If US Senator Michael Bennet makes a speech about how unpopular Congress is you can be sure of one thing: Allison Sherry of The Denver Post will post a fluff piece on it. What that shoddy excuse for journalism will not contain is any mention as to how Michael Bennet is part of the reason Congress is so unpopular.
For a politician who likes to pretend he is above the political fray, he sure has engaged in plenty of the behavior that makes people hate politicians. From slash and burn politics to Senate soliloquies on the ills of bills he votes for, Bennet loves to pretend he is not everything that he actually is.
He made it to Congress in the first place through a political appointment, having never held elected office until an unpopular Democrat Governor bestowed the gift of a US Senate seat upon him. When the time came to get the voter's permission to keep his gift, he ran not one, but two, cynical and negative campaigns to keep his seat.
Ask supporters of Andrew Romanoff and Ken Buck if they think Michael Bennet is not part of the problem.
As Dan Haley said in a Denver Post editorial last year:
Why is everything [Bennet] hates about Washington now taking center stage in his campaign?
Despite Bennet's hypocritical attacks on negative, divisive politics, it was exactly that which landed him back in Washington, DC. Apparently for Bennet, a divide and conquer strategy is only appropriate when it continues to keep him on the taxpayer's dole.
Beyond elections, Bennet has loved to castigate Washington for the same policies he votes for.
Anyone remember the Denver Post editorial that savaged Bennet during the Obamacare debates for the exact same thing that Allison Sherry allows him to get away with now? Of course that was when there was still the sensible leadership of Dan Haley on the board:
Bennet in late December made an impassioned speech on the Senate floor about the ugly process and failures of the bill. It was the type of speech a strong, moderate senator from Colorado should give. But then he turned around and voted for the bill.
Perhaps our senator is trying to curry favor with President Obama, who is in town today to raise money for Bennet's campaign. If so, it's a mistake.
It's an oddly disjointed political persona. Bennet stakes out the popular rhetorical position on bills, but then votes in lock step with Harry Reid and Barack Obama's priorities, whether they have the nation's support or not.
He decries partisanship from the Senate floor, but when time comes to drop the partisan hammer at Harry Reid's insistence, Bennet is right there on the same Senate floor to vote for the nuclear option.
Bennet's floor speeches are about as out of whack with his political positions as a Wells Fargo executive leading chants at Occupy Wall Street.
Speaking of bailouts, wasn't it Bennet who said we have trillions in national debt and "nothing to show for it" on the campaign trail?
Now that he's back in Washington, Bennet has done nothing to deal with it. Even during the debt ceiling debate, Bennet spent most of his time attacking Washington rhetorically and asking his supporters to sign petitions so that their voice was heard — you know, the job he was ostensibly elected to do — rather than co-sponsoring legislation or trying to hammer out compromises.
It's really become Bennet's M.O.: Attack DC, then vote as Harry Reid tells him to. Key to this strategy is getting Allison Sherry to publicize his rhetoric, not his voting record. It allows him to keep his DC overlords happy, while still pretending to be Mr. Anti-DC to Coloradans back home.
Let's review some of the "Beltway Blog" "coverage" of 2011:
Bennet attacks Congress as less popular than the IRS and communism on Thursday.
Bennet angry about Congressional action on labor union bill in October.
Bennet disgusted with Congress in October.
Bennet annoyed about debt ceiling bill in August.
Bennet upset with the budget negotiations in April.
Bennet complains some more about Congressional budget negotiations in April.
And the list goes on…
Isn't it time Bennet stopped attacking Washington as if he were an innocent bystander? After all it's his party, which he votes in lock step with, that controls the White House and the US Senate. And isn't it time the Denver Post stopped letting Allison Sherry merely act as Bennet's PR flack and publish some legitimate journalism?