Douglas Bruce is a rational observer of the public arena. He is a man who engages in calm and mature discussion of public policy and shuns the emotional outbursts and personal attacks that have, apparently, been his unfortunate experience with others. In addition, by calling him an “extremist,” state Sen. John Morse can be thanked for sealing Mr. Bruce’s fate of going to Denver, by alerting all Republicans everywhere that Mr. Bruce is a real Republican.
All of this is according to, well, Douglas Bruce. (Oct. 29 UPDATE below.)Earlier this week the infamous El Paso County Commissioner, long known for his diatribes against other public officials throughout Colorado, announced he won’t be running for another term. Rather, he wants to replace Rep. Bill Cadman in the State House of Representatives as soon as next month. A Republican vacancy committee has the final say, and Bruce indicated that Democrat Morse, who is also from Colorado Springs, has locked it up for him.
Bruce expressed his gratitude to Morse during his announcement, and further spelled it out in a letter to the senator that he also posted at his Web site, DouglasBruce.com. Here is the letter, which is posted with the header, “Extremist”:
22 October 2007
Senator John Morse
200 E. Colfax Ave.
Denver CO 80203
Dear Senator Morse:
Thank you for publicly calling me an “extremist” last week. You certainly made clear your view of the one candidate you and other Democrats would not allow Republicans to nominate. No one could claim you communicated in Morse code on that occasion.
Your gift of ESP about a man you have never met is quite remarkable. For that public display, I am indebted to you. Your name-calling alerted all Republicans on the House District 15 vacancy committee that I will adhere faithfully to basic Republican principles, and that my voting record will never promote the liberal agenda.
Rational observers of the public arena have long noted that using emotional outbursts and personal attacks, instead of calm and mature discussion of public policy, is an intentional distraction from the topic. It is used to create fear of an opponent and to thwart exposure of the attacker’s weak and fallacious positions and philosophy. The shorthand summary of this failed debate tactic is, “He who first compares his opponent to Hitler loses the argument.” (Bold added.)
If there had been any doubt in the minds of the committee members that I should be chosen to succeed Bill Cadman in the legislature, you have erased it. Your gratuitous insult could not have been more helpful even if I had arranged it myself. Let me know when I may take you to lunch, so you may witness first-hand my dangerous and offensive belief in limited government, my embarrassing defense of personal liberty, and my atrocious table manners.
With deepest gratitude,
Douglas E. (for Extremist) Bruce
Colo. Spgs. CO 80936
firstname.lastname@example.org (I’m sure you would like this email address, but it’s taken. Sorry.)
P.S. Are you and Hillary pals? Do you think you could get her to insult me, too? That would transform my nomination from a mere majority to guaranteed unanimity. Thanks.
Late this week, Morse said he hasn’t yet received Bruce’s letter in the mail. But, he said, he knows about it. And then he laughed.
“I didn’t call him an extremist, I called his views extremist,” Morse said.
(Note: Morse’s point is correct. The originating story, which instigated Bruce’s comment, appeared in The Colorado Springs Gazette. This is the relevant paragraph: “Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, said he believes that Bruce’s `extremist’ views and attention-getting style would make him the public face of the GOP and would push a swing state further toward the Democratic side.”
But Morse is a bit miffed over Bruce’s claim that the two have never met.
“I have met him, but apparently I didn’t make a big enough impression,” Morse said. The senator says he has invited Bruce to participate in community meetings on various issues, and Bruce has always declined.
The good news, Morse notes, is that Bruce, whom numerous observers fear will frustrate the legislative process with the sort of harangues that he has become well-known for, will not be in the Senate.
“I have an advantage; he’s not coming to my chamber. He’s coming to a chamber near me, but I won’t have to sit through his lectures.”
UPDATE: Oct. 29
The following is Sen. Morse’s letter of response to Bruce, dated Oct. 26, 2007, in which he vows to do what he can, “within certain limits of course,” to help Bruce in his quest for a seat in the legislature – and accepts Bruce’s offer for lunch.
Commissioner Douglas Bruce
P.O. Box 26018
Colorado Springs, CO 80936
Dear Commissioner Bruce,
Thank you for your kind words. It was actually your views that I called extremist, but I am happy to do what I can, within certain limits of course, to help you in your quest for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives.
Of course I have mixed feelings about you joining the Legislature. On the one hand, the problems that only government can solve would be much better served with a Democrat in that seat. We both know the process does not permit that as a Republican currently holds the seat. You make a fine second choice as your reputation and results demonstrate you are an ardent advocate of a small government and that stands in stark contrast to my view that we need an effective government. We all want the size of government kept in check and its operations to maximize tax dollars. I welcome your ability to draw attention to this contrast in our views as, in my view, it will make it easier to convince others to reject your position.
I sincerely wish you good luck in your quest to gain this seat. Serving in the Legislature is truly an honor and, frankly, it makes Moms proud. It is humbling and exciting all at the same time. I count Sen. Dave Schultheis and Rep. Amy Stephens as friends and I sincerely hope to add your name to that list should you succeed in joining the legislature, perhaps even if not. I don’t vote with Schultheis and Stephens often, but I respect and value them. I mention them only in a hope to hit upon at least one, if not two, of the twelve other Republicans you hope to work with.
We have met. So, my opinion of your views is from both primary and secondary sources. I suspect you have more respect for secondary sources than your letter suggests as neither of us was present at the discussions or ratifications of either of the Constitutions we live by and use to support our arguments.
I would be absolutely delighted to accept your lunch invitation. In fact, I would entertain having lunch with you more than once. The trick is scheduling. I guess the anomaly of being a Democratic Senator from El Paso County is a big lunch draw! Right now I am looking at either December 17 or perhaps December 21. If neither of those dates work for you, and you were serious in your invitation, I would be happy to either look at other dates or get together in Denver during the session.
Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com to coordinate our lunch schedules. Thank you for your kind attention. I am as always,
Senator John P. Morse
Cara DeGette is a senior fellow at Colorado Confidential and a columnist and contributing editor at the Colorado Springs Independent. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org