezed between dwindling state funds and growing spending mandates,
the University of Colorado may someday have to go private.
It's going to be an exciting political year. As Molly Ivins says,
"Better than the circus."