The Death of a Red State

A close race in one Republican stronghold suggests that the politics of bigotry may finally be over


Posted Oct 30, 2008 1:00 PM

Driving down a rainy Colorado highway in October, I can see the misty white outline of the Rockies out one window and the arid brown flatlands of the Great Plains out the other. Overlaying it all is the faint but unmistakable stench of cattle.

I follow the smell.

I have come to the 4th Congressional District in Colorado — a massive territory encompassing virtually all of the state north and east of Denver — to cover the re-election campaign of Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. Musgrave was Sarah Palin before Sarah Palin, a turbocharged born-again supermom who went into politics because she couldn’t stand all the naughtiness. Her first political gig was on the school board in Fort Morgan, where she devoted her energies to blacking out — literally blacking out — passages in sex-education textbooks. Later, as a state legislator, she pushed a concealed-weapon law that would have allowed guns on school grounds. She was a preposterous caricature of an evangelical politician, an Anita Bryant with a beer gut, but like Palin she was already on her way to a Major Elected Office by the time anyone thought to stop laughing. Her first act upon making it to Congress in 2003 was to introduce an amendment to ban gay marriage. She declared unequivocally — after 9/11 and the launching of two wars — that the union of same-sex couples is “the most important issue we face today.” Continue reading

Your Pocket Guide to Speaking Palin-guage


Up in the Twin Cities area folks are speaking a new language. Or, should I say Palinguage. It sounds sorta familiar because it’s Latin based. But different from the plain English we’re used to speaking, in Palinguage recognizable words take on new meanings. Won’t you take a moment to learn some Plainguage so you can talk like a hypocritical conservative?


If you’re a minority and you’re selected for a job over more qualified candidates you’re a “token hire.” If you’re a conservative and you’re selected for a job over more qualified candidates you’re a “game changer.”

If you live in an Urban area and you get a girl pregnant you’re a “baby daddy.” If you’re the same in Alaska you’re a “teen father.” (Actually, according to your own MySpace page you’re an F’n redneck that don’t want any kids, but that’s too long a phrase for the evil liberal media to take out of context and flog morning noon and night).

Black teen pregnancies? A “crisis” in black America. White teen pregnancies? A “blessed event.”

If you grow up in Hawaii you’re “exotic.” Grow up in Alaska eating mooseburgers, you’re the quintessential “American story.”

Similarly, if you name you kid Barack you’re “unpatriotic.” Name your kid Track, you’re “colorful.”

If you’re a Democrat and you make a VP pick without fully vetting the individual you’re “reckless.” A Republican who doesn’t fully vet is a “maverick.”

If you say that for the “first time in my adult lifetime I’m really proud of my country” it makes you “unfit” to be First Lady. If you are a registered member of a fringe political group that advocates secession that makes you “First Dude.”

A DUI from twenty years ago is “old news.” A speech given without proper citation from twenty years ago is “relevant information.”

And, finally, if you’re a man and you decide to run for office despite your wife’s recurrence of cancer you’re a “questionable spouse.” If you’re a woman and you decide to run for office despite having five kids including a newborn… Well, we don’t know what that is ’cause THAT’S NOT A FAIR QUESTION TO ASK.