The Denver Post editorial page — ya know, that conservative right wing house party that Jason Salzman and Colorado Pols blustered about earlier last week — took an unfair side-swipe at Majority Leader Amy Stephens on Saturday. The Post ed board said that her demand that Hick opt-out of Obamacare in order to get healthcare “exchanges” was unreasonable.

“Everyone thought Stephens was on board, until, at the last moment, she introduced an amendment saying that the exchanges would go into effect only if the Gov. John Hickenlooper asked the Obama administration for a waiver to opt out of health care reform. That won't happen, of course.”

This is drivel from the Post. As we pointed out on Friday, Guv Hick has himself said he was open to an opt-out, and President Obama has said an opt-out is fair game.

The longer this goes, the more we are convinced that a debate that started off as divisive could end up being a political winner for Stephens and conservatives. Conservatives can take credit for steering the debate, and Representative Stephens can lay the choice on the door of Democrats: Obamacare or “healthcare exchanges”?  

If exchanges are all that Hick wants, then it should be an easy choice indeed.

Conservatives, such as Michelle Morin of Mom4Freedom, were very outspoken on their position on the bill, but most vocal particularly about the threat that SB 200 could take in allowing Obamacare to be implemented in Colorado. Majority Leader Stephens took that concern into account, leading to the current impasse with Democrats.

Stephens deserves a lot of credit for responding to grassroots concerns, and grassroots leaders like Morin, who was listed as one of the top five most influential Republicans in Colorado by Campaigns and Elections magazine, have praised Stephens for her efforts to include their concerns.

Morin deserves a great deal of praise for how she advocated for change in SB 200. While Morin was a leader in pushing Representative Stephens to stop a backdoor implementation of Obamacare, she has gone to great lengths to praise Stephens for her latest legislative maneuvering.

This is a key lesson for those in the conservative grassroots who want to have a meaningful impact on legislation: you need to be willing to acknowledge the good with as much ferocity as you criticize legislators when you disagree. Nobody listens to someone who only attacks them. 

But this debate and Stephens' leadership doesn't end here. There is still more work to be done.

In the spirit of furthering this debate, we hope conservatives will weigh in with the Governor directly.

Click here to send him an email to urge him to opt-out of Obamacare. And if you wouldn't mind, make sure to send us ([email protected]) a copy of the exchange. We will give a sampling of the best emails later this week.