“Platform for Prosperity” Unraveling at Breakneck Speed

Just a few days ago, flanked by Republican leadership from former Gov. Bill Owens to Tom Tancredo, presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee Scott McInnis announced his “Contract for Colorado” “Platform for Prosperity”–an agenda that he and former opponent Josh Penry intended to put an end to vicious Republican infighting and coronate McInnis as the “GOP unity” candidate.

A day later, media outlets around the state began their deconstruction of McInnis’ “platform.” How did McInnis intend to fund critical priorities that have already been cut to the bone? What about the agenda items McInnis ‘proposed’ that are already law? How will the state’s independent voters react to social wedge issue planks in the “platform” added at the insistence of Penry and Tancredo?

In today’s Denver Post, ladies and gentlemen, you have the answer: let the backpedal begin.

In early drafts, it was there: a direct promise to reverse the unpopular car- registration fines and fee hikes that the legislature and Gov. Bill Ritter imposed on motorists in mid-2009.

But when gubernatorial hopeful Scott McInnis’ new “Platform for Prosperity” – touted as a conservative agenda that will get Republicans elected down the ticket, too – finally emerged, the promise was gone.

McInnis didn’t want voters to expect that the schedule of fees set forth by Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery would be immediately reversed, though if elected, he does plan to phase out the fees as soon as he can, said spokesman Sean Duffy.

But Denver political analyst Eric Sondermann pointed out that a strident pledge to kill the fees, which are slated to pour $250 million a year into the maintenance of Colorado’s crumbling roads and bridges, would have riled the amalgam of transportation and business interests that backed FASTER…

We’ll start with the obvious: the FASTER vehicle registration fee increases can’t be repealed. You already know that, of course, because you know that the FASTER funds are only making a small dent in the state’s billion-dollar transportation maintenance backlog. It was one of our first questions about McInnis’ “platform,” actually–how can he keep this promise and responsibly carry out his duties as Governor?

And as we already knew, and you knew, as did McInnis…he can’t. McInnis should never have committed to these unrealistic demands from Penry and Tancredo, so satisfying to ideological diehards in his party but hopelessly unworkable in the real world–and now that he has?

Back in 2006, in order to solidify his position on the right after attacks from primary opponent Marc Holtzman, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez signed on to the Independence Institute’s Amendment 38–which every responsible political figure proceeded to explain to Beauprez would be a disaster. Beauprez quickly backed off his support for Amendment 38–but the toxic nickname “Both Ways Bob” was permanently reinforced by Beauprez’s flip-flop. Conservatives didn’t know if they could trust Beauprez anymore, and, well, everybody else knew they couldn’t.

History repeating, folks.


33 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Middle of the Road says:

    into asking the right questions. A pleasant change of pace for them.

  2. DavidThi808 says:

    If this shows that McInnis will take reality into account as he gets into specifics, then I think this is good news all around. Maybe we can get a discussion of exactly what level of services this state wants to fund.

  3. abraham says:

    Kind of reminds you of the song Dandy Don Meredith used to sing at the end of the Monday night football game – “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.”

    Doesn’t it usually take a little longer than one news cycle for a political campaign to totally crash and burn?

    Pathetic, just pathetic.

  4. BICora says:

    back then and I have a hard time remembering the numbered and lettered initiatives – unless they have a catchy name or they win.

    1) Did anyone really think it was a good idea to make it easier for initiatives and amendments?

    2) Why didn’t it come back again and again ala TABOR and personhood?

    3) Who were all those posters?  Yikes.

    Were they mostly just campaign shills?  I mean I’m not involved in any campaigns right now – am I just in the wrong place?

  5. BlueCat says:

    has the decency to backpedal, which is probably why he isn’t far right enough for the base.  The base wants to believe that we can have everything we need to be a functional society with a functional infrastructure, while paying next to nothing in taxes, if “the government” would just start saving string or something.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      My first thought was that McInnis has decided to be a grown-up in this race. If so, that’s good news for all of us.

      • Ralphie says:

        He agreed to whatever he had to agree to to get Penry out of the race.

        Then he unagreed to it.

        Sounds intellectually dishonest to me, but your mileage may vary.

        • One Queer Dude says:

             McInnis could have spun this story better and blamed the Dems.  

