The Air Up There

I keep having to remind people that Colorado was never, ever a Red State.

We’re a purple state. Deep purple. “Deep Purple” as in the band, as in weird.

We like our Republicans to be small-government conservatives, and we like our Democrats deeply strange. It’s true. Look at the Democrats who came out of Colorado, and look at our presidential voting habits.

Colorado thrice elected Governor Gloom — Richard Lamm — to office. This is a guy so deeply twisted, he coined the phrase “duty to die.” He’s the man who refused a sure-thing Senate run, calling that formerly-august body “nothing but a big head trip.”

The Democratic mayor of Denver, John Hickenlooper, is the multimillionaire Savior of LoDo — and a closet libertarian, if you ask me. Except for that he’s also a bit of a green fanatic who has mandated that a bunch of our taxis be hybrids. And he brews some deeply kick-ass beers.

We sent Ben Campbell to the Senate so often, we kept doing so after he switched to the Republican party and never even noticed the difference.

Colorado supported Ross Effing Perot by a bigger percentage in 1992 than any other state in the Union. Top that for presidential weirdness, mofo.

We went for Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Dole (!), Bush, and Obama — and mostly by wide margins. It’s not that we’re erratic; we’re just… eccentric. Honest. Something about the thin air up here, maybe.

So keep that in mind when you read this:

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet’s approval rating is down to 31 percent, according to a Public Policy Polling survey released Tuesday.

The poll of Coloradans found 38 percent of voters disapprove of the job Bennet is doing. In April, PPP found 34 percent of Coloradans approved of Bennet and 41 percent did not.

Bennet, a Democrat, has been in office less than a year, but some Republicans have already suggested a few politicians run against him when he comes up for re-election in 2010. Former Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez leads the pack in the poll, which shows Beauprez beating Bennet 42 to 39 percent if there were an election between the two men today. The poll found Aurora City Councilman Ryan Frazier and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck would likely lose to Bennet, 39 to 35 percent and 38 to 33 percent, respectively.

Bennet is a pretty typical Western Democrat. He’d do great in Wyoming or New Mexico or probably most anywhere else west of Missouri and east of California. Only here, we like our Democrats deeply weird.

That said, look at the Republican field arrayed against him. And when I say “arrayed,” I mean, “lined up like virtual cannon fodder.” There’s barely a name I’m much more than half-familiar with, and I’ve lived here 15 years already.

We might not go for normal Democrats, but it seems the Republicans have about used up their juice in Colorado. Get with it, fellas. Or get lost.

UPDATE: And how did I forget to mention Gary Hart? Great guy, and one of the few Democrats who got over Vietnam Syndrome before the ’70s were over.