Press Doesn't Challenge Dems' Meme That Historic Recall of Colo. Senators Is Only 'Symbolic'

September 11th, 2013 11:55 PM

Two Colorado senators have been recalled, and either already are not serving their former constituents or won't be shortly. Yet according to today's Democratic Party talking points, their recalls, the first-ever in state history spurred by the ousted senators' support of gun-control measures passed earlier this year, are only "symbolic" — despite all the money that poured in from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun-control group to save them.

I have found no visible press pushback against this nonsensical claim. How many press members would remain silent if, say, a conservative or Republican special election loser in a congressional race said that his or her loss was "symbolic" because it didn't change who controls the House? (Answer: Zero.) Three reports containing the Dem meme follow the jump.

A New York Times story by Jack Healy quoted John Morse, the narrowly ousted State Senate President, kicking off the meme himself as he conceded defeat:

The immediate effect of the recalls — the first of their kind in Colorado — was to remove two state senators, Angela Giron of Pueblo and John Morse of Colorado Springs, and replace them with Republicans.


Although the election was confined to two small districts in Southern Colorado and does not repeal Colorado’s gun laws or change partisan control of the General Assembly, both sides spent heavily and campaigned fiercely, fighting to prevail in what analysts called a proxy battle between gun-control advocates and the National Rifle Association.

In a spirited concession speech, Mr. Morse, who lost the vote by just two percentage points, called the loss of his seat “purely symbolic” and defended the record of the last legislative session as “phenomenal.”

At the Wall Street Journal, Ashby Jones got a "mostly symbolic" quote from a "good government" advocate:

Colorado is one of 11 states in which voters can trigger a recall of at least some state officials for purely political reasons; another eight require evidence of incompetence or misconduct, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Recall attempts against state legislators have led to elections only 38 times since the recall was introduced around the turn of the last century, and only 21 have succeeded, the NCSL said.

The use of recall elections is on the rise, said Joshua Spivak, a senior fellow at the Wagner College Hugh L. Carey Institute for Government Reform. "With email, cellphones, spreadsheets, and the like, it's easier than it's ever been to gather signatures, to organize," he said.

Mr. Spivak called the recall effort in Colorado "surprising but mostly symbolic." Though both senators will be replaced by Republicans, Democrats will still hold an 18-17 lead in the state senate, and the gun laws passed in March will likely stay on the books for the foreseeable future.

An Associated Press report early this evening generalized the theme:


Democratic voters in Colorado helped remove two state senators of their own party who voted for tighter gun control - an ouster that was both intensely local and a national test of what can happen to lawmakers who support gun restrictions in battleground states.

The well-organized activists who sought to recall Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron got the backing of gun-rights groups such as the National Rifle Association. It turned out they didn't need much assistance because voters were already so incensed by passage of the gun-control package.

Democrats, who maintain control of the Legislature, said the losses were purely symbolic. But they could be a sign of things to come in 2014, both in Colorado's governor's race and in scores of other political contests around the country.

AP Reporters Colleen Slevin and Mike Baker "somehow" forgot to note that the vaunted Democratic Party majority in the Senate is now only one vote, and that the margin of defeat in one of the two recalls was 12 percent.

Deep in the fever swamps, the left, led by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is also whining that the recall defeats were the result of "vote suppression." Wasserman Schultz "blamed lawsuits filed by opponents of gun control to prevent voters from mailing in ballots and the late announcement of polling locations."

Oh the humanity.

Cross-posted at