Who needs newspaper hacks like me to rake muck over political folly when feloniously partisan boobs call a press conference to set themselves afire just to prove how inept they are?
Colorado Republicans did just that Friday by making public how famously they failed at recalling newly elected Gov. Jared Polis, because he won the election.
And Donald Trump thinks he’s the sharpiest tool in the shed.
Actually, Republicans said they wanted to boot Polis out of office because he made good on campaign promises to sign legislation that gave local towns a say in regulating thousands of oil wells springing up — and occasionally blowing up — near people’s backyards.
Republican leaders and wags wanted to recall him because he signed a bill that ensured sex-ed in public schools was based on science and fact rather than dangerous myths or omissions.
Republicans wanted to recall Polis because he signed a “red flag” law that allows courts to remove guns from owners in a mental crisis — before they kill themselves or others.
If you’re like the vast majority of Colorado voters, you’ll realize right off that those are reasons why Polis won the governorship with a 10-point lead less than a year ago.
Undaunted and sometimes unhinged, state Republicans have been on a recall binge since the first of the year. They made fools of themselves by trying to recall Democratic Aurora state Rep. Tom Sullivan for his support of the Red Flag law, which was the centerpiece of his campaign last year. Sully’s son, Alex, was one of 12 victims of the Aurora theater shooting. The shooter was a mentally ill man in the throes of a serious mental crisis. He easily amassed serious firearms and ammo. You get the picture.
Republicans backed off that recall after being nationally humiliated.
But they decided just a couple months ago that the could and would in 60 days collect the whopping 600,000 voter signatures needed to get the Polis recall on a statewide ballot.
For weeks, the only controversy or news surrounding the recall has been occasional stories about Republican backers making money off donations to run the recall campaign.
As the deadline approached on Friday, Republicans had every opportunity to bury their embarrassing legacy by letting it sink into the quagmire of Hurricane Dorian, the Brexit crisis, Sharpiegate and the guaranteed distraction of breathless TV reports of Colorado hail and rain.
Instead, Republicans called for a press conference at the State Capitol. They drove in a stack of Rubbermaid containers showing off the petition signatures that fell woefully short. The containers were clear, so photographers could show that there really was paper inside.
And then they talked.
“This huge outpouring of citizen activism is a milestone in Colorado’s proud history of self-government,” Recall campaign spokeswoman Karen Kataline said, according to a story in the Colorado Sun. “It’s a sad milestone in that the reckless overreach of Gov. Polis and the Democrats in the Colorado Legislature has made it necessary. It’s an encouraging milestone in that we the people have spoken with a roar.”
This is nothing but chronic political flatulence that Republicans could have blushed over and blamed on the result of a bad diet of Fox News or heat stroke or something.
Instead they made a big deal pointing out that the vast majority of Colorado voters like what Polis is doing.
Of course there are naysayers. For gawdsake, 1.2 million people in Colorado voted for Donald Trump in 2016. And if petition gatherers are telling the truth, it looks like about 300,000 people may vote for Trump again next year.
Of course there’s no way of knowing if they’re telling the truth here. Recall campaigners won’t actually show anybody the signatures to count them or have the secretary of state’s office determine how many are valid.
Republican recall officials said they don’t want to because there’s a state law saying you can only sign a recall petition once for a single candidate.
Determined to have their Kellyanne Conway moment Friday, they said the don’t want to spoil chances for those 300,000 chosen souls to sign the next Jared Polis recall petition.
These rule-of-law Republicans overlook the fact that their mismatched Rubbermaid boxes would hold evidence that the blessed 300,000 will have already broken the law if they sign yet another recall folly.
So, Gov. Polis, here’s your chance to go all Boris Johnson and suspend the Legislature. Sell Cincinnati chili on Texas toast on the Capitol lawn and keep the money. If the GOP has their way, state investigators one day will be digging through shredded petitions in a landfill or Colorado GOP Chairman Congressman Ken Buck’s basement to strike future illegal recall petition signatures and ponder charges.
And if these days are any indication, Republicans will hold a press conference for that, too.