Colorado Gun-Control Recall Vote Happened, Liberals; Deal With It
Around the State
Could Florida's liberal media have done any more to teeny-tinyize last week's vote in Colorado recalling a pair of Democrats for supporting a gun-control package? Anybody else notice?
It's as if they saw the story and hit that little "minimize" square on the upper right-hand corner of their computer screens. Zap -- this vote can't be right.
Most Sunshine State newspapers that did write a story buried it on page who-cares, but not before blaming the results, as usual, on the National Rifle Association.
Did you hear anywhere besides conservative FOX News that the anti-recall effort outspent the gun-lobby 5-1? It's a fact. Billionaire Eli Broad and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried hard to deliver a no-recall vote to a president determined to strengthen the nation's gun-control laws.
As usual, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz had the wrong end of the stick, writing off the recall result as “voter suppression, pure and simple.” That seemed to make news in Florida, even though Colorado voters were about as suppressed as water in a Lake Okeechobee discharge. Sour-grapes tone of its coverage aside, even the New York Times reported, "Despite huge voter-turnout drives and Obama-style canvassing, more of (Morse's and Giron's) opponents showed up" to throw them out.
Some Florida TV stations pooh-poohed the story because the election was confined to two small districts. It didn't repeal any gun laws and it didn't change the majority in the Colorado General Assembly. Hence, no big deal.
Yet, so much about this story rises above political event coverage and elevates its newsworthiness. Media -- especially in Florida where Stand Your Ground is likely to get another look next legislative session -- should do better than write it off as partisan politics-as-usual. It has far more meaning.
Look at this election. If it was all about partisan politics, why did more independents and Democrats sign the recall petition than Republicans? Why, in Giron's Pueblo district, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 47 to 23 percent, did the recall pass by double digits?
Colorado had never successfully recalled an elected official. This was a first.
What happened is simple, really, and it has nothing to do with the NRA.
In 2012, the majority in the Colorado General Assembly changed from Republican to Democratic. One of the first things lawmakers did was to push through tougher gun restrictions. The new laws, among other things, require background checks for private gun sales and limit ammunition magazines to 15 rounds.
While all the pushing for new legislation was going on, citizens were clearly opposed, crying out to be heard. And on March 4, hundreds of Colorado citizens traveled to the state Capitol. It was the day Senate committees were deliberating those new gun-control measures. But they were turned away and not heard.
Included were 30 sheriffs who came to testify; only one was allowed to speak. The petition drive started from there.
"We'd never been to a rally or town halls," Victor Head told the New York Times. Head, a Pueblo plumber borrowed money from his grandmother to start the petition drive against Giron. "We'd never done much politically other than voting."
It was arrogance that spelled the demise of the two senators, not their party affiliation, not the NRA's muscle, not voter suppression, perhaps not even the gun laws themselves. It was their senators' failure to listen to what they had to say. All they had to do is hear out the men and women charged with keeping the peace in Colorado, and they refused.
Had Giron and Morse listened, had they genuinely considered the argument on the other side, would there have been a recall petition at all? I don't think so.
I'm a little surprised the media in Florida -- with the exception of local FOX affiliates -- couldn't find more in the Colorado recall story to report and comment on -- if nothing more than a discussion of the political risks of voting for tougher gun laws.
Reach Nancy Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 228-282-2423.