As Secretary of State Scott Gessler's term drags on, you'd think even KOA's conservative talk-show host Mike Rosen would get sick of it when Gessler re-launches the partisan attacks he's been leveling since day one in office.
It's gotten to the point that you'd think even the Rosens of the world would ask Gessler to take his elected position, as the overseer of fair elections, seriously, instead of sounding like... Mike Rosen!
But I know it's a fantasy to expect this type of thinking from Rosen. In fact, you can hear the approval in Rosen's voice when Gessler is on the show and he trashes Democrats.
For example, on Rosen's show last week, Rosen read Gessler a Denver Post quote from Joanne Kron Schwartz, the Director of the progressive group ProgressNow, saying that Gessler's attempt to find noncitizens on the voter rolls could intimidate some eligible voters, particularly Latinos, and result in their not voting.
A normal Secretary of State, who wants people to have faith in elections, would answer