Readers are still commenting on the last Dan Maes missive posted here -- "Good grief, people, ignore this NothingBurger," wrote one commenter -- and now up pops another one. Actually, this is the one Maes says he meant to write before he got sidetracked by "calling a spade a spade" -- and Tom Tancredo a bully.
Here's the latest:
Marijuana Deals Near You
Just when I think I'm writing to my friends, up pop my emails on various blogs of both friendly and unfriendly activists. It's not that I didn't expect it sooner or later, but what is the most interesting are the ones who just insist that I should not be given a stage any more, insult my commentary, and provide me a stage. These folks are voting on our future. No wonder we ended up where we did in Colorado!
I planned on writing about this issue a few weeks ago but I put it off so I could "Call A Spade A Spade," and you must have appreciated the truth being revealed. I had more requests to be added to my e-mail list than ever before. I try to not to editorialize but deliver the truth about what happened in my race so those of you who care enough will be able to move forward with more knowledge of the system. Make no mistake, we must all work together to defeat Obama in 2012. But also remember that you are judged by the company you kept and will keep in the process.
Patriot Leadership - Hang In There
I have been hearing from some of you about the lack of GOP leadership and Tea Party leadership during this phase we are in. Some of you are also expressing frustration over the perceived lack of progress in toppling the Dems in power. Let's address these separately and quickly so I can get to the juicy stuff.
First, if we continue with the same philosophy under Ryan Call as we did with Dick Wadhams, the messaging is this. The party does not create the message, the candidates do. The party administrates the raising of money and manages the field forces of the party. This does not give you activists the messaging you are looking for when proselytizing to the masses. Some are looking for a message. I think the message of 2010 that you spoke of remains a simple and effective message. There is nothing romantic or sexy about smaller constitutionally based government by the people, states rights, less taxes, and personal freedom nationally and locally. It wasn't sexy in 1776 when patriots were spilling their blood over it either. We must also recognize that there is a constitutional purpose for some government and that the most vulnerable must be supported. Now take that and create something you can work with.
Second, 2010 was a victory for the Colorado and US conservatives. Don't forget the victories you did win. You helped convert some states from blue to red, like Wisconsin (sorry I had to slip that one in, fellow cheezeheads). You helped take back the Colorado house, Sec. of State, and Treasurer while providing a huge victory for our Attorney General. Over 60 new Rs were added to the US house, the biggest addition in history. For starting the game just two years ago you accomplished a lot. Remember, it's half time. Passion at the level you delivered it in can not sustain itself forever. It is OK to take a break, catch your breath, and most of all get ready to take Obama out. Study the candidates as they come out and then let's get behind one and get him across the finish line first.
Calling a Spade A Spade: Patriot Groups
It was summer of 2009 and there was a great picnic and candidate forum in Mancos. It was a picturesque day and speeches were being delivered from a bunting lined, second floor balcony of a historic home. I felt like it was 1900 all over again. After I spoke I was approached by a gent who asked if I would come over, meet some people, and answer some questions. This was not a casual conversation but a vetting. They had specific questions and demanded answers. They were members of the Bayfield 9.12 and they meant business.
I loved the plain spokeness of the grass roots and their demand for the same in return. I had come to expect it and they too in return from me. There was hardly a group I did not meet with at least once and some multiple times. They knew I would show and not disappoint. They seemed as pure and honest as I hoped to be to them. Their platform was clear:
1. Taxed Enough Already. 2. Make government smaller and constitutionally based. 3. For 9.12 ers it was to be done with a dose of Judeo-Christian faith. 4. Vote 'em all out. (i.e. no more career politicians) 5. Do it all with integrity and honesty.
One would have believed that meant that all of the Patriot Groups would abide by these and stand by their man (or woman). As time creeped on some of the leaders of these groups were swayed by the power and influence of their groups with the party and the media. Others simply were old guard in Patriot's garb.
