Maes and the medicine

(Denver Post, Aug. 1) The other day in Starbucks I overheard Reagana, a personal trainer and Tea Party mom, debating with McDole, her CPA and a moderate Republican. “You can still support McInnis after everything we know about him? With Colorado on the brink, you’re telling me he’s the governor we need?”

Doggedly but without enthusiasm, McDole pointed out the GOP veteran’s experience as a legislator and congressman, his litany of endorsements, his feisty campaign style and fundraising prowess. As for plagiarism, heck, Joe Biden did it, Dr. King did it, and look where they are. Passing off that judge’s writing as his own – no big deal.

But Reagana said it came down to trust. Scott McInnis took $300,000 from a Muslim foundation for this glorified term paper. It looked to her like sharia sympathizers buying influence with a politician. Poor judgment for starters, and now with the stolen intellectual property, weak integrity as well. “He’s lost my vote.”

The CPA shrugged. His ballot was in the mail already, marked for McInnis. He figured if polling found Scott too damaged by press attacks, the Republican power-brokers would maneuver him off the ticket after the primary and put in Ken Buck or Jane Norton, whichever lost the Senate race. Besides, scoffed McDole, we can’t nominate Dan Maes – no one ever heard of him.

No one but a majority of GOP delegates, the trainer jabbed. Maes defeated Mac at the state assembly after a year of campaigning. How arrogant for the media and party insiders to talk as if no private citizen dares aspire to statewide office. Tell it to the late Gov. John Love. Bayh of Indiana and Blunt of Missouri, legacy boys barely 30, won governor with no credentials but daddy’s name. Businessman Maes has the tools and the ideas, argued Reagana, and anyway Colorado NEEDS an outsider.

McDole fretted about a letter from some Longmont woman in the July 18 Denver Post. “Maes wants to protect TABOR, buck the unions, thin the state payroll, encourage oil and gas exploration, and pass an Arizona-style immigration law. She has it all on tape.”

Reagana clapped with delight. Saw the letter, loved the letter, what’s not to like? Even if Scott could beat Hickenlooper, which he can’t (but neither will he quit the ticket), do you think for a minute he would do all those things, as wired into the cautious establishment as he is?

Our state needs a new broom to sweep clean, she said, because we really are at the brink. California may soon be in for the kind of bailout Greece got, and other states will follow. We’re not on the short list, but we’re not healthy either – huge annual deficits despite the Referendum C tax hike, and a time bomb in the state pension fund. Protecting TABOR is a must. So is cutting taxes.

The CPA jumped to his feet in exasperation. Was there going to be a scene? I looked away and pretended not to listen. “Don’t tell me you’re for those three awful ballot issues, 60, 61, and 101? Wiping out jobs, paralyzing services – please!”

Yes, said the trainer, because with so many governments headed for a fiscal coronary, this is heart-attack medicine we better swallow. One reaffirms the ban on state debt, part of Colorado’s constitution since 1876. Another rolls back Ritter’s illegal property tax increase. The third takes about 2 percent off government’s annual growth rate. Foolhardy NOT to pass them.

“Maes and the medicine – that’s where you come down?” McDole was incredulous. He had forgotten my long-ago campaign for governor, asking voters to support Andrews and the amendments. Roy Romer won easily, but the passage of term limits in 1990 and TABOR in 1992 has benefited our state ever since. As for 2010, who can say?

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