August 20, 2010

Still Hailing Harsanyi?

The last libertarian in conventional media executes a brutal, prison yard shanking of Tea Party and ThreeSources's darling Dan Maes.

There's no crime in the average guy, the political neophyte, the Common Man, running for political office. I wish more people would. But too many Colorado conservatives and activists have tied their political future to the silly belief that any everyman candidate is superior to any establishment one.

No, it's not because Maes hit up an 80-something woman for 300 bucks (cash!) to help pay his mortgage. You know, I get that. No one forced her, right? Nor is it because he finagled tens of thousands in gas money through his campaign contributions. I'm actually kind of impressed.

And it's not that bicycle enthusiasts aren't sort of creepy. They are. And it's not that the United Nations isn't a hive of petty tyrants. It is. And, in our hearts, we all know that John Hickenlooper, if he could get away with it, would make Denver a signatory on a One World Commie Bike Plot.

It's just that responsible people generally understand those kinds of thoughts should be reserved for internal dialogue.

After that, he goes a little bit negative. Ouch.

CO Governor Posted by John Kranz at August 20, 2010 10:14 AM

I guess blog custom dictates a comment. Rep. McInnis was such a conventional, CO GOPer that I am still happy to have Mister Maes win the nomination.

But I return to my "dog that caught the car" analogy. The one journalist who praised Gov Palin's VP pick suggests "What should concern you is that when you dig a bit deeper, you realize that the reason Maes isn't able to articulate fiscally conservative positions is because he has never seriously contemplated the ideological outlook he pretends to champion."

I disagree with Harsanyi and anybody else who wants to step up that Maes should drop out because Tom Tancredo (Nutjob - CO) said pretty please. But what are we going to do with this car, Rover?

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2010 10:24 AM

At the risk of being negative, Maes' campaign seems to be in real trouble. When people on all sides of the political spectrum question your intellect, competance, knowledge and integrity, there's not much left. However, he followed the process and won, so he should not be forced out.

Speaking of process, however, this season revealed a fundamental flaw. That is, Republicans apparatchiks (e.g., McCain, Wadhams) tried to play "kingmaker" in the nominations of Norton and McInnis. Everyone else was told to stay out, though neither Buck nor Maes listened - and I don't blame them. The establishment candidates were soundly rejected.

The lesson to Republican party bosses is to leave the hubris out and let the process work. Had other viable candidates been welcomed to the race, we might not have wound up with two such weak candidates for governor in a year when we should clean up.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 20, 2010 11:37 AM

The car is now yours, Rover - now you get to wash it, change its oil, and most importantly, help steer.

Not being flippant - as Westley did with Inigo and Fezzig, we've considered our liabilities, now let us take stock of our assets. (Your brains, Fezzik's strength, my steel.) You have a candidate running for office who is, as I've seen him described, an Everyman, a man of the people, a man with some good ideas, and who believes in carrying out the will of his constituents, the people. You also have here several stalwart yeomen who are (not to swell heads or anything) talented bloggers, well-versed in solid policy, near-brilliant writers, and... his constituents.

Through the alchemy of modern science, I'm seeing a connection here...

Were I Mr. Maes, and I were aware I had access to constituents with good ideas, who have been public and vocal supporters and really wanted to see me win the election and do well, I would seek them out, and I would listen to them. In fact, when I get angry enough to decide to ignore all the reasons why no one would vote for me and throw my hat into the ring for a chance to fix the system, I'm going to be hitting you guys up for support (that does NOT include money, just your wisdom).

Didn't JG announce just yesterday that your man has a new press spokesman? Anyone thought about saying hello to him? Maes sounds like a good man; now that you've caught the car, Rover, he sounds like one that would be willing to listen to a good navigator among his supporters.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 20, 2010 12:02 PM

Astute points all around. @br: we are not alone, Kim Strassel complains about the NY GOP.

And, @ka: you are exactly right and I will follow through. As I've complained to br many times, the Colorado GOP is a cliquish society venue. I have been rebuffed at every suggestion to contribute beyond money, phone bank, and envelope stuffing. I would (and did) pay my dues but it is a strict caste system. PR or web experience is of no interest -- they got people for that. Can you march in a parade in Kremmling next week?

I will try again.

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2010 12:14 PM

But I can't direct him to the blog the day I'm savaging him, can I? Better not provide the url until we've said something nice...

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2010 12:59 PM

The NY GOP. Ha! Hahaha! I would laugh if my heart were not so heavy. Even when they win, their politics (no matter what they say in the campaigns) are Liberalism Lite.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 20, 2010 2:57 PM

Ad hominem.

...Dan Maes may not [qualify as more responsible and successful as Harsanyi.]

What should scare you is that I probably have a deeper understanding of the Colorado budget situation than Maes.

But if Maes isn't a huckster, then he has the hubris to believe he is qualified to run an $18 billion enterprise. [There's a Hobson's Choice for you. And Happy Hickenlooper is qualified?]

He closes by suggesting "conservatives" should be frightened that Maes might actually win. Sorry David. I'll take my chances with Governor Dan over Hickenlooper, Tancredo, or YOU.

