20 May 2006

Introducing Bill Ritter

Colorado Democrats have decided that they want to win.

Bill Ritter is the man they have chosen to do so, and he represents a more realistic take about what that involves. In nominating him by acclaimation today, the Democratic Party has come to terms with the notion that simply being right is not enough.

Bill Ritter is a man with a compelling personal story. The middle child of twelve, raised by a single mother, and paying his way through college and law school as a union pipe layer, the man is the message. He is a decent man. He is a common sense, practical, non-ideological, tough on crime, and a moderate Democrat.

His moderation manifests itself in his priorities. While he background is as a prosecutor, he is not the sort of person who belongs on a legislative justice committee. He isn't focused on controversial social issues. His well known anti-abortion views are the source of almost all dissent against him in the party, but he has compensated, in characteristic fashion, by shifting focus from the divisive issue of abortion to the consensus issue of keeping birth control (including emergency contraception) available to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in the first place and went on the record saying that he doesn't want to put women and their doctors in jail. His rhetoric on immigration was likewise counseling in favor of care and practicality, over hysteria.

He is running on improving Colorado's public schools, on providing health care for more Coloradans, promoting economic development, and focusing the state's efforts on developing renewable energy. He is a man in the political image of Bill Clinton, but in better shape with a less tawdry reputation. He wants to use government to meet the material needs of Coloradans.

Ultimately, Bill Ritter is symbol of a Democratic Party that wants to win, by choosing a man who can communicate emotionally, not just with reason, a man who has broad appeal as a common sense moderate as opposed to a hard core progressive in our purple state.

Neither Marc Holtzman, nor Bob Beauprez can offer what Ritter does to the people of Colorado, and he can win, unless the winds of political sentiment turn dramatically against the Democrats this fall.

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