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July 20, 2011 9:10 pm MST

From Washington to El Paso County, GOP Civil War Looms

  • by: Colorado Pols

As the Associated Press reports, all this bipartisan happy talk about “Grand Bargains” and “backup plans” is meeting a stone wall called the “Tea Party”–and freshmen members of Congress elected in the 2010 Republican wave are trapped between their unrealistic promises to an unreasonable fringe, and the inevitable failure to fulfill them:

Solid backing of tea partyers helped propel several freshmen to Washington, boosting the candidacy of citizen-lawmakers such as car dealers, pizza shop owners, farmers and businessmen. The Tea Party Express on Tuesday made it clear they better stay in line, threatening GOP primary challenges to Republicans who support Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s alternative plan to give President Barack Obama the power to order an increase in the debt limit of up to $2.5 trillion over the coming year.

Another tea party group warned about the “disease of Republican compromise” infecting Washington and ceding to Obama’s demands.

On the other side, freshmen Republicans face pressure from McConnell’s sober assessment that failure to raise the debt ceiling could be blamed on Republicans and ensure another term for Obama in 2012. Separately, House Republicans are hearing from business owners who echo the dire warnings from economists and financial analysts about the ramifications of a government default.

The votes in the coming days could have widespread implications for GOP freshmen next year, determining whether they get a challenge from within the party in a primary or have to answer for their decisions in the general election… [Pols emphasis]

At least as dangerous to freshman Republicans like Reps. Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton of Colorado is the demotivating effect a successful compromise might have on the conservative base–if 2010’s ardent conservative voters don’t show up to support Tipton next year, for example, that’s just one of several scenarios in which his defeat would be virtually assured. As we noted a couple of days ago, Republican strategy in the debt-ceiling debate appears to have shifted to base appeasement, because it’s really the only achievable goal left. But the effect of bottom-line defeat, demoralization or rebellion, even if Gardner and Tipton are given a pass by vote-counters to vote against a compromise, will be consequential.

Meanwhile, reports the Colorado Springs Independent, a red-on-red rebellion continues to grow in our state’s largest conservative stronghold of El Paso County. The county Republican Party secretary Sarah Anderson is at the center of a bitter controversy stemming from Rep. Amy Stephens’ support for this year’s health insurance exchange legislation–a bill that started with bipartisan support, but turned into a circus after people like Ms. Anderson discovered that President Obama supports it too. As we and regular poster Jason Salzman have noted, the clash between the hard and moderate right over “AmyCare” has riven the El Paso County GOP, and led to attempts by state party chairman Ryan Call to force Anderson’s resignation.

Though in Anderson’s defense, Some of this stuff is downright freaky:

According to Calef, multiple resolutions were passed in the executive session.

One stated that Anderson must abide by the bylaws of the party “to the satisfaction of the chairman,” said Calef. “And there is this understanding that she won’t be allowed to the talk with the media.”

Part of that is that she is on probation until the next executive committee meeting.

Another: Anderson must write a public statement by Monday that includes a pledge to uphold the bylaws of the party, and to encourage all of her supporters to unite behind the Republican party. She also has the option to include an apology to all of those people that she has offended by her outspokenness.

So Monday, the El Paso GOP executive committee got a statement alright…

The real travesty of 7 July, 2011 at the El Paso County Republican Party Headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado was not the sham “trial” conducted in a secret closed-door meeting. That portion of the meeting was a witch hunt with a predetermined outcome…

It doesn’t sound like that loyalty oath Rep. Stephens “suggested” for party officers is having the intended effect, does it? Remember, this all goes back to SB-200, and intra-party threats of retaliation for “caving to Obama”. To Anderson, this is a fight for the Republican Party’s “core principles.” And the party brass heavy-handedness hasn’t worked–we’ve heard that Stephens’ primary challenger will be announced soon after reapportionment.

“The libertarians are trying to take over the Republican Party, and I think that some people have to pay attention to that,” says Stephens. “It’s not just libertarian, it’s anarchy … and it’s happening fast.” [Pols emphasis]

Now, some of you have asked, and not just rhetorically, why so many in Congress who know better have dug themselves into such a rhetorical hole, clinging to dogma so far past the point of reasonableness–to the point where the public has solidly turned against them.

We think you’re seeing the reason play out in El Paso County.


13 thoughts on “From Washington to El Paso County, GOP Civil War Looms

  1. lamestream media and liberal echo chamber.  everything is just fine in GOPTland. Just ask ‘Tad. And you know what else? Making a big deal out of the whole Murdoch empire  hacking and bribery scandal with possible collusion at the highest levels of Scotland Yard and connections with elected officials all the way up to the PM is really lame, too. Nothing to look at. Fox says so.

    All of it is a grand librul media echo chamber conspiracy to get everyone from poor Rupert down to bouffant boy Tipton. And, by the way…you do know the real reason Obama claims there’s an Aug. 2 debt ceiling debate deadline don’t you?  It’s because Ramadan begins the 3rd.  Rush says so. So you can take it to the bank.

    See?  Now “Tad doesn’t even have to bother to comment.  Got it all covered for him, don’t I?

  2. Your newfound concern for the fate for Amy Stephens is so touching, as is your worries for the Republican Party. Goodness knows you haven’t been helping billionaire Democrats suppress their enemies for years.

    Despite all these horrible dysfunctional problems, I have a sneaking suspicion that the GOP will survive our internal disagreements, and emerge united in time to win everything we can in 2012. Starting with the Colorado Senate but I wouldn’t mind a 5-2 congressional map either.

    Thank you for your fake concern. No matter what happens in HD-20, they won’t be electing any Democrats.

    1. stick to your “principles”.  You know, the ones you ignored when Bush was President. Ignore history, strap on the blindfold, and proceed full speed ahead.

      1. Pols is interested in Amy Stephens because they perceive a wedge in the GOP they can exploit. It won’t work. Even if Stephens gets ousted in a primary, this is the safest of safe Republican districts. What’s the point of any of it for Democrats?

        1. What’s amazing to me, and perhaps others that haunt this site, is that the idea of health care exchanges is really a conservative solution to health care. It establishes a more robust market (thus more competition and more accurate pricing) than doing nothing. Yet, Tea Partiers oppose it. Why? It appears to be soley because Obama’s name is attached to it. The Tea party is sooo relexive that they’ll cut their nose off despite their face.

          Other than that, well, any time you throw out somebody in a leadership position, you lose influence in the legislature. Cutting off your nose, again.

          1. You know, more of a market solution. Mandate for health coverage was part of Romney care but also a popular GOP idea in general. Cheney was a huge proponent of the idea that deficits don’t matter, but that’s different.  That was  when you would have had to give Clinton credit for not having one and Cheney/Bush blame for sending us to war on  the company credit card while lowering taxes and almost instantly growing a huge one.

            It’s been one long opposite day for them ever since Obama took office. With the exception of  creating hysteria about guns, gays, abortion and brown immigrants.  That never changes.  

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