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2010 3:01 PM

@jk: Posting the Harsanyi piece isn't savagery, it's journalism. You simply wrote that you're not sure what Dan's going to to once he's governor. He told Caplis and Silverman yesterday that they are strategizing a comprehensive and coherent message and will roll back out on the trail with it soon. Put your feet up for a while and see if you do (or don't) get your chance to fire the big guns after all.

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2010 3:09 PM

Grrr. Not all HTML formatting codes work in the comments. 2 comments up the words "may not" and "probably" were supposed to be underlined. Point was, Dear old Dave isn't giving us anything substantive, just throwing rocks.

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2010 3:30 PM

And another thing!

Isn't Harsanyi implying that the voters are too stupid to choose their elected representative? Doesn't this belie a preference on his part for the "kingmaker" approach?

(OK, I'll stop. Four consecutive comments is not only my record, it's my limit.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2010 4:44 PM

All your comments are valid, jg, but the root problem is more that Harsanyi chose to do this than the particular merits of his arguments. Ad hominem, perhaps, but he is an opinion journalist.

It may be unsurprising that Vincent Carroll goes after him and completely expected that most local media will line up for Hickenlooper. It should disturb that a "tea party" guy cannot get David Harsanyi on his side.

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2010 4:58 PM

A libertarian opinion journalist writes condemnations of the Democrat and the Republican candidate: Who'da thunk it?

And let's not forget he works at the Post, where the "Maes is an incompetent" Kool-Aid is served in every water cooler.

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2010 8:57 PM

Long before Robert Taft secured the Republican nomination for the Presidency he had to secure the senate seat of Ohio. While on a campaign rally to do just that a sly reporter asked his wife in front of the campaign crowd, "Is your husband a common man?"

“Oh no,” she retorted, “he is not that at all. He was first in his class at Yale and first in his class at Harvard Law School. I think it would be wrong to present a common man as a representative of the people of Ohio.”

With this said Mrs. Taft turned away - and saw the gathered crown delivering an applause.

The population of America lies a hair above 301 million persons. Given this extraordinarily large number of people from which to choose we should have no difficulty finding the smartest, most capable men for running our public offices. Heck, we shouldn't have a problem finding incredibly capable and talented men and women who agree with our politics. The state of Colorado has some 4 million people in it. This is a lot of people. If you were to stand one Coloradan on top of another up through the atmosphere you would not just get to space - you would get to space and still have folks left over. You could construct sixty seven human towers before you ran out of people.

And out of this the best you can find is John Maes? Better than his opponent, by all measures, but is he the best? When the pool is 4 million big why should the people of Colorado settle for a common man?

JG asks if Harsanyi believes the electorate is too stupid to choose their own representatives. Harsanyi implies it; I will say so outright. I have no faith in the American people's ability to choose their own representatives. A third of us don't even bother to vote. And of those who do? Well, just look at Washington. They are the representatives elected by the people.

I'm reminded of the end line of one of my favorite Onion pieces. Says the fictional Obama:

At this point, the only positive thing I can say about the American people is that I'm pretty sure they've never rigged an election in their favor.

Posted by: T. Greer at August 21, 2010 1:44 AM

Taft. The thought of the 300 pounder in the oval office warms my heart to no end. And he was smart enough to buffalo TR into believing he was progressive -- then governed as a Constitutional Chief Magistrate. The horse is gonna be ok, Secretary Root.

The Mencken quote in the linked piece, alas, does Tyler Cowen in a single sentence. "Good and Hard," indeed.

But something is missing in the "elite versus commoner" discussion. The trouble with elites is Hayek's "Fatal Conceit." They're so elite, they think they should boss us around.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2010 10:20 AM

Frankly, I vacillate back and forth between "the public are idiots" and "the electorate is not stupid." Of course the reality is that a collective can not be judged for its intelligence. Only individuals can. Similarly, only individuals can choose to stand for election and most successful and competent ones have no interest. [Why, exactly, is a deep subject for another time.]

Is Dan Maes "the best you can find" to be governor of Colorado? No, he's merely the best who offered up his services to do so.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2010 2:57 PM

Well, Rover -- I mean jg -- you bring up what is sadly one of the important functions of the hated conventional party apparatus: candidate recruitment. I'll re-hawk Peter Robinson's It's My Party. Republicans find this especially difficult because the ideal GOP candidate could make ten times the money with half the crap in the private sector.

Don't mean to be too negative, but I do mean to point out that we cannot just destroy the party -- we have to rebuild it.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2010 11:02 AM

I'm not sure I agree that a millionaire is the "ideal" GOP candidate but your point is taken. One of the criticisms of Maes is that he "only" sold his business interest for six figures and that his reported income was below the poverty line for two years. This is typical of entrepeneurs - feast or famine. And how many millionaires got where they are without a head start through "connections?"

I haven't read the Peter Robinson book but the summary says he thinks the party has a problem attracting minorities and women. I have to think the gender thing is overblown, given the number of female GOP candidates on the scene and female campaign volunteers I've met in my associations with Maes and Ken Buck. But they came to the party wilfully, not because of some top-down "outreach" effort. Minorities do the same thing but dominant media dismisses and ridicules them, effectively dissuading others.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2010 12:17 PM | What do you think? [17]