The Tea Party Should Compromise. Maybe. Or Not. Perhaps.

Republican Sen. Rand Paul, one of the Tea Party’s biggest success stories from the 2010 election, gave his first speech on the Senate floor yesterday. But as Slate reports (h/t to “The Fix”), the message was a bit mixed.

Paul began by comparing the Tea Party movement to — no, really — abolitionism:

Paul delivered a caveat — nothing in our current politics could compare, morally, to the debate over slavery. But wasn’t it odd that our current political debate called for people like him to compromise? “Should we compromise by raising taxes as the deficit commission proposes?” he asked. No: We have a “spending problem,” not a revenue problem.

After making such a strong comparison and arguing against compromise, Paul concluded his speech…by saying that the Tea Party should compromise:

“Can the Tea Party work with others to find a solution?” he asked. “The compromise must come in where we cut spending. The compromise that we as conservatives must acknowledge is that we can cut some money from the military. The compromise that Democrats must acknowledge is that they can cut domestic spending.”

We’ve said it time and time again, folks. The Tea Party movement of the 2010 election cycle is going to be devastating for Republicans because GOP politicians cannot possibly live up to the hard-line messages and standards that they set during the campaign. It was obvious before this speech that Republicans were trying hard to distance themselves from many Tea Party promises, and this is another great example of that shift.  

Tea Party Not Faring So Well in Congress OR Colorado

UPDATE: Commenting on Tea Party attacks on fellow Mesa Commissioner Craig Meis, former Lt. Governor and GOP County Commissioner Janet Rowland told The Grand Junction Sentinel this:

Rowland on Monday questioned GJResult’s credibility and representations of tea party ideologies, alleging the group consists of “three to five men sitting around a table smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, deciding who they want to endorse.”

“I don’t put a lot of stock in allegations they make … they don’t hold up,” Rowland said.

There’s just no love to be had anywhere, is there?


We wrote last week about Tea Party concerns that Republicans would abandon them now that the election is over. Those concerns seem to have been justified, as a couple of recent stories from our friends at the Washington Post’s “The Fix” indicates.

First, there was this story about Tea Party darling Rep. Michelle Bachman on Friday:

Republican establishment 1, tea party 0.

That’s the post-midterm score after tea party darling Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.) dropped her candidacy for a spot in the House Republican leadership roughly one week after announcing it…

…Bachmann’s quick exit from the leadership race signals that while the tea party may have seized control from the GOP establishment outside Washington, the powers that be still have, well, power in the halls of Congress.

And with Hensarling’s victory now assured, there won’t be a single challenge to any member of the Republican leadership team – a sign that tea party might not have changed things within the party as much as people thought they had. [Pols emphasis]

As counting continues in the Alaska Senate race, it appears that the Tea Party has a new enemy on the Republican side as well. Again, from “The Fix“:

Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski had some harsh criticism for former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) during an interview Monday night with CBS’ Katie Couric

…Murkowski, who pursued a write-in candidacy after losing the Aug. 24 primary, also took a shot at the tea party Monday night, telling Couric that the reason she lost her primary was because she does not “pass the purity test” that the movement has set out. She used bipartisan rhetoric in describing where she falls on the issues.

“I will tell you, I am not one of those who wants Obama to fail,” Murkowski said. “If he does well, that means the country’s doing well. We don’t have time as a nation to spend all of what we do blocking. We have got to figure out how we get to a point where we can be sitting around the table and talking about these difficult problems and advancing some solutions.” [Pols emphasis]

Murkowski appears to have the lead in the Alaska Senate race as write-in ballots continue to be counted. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell apparently told Murkowski that, if she wins, she will retain her seniority as the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. While Murkowski will likely continue to caucus with the Republicans, she’ll be no friend to the Tea Party movement.

Tea Party Worried that Republicans Will Abandon Them

Tea Party folks have been freaked out lately over concerns that newly-elected Republican members of congress are going to ignore them and disavow their, um, Tea Party-ness once they get to Washington D.C. As the conservative blog Redstate reports, Tea Party leaders are trying to convince newly-elected Republicans to avoid any freshman orientation sessions that are not being overseen by the Tea Party. You know, because the Tea Party people know everything there is to know about Congress:

This handwringing about “Washington Insiders” is verging on paranoid.

One tea party group is giving out the private cell phone numbers of freshmen congressmen to pressure them to avoid competing orientation programs, etc.

Certainly there are legitimate concerns and there must be caution, but Good Lord people, by the time all the cards are on the table we’re going to have all the tea party groups labeling their competitors as Washington Insiders.

