Forget red and blue America. The real division is between red and green Colorado. Both of the states GOP candidates for U.S. Senate emphatically chose green chili as their hands-down favorite (no decision on whether they prefer Colorado- or New Mexico-style), while each of the Dems went con carne all the way. Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar even went so far as to claim he makes the best chili. Hey, thems fightin words.
And just in time for the August 10 primary. To see who would endure in an issues- and pop-culture-related smackdown, Westword asked Salazar, fellow Democrat Mike Miles and Republicans Bob Schaffer and Pete Coors fifteen questions about everything from who would win on Celebrity Deathmatch Marilyn Musgrave or Pat Schroeder to how they would bridge the gap between the needs and realities of rural and urban Colorado.
Congressman Schaffer dished up a spicy bowl full of whup-ass as well as some excellent one-liners. In fact, he could easily replace Governor Bill Owens as the partys go-to guy for the Republican Rapid-Response Team. Miles got in a few good witticisms himself, while Coors went the straight-and-narrow route. The complete answers are posted at westword.com; here are a few highlights.
If this were Celebrity Deathmatch, who would win: Pat Schroeder or Marilyn Musgrave?
Coors: Marilyn Musgrave.
Miles: Pat Schroeder.
Salazar: Pat Schroeder.
Schaffer: Musgrave is much too dignified and classy to participate in such an event. Teresa Heinz Kerry vs. Hillary? That contest is sort of in its first round as we speak, isnt it?
What one issue are you the most passionate about?
Coors: There are two: supporting our troops and reforming the tax code.
Miles: Im most concerned about making sure the ordinary person has a voice in the political process, and that as a people, we help others during troubled times. Issue-wise, Im most concerned about health care.
Salazar: Education. It was the path to opportunity for me and millions of others. From early childhood through higher education, from standards and accountability to safe schools, this is something I feel strongly about.
Schaffer: Education for poor American kids. Their parents deserve more options.
Whos got the best campaign ad (no fair voting for your own):
Coors: John Hickenloopers parking-meter ad.
Miles: I like the optimism of John Kerrys ad.
Salazar: John Kerrys ad on valor.
Schaffer: Miller Brewing Company.
What campaign ad would you like to see?
Coors: Anything positive.
Miles: My own . . .played as often as Peter Coorss!
Salazar: One about truth in political ads.
Schaffer: The one with Ken Salazar correcting the popes view on Catholicism.
What is the biggest issue facing Colorado?
Coors: Jobs and economy.
Miles: Health care. One in every three Coloradoans last year were without health care or underinsured at some point.
Salazar: Economic opportunity. People need jobs that can support a family. We need to work to keep good jobs in Colorado and in the U.S., and stop giving companies incentives to move overseas.
Schaffer: Education. Colorado is home to one of the highest minority drop-out rates in America. No sane Coloradan should tolerate such failure. This reality impacts our economy, job growth, security and much more.
If you were stranded on a desert island with a group of U.S. senators, lawyers and lobbyists, what one law would you want to have in place?
Coors: Ten Commandments.
Miles: You have to shop for your own groceries and wash your own socks!
Salazar: Cloture. [The closing of debate in a legislative body in order to bring the question to a vote. Websters]
Schaffer: Second Amendment rights for everyone except the lawyers.
As a senator, what will you do to help bridge the gap between rural and urban Colorado since each faces very different needs and realities?
Coors: As a fourth-generation Coloradan, I have strong roots in both rural and urban Colorado. I understand the range of issues impacting all parts of our state, from the needs of our farmers to the concerns about transportation in the metro area. Although there are differences between urban and rural needs in Colorado, there are many similarities as well. Everyone has an interest in a robust economy and a strong, safe nation, and those are issues that I want to fight for.
Miles: Having already logged over 90,000 miles traveling the state and listening to the people of Colorado, urban and rural, I would continue to visit and listen and to advance solutions that advance the common good.
Salazar: While the rural and urban communities face different realities, their goals are the same. Both communities hope for affordable health care, quality jobs and the opportunity for a good education. Ill put a spotlight on rural America.
Schaffer: This Ive done throughout my six years representing Colorados rural Fourth Congressional District in the U.S. Congress. Both economies are inextricably linked. Both settings need a senator dedicated to water conservation and expanded storage capacity for the state. Both deserve better schools. Both deserve a lower tax burden. When it comes to the allocation of scarce resources especially water and private-property rights preserving agriculture and private ownership should be the higher objective.
