The correct spelling is in the headline. Your dictionary (for those of a certain age) or spell-check (for those who don't remember or never used that heavy old bound Webster's) will confirm it. The alternative spelling, at least for disgruntled conservatives and Colorado Republicans, is F-A-I-L.

My GOP friends need to forward that alternative spelling to their state party chair. It was Ken Buck, whose day job is representing Colorado's 4th congressional district, who pledged at the party's last state convention that "we're going to teach them (Democrats) how to spell R-E-C-A-L-L." To applause, it's worth noting, from the only two remaining Republicans officeholders elected statewide, Sen. Cory Gardner and University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl.

The box score for all that manufactured partisan bravado, at least so far, is 0-4. It's likely to be 0-5 by mid-October, when recall petitions for Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia are due. Petitioners, by my observation mostly folks my age and of very different political views but equally grateful for their socialized medicine and federally guaranteed income, have either abandoned recall attempts or admitted failure in other efforts targeting three additional Democratic lawmakers and Gov. Polis.

Call them "The Gang Who Couldn't Think Straight." (I'm avoiding gun-related references in deference to the two readers, count 'em 1-2, who messaged their unhappiness with my column a few weeks ago about gun law reform.)

How could anyone with an IQ above room temperature and a detectable pulse consider it possible to gather, in a limited amount of time, the more than 630,000 valid signatures necessary to force a recall election for a governor elected by a double-digit margin? Worse yet, after failing miserably, who would call a news conference on the steps of the State Capitol to announce they'd missed the mark by more than half and try to paint that as some sort of win?

Who, in the case of Garcia, would go after a legislator elected last November with 74% of the vote from his district? That'd be the sort of folks who just last week gave up on recalling two other Senate Democrats, Pete Lee of Colorado Springs and Brittany Pettersen of Lakewood. The kind who also gave up on ousting Rep. Tom Sullivan, who lost his son in the Aurora theater shooting. Sullivan fought fire with fire, aggressively campaigning against his recall before petitioners could really get started.

"Recalls," Polis said after opponents threw in the towel, "should not be used for partisan gamesmanship."

At least one Republican lawmaker, state Sen. Jack Tate of Centennial, seems to agree. Tate wants to set a higher bar for recall elections.

"As a conservative, I believe in small government and I believe in the right to citizen recalls," Tate says. "But it is also our duty to protect Coloradans' right to ethical elections and functional government and the current process invites disruption." He'd make statutory changes to disallow recall efforts while the Legislature is in session and also require additional financial transparency and more factual language in recall petitions.

Sullivan is thinking about constitutional changes, which would require voter approval, and bring Colorado recalls more in line with the 19 other states where they're allowed. Among his changes would be allowing recalls only after some specified wrongdoing such as a criminal conviction. He'd also increase the number of signatures required for a legislative recall.

We "snowflakes" on the blue side of the aisle have been frequently reminded for nearly three years now that elections have consequences. The folks on the red side of the divide might take their own advice.

Tom Sullivan won election to the Colorado House in 2018 by eight points in Arapahoe County after losing a 2016 Senate bid to Tate, unabashedly campaigning on a platform of gun law reform. He did what he promised, helping pass Colorado's red flag law.

Ditto Polis. Nothing he's done as governor, either with his executive authority or via signing legislative initiatives, should be a surprise. He won by nearly 11 points over an establishment GOP candidate in what one veteran political analyst called "a wipeout of historic proportions."

Perhaps Ken Buck and his party should learn to spell another "r" word — re-evaluate. And soon, if they want to remain (here's one more) relevant in Colorado politics.

When combining letters into words, Jim Spehar relies on his increasingly shaky memory as a former grade school spelling champ. Comments welcome to