This is nuts.

As we’ve written before, Republicans who used any help from the Tea Party during the 2010 election cycle are in a really tough position now. Tea Party supporters are going to demand that they remain completely true to the “cause,” but all of those things that some GOP candidates said on the stump — like Scott Tipton’s pledge to cut government in half — aren’t actually doable.

Can Republicans keep the support of the Tea Party while not completely turning off every other group of voters in the process? That’s not a tightrope we’d want to be standing on. Good luck with all that, John Boehner.

“Thinly Veiled Racism” and Hasan’s “Tea Party” Complaint

The always-interesting Hasan family adds even more intrigue to this year’s election, if that’s even possible–as the Pueblo Chieftain’s Patrick Malone reports:

Dr. Malik Hasan has filed a campaign-finance complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office against the Southern Colorado Tea Party based in Pueblo.

The complaint accuses the Tea Party of failing to register with the secretary of state as a political committee, accepting anonymous donations and failing to report its contributions to candidates and causes…

Among the candidates the party has made donations of $200 or more to are Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes and Republican treasurer candidate J.J. Ament.

Although the contributions appear on the candidates’ campaign-finance reports to the secretary of state, the Southern Colorado Tea Party has not reported those donations to the secretary of state, according to the complaint…

Hasan’s son, Ali Hasan, was a Republican candidate for state treasurer, but lacked the support at the state assembly in May to reach the ballot. At the assembly, held in Loveland, Hasan said members of the Southern Colorado Tea Party campaigned against his son by employing thinly veiled racism.

To be fair, the Chieftain goes on to quote Malik Hasan that the complaint is not the result of the Southern Colorado Tea Party whisper-campaigning against Ali Hasan at the assembly. And on the surface, the violations this group is accused of here seem pretty clear cut: the Hasans certainly aren’t the first to note the laissez-faire way that the “Tea Party” gets behind chosen candidates, seemingly without the slightest concern for applicable law.

But come on, folks. The Hasans aren’t neophytes. They would be funneling money through these groups right beside everybody else, just as they have done for the famously unaccountable “Dr. Evil initiatives,” or as they delivered Scott McInnis’ checks for his water essays to whatever account he wanted no-questions-asked, were it not for one overarching problem.

That would be the “thinly veiled racism.”

But Hasan is absolutely right about one thing:

“The irony of it all is that if these guys are so concerned about the Constitution – enforcing it and following it – then they should start with themselves. You can’t go around yelling and screaming that you want the Constitution respected when you don’t respect it yourself.”

Sept. 3, 2010: The Day the Colorado GOP Changed Forever

September 3, 2010.

Remember this day, folks, because in the coming years politicos, reporters, bloggers and everyone with an interest in Colorado politics will point back to this day to mark the moment when the Colorado Republican Party changed completely, and perhaps irrevocably. Whether or not this change will be remembered as something positive or negative may not be known until well after Election Day in November, and maybe not until Winter 2011, when Republicans across the state elect new local and statewide leadership. But make no mistake — nothing can ever be the same in the Colorado GOP after weeks of events that culminated on Friday.

Because on Friday, Sept. 3, 2010, the State Republican Party told every Republican voter that the caucus and the primary only matter so long as you choose the candidate they want you to choose. Otherwise, your vote means nothing. Incredibly, and inexplicably, the Colorado Republican Party officially declared that a small handful of people will make decisions for you, no matter what the election results say.

In fact, two major changes have occurred: 1) The Republican Party decided that a small committee of people can choose whether or not to support a candidate that Republican voters elected, and 2) Top Republicans have splintered their support in the governor’s race in three different directions. Party unity? There’s no going back from here.

The Colorado Statesman has an excellent story from Jody Strogoff and Ernest Luning about the events surrounding the Republican efforts to get Gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes off of their ballot. You really need to read the whole thing, but we’ll break down a couple of key sections to illustrate our point after the jump.

the Colorado Republican Party has officially abandoned its support of their nominee, with State Chairman Dick Wadhams saying he was “very disappointed in the decision by Dan Maes to continue his candidacy for governor. Revelations before and especially after the August 10th primary have raised serious questions about the veracity of how he has presented his professional background and career and have virtually destroyed any possibility of running a viable campaign.”…

…A story published earlier Friday by the Washington, D.C.-based Politico referenced an anonymous source who said Maes met Friday morning with members of the Colorado Republican Party’s executive committee. According to the political news site’s account, powerful Republicans confronted Maes with further “damaging evidence” about him that hadn’t yet been made public in a last ditch effort to force him from the race.

But GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams unequivocally denied that the meeting described in Politico had taken place.

“There was no meeting with Maes by me and/or the executive committee,” Wadhams told The Statesman on Friday afternoon. He also said the GOP did not have any “damaging evidence” against Maes, as was reported in the Politico story. Nate Strauch, spokesman for Maes’ campaign, also told The Statesman that the purported meeting did not occur.

However, a member of the state’s 24-member executive committee told The Statesman late in the day Friday that, while no official meeting of the executive committee had been convened, a member of the committee talked with Maes about the mounting negative information beginning to leak out about his personal and professional background. The top GOP official asked Maes to seriously consider withdrawing his name from the ballot before the 5 p.m. Friday deadline for ballot certification.

Maes’ decision to stay in the race was met with varied reaction from Republicans. Most stunning, perhaps, was an announcement issued by the Colorado GOP just minutes after Friday’s ballot certification deadline. The statement, signed by Wadhams, didn’t include Maes’ name on the list of Republican candidates that had the official support of the state party.

Because Dan Maes won the Republican nomination for governor, or more precisely, because of what Republicans did in response to that victory, the Colorado Republican Party has shattered in multiple directions. Colorado Republicans have been trying for weeks to force Maes out of the race with numerous private meetings and the leaking of damaging information about Maes in the last week (every top-level Democrat we’ve talked to last week insists that they had nothing to do with leaking information about Maes’ apparent fabrication that he was once an undercover police officer, and we believe them – Democrats have no interest in trying to force Maes out of the race for governor because he’s polling well behind Democrat John Hickenlooper). These efforts have been ongoing as the Colorado Republican Party has insisted that they were fully supportive of Maes.

But now, under the absurd guise that they are just now learning about what a bad candidate Maes will be (and let’s be honest here – anybody who read a newspaper or blog, or watched local TV in the last three months already knew that) – the State Freakin’ Party has officially decided not to support their own nominee for governor. And it’s transparently obvious why that decision was made: Because Maes wouldn’t withdraw from the race.

With the unprecedented move by the State GOP Party to abandon their own nominee for governor, there is nobody left to hold the ticket together – which is fundamentally the entire point of having a political party. Take a look at just how badly things have splintered:

  • The Colorado Republican Party: Officially Will NOT Support Maes for governor.

  • Steve Schuck, Prominent Republican and two-time candidate for governor in the 1980s: Publicly supporting Tom Tancredo, the American Constitution Party candidate for governor.

  • Mary Smith, Former Chair of the Denver County Republican Party: Publicly supporting Democrat John Hickenlooper for governor.

  • John Andrews, former Senate President and former GOP candidate for governor: Publicly withdrew his endorsement of Maes and said that he will write-in Jane Norton for governor (the same Jane Norton who, just weeks earlier, lost her own primary for U.S. Senate to Ken Buck).

  • Wayne Allard, former U.S. Senator: Staying with his previous endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Paul Tauer, Former Aurora Mayor: Staying with his previous endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Dave Schultheis, outspoken term-limited State Senator: Staying with his previous endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Larry Mizel and Greg Maffei, prominent Republican businessmen and fundraisers: Publicly supporting Democrat John Hickenlooper and raising money for his campaign for governor.

  • Ken Buck, Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate: Publicly withdrew his endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Mike Coffman, Republican Congressman in CD-6: Publicly withdrew his endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Hank Brown, highly-regarded former U.S. Senator: Publicly withdrew his endorsement of Maes for governor.

  • Doug Lamborn, Republican Congressman in CD-5: Still supporting Maes after previous public endorsement.
  • As you can see, there is no spin or analysis needed here. This is an unequivocal and embarrassing mess for the Colorado Republican Party, and here’s why: 196,560 Republican voters selected Maes over Scott McInnis in the GOP primary. Many of those Maes votes were definitely a rejection of McInnis more than a selection of Maes, but that doesn’t change the fact that Maes fairly won the nomination, after winning top line at the state GOP convention. But the Colorado Republican Party just told those 196,560 voters that their vote doesn’t matter, because they decided, through their own little Executive Committee, that Dan Maes would not receive the support of the Colorado Republican Party.

