“They have a duty to reveal the charges. They need to put up or shut up.”
– Former GOP State Chair Dick Wadhams on the vague allegations put forth by Coffman, Tancredo, and Mizel.
As we roll into Day 3 of “Cynthia-Gate,” the outrageous failed coup attempt against State Republican Party Chair Steve House, it is abundantly clear that Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has no idea how to salvage her now-dead political career.
In a story that first appeared late Wednesday, Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post writes that Coffman is going heavy on the “denial” strategy.
Attorney General Cynthia Coffman on Wednesday disputed claims that she and two other Republicans “ambushed” state GOP chairman Steve House and threatened to accuse him publicly of cheating on his wife if he didn’t resign…
…”There was no joy in this,” said Coffman. “There were no threats, nor was there any desire for the meeting to become public fodder. At the same time, just sort of sweeping it under the rug wouldn’t have been responsible.:
Yeah, you definitely don’t want to sweep things under the rug; it’s always better to try to use extortion or blackmail instead!
Despite these late denials, there is little reason to believe that Coffman, Tom Tancredo, and Becky Mizel did not ambush House on Monday night in an effort to force his resignation; what remains unclear are the details of the alleged charges against House, which Tancredo has cryptically classified as “grave concerns.” Bartels writes that neither Coffman, Tancredo, nor Mizel would provide details about these “grave concerns,” and it’s this refusal to come clean that is only deepening the rift:
Former State Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams was also critical that the trio hasn’t released what prompted them to demand House’s resignation.
“They have a duty to reveal the charges. They need to put up or shut up,” he said.
Coffman, Tancredo, and Mizel likely are keeping quiet on specifics because they don’t have anything to say that would slow this scandal. A new story today from Politico Pro (content behind paywall) demonstrates an odd sense of almost, well, acceptance from Republican insiders:
“Right now, the Colorado GOP is looking more like a third-world backwater, and if it continues then folks are going to find a way to cut them out of the picture,” a Colorado GOP operative said…
…[Ryan] Call, the former state party chairman who was ousted by House, said it could dramatically impact “the perception as to whether the party can play an active role recruiting a top-tier candidate.”
“This is deeply problematic,” he said. “Every day with this uncertainty, the trust and credibility, which takes years to develop, can be undermined in very short order. And that’s what’s happening right now.” [Pols emphasis]
If you missed yesterday’s considerable updates to the story, things are indeed getting worse by the
day hour, and Cynthia Coffman may soon have plenty of company in the political rubbish bin. Her “husband,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is now getting thrown into the mix by association. As one unnamed Republican political operative tells Roll Call:
“The Coffmans, both Cynthia and Congressman Coffman, came with a lot of unknowns and risks, and I think that was one of the reasons why it wasn’t a bad thing that they both decided not to run for Senate,” said one national Republican operative. “I think behind the scenes this is sort of a scary public display of what the rumors had been; it’s pretty troubling that the attorney general is going around threatening people.” [Pols emphasis]
As you can see, Republicans are focused less on damage control and more on keeping their distance from the obviously-toxic Coffman (as well as Tancredo and Mizel). Instead of trying to paint the story as some made-up liberal conspiracy, Republicans are independently making the decision to shrug their shoulders while keeping their backs turned to Coffman. The longer that it takes for Coffman and crew to fess up about these mythical allegations against House, the deeper they find themselves stuck in their own muck.
The refusal by Coffman, Tancredo, and Mizel to explain the specifics of their "grave concerns" is very confusing. Assuming they are telling the truth, someone, or several people, shared with them, as House supporters, that he had some problems (infidelity for example). Out of the goodness of their hearts, for their friend, they met with him to let him know so that he should resign. He agreed but then reneged. (One might speculate that he reneged because he reasonably concluded that the bad facts would just be leaked after he stepped down.) So, spill the beans. It is hard to believe that the truth is any worse than what can be imagined. What loyalty do they have to House at this point – he certainly has none to them.
Well, Early, I'm no lawyer, but if they give credence to House's version, aren't they one step closer to admitting blackmail? And if they make shit up, House could go after them for libel. So they'll just keep repeating the mantra of vague "grave concerns" in an effort to smear House and paint themselves as noble public servants. One can only hope this ends their political careers.
I'm not suggesting they give credence to his version. They should give more detail to theirs. House is version is not particularly credible – "they threatened me with a lawsuit and false allegations of infidelity." Does anyone believe Coffman and Tancredo are that stupid? They told him he should resign, and he initially agreed with them. If they are now concerned that the accusations are not true, then they should admit as much. But, again, it seems highly unlikely that Coffman, Tancredo, and Mizelet would have gone to House, their ally, with unsubstantiated rumors.
With regard to the "unholy threesome," wasn't it Mark Twain who said something like: "better to keep your mouth shut and people might think you're a fool, rather than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."