Republican power brokers want Dan Maes to step aside as Republican nominee for governor. Their concerns: He can’t win, and he might drag down the rest of the ticket.
Both concerns have merit, but there are two much larger questions that the uber-GOPsters haven’t considered.
Dan Maes won the nomination fair and square. He came out of nowhere, unqualified and penniless, ran a shoestring campaign, got top billing in the primary, and managed to defeat the fatally compromised political hack that the power boys had anointed for the job.
Now they’re complaining that Maes misrepresented his credentials, lied about his finances, didn’t actually get his Kansas Bureau of Investigation special undercover agent badge (or whatever it is that he didn’t do) and that more bad stuff will come out as soon as Republican operatives can feed it to the Denver Post.
Too bad. In case you hadn’t noticed, candidates often lie about their qualifications, inflate their resumes, and forget to balance their checkbooks. Maes won the primary election. That’s what we call Democracy with a big D. There are no do-overs. Threats and bribes aimed at getting him out, no matter how subtle, undermine what we most cherish in this country.
And here’s another reason that “Drivin’ Dan the Law Enforcement Man” ought to stay in the race: He’s a very ordinary guy.
He’s not particularly smart nor is he particularly knowledgeable about state government. He has trouble expressing himself. He’s stumbled through life without much purpose or direction, and only won the nomination through luck, hard work, and audacity.
He’s like you, or like me (ok, he’s more like me). There are many millions of folks like Dan Maes out there, and the moneyed kingmakers who exert such influence over both of our major political parties want their votes, but they don’t want them to occupy positions of real power. Let ‘em have a few seats on city councils, county commissions, and rural school boards – but keep ‘em away from the high-limit games.
Dan Maes is no Jimmy Stewart (as in Mr. Smith goes to Washington), but so what? That was a Hollywood fantasy. The real Mr. and Ms. Smiths are flawed people of modest talents who embody the zeitgeist of their times. Think Pat Schroeder, Sarah Palin, Betty Beedy, Wayne Aspinall, and Glenn Beck. Maes earned his shot at the gold ring. He didn’t quit or back down when the odds were even more heavily against him, so why should he back down now?
He’s an ordinary guy who will most likely be defeated by John Hickenlooper. Maybe he’s out of his league, but he’s your guy. And if Ronald Reagan were alive, he’d stand with Maes, win or lose – as would Richard Nixon, Bob Taft and Jerry Ford. Remember Reagan’s 11th Commandment – “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican”?
And by the way – remember when you forced Josh Penry to step aside for Scott McInnis? How do you think Josh would be polling against Hickenlooper today? Five points up? Eight? Twenty?
Oh well … just call-up Frank singing “My Way” and get all misty-eyed.
Yup, you did it your way …