Penry’s Anti-McInnis Stump Speech A Hit

They’re figuring out what all-but-announced GOP gubernatorial candidate Josh Penry means by all that talk about ‘past GOP sins,’ as we’ve been saying for weeks–from the Denver Post:

State Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry ripped Democratic spending Wednesday but also let loose on fellow Republicans in a speech that signals what may come on the campaign trail.

The Grand Junction Republican spoke to the Lincoln Club of Colorado at the Denver Athletic Club about what he sees as a “grassroots uprising” among Republicans, who have had three disastrous election cycles in the state…

Penry, who is expected to announce his campaign for governor next month, criticized Democratic Gov. Bill Ritter but reminded Republicans why they ended up in the minority.

“Republicans in Congress doubled the national debt in a span of eight years. Shame on us,” he said. “The reality is we are in a political ditch in part for those errors.”

…Penry’s message hit home with Republicans at the Lincoln Club’s monthly meeting.

“I really liked how he owned up about how Republicans have screwed up,” said Cliff Dodge, a former state lawmaker and state Senate staffer.

Democrats who have followed Penry’s recent speeches say his mention of Congress is a subtle dig at former U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, a Grand Junction Republican running for governor.

“I think these comments about Congress are clearly targeted at McInnis,” said Michael Huttner, director of the liberal group Progress Now.

And in today’s Durango Herald:

“Is anyone else here tired of the flimflam, mealy-mouthed Republican?” Penry said. “We need a contrast, not an echo chamber. If we go into 2010 and say, ‘They’re pretty good, but we can do a little better,’ we will never win.”

Penry has not formally declared as a candidate, but if he runs, he would have to beat his former boss, retired U.S. Rep. Scott McInnis, in the Republican primary. Evergreen businessman Don Maes also has entered the GOP primary. The winner likely will face incumbent Gov. Bill Ritter.

Colorado Republicans have sustained losses in three consecutive election cycles, and Penry said it’s time for the party to acknowledge its past sins.

“Republicans, with a straight face, we have to acknowledge the errors of our own party over the last decade,” he said.

That includes a mushrooming of the deficit and earmarks from Congress. Although he didn’t call out McInnis by name, McInnis served in Congress in the GOP majority until January 2005 during a time of increasing deficits and spending…

Folks, if you’re not convinced by now that this is exactly the connection Penry wants you to make, well, you need your listening comprehension skills tested. As we’ve said, Penry is doing exactly the right things to capitalize on low GOP morale at opponent Scott McInnis’ expense. In fact, we’re not really sure what the best response for McInnis is at this point. Tom DeLay wasn’t so bad?

17 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Ram2010 says:

    Maybe it’s time for the good Congressman to make another power play for the Mesa State College presidency.  Surely he wouldn’t lose out to Tim Foster AGAIN….

    The backroom deals and trickery ALMOST worked last time…they’re bound to work now.  

  2. gertie97 says:

    To see how Josh explains how he, as a loyal staffer for McInnis in those years in Congress, went along with everything Scooter did. Will Josh try the “just following orders” defense?

    • johnpauljones says:

      Seriously, did you think before you wrote that comment.  

      Josh was on the Congressman’s staff and was quickly promoted to head the Forest Subcommittee when McInnis became chair of the subcommittee.  Josh can steal the Forest health issue and leave McInnis twisting in the Tom Delay storm.  

      A staffer responsible for how the Congressman votes?  Get real.    

      • gertie97 says:

        1. Penry campaigned hard when he first ran for the state House on the premise that he’d been Scooter’s right-hand man, how great the Republican Party was in running the government and what a magnificent president Dubya was.

        2. As for congressional staffs, find somebody who worked in such an office, somebody honest, and you’ll discover just how much staffs do influence how the vote comes down.

        • Steve Harvey says:

          the fact that staffers en toto have a huge influence on how the vote comes down does not mean that one particular staffer does: There are sometimes dissenters, quiet or vocal, who are kept on for one reason or another. And the existence of some degree of Party Discipline is to be expected: You belong to a Party because you believe that on the whole it offers the better alternative, and sometimes you find yourself having to hold your nose and endorse other (particularly higher ranking) members you’re not really thrilled about. I’m not saying that any of this is actually the case here (it probably isn’t), but, just in deference to intellectual integrity, let’s acknowledge that with a similar set of facts it could be.

          Personally, I prefer to focus on the person himself, what he has said when speaking for himself, about his own positions, and make that the basis for judgments about him. In Penry’s case, that’s more than enough.

          • gertie97 says:

            So here we have a guy who’s been on the government dole his entire adult life, has taken the position of the Democrats failing to make the “tough choices” without offering any specific alternatives or cuts of his own during the past legislative session, and his ruling position that government is bad.

            Except when it’s paying him. And his lovely wife.

