Miller Hudson


Randy Atkinson was admired from both sides of the aisle

Contributing Columnist

Randy Atkinson has been hanging around the Legislature for so many years it’s difficult to accept the fact he won’t be back for the next session. His death at 60 caught both friends and foes by surprise. President of the Colorado Professional Firefighters Association since 2006, Randy has been the lobbying voice of firefighters for more than thirty years. Outside of fire stations, there probably isn’t one Coloradan in a hundred who has ever heard of him. But, Atkinson was one of the most influential backroom politicians in our state.


Question for politicos: How did those guys do it? — Wives who pay the bills!

Contributing Columnist

The average American President serves 14 years in public office before ascending to the White House. When some of those years involve service in a state legislature or as a county commissioner, you should figure they probably weren’t the primary breadwinner in their families. Politicians may dress well, by and large, but local elected office doesn’t pay well, while campaigns have become increasingly expensive. Voters generally don’t consider how their leaders can afford to run a campaign or serve in office, when elected. I suspect most Coloradans would be surprised to learn that Bill Ritter liquidated much of his retirement savings to cover family expenses when he ran for Governor in 2006. There is a reason why Dan Maes was using mileage reimbursements to make mortgage expenses in 2010. Any candidacy generally requires a significant element of self-financing even if that contribution is foregone income.

DebateFest: A lawn party for the rest of us

The Colorado Statesman

It was never in the cards that more than a handful of DU students or grassroots Colorado Democrats would wangle tickets to Wednesday’s Presidential Debate. Simply accommodating the media ate up nearly half the available seats. Once the organizers squeezed in high roller contributors, national party poobahs, University administrators and elected officials, rumor has it that the Colorado Democratic and Republican parties received no more than a few dozen passes.

Politics as theater: Can personal authenticity be manufactured?

The Colorado Statesman

On Debate Day the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government assembled a luncheon colloquy at the Brown Palace to discuss the dramatic dimensions of the modern presidency. With a panel that included Aaron Sorkin, the Academy and Emmy award winning screenwriter of The Social Network, Moneyball and The West Wing, this was a sizzling hot ticket event.

Obama warms up shivering supporters the morning after

The Colorado Statesman

It’s probably a good thing that Northwest Denver is a solid Democratic neighborhood. The sound system at Barack Obama’s post debate rally Thursday morning was just short of deafening. The police officer at the tennis court parking lot, a quarter of a mile away, was wearing earplugs as rock and roll rattled windows and set dogs barking. It seems probable that the organizers were hoping for an ebullient, end zone dance for the President, but in today’s wired world everyone knew the score. Mitt Romney had thumped the leader of the free world like a drum on Wednesday evening.


Political poetic justice: Hillary, dillary dock, the pundits speed up the clock!

Contributing Columnist

Since the only suspense in Charlotte was whether the President’s acceptance speech would have to be moved indoors, the assembled punditocracy found it far more productive to speculate on the 2016 convention. In exchange for his nominating speech had Slick Willie extracted a promise from Barack Obama to support Hillary next time out (perhaps to the eventual disappointment of Joe Biden)? Was there anyone among the putative candidates, collectively known as the seven dwarfs, who could challenge Snow White? And, what of the party rank and file?


The delicate delegate selection process of Colorado Dems has changed over the years

Contributing Columnist

I moved to Denver in October of 1972, too late to attend my Democratic caucus or even to cast a vote. I was therefore unaware that a McGovern juggernaut engineered by Gary Hart had swept an entire generation from party leadership in Colorado. My precinct committeeman in North Denver was one of the few holdovers who managed to survive. Joe Vinnola was the ‘starter’ at the dog track in Commerce City and a staunch supporter of Mike Pomponio’s Denver machine. Pomponio, the long time Democratic Captain on the north side and a master of proxy warfare, had been among the first to fall.


Seen any Olympic caliber politicians lately?

The Colorado Statesman

If you have ever donated to a Colorado political campaign, Democratic or Republican, and you still have a landline telephone, then your enjoyment of the recently concluded London Olympics was almost surely interrupted by frequent calls from money-grubbing candidates. It’s useful that our elections and the Olympic games coincide every four years. They serve as a reminder of what can be achieved through sheer determination, commitment, hard work and nearly super-human effort.


Surely we can devote more effort to scanning for the whack jobs among us

Contributing Columnist

It’s always a surreal experience when you are traveling far from home, and something bizarre or terrifying is reported to have occurred there in your absence. I learned twenty years ago that when the President of your Homeowner’s Association tracks you down in Seattle, it isn’t to deliver good news. A freak hailstorm had smashed all the windows along the north wall of my fourth floor condo in North Denver. My daughter was staying with me that summer and shouldered the responsibility of having them boarded up until I could return. The only good news was that, while other homeowners were cleaning up their damage, I was speaking to my insurance agent and ordering replacements before the entire Denver market ran out of glass.


The so-called ‘voter fraud’ fraud

Contributing Columnist

So what does all this rumored voter fraud really look like? In order for fraud to genuinely threaten Colorado’s democracy it would need to be organized, extensive and a game of large numbers. There would have to be meetings, assignments and a plan. It would require, if not an army, at least platoons of conspirators — perhaps, even collaborators at the clerk’s office or in the voting booth. How could all this unreported collusion avoid the gimlet eye of the law?