LET ME MAKE THIS CLEAR. MY COMMENTARY BELOW IS REGARDING LEADERSHIP OF THE FOLLOWING GROUPS AND IS NOT DIRECTED AT MEMBERS.
The Western Slope Conservative Alliance, I do not know when they formed, was the most obvious of imposters. They used a name to portray conservativism and claimed to be a Tea Party but this leadership group was nothing but old guard insiders from Mesa County. It became obvious on my first trip when I was asked, "Will I support Scott when he wins?" Now I understood this was McInnis Country but there was more to it. Elected officials were in the room at levels I had never seen before at any other Tea Party meeting. No matter how I tried to get an endorsement it would not come. Even though I never had their support, Janet Rowland, county commissioner and board member, was more than willing to declare to the Denver Post that the WSCA was pulling their support that they never gave in the first place. I am not sure your group abided by any of the above 5 items.
The Broomfield 9.12, led by Jason Worley, was a huge surprise and disappointment. I don't think any other statewide candidate showed up more in Broomfield County than I did. If we add surrounding areas I must have been to the area 15 times. My message was consistent, clear, and conservative. My strongest staffer was from Broomfield. There was an affinity to the group more so than others. If integrity and character was genetic to this group then why did their leadership not publicize the offer made by "an attorney of a candidate" to cover a 25,000.00 speaking fee of a prospective, big name speaker for a fall meeting they were hoping to have? I would think that this kind of attempt to peddle favor would have been publicized to out a candidate playing these unethical games. Worley nor his leadership would go public about it. That was an opportunity missed. Nix number 5.
One of my first volunteers was a great guy named Terry Brunky. Terry mentioned he had a friend near Loveland that had some group meeting up there and I should meet them. I dragged my feet. Terry nudged me again and again to reach out to the group. Finally, I attended the Larimer County Shrimp Boil and Terry was there. He introduced me to the lady who was running that growing group out of the Loveland area. Her name was Leslie Hollywood. I still did not grasp what she had going on up there but something was happening. History tells the rest of the story of the great things Leslie accomplished. But some leaders became mesmerized by the growth of their groups and the attention it brought. They then wanted to play politics and play to the money and power which is what they were supposed to be fighting. I do not know where Leslie landed but she always had a hug and a good wish for me. I think you missed number 4.
The number of great groups were impossible to keep track of by name but if you are not a member of one check them out. Some of the names that still stick with me are, ROAR America, Loveland 9.12, Northern Colorado Tea Party, Bears Ears Tea Party, GJ Results, 4 Corners 9.12, Bayfield 9.12, Pagosa Springs Tea Party, Southern Colorado Tea Party, El Paso County Tea Party, Teller County Tea Party, Elbert County Tea Party, Arkansas Valley Tea Party, and others all across the state whose names escape me from Burlington to Canyon City and all across the Denver area.
We all have the right to change our minds on a candidate. Boy, did I find that out first hand! I really respected those who picked up the phone to question things that the media was writing about or to ask me if a rumor they heard was true or not before they made a change of heart. Some did it more than once and once they had an explanation they were OK with it. The call is tough and demands courage and integrity. I know it was tough for my longest and strongest supporters, some who were elected and past officials, to pick up that phone and advise they were switching their support. When it was done based on fact and reason rather than rumor and irrationality I honored that courtesy and respect. So should others. Please give that same respect to your future favorites that you might have a change of heart on. Hopefully, it will never have to happen again.
It's time to transition to forward looking idea sharing for victory in 2012. Remember from last time, "Don't look into the light" and don't forget. I welcome your questions and suggestions about what you want to hear about in the future. In the mean time I have been doing some extensive writing. Maybe one day there will be the long version of the story.
Do not underestimate what you have accomplished and what you will accomplish!
Until Next Time,
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Westword's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Denver's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
For Kenny Be's take on Dan Maes's political footnote, check out this "amaesing" corn maze.