UPDATE: Political cartoonist Mike Keefe at the Colorado Independent sums it up:
Susan Greene, formerly of the Denver Post and now editor of the Colorado Independent, yesterday published a tremendous deep dive into the record of GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez since his last run for office in 2006. Titled Bob Beauprez’s last eight years: Conservatism at its extremes, this is the report on Beauprez we've been waiting to see from mainstream media outlets ever since Beauprez won the Republican primary. Greene's nearly 3,500 word story absolutely must be read in its entirety, and we expect to refer back to it many times over the next two months:
BOB Beauprez ran for governor in 2006 on an image as mainstream Republican as mainstream Republicanism gets. He was third-generation Coloradan, a rancher, banker, former state GOP chairman and sitting congressman representing one of the nation’s most moderate districts.
Now he’s back, running again for the same office with the same folksy image — labeled by the media establishment as “mainstream” and “moderate.”
But in the eight years since his last bid to govern the state, Beauprez wandered away from the mainstream. Far away. He spent much of his time in private life pushing ultra-conservative causes. He wrote a book calling for a revolution to shift the Republican Party far to the right. And in several interviews over several years, he espoused extremist conspiracy theories, including one that Americans – whom he likened to sheep – eagerly would let the government implant microchips in their bodies…
Greene recaps a large number of items from Beauprez's recent past that we've covered in detail: Beauprez's belief that President Barack Obama is "pushing the country" toward civil war, that climate change is a "complete hoax," support for repealing the 17th Amendment requiring democratic elections of U.S. Senators, and Beauprez's more recent secessionist sympathizing. But a previously unreported interview from Beauprez's past revealed by Greene could provide late-night joke fodder on a whole new level:
"When they can start tracking us with a little microchip, and the technology certainly exists, and you watch the people who would line up voluntarily so that gee if you forgot your driver's license, no problem, you've got the RFID implanted in you. If you've got to get through the airport, no problem, you've got RFID. 'Well, sure, I want one of those, I want one of those.' And you watch like sheep how they would line up behind some kind of a dopey system like that without ever realizing how much freedom they just forfeited," he said.
Later in that interview with online radio host Clayton Douglas — a militia proponent known for his anti-Semitic views — Beauprez said Americans are blindly succumbing to totalitarianism.
"We're living through what was a while ago was fantasy, Orwell's '1984.' And it is among us," he said. "You know a lot of people think that we're kind of out there along the fringe for even talking like this." [Pols emphasis]
On the objective scale of the varieties of craziness one encounters on the internet, the "government wants to track you with RFID implants" flavor of crazy ranks way, way up there. Of course, RFID microchips for identification purposes aren't new–pets commonly have them nowadays. But the step from the existence of such a technology to the idea that Americans are about to "line up" to get them implanted, and that anything we're "living though" today in America can be seriously likened to a George Orwell dystopia…
Folks, this is the Republican nominee for Governor of Colorado we're talking about. Who out there can seriously defend this man's collection of totally disqualifying fringe ravings since his last run for political office, RFID conspiracy theories being just the latest example? The idea that this person is being represented as a "mainstream moderate" candidate, if you know about even a fraction of what Greene reports in this story, is simply ridiculous.
The only thing we can attribute the gap between the mainstream media's so-far terrible coverage of Beauprez and the facts of his record to is really good press flacks running really effective interference–that, and maybe some help from a certain biased political news editor. But even with all that leverage, we just can't see how Beauprez gets to November without these disqualifying statements in his record coming back to bite him. It's reasonable to assume that, when Beauprez's campaign was working the back channels to ensure Tom Tancredo and the other contenders lost the primary, none of the people who were sold on the premise that Beauprez was more electable knew about this stuff.
Before this election is over, those people will likely wish they had known better.