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September 04, 2013 12:29 PM UTC

Wadhams takes the knife to GOP peace-maker Tancredo

  • by: Jason Salzman

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams.
Former Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams.

Just as Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo started pleading with Colorado Republicans to stop beating up each other, GOP strategist Dick Wadhams took to the radio waves to slam down Tancredo as unelectable.

On KNUS' Backbone Radio show Sunday, Wadhams amplified on an a Sept. 1 Denver Post op-ed, where he made veiled references to GOP candidates who've lost previously and who, if nominated, would extend the Republican "losing streak" in Colorado.

Guest host Randy Corporon deserves credit for getting to the heart of the matter, when he asked Wadhams:

Corporon: "The two candidates who popped to mind for me who've lost state-wide office in recent history are Tom Tancredo and Senate candidate Ken Buck. Did you have them in mind?"

Wadhams: "Indeed I did. I cannot see how a candidate who has clearly had a history of rhetoric that has alienated Hispanic voters can get elected state-wide in Colorado. I don't see it."

[BigMedia intervention: One wonders if Corporon thought about asking Wadhams for the name of any GOP candidate, including Rep. Mike Coffman, who does not have a "history of rhetoric that has alienated Hispanic voters," but let's continue with the interview.]

Wadhams: In terms of Ken Buck, who I think would have been a marvelous U.S. Senator, and Ken, actually, was going into October with a lead. But he said some things that gave Michael Bennet the ability to come from behind and win that… And those issues don't go away.

[BigMedia intervention]: But Buck blamed his loss on Democrats, not on himself.

Wadhams later in the interview: "I do not think that even if it had been a head-to-head with Hickenlooper and Tancredo, that Tancredo would have won in 2010. Hickenlooper never had to run a negative ad… He's never been tested state-wide in a campaign like this. I don't think he would hold up under scrutiny."

Dick Wadhams on KNUS Backbone Radio 09-01-13

I respect the conservative talk-show hosts, like Corporon, who've been dedicating serious time to figuring out how to reform the Republican Party. Contrasting Wadhams' attacks with Tancredo's peace-offering is definitely part of this debate.

And again, Corporon took on the issue directly, asking Wadhams whether Tancredo's "peace plan" is something he'd reject. Wadhams said "issues matter in campaigns" and ignoring them during the primary will just make Republicans go down in flames in the general election.

It's a "bunch of bunk" that primaries hurt GOP candidates, Wadhams said, adding the bruising primaries benefit good candidates.

I started thinking about the U.S. missiles that are poised to bomb Syria. Peace is difficult to pull off, but at least they're debating the topic, as it relates to the Colorado Republican Party, on conservative talk radio.


8 thoughts on “Wadhams takes the knife to GOP peace-maker Tancredo

    1. How? Oh, easy. He has what's called a spine, and a sense of right and wrong that's not dependent on who his buddies are, or who he wants to curry favor with.  

      It's not surprising you can't fathom how he could do that. 

  1. Oh yes, Wadhams is such a savvy strategist, he made many friends for his candidate, Bob Schaffer, with his quote about Udall missing a recess vote:*

    "He's not going to get away with it. We're going to shove a bunch of 30-second ads up his ass on this issue over the course of the campaign."

    Slate has an interesting piece analyzing why Wadhams does what he does. Perhaps his style of angry, over-the-top mud-slinging will finally come into its own. At least with the 33% of voters who love that style. 33% is not enough to actually win a fair election, as Wadhams found in 2008 and 2012.

    *Was that a nostalgia tickle just to see the Rocky's logo? I remember when that was the conservative paper in town. 

  2. I've known Dick Wadhams for decades and he is no fool. He may not have made the right calls in every election he's been involved in but he has also won some spectacular victories.

    The importance of what he said can't be over emphasized. Between his op/ed piece in the Post over the weekend and these comments on radio, Dick is sending a clear signal to the Republican Party that it can't expect to win in Colorado if it continues to nominate candidates like Buck, Tancredo, Schafer and Beauprez. He is tacitly telling the Republican Party here and nationally that being whacko doesn't work and won't in the future. Bravo for him. At least he has the courage, compared to many other Republicans, to say what needs to be said.

    Of course, those who control the party will now consider him a RINO and attempt to run him out, but at least he has made it acceptable to talk about the core problem in the Republican Party.

    1. I wonder if Wadhams believes in platform reform, or like the RNC only believes in message reform…

      The Republican Party has tried how many times this year to "reinvent" itself? And every time the conclusion is that the messaging is bad, but the values are right – perhaps even a bit moderate…

      There's a battle going on in the Republican Party; there are some truly moderate Republicans still out there, and there are a large number of reactionary right-wingers taking over the party, and then there are the folks who want to win elections. The latter are in "control" of the party; they're the ones calling for party reform, backed with the faint hope of the remaining moderates, but at the same time they're the ones calling for a moderation of the message while retaining the goals of the reactionaries. They're trying to hold the party together so they can win.

      After Republicans lost the Colorado legislature in the mid-2000's, I believe it was Dick Wadhams who advised moderating the message – but that didn't moderate (and still hasn't moderated) the party's core values.

      1. Now, of course, it's Tancredo acting as "peace-maker"; the more pragmatic Republicans are now the secondary candidates who can gum up the works for reactionaries like Tanc – candidates who are more likely to win primaries these days than people who can actually win elections.

  3. My Facebook query: "Query: If I'm getting accolades for a radio interview from Colorado Pols, does that mean I'm doing something right or doing something wrong?"

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