Scott and Josh: Together again for the first time.
Scott and Josh: Together again for the first time.

No "Republican saliva test" required in "Platform for Prosperity," says Scott McInnis spokesman

Update below:

A short time ago, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis joined one former rival (State senator Josh Penry), an ex-rep who was a whisker away from challenging him (Tom Tancredo), a former guv (Bill Owens) and conservative legislators past and present to laud the "Platform for Prosperity," which McInnis spokesman Sean Duffy calls "a document that Republicans could embrace, and want to run on."

Not that candidates who have problems with a bullet point or two will be instantly excommunicated.

"It's not a 600-page policy document," Duffy stresses. "It's a kind of consensus framework that obviously distinguishes us from the Democrats -- and it tells folks who might be running for city council or any other office, 'Here are some ideas, some principles that we think are good.' And they can look at them and decide for themselves. Nobody is doing Republican saliva tests."

McInnis has been preaching about unity for months; it was his rationale for not debating Penry. No surprise, then, that once Penry decided to suspend his campaign, McInnis started looking for a way to get his challenger to join his camp -- and from that quest, the seeds for the platform were sown.

"It grew out of the initial conversations Scott and Josh had," Duffy says. "Josh had the opportunity to sit down with Scott and say, 'How would you govern? What are some of the ideas you'd want to pursue?' And they thought it might be a good idea to put together a document."

This strategy grew more concrete during a November 15 meeting with various stakeholders at McInnis' condo.

"They started out with kind of a laundry list of twenty items -- and they wanted to add some substance, some background," Duffy notes. "That's why there's a preamble that spells out why we're doing this."

From the beginning, Duffy confirms, the decision was made to keep divisive social issues like abortion and gay marriage at an arm's length. "We really centered on how we could create a better business climate, a better job climate. Voters really want to hear about what you're going to do to improve the economy and create jobs. That's why it's called a 'Platform for Prosperity.'"

Duffy emphasizes that McInnis isn't turning his back on red-meat social concerns.

"If he's asked a question about them, he answers it," he says. "We had a forum down in Colorado Springs about a month ago where probably half the questions were very directly on quote-unquote 'social issues.' If people are curious about those questions, he's answering them. But the thrust of how we're really going to distinguish ourselves from Governor Ritter, and what people are most curious about, are jobs and the economy. Right now, issues one, two and three are jobs, jobs and jobs. At most forums, 75 to 90 percent of the questions we get are on the economy."

Recently, Republican GOP boss Dick Wadhams argued in this space that "primaries and competition makes people better." However, he was on hand at today's announcement, lending his support to a plan intended to prevent just that -- and Duffy believes the approach makes sense.

"This morning, it was universally agreed that being able to husband resources to focus on Governor Ritter and the legislative Democrats as a united front is a much better deal than two or three Republican campaigns spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to be at each other," he maintains.

"It's almost inarguable," he goes on. "Every dollar not spent by Josh hitting Scott, or Tom hitting Scott, or Scott having to hit back at them, is a dollar enlisted to beat Democrats. The Democrats dearly wanted a Republican primary. And today, I think everybody agreed that avoiding this and uniting early is in our best interests."

And if they didn't, there's no way to prove it -- given the lack of a saliva test.

Update, 3:49 p.m.: Here's the entire platform for your perusal:

PLATFORM FOR PROSPERITY

November 2009

PREAMBLE

Colorado has fallen on hard times. We've seen our state economy hemorrhage jobs at the fastest pace since the 1940's, and watched as personal incomes have declined more sharply than at any time since the 1950's.

Bill Ritter and the Democrat-controlled Legislature responded by imposing massive increases in taxes and fees, broadly increasing the state payroll - despite an alleged "hiring freeze." They have embraced an agenda that has increased the cost of doing business in Colorado, driven investment out of our state, and killed jobs.

Coloradans can't afford another four years of Gov. Ritter's failed policies. Republicans have better ideas, centered on common sense, innovation, respecting our taxpayers and businesses, and keeping government in check.

We believe that big government breeds small ideas. But smaller government gives citizens the freedom to breed big ideas.

Fortunately, voters will have the opportunity in 2010 to end the Democrat Party's monopoly on power in Colorado and to restore checks and balances to an out-of-touch -- and out-of-control -- state government.

