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February 20, 2009 06:33 AM UTC

Marostica's true crime: pulling back the curtain

  • by: TuesdayMan

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Marostica will apparently keep his seat on the JBC, but as penance will have to apologize to Mark Hillman and Jon Caldara. This is the best way for the Republican leadership to defuse what was rapidly becoming a terrible situation for them. The ousting option would have meant a total melt-down for the state legislative GOP.

But the punishment is telling: if Marostica’s offense was to co-sponsor a common-sense budgetary fix, why has Mike May determined that the appropriate punishment is an apology to Jon Caldara and Mark Hillman?

The answer provides some insight into the dynamics at the State Capitol this year:  

Republican leadership works in a totally different way from Democratic leadership.

On the big issues of the day, Josh Penry and Mike May aren’t negotiating in good faith. Why?

Because they’re just agents for John Andrews, Jon Caldara, Mark Hillman, and especially Dick Wadhams. They don’t have the authority to cut a deal.

It’s like the Godfather, only the stakes are higher.

On the one hand, Peter Groff and Brandon Shaffer make their own decisions, as do Terrance Carroll and Paul Weissman.

But it’s not the case on the other side of the aisle. Josh Penry and Mike May simply aren’t steering the ship.

On Senate Bill 108, Democrats spend months negotiating, and ultimately compromised significantly from their original proposal, but Penry and May continued to move the goalposts because they never meant to support the bill. They got corralled, and ultimately, in turn they forcefully locked down the Senate Republicans, every single one:…

Precisely the same story line seems to be developing on the Arveschoug-Bird bill:…

The only difference is that two brave Republicans, Marostica and White, are fed up with the meddling puppeteers. As a result, according to Pols, Marostica was called in this afternoon to meet with Mike May and–you guessed it–Dick Wadhams.

In the end, Marostica’s transgression isn’t just his support for the Arveschoug-Bird bill. The more fundamental crime is that he’s going against the family, both by supporting the bill and by calling them out in the Rocky. Thus, the appropriate remedy, in Wadhams’ eyes, is an apology.

Penry and May simply don’t control their own message, agenda, or strategy. They’re the middle managers, meant to keep their caucus in line. It’s those far-right politicos, outside the building, who are running the show for the Minor party.

Which, incidentally, is why they are, and will continue to be, the Minor party.


18 thoughts on “Marostica’s true crime: pulling back the curtain

  1. I understand what you’re saying but what exactly does he apologize to those two for? About the only thing he can say is he’s sorry he disagreed with them – and boy does that make Caldera and Hillman appear small.

    1. Ostensibly, he apologizes for calling them “has-beens and losers.”

      But you’re right. The real reason is that he disagrees with Caldara and Hillman (and Dick Wadhams). Which shouldn’t matter: neither Peter Groff, Brandon Shaffer, nor Paul Weissman have to apologize for disagreeing with, e.g., Pat Waak.

      And so at first glance the whole episode seems a tad incongruent, because the people who appear to be running the show in fact aren’t.

      This is an awkward episode for Caldara, Hillman, Wadhams, Penry, and May. The sooner this week is over, the more relieved they’re going to be.

  2. Pols poked fun at Groff’s effort to prevent electronic communication during votes on the Senate floor (, and Groff is too classy and high-minded to suggest that his decision stemmed from anything other than an abundance of caution.

    But with the proliferation of texting, instant messaging, and mobile email, outside meddling is actually a legitimate concern.

    Before enforcement of the rule was stepped up, if you had sat in the Senate gallery during debate on a key Democratic bill, you’d see an interesting correlation. Members on the Republican side of the aisle, on multiple occasions, first would click and type away at their computers, then gaze at their screens intently, leap up and issue a well-choreographed tirade against the bill. No joke. It’s circumstantial evidence, but this is what prompted the reiteration of the rule against electronic communication during votes.

  3. a while back, maybe Terry Gross’ Fresh Air, the actor who plays ‘Dwight’ in The Office, said that the key to his character was ‘a more than healthy affection for hierarchy.’  

    I think the key to the younger more conservative Republicans is similar.  It may be reaching, but I do think it’s interesting to ponder the commitment of these guys to failed approaches to legislation, leadership and public appearance.   They lost the legislature and those losses have been accompanied by a resurgence of liberal ideals and a faith in government action, or so it seems right now.  Their ideals are so wrapped up in the ‘strut’ and the violence and arrogance of the political ‘generation’ that preceded them… I’m thinking of Tim Foster, Doug Dean, etc. etc…  The ‘we know everything’ attitude of the political zealot…that they are without a clue as to how to conduct themselves, how to think through their problems, and how to work out their current impotence.  The truths of their identities have been called into question.

    They are like native islanders in “King Kong” whose giant gorrilla has been spirited away.  They’ll either become a bunch of drunks OR they’ll burnout on the reenactment of routines that got them there and that worked for all wingnuts since the early 1980’s… even if the reality is that those routines caused them failure in the first place.   I came across a decision-making book recently by Zur Shapira, discussing the ‘escalation of commitment’ of executives to a failed course of action.  

