As I mentioned in my blog note earlier today, I’m not going to bash Dan Maes on things which I’ve assumed about him without actually meeting him. But that doesn’t mean I can’t and won’t write about things we do know.
And unfortunately for Dan Maes, the new information isn’t good.
Dan Maes’ web site says “Dan has over 20 years of progressively successful experience in sales, management, mid-size and small business development in multiple industries.” His resume says “Specialist in both start-ups and turnarounds.” However, other than starting his own “Amaesing Credit Solutions” in 2005 – more on that in a minute – his resume is almost entirely that of a salesman for “enhanced telecommunications services including voice messaging, unified communications, and audio and data collaboration.”
I’m not putting down any job that anybody has, but with Dan campaigning with lines like “And it’s time we put a real business manager/executive into an executive office", one infers that he’s claiming not to be just an executive, but a success.
However, when Maes released his tax returns to the Constitutionalist Today, a small Colorado Springs paper which I like quite a bit, the numbers showed a man who has, financially speaking, struggled mightily in recent years. Having been involved in startups, I don’t begrudge a guy some low numbers during a company’s first year. But the Maes’ net income during 2007, his company’s best year, was under $52, ooo. And his average net income for the years surrounding 2007, i.e. 2004, 2005, and 2008, was only $17,000.
Again, I’m not sneering at someone who doesn’t make a lot of money. We all know that some years are tougher than others for many people, and 2008 certainly wasn’t great for people involved in the mortgage brokering business, which Maes was. But I have a huge problem with someone portraying himself as a successful executive when, as a Denver Post reporter noted, his “income has fallen below federal poverty guidelines for a family of four at least twice in the past five years” and just barely missed that line in a third year.
It’s no surprise that Maes refused to release his tax returns for as long as possible and then only to the friendliest possible outlet. When the Denver Post asked for the financial information, “After recommending The Post talk to his accountant, (Maes) declined to give the accountant permission to divulge information.”
Perhaps another early clue that Dan Maes is simply not the savvy businessman he claims is that four out of five items he lists in the “Education” section of his resume are seminars and self-study “via audio-tapes and books." Interestingly, he also doesn’t note the subject in which he earned his college degree.
Dan Maes’ business “success” has always smelled fishy to me. Now we see the fish.
How can it be that the GOP has chosen two candidates each of whom is, at least in a minor way, a fraud?
The infighting among Republicans regarding Buck versus Norton and McInnis versus Maes, in addition to the scandal around McInnis and the question marks surrounding Maes, must have liberal Democrats positively gleeful.
During all this time when we (including to this point me) are talking about what’s wrong (or, to a lesser degree, right) with this or that Republican, we’re giving a free pass to Bennet and more importantly to Hickenlooper.
Bennet is much more beatable than Hickenlooper right now and either Norton or Buck will stand a decent chance of beating Bennet. Also, Bennet is one guy out of 100 in the US Senate. While I understand the importance of how close the GOP is to retaking a majority in the Senate, I don’t care about that nearly as much as I care about keeping John Hickenlooper from being our next governor. (It’s all the more true if I believe the GOP will take back the House of Representatives, which I do believe.)
It’s time for us to refocus on why this election for governor is important. We’ll come back later to implications of that discussion for what the GOP should do next, if anything other than just let the ordinary process play out.
John Hickenlooper is nothing more than our local version of Barack Obama. He
- Pretends to be a moderate while actually supporting the entire gamut of leftist utopian brain-dead economic illiteracy, including, but not limited to
- Tax hikes
- Public funding of the arts
- Destroying economies to help with the hoax of man-made climate change
- Does his best to make himself a “blank slate” upon which voters can project almost any image
- Is a big fan of Barack Obama’s, not for no reason
- Is subject to almost no media criticism even when he says things which deserve something between question, scorn, and ridicule
- Supports sanctuary city policies
And a lot more…
With redistricting coming up, the process by which political voting districts are redrawn, having the governorship is exceptionally important. Furthermore, going into the 2012 election, the last thing we want is a governor who will marshal state resources to help Barack Obama get re-elected, since Colorado is likely to be a toss-up state (as sad as that is to say.)
