GOP should be wary of the left brewing a tempest in a teapot

In a sign of desperation that seems to have come early in this political season, many in left-leaning portions of the media and blogosphere have been capering about in excitement, hoping tension between the newly minted “tea party movement” and the McInnis campaign for governor will save them.

It doesn’t take much of a shrewd political observer to see that efforts to bolster the floundering and politically out-of-touch Ritter administration seem wasted. Some, however, believe it can be saved by egging on an argument on the right over who is going to drive the car to the governor’s mansion — hoping maybe they’ll run off the road.

The latest inflammation between tea party organizers and the McInnis campaign came after an interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto, where the candidate was referenced in a graphic as the tea party entrant.

This was misleading, since former Congressman McInnis has not yet received the endorsement of any particular portion of the tea party movement. However, it is probably worth noting that the candidate was interviewed in a remote location and the lower third section of the screen is added in the broadcast studio and was likely not visible to McInnis.

This action caused some consternation among those involved in the movement and the sister group of 9/12 organizations, initiated by talk radio personality Glenn Beck in an effort to rally citizens to reclaim the sense of unity they possessed immediately after 9/11 and refocus on the nation’s founding principles.

There’s little doubt that the McInnis campaign’s new effort to reach out to conservative independents and concerned newcomers that are in both of these grass-roots organizations is wise and timely. They are a powerful and a possible defining force for the 2010 elections in many states, Colorado among them.

A recent national Rasmussen poll shows that a generic “tea party candidate” tops the preferences of voters over Democrats and Republicans.  Whether that momentum can be sustained until November is unclear, but there is no question that it is a heartfelt and powerful group.

The departure of the other Western Slope conservative candidate, Josh Penry, has left the McInnis campaign with one main obstacle in the form of Evergreen businessman Dan Maes, who has been endorsed by three of the state’s several tea party organizations.

In an effort to further this divide, far-left organizations have encouraged the McInnis campaign to speak out against the movement and label them as extremists. I’m sure they only have the best of intentions in this bit of encouragement.

Many on both sides of the arguments are trying to draw parallels between Colorado’s rapidly narrowing gubernatorial field to the New York congressional 23rd District race which featured the poster child for backroom political shenanigans, Dede Scozzafava, as a Republican candidate so liberal she made Rockefeller Republicans look like Barry Goldwater.

Those on the left have been trying to bring this analogy forward in the hope of furthering a fight on the right, much in the manner of a person who encourages others to brawl, offers to hold their coats and while they’re fighting, runs off with their wallets.

There is a huge difference however, not just because Scott McInnis has shown himself to be fairly conservative over the entire scope of his political career, but in the process itself.

Unlike the case in New York, where the candidate selection was made by 11 local party chairs, this nomination will take place as part of a statewide caucus that will begin in people’s living rooms and make its way to a state assembly where hundreds of delegates will make the final selection.

No such opportunity was afforded to the voters of the New York 23rd District, as the much more conservative Doug Hoffman was forced to run not as a Republican, as he had hoped, but as a third-party candidate without being given the opportunity to present himself to Republican voters as their possible nominee.  The process here is much longer and with room for input at the platform and candidate level.

Let’s not let the left in Colorado brew up a tempest in a teapot quite yet.


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