Gessler’s brazen partisanship should make even the Mike Rosens of the world mad

As Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s term drags on, you’d think even the stomachs of conservatives like KOA’s Mike Rosen would turn when Gessler re-launches the partisan attacks he’s been on about since day one in office.

Maybe you wouldn’t expect Rosen to be sick of it, but everyone else, yes?

It’s almost laughable to suggest again that Gessler should take his office seriously and start sounding like our state’s top election official, instead of like a Republican attack dog, because no one expects Gessler to change his ways at this point.

But still, his partisan rhetoric is, to use an over-used word in political commentary, unacceptable, and even the likes of Rosen should call him on it.

For example, on Rosen’s show last week, Rosen read Gessler a Denver Post quote from Joanne Kron Schwartz, the Director of the progressive group ProgressNow, saying that Gessler’s attempt to find noncitizens on the voter rolls could intimidate some eligible voters, particularly Latinos, and result in their not voting.

A Secretary of State in his right mind, who wants people to have faith in elections, would answer Schwartz’s reasonable objection with a fact-based response, sticking to his lines about how the voting rolls must be scrutinized.

But Gessler’s immediate response sounds like something Rush Limbaugh might blast out.

“Unfortunately this is part of the left’s common tactic,” Gessler told Rosen, “just to scream voter intimidation whenever anything comes up they don’t like.”

Let me just say, I’m part of the left and I don’t scream voter intimidation “whenever anything comes up” that I don’t like. I never scream it at my 15-year-old son, for example, when he leaves a pig-pen-like trail of debris around the house.

Maybe Gessler means to say that the left is too concerned about voter intimidation.

But why would you expect a person with Gessler’s job title to stick to a measured response?

Gessler’s un-statesmanship continued, with Rosen’s approval:

Gessler: “I mean if you look back, back in 2004, you know, the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign actually published a Colorado election-day manual, and in that, they specifically said, if no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a preemptive strike. And they go through a whole list of things where the Democrats are supposed to launch a preemptive strike, accusing Republicans of intimidation, rounding up minority people. And that’s their word. It says, quote minority leadership denouncing tactics that discourage people from voting. So it’s really sort of a cynical way for the Democrats to try and rile up, and I should say the left as well, to rile up their base by making these accusations whether or not there are any facts to support it.”

Even if you accept Gessler’s facts about the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and why should you, do you really want your secretary of state to dismiss a historically legitimate concern about voter intimidation by accusing Democrats of cynically riling up their base?

It’s this sort of brazen partisanship that, at the end of the day, is Gessler’s core downfall as Secretary of State, epitomized in Gessler’s quote to the Greeley Tribune about his job: “You’re here to do something, to further the conservative viewpoint.”

We can disagree with his loose-with-the-facts style, and priorities, but his sullying of the office is what kills me most—and should even kill a civic-minded guy like Rosen.

“You have to sort of wonder at the motivations,” Gessler said later in the interview, speculating about the evil leftists that seem to haunt him. “I think a lot of times, what they are trying to do is play the race card, play the disenfranchisement card, and use it as a political talking point to rile up their base.”

Thanks, Rush Gessler.

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