Sometimes KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis doesn’t shy away from the simple questions, and sometimes, honestly, they’re the best ones. Take this query that he put to Jeff Hays, who’s campaign to lead the Colorado Republican Party.
Caplis (@8 min): “What can you do as GOP chair to make sure that we don’t get a circular firing squad, where whoever wins the primary has been so crippled in the primary that they can’t win the general? What can you do about that as chair, if anything?”
Hays: “Well, we can use the infrastructure of the party. And that’s something that needs to be made more robust and more capable to communicate to folks, ‘Let’s give everyone the respect they are due.’ There are certainly going to be points of contention and disagreement. That’s fine. But we can disagree without being disagreeable. When we treat each other with better respect, when Republicans win, the state wins and the nation wins.”
Caplis: “Well said. I hope we can keep the conversation going.”
If you’ve watched the Colorado Republican Party’s string of spectacular self-immolations (Schaffer, McInnis, Maes, Buck, Beauprez, Keyser, etc, etc.), you know how good Caplis’ question is.
But the fun here is in the follow-up, which Caplis dropped.
I mean, Hays is already under serious attack by an opponent, George Athanasopoulos, for bringing Obamacare to Colorado by backing former Rep. Amy Stephens, who sponsored the bill (SB 200) that established Colorado’s insurance market, Connect for Health Colorado. How can Hays’ bloody history of sparring with the right wing of the GOP possibly be forgotten?
There’s almost nothing Hays can say that’s not loaded, even in answering a simple question like Caplis’.
Take, for example, Hays’ simple promise to “use the infrastructure of the party.” I’m sure I’m not the only one who reads that and thinks about the state GOP’s failed Independent Expenditure Committee, which some in the GOP thought would be used against their own. The phrase brings to mind the attacks on the current Chair Steve House for allegedly opposing Trump in the primary. Then there’s the Republican Governors Association’s attacks on Tancredo, etc, etc.
In short, when it comes to the GOP in Colorado, you can’t tiptoe lightly enough. You have to walk on water. Can Hays do that? Can Athanasopoulos?
Trump isn’t going to make the divisions among Republicans in Colorado go away. Exactly the opposite. The right wing of the party is empowered by Trump’s victory. Listen to talk radio these days! And the establishment remains skeptical, especially in light of Hillary Clinton’s solid win here.
So the next GOP chair has his or her work cut out for them. Ask Steve house. Or Dick Wadhams. Or poor Ryan Call.