The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports on an awkward brush with the GOP's ugly past this week:
Former state Sen. Dave Schultheis is at it again, this time calling an adoption by gay House Speaker Mark Ferrandino “deliberate child abuse.”
The Colorado Springs Republican posted a comment about the adoption on the conservative blog, Colorado Peak Politics.
“To deprive this little girl of a loving mother for the sake of self-gratification is perverted,” Schultheis wrote. “I would place it in the category of deliberate child abuse.”
Bartels reports that Sen. Dave "I hope babies gets AIDS" Schultheis' comment was posted to an otherwise inoffensive blog post at Colorado Peak Politics, congratulating Colorado House Speaker Mark Ferrandino and partner Greg Wertsch on finalizing the adoption of their daughter Lila. Bartels notes that former GOP House Speaker Frank McNulty was "one of the first guests to show up" to Ferrandino's adoption party on Wednesday. While that may not comport with McNulty's voting record as a legislator, as a gesture of respect it's certainly nice to see.
There are of course a growing number of Republicans who recognize that the "bad old days" of Sen. Schultheis were a major component of the party's loss of majority standing in Colorado, beginning almost a decade ago and continuing even during so-called "Republican wave" years. Some of these old-school hardliners are now out of office like Schultheis, but others like Sen. Vicki Marble are popping up to replace them. The problem for those who would like to modernize and soften the party's image is simple: the hard-right faction in GOP politics that produced Schultheis, Marble, and so many others, like Dudley Brown and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, still wields tremendous power. In Marble's case, enough power to defeat a much more qualified and moderate Republican in a contentious primary.
All of this was true before "Scary Schultheis" reared his ugly head in a blog comment, but Schultheis did manage to provide a useful lesson in how things have changed over time–and, unfortunately for those "fighting to improve the Republican image," how they haven't.