John Colson: Hit and Run | AspenTimes.com

John Colson: Hit and Run

John Colson
Aspen Times Weekly

I don’t know about you, but for me there could not be much better entertainment than watching the upper crust of the Republican party slowly destroy itself from the inside out.

Of course, the Democrats are equally capable of self-immolation in the hot fires of our 24-hour news cycles and overamped politics.

In fact, the Dems are better at it in an organizational way, because the “big tent,” as they refer to the party, is filled with too many conflicting ideologies and philosophies to ever have the kind of close-knit, insular solidarity of the Republicans.

Too often, the Dems are too busy biting each other on the backsides to pay enough attention to the broader issues staring them in the face, and the Repubs take full advantage of the Dems whacky, anarchistic infighting.

But for now, the fun is the thing.

Of course, we have Sarah Palin’s recent announcement that she is resigning as governor of “the great state of Alaska,” as she so often put it.

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The reaction has run the gamut, from a wildly fawning editorial in the Dallas Morning News urging everyone to simply back off and let poor Sarah decide what she wants to do when she grows up (my interpretation, not the News’) to the absolute conviction by those on the left that she has sealed her political future into a trash dumpster and set it on fire.

I note that on the website, “Right Wing News,” an unidentified pundit seeks to cast Palin’s decision in a sympathetic light – she’s been so trashed by the national media she has to take some time out and regroup.

Well, imagine what would happen if a Democratic governor pulled a stunt like this. Rush Limbaugh would need a heart transplant, he’d get so excited, and the hypocritical hounds of conservatism would be baying for the departed governor’s blood, you can be sure of that.

Luckily for our local observers, we don’t have to go so far afield for a glimpse of Republican foolishness. Our own erstwhile local cop, one-time state legislator and former member of Congress, Scott “Scooter” McInnis, is kind enough to have furnished us with his own brand of nuttiness.

I refer, to any who don’t know, to the McInnis campaign’s recent geographical faux-pas in support of the man’s bid to become the next governor of Colorado. The campaign’s website featured a lovely image as its backdrop, asking viewers, “What do you want for the future of Colorado?”

Unfortunately, the image, a serene mountain lake with a towering nearby mountain peak, was a photo of Lake Louise, located in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. Within hours, the errant image was taken down and replaced by a photo of the Flatirons, a range of rocky prominences outside of Boulder.

Smart move, Scooter, and one that, unhappily for you, has brought on comparisons to a similar gaff by another Repub, Bob Schaffer, who had to yank his inaugural campaign ad back from the ether last year because it featured a backdrop showing Alaska’s Mount McKinley. Schaffer, it should be noted, lost to current Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall.

Alaska, Canada, Colorado – what’s the big deal, right? A mountain’s a mountain, and as long as it bespeaks a sense of grandeur and Western ruggedness, implying that the candidate in question has the individualistic values we all love out here, why worry about accuracy? Granted, silliness such as this pales in comparison with Palin’s herky-jerky political misteps and ideological idiocy.

Still, paraphrasing a familiar saying, Democrats must be asking themselves gleefully, “With enemies like these, who needs friends?”

The Colorado gubernatorial election is still a year and a half away, and it is heartening to think that we can look forward to this kind of stuff for some time to come before the race degenerates into the mud-slinging, evil cant that we know is coming.

jcolson@aspentimes.com

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