Before we get to the main subject of today’s story in the Denver newspaper regarding incoming GOP Speaker Frank McNulty, which is his apparent reversal on the repeal of the 2009 FASTER transportation revenue measure, we think it’s useful to take a step back and think about the rhetoric directed against FASTER and its proponents in the last two years.
In July of 2009, the Colorado Independent covered the heat of FASTER outrage:
[T]he hikes have rallied state Republican lawmakers like Colorado Springs Republican Kent Lambert. He’s tweeting all about it. He calls the hikes “Ritter’s illegal car tax” and is encouraging people to come out and protest.
“Governor Ritter hates your car!”
In his weekly newsletter, House Minority Leader Mike May urged citizens to pressure Ritter to revise the law in reaction to “the public backlash” and provided phone and email contacts for the governor…
The same month, news reports breathlessly told the tale of extra police offers posted at DMVs, and terrible plight of then-gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis and the $100 late fee he owed on his “sheep camp” trailer. And let’s not forget the Moffat County clerk’s taxpayer-funded protest cards to the governor. Conservative columnists and radio hosts demonized the “car tax” at every possible opportunity, to the extent that it was arguably the most visible Democratic policy at the state level going into the 2010 elections.
Reporter Tim Hoover of the Denver newspaper does a good job today recounting some of the bellicose rhetoric about FASTER that McNulty and others freely employed on the campaign trail this year–unquestionably, the strident promise to repeal FASTER won Republicans some votes, in any number of the many close legislative races decided last month.
You see where we’re going with this, don’t you?
If you’re a “Tea Party”-sympathetic conservative reading this story today, you can pretty much only feel betrayed–the secondary considerations about practicality, bond ratings, none of that is likely to move you. If you supported FASTER in 2009 as a necessary measure to partially fund repairs to Colorado’s decaying roads and bridges, there are two ways to look at this. You can applaud McNulty for his apparent change of heart toward the reasonable, perhaps recognizing that McNulty is more likely simply choosing his battles–FASTER may quickly become small potatoes compared to the looming fights over redistricting and health care implementation.
However, you might also make sure, while appropriately thanking McNulty for ‘coming to Jesus,’ that every voter in Colorado knows something fairly important: the whole campaign to undermine FASTER, more to the point the Democrats who passed it, was a sham.
It seems to us that the two are not mutually exclusive; but Democrats have a tendency to be so giddy that a Republican is suddenly agreeing with them after the election, they blow off priceless chances to hold Republicans accountable for what they said before the election.