            Sean Duffy should have said, “Sure Gov. McInnis would love to repeal what Bill Ritter has done with auto registration fees, but his hands will be tied by the Democrat-controlled legislature.  Now if the voters are good enough to elect Scott and enough pro-TABOR Repubs to the legislature, we can do away with all taxes and fees.”

        • MADCO says:


          And you say that it like it was a bad thing.

          Sounds exactly like what his party forces candidates to do.

        • DavidThi808 says:

          Now I’m all in favor of using this flip-flop both to sow dissension within Republican ranks and to denigrate McInnis in the general – that’s how the game is played.

          But would you prefer that McInnis ran on the fantasyland platform of more services and reduced taxes? He flipped this fast before the unrealistic approach took on a life of it’s own.

          I’m hopeful this will lead to a realistic discussion of what level of services the people in this state want to be taxed for. That is a discussion we desperately need to have.

          This also should but us Dems on notice – McInnis is not going to pander to the base – he’s going the moderate route starting today. Not good news (for those of us on the side of everything pure & good in the world).

          • Gilpin Guy says:

            but McGinnis is going to be constantly scrutinized by the tea-baggers to see if he walks and talks their righteous values.  He might be a better campaigner than Beauprez but he is going to carry around a sack load of crazies with him the whole campaign.

            Ritters best course of action is to stay with his objectives and get something done.  The tea-baggers will howl as usual like dogs baying at the moon but they won’t control this election.  The key to his reelection are the good folks who voted for Obama and change but are currently sour on Obama and the perceived ineffective actions of Democratic politicians.  If Ritter can bring in his base, he’ll do fine going head to head with McGinnis over his record.  

  6. Go Blue says:

    Everyone knows the right-wing is driven by theatrics (birthers, teabaggers, 9/12’ers), not real policy, so we can go ahead and throw this out as damaging McInnis’s chances.

    Has anyone compared the “Platform for Prosperity” with the RNC’s purity test for candidates?  

  7. WesternSlopeThought says:

    Mesa County R’s might now want to sign on to healthcare reform in an effort to get mental heath treatment for their severe depression triggered by Josh Penry being strong armed out of the Republican primary.  The valley’s own Glenn Beck wannbe, Rick Wagner, laments about what that depression has did to Conservatives in his Daily Sentinel column this week.

    “Some have wondered if the delay of an endorsement by Penry and the decision by the quite conservative Tancredo were the result of the McInnis campaign agreeing to sign onto the subsequently launched “Platform for Prosperity,” a pledge outlining fairly conservative principles designed to return the state to fiscal and mental equilibrium.  The platform is modeled after the 1994 GOP “Contract for America,” which turned Congress over to Republicans and Bill Clinton over to moderation.

    Many have worried that McInnis, without pressure from the conservative Penry, will begin to tack to the left – assuming that without a well-financed challenger on his right he should run to the middle.

    That would not be a clever move in this political season. Even in the most mundane of political eras, the chances of covering much ground while riding the fence are slim. I am confident that Scott McInnis is smart enough to not throw his saddle over the split rail and hope to ride it to the governor’s mansion.

    Fence mending needs to be done by the McInnis campaign, however, among former Penry supporters – especially conservative independents.”

    Apparently, the Wag disagrees with editorial boards and moderate voters across the state when he says the R “Contract on Colorado” is a good thing.  If McInnis just adheres to Wagner’s far right extremist wants, everything will come up roses for him, says he.  Good luck with that.  The only “fence mending” McInnis will be doing is with the left of the political landscape.  And we know, that will further erode the “mental equilibrium” of his teabagger crowd.  It is not going to be a happy time for Conservatives in Happy Valley for years to come.  Now, will Ricky favor public long term catastrophic health care for Cons in an effort to pull them out of their funk?

    • gertie97 says:

      McInnis would go to Bill Clinton for campaign advice before he’d go near Wagner.

      But it still will be a happy time for the wingnuts in Happy Valley because they are oblivious to reality.

      They honestly think the streets and highways can be built and maintained, the cops paid, jails, prisons and courts well-staffed, education funded (as long as lots of charters are funded, too) and enjoy all this without paying taxes.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Even in the most mundane of political eras, the chances of covering much ground while riding the fence are slim.

      The best road to winning is to being this slightly to the right (or left) of your opponent. You win by getting the largest number of votes, not the most passion behind a minority of votes.

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