How to Be a Successful Sitting Duck

It's after Labor Day, and the thin lineup of Colorado Republicans even thinking about challenging Sen. Michael Bennet would make you believe they're scared of Bennet and his war chest.

But Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), on KNUS radio Wed., sees it this way: Republicans are actually scared of "taking fire."

Gardner: I think getting into a race in July, you know, the year before was probably too early, or August. So, I think sometime between now and that March date -- actually probably sometime between now and January is that sweet spot.

Look, any candidate knows when they announce, that they're opening up to start taking incoming fire. And by waiting, getting the team in place, by getting the structure in place, they can really hit the ground running and avoid unnecessarily time being left as a sitting duck, so to speak, and taking fire.

A sitting duck? Hmm.

Sounds like Gardner is talking about himself going into last year's election. If ever there was a duck, glued down, stuck, and waiting, it was Gardner, with his far-right record across the board from global warming and immigration to abortion and even journalism. And beyond.

Gardner got in the race against Mark Udall in March, you'll recall, of last year, very late by conventional standards. And there he was, a sitting duck, but also an oily one, whose feathers got ruffled at times but remained greasy enough to withstand the "fire." And he spat back pretty well.

It makes you wonder, if Gardner, who edged out Udall in November, had gotten in the race earlier, would he have won? If he were a sitting duck longer, would it have mattered?

One one hand, Udall's trajectory was downward. But you also had the sense that Gardner's reconstruction of himself from right-wing to moderate teetered toward the end, as reporters and others were frustrated but starting to cut through the grease and spit.

On balance, I think Gardner would have lost if he'd gotten in the race much earlier. And it appears he agrees.