            So you’re right again. It’s more than enough.

  3. walk_the_line says:

    I’m surprised Penry even showed up.

  4. WestSloper says:

    As the Crown Prince of the Republican Party, Penry’s main charge is to go around the state talking about the “New” Republican Party and building his kingly image (or is it the other way around?)

    However, giving Republicans hope does not mean Penry is running for governor. For now, he is surfing on the publicity of media-based rumors of higher office – it’s good for business and he gives the Republican Party headlines in local papers and blogs.  

    Penry is the kind of political poker player who is going to wait to have a better hand than what he has been dealt with for 2010. Here’s why:

    Risk #1: Penry vs McInnis in a primary, Penry could lose

    Risk #2:  By running for governor, he could not run for re-election to the state senate

    Risk #3:  He could lose the governor’s race

    Risk #4: With no elected office to his name, Penry could lose his position as Crowned Prince

    The wild card is Penry could win, but right now he’s bluffing.

    • gertie97 says:

      We’ll see if his huge ego and boundless ambition can be over-ruled by rational thought.

    • DavidThi808 says:

      Ok, this is a long-shot but what about this…

      The Republicans view the Governor race as one they should win. And the view Bennet as very beatable. And the money is there in this case if Ritter is an easy win because it can then go to the Senate. And a close Senate race will get gobs of national money.

      Penry could be looking at that and figure that a Senate gig pays pretty well and can last quite a while. If the odds are good and the money is there then why not.

      And if he goes that way he’ll have full support of the state party because they avoid a rough primary in both Governor and Senate.

      • Ralphie says:

        More than WestSloper’s.

        Before the economy went to shit, I thought that Penry would do better to wait until the seat is vacant.  But now the State is in tough fiscal straits.  The party in power, like it or not, always takes the hit for a bad economy.

        I think there’s probably enough private polling out there that suggests it would be easier to topple Ritter now rather than wait four years and deal with 1) a good economy, 2) Romanoff, or 3) Hickenlooper.

        • Ralphie says:

          Or I should have had my coffee before posting.  I agreed with David because he disagreed with WestSloper.  That was a mistake.

          Of course Josh is not going to run for U.S. Senator.

          But I think the Governor thing looks likely, for the reasons I stated above.

      • WestSloper says:

        …..he would be going to Washington DC to raise millions. Penry would not be stopping by Battlement Mesa to say “howdy” last week.

        Oil-and-gas fueled 527’s and 501c4’s are targeting state and local races in 2010, as they did in 2008 with Scott McInnis’ help.  

  5. WesternSlopeThought says:

    Shouldn’t Penry talk about his own “mistake” filled record instead of blasting fellow Republicans’ record?  Well, if he were honest, I guess he would.  Penry’s own pork barrel project, A52, went down in flames when rejected by Colorado voters.  And just like the mistaken unprincipled Republicans Penry slams, it was not the people of Colorado who backed his failure.  It was out-of-state hydrocarbon companies who paid for his hypocrisy.  Think Bob Schaffer shady Iraq oil deals.

    If you are going to criticize R’s, shouldn’t you include those who do not offer solutions, like Penry, but just throw every obstacle they can dream up in an effort not to work for the people of Colorado, only to put one’s own ego driven political aspirations ahead of our state’s needs?

    Then there are the R’s who just make stuff up out of thin air and attempt to sell it as truth.  Like Josh Penry does.  Shouldn’t he include those in his criticism of R’s?

    And, of course,  being so tied and beholden to lobbyists, like Penry is, just shatters his credibility when he offers mountebank analysis of Colorado Republicans.  

  6. MiddleRoadDem says:

    It doesn’t matter, as long as there is a major, bloody, and expensive slugfest in the primary.

  7. Stagarite says:

    The bad news is that Republicans like Penry are taking baby steps toward legitimacy by owning up to 8 years of misgovernment:

    Republicans in Congress doubled the national debt in a span of eight years. Shame on us,” he said. “The reality is we are in a political ditch in part for those errors.”

    This kind of talk might actually help them win an election. If any Republican points out that the trillion dollars in bailout money is only a fraction the country’s Iraq War debt, Dems should really start worrying.

    The good news is that Penry and the GOP still haven’t repudiated their radical ideology of privatization, deregulation, and scorn for the public sector that caused the Republican Party to drive the country into the ditch:

    “Is anyone else here tired of the flimflam, mealy-mouthed Republican?” Penry said. “We need a contrast, not an echo chamber. If we go into 2010 and say, ‘They’re pretty good, but we can do a little better,’ we will never win.”

    This is good news, because it appears that the GOP is doubling down on their discredited political/social/economic philosophy and actually think that they lost because they weren’t conservative enough. Please, Jesus, let the GOP’s self-marginalization continue.

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