So currently I’m living (stationed) in Colorado, a state I’ve come to love and is very high on my retirement-possibilities list. As the Republican primary wound down this week after all the hype, at first I confess I was quite surprised by the outcome, but after chewing on it a few days, maybe I’m not as surprised as I thought.
One of the things I like about Colorado and which makes it stand out from other states is it’s truly a go-your-own-way, still-has-a-touch-of-the-wild-west state. Yes, the far-right Focus on the Family is headquarted right here in Colorado Springs, but it’s countered by nearby artsy-hipster Manitou Springs, and what’s known as the “People’s Republic of Boulder” northwest of Denver; the state is roughly one third each Republican, Democrat, and unaffiliated (source: http://www.city-data.com/states/Colorado-Political-parties.html). I’ve never really seen it broken down further, but based on my personal friends and acquaintances who are members of both parties and tend to be “conservative Democrats” and “liberal Republicans” (although I also have friends and relatives who are much farther out from the center) I made the mistake of assuming that, while there are certainly die-hards at both ends of the spectrum, a majority of affiliated party members here were more centrist. Honestly, I wouldn’t have been surprised if Colorado had become the only state taken by Ron Paul, who’s got quite a bit of a “wild west” persona himself. My error, as demonstrated by Rick Santorum’s victory last week.
What I’m still trying to figure out is just why Santorum won. It was just 40% to Romney’s 35%, but over the past few weeks Santorum’s been leaning more and more toward a more extremist right view, stating it’s better to have one parent with the other in prison than have two loving gay parents (I was waiting for a “better to be an orphan than have gay parents” but it didn’t happen). He topped himself this week by first saying women aren’t fit for combat, then backpedaling and saying it’s the men who can’t capably serve alongside them because we’re unable to overcome a protective instinct (and today’s quote from Mr Santorum: “but women can fly small planes”). Even some conservative blogs were backing away from him as if he were channeling Sarah Palin and deliberately trying to lose the fence-sitters to the other candidates.
Which brings me to the dilemma, the unknown: are Colorado’s Republicans more right-leaning than I’m aware of, or were they voting more against Romney than for Santorum?
A lot of folks, blogs and media have been discussing Romney being Mormon, and what it may mean if he’s elected – reflective of the JFK-Catholicism arguments of the 60s I believe (and, in my opinion, just as relevant). Are evangelical Republicans really that afraid/aghast/wary of a Mormon candidate, that they’d vote for someone more extreme than the average, than their own political view? I do not know.
At this point, I’ll apologize to my readers: normally, I like to wrap a post up with a nice little conclusion, maybe a well-supported opinion or even a hypothesis, but I can’t on this one. I’m still confused, and that worries me. What worries me more is that a lot of Colorado Republicans seem to be confused about how Santorum won too…
I wonder if anyone’s going through the same thing in Minnesota…