And perhaps as important as redistricting is the distinct possibility that if Matt Arnold and his ClearTheBenchColorado movement is successful, the next governor may appoint up to three new State Supreme Court judges. The importance of these picks cannot be overstated, thus the importance this election cannot be overstated.
Here’s one example, thanks to WhoSaidYouSaid.com, of Hickenlooper’s daft thinking:
Did you get that? Hickenlooper wants to increase payroll taxes and force the money to be spent buying art. Now that’s a great way to grow productivity and employment. As WhoSaidYouSaid notes, “Hickenlooper may view his arts plan as an economic stimulus. What we’d never see is the additional office assistant paid $30,000 a year, because employers would instead be figuring out how to pay for Hickenlooper’s arts program – on top of everything else. That would-be office assistant is in the unemployment line.”
In the same interview, Hickenlooper said we need to “wean ourselves off automobiles." Remember, this is the guy who thinks Van Jones, self-proclaimed black nationalist and anti-capitalist promoter of all things “green” as a path toward “social justice", is a “rock star.”
Hickenlooper’s ideas are as dangerous, as socialist, and as un-vetted by the media as Barack Obama’s were.
But you’d think that Coloradoans, especially Tea Party activists would know enough and be so horrified by the idea of a Hickenlooper governorship that they’d go out of their way to make sure there is a viable at-least-half-decent Republican candidate. Yet they haven’t done so, in my opinion.
[I had in the original version of this note another litany of my problems with Dan Maes. However, I’m changing tactics here. I got a note from a reader saying that he doesn’t support Jane Norton simply because of her connection to John McCain. My response was that if that were all the information I had, I’d understand. But I have spent time with Norton and she has convinced me otherwise. I think it’s only fair that I apply that standard to myself and that before I keep piling on Dan Maes I should sit down with him. Therefore, I have scheduled an interview with Mr. Maes for the middle of next week and will write about it on these pages.]
We need to never forget why this race is so important. It’s not about a Tea Party candidate getting to run instead of an establishment candidate. Indeed, the Tea Party stands to deliver a mortal blow to itself in this state if it refuses to get away from a candidate very likely to lose. Everything the Tea Party members hold dear in terms of big picture goals will be sacrificed on the altar of “at least he’s not already a politician", as if somehow becoming a politician now makes a guy better than having been one before. The Teap Party is a group (or rather an agglomeration of many groups) with lots of enthusiasm but many members with no actual political experience. The Tea Party will have to gain experience and wisdom to survive and to be relevant in the future. One would have hoped, however, that its leaders would have learned the lesson of the 2008 presidential election instead of making us live through it again on a local level.
If Hickenlooper becomes governor, whoever is the Republican candidate in the general election will be blamed, as will the perceived organization behind him. This means that if it’s Maes, the Tea Party will be blamed for 4 years of Hickenlooper. If it’s McInnis, the GOP establishment will be.
Since I love the Tea Party and don’t love the GOP establishment, and since I think there’s a higher chance of Scott McInnis getting out than Dan Maes getting out, I’m in the unbelievable position of having to encourage people to vote for Scott McInnis despite thinking that he’s, to put it politely, a flawed candidate. Either of these two Republicans will likely lose to Hickenlooper. McInnis’ chances are, as much as I can’t believe I’m saying this, not worse than Maes’ chances. I’d rather have the loss laid at the feed of the GOP establishment and those who pushed Josh Penry out of the race. For all these reasons, I may have to actually vote for one of the least inspiring Republican candidates I’ve ever seen, Scott McInnis. Or maybe I just won’t vote, just so I can live with myself a little easier. People who vote for Maes, especially if he then goes on to lose the general election, will have a lot to answer for, at least if they cast that vote in the name of “principle” while believing, in their heart of hearts, that their guy can’t win.
