"The Colorado Democratic Party has a deep bench, there are a lot of people who are able to step in and do this job," Governor Bill Ritter said yesterday in a question-and-answer session about his surprising decision not to run for reelection this year.
"This decision is a game changer, and I believe Colorado Democrats have a deep bench of potential candidates who can win this race," U.S. Representative Ed Perlmutter said in his statement following the announcement.
"Democrats have a very deep bench in Colorado, and statewide demographics are in their favor," former union spokeswoman and Democratic consultant Laura Chapin tweeted and then wrote in a Huffington Post article yesterday.
"I truly believe Bill Ritter could beat Scott McInnis, but we have a deep bench. We have others who could, too," Littleton state representative Joe Rice told the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.
What they meant, of course, is that "Colorado Democrats have so many fine qualified public leaders to choose from. Our goal is to commit ourselves to fielding the best candidate to represent Colorado," as state Democratic party chairwoman Pat Waak said -- although she also described it as a "bench" to Channel 4.
I have a bench, too. It sits in my backyard and is currently under four inches of Arctic snow. But it's not deep, which must explain why no one visits. But at this point -- only 36 hours into the Ritter/Ken Salazar news cycle -- I'm sick of the word bench.
The term comes from sports, as many political analogies do (remember "gameplanned"), and specifically from baseball or basketball, where backup players sit on an actual bench, waiting for an opportunity to get into the game if a starter struggles or is hurt.
It's a word that political junkies use on blogs when the talk about politics, a word that pols themselves use in strategy sessions, a word that has suddenly come into vogue to describe the long list of twitchy potential candidates who could run for Governor now.
Fine. Hopefully the right person will get up off the bench soon, so that the word "bench" itself can sit back down.