    They don’t respect moderates or can’t let their pals think they do.  They aren’t going to take instruction from Don Marostica or any Republican who is successful in navigating conservative principles in the current milieu.   In fact, the group of them will probably move to remove him from the JBC — after all, that’s what Doug Dean tried to do.   It’ll take a support group run by has-been they regard as a successful wingnut like Doug Dean or Jon Caldara… or someone someone with wingnut street cred… to turn them around.  And how likely is that?  

    There’s a group dynamic among this leaderless bunch sustaining a failed set of strategies They have no real leaders… yet… who share their legislative responsibilities.  And they respect nobody.  Like I’ve said before, we’re witnessing wingnut rigor mortis.  It’ll get worse before it gets better.  It’ll probably be ‘settled’ by succession and replacement, not conversation or epiphany.  

  4. I seem to remember an anecdote about Bob Hope.  Seems in one of his comedy monologues, he said something to the effect that his hotel room was so small that the rats were stoop shouldered.

    The hotel was incensed and demanded a public apology.

    Reportedly, Hope said that he was sorry that he said that the rats in his hotel room were stoop shouldered, they were not.

    Marostica missed a great opportunity for a follow on.

    1. You guys are unbelievable.

      Where do you get all this supposed information about how the inner GOP works? Are you a higher-up? Are you secretly Bill Owens? Are you even a Republican? How, precisely, do you know that the Republican Party of Colorado operates like the mafia?

      On what basis do you claim that Penry and May don’t have the authority to cut any kind of deal, or your assertion that they weren’t negotiating in good faith? What makes you think that? Did Penry and May TELL YOU that they weren’t acting in good faith?

      Besides, even if they weren’t, do you not think that the Democrats would have done exactly the same thing? Because they would. It’s called politics. You maneuver as best you can to try and get what you want. It’s a game of chess. Have you ever played chess, you idiots?

      Also, from whence do you glean this idea that Wadhams simply controls everything in the GOP? Isn’t it conceivable to you that he, May and Penry simply sat Marostica down and said, “Look, you really don’t want to kick people in the nuts like you did in this Rocky story where you called Caldara and Hillman ‘losers’ and ‘has-beens.’ It’s just not a good way to get anything done. If you people to think you’re good to work with, then it might be a good idea for you to apologize.”

      Because those who don’t play well with others, especially in their own party, don’t get very far. Just look at Doug Bruce. That kind of shit doesn’t work in the Democratic Party, either. That’s the entire reason that there’s a Green Party and other leftist independents: because they’re dogmatic. You can’t be dogmatic and succeed in modern politics. You have to be flexible. And I guarantee you that a Democratic lawmaker who came out and called Jared Polis or Steve Farber or Jim Carpenter “losers” and “has-beens” would wind up either apologizing or not lasting long in state politics.

      Also, what makes you, DavidThi808, assume that Caldara and Hillman DEMANDED an apology? Do you any evidence for this? Did you speak to Caldara or Hillman or anyone who TOLD YOU that they made any such statement? I saw nothing of that nature mentioned in the Rocky:


      Maybe you should try and get past these kinds of moronic stereotypes and perceive people and the Republicans for who they actually are: intelligent, passionate people who truly want to make the world a better place. Simply because they and Democrats are diametrically opposed on several key issues doesn’t make them all evil and subversive. There are plenty of people in the GOP who ARE evil and subversive, like Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove, but there are also plenty of unscrupulous bastards in the Democratic Party, as well. Like Michael Huttner and Randi Rhodes and Rod Blagojevich. The list goes on.

      In all seriousness, you’d be much more successful in changing the world if you got a better idea of what’s going on and how it works.

      Lastly, I’d like to go on record as opposing the fact that this post was promoted to the front of the blog. It’s a disreputable and unsubstantiated rant that marks the blog itself as a biased, inaccurate and unreliable source of information. If it’s posted on someone’s personal page, that’s a different matter, and perfectly fine. But this is the kind of thing that allows Republicans to completely discount otherwise rational and intelligent arguments from Democrats. It makes it harder for YOU, TuesdayMan, to convince any Republicans that they’re wrong and you’re right, about anything.

      Also, I’m a Democrat. I live in Wash Park, I cried like a baby when Obama got elected, I’m pro-choice, I believe in gay rights and the legalization of marijuana, I hope the Pentagon gets its budget cut in half, and I support a single-payer government-run health care system. But I can’t stand ignorance, from any angle.

      1. We all have opinions, we post them here.  Since our opinions are opinions, they’re inherently biased.

        Fine with me, I can sort it out.  You have a problem sorting fact from opinion?  Don’t blame the poster.

        1. If the entire blog is supposed to be biased. But it doesn’t portray itself that way. It portrays itself as a conveyor of fact. Coloradopols takes news stories and then makes extrapolations. And if it’s SUPPOSED to be biased, then why isn’t there any contact information for the operator of the blog? Or is there, and I’m just too much of an idiot to not realize it?