In my view, a vote for Maes is a vote for Hickenlooper. As I said, I’m willing to reconsider this after meeting with Maes – and I will absolutely give him a fair shake when we meet, though I won’t be asking softball questions, but that’s my view as of today.
Keep your eyes on the prize and remember that we must do everything we can to elect anyone other than Hickenlooper in November.
If there is any possible way to replace the current candidates or the winner of the primary with a decent and viable candidate, Maes (and McInnis) supporters should remember what the real goal is.
One final note to the guy who said “principle over party". Of course I agree with that. But assuming that no third party is viable in a major election and assuming that Democrats are owned by the furthest left, most anti-liberty factions of their party, it does become very important to elect Republicans. It shouldn’t be just any Republican, just because he’s a Republican. But at the end of the day, electing members of that political party is our only path toward good, or at least less bad, government. I do hope that one day there is a viable Libertarian or other freedom-oriented third party, or that pro-liberty forces take over the GOP.
OK, this is waaaaay outside my usual fare, but variety is the spice of life, right?
As a child who grew up (as a heterosexual male) with the music of the 70s and 80s, my tastes tend toward Springsteen, Rush, The Kinks, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, Tom Petty, AC/DC, King Crimson, etc.
My wife, however, is much more into female vocalists. Thus, at her “encouragement", I’ve been with her to see acts including Tori Amos, Shawn Colvin, Ani DiFranco, and K.D. Lang.
Saturday night – and I have to admit it was my idea – we went to Denver’s Soiled Dove Underground to see Paula Cole in concert.
To paraphrase Robert DeNiro in “Midnight Run", I have just two words to describe Cole’s performance: “Wow".
Her performance, although on a small stage, was dynamic and full of unfeigned passion. She was obviously truly grateful for the extremely appreciative audience.
The guitarist and drummer supporting her were fantastic without upstaging Cole, although that would have been very hard to do.
Her voice, already great on her recorded albums, was actually better in person. And that’s not something you hear every day given how much effort and electronic manipulation go into making a CD sound as good as possible.
Her stage presence was very physical, as she danced, slapper her hip, spoke with her hands while singing (except while playing the clarinet or piano). The whole show was enjoyable, occasionally riveting, and that’s something I basically never say about very artsy female vocalists.
A few of the songs she did included Where Have All The Cowboys Gone, Amen, I Don’t Want to Wait, as well as ending with a great cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene.
If you get the chance to see Paula Cole, I recommend it. She has an album coming out in a couple of months which, based on the few tunes she did from it Saturday night, should be a great beginning to a self-described “second career." You can hear some on her web page.
I should also note that the opening act, Reed Foehl (last name pronounced like “fail"), who lives in Colorado now, was great and also much appreciated by the audience for his folk-rock guitar and harmonica playing and his excellent lyrics. I bought his newest album, Once an Ocean, which reminds of of something between Nils Lofgren (yeah, I know, you don’t know him but you should!) and Neil Young. Foehl said he would be playing at the Lyons Folks Festival in Lyons, CO (the first town northwest of Boulder up Route 36), on August 15th. (The festival is 8/13 - 8/15.) John Prine, Ani DeFranco, and Richard Thompson (awesome!) will be playing. Maybe I’ll see you there…
Following my endorsement of Jane Norton which was different from the decision made by most of political friends in Colorado (many activists backed Buck, many bloggers – perhaps wiser than I am – endorsed nobody), I was barraged with e-mails, both polite and otherwise, from people arguing that I made a serious error.
While some of the commentary came from people I don’t know and whose opinion I have no particular reason to value higher than the average Joe on the street’s opinion, some of it came from people, whether I know them or not actually, who had clearly put a lot of thought into the subject and whose arguments deserved my serious consideration.
And so, I have embarked on a brief cruise through recent politics in Colorado to reconsider my endorsement of Jane Norton to be the next US Senator from Colorado.
