Mick: ‘Really, I’m a capitalist’ | AspenTimes.com

Mick: ‘Really, I’m a capitalist’

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ASPEN Joseph McCarthy, where are you now?An initiative aiming to sully Mick Ireland’s mayoral bid rolled out this week in the form of a red bumper sticker that declares: “Anybody But Mick For Mayor of Aspen.”Worse (unless you’re a communist), the sticker features a hammer and sickle superimposed on a faded aspen leaf.A political lightning rod in area circles, Ireland has been on the receiving end of a lot of name-calling over the years. He’s been called everything from “jerk” to “socialist” and “words that are unprintable,” he said. But, according to Ireland, the communist accusation is a tired attempt to disgrace him.

“The communist insult has lost its meaning, and the hammer and sickle is a symbol of a country that’s been defunct for 20 years,” Ireland said.He added: “I’m amused because it’s so irrelevant and untrue. You’re talking about someone who’s been working since he was 8 and paying Social Security since he was 13. Really, I’m a capitalist. I hire people, and I pay taxes, I just don’t tell everyone about it. This is right out of ‘The Colbert Report’ – it’s almost dark humor.”Ireland said he doubts either Tim Semrau or Torre – his competition in the race for mayor – was behind the bumper stickers.”I don’t think either one of them would do that,” he said.Likewise, Semrau and Torre said they were unaware of the stickers until Wednesday. The Aspen Times received several of the stickers via U.S. mail, with no return address.

Torre said the stickers “show amazing initiative” by the artist who created them. “It sounds like a message about the type of membership Mick would bring to the seat of mayor,” Torre said. Semrau, who had not seen the sticker, said, “It sounds funny, but I don’t know anything about it. I know we didn’t pay for them, and I have no idea who did.”Semrau added that the stickers seem a “little bit in bad taste.”

Ireland was a Pitkin County commissioner for 13 years, until he left office in January because of term limits. Ireland survived three recall elections while in office and earned a reputation for being a champion of government-subsidized affordable housing and a stickler on development.Aside from his own political ambitions, Ireland is known as a tireless campaigner for Democrats ranging from John Kerry to the Salazar brothers. In fact, his beat-up Volkswagen Rabbit still wears the campaign stickers for them – including one for his current campaign – on its rear bumper. Now he has another one to add to his political statement on wheels.”After the election, one way or another, that sticker’s going on my car,” he said.Rick Carroll can be reached at rcarroll@aspentimes.com

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