Who Fragged Dan Maes, Revised History Edition

It piqued our curiosity when we heard the book was coming out in June–as the Durango Herald’s Joe Hanel reports, 2010 GOP gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes has some new theories on what happened to him, and his (nominal) party’s chances in the governor’s race last year:

Maes blames part of his campaign’s collapse on tea party groups – also known as patriot or liberty groups – for demanding perfection and a rigid adherence to ideology.

“The tea party was looking for Jesus Christ and nitpicked anything they could. They wanted purity, and the harsh reality was and remains that no one is perfect or pure, not even little Danny Maes.” he wrote in a book he published this summer, Running Without Cowboy Boots…

[Scott] McInnis dismisses any talk of internal divisions in the party.

“I don’t think there are lasting impacts. All of that upheaval was caused, frankly, by an ambush on me,” McInnis said.

Without the discovery by Democratic-aligned operatives that portions of the “Musings on Water” papers his research assistant wrote were plagiarized, McInnis thinks he would have been the GOP nominee and won the governor’s race.

Tancredo, who has rejoined the GOP, said the best scenario for Republicans would have been McInnis as the nominee without the taint of scandal that followed him last summer. Tancredo thinks his own candidacy was a longshot.

As we’ve said repeatedly and we believe is conventional wisdom now, any hope of GOP victory in the 2010 gubernatorial race vanished the moment that Scott McInnis was brought down in scandal. Tom Tancredo had no ability to win, or even produce a face-saving result–and Maes was never a serious candidate for governor. Nonetheless Republican leadership, beginning with former party chairman Dick Wadhams but certainly not ending with him, made a disastrous mistake by publicly abandoning Maes after failing to pressure him to withdraw in time to be replaced on the ballot. A worse message for primary voters could not possibly have been sent.

Even though Maes could never have won, the chaos that ensued as Tancredo jockeyed for position and top-level Republicans spurned the GOP nominee was a huge distraction–and a source of conflict in the grassroots to the present day. And that leads to the key point: whatever Maes says now, it wasn’t the “Tea Party” that sealed his fate. It was Colorado GOP leadership who believed they could salvage an unsalvageable situation by muscling Maes out of the race. The “Tea Party” was little more than a confused rabble by this point, as incapable of affecting the outcome as Wadhams or anyone else. And given a different cue from GOP brass, they would have been happy to give Maes enough token support to avoid this lingering sense of treachery. Besides, all of the things that Maes complains about regarding the “Tea Party”–those problems exist for every Republican candidate for every office.

As it happened, everyone involved made the worst possible choice for their credibility, with the lone possible exception of Maes. Perhaps Maes feels obligated in hindsight to cover for those most responsible for his electoral fate? Given the way he was treated…he shouldn’t.

9 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. ArapaGOP says:

    Wadhams is history. We are over this. 2012 will convince you.

    • Colorado Pols says:

      It’s not really our point. For whatever reason, the blame placed by Maes for his poor showing in the general election has shifted considerably, from specific Republican officials and elites to the Republican grassroots. It’s much easier to blame an amorphous “Tea Party” for your troubles than individuals who can respond to your allegations specifically.

      It’s also easier for the Colorado GOP as a whole to rationalize what happened in the 2010 gubernatorial race if they can find a catch-all scapegoat, as increasingly seems to be the case with the “Tea Party.” But that’s just not what happened here.

      The motivations for this change of opinion are debatable, but the change itself is not.

  2. allyncooper says:

    Pols is correct, it was the GOP leadership that abandoned Maes and sealed his fate. Maes blaming the tea party for his demise is absurd.

    And for McInnis to say he was “ambushed” is just as facetious if not more. Never take responsibility for your own actions, always blame it on someone else.

    BTW Scott, we’re still breathlessly awaiting the relevation of the “real” story behind your meltdown as promised months ago. Surely you can come up with something better than being “ambushed”.  

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