    What makes this whole fiasco even more stunning is the incredible bald-faced hypocrisy of GOP Party Chair Dick Wadhams. Just last week (Aug. 25, to be exact), a quite unambiguous letter from State GOP Chair Dick Wadhams was sent to “Colorado Republican Leaders” in an effort to clear up any “unfortunate misperceptions” about Republican efforts to force Maes out of the race for governor. Here is that letter as reprinted in The Colorado Statesman (all bolding is Pols emphasis]:

    The Colorado Republican State Executive Committee unanimously adopted a resolution at our regularly scheduled bimonthly meeting in August stating clear support for Ken Buck for U.S. Senate and Dan Maes for Governor along with all other Republican candidates nominated for statewide, congressional, state legislative and county offices in the August 10 primary election. The resolution is attached. [Pols note: We left this last sentence unaltered, although the resolution is not attached here nor was it attached to the online story in the Statesman]

    Our Republican nomination process was open and fair from the beginning of this election cycle to any candidate who chose to compete and any Republican who wished to participate in our precinct caucuses, county and district assemblies, the state assembly and primary election.

    Unfortunately, the turmoil in the governor’s race has raised unfortunate misconceptions about the role of the Colorado Republican Party and, even more specifically, my role as state chairman.

    I have been inundated by emails and phone calls by those who have the misconception that Colorado Republicans do not support our nominee for governor, Dan Maes. At the same time, I have also received emails and phone calls from people who believe I can arbitrarily reverse the result of a primary election and find a new candidate for governor.

    First of all, the Colorado Republican Party and I, as state chairman, support Dan Maes for Governor. Period. Dan won our nomination fair and square. We are working directly with Dan and his campaign in our Victory voter identification and turnout operation.

    Second, neither the state chairman nor any committee within the Colorado Republican Party can arbitrarily remove a duly-elected nominee. And that’s the way it should be…

    …Finally, I have no regrets whatsoever how we conducted our nomination process. It was not my role or the state party’s to determine who could or would run or who would win. It was my responsibility to ensure a fair nomination process open to any candidate who wished to compete and to any Republican who wished to participate in it. And that is exactly what occurred in 2010. Every person who considered running and chose to do so or not to do so made their own decision, it was not made by me or the Colorado Republican Party.

    Just nine days after this letter was sent out to “Colorado Republican Leaders,” Wadhams took the unprecedented step of announcing that the Colorado Republican Party would NOT support Maes, its own nominee for Governor, thus completely crippling any chances Maes might have of winning in November.

    Just nine days after writing that Maes “won our nomination fair and square,” the Colorado Republican Party officially and formally slammed the door in the face of Maes.

    Just  nine days after writing that “It was not my role or the state party’s to determine who could or would run or who would win,” the Colorado Republican Party did, in fact, determine unilaterally that they would not support their candidate for Governor, a man whom Wadhams already said had won the nomination “fair and square.” Again, and this is worth repeating, we’re talking about a candidate who handily won top line at the Republican State Convention in May, and who won the August Primary with 196,560 very real votes. Maes did everything the Republican Party asked him to do in order to win their nomination, and he did it. And then they rejected him anyway.

    Look, Dan Maes is a terrible candidate with virtually no chance of winning in November. Anybody with even a cursory understanding of Colorado politics knows this, too. But that doesn’t mean that the Colorado Republican Party should be allowed to completely override the Primary election results. How can Republican voters ever again believe that their vote will ultimately mean anything after this? How can the Tea Party activists believe that the State Party will ever really embrace them after they have shown such callous disregard for Democracy?

    Maybe this fiasco will finally force State Republicans to fix their internal mess and straighten things out. Maybe this will show the Tea Party that it would be better to form their own political party than be at the mercy of the GOP elite. Or maybe this will stop any future unknown, upstart candidate from even thinking about trying to run without the blessing of the GOP “kingmakers” who make decisions that have nothing to do with election results.

    We can’t pretend to guess what will happen next, but for Colorado Republicans, conservatives and Tea Party supporters, nothing can ever be the same again.

    Tea Party Geniuses: Maybe We Should Raise Money?

    As Politico reports:

    Colorado gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes has already overcome a significant cash dearth to win once this election cycle, but now Republican leaders are warning that without a fast injection of cash, his campaign might be doomed.

    In a recent e-mail to grassroots Republicans forwarded to POLITICO, the president of Denver’s Coalition for a Conservative Majority said Maes’s campaign was teetering on the brink due to anemic cash flow.

    “Dick Wadhams informed us that the Maes campaign is on the verge of collapse due to lack of campaign funding. If you are a Dan Maes supporter, be aware that his campaign desperately needs donations even more than it needs volunteers to work,” wrote coalition president Jack Ott, referencing comments made by state party chair Dick Wadhams at recent meeting.

