Dan Maes seems to be changing his thinking a little bit about the red menace - make that the red bicycle menace - posed by Denver's bike-sharing pedalers.
It's not so much the threat of United Nations domination that worries Maes now. Instead, the Colorado Republican candidate for governor told a crowd in Glenwood Springs on Tuesday night, it's those creeping green ideas escaping from citified places like Denver and infiltrating the rural hinterland.
"Boy, there's another lesson learned right there. Don't talk about the mayor's red bike program," Maes quipped. "As warm and fuzzy as this appears to us, folks, there's a lot of new green ideas coming into our communities, and on the surface they all look wonderful."
But there's a dark side, Maes warns. It's not just bikes. It's showers at the workplace, parking places for hybrid cars, even compact fluorescent lights. It's the domino theory on two wheels. Beware. This green madness may be coming to your small town.
"This is all, you know, part of a larger program that might fit good for downtown Denver, and honestly it might be great for downtown Denver," said Maes, who had previously blasted the city's bike-sharing program as the shadow of creeping United Nations control over our cities and towns. "But it may not be good for Glenwood Springs or the Western Slope and we don't need that kind of thinking in rural Colorado."
Goodness knows, the last thing rural Colorado needs is bicycles.
Maes' appearance in Glenwood Springs came as his support was wavering. A number of prominent Republicans have pulled their endorsements of him, and even support amid the Tea Party crowd has been shaky. After a series of campaign gaffes, and guffaws, his credibility and his winnability are both at issue.
Not only does he have to worry about Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Democratic juggernaut who has raised about 10 times the money Maes has. He has to worry about an attack on the right from former Congressman Tom Tancredo. Running on the American Constitution Party ticket, Tancredo is beating Maes in the fundraising battle and taking his supporters away, too.
Maes downplayed the departures.
"The reality is, a few people pulled their support because they were concerned, and we're going to have some information coming out that will give them the confidence they need to bring their support back," he said.
Better get that information out fast. On Wednesday, the Denver Post (not Maes' favorite publication) reported that 21 prominent Colorado Republicans were backing away from their party and throwing their support behind Tancredo.
Former GOP Congressman Bob Beauprez, whom Maes calls his mentor, put it this way to the Post:
"I think Maes' support will continue to evaporate rather dramatically, and I expect a coalescing of Republicans around Tom," he said.
In Glenwood, Maes acknowledged that he's something of an unknown. The Evergreen businessman became a Tea Party favorite exactly because he wasn't a GOP insider.
"Many of you are still saying, 'Who's Dan Maes?'" he said.
Maybe. But if his campaign keeps going as it has been, soon they'll be asking, "Who was Dan Maes?"