The Colorado Republican Party’s
“Contract for Colorado” “Platform for Prosperity” has been unraveling faster than a stale fruit roll-up as Colorado media outlets rip into the nonsensical details. Republicans, led by gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis, are pushing the 1+1=4 idea that they can reduce spending, cut taxes, and increase or maintain services all at the same time. Sure, it’s not just implausible, but impossible, but that may not be important to the goal.
As The Wall Street Journal reports on its front page online today, Colorado Republicans are using their “Platform for Prosperity” to attract the “Tea Party” folks:
Colorado Republicans last week made a bold move to woo him and other restive tea-party activists by setting forth a conservative agenda — dubbed the “Platform for Prosperity” — and encouraging all candidates for state office to adopt it. The platform stresses limited government, fiscal restraint, opposition to further stimulus spending and a determination, it says, to push back against “a federal government that is too big, too intrusive and all-too-eager to seize power from the states.” The move paid immediate dividends by unifying the party in the critical gubernatorial race…
…To the consternation of Republican leaders, tea-party activists are jumping into primaries for U.S. Senate and other races, promoting their own candidates to challenge Republican front-runners in Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, California and elsewhere.
A similar dynamic is beginning to emerge in Colorado’s U.S. Senate primary, where several Republicans trying to ride the tea-party wave are taking aim at Jane Norton, a former lieutenant governor who has support from the GOP’s national leadership.
By introducing a platform that echoes tea-party mantras — smaller government, less spending, lower taxes — Colorado Republicans say they hope to avoid primary battles. Among the bullet points in the platform: Developing Colorado’s oil and gas reserves, requiring all employers to verify that their workers are legal U.S. residents, and eliminating state subsidies for reproductive health-care services at Planned Parenthood, which also performs abortions.
Adopting that platform avoided an interparty struggle last week when two Republicans who enjoy considerable tea-party support set aside their ambitions for the governor’s mansion and united behind Scott McInnis, a six-term congressman who will likely take on incumbent Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter in 2010.
“People realize if we want to get a victory, we need to unify however possible,” Mr. McInnis said. [Pols emphasis]
That last line from McInnis is key. “Unify however possible,” damn the consequences or the logic behind it. Republicans will do anything it takes to win in 2010, drawing a line in the sand that they may someday wish they had never crossed.
The GOP’s “Platform” may be like crack for Teabaggers, but Republicans are taking a bold risk by essentially trading loud activists for their traditional support from the business community, which doesn’t like the continued weakening of Colorado’s economy.
Republicans are hoping that they can win enough elections in 2010 with support of the Teabaggers that they can force everyone else to fall in line behind them. But if that gamble doesn’t work, we could look back at 2010 as a year that permanently damaged the Republican Party by cutting its ties to the business community in favor of a few loud activists.
It’s a risky strategy for the GOP to go “all-in” with the Teabaggers. Now they have to hope like hell that they get dealt the right cards.