A new Rocky Mountain News/KCNC-TV poll has Republican Pete Coors five points ahead of Democrat Ken Salazar in Colorado's U.S. Senate race. That may answer a question posed by The New York Times a few days ago: "Is Pete Coors, nationally famous beer magnate, scion of old money, and now candidate for the United States Senate, Republican enough to win in Colorado?"
I never really understood why Coors' Republican credentials were in doubt to begin with. (It can't just be Coors' attempts to attract the dollars of gay beer drinkers, can it?) The Times story, which ran under the headline "Which One's the Republican?," purported to offer an explanation. But its main evidence that Salazar is running to Coors' right consisted of the candidates' responses to a debate question about affirmative action:
"I agree with Gerald Ford," Mr. Salazar declared, quoting the Republican former president, who has spoken and written widely about the value of an inclusive society. Then, for good measure, he quoted Sandra Day O'Connor, the conservative Supreme Court justice, defending the practice in some circumstances.
Mr. Coors went next. He talked about the inclusive values of diversity at his brewing company that have been incorporated in recent years, and then, in his frustration, ended up praising the party of Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.
"Ken has repeatedly tried to align himself with moderate Republicans," Mr. Coors said. "He should really be speaking about the wonderful things done by his own party."
They sound to me like two mushy moderates, at home in either party.