Blowing The Dog Whistle With Lang Sias

Rep. Lang Sias (R).

A story today in the Grand Junction Sentinel from reporter Gabrielle Porter covers Republican “Lite Gov” nominee Lang Sias, delivering in Grand Junction yesterday what seems to be the party’s central message about Democratic nominee Jared Polis: he’s from the dreaded socialist hellhole of Boulder, he’s so super far lefty-left that he would be as bad as [insert 20th Century Marxist tyrant here], and that everybody he knows is excited to “work with” Walker Stapleton:

Republican lieutenant governor candidate Lang Sias may have been speaking to at least one self-described “hard-core conservative” at a Grand Junction eatery Saturday afternoon.

But more than focus on his own resume — which includes three years as a state legislator and nearly three decades in the military with stints as a Navy fighter pilot before being tapped as running mate to GOP gubernatorial pick Walker Stapleton — the Arvada resident spent considerable time Saturday casting his as the more moderate ticket.

But then, in one of Colorado’s reddest towns and surrounded by the friendliest of fellow conservatives, Sias took the rhetoric a step further:

To laughs, Sias said he’s heard from several Democrats who he claimed confided in him that they plan to vote for Walker because “the alternative is 50 shades of crazy.” [Pols emphasis]

Full stop. We have little doubt that Sias and the Stapleton campaign will protest mightily at the suggestion that this little wisecrack was an example of what’s known in politics as “blowing the dog whistle”–a statement that thinly conceals its true intention of invoking prejudice against its target, picked up clearly by a prejudicial audience. Be assured that we absolutely do understand what what Lias was saying to a crowd of Mesa County GOP faithful–not trying to say, broadcasting loud and clear–and it is not acceptable. Stapleton himself is such a poorly composed public speaker that he can’t be trusted to pull off this kind of delicate work, so it appears to have fallen to “moderate” Rep. Sias to lay down the “dog whistle” smear the base wants.

There’s going to be more of this, folks. The coded attacks on Polis’ personal life that are being mounted right now by Stapleton’s campaign–and you can’t deny it’s the campaign now–are as ugly as they are inevitable. The full display of that animus between now and November is going to compel Colorado voters to make a fundamental choice.

As for Lang Sias, perhaps we did expect a little better. Clearly we shouldn’t have.


36 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. DavieDavie says:

    What else does the "Whatever Trump Says" Party have to work with?  Polis is a self-made centimillionaire, self-starter, angel investor, one man business incubator who will address the issues affecting working class and middle class (education and healthcare among many other issues).

    Pretty much the exact opposite of Stumbleton, an entitled, lazy legacy, coasting on the family fortune and name, ready to take care of his frat boy circle and ignore the "great unwashed".  Oh yeah, and repeat whatever Trump says like a good little poodle (h/t Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post).

  2. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    That Staplegun's attack dog (isn't that what lite govs are for?) is throwing rocks already, tells me two things: their ticket has nothing to recommend it, and they know it.

  3. RepealAndReplace says:

    Have they learned nothing from their Great Leader in D.C.?

    There is no need to dog whistle anymore. You can shout out loud the most vile stuff that crosses your mind and you actually gain points for candor and political incorrectness.

    By the time this campaign is over, we will be seeing re-runs of the 1984 gay pride in San Francisco complete with topless dykes on bikes, drag queens and leather daddies with Polis photoshopped into it. But none of them will be paid for by the Stapleton campaign. They will be brought to you by the family values folks in the Springs.

    Perhaps Mothers Against Drunk Driving will do a nice hit piece on Stapleton to counter the pride parade video.

  4. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Jared, by all accounts, is a loving father.  As a flaming heterosexual myself, I'll gladly stand with him in defense of family values.

    Family values are as family values do.  And I can't say that Stumblebum has done much.

    • RepealAndReplace says:

      Jared is a loving father. But that doesn't mean the forces of evil won't try to depict him as something else. Fortunately, he has enough money with which to defend himself.

      John Kerry served honorably in Vietnam. But that didn't prevent the Swift Boaters from trashing him. (And it was all the more outrageous given the military record of Kerry's opponent.)

      Perception becomes reality in politics.

  5. divergent_tdog says:

    I was really disappointed in the Sentinel's coverage at just leaving it to be all about what Sias said, particularly the wholly unsupported bit about dems not being willing to vote for Polis. Show me those data? There is usually some rebuttal from the other side in articles like this in this paper.

    • gertie97 says:

      The Sentinel sorely needs competent editing so reporters have to do their jobs.

