Littwin: ‘Frontrunner’ follies
It has not been a good few days for Scott Gessler and Tom Tancredo, the Debate Dodging Duo and alleged frontrunners for the GOP gubernatorial nomination.
Where to begin?
Let’s try the conservative Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board, which slammed Gessler for skipping the Denver Post-sponsored debate, slammed Gessler’s campaign manager for suggesting those candidates who participated in the debate were not “legitimate,” and likened a Gessler campaign for governor to the unprecedented disaster that was Dan Maes’ campaign in 2010.
The Gazette went on to list Gessler’s various scandals and to note that Democrats yearn for the chance to run campaign ads citing a bipartisan commission’s finding that Gessler “breached the public trust for private gain.” It’s billboard material all right — and a phrase that you figure could double as a campaign epitaph.
And then came the good stuff. To ensure that no one missed the point, the editorial anonymously quoted two Republican mainstays on a Gessler run against John Hickenlooper. One said Gessler was not “electable.” The other said, more colorfully, that he’s a “train wreck.”
It was a stunningly tough editorial on a sitting secretary of state.
Meanwhile, as usual, Gessler is battling on several fronts, including his fight with the Joint Budget Committee over his office’s budget shortfall. Gessler sent a letter to the JBC and another to businesses that deal with his office. In the letter to filers, he wrote of “wild accusations, insults and downright fabrications about the Secretary of State’s office budget.”
The insult, of course, is the suggestion apparently made by Democratic committee member Pat Steadman about not needing to interview Gessler, saying that when you “wrestle with a pig, you get dirty.” Gessler said Steadman was calling him a pig. And, well, you can make the argument.
But the downright fabrications? Is Gessler calling the JBC members liars?
That’s certainly how Cheri Gerou, a Republican on the committee, took it. “I’m disgusted, totally disgusted by the tone, the rudeness, calling us liars,” she said, according to the Denver Post. “He doesn’t sound like a governor.”
Now that she mentions it, it doesn’t sound very governor-like, unless Jesse Ventura is your governor. Then, of course, there’s Tom Tancredo, who never sounds like a governor. He’s in the news for bringing his Viva Tancredo campaign to Pueblo, where he’s out to convince people that Latinos like him and want him to be governor despite his years of ugly rhetoric on illegal immigration and what Tancredo likes to call the “cult of multiculturalism.”
In an interview with the Pueblo Chieftain, Tancredo wanted to reassure everyone he was still against everything he was always against and especially the Dream Act, which a growing number of Republicans are presently embracing.
“It’s still amnesty,” he said. Or maybe it was his buddy Sheriff Joe Arpaio who said it. Or maybe it was his other buddy, Ted Nugent, who was just blasted by none other than Rand Paul for calling Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel.” Tancredo has never said anything like that about Obama himself, although he has called him a Marxist, a socialist and a cult leader.
And then, of course, there is Tancredo’s latest op-ed — this time in the wing-nut WorldNetDaily — in which the wily gubernatorial candidate figured it was time to call for — wait for it — Obama’s impeachment and removal.
We know that Tancredo has been calling for Obama’s impeachment for years. But what makes it even richer this time is that while running for governor, he writes that calling for Obama’s impeachment is the path for Republicans to win back the Senate in November.
Yep, it’s the usual laugh-fest, with Tancredo accusing Obama of being a dictator and applying, of course, the expected Nazi analogy to the case, writing: “How often do we hear from the left that Americans must not be ‘good Germans’ and remain silent in the face of oppressive laws? What about obedience to dictatorial edicts?”
This leads to at least a few questions:
Why is Tancredo, while running for governor, writing op-eds on how to win back the Senate? Has he gotten confused about which capitol he wants to work in?
Why would Tancredo go out of his way to insult the president when, as governor, he would have to be working with the Obama administration to get things done for Colorado? Is it possible Tancredo is more interested in running for governor than in being governor?
Would Coloradans really elect a governor who writes for WorldNetDaily, which, when it’s not printing pieces like Tancredo’s call for impeachment, prints columns alleging that Obama frequents gay bath-houses and wears an Islamic wedding ring?
The real question is this: So where does this leave the governor’s race? I’d say just where John Hickenlooper, Greg Brophy and Mike Kopp want it. As I’ve written many times before, Tom Tancredo can’t win a run for statewide office because he’s too much Tom Tancredo. Now it’s the Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board that has decided Scott Gessler is, yes, too much Scott Gessler.
A tough couple of days, all right. Maybe, looking back, it would have been easier for these guys just to sit down and debate.
Mike Littwin runs Sundays in The Aspen Times. A former columnist for the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post, he currently writes for coloradoindependent.com.
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