Western state Republicans in complete meltdown

Colorado. Idaho. Nevada. California. From crazy to corrupt to down in the polls, the Republican Party is imploding all over the Mountain and Pacific time zones.

Let’s start with Colorado. You already know about sexist Senate candidate Ken Buck and the gubernatorial primary between plagiarist Scott McInnis and finance cheat Dan Maes. Both stories have new developments. Buck was caught yet again making stupid comments on tape, referring to birthers as “dumbasses”. He was obviously right and I’m with him every step of the way, but it still won’t help him in a GOP primary. But it’s the governor’s race where we really get to sit back and enjoy the ride.

Former Repub Congressman and presidential candidate Tom Trancedo jumped in the race for governor this week as an independent. He he was interviewed yesterday alongside state Repub chair Dick Wadhams on Peter Boyles’ radio show. The interview quickly escalated into a public screaming match, and if you’ve got twenty minutes you really should listen. It’s  just plain fun. The interview starts about ten minutes into the clip with Tancredo being a rude jerk, but by the end Wadhams is making unreasonable demands and calling both Tancredo and Boyles liars. The two men said that Wadhams has told them he dislikes both McInnis and Maes, so not only is the public meltdown fun, it also reveals new party rifts. All of a sudden this Senate seat and this statehouse don't seem to be in nearly as much trouble for Democrats as they were.

If Colorado Repubs feel lonely, all they have to do is look northwest to my neck of the woods, Idaho. I’ve already told you about the state GOP convention, which passed a resolution stating all Repub lawmakers must sign a loyalty oath to try and repeal direct election of senators. That same post also described Sarah Palin’s birthplace in Bonner County, where Repubs are protesting the local fair’s use of the word “fiesta.” The crazy gets worse with ID-01 nominee Raul Labrador, who called for repeal of the 17th amendment before the state GOP did, says our energy policy should be “increasing the production of fossil fuels,” and, like the Colorado GOP and the man he beat in the primary, is a plagiarist. This is an +18 district where McCain won by 25 points – and yet Labrador can’t so much as win the support of the NRCC, the Tea Party Express or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Small wonder the endangered first-term Democrat Walt Minnick has a 16-1 advantage in cash-on-hand and national pundits are moving the race from “toss-up” to “leans Democratic.”

But what happens at the federal level is a symptom of what happens at the local level, and state Rep. Phil Hart of Athol, here in Kootenai County, is our own little Charlie Rangel. Hart is under investigation by the state House ethics committee for tax issues. He’s been late on paying county taxes for 8 years in a row, but the county should consider itself lucky – he owes nearly $700,000 in unpaid federal and state taxes. The man’s not just a tax cheat, either – he’s a thief. The liens include $13,014 in unpaid federal withholding taxes at his engineering firm. In other words, he took his employees’ tax money but kept it for himself rather than turning it over to the government. And the best part? He sits on the House subcommittee that affects issues like his but insists there’s no conflict of interest. Hart and the Idaho GOP are a bigger joke than the name of the town he represents – Athol. But not to worry, he says; the citizens of Idaho are better off for his crimes. “I think it makes you a better legislator, to have these life experiences.”

And of course, you already know about Nevada and the crazy that is Sharron Angle. After a series of missteps – defending BP, calling for the repeal of Medicare and Social Security – she is starting to face criticism from within her own party.

"Sharron's first six weeks have been atrocious," said Danny Tarkanian, who was defeated in Nevada's GOP Senate primary. "I think she would admit to that."…

Before endorsing Angle in her election fight, former Nevada Congresswoman Barbara Vucanovich warned the Tea Party darling, "You're scaring the bejesus out of everybody."

Republican Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, who backed Angle's GOP primary opponent, Sue Lowden, settled on endorsing Reid in the state's general election match-up. "Our state [would] suffer and we would never get anything done," Cashell said of the prospect of Angle being elected.

If California Republicans were hoping that maybe the San Gabriels would insulate them from the mountain west, they’re going to be very disappointed. Despite a new ad-buy from the NRSC, a new PPP poll shows that Democrat Barbara Boxer finally has a comfortable lead over the Palin-endorsed Carly Fiorina in CA-Sen at 49-40. Boxer hasn’t been up by this much since May. (The poll also found that 19% of voters have a higher opinion of Boxer’s hair and 14% have a higher opinion of Fiorina’s hair. 67% are not sure.)

