We've marveled for months at the lengths that Rep. Mike Coffman and his staff have been going to try to re-write Coffman history, even as Coffman still maintains a staunch conservative position from his Congressional office. It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to understand that Coffman needs to moderate his image in order to win re-election against challenger Andrew Romanoff, which is how he ends up doing things like sort-of pretending to support stem-cell research and immigration reform (both of which are completely at-odds with his own record). But try as he might, it's difficult to see how Coffman can ultimately merge New Mike and Old Mike in a manner that doesn't just reek of political posturing — and doesn't take down fellow Republicans like Cory Gardner as well.
To set the stage here, you might recall last November's embarrassing story about removing "Tea Party" references from his Wikipedia page. As we wrote at the time:
It's pretty stunning to see this error still being made by congressional staff. Buzzfeed's expose last year of congressional Wikipedia edits was bad enough. Coffman, as 9NEWS' Kyle Clark reminds us today, was the #1 offender of last year's story, for removing all reference to his infamous 2012 remarks about President Barack Obama's citizenship. When supporters of Sarah Palin ham-fistedly edited Paul Revere's entry to conform to Palin's faulty recounting of history, eyes rolled from coast to coast. At the very least, couldn't Coffman's staff wait until they are outside the Capitol to make these traceable edits? Use their phones? Something?
Even though it's painfully obvious when he tries to re-write his own history, that hasn't stopped New Coffman® from scrub, scrub, scrubbing away. The latest change? Coffman is no longer officially listed as a member of the ultra-conservative Republican Study Committee (RSC), though ironically-enough, his own Wikipedia page still notes his membership. Among the rest of the Republican delegation from Colorado, Gardner maintains his association with both the Tea Party and the RSC, as do Reps. Doug Lamborn and Scott Tipton.
This used to be just a New Coffman® vs. Old Coffman problem, but these changes are going to have a ripple effect. By distancing himself from both the Tea Party and the RSC, Coffman is acknowledging that such affiliations are not helpful in appealing to General Election voters…which makes it difficult for someone like Gardner to try to moderate his image without coming across as completely phony.
In effect, Coffman's actions are going to force Gardner to have to explain why he stands to the right of the incumbent Congressman in CD-6. Either Gardner tries to moderate his image in the same clumsy manner as Coffman, or he has to stand firm as an ultra-partisan candidate for the U.S. Senate. We don't have to tell you why that's a no-win situation.