Colorado Republicans have an opportunity Tuesday to join the political fray by participating in their neighborhood caucus. With a contest to gain the partys nomination for president that has set records for its breadth and duration, this years caucuses could be especially lively, and important.
It is a first step in the every-four-year process of choosing a president. Caucus attendees will speak in favor of their candidate, votes will be taken, and the usual multitude of resolutions will be proposed and discussed (Democrats will caucus on March 6).
Candidate tallies and resolutions gaining favor will be forwarded to the partys Montezuma County assembly at its February 24 meeting. There delegates will be chosen to attend the state assembly on April 14, and resolutions will follow.
Expect some unusually youthful caucus attendees Tuesday evening, too, as Texas Congressman Ron Pauls advocacy of extremely limited government roles, severely reduced foreign engagement and a smaller military, has appealed to the young. Pauls supporters are famous for their small but numerous online contributions. Many of Pauls supporters Tuesday evening may come from the ranks of Fort Lewis College students.
For conservatives on social issues, former Pennsylvania Gov. Rick Santorum will best represent their interests. He won the Iowa caucuses in that conservative state, and has consistently stayed on message.
Most talk has been about former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich who has consistently weaved stories of past successes with himself at the center, and has been able to dance away from a salary paid by a king of the mortgage lenders. Although he had a long career as a Washington insider with a divisive bent, he fearlessly presents himself as an outsider who can lead.
It has only been in the past week or so that past party leaders, fearing Gingrichs momentum, have spoken out about his history of unilateral decision making and his propensity to throw bombs. That behavior forced him out of his leadership role in Congress in the 1990s, and to resign his seat.
Mitt Romney has been trying hard to adopt conservative positions and to argue for a reduced federal government, while putting some distance from his record as governor of Massachusetts and from the substantial money he made and continues to make from a private equity finance firm. Until Florida, last week, he had a difficult time of it.
In competing for his partys nomination, Romney has talked the talk of those on the right. Some of those statements have been extreme and others have led to painful sound bites. In deeds, however, Romney has been much more of a pragmatist. His record as governor of a liberal-to-moderate state, as the leader of the winter Olympics in Utah and as a deal-maker in the corporate world are an indication of the breadth of his capabilities.
Mitt Romney offers the most realistic challenge to President Barack Obama, giving Republicans the best chance to capture the White House in November. Romney deserves to triumph in Colorados GOP caucuses.
Expect caucus-goers to emphasize their candidates accomplishments while their shortcomings go unspoken, and to argue in favor of the person who will be able to unseat Obama. This setting is for party members to emphasize the positives.
The county Republican Partys website montezumagop.org can tell you where your caucus will be held Tuesday evening. You may have to commit to a couple of hours, but it will be a lesson in democracy. Take it in and participate.