This sure is a good month to be a western Democrat. Whoa, I feel good… I knew that I would now… so good… so good…

Act Blue is now in Colorado, sort of

Legally, Act Blue can't operate on a state level in Colorado as current law prohibits an intermediary transfer of funds.  So, I created what's known in Colorado as a Small Donor Committee.  In the works for almost a year, finally the i's are all dotted; the t's are all crossed.  The SquareState Small Donor Committee is here.

We've done pontificating, pointed out the failed policies of the extreme right wing, mobilized voters, coordinated grassroots action, and even fundraised for federal races.  It's time to help those local candidates we want to see in office in our somewhat square state.  Let's show (current CO-GOP chair)Dick Wadhams that this isn't the same state the last time he was here.  All the progress made in the last few years, we're just getting started.

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Allen Getting Burned on Both Ends

This Hardball clip is just brutal.

A lot of liberals like to think that George Allen is losing because he's a racist.  That's not quite it.  George Allen is losing because he's weak, and it's showing.  I don't usually quote myself, but I don't usually get it this right.  In mid-August I wrote:

The more I think about this racist episode, the worse it looks for Allen.  SusanG points out that no one on the Democratic side will take this apology seriously.  There's some dispute in the comments about racist appeals in Virginia, and whether racism turns right-wing voters off of a candidate.

Here's the thing, though.  Regardless of whether coded racism sells, apologies for not being politically correct do not.  Think about that for a second.  George Allen just apologized to the liberal media, to liberal bloggers, and to liberal Democrats for being insensitive in matters of race.  

I think Mr. Big Tough Republican just knuckled under to the PC police.

And sure enough, the knuckledraggers are angry that Allen is dragging their beloved Confederate Flag through the muck.

Sen. George Allen (news, bio, voting record)'s use of the word "macaca" for a young man of Indian descent forced him to spend the past six weeks disputing claims that his past is littered with racist language and a fondness for Confederate symbols. On Thursday, the furor came full circle when the Sons of Confederate Veterans turned on Allen.

The organization criticized the Republican for saying he had been slow to grasp the pain that Old South symbols like the Confederate flag cause black people.

"The denunciation of the flag to score political points is anathema to our organization," Brag Bowling, immediate past state commander of the SCV, told reporters near the state Capitol, once the Confederacy's seat of government.

Poor Allen.  Even his racist base doesn't like him anymore.

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George Allen Campaign Manager Retracts Apology

Allen campaign manager Dick Wadhams just put this memo out.  He blames the media, pundits, Democrats, liberal groups, and Moveon.org for Allen's racist gaffe.  He says that it's the Democrats that are playing the race card.

The only person who isn't to blame, in fact, is saintly George Allen, who made a simple mistake for which he should be forgiven.

Reading this memo, it's become clear that George Allen isn't sorry for his racist comment.  Allen put out some soft words to appease those who are uncomfortable with racism, but is also allowing his campaign manager to embrace the full-throated repudiation of that fake apology.  

As long as Wadhams is George Allen's campaign manager, we'll know that Allen stands behind his racist quip.  No longer is this simply a single weeklong story; with this memo, Wadhams has retroactively justified the racist attitude of his candidate, who of course has done nothing wrong.  Since this guy is managing Allen's campaign, Allen clearly agrees.  On the off-chance Allen is genuinely sorry for his comment, Allen would need to fire Wadhams.  It's that simple.

The memo is on the flip.

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George Allen Doesn't Mean What He Says

From Roll Call, 3/7/2005, in the 'Heard on the Hill' column:

An HOH informant overheard Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) telling Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) in flowery language unbecoming of a Senator (though not up to Vice President Cheney's standards of floweriness) that, basically, he doesn't care about revitalizing distressed neighborhoods.

As Allen and Roberts were walking toward the Senate subway, our informant heard Allen say, "I don't give a shit about Community Development Block Grants. Virginia doesn't see any of that money." Such grants are being squeezed in President Bush's budget, to the alarm of many urban advocates and some Members of Congress.

Did Allen really say that? Not exactly, according to Allen's press secretary, David Snepp, who snapped (in good humor), "Your source is wrong, as usual." Ouch, Dave-O!

Snepp said the Senators were talking about football, not Community Development Block Grants. And no bad words were uttered, he said.

"What Sen. Allen actually said was that 'I don't give a Dip about immunity for those who chop block Darnerien McCants. Virginia doesn't think that's very funny,'" Snepp deadpanned.
Oh, now we get it. Shit, dip. Block grants, chop blocks. Community, immunity. Funny, money. We can see how our informant totally fouled that up.

Allen has always been a weak-willed man too sloppy to stand behind what he says.  He's also a racist.  

The Macaca incident could really ding him.

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