Republicans Win One: Bradford Bests Buescher

I’m not entirely displeased to see that Republican Laura Bradford beat incumbent Bernie Buescher in the Grand Junction state house race. Back in 2005, my dad and I blasted Buescher for supporting higher net taxes and for earning a zero rating from the Colorado Union of Taxpayers.

Still, Bradford barely pulled off a surprise upset in a county that went 63 percent for McCain.

In this race, as in races across Colorado and the nation, voters were faced with a choice of two evils: political force in our private lives versus political force in our economic lives.

In a video on her web page, Bradford criticizes Buescher and Governor Bill Ritter for wanting “higher taxes” and the obstruction of drilling. “My priorities are lower taxes, more jobs, a strong economy,” Bradford says. She won on economic issues.

Yet elsewhere on her page she reaches out to the religious right:

Laura supports all life: the unborn, the unprotected, and elderly, the unwanted. She believes that the constitution ensures that —the endowed rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Laura would support the efforts of lawmakers to define ‘personhood’ to include the unborn. Two recent cases in Mesa County, where a baby died after it was born due to grievous injuries caused to its mother, yet charges are not able to be brought against those who inflicted the injuries. Even in states like California, the baby of Lacy Peterson, little Connor Peterson, was considered a person, and his father charged and sentenced in the cause of his death.

NARAL (The National Association to Repeal Abortion Laws) is the political action arm of the pro-choice movement. During 2007, based on a point system—points assigned for actions IN SUPPORT of NARAL, Representative Bernie Buescher received a rating of 100. …

Laura would not support any legislation changing the meaning of marriage from one man and one woman.

Laura does not oppose, however, the right for gays to have civil unions, shared estates, medical visitation or other common rights protected for all citizens.

Laura does not support the discrimination of any person.

Notice that Bradford is not shrilly anti-homosexual, as are many Republicans; the debate over marriage versus civil unions is a fair one. And Bradford’s concern over criminal penalties for those who harm a woman’s fetus do not justify her broader position, for criminal penalties can be applied based on the violation of the woman’s rights. While she does not recognize the far-reaching implications of Amendment 48, the personhood measure, at least she doesn’t run on those implications (which is both good and bad).

The Denver Post reports that Buescher said that “Republicans attacked him for his support of Ritter’s controversial mill-levy freeze that kept tax rates from dropping and on oil and gas issues. Also, he was hit for his support of Senate Bill 200, a measure that bans discrimination based on a person’s religious beliefs or sexual orientation.”

S.B. 200 indicates what’s wrong in the standard debate over homosexuality. The religious right declares homosexuality a sin, consistently demonizes homosexuals, and aims to legally discriminate against them. The left wants to force people to associate with homosexuals in violation of the rights of property, contract, and expression — that is what 200 accomplishes. How can homosexuals ask for the right to contract freely when some refuse to recognize the equal rights of others? The correct position is that homosexuality is fine and should be socially accepted, homosexuals should have their rights fully respected, but those hostile to homosexuals also have rights that should be respected, even when they practice those rights badly. So beating up Buescher over 200 was entirely appropriate.

From what I can tell, Buescher lost for all the right reasons. And that is another bit of good news regarding election day in Colorado.