Memo to the leaders of the GOP:
The dysfunction in the national GOP was on display in Colorado over the weekend; and oh, boy, what a mess.
If conservatives ever win an election again in Colorado it will be only by mistake.
Incumbent chair, Ryan Call, was re-elected 272 votes to 158 over a well-known challenger who had previously served as chairman in one of the metro counties.
I know both men and took no part in the fight.
By way of disclosure, however, I should say that the challenger served with me as vice chair when I was chairman of a county party in Colorado. He is a long-time political ally and someone I consider a close friend.
Call, on the other hand was always helpful to me, and generous with his time for the county party.
Thus, I had rooting interest in the campaign, but took no other interest until around Wednesday of last week.
In general, I try to stay out of state and local politics, especially within the GOP. It’s really no fun for me to get involved in party politics generally. The party runs itself just fine, I figure, with no input from me. After the 2010 disaster in Colorado, I have, for the most part, said “adios” to state party comings and goings.
Besides, it’s so much more fun taking on Obama and the liberals than arguing about obscure bylaws, resolutions and badge fees while the Colorado GOP suffers from one embarrassment after another.
On Wednesday, however, I got an email from someone that contained what was represented as a letter from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation detailing GOP chairman Ryan Call’s arrest in Idaho Springs, Colorado as a fugitive in 2011- just months after he was elected chairman.
This arrest had not been previously reported in the news media…after almost two years.
Call, an attorney, it seems, failed to appear in court after a string of tickets for speeding. He was driving on a suspended license at the time of his arrest.
I was suspicious at the authenticity of the letter- come on, I told others, how does this escape detection after two years?- but the Colorado Statesman, a local publication that caters to Colorado politicos, later confirmed the facts of the case.
There was no mention of the arrest in the Denver Post, at any time. Nor will there be any mention of it in any mainstream media outlet unless, and until, it serves the purposes of the narrow liberal, downtown Denver agenda. Post publisher Dean Singleton, a political amateur with aspirations to be a kingmaker, and the rest of the Downtown Denver Club, which includes GOP and Dems, both, will see to that.
That’s because it’s clear that establishment interests in Denver inside and outside of the GOP- interests that mimic those nationwide- prefer Ryan Call as chairman. And they will intercede wherever they have to in order to support the weakened GOP that Call represents.
To be sure, Call settled up with the court and his now free of charges. But really? This is the best Colorado GOP can do?
Unfortunately, the answer is yes.
This is the same GOP that failed to deliver Colorado for Mitt Romney despite Chairman Call’s membership in the LDS church. This is the same GOP that failed to take advantage of the conservative tide that the Tea Party brought. In 2010, it lost not just the governor’s race in Colorado but the US Senate race as well. And lost both races while embarrassing the state.
This is the same GOP that campaigned against an unpopular automobile tax, but then hired the chief strategist behind the tax to serve as the chief strategist for the GOP in the State House. This is the same GOP that tripped over itself to become one of the first states to enact the framework for Obamacare healthcare exchanges. This is the GOP that has made it quite clear that help from the grassroots, while wanted, is not particularly appreciated unless it’s the right type of help, for the right type of candidate… and in the meantime all you in the grassroots can go sit in the corner.
And it’s also the same GOP that passed Sarbanes-Oxley, expanded Medicare, supported the Community Reinvestment Act, created the Department of Homeland Security, mismanaged the war in Iraq, and generally put us in the mess that the party occupies today.
What outsiders- and insiders within the GOP- don’t understand is that Tea Party is more an outgrowth of dissatisfaction within the GOP than it is dissatisfaction with Obama. Few Tea Party members ever voted for Obama.
And without the Tea Party, the Republican Party is dead.
It will die because this is what we have come to expect from the GOP: "We need the kind of man who is in the trenches with you and that man is Ryan Call," former Speaker Frank McNulty (R-Highway Contractors) told the Denver Post, as the Post mentioned not one word about the Call arrest. McNulty was the man who was responsible for the strategy of promising repeal of the car tax in Colorado and then making sure no legislators were able to bring a bill to the floor on the repeal. Just as Obama’s White House did with reporter Bob Woodward, McNulty apparently told some legislators they’d “regret” introducing such measures, all while chairman Ryan Call stood aside.
McNulty, like Nancy Pelosi, couldn’t attach “former” to the title Speaker fast enough to save his party.
“It is important that we be cautious using the chairman’s bully pulpit,” Call told the Statesman when responding to charges that consequently the GOP in Colorado really doesn’t stand for anything.
I guess being just the bully without the benefit of a pulpit means that the Colorado GOP at least has it half right- the wrong half of course; always the wrong half.
People now tell me that I should relax: The position of GOP chair in any state is inconsequential.
Unfortunately, in Colorado’s case, I sure hope they are right.