          I’m not trying to be snide here. I’m really trying to make a serious argument. At least with you, Ralphie.

          1. there’s a contact email at the bottom of the page. So scratch that last.

            Instead, I’d like to say that I don’t think the goal of this blog is to operate like a Democratic attack dog. If that is indeed the truth, then I’d argue that promoting this post to the front page of the blog undermines that mission.

            If it is intended to be blatantly unfair and opinionistic, regardless of truth or accuracy, then I withdraw my criticism.

      2. Besides, even if they weren’t, do you not think that the Democrats would have done exactly the same thing?

        We have Dems disagreeing with the party all the time. There were 14 (I think) Dem votes against the stimulus package. Yes there is Dem pressure but not like the GOP monolith.

        And I guarantee you that a Democratic lawmaker who came out and called Jared Polis or Steve Farber or Jim Carpenter “losers” and “has-beens” would wind up either apologizing or not lasting long in state politics.

        Hard to call Jared a loser as he is in office. More importantly it’s the fact that the entire approach that the GOP wingnuts are pushing has been discredited. It’s not that those individuals are losers so much as everything they promote and believe is shown to be a loser.

      3. villification of either a majority or a significant minority in opposition isn’t a sound political strategy, that Republicans aren’t all a bunch of mean-spirited ignoramuses (though many are), that the majority of posters on Colorado Pols and the website manager are liberal Democrats, that they (we) have a tendency to indulge in conveniently selective perceptions, and that many posts by Democrats on Coloradopols exaggerate the degree to which the two parties are distinguished by their relative virtues and foibles as political organizations, I completely disagree with the conclusion that there is anything inherently wrong or dysfunctional about the conversation that takes place here. Nothing obstructs anyone from making any post with any point of view. I disagree with Colorado Pols from time to time, and say so. I disagree with other posters from time to time, and say so. They disagree with me from time to time, and say so. Sometimes, they persuade me to modify my perspective, or I persuade one of them to do so. Libertad, Another Skeptic, Laughing Boy, Barron X, Robert Jorden, and all other existing or potential conservative posters are free to post as many of their discourses as often as they choose.

        A friend of mine, who I respect and admire, and whose opinion I value, told me not long ago, “Colorado Pols is a big mud pit.” Yes, it is. But it (and the more general phenomenon of which it is a part) is also a wonderful exercise in democratic participatory politics, in which the multitudinous sovereign brings all ideas to the marketplace, advertises them, argues them, mobilizes logic and evidence in support of them, and, for those wise enough to do so, is sometimes persuaded by them. It’s really a beautiful thing.

        In other words, your post, in which you have expressed your opinion regarding the posts of others, is a fine contribution to the ongoing dialogue. As are all others, even when filled with absurdities and arbitrary assertions: Truth benefits from robust dialogue.

  5. If Penry is truly acting in earnest, then why did Al White ask to have his name taken off of the 6%  bill he AGREED to co-sponsor? Answer: He was told to take it off. Only problem is he did it after the drafters put it on there so there is a record of him having signed on as a co-sponsor at least for a few hours.

    Also, Marostica very publicly told reporters he would be taken to the principal’s office for his position on 6%. He never said it was for calling them losers or has beens – it was for his stance on 6%.

    And although John says we can’t prove that Dick Wadhams is controlling  the Republican Party – he can’t prove Dick Wad ISN’T controlling them, either.

    I also respectfully disagree that:

    Maybe you should try and get past these kinds of moronic stereotypes and perceive people and the Republicans for who they actually are: intelligent, passionate people who truly want to make the world a better place. Simply because they and Democrats are diametrically opposed on several key issues doesn’t make them all evil and subversive.

    I do not believe all Republicans fit the description above. True, there are many who do, thank God. Like our good friend Marostica, for example. And Joe Blake on some issues. And Ellen Roberts from Durango. And Steve Johnson. Russ George. But I have seen the actions of people like Schultheis, Harvey, Weins, Mitchell, Tancredo, Brophy who have time and time again voted against the interest of many families in their districts with little regard as to how unemployed parents are supposed to help feed their children or get them healthcare. Keep in mind, many many people are losing their jobs these days through no fault of their own. Do we want to call them leeches of “entitlement programs” and tell them they’re own their own? That’s what these guys are doing on a daily basis. Now, unless you listen to every minute of every day of every hearing at the Capitol and have the tapes to prove otherwise, don’t tell me I am wrong. Next time there’s a Health and Human Services Hearing, tune in. Listen to Schultheis tell people that unemployed families should depend on friends and relatives to help them find jobs. Or to Mitchell grill Democratic lawmakers asking where does government stop trying to save people’s lives when the grieving family of a carbon monoxide poisoning victim is sitting right there on the Senate floor.

    Finally, I do not need to insult people who disagree with me. Calling us idiots and asking rhetorically if we know how politics works  seems a bit over the top. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading your post. You disagree, fine. No need to get personal.

    TuesdayMan, I think you’re right on the money. Good job!  

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