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To concede or not to concede: That's still the question for Marilyn Musgrave

Marilyn Musgrave.
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In the November 7 blog "When Is Marilyn Musgrave Going to Concede Defeat to Betsy Markey," I noted that incumbent Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, who lost her latest re-election bid in the 4th District to Democrat Betsy Markey, still hadn't delivered a concession speech -- and her office didn't return a call asking if she planned such an address in the future. Two days later, the Denver Post weighed in on the topic by way of "Race Is Over in 4th, But Not Ill Will," in which a Markey spokesman pointed out that after coming up short, Musgrave didn't bother to phone Markey privately, either.

Predictably, blogosphere reaction to these reports has varied widely, with those at opposite ends of the political spectrum holding very different opinions about Musgrave's action, or lack thereof.

The title of an entry from the left-leaning AmericaBlog.com site speaks volumes. It reads, "Hateful Bigot Marilyn Musgrave, Who Lost By 12 Points, Hasn't Conceded Yet." At the other extreme is "Brava, Marilyn Musgrave!," from Politigal Colorado. The text of that piece reads:

Liberals in Betsy Markey’s campaign and the media are whining because Marilyn Musgrave hasn’t called to concede the race or congratulate her opponent. I say, "Good for you, Marilyn! It’s time to put a stop to this nonsense."

The only time it’s appropriate to concede a competition, like a chess game, is before it ends if the conclusion in inescapable. The results are in, and the race is over.

Also, you should only congratulate someone who does something good and does it well. You shouldn’t congratulate people, like Obama and Markey, who lie and cheat to obtain positions so they can try to destroy the country.

I couldn’t believe it this week when I read and heard conservatives congratulating Obama. I wanted to gag.

Is this a misapplication of a lesson learned in childhood about being good losers? Politics isn’t a game or a sport; it’s a war for our future, and you don’t congratulate your enemy when they win a battle. There is no sportsmanship award, and no matter how nice we are, the liberals won’t like us or treat us any better than they have.

Politigal's argument will likely strike a chord with a considerable slice of the Republican Party base -- the folks who feel especially bitter toward Markey for participating in a scorched-earth campaign, even though Musgrave took much the same tack in each of her runs for office. Problem is, this demographic wasn't large enough to bring Musgrave a victory. If she's interested in challenging Markey two years from now, she'll have to broaden her appeal, and that's mighty hard to do by acting petty, immature and classless in defeat.

Then again, if she holds her ground, she'll have a ready-made campaign slogan for 2010. "Marilyn Musgrave: Never Surrender!" -- Michael Roberts

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