Coverage today of Bob Beauprez's GOP gubernatorial primary victory last night doesn't make much of an effort to define Beauprez personally, focusing instead on comparing Beauprez with his principal GOP opponent for the nomination, fellow ex-Congressman Tom Tancredo. Politico's Katie Glueck provides a good example of the emerging pundit consensus that Republicans "dodged a bullet" by nominating Beauprez:
Many in the Colorado establishment, along with outside figures such as Mitt Romney and Eric Cantor, backed Beauprez, ultimately coming to see him as the most electable candidate to take on Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in November…
The GOP establishment’s fear was that Tancredo would kill their shot at the governor’s mansion in this Democratic-leaning state — and even worse, that his name on the ticket could cause problems for other Republicans on the ballot because of his history of making highly controversial statements.
“Any one of the other three would be strong challengers to Gov. Hickenlooper,” said former GOP state Chairman Dick Wadhams, a longtime critic of Tancredo’s. He added, in an interview before results came in, “There’s no doubt in my mind that if Tancredo is nominated for governor, his long, inflammatory and reckless record of alienating Hispanics and women will come back to haunt not only his chances in the governor’s race, but would also hurt all the Republican candidates.”
As our readers know, former Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams warned of the consequences of a Tancredo primary victory in much the same way he advised fellow Republicans to reject the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners-endorsed Senate candidates in Jefferson County. Wadhams' dislike for Tancredo is well known and longstanding–and Wadhams left his post as chairman of the state Republican Party, having had it with the "crazies" taking control of the party apparatus and increasingly nominating unelectable candidates. Beauprez entered the gubernatorial race on the basis that the other candidates couldn't win, and last night's results show there were a plurality Republicans who agreed with him.
The problem, as we've discussed in this space at length, is that Beauprez is as bad as Tancredo.
We get that Republicans do not want to admit this right now. But it doesn't help anyone, not even Republicans, to run cover for something that will be glaringly apparent to everyone soon enough. Republican wishful thinking regarding Beauprez's viability got an undeserved boost right after his primary win last night, as the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee ridiculously tried to cast Beauprez as a "mainsteam moderate."
Faced with the choice of a far-right candidate or a more moderate mainstream pick, Colorado Republicans chose the latter Tuesday, [Pols emphasis] selecting former Congressman Bob Beauprez as the party's gubernatorial nominee.
What's frustrating about this preposterous lede is that these reporters know better. They know Beauprez said President Barack Obama is pushing the nation toward civil war, and that Shariah law is 'sneaking in' to Colorado, and that climate change is a hoax. They know Beauprez has openly pandered to the "birther" conspiracy crowd. They know Beauprez appallingly made stuff up out of whole cloth about the murder of Department of Corrections Director Tom Clements in order to blame Gov. Hickenlooper.
How on earth can you call someone who has said these things a "mainstream moderate?"
The one thing we can say is this: if local media is too deferential to hold Beauprez accountable to his record, it's still going to happen. A release yesterday evening from the Democratic Governors Association shows they aren't waiting for the media to define Beauprez:
Since his historic, 17-point defeat eight years ago, Beauprez has given voice to extremism and rigid partisanship as a fringe radio host. While Both Ways Bob will spend the next few months trying to use the double-talk he mastered as a Washington politician trying to explain away his troubling record and radical views on everything from the imminent threat of Sharia law to the 'hoax' of climate change, voters won't be fooled.
Bottom line: if voters read in the local paper what a "mainstream moderate" Beauprez is, and then learn something very different from many other sources, Beauprez won't be the only one whose credibility will suffer. We'd prefer our local media stay relevant–and the first step to that is honesty.