Campaign 2008 is going to be hard. Very hard. Why?
In Colorado's 4th Congressional District, one of the leading candidates will be Democratic State Senator Brandon Shaffer, who is currently the Assistant Majority Leader, who represents Longmont, Erie, Lafayette, and Louisville.
Meanwhile, in Colorado's U.S. Senate race, one of the leading Republican candidates will be Bob Schaffer who previously served the 4th Congressional District as its Congressman in the seat now held by Republican Marilyn Musgrave (you know, the one Brandon Shaffer wants now).
Much of the time, the two men who share a first initial, hail from the same general part of the state, and who both previously served in Colorado's state senate, will be referred to by last name alone. And, the fact of the matter is, that until you look up close, two early middle aged, not thin, white guy politicians in blue suits and red ties from Colorado's Front Range look pretty much alike, so even a glance at the TV from two rooms away isn't going to help you tell them apart. So, the rule is "c" bad, no "c" good, and visually, glasses bad, no glasses good. We really hope that Brandon Shaffer doesn't discover at this moment in life that he really needs some low powered bifocals.
Now, for me, this is inconvenient fun and games. But, the possibility of confusion at the polls is real, particularly when you consider that the 4th Congressional race will already include one individual Eric Eidness, who has changed parties during his political career and now claim's the donkey's mantle. A less informed soul could easily think that one of the men had a change of heart.
The men couldn't be more different politically, of course. Shaffer is moderate Colorado Democrat who served in the Navy before taking up politics. Schaffer has impeccable conservative Republican credentials.
But, Schaffer does not appear to have the same intense case of "foot in mouth disease" so apparent in his Republican colleagues who currently serve Colorado in the House of Representatives. As a result, he leaves fewer memorable zingers to help us keep the two men straight. A die hard conservative speech on agriculture subsidies or tax policy, is still a speech on agriculture subsidies or tax policy, and it is hard to keep track of someone's political affiliation from his speech once you have fallen asleep. Shaffer, likewise, is neither a gadfly, nor a perennial source of off color remarks in his service as a state senator.