    • DENependent says:

      There will be Democrats who will not vote for Polis. When Obama was running for the Senate way back in 2004 against a crazy black Republican who parachuted in from another state when the first nominee had to drop out due to scandal there were still 5% of self-identified Democrats in exit polls who said they voted for Alan Keyes. Source: CNN exit poll

      Now, Obama did win with 70% of the vote over all, including 40% of Republicans and 74% of independents, but still there were those 5% of people who were theoretically Democrats voting against Obama for some unfathomable reason.

      My conclusion is that there will be at least 5% of almost any party who will vote against their nominee for some reason.  The question is how many and I suspect the number of Democrats who would vote for Stapleton over Polis will be very low. It could be as high as 15% based on their still being about that percentage who oppose same sex marriage and may have some resentment against gays. On the other hand it could match Obama’s 5% given the lack of compelling positions or story from Stapleton.

      • RepealAndReplace says:

        Obama probably would have won regardless of who the GOP ran but he did get lucky with both of his Senate opponents.

        The first was Jack Ryan, ex-husband to Jeri Ryan of Star Trek:  Voyager fame (a/k/a Seven of Nine). Their divorce case file was sealed until a newspaper petitioned to get it unsealed. Apparently the marriage ended because Jack kept taking Jeri to a sex club and asking her to engage in sex on stage with him before the audience. The first time she said, "No." When he asked again, she decided to seek a divorce.

        So GOP went from having a libertine as its candidate to running the prude, Alan Keyes, who was such a rabid homophobe that he disowned his daughter when she came out of the closet. What a piece of work!  Even the morally-repulsive Dick Cheney still loved and accepted his daughter after she came out.

        • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

          I've had this same conversation more than once with folks at the coffee shop, that Obama's political ascension was in part thanks to yet (another) Republican family-values politician caught with his hand in the cookie jar. It's usually followed by blank stares.  

          The Lord Black Jesus works in mysterious ways. 


        • DENependent says:

          I would almost rate Stapleton as being as bad a nominee as either Ryan or Keyes, in his own unique way. Being a rich by accident of birth guy who either is incredibly lazy about doing his elected job or thinking that rules about checking in are for other people is not a great look for a politician.

          Stapleton will undoubtedly get at least the 60% of Republicans that Alan Keyes got despite this. I am unsure about the 40% of self-identified Republicans that might have crossed party lines in the past. Though I would bet on at least 90% of all Republicans lining up behind even Trump were he running, but I am a cynical person.

          Unless there is new information the same cannot be said of Polis. I think the maximum he could lose from his own party is the 15%. People who are part of the frack playgrounds and National Parks crowd or unrepentant homophobes. Maybe a very few super-super-super-Marxists who think that by voting for conservative it will bring the day of socialist revolution closer instead of voting Green, so like ten people statewide.

          • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

            The MSU study (someone also posted this earlier) points out the size of the mountain Walker has to climb. He can't defy gravity.  If the general election holds anywhere near the results of the primary it will be a good night for Dems.  



  6. JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

    Let's think about who will be hanging out with Dubya and Lang to tell them nearly anything.

    The Legislature isn't in session, so they don't naturally mingle in a bipartisan crowd. This article talks about Sias in an eatery — on the West Slope — and acknowledges potential for bias.

    So, are there Democrats who talk to Sias who don't like Polis? Sure — especially those who may have ties to extraction industries. I'm pretty certain some might show up at Veterans gatherings, too. And he may have a neighbor who likes the Sias family who says that sort of thing, too.

    Should he say “the alternative is 50 shades of crazy” so out loud, in public, for attribution? I wouldn't advise it — now, the quote can be used as the introduction to any sort of policy discussion:  "is it crazy to want to invest in better schools? What shade of crazy is it to have a more secure retirement system for our public servants?"

  7. Gilpin Guy says:

    What's a Lang?  Where do they come up with the names for these Republicans.  Growing up a Lang and being bullied by 90lb weaklings probably made him 50 shades angrier than a normal person.

  8. Gilpin Guy says:

    I get the anti-gay insult but wonder why they think it is necessary?  Western Slope isn't going to walk away from "Walker" but they can't deliver a statewide race and the places where the GOP needs to be persuasive isn't gay adverse.  In fact, you would think this kind of blatant prejudice would be disapproved of along the Front Range where the race is going to be won.  I guess they can't help themselves.  It is like telling nigger jokes in front of a Trump lynch mob called a rally.

  9. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    What GG said.  It’s the scorpion problem — the modern Republican Party just can't avoid its nature and needs to get some digs in against gays whenever it can.

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