Among the many e-mails I have received objecting to the Norton candidacy and campaign, a few items occur with relatively greater frequency than others:
- Jane Norton must be a tax-hiker because she supported Ref C
- Jane Norton can’t be a real conservative because John McCain encouraged her to run
- Similarly, Jane is just too much an “insider” to be the right candidate in these days of Tea Party fervor
- Jane Norton’s campaign has been too negative, and perhaps even underhanded in a particular negative ad bringing Mr. Golyansky, a private citizen, into the debate.
After some consideration, it seems to me that each of these charges has enough merit to at least dig into and then to reconsider my endorsement of Jane Norton. So, allow me to do so, briefly:
Claim 1: Jane supports higher taxes because she supported Ref C.
My response: Bullshit. Every word out of Jane’s mouth during this campaign has been about how government over-spends and we’re over-taxed. There hasn’t been the slightest shred of a hint of a suggestion of an inference of a possibility that Jane would support higher taxes. Furthermore, as someone who was knee-deep in opposing Ref C, including debating against state legislators who supported it, Jane’s so-called “support” of C was at the time invisible to me. I deeply believe that Jane Norton did as little as she could do for C without being disloyal to her boss and friend, Governor Owens. Asking or expecting something different from someone in her position is unfair and unrealistic.
Claim 2: Anyone supported by McCain can’t be a real conservative.
My response: Bullshit. Please show me ANY aspect of Norton’s position on issues which is not solidly conservative. I would also point to Jane’s views on immigration which are as rational as I’ve seen from a Republican in a long time: no amnesty, but understanding the need for a market-based solution to immigration and more importantly to temporary workers. (For the record, as I’ve said before, I believe Buck’s view is quite similar even though many people see Buck as “Tom Tancredo lite".) Furthermore, Jane decided to run before John McCain called to encourage her, at least that’s what she told me when I asked her directly.
Claim 3: Jane is an “insider".
My response: Oh, damn, my doctor went to medical school with other people who are now…wait for it…doctors! I better go to someone who failed out of veterinary school to make sure he’s not too much an “insider” before I get this problem checked. Really, give me a break. Jane Norton has been in the private sector for several years after a successful stint as Lt. Governor, prior to which she held several appointed executive positions in Colorado government in which nobody has claimed that she did anything but an exemplary job. Ken Buck has been in elected office for the last several years, prior to which he was in appointed federal government positions for many years during the last two decades. Indeed, unlike Ken Buck, Norton does not seem like someone who was spending her time lately positioning to move up the political ladder. (For the record, I don’t hold it against Buck or anyone else to be ambitious.) I take her at her word that her motivation to run was because she wants to do something about the disastrous direction in which she sees the country going. Just because Jane happens to know DC politicians or just because Jane’s sister has the poor taste to marry a lobbyist does not mean that Jane is substantially more the “insider” than Ken Buck.
Claim 4: Jane’s campaign has been too negative and at least a little bit unethical.
My response: Of all the claims, this is the one with the most substance but also the least importance. I objected to the part of the attack ad against Ken Buck which portrays Buck as part of the Clinton Administration. I also think it was bad judgment to include the name of Mr. Golyansky, a private American citizen in the ad. As much as parts of the ad were perhaps across the line, none of the ad was factually false (although the Clinton Administration thing was certainly misleading.)
I would also add that the whole Golyansky story, namely Ken Buck’s efforts to torpedo a prosecution he disagreed with, can’t rationally be turned into a net positive for Buck. I agree that it was a bad prosecution and he was right to disagree with it. Good for Buck in theory for standing up for 2nd Amendment rights and against what he perceived to be a politically-motivated prosecution. But in practice he was absolutely wrong to do what he did, giving advice to the defendants and their attorneys without the knowledge of his boss, the US Attorney. Of all the aspects of the entire story, i.e. the actual events surrounding the Golyansky prosecution and then how the story has become part of the political campaign, the former are far more important and are not a positive for Buck.
The Golyansky story has made national news now, and not in a way that is sympathetic to Buck.
