Just a few days ago, flanked by Republican leadership from former Gov. Bill Owens to Tom Tancredo, presumptive GOP gubernatorial nominee Scott McInnis announced his
“Contract for Colorado” “Platform for Prosperity”–an agenda that he and former opponent Josh Penry intended to put an end to vicious Republican infighting and coronate McInnis as the “GOP unity” candidate.
A day later, media outlets around the state began their deconstruction of McInnis’ “platform.” How did McInnis intend to fund critical priorities that have already been cut to the bone? What about the agenda items McInnis ‘proposed’ that are already law? How will the state’s independent voters react to social wedge issue planks in the “platform” added at the insistence of Penry and Tancredo?
In today’s Denver Post, ladies and gentlemen, you have the answer: let the backpedal begin.
In early drafts, it was there: a direct promise to reverse the unpopular car- registration fines and fee hikes that the legislature and Gov. Bill Ritter imposed on motorists in mid-2009.
But when gubernatorial hopeful Scott McInnis’ new “Platform for Prosperity” – touted as a conservative agenda that will get Republicans elected down the ticket, too – finally emerged, the promise was gone.
McInnis didn’t want voters to expect that the schedule of fees set forth by Funding Advancement for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery would be immediately reversed, though if elected, he does plan to phase out the fees as soon as he can, said spokesman Sean Duffy.
But Denver political analyst Eric Sondermann pointed out that a strident pledge to kill the fees, which are slated to pour $250 million a year into the maintenance of Colorado’s crumbling roads and bridges, would have riled the amalgam of transportation and business interests that backed FASTER…
We’ll start with the obvious: the FASTER vehicle registration fee increases can’t be repealed. You already know that, of course, because you know that the FASTER funds are only making a small dent in the state’s billion-dollar transportation maintenance backlog. It was one of our first questions about McInnis’ “platform,” actually–how can he keep this promise and responsibly carry out his duties as Governor?
And as we already knew, and you knew, as did McInnis…he can’t. McInnis should never have committed to these unrealistic demands from Penry and Tancredo, so satisfying to ideological diehards in his party but hopelessly unworkable in the real world–and now that he has?
Back in 2006, in order to solidify his position on the right after attacks from primary opponent Marc Holtzman, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez signed on to the Independence Institute’s Amendment 38–which every responsible political figure proceeded to explain to Beauprez would be a disaster. Beauprez quickly backed off his support for Amendment 38–but the toxic nickname “Both Ways Bob” was permanently reinforced by Beauprez’s flip-flop. Conservatives didn’t know if they could trust Beauprez anymore, and, well, everybody else knew they couldn’t.
History repeating, folks.