If you could prevent your tax dollars from funding one thing, what would it be?
Coors: $50 million rainforest that the federal government built in Iowa and other wasteful pork projects.
Miles: No Child Left Behind. Also very important to have prevented would have been the Medicare discount drug card and portions of the Patriot Act.
Salazar: Corporate tax subsidies to tobacco interests.
If you could only fund one federal program, what would it be?
Coors: Military/national defense.
Miles: [No answer]
Salazar: Head Start. Education makes this country stronger in every way. A quality education in this country cannot be only for the privileged. Head Start is a program that balances the playing field, gives young children who really need it the attention and preparation they need to be successful students, and makes this country a stronger, more just nation.
Schaffer: The United States Marine Corps.
Whats the one issue that has been raised in the Senate race that you feel is totally inconsequential?
Coors: Nothing is inconsequential.
Miles: Re-naming monuments.
Salazar: Some have criticized me for wearing my cowboy hat. Ive worn hats and caps for nearly fifty years and wont stop now.
Schaffer: Pete Coorss proposal to lower the drinking age, legalize teenage consumption and teach kids about drinking in schools.
You want to give your new Senate office a makeover. What reality-TV show would choose for the renovations: While You Were Out, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy or This Old House?
Coors: I would enlist the crew from Trading Spaces because they stick to a strict budget.
Miles: Sorry. I havent seen all of these shows, so I cant answer.
Salazar: This Old House.
Schaffer: While You Were Out. Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is already under contract to remodel the new Coors/Molson corporate offices.Star Gazing
Colorados had a long line of larger-than-life personalities warming the seats of Congress and the U.S. Senate. To find out who could keep the tradition of Pat Schroeder, Gary Hart and Ben Nighthorse Campbell alive, we asked local psychic Julia Stonestreet Smith, who reads for the Twelfth House bookstore, to see what the stars hold for each of the candidates. Ive never met any of these folks; I dont even know what most of them look like, says Stonestreet Smith. I know little to nothing about their lives. That includes the fact that Schaffer strongly identifies with the religious right something she was able to divine only from knowing his date, time and place of birth. Heres how she reads each of their charts:
Pete Coors, 57, born in Denver, Colorado
Pete is a Libra with the planet Neptune conjunct with his sun, which is also in Libra. This makes it very easy to project whatever you want onto him. Neptune is the planet of dreams and illusions and may tend to make Coors a bit mysterious and more than a bit glamorous. This candidate may come across as shy one moment and very charismatic the next.
Religion probably played an important part in his childhood. The search for meaning and, as an extension, spirituality, is reinforced by the Pluto/Saturn conjunction in the ninth house. (The ninth house represents the pursuit of education, spiritual ideas and travel.) This candidate values education and could make the funding of higher education one of his key issues. Coors has probably made travel a top priority in life and values the experience it has brought him. This is also the part of his personality that struggles to make meaning out of life. He probably has a rather tough inner critic. Saturn and Pluto both tend to be stern and discipline-oriented.
The Venus/Moon conjunction in Scorpio gives him a quiet kind of emotional intensity. He will not forget a slight easily or quickly. This candidate can hold a grudge! He will be especially rough with anyone who threatens his family. This is a passionate person, but because the two planets fall in the twelfth house, Coors can get lost in his own feelings sometimes, making it hard to see the issues with impartiality.
With Mars and Jupiter together in Scorpio, this candidate has an abundance of energy but may tend to be secretive about his agenda. It will be hard to tell exactly what he stands for until he feels comfortably in power. No doubt he is very idealistic, with three planets in the eleventh house of hopes, wishes and dreams. His ideas may seem ahead of their time. This wont be a problem if he can find a way to speak the language of the masses. With Coors, it may come down to his ability to share his vision honestly and in a way that makes sense to most folks.
