It is with no small sense of amazement that we turn to widely-reputed Colorado “political expert” Floyd Ciruli, writing this morning at the blog for his consultant firm Ciruli and Associates:
The Colorado Republican Party, which was competitive at state-level politics and dominated local politics throughout the 1990s, was basically bought out of the game in 2004. Democrats, with four multi-millionaire and some new funding rules and techniques, outspent and out-campaigned Republicans to take over Colorado. And, it continued through 2010. Democrats had $4 million to Republicans’ $30,000 in 2010, helping stop the Republican national tide in Colorado. [Pols emphasis]
Ciruli is referring to a story published in the Denver Post this weekend by reporter Karen Crummy, which drew some very strange conclusions about the relative disparity between Democrats and Republicans in “independent expenditure committee” or “Super PAC” spending in Colorado in the 2010 elections. Crummy’s report has been widely ridiculed by political insiders in the days since it appeared, as it not only appears to leave out GOP “Super PAC” spending like American Crossroads, but inexplicably downplays any other type of spending–such as 501(c)4 and other types of organizations that engaged for the GOP in races all over the state.
Whatever the questions about Crummy’s analysis (and omission) of the facts, the comments of Floyd Ciruli above, self-billed as one of the most politically savvy operatives in the state, take the ridiculousness of this business to a new level. Ciruli doesn’t even attempt to distinguish between “independent expenditure” committees and other spending, he just asserts straight out with no qualifications that “Democrats had $4 million to Republicans’ $30,000 in 2010.”
Folks, Floyd Ciruli knows better than this. If he doesn’t, he has no business ever taking money from someone else for political advice again, but we don’t think that’s the case. Ciruli knows perfectly well that Republicans went to war in 2010 with more than half of one full time employee’s salary. Ciruli knows, as Josh Penry boasted last year, that Republicans had a well-funded network of 527, 501(c)4, and other groups heavily engaged all over the state. The fact is, anyone with more than two days’ experience in this business knew that Crummy’s reporting is woefully incomplete. And yet here Ciruli not just uncritically repeating it, but making it worse.
In today’s Denver paper, Crummy may have revealed what the purpose of this actually was. After helping mercenaries like Ciruli claim Democrats enjoyed a “150 to 1” superiority, Crummy breaks the news today–unions, yes unions, are involved in politics! Given the Denver Post’s history of descending into irrational “Jimmy Hoffa” nonsense every time unions are mentioned, this helps explain why journalistic standards may have been relaxed. We’re not sure we’ve ever seen disclosure so absurdly penalized, and lack of disclosure so ignored or even rewarded.
Between Crummy’s expounding on this misleading story line and Ciruli’s just plain embarrassing abridged version, we do see one possible motive: terrifying Republicans. Because this story is absurd to anyone with even casual understanding of politics and campaign finance, the only value we can possibly imagine is to scare open the wallets of low-information GOP donors.
Which is, if you think about it, no less embarrassing.