    In a separate e-mail to a conservative listserv, Colorado 9-12 Project leader Lu Busse wrote that Maes “in particular needs money,” and suggested that a big cash infusion from grassroots members could help spur rank-and-file establishment Republicans and “big money” players to get off the sidelines.

    Busse went on to say that statewide Republican candidates like Maes would likely need a million votes to win, more than double the number of Republicans who turned out to vote in the primary. “Persuading 2.5 times that many to vote for the candidates will not be possible in the next 10 weeks without money for direct mail and other advertising . . . This is not being negative, this is accepting reality and changing our tactics/actions based upon the situation,” Busse wrote. [Pols emphasis]

    We love that last quote from 9-12 Project Leader Lu Busse that they might want to “change their tactics” to include more fundraising. Whatever gave you that idea? Who gave up the secret that you can’t win elections with just “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and message boards?

    Through the July 28 cutoff period for the last fundraising reports, GOP gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes had less than $24,000 in the bank. We’ve always said that this is one of the main problems with Republicans kowtowing to the Tea Party and 9-12 groups of the world; sure, they’re loud and they show up at events, but taken as a whole, they are more of a hindrance than a help. Republicans like Senate nominee Ken Buck have had to move as far to the right as possible in order to win their support in a Primary, but once the General Election comes, they become a humongous albatross. They insist that Buck and Maes take positions that won’t help them much with swing voters, but they don’t do squat to help them raise money to appeal to anyone other than the Tea Party. You can see this muddled line of thinking in the quote above, as though it just now became clear that raising money might be helpful.

    Of course, even if the Tea Party folks could help raise money, there’s no guarantee that Maes would know what to do with it, as a former staffer tells Politico:

    “There were just red flags all over the place. It was real clear to me he didn’t have any personal money. His wife was running the campaign money,” said Ross, who left the campaign in March. “He doesn’t know how to manage $5. He won’t be able to raise money. He can’t raise money because people are finding out what a joke he is.”

    Norton Praises 9/12 Groups, Glenn Beck Faithful

    This video was just released showing U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton praising the Tea Party, 9/12 and Glenn Beck faithful. The video is supposedly from a Norton meeting with Morgan County Republicans on Nov. 2, which shows that Norton’s campaign was aware of the need to placate the Tea Party even before they were showing their anger towards her campaign. The video also shows that there apparently aren’t a lot of Morgan County Republicans, but we digress…

    NoCo Tea Party Groups Lash Out at McInnis, Plan Anti-McInnis Rally

    (Apparently they didn’t get the message that the GOP/McInnis platform is meant for them. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

    POLS UPDATE #3: Be there or be square–Tea Party, uh, party against McInnis coming soon. Details after the jump.

    POLS UPDATE #2: Michelle Malkin is most displeased.

    POLS UPDATE: Here’s the clip, forwarded to us–chutzpah like only Fox News can deliver.

    Original post follows.

    Northern Colorado’s two largest Tea Party groups have laid into presumptive Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott McInnis over what they see as his false claims of Tea Party support.

    What really got the Tea Party folks riled up was McInnis appearance on Neil Cavuto’s show on Fox News Wednesday. As McInnis was introduced, an on-screen graphic read, “”Tea Party Backed Candidate Leading in CO Governor’s Race.”

    As anyone who’s spent more than a couple of minutes watching Colorado politics knows, the idea that McInnis has the backing of Tea Party activists is ludicrous. Cavuto comes across as pretty ignorant about Colorado politics, I thought.

    Representatives of the Tea Party of Northern Colorado and the Loveland 9-12 Project were incensed at the suggestion that their movement was backing McInnis. Leaders of both groups blasted out e-mails to their membership following the Cavuto appearance.

    “We are being played like pawns. And we can’t put up with it,” said Lesley Hollywood of the Tea Party of Northern Colorado.

    Nancy Rumfelt of the Loveland 9-12 Project said, “We must demand that we want PRINCIPLE over PARTY (P.O.P.)!!!”

    I’m only tied in to the Northern Colorado Tea Party groups, but I suspect this reaction is being replicated across the state today.

    You can read more on this issue at my blog, including how Hollywood and other Tea Party activists feel about the “Platform for Prosperity.” Click here:

    (NOTE: In an earlier version of this diary I attributed the Tea Party of Northern Colorado quote to Ray Harvey, one of the organizers for the group. The e-mail was sent by Lesley Hollywood, another organizer. My apologies to both Lesley and Ray for the confusion.)