We recently had a little political hullabaloo in Colorado as the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) purportedly planned to endorse former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton for U.S. Senate. Coloradans were up in arms that such an endorsement might take place. Candidates were reassessing their abilities to raise campaign funds in light of such an endorsement. And all the tea party-types who are newer to the political process--albeit wholeheartedly engaged--were stunned that an out-of-state entity could sway our U.S. Senate race.
The tumult has died down, only to be replaced by the irritating good intentions of none other than Hugh Hewitt, radio conservative extraordinaire. I am a fan of Hugh, and Hugh is a fan of Colorado. I have worked tirelessly against HR 3200 and Cap and Trade, with great encouragement from Hugh. I disagree with Hugh on the FairTax and on the birth certificate. I love his radio guests, and am willing to forgive almost anything when he airs Mark Steyn or Andrew Breitbart.
So what's the beef? Hugh Hewitt has correctly assessed that Colorado Republicans have a solid opportunity to take back the Governor's seat, a U.S. Senate seat, and at least one Congressional seat (CD4) in November 2010. He talks about Colorado legislative races frequently. But he's backing the wrong candidates!
Okay, that's not polite. I don't have much of a beef with Hugh's recommendations of Scott McInnis for Governor, Jane Norton for U.S. Senate, nor Tom Lucero for CD4, except for this one little detail: 95% of the conservative voters with whom I interact are planning to vote for the other key Republican candidates in those races, primarily Josh Penry for Governor, Ken Buck or Ryan Frazier for U.S. Senate, and hands down Cory Gardner for CD4. Is it possible that McInnis, Norton and Lucero have a big fan base somewhere in Colorado which I'm not privy to? Absolutely. But the point is that we want to work this out ourselves, without national interference, from the NRSC, from Hugh Hewitt, or from any well-known person or entity.
The net effect of Hugh's candidate recommendations could be that McInnis, Norton or Lucero receive nationwide contributions to the chagrin of all the Colorado activists who are currently working diligently for their opponents. We in Colorado would really like to slug this out in-state, without nationwide interference, as good as those intentions are. We're not bumpkins here. We understand the opportunity before us, and we're getting the voters engaged and prepared for 2010. Are you aware that we had 10,000 people at the Tea Party at the Denver Capitol on April 15?! And that we had Tea Parties in at least 17 Colorado cities and towns that day?! Believe me, we're on a roll in Colorado.
Take action! Please use your social networking cites, e.g. Facebook and Twitter, to talk about Hugh Hewitt's interference in the Colorado 2010 Legislative Races. Use the Twitter hashtag #hhrs to protest Hugh's involvement during the radio show, when you're most likely to have Hewitt fans read your concerns. (Hugh Hewitt's radio show airs 4 - 7 PM MST.) Be polite. Hugh is a great asset to the conservative team. But we'd sure love it if he'd back away from the Colorado legislative races and just mention them casually as he might any other state's politics.
Thank you for listening. Again, I honor all the candidates, although I obviously have my preferences. We are really enjoying the political landscape in Colorado this year, and would be thrilled to continue to participate and watch it play out without Hugh's assistance. God Bless Hugh Hewitt and God Bless America!
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In a related piece of correspondence, my friend Nikki Mata wrote a letter to Hugh Hewitt within hours of this blog post:
Great program yesterday at CCU - and how thrilled I was to hear not just Matt Arnold, but two other friends, Isaac Smith & Hollis Moore. All three are regular attendees to R Block Party meetings. (We don't have a "membership" - we're free & open to anyone.)
But I also heard the close of the show. How disappointing to hear you say that we all just have to "get over it" - referencing the NRSC.
First off, thanks for keeping your promise to read the article. But that article is just the tip of the iceberg as to why the NRSC needs to stay out of our primary/caucus process. And if I had had more time to explain to you what is going on here in Colorado & why it is so critical, I know that you would have second thoughts.
It's not really about the NRSC. And it's not about ego. It's what DC & media types just "don't get" about what is going on at the Tea Parties, the Town Halls, the 9-12 groups. It's the mood & the energy. It's why one third of Colorado voters are now unaffiliated.
It's why we started R Block Party, why Peoples Press Collective and Clear the Bench exist. And none of us are funded. But we are driven. And we really don't need more obstacles put in our path by our own side.
All those people in that Tax Day Tea Party poster that I gave you? They are not going to support & vote for anyone who has the appearance of having been chosen & promoted by Washington and the party elite. It's just same old, same old to them.
They will turn away from that in droves. It will demoralize them, they will not support the Republican candidates, and that will split the vote. And Colorado will stay a Blue State.
We have a chance to rebuild the Republican party - right here in Colorado - into a party with a viable future. A party that is vibrant & alive. A party that people are excited to be a part of. Because they ARE the party.
I could give you a hundred examples, articles and postings to read to support my case. There is a huge activist movement happening here. And we are all connecting. Would love to plug you into it, so you could see for yourself.
I'll leave you with an excerpt of a piece I wrote about Jane Norton for the Peoples Press Collective:
Is she a candidate that can generate excitement and mobilize the grassroots? Can her message reach the Tea Partiers & Town Hallers? How about the 9-12ers?
Who amongst the many candidates for Senate can offer the proud members of The Angry Mob a place to come home to?
That’s for the voters to decide.
What is clear is that we need to hear what each candidate has to say – without the roar of the political machine behind them, drowning them out.
Yes, we all understand that a candidate needs money – and lots of it – to mount a successful bid next year. But right now? We need a candidate that has the fire to match the mood of the American people.
And money can’t buy that.
Save the money for 2010. Right now, let’s listen to the message.
You have a huge bully pulpit here. I know I speak for all of us when I ask you to use it wisely.
Thanks for listening & GO BUCKS!
R Block Party
(Thank you Nikki!)