Time for Colorado editorial boards to ask, “Which congressional Republican will put on his big-boy pants first?”

You’d think the upcoming deadline to extend the U.S. debt ceiling offers the perfect moment for one, just one, congressional Republican from Colorado to pull on his big-boy pants and say something like, “Hey, we created stock market gyrations and induced the first-ever U.S.-credit downgrade when we held up the debt increase in 2011. We caused similar instability last year. Let’s get real, extend the ceiling, and debate budget cuts during the budget process.”

Which is what Democrats and Republicans have done over 100 times since 1940, with little opposition (until 2011). Reagan did it 18 times; G.W. Bush seven.

Instead, it looks like Coffman (here), Gardner (here, here) are readying themselves for a fight that could lead to an economic mini-tizzy if not a large one.

Or maybe not. Can a Colorado Republican step up and be reasonable? Any of them? That’s what editorial writers at The Denver Post and elsewhere should be asking.

In just the latest example of extreme craziness, Gardner used the debt-ceiling debate to raise the specter of the rise of Nazism in America. Here’s what he said on KFTM radio’s Big Morning Show Jan. 14:

Gardner: I think you’re going to see a whale of a fight over the next two months….

Host: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And really, how is this any different than what Germany went through in the 1930s when you had to literally have wheelbarrows full of German Marks in order to even buy a loaf of bread?

Gardner: Well a period of hyper-inflation, of course, we all know what that led to, the instability economically and what that led to. And we see quantitative easing taking place in the United States. We see devaluation of the dollar. We see inflationary pressures and threats and how that’s being dealt with. And yet there is no clear path to address those concerns. This nation faces the real possibility of a debt depression if we don’t get a hold of the financial situation right now.

Listen to Rep. Gardner on KFTM Radio 1-14-2012 raising specter of Nazism in America .

Coffman has more incentive than Gardner not to go Nazi. Yet he told Fox 31’s Eli Stokols in early January:

Coffman: “But the real big deal is what’s upon us and going past the debt limit. I have to see a way out of this, real spending cuts, before I vote to raise the debt limit.”

The Denver Post’s Curtis Hubbard wrote a column recently pointing out that normal people in Aurora expect normal behavior from Coffman. Hubbard wondered if they’ll get it.

In coming months, he will be a good case study of what competitive districts might  mean for a politician who has typically not worried about the center.

Will he moderate his views to be more in line with the district he serves? Will he continue to be re-elected over weaker opponents? Or will he look — or be sent looking by fed-up voters — for another opportunity.

Hubbard was right about the expectation that Coffman should change his behavior.

But the same could be said of any of the Colorado Republicans serving in Congress, if they want to raise their party’s standing in blue (?) Colorado.

On the debt limit, which CO Repubulican Congressman will break from their comrades and act like a grownup?

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