Just as Governor Bill Ritter has undermined his own political future by his handling of various union-related measures, so, too, has Michael Bennet, who Ritter appointed to the U.S. Senate when Ken Salazar moved to President Barack Obama's cabinet, given his reputation as a rising young Democratic party star some serious dents. This morning, Bennet finds himself right where he doesn't want to be -- on the front page of the Denver Post -- due to his continuing refusal to stake out a position in regard to the Employee Free Choice Act. The article's author, Michael Riley, succinctly describes the boomerang effect of his public neutrality on the issue: "Bennet's effort to stay out of a fight has instead put him smack in the middle of one, making him the focus of a massive lobbying effort and requiring an enormous amount of energy on the part of both the lawmaker and his staff to control."
From a political standpoint, Bennet's drawn-out waffling has empowered potential rivals such as Dan Caplis, who spent much of his KHOW afternoon-drive program yesterday crowing about the surprising vulnerability of both Bennet and Ritter. Even more distressing from a Democratic perspective, Caplis is correct. During a time when Dems should be cruising along, Ritter and Bennet have found different but related ways to slow their momentum to a crawl.