As Republican officeholders, and citizens seeking public office, we will restore faith in our government and prosperity to our state by putting forward the following Platform for Prosperity.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs: Returning Colorado to Prosperity

We will use our voices, votes and veto pen to improve and transform Colorado's business climate so that our state is again a leader among the states.

We will:

• keep Colorado a low-tax state; • put a top priority on investing in physical infrastructure (roads, bridges and water systems) and our human infrastructure (higher education and workforce training); • pro-actively promote and encourage business investment and expansion in key Colorado job sectors; • oppose unreasonable regulations, fees and business mandates; • oppose efforts to weaken Colorado's medical malpractice or construction defects tort protections; • repeal the Ritter Administration's executive order unionizing state government; • appoint "pro-jobs" leaders to key government regulatory and oversight bodies.

Restoring Common Sense to Colorado's Budget

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to restore fiscal common sense and respect for Colorado's taxpayers. We will:

• oppose the systematic campaign of Democrats to increase taxes, significant fees, levies and surcharges without a vote of the people; • restore the cap on state spending, and, until it is restored, oppose - and veto -- spending above an annual 6 percent increase; • oppose those who would use Colorado's current budget challenges as a pretext to weaken taxpayer protections in the Constitution or in statute; • support the creation of a Rainy Day Fund that will cushion the effects of economic emergencies, but will not allow politicians to get access to merely fund pet projects.

Reforming Government and Challenging the Status Quo

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to:

• undertake a comprehensive review of state government to identify and eliminate waste, fraud, excess and abuse, freeing up dollars to spend on core areas that benefit the economy; • conduct an evaluation of the state's boards, commissions and task forces and look for ways to achieve savings through consolidation.

More Energy, More Jobs: A Comprehensive Energy Policy

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to:

• support legislation, and revisions to state rules, that will promote the responsible development of all sources of energy, including wind, solar, hydroelectric, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear power; • appoint individuals to key energy regulatory bodies who view Colorado's energy resources as a strategic asset that, in balance with protecting the environment, can produce more energy for America and more jobs for Colorado.

Controlling Health Care Costs for Families and Business

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to support patient-driven reforms to contain the growing costs of healthcare -- a growing burden on patients, their families, employers and our economy.

We will:

• support portability of coverage from job to job; • reinstate the Owens-era enforcement of the Constitutional ban on taxpayer funding for organizations that provide abortions; • support giving patients the right to purchase health insurance across state lines; • oppose efforts to roll back Colorado's landmark medical malpractice protections; • oppose any effort to bring single-payer healthcare to Colorado.

Improving Education and Expanding Opportunity

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to:

• protect the rights of home school families; • expand school choice in the form of charter schools, magnet schools and for at-risk students in under-performing public schools;

Defending Citizenship and the Rule of Law

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to:

• support a mandatory workplace verification mechanism that will assist employers in ensuring that their employees are in the United States legally; • oppose so-called "sanctuary" policies, which violate state and federal law; • work to block the award of state grant dollars to any local government enacting such a policy.

Pushing Back Against Growing Federal Power

We commit to using our voices, votes and veto pen to push back on a federal government that is too big, too intrusive, and all-too-eager to seize power from the states. We believe in protecting states' rights under the Tenth Amendment. We oppose future "stimulus" bills or other federal spending bills that serve no valid economic purpose and only add to the federal deficit.

Keeping Communities Safe

We will give law enforcement and prosecutors the tools they need to keep communities and families safe.

We will:

• end the Ritter Administration's early release program for criminals; • oppose any legislation that would curtail the Constitutional right to keep and bear arms; • support far tougher sentences for child sex predators;

Restoring the security that comes with a quality job is at the core of our Platform for Prosperity.

Governor Ritter and the Democrat-controlled Legislature have chosen a path, in these troubled times, that has ignored basic economic and fiscal responsibility and cost this state hundreds of jobs every day. They have turned back the clock and returned to outmoded and discredited tax-and-spend policies.

With this Platform for Prosperity, we will restore Colorado to its leading role as an innovator and job-creator among the states. We will create a leaner and more efficient government. We will expand job opportunities for our youth so that they will stay in Colorado and not be forced to pursue opportunities in other states. We will work together, tirelessly, to restore the economic security that has been taken from families all over Colorado.

Together, we will pursue one central truth: A good day starts with a good job.

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