Politics is a tough game. Sometimes a campaign team can in their eagerness go a little over the line of fair play. Like a football player who takes an unnecessary roughness penalty, it’s a little stupid but usually understandable in the heat of battle. Many think the Norton campaign did cross a line in that ad and I tend to agree – a little bit. BUT…that’s one ad out of many, it’s one issue out of many, and it’s hardly disqualifying for a Senate candidate to play hardball, especially when her opponent’s supporters are spending $1.5 million through 501©(3) organizations attacking her.
Thus, on the four major repeated claims I hear against Jane Norton and her campaign, I find three of them without basis and one of them overstated in implication and importance.
One last thing: I echo the Denver Post’s conclusion that Jane is well prepared on a wide range of issues. The Denver Post’s Editorial Board found the differences bigger than I did, in favor of Jane Norton, though I fully appreciate why many if not most Colorado Republicans have no interest in or respect for the Denver Post’s opinion. Norton is without a doubt (in my mind), smart, thoughtful, and ready to be an effective Senator. (I admit I do like Buck’s position on Afghanistan better than Jane’s. I do not support Jane’s idea of “doubling down” in Afghanistan. Republicans don’t need to sound like the toughest, most aggressive guys on the block to project strength. On the other hand, I dislike Ken Buck’s support of “hate crimes” laws.)
Therefore, after honestly reconsidering my endorsement of Jane Norton, after giving real thought to the criticisms of her and her campaign posed by thoughtful friends and readers of these pages, and despite the fact that I’m in the minority among some of my close political friends, I stand by my endorsement of Jane Norton as the best candidate for US Senate for Colorado for Republicans, conservatives, and, dare I say it, libertarians.
Ken Buck is not a bad guy. His error in the Golyansky situation was a big one, but not disqualifying in my book. If he wins the primary, I’ll gladly work to help him win the general election. But I think he’ll be a much easier target for Michael “Who?” Bennet and the Democrats to demonize than Norton will.
Given that Norton and Buck have fairly similar policy positions, that Norton is at least as well versed on issues, and critically that Norton is more electable (a factor I’d only consider if the candidate were just as good as the other candidate), it’s clear to me that Jane Norton is the better choice in our upcoming Republican primary.
With that, I encourage you, dear reader, to vote for Jane Norton for US Senate.
All that said, I’m going to spend much more time from now on looking at the governor’s race. I’ve said enough about the Senate race, particularly given that Ken Buck is a lot better than Dan Maes.
H/T Rick Sokol
The issue of why American Jews persistently vote liberal/Democrat is a recurrent topic on these pages. Along those lines, may I suggest you read this article by Ben Shapiro over at Townhall.com:
(Note: It has come to my attention that excellent Denver Post writer David Harsanyi has recently written an article along the same vein as this one. I didn’t know it when I started writing this and haven’t read it at the time of writing this. To the extent that our thoughts are similar, it’s a case of great minds thinking alike, or at least my mind and David’s. Perhaps it’s not all that surprising given our several important similarities, though I do hope I can be as good a writer as he is one day.)
The Tea Party movement and related-in-spirit organizations like 9/12 groups represent the most powerful and most truly American political uprisings in modern American history. I can imagine, since I’m not quite old enough to know firsthand, that the spirit of throwing off tyranny, the spirit of anger against a government filled with people who believe that the people work for them and that our rights come from them rather than the other way around, has at least some threads in common with Samuel Adams, Thomas Paine, James Madison, and Thomas Jefferson.
That’s why I’m a strong supporter of the Tea Party movement and consider myself a bit of an activist (mostly through my writing and my pro-liberty radio show), even though I don’t consider myself a Tea Party organizer because I simply don’t have the “bandwidth” to do the remarkable organizing work that many of my friends do.
But any movement, pro-liberty, revolutionary, or otherwise, even if motivated by the purest of principles, will make at least a few mistakes. Especially a young movement such as ours. Some mistakes will be inconsequential, and some much more serious, bordering on disastrous.
With this statement, I most certainly do not imply that “establishment” political groups or activists who are not Tea Party oriented are less prone to mistakes. We do need to remember, however, that mistakes by old organizations, such as the GOP itself, fall on a larger, stronger (due to maturity) base which make the mistakes somewhat less damaging to the survivability of those organizations.
