Here is how the Denver Post depicts the last full day of campaigning:
Andrew Romanoff's T-shirt shop has been working overtime in the last weeks of his insurgent campaign for U.S. Senate, churning out thousands of dark-blue "Teachers for Romanoff" and "Nurses for Romanoff" jerseys.
The one shirt you won't see between now and Tuesday's Democratic primary is "Establishment for Romanoff," and that's just the way the former House speaker's campaign seems to like it.
"As we struggle to make ends meet, more and more Coloradans are getting a plain look at the way Washington works," Romanoff said Sunday. "And we say enough is enough. That's why so many voters are joining our cause."
They're happy to leave Washington to Sen. Michael Bennet, for whom President Barack Obama and national party leaders have spared no last-minute help.
Obama's Organizing for America added a Bennet-dedicated phone bank from Washington over the weekend, put Obama's voice on thousands of answering machines across the state and piggybacked its ground effort in Colorado with the former Denver schools chief's in order to turn out votes.
Bennet, meanwhile, spent much of the weekend on a 24-hour "working people" blitz through eastern Colorado. He was lucky to meet two dozen overnight workers in eight hours, shaking hands with graveyard-shift nurses in Hugo and touring the Lincoln County Jail at 3 a.m. It was an exhausting but decidedly lonely effort, in a campaign that would love to see at least 325,000 Democrats vote.
Well, it does get lonely when your allies are corporate America and you, along with the president who strongly backs you, have worked for corporate interests over working and middle class Americans.
Maybe that's why they tried to "fix" the primary back last year.
The Obama administration tried to buy Andrew Romanoff off with a Washington job last September.
It didn't work.
So the day after Romanoff announced his bid for Senate, Obama endorsed his corporate whore/ed deform/bankster buddy Michael Bennet.
The ways of Washington, even after the "Change" candidate wins the White House, don't seem to really change, do they?
Work for corporate interests, raise as much corporate cash as you can, try and buy off your opponents with bribes.
That Romanoff is as close as he is to winning this primary speaks to the underlying unease Dems and progressives have for the corporate-friendly policies of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party these days.
As David Sirota noted today at Open Left:
In the past, it was enough for a Democratic candidate to get the support of a Democratic president - and to not really take on the status quo. You could, in other words, be a Michael Bennet and expect to coast to victory in a Democratic primary while casting votes that help big banks protect their profits and that help insurance companies continue profiteering. Indeed, that was the path Bennet himself assumed was available, as evidenced by his votes, by his refusal to debate his opponent and by what the Denver Post called his "Rose Garden strategy."
But things have changed - never before in recent history have voters been so aware of how a corrupt Washington effects their economic lives, and never before have voters been willing to defy a president of their own party if it means forcing a change in that corrupt status quo.
Some are wondering why Obama isn't finding stronger enthusiastic support from Democratic voters despite having passed, for instance, a health care bill and a Wall Street bill? Bennet, who voted for and campaigned on those bills, provides the answer. Having taken among the most campaign dollars from the corporate interests those bills purport to challenge, and having then voted for those bills, Bennet effectively proves that those signature pieces of legislation do not fundamentally challenge power at a time when that's what Americans most want. After all, if those bills really challenged corporate interests, why would corporate interests give so much money to a senator who voted for them? They wouldn't - but they would give that cash to that senator if he was, in fact, voting for bills that aided them.
This has been the underlying argument of Andrew Romanoff's campaign - and specifically, its focus on Bennet's campaign warchest. By highlighting that and tying it to specific votes, Romanoff's campaign themes are exposing the corrupt system for what it is.
Regardless of the election's outcome, the fact that this Democratic Senate primary is so close, then, suggests that A) a large chunk of Democratic voters implicitly understand that the Obama agenda has not fundamentally challenged power and that B) a large chunk of Democratic voters are willing to reward Democratic politicians who defy the Obama administration by pushing to fundamentally challenge the status quo.
And that's where I am these days with candidates I am going to support.
I have wrestled with this question - how do I support Democratic candidates who have helped bail out the banksters, helped privatize the school system and devised a Race to the Top program that forces the firing of teachers, the closing of schools and the enrichment of the EMO's?
How do I support Democratic candidates who gut meaningful and real financial reform for the jive that passed or who institute a corporate-friendly health care reform law that mandates 31 million new customers for the HMO's while charging people with employer-provided health care plans a 40% excise tax to fund the new law?
The answer is, I CANNOT support those candidates.
Michael Bennet is ONE of those candidates.
So is Barack Obama.
Bennet - an unelected senator and pretty bad campaigner - may just go down to defeat and I am happy to work, even just a little, to help him lose.
Barack Obama is a totally different political animal.
But I don't think it is beyond the pale to start talking about running a primary against him - even an underfunded, no-chance-to-win campaign - that illustrates the ways Barack Obama has sold out America to corporate interests and the rich and powerful.
The idiots in the Tea Party call Obama a socialist and scream about government expansion.
They are getting one part right.
Obama is a huge proponent of government expansion - but not from a socialist perspective.
Rather Barack Obama has expanded government power to do the bidding of the corporate interests - from the health care reform that mandates 31 million new customers and charges people who don't sign up for an HMO a 2.5% tax levy on their pay to the power Secretary of Education Duncan is being given to drive a public schools privatization policy.
And he has done this with the help of men like Michael Bennet (and Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer and on and on...)
It may be a losing battle to take these corporate whores on and send them down to defeat.
It may be a losing battle to take on the corporate interests in the battle over education reform or to force changes to the health care "reform" law that undercut the individual mandates and the 40% excise tax or to pass real financial reform that would stop Wall Street from working as one Big Casino.
But we've got to try.
Even if we cannot win, at least we can take them to the wall in some races.
Bennet has his corporate-funded ass against the wall right now.
So does Obama, at least in this race.
If Bennet goes down after Obama did so much to support him, it should be a sign to the White House that they are in trouble in 2010 and 2012.
it would be nice to think that Obama and his political team will take the right lesson from this primary that has taken Bennet right to the edge.
But they won't.
They'll double down on their bullying efforts of people in the Democratic Party who don't toe the White House line, they'll continue to take on "lefty" interests and scapegoat Democratic constituencies like teachers union members while cowering from right wing bullies like Andrew Breitbart and Glenn beck.
For whatever reason, Barack Obama seems to relish taking on the lefties in his party while running from combat with the right.
It is time for those of us on the left to take the fight back to him and his surrogates.