Columns » Public Eye

Some things never change


He's been called, variously by his own readers, an "editorial thug" and a voice for "freedom and personal responsibility." But whatever you've felt about the guy who's been writing the Gazette's daily unsigned editorials and occasional signed op-eds for the past five years, Sean Paige is officially a short-timer.

"My notes are kinda jumbled," wrote Gazette editor Jeff Thomas in a lighthearted Sept. 11 memo to newsroom employees, "so either [Paige] plans to start work in the City of Colorado Springs Public Communications Office, or he will be taking up what he calls some "new writing and ventures here in Colorado Springs.' My guess is it's the latter."

Anyone who has paid attention to Paige as he has mercilessly attack-dogged city government especially recently retired City Manager Lorne Kramer knows it's the latter. In fact, it's not likely that Paige, who in his past life worked for such luminaries as George Bush I's Chief of Staff John Sununu and failed GOP presidential and Senate candidate Alan Keyes, will end up feeding at any government trough (unlike Paige's predecessor, Dan Njegomir, who now works for the Senate Republicans, paid for by us taxpayers).

Anyway, best of luck, Sean! And for those readers who hoped the change of guard would result in an adjustment to the daily newspaper's anti-government, global-warming-denying, sprawl- and developer-loving, Preble's-mouse-baiting worldview, well, don't hold your breath. It might have been a bit clunky, but Thomas' headline announcing to readers the editorial page editor's imminent departure said it all: "Op-ed pages won't change without Paige at the helm."

In other news ...

It's been more than five months since the Colorado Republican Party essentially informed us citizens that Bob Schaffer would be its candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2008. This was very shortly after the Colorado Democratic Party essentially informed us citizens that Mark Udall was its candidate.

And very shortly after that, Udall, a congressman from Eldorado Springs, had his Web site up at, detailing his positions on a multitude of issues including the environment, Social Security, reproductive rights, the war in Iraq, education and health care. Udall also has taken a front-seat position maneuvering through the complex and politically murky issue of the Army's proposed Pion Canyon expansion.

You can read Udall's stance on these positions of critical importance to Colorado and the country and you can agree with him, or not. Either way, that's a far cry from Schaffer who, five months after his announcement, has yet to let the general public know his positions on real, live issues.

Other than the war in Iraq, which Schaffer clearly supports, what he thinks about everything else is still one big, fat mystery. Pion Canyon? Just wait and see, he recently told one reporter from the Pueblo Chieftain. What are your big issues, your reasons for running? Just wait and see, he told another reporter from the Grand Junction Sentinel.

Schaffer's official Web site,, is still five months after his announcement in its rudimentary stages. It has the same letter that's been there all this time criticizing the "activist-Democrat leaders," Senate President Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It has a brief Schaffer biography and icons to click on to volunteer for his campaign or send money.

It surely doesn't have any of Schaffer's detailed positions on ... the issues. What does he want to do about, say, education or the economy? Who knows? Health care? Ya got me. Social Security? Your guess is as good as anyone's.

Last week, Schaffer, a former three-term congressman who now is an oil and gas executive, was videotaped inside a Washington, D.C., coffee shop, being interviewed by a Beltway blogger named Chris Cillizza for the Washington Post. Guess what Schaffer talked about? Well, there was his "liberal" opponent Udall, and how more needs to be done in Iraq. He delivered a general riff about how he's not too conservative to run a statewide race in Colorado, and whether he can raise gobs of money.

Guess what he didn't talk about?

You got it. Anyone see a pattern emerging?

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