Cover Letter dated November 11, 2009
If the Gazette were aware of events which had the potential to cost Colorado Springs citizens substantial amounts of money over their lifetimes, would it have an obligation to report on them?
I am a candidate for Senate District 9. I never intended to run for any office, but days after the last election, I received a phone call. The caller described alleged threats to Republican candidates by Focus on the Family if they were seen helping the pro choice fiscal conservative Republican in HD-17.
I couldn’t prove that the threats had occurred, but over the next four months, I found evidence, 9 data points at the time, that supported the caller’s theory that many local Republicans weren’t interested in seeing their candidate win. Then, in August, Dave Schultheis told the Gazette that the pro-life plank justified purges. James Dobson and Schultheis have been described as close personal friends in a Focus newsletter, so it seems likely that they agree on purges and that the threats were made.
I entered the race against Schultheis (now Lambert). I ran on one issue. I told people that he was the pro-fratricide candidate and I am the anti-fratricide candidate. I am the pro-majority candidate while he said he preferred a pure minority.
That doesn’t come across in Gazette coverage. I wondered why until a Gazette editor wrote on a blog that my campaign was RINO, progressive, and pro-abortion.
That caused me to look at Gazette coverage of the purge issue. The attached bullet list is a result of my examination. I asked Gazette Editor Jeff Thomas to review the list because I wanted it to be accurate. He chose not to object or give any input, though Dean Toda did provide input.
Purges impose a heavy cost when they prevent Republicans from controlling at least one house of the legislature and that body’s kill committee. Republicans cannot stop tax and spending bills, and are in no position to protect business and doctors from lawyers or to impact energy policies. Construction and Higher Education budgets get raped because the purged Republicans have no vote.
While I would like to have your support as a candidate, I am not asking for it at this time. Instead, I am asking that you and your organization examine whether or not your civic duty requires you to demand full and fair reporting on the cost of religiously motivated purges.
Complete reporting from The Gazette
I am running for Senate District 9 for one reason. I want to stop the fratricidal attempts by single issue social conservatives to purge other Republicans. Again that is the only issue I am running on. A party that avoids opportunities to seek a majority has no prospects of being in power.
I’ve been running for 7 months, but The Gazette has danced around my issue for all of that time. It never mentions the word “purges” when writing about my candidacy or admits they are happening.
In a recent article about my new opponent, the Gazette characterized the fratricide as simple “shunning” as in “was running on the grounds…sacrificing a legislative majority by shunning candidates perceived as soft on social ‘wedge’ issues…” “Shunning” is pretty soft for what is going on. I have never used that word.
There is evidence that some on The Gazette staff want the purges to continue:
• It took The Gazette 4 months to acknowledge that I was a candidate and 4 hours to report on the announcement of my new opponent, who supports purges.
• Instead of reporting that I was running to stop the purges, it headlined the piece on my announcement “Some in GOP say Right is all wrong for Party.” I am saying no such thing, and it had no quotes from anyone to back the headline up.
• It won’t report that purges have been going on since 2004 and were involved in the losses of Coors, Beauprez (for supporting Coors), and at least three Republican legislators. An attempted purge of another legislator failed.
• It won’t report that when people like James Dobson and Rush Limbaugh turn off their voters toward the top of the ticket and can’t turn them all back on, the result is down ticket losses of people like Senator Norm Coleman. Sometimes they don’t try to turn them back on.
• It won’t report that the people doing the purging never care if they permanently hand the seat involved over to a Democrat because hard core conservatives can’t win in those districts. Senator Lincoln Chafee is a good example.
• It won’t report that social conservatives who promote purges never have a plan for building a majority. My current opponent has been asked multiple times what the plan was in town hall meetings, and has no answer.
• Wayne Laugesen, the editorial page editor wrote in a blog that my campaign was pro-abortion, progressive, and RINO. Apparently anyone who wants to stop or even talk about the purges is a “RINO.” I don’t mention abortion and am certainly not promoting it. I’m not “progressive.” I am opposed to the tactics that keep us in the minority and those who promote them.
• Laugesen approved a guest editorial that announced the formation of a fund to keep people “like Kit Roupe, a fiscal liberal” off the ballot. Roupe is very fiscally conservative but pro choice. The author’s only data point that she was fiscally liberal was that she had supported county issue 1A.
• Before my first interview with The Gazette, I provided nine data points indicating that local social conservatives had tried to purge Roupe in HD-17. Some were off the record, but most were not. A tenth was added when Schultheis said in the article that the pro life plank justified purges. Not reported.
• My opponent is a proponent of a pure party and purges, saying to the Colorado Union of Taxpayers last spring “the ranks of weak Republicans must be thinned.” That hasn’t been reported.
• While Kent Lambert would want any moderate Republican who ran in HD-18 to lose to the Democrat, he ignores the fact that he ran there as a staunch conservative in 2004 and lost 40-60. Instead of trying again, he immediately moved to a district where he gets 70% of the vote with no effort. Social conservatives want to abandon districts they can’t win to the Democrats rather than see a moderate Republican win.
• The Gazette emphasizes my opponent’s Colorado Union of Taxpayer scores without acknowledging that when a lawmaker is in the minority, he loses every important vote. This wouldn’t be germane if Lambert were trying to get into the majority, but he prefers a pure minority and likes purges.
• The Gazette knows that the kill committee mechanism in the legislature (see below) eliminates any argument for a pure party, but doesn’t tell its readers about it.
• I have submitted several proposed guest editorials to the Gazette but have yet to have any of them acknowledged, let alone published.
• I have requested appointments with both Jeff Thomas and Wayne Laugesen, again without acknowledgement.
Colorado has a unique legislative feature that The Gazette doesn’t write about. Its existence is a strong argument against a pure party and against purges. It is also why I am working so hard to make Republicans once again accepting of big tent politics.
It is informally called the “kill committee,”
• Its actual name is State and Veterans Affairs.
• It has 5 members in the Senate, 3 majority, 2 minority
• The President of the Senate appoints only strong allies from his party to it.
• If Republicans controlled the Senate, conservatives would control the kill committee and kill any bill the President referred to it.
• Contrary to social conservative arguments for a pure party, even if liberal or moderate Republicans provided the votes to elect a Republican Senate President, the kill committee mechanism keeps conservatives from compromising their values.
• When social conservatives like Lambert forgo a majority they forgo control of the kill committee. It is a form of expensive fraud for a social conservative to claim to be a fiscal conservative and also support purges of fiscal conservatives who could help form a majority in one house.
If The Gazette were to write more honestly about the political situation, it would admit that single issue social conservatives are helping Democrats enact big government bills by purging other Republicans. It would admit that by seeming to promote purges while failing to report on their impact, The Gazette is part of the problem, and not part of the solution.