The volatile mixture of politics and personal conduct got quite the stir this past weekend, courtesy of Charles Ashby, the Daily Sentinel‘s current surveyor of the political landscape. In the cross hairs of the Sentinel’s Page One, Sunday coverage was one of the three candidates for the Republican Party’s nomination to replace Steve King as the District 54 representative.
David Cox, at age 28, can certainly be called an unconventional candidate running an unconventional campaign. As the Sentinel documented in full, he’s had his share of contacts by law enforcement, several criminal charges related to underage drinking, minor in possession of alcohol, and traffic-related issues. This includes recent contact with the GJPD, for which the DA declined to prosecute.
It’s also been reported that Mr. Cox has a previously-stated stance regarding the decriminalization of marijuana, one which propelled him into outright activism. He has been much more reticent regarding his views, perhaps trying to maintain some type of grasp on any chances of being a choice of Republican Delegates to the District 54 Assembly when it convenes on May 8.
Comments and letters from Sentinel readers run the gamut from righteous indignation, to an attempt at understanding, to impugning Mr. Cox’s family. I am personally fascinated with Mr. Cox’s candor, even if it is full of seeming uncertainty about what sanctions he endured, and exactly what he remembers about them:
I think I actually had to go to jail for five days because of my violation under my terms on that. I’m certain I went to jail. I think I was sentenced to seven days, and I ended up doing five or something like that.”
I think, that is I believe, that if I was ever sentenced to jail I would remember it, along with exactly how much time I spent there. One comment to the Sentinel seemed to ring truer to me than the rest:
(Quoting Cox) ‘I drank a lot. I can admit that I like to drink. I’m definitely not a drunk. I don’t get drunk on a weekly (basis) even. If anything, I might get drunk on a monthly basis, so I’m not a drunk. I drink once in a while.’
This is such a classic example of alcoholic denial, it’s pathetic.
This commenter went on, and perhaps got a little off track themselves:
With accountability so poor, and rationalizations so delusional, does he actually expect anybody to think he’s suited for public service? At 28-years-old, he has way too much self-reflection and maturing to go through. And from the sound of him, it’s dicey at best that he’ll ever have even a slight understanding of himself. If you read about where Cox has come from on his web site, you’ll read about a life of privilege and entitlement; which explains a lot about his state of mind. You will also see a mediocre intellect spouting scare-em catch phrases and sense his lack of original thinking.
The commenter concluded by calling Mr. Cox a “Penry wannabe..without the brains”. Ouch.
Mr. Cox has had a somewhat tumultuous existence through his college years and young adulthood, not unlike a good portion of his constituents. He is married and states he is operating the family agriculture business. He likes to drink; judging from what he keeps in his glove box, he is an advocate of gun rights.
Mr. Cox sounds representative of a significant demographic of District 54. I wonder how many of that demographic actually vote, however. I also wonder if Mr. Cox has ever been passed out in the campground at Country Jam…
Mr. Cox is just full of opinions. Whether they are completely his or not, they are voluminous, and written in large, unwieldy paragraphs at several locations on his website. Speaking of his site, it’s not a typical, consultant-generated political web presence. His lengthy commentaries on the condition of the state and his plan for the future may bore a lot of people with short attention spans, but they’re pretty interesting.
Mr. Cox published a blog post on his website yesterday in response to the Sentinel story, which seemed to illustrate why he didn’t appear to be willing to share some of his views with the paper. The post included this looong paragraph:
As for my views concerning legalizing drugs, particularly marijuana, I believe this; prohibition has failed miserably to reduce the use or availability of specifically targeted substances and instead has created a powerful, lucrative incentive to our citizenry to become criminals. This incentive is particularly dangerous to our youth who see this lifestyle as glamorous and profitable rather than the dead end that it is. The drug war, or rather drug prohibition, is more dangerous than drug use. Look at how drugs power the terrorists, gangsters, and corrupt public officials in our system and the world. Prohibition is particularly destructive to our system because it also denies the sanctity and cornerstone principle of our system, personal responsibility. Personal responsibility for one’s actions and decisions is the basis for individual freedom and without it we inevitably will degenerate into collectivist statism. Thanks to our war on drugs, which is actually a war on reality, we have confused multiple generations to believe that objects rather than personal decisions are responsible for failure or success in life. Yes, drugs and drug use is very dangerous, but believing that we do not have the ability to say no to such dangers personally, without the government making that decision for us, is even more dangerous. So, do I object to prohibition? ABSOLUTELY.
Now I’m wondering if Mr. Cox’s home library includes Ayn Rand. Lots of Ayn Rand.
There are three candidates for the GOP nomination, and basically the seat in the legislature, as there is no reported opposition from the Democrats or any other political party. Bob Hislop and Ray Scott also have a web presence. Mr. Hislop has received criticism, and is the target of an anonymous website, for associations and activities that bring his worthiness to serve as the Republican nominee into question.
Mr. Hislop describes himself as a “retired lawman”. His site contains a lot of good information about his background and stance on the issues. The only thing that annoyed me about his site was a somewhat dated photo of Mr. Hislop standing next to President Gerald Ford. I know that there are pictures of me standing next to John Heinz..when I was 14. I don’t think I would use them to hasten my chances at elective office in middle age, however.
Mr. Scott’s website is a little more vague with regard to background and beliefs. He describes himself as a “family man”, and works in the energy industry. Mr. Scott stated in a reply to an e-mail I sent him that he is native of Rifle, graduated from Rifle High School, and has been married for 33 years. He and his wife have two grown daughters.
It seems that Mr. Scott is trying to play it safe by attempting to appeal to the middle of the Republican base without providing a great deal of information, in contrast to not one, but two, RINOs in the race; one a self-proclaimed “Republican Independent Democrat”, and the other an Objectivist Libertarian.
I’m paying attention to this because one of these three individuals will represent me in Denver next year. Like it or not, the dominance of the Republican political machine, and the lack of any Democratic challenge to at least stir up dialogue in this election, has presented us with these choices for a legislator.
They’re not really bad choices, but a (smoke-filled?) room full of GOP delegates will effectively make that decision for every registered voter in District 54.
That’s a problem.
As far as Dave Cox is concerned, he added another gem to his resume’ in a letter to the Sentinel published yesterday:
The Daily Sentinel wants to make my alcohol use the main morality issue of 2010? This has nothing to do with an intelligent debate of the issues that the state of Colorado faces. I have made mistakes in my youth and I have learned from them. I’m not a career politician. I actually hate politics. I’m only in this to try and do some good for the people of Colorado and the wonderful, free country that we live in.
He went on to say that if elected he will represent the people of his district in his voting on legislation, including those issues such as marijuana where he has an open disagreement with the majority of his potential constituents:
Yes, despite how absolutely stupid prohibition is, I will vote no to end it. Why? If I am a representative, I am there to represent, not to do as I please. I do that on my own time. And by the way, my momma always said, if you don’t have something nice to say then don’t say anything at all.
Mr. Cox will “represent” us, but does he know how to compromise, to build coalitions, to engage in those parts of the political process that have been famously compared with the making of sausage?
Mr. Cox may be earnest in both his convictions and his dedication to his candidacy, but as many citizens older than Mr. Cox already know, it takes much more than that. Hating politics doesn’t help.
I wish all three candidates the best of luck in the upcoming GOP selection process and primary election.
Have a great day.