We are living through a pair of such mistakes, one by the Tea Party and one by the “establishment". The names of those mistakes are, respectively, Dan Maes and Scott McInnis.
Many of us – many who ended up supporting either Maes or McInnis – initially wanted to see Josh Penry as our next governor. My reading between the lines, based on as much information as I could gather from a variety of sources, is that Josh’s leaving the race was based on a few factors, some personal and some not. My guess, and it’s only a guess, is that the personal factors would have been overcome had the non-personal factors not been brought to bear against Penry.
In particular, and again this is to a large degree second- and third-hand stuff which could be wrong although it passes the walks-like-a-duck test, rich Republican businessmen who fancy themselves politically wise because they’re good in whatever business they’re in decided that they were going to support McInnis and that any substantial money would go towards him. In other words, putting two and two together from various stories, it seems to me that they basically told Josh he wouldn’t raise enough money to win. It wouldn’t surprise me, but again I don’t know this for a fact, that they might have offered him some sort of carrot along with the stick, though it would have been something rather indirect such as helping him with future projects of mutual benefit.
People think of the Democrat “Four Horsemen” of Gill, Bridges, Stryker, and Polis. The Republicans have rich guys (and gals) too, such as Bruce and Marcie Benson, Phil Anschutz, and a few others. In my view, this is the crowd that gave us Pete Coors instead of Bob Schaffer, and therefore ensured Ken Salazar’s victory. In my view, these are likely the people who forced Scott McInnis down our throats. As brilliant as they may think they are – and indeed as they must be in certain areas – their political machinations have done tremendous damage to good government in Colorado and it’s time for them to check their egos at the door, sit down, be quiet and listen. (I don’t mean listen to me in particular, but to people who know politics much better than I do and know what it takes to WIN.)
This is a conversation that will need to be had over a long period of time following this political season. I don’t hold myself out as an especially experienced hand at politics, at least not compared to some people around here who have a decade or two or three more time spent watching and involved with politics in this state and elsewhere. But I do know that the GOP, nationally and here in CO, needs to STOP choosing candidates based on “whose turn” it is. That’s why McInnis got the nod, it’s why John McCain got the nod, it’s why the Democrats keep winning. They also need to stop thinking that name recognition is the highest trait of a candidate for office. Anybody ever hear of Barack Obama before 2008 other than one speech at a Democrat convention?
The establishment’s mistakes are numerous and plenty of them are large, but they are the establishment’s mistakes, meaning the “establishment” is, by definition, fairly likely to survive. (Again, I hope this establishment will be substantially impacted by the conversation I suggested above. Just because it’s the establishment, not least a “conservative” one, does not mean it serves itself or its ends well by resisting all change.)
The Tea Party’s mistakes, on the other hand, fall on an extremely enthusiastic but immature and inexperienced movement, many of whose participants are new to political activism. To be clear, I think getting tens thousands of new people interested in political activism is one of the only things that gives me hope for the future of this nation – and particularly getting women interested in concepts of liberty and limited government. But this political immaturity can lead, both through not having the experience to predict unintended outcomes and through making decisions based on a highly emotional approach – like a recent religious convert – to serious mistakes, mistakes big enough to do serious long-term damage to the new movement.
The candidacy of Dan Maes strikes me as just such a mistake.
I don’t have anything against Dan Maes personally. I don’t know the guy. But what I’ve seen of him as a candidate – combined with the rabid support of the guy by certain Tea Party and other activists – leads me to think that those supporters are too much like my occasionally-beloved Libertarian Party (I am currently a registered Republican and have been since moving to Colorado but have been registered Libertarian in the past) in that they’d rather stick with some narrow principle and lose than have even a little bit of non-fatal-to-the-big-idea flexibility and win.
