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Jason Salzman

Jason Salzman

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Radio Host Says Republicans Trying to Shut Up Their Own

Posted: 05/ 9/11 04:25 PM ET

People on the left tend to lump all "conservative talk radio" in the same category. Hate-filled, ill-informed, contrived.

That's not the case at all. The shows differ a lot from one another. Some are filled with passion and authenticity. Others, ironically, bring the Politburo or psychedelic drugs to mind.

Some hosts like Republican insider Dan Caplis stick like epoxy to GOP talking points, and others, like Tea Partiers Jason Worley and Ken Clark of Grassroots Radio Colorado, couldn't care less about partisanship, so their show is almost always raw. That's really the best word for it. And interesting and courageous, in its way.

Before tuning in, I like to to predict which Republicans (and Democrats) Clark and Worley will be going after on their show on any given day, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on 560 KLZ AM.

So it's not surprising that Clark was incensed (not in my preferred patchouli way) about the El Paso County Republicans May 2 resolution recommending that party officers refrain from criticizing elected Republicans.

Clark had Sarah Anderson, who's the secretary of the El Paso Country Republican Party, on his radio show (560 KLZ AM) May 4 to air out his feelings on the topic:

Clark: So basically what they want you to do is be good little soldiers for the Republican Party. They want to pat you on the head, put you in the back of the bus, and say, shut up, sit down, and do what we tell you. Is that right?

Anderson: Absolutely.

Anderson later pointed out that the resolution, which passed 13-3 in a secret ballot, wasn't mandatory, just a suggestion.

Still, Clark is entitled to his view, even if the sponsor of the resolution, Bob Denny, told me last week he wasn't trying to stifle debate.

But Clark's co-host on Grassroots Radio Colorado, Kanda Calef, who was substituting for Jason Worley, went overboard when she accused progressives of acting like the El Paso Republicans:

Calef: This is very progressive thinking, if I may say so. This is what the left does. They try to stop people from speaking their mind.

Calef was identified by Clark as the radio show's "researcher," but she offered no research to back up this claim. As a self-proclaimed progressive, who voted for Ralph Nader in 2000, and later repented, I don't know what Calef was talking about.

So I called the Colorado Democratic Party to find out if it tries to button up its county officers. "No, we don't have anything coming close to broaching that subject," new Communications Director Matt Inveo told me.

I'm trying to reach Calef, to find her examples of "progressives" acting like the El Paso Country Republicans, and I'll report her answer later, I hope.

Listening to Clark, you get the feeling his un-patchouli-like response to the El Paso resolution had a subterranean aspect to it. Like, maybe, there were some issues there, some other experiences with the Colorado GOP trying to shut up him or his allies? Clark said on the radio "that [the El Paso GOP resolution] is not the only place things like this are happening, I can assure you."

Anderson told Clark: "The bylaws of the El Paso County Republican Party do prevent any officers or members of the executive committee from taking sides in primaries. And that's always been the case, from my understanding, or certainly has been for quite some time. But it's never precluded people from addressing issues or even specific legislators during session."

But is there more than this? I called Worley to find out. "We talked to people in other GOP counties, and there's rumblings of stifling debate," Worley told me today.

As for the Democrats, Inveo told me:

Anytime there is a contested Democratic primary, an office holder within the party cannot use his or her party title in making an endorsement. The party is required to provide the same services to all candidates.

CORRECTION: In an early version of this post, I attributed quotes to Worley that should have been attributed to Clark. Sorry for the error, which I coreected in the text.

 

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