Going rogue in Loveland: A would-be Palin for Colorado’s 4th District

Friday night, self-identifying “average person” Dean Madere made his first real candidate appearance at the Ranch in Loveland, where the Tea Party of Northern Colorado and local Glenn Beck-born 9-12 groups hosted a well-attended “meet the candidates” forum. Running to challenge U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey, excitable Madere prowled the stage in a distinctly nondesigner gray tweed blazer, his bangs tossing back and forth as he paced before the crowd. Madere seemed to be trying to suck air out of the microphone between phrases.

In fact, it was a good forum for the Lovelander and recent political activist. The crowd of 500 cheered his efforts. Madere was saying things they wanted to hear, things they hear and read every day in the conservative media. What’s more, his anxiety and lack of experience seemed the best mix of qualifications to perform the job these voters would have their representative do in Washington: they would have Madere do nothing, or more accurately, to work hard at making sure that Washington can do nothing.

CO4 U.S. House candidate Dean Madere
CO4 U.S. House candidate Dean Madere

“I’m angry. I’m discouraged. I’m scared about what’s happening to our country. And I’m tired of voting for politicians. I’m interested in voting for real Americans,” Madere said introducing himself in response to the opening question from moderators Keith Weinman and Gail Fallen of Fox News’ KCOL’s morning talk-radio show.

What would Madere do, Fallen asked, in the face of the “ongoing war waged by environmentalists?” Madere was ready for this one.

“You know, Cap and Trade is bad because it takes away my liiberty. I’m against anything that takes away liberty. In school, I learned the earth is always heating and cooling. Now all of a sudden it’s my fault?”

The crowd roared in agreement.

“We won’t be able to even buy the kind of light bulbs we want.”

Madere was upbeat. He enjoyed putting his ideas out there next to those of his rival candidates, including University of Colorado Regent Tom Lucero of Berthoud and national GOP favorite state Rep. Cory Gardner of Yuma.

The spirit of Sarah Palin, the queen of anti-Washington just-folks six-pack politics whose memoir garnered reviews in papers across the country today, hovered over the event.

State Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, spoke for U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck, who was making an appearance in Colorado Springs.

“I’m a lawyer and a career politician and I’m from California,” joked Mitchell. “I’m glad I’m not running to represent this district.”

In reviewing Palin’s book, the New York Times was predictably withering, but reviewer Michiko Kakutani took no joy in the phenomenon the book unwittingly describes.

Mr. McCain’s astonishing decision to pick someone with so little experience (less than two years as the governor of Alaska, and before that, two terms as mayor of Wasilla, an Alaskan town with fewer than 7,000 residents) as his running mate underscores just how alarmingly expertise is discounted — or equated with elitism — in our increasingly democratized era, and just how thoroughly colorful personal narratives overshadow policy arguments and actual knowledge. Ms. Palin herself had a surprisingly nonchalant reaction to Mr. McCain’s initial phone call about the vice president’s slot, writing that she was not astonished, that it felt “like a natural progression.”

The McCain-Palin ticket lost, of course, and as Kikutani reports, an October CNN poll reported that 7 of 10 Americans now believe Palin is not qualified to be president.

You wouldn’t have guessed it in Loveland Friday night.

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