The other day, I wrote about my perceived pluses and minuses regarding Dan Maes as a candidate. I don’t need to go over them again in detail. Instead, allow me to say that I think Maes’ weaknesses substantially overshadow his strengths. He is a man who even the extremely pro-liberty and non-establishment David Harsanyi of the Denver Post said (on the radio on Friday, starting about 16 minutes into THIS segment of the Caplis and Silverman show) is simply “not prepared to be Governor” of Colorado. David is no fan of Scott McInnis – he called for McInnis to drop out and said McInnis was “the wrong candidate” all along – and David is certainly not a fan of John Hickenlooper. After all, Hick is the king of the Nanny State and Harsanyi wrote a book bashing the Nanny State. One can’t make a good argument that Harsanyi’s analysis is based on either a partisan or other political motive beyond wanting the best possible governor for our state. I agree with Harsanyi’s take.
It was not particularly remarkable to see in a Rasmussen poll of 500 likely voters taken on Thursday, i.e. well into the McInnis plagiarism scandal, that McInnis had dropped from 5 points ahead of Hickenlooper to two points behind him. What was somewhat remarkable is that Maes, although he dropped less than McInnis did because Maes was tied with Hickenlooper in the June poll, came in 3 points behind Hickenlooper, i.e. one point worse than McInnis.
In other words, people who are fleeing McInnis are going to Hick, not to Maes. We’re probably talking about independent voters or even “establishment” Republicans who would rather vote for “the devil they know” especially if they know he knows how to run a government than a guy whose resume is thin, whose finances are opaque, and whose views can change fairly dramatically.
For example, on Dan Maes’ issue page last year, in the “Immigration” section, Maes supported amnesty. Now he says his view has changed and he’s not for it. I believe him that his view has changed, but that’s not the problem. The problem is that it has been an extremely important and headline issue for some years in this nation and I would have expected a candidate for governor to have a position he believes in, whether it’s amnesty or not, and stick with it, stand up for it.
How did we get Dan Maes? Initially, I’m sure it was his ego which brought him into the race, and that’s fine. It takes an ego to be a politician. But what propelled him to winning the assembly by a nose and to capturing the support of so many conservative activists, Tea Party or not, some experienced but many new to the game? No matter what his supporters say, I do not believe it was because Maes is a strong candidate.
On one hand, I clearly understand people’s lack of interest in Scott McInnis. It mirrors my lack of interest, which was much how I felt about John McCain. Actually it was even worse than that because quite a few good friends of mine said that McInnis is “all about McInnis". Some Republicans I know said they’d vote for a Democrat before voting for McInnis, and they’re people who are closely tied to the Republican Party and its biggest hitters in this state. So I get that…Maes gets a plus because he’s not McInnis. But that only takes you so far.
What I really think happened is that there’s become an almost paranoid antipathy toward anyone who can be branded “establishment", whether it’s Jane Norton or Scott McInnis, or whether it’s candidates in other states. Some “establishment” candidates deserve scorn. They get “Potomac Fever", becoming power-hungry and becoming part of the problem rather than the solution. (See Lindsey Graham, for example.) But McInnis and Norton had both been out of public office for quite some time and both seemed fairly happy there (especially Norton.) There’s a world of difference in terms of “establishment” between them and John McCain or Lindsey Graham.
(I’m not going to go off on a Norton tangent here…and to the extent you can, I’d appreciate if you, dear reader, would also focus on the governor’s race for this particular conversation.)
Quite a few Colorado GOP activists, especially (in my opinion, I don’t have data on this) people who are relatively new to the game, supported Dan Maes for the primary (pun intended) reason that he has never held public office before. I understand the appeal of someone who doesn’t have any old favors owed to or by him among the inhabitants of our political system. But it’s just crazy to think that a lack of experience is an unvarnished benefit, especially in very difficult times when, even against a Democrat, having controlled a tiller of government certainly has its positive aspects.
If you’re at war, would you rather put in command of your forces an experienced general with whom you don’t agree on everything, or promote a corporal with whom you agree on everything but who has never seen combat, much less commanded troops?
Sure, it’s nice to say “give the little guy a chance” but that will very likely lose the war.
