The Denver Post's Joey Bunch published a long-awaited profile of two-time GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez in yesterday's Sunday edition, along with a similar profile of incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper. We've heard varying opinions about Bunch's story–many Democrats are upset with what they consider to be major omissions, while others are happy to see the overall frame expressed in the story of Beauprez damaged by his long record of far-right statements. In a few respects, Bunch does contribute to this important latter theme:
Beauprez isn't trying to evolve.
In the six months since he joined the race for governor, Democrats have rolled out a list of his past statements they say are inconsistent or too extreme, including his statement that he sympathized with 11 Colorado counties that tried unsuccessfully to secede last year.
Also, in 2006, he apologized for saying African-American women get abortions at an "appalling" rate, which was not supported by facts.
A devout Catholic, he opposes abortion except when a woman's life is endangered, but not in cases of rape and incest. Yet he opposes personhood — defining an unborn child as a human with legal rights, which would effectively ban abortions — as bad policy.
"To believe that a victim of rape or incest should be forced to have her rapist's baby proves that Congressman Beauprez is a dangerous extremist, who, as governor, would be a threat to the freedoms of Colorado's women," said Jennifer Koch, executive director of the Colorado Democratic Party.
Last year, on the conservative website TownHall.com, Beauprez compared abortion to the shootings in Sandy Hook and Aurora…
Readers do get the sense that Beauprez is a strident conservative from this story, and that's valuable to Democrats looking to frame him as out of touch with Colorado's more moderate electorate. There's also new information in this story: Beauprez was reportedly paid over $100,000 by right wing funders at the John Hancock Committee for the States to "organize" the Tea Party after 2009. That's an interesting detail which explains a lot about Beauprez's energetic organizing at that time on behalf of the "grassroots" Tea Party–he was on the clock.
With that said, this story left out most of the worst items in Beauprez's record: and in a piece exceeding 2,400 words in length, that's just inexplicable to us. It's well known that Beauprez is far to the right on abortion, and that he endorsed efforts by northeastern Colorado counties to secede from the rest of the state. Bunch covered those. As for so many others:
His opponents are trying hard to resurrect 8-year-old talking points to scare off unaffiliated voters, only to see Beauprez effectively tie his race against incumbent John Hickenlooper.
Presumably, this is meant to refer to all the things Bunch left out? Our readers know that statement is factually not accurate, since most of the crazy things Democrats have been using against Beauprez are much newer than his last run for governor eight years ago. Beauprez questioned President Barack Obama's citizenship in June of 2010. Beauprez claimed that Obama is pushing America toward "civil war" was in 2012, as were Beauprez's comments about about Americans buying up guns to "protect themseselves from the government." Beauprez's claim that Muslim Sharia law is "creeping in" to Colorado was only this past March. The fact is, and Joey Bunch is misleading his audience to suggest otherwise, most of Beauprez's craziest quotes came quite recently. To characterize these very recent and relevant statements from Beauprez as "8-year-old talking points" is simply ridiculous.
We assume Bunch will revisit some of these items in future stories–because there's no question that the Post's coverage of Beauprez up to now has been awful, and remains seriously deficient even after this story. Giving that benefit of the doubt, there's just one other thing we'd like to note for the permanent record.
Beauprez says he forged his political mettle in the flames of 9/11, asked God for advice, entered the race for Congress six months later, and stood with his friend President George W. Bush and all things Republican during his four years in Washington…
"And it all began," he said, referring to the role he has played in state and federal Republican politics and the calling 9/11 gave him to run for public office. "I remember the days after that, literally praying, 'I'm supposed to do something. Show me the way.' "
…If Beauprez manages to unseat Hickenlooper, he will have completed a journey worthy of Colorado history — from an American tragedy to a remarkable political comeback. [Pols emphasis]
Readers, we leave it to you to decide the appropriateness of Beauprez's draping himself in the mantle of the worst terrorist attack in American history to suit his personal political ambition–and Bunch willingly enabling it. Our readers have the benefit of knowing some things that Joey Bunch's readers yesterday did not: like Beauprez's questioning of President Obama's citizenship, claiming America's first black President is pushing America toward "civil war," and nonsensically warning of "creeping Sharia law" here in Colorado.
Bottom line? If you know about all of that, the 9/11 grandstanding is…well, it takes on a different meaning.