Fred Barnes is best known to many Americans as a talking head on Fox News, but all the white lights and hairspray haven't dulled his skills as a serious reporter, as his Weekly Standard story on The Colorado Model illustrates. For a non-Coloradoan, Barnes does an excellent job of tracing the slumping trajectory of Republicans in the state, and of explaining why Democrats have made such stunning gains -- a trend that seems likely to continue this fall.
Barnes does such a good job, in fact, that I have little to add or critique. I would simply recommend the story to anyone who may be scratching their heads and wondering, "What happened to Colorado?" -- and who may wonder whether such a political coup could be replicated in their home state. Part of what befell the GOP stems from the rot and malaise afflicting the party generally. But the dramatic reversal of fortune also must be chalked up to the ruthless, multi-faceted spin machine a few deep-pocket Dems put together here. And it's largely flown below the radar, circumventing (and at the same time benefiting from) campaign finance laws.
Especially insidious is Media Matters Colorado, an obvious Democrat Party front traveling under the guise of a media watchdog group. Ironically, the group may be alienated it's natural allies inside the legitimate media with its shrill insistence that any news story that doesn't tilt left confirms a conservative media conspiracy. Yet members of Colorado's mainstream media, despite being badgered and mischaracterized by the group, seem reluctant to pull back the veil on its hush-hush funding sources and dishonest motives.
Barnes, sitting in his far-away Washington office, does an admirable job of putting some of the puzzle pieces together. What's wrong with the "journalists" here in Colorado?