There is a theoretical path toward getting a good candidate, i.e. Josh Penry, back into this race, but it probably requires the winner of the primary to drop out (since that strikes me as more likely than both Maes and McInnis dropping out before the primary.) There are a few problems, however. And they’re big ones. First, whoever wins the primary will probably think it means he is popular and has a mandate to go against Hick when it will really just mean that GOP voters dislike the other Republican even more than they dislike the winner.
Second, and this is one that really bothers me, Maes supporters in particular seem to be unwilling to consider voting for a different candidate if their guy were to get out. They make various weak arguments about “the people’s choice", a corrupt system, etc., forgetting that Maes will not be the people’s choice in November and that for another candidate to become our governor, he will still have to face the voters in the general election even if he didn’t get through the intial process in a standard way.
What strikes me about these Maes supporters is not that they say their guy is really good but rather that the only thing that matters is the process. Yet these are the same Tea Party types who, like me, HATE what the process keeps dumping on our shoes. I think these people are so emotionally tied to Maes because in perhaps their first serious political activism they have hitched their wagon to the guy and can’t suffer the blow to their own egos of admitting that he wasn’t and isn’t the best choice. After paying big money to cruise on the Titanic, they’d rather die hitting the iceberg than suffer the indignity of riding in a lifeboat. And like that decision – which no rational person would make – they result is political suicide.
Sticking with Maes is not just handing the governorship to John Hickenlooper, it will do serious damage to the Tea Party movement itself. Independent voters and establishment Republicans will forget about McInnis once he’s gone. Most voters aren’t paying much attention to primaries anyway. Instead, they’ll remember the general election and remember that the Tea Party candidate got demolished by a liberal Democrat during an election cycle more favorable to Republicans than any since 1994, and perhaps for even longer than that. They will remember the Tea Party and political neophytes snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in their desperation to stick with a guy whose primary virtue is that he has absolutely no relevant experience or qualification, thus handing control of the state to a big-spending, tax-raising, global warming alarmist, Nanny State peddling, illegal alien protecting progressive wolf in sheep’s clothing.
In the Colorado governor’s race on the Republican side, the establishment and the Tea Party have each given us a big mistake of a candidate. In part because the establishment is what it is and in part because the establishment’s mistake, Scott McInnis, is likely to leave the scene first, the establishment will absorb the blow, perhaps learn a lesson, and move on. The Tea Party’s mistake (or at least the mistake that will be attributed by the public to Tea Party and related activists), Dan Maes, will, if he wins the primary and loses the general election, be what people really remember. That blow to the Tea Party will be much harder to absorb and will do real damage to the enthusiasm of would-be Tea Party members in the future as well as to the degree to which the establishment and all-important independent voters are willing to take the Tea Party seriously.
It’s time for Dan Maes supporters to take a deep breath of reality and, en masse, encourage their guy to get out of the race, either getting out with McInnis before the primary or getting out later if he wins the primary, in favor of a solid and experienced conservative who can actually win the general election. It’s not only good government in Colorado which depends on it, but also the longer-term effectiveness and value of the Tea Party itself.
Yesterday, the Denver Post finally connected the dots in a money flow which Jane Norton supporters generally, and Josh Penry in particular, have been trying to get people to pay attention to for weeks if not months. Namely, the enormous amount of money being spent by out-of-state 501©(3) organizations on behalf of Ken Buck or, more precisely, attacking Jane Norton.
The man behind the $1.5 million onslaught is construction company Hensel Phelps president Jerry Morgensen, whom Ken Buck used to work for.
In other words, about 90% of the money which has been spent on Buck’s behalf has had the names of those actually spending the money shielded behind the veil of an intervening political action committee.
For a guy who positions himself as a man of the people, a man of Colorado, it strikes me as fairly disingenuous to have almost all of his ads paid for directly by groups not from Colorado and perhaps indirectly by a very small number of very wealthy people who are keeping out of site.
Very good work by Denver Post reporter Allison Sherry…
The right call from Dan Haley, David Harsanyi, Vince Carroll and the rest of the Denver Post Editorial Board…