Mike Miles, 47, born in Panama Canal Zone
Mike is a complex personality. The Sun and Jupiter are conjunct in his chart in the sign of Virgo. Whats interesting about this is that both planets (the Sun and Jupiter) are known for optimism and expansion in one of the most cynical signs (Virgo) in the zodiac. Virgo is also very service-oriented, so Mike should be motivated to help people and make things better. He can infuse a lot of optimism into his approach, while underneath it all he may feel very critical of the status quo. Mars is in opposition to his Sun/Jupiter conjunction, which could lead to a lot of fluctuations in his energy level. It may be a challenge for Mike to maintain intensity over a long period of time.
With Mars in Pisces, Miles is very tuned in to suffering and injustice. This kind of sensitivity is a good thing to have in the rough-and-tumble world of politics. Having said that, it may be a challenge to be so sensitive in such a competitive arena.
Saturn and Pluto are in a very tense aspect in Mikes chart. He has encountered many power struggles and may be the poster child for the slogan question authority. He has probably had to learn how to respect some of the leaders and bosses hes worked for. A part of him is always aware of how the situation could be improved, and he may have to work hard to find a diplomatic way to suggest changes he feels are important.
With Venus and Uranus in alignment, this candidate will be attracted to radical ideas. He likes to experiment and is not afraid to try a new approach. He has a great ability to adapt to changing circumstances, which brings out a lot of creativity when its needed the most. With Venus and Uranus in Leo, this candidate enjoys being perceived as different and unique. He is not afraid to make a statement, even if it makes him temporarily unpopular.
Ken Salazar, 49, born in Alamosa, Colorado
Salazar is a Pisces, and as such, he will always be sensitive to those less fortunate. He has a lot of compassion and will take his constituents concerns to heart. He may have a tendency to identify with the underdog and will have difficulty experiencing affinity with the power elite.
Salazars Gemini moon makes him very open-minded and curious about everything and anything. This can lead to chaos, but it will also give him the ability to see the issues from many different angles. He is a great communicator and will welcome everyones opinions. There is a lot of flexibility in this moon sign.
Having said that, with Mars in Taurus, Salazar knows when to dig in his heels and hold steady. Taurus energy is known for its stubbornness. He will not be afraid to stand up and make a point even if its not the popular choice. Taurus energy is also very earthy, so there will be a lot of practical reasoning behind his decisions.
This candidate is devoted to his family and will work hard to see them prosper. With Venus in Capricorn, he probably started working at a young age to help support his family. He is not afraid to get involved in projects that will take a long time to come to fruition. This man is patient and willing to make sacrifices to make his dreams come true. Salazar probably has rather traditional values when it comes to home and hearth.
With Jupiter and Uranus both in Cancer, Salazar has been influenced by many dynamic, unusual women. His mother must have been a very interesting person. (Cancer rules over mothers.) He is sensitive to womens issues and has reverence toward feminine energy. These two planets also give him a great deal of creativity, helping him come up with radical solutions seemingly out of nowhere. The combination of Pisces and Cancer in his chart give him a big, generous heart. He probably tries to hide his sensitivity in order to participate in politics. Underneath it all, he cares a lot, though the average person will have a hard time seeing his depth. Youd have to get to know him personally to see how deep the still waters run.
Bob Schaffer, 42, born in Cincinnati, Ohio
Bob is a Leo. He may have had a difficult relationship with his father, as most Leos do. Getting approval was impossible while growing up, which can make a person slightly unsure of themselves in adult life. This is reinforced by Saturn, which opposes his Sun in Leo. Someone with this chart may have had a childhood filled with sacrifices and responsibility. The positive aspect of the Leo energy is the ability to command an audience. He will do best in front of groups that share his values. Its harder to convert those who stand in opposition to him, as it may resonate with the early parental disapproval he experienced.
Bob also has a Venus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo. He is not afraid of hard work, and he is also not afraid of doing the less glamorous parts of any given job. He can see how to make things better and will apply himself until he creates the changes he feels passionate about. There are some strong, focused women in this mans life. They will definitely be behind the scenes, but exerting a powerful influence over him and his policies.
This candidate knows how to create prosperity on a personal level and may be able to use this ability for his constituents. He has a great sense of business and finance, which shows up in Jupiter opposing his Pluto. With an opposition, its clear that he has struggled at times and knows how it feels to have less. He has also learned how to turn it around and create more abundance. With Jupiter in the sign of Pisces, religion and spirituality bring comfort to him when all else fails. He may identify strongly with Christianity or Christian values, which is pretty much open to interpretation these days.