Morse recall should send shock waves through the country

By: The Gazette editorial
September 11, 2013 Updated: September 11, 2013 at 11:07 am
photo - Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs
Sen. John Morse, D-Colorado Springs 

The people have spoken and the system works. Through the peaceful process of a special election, a majority of voters decided Senate President John Morse will not have another term in the Colorado Legislature. Morse becomes the first recalled state politician in Colorado history. He also becomes an important cautionary tale.

The election sends a powerful message to politicians throughout the country: Govern contrary to the interests of constituents, in a manner that threatens freedom and prosperity, and you may be recalled. Use your authority to assault the Constitution, and you may be recalled.

The recall reminds the rest of the country that Colorado isn't for sale. The billionaire mayor of New York City cannot write a check for the votes of people in Colorado Springs who value their most basic constitutional rights. The Chicago political machine's priciest and slickest political consultants, given a million-plus-dollars to spend, cannot sway the hearts and minds of constituents who feel poorly served. The powerful voice of former President Bill Clinton, who campaigned to keep Morse in office, does not determine our local representation. Vice President Joe Biden can applaud Morse for his actions, but only the locals decide the senator's long-term fate.

Mostly, this election should remind all politicians they work for us. They are servants of people who will not be treated as fodder for the elite. Politicians must respond to emails and phone calls, even from constituents on the other side of the political divide. They must favor public discourse, never using rank to silence dissent. They must govern for the protection and promotion of freedom, not the protection and promotion of political parties and friends.

While we're pleased the people said "no more" to the authoritarian agenda of Morse, we take no delight in his political demise. We disagreed with most decisions Morse made, but maintain the utmost respect for his willingness to serve. As seen in this recall, elective public service is brutal and thankless work. At the very least, we respect his temerity.

We wish Morse had done a better job. We would prefer celebrating him as a Democrat who helped pave the way for more jobs, prosperity and freedom throughout Colorado. We wish the recall had not been needed.

We also take this opportunity to congratulate former City Councilman Bernie Herpin, who was elected to replace Morse. We hope the 2014 legislative session, with a new Senate president who will be elected by the majority party, will focus less on jobs-killing efforts to control the common endeavors of individuals. Give us laws that liberate the masses to earn money, keep it and create good jobs.

Though we're not counting on big change, we hope the next legislative session will undo laws that help predatory lawyers sue employers over frivolous claims. We hope legislators undo the unfair, jobs-killing electric-rate increases Morse helped impose on rural Coloradans. We hope the next session will undo a gun law that cost Colorado a valuable television series and a major employer. We hope the next session will fix an election law so poorly written it jeopardizes the integrity of all future elections.

This recall, while useful, indicates a failure of one powerful politician to adequately represent the people who put him in office.

The Morse recall is national news because it threatens the left's sudden stronghold on Colorado politics. The "Colorado model" is an experiment in using big money, often from outside interests, to change the political landscape of moderately Republican states. The recall turns the experiment on its head, at least for now.

The people have spoken and shown a politician with powerful allies just who controls state government. It's not Morse, Bloomberg, Clinton and Biden combined. It's the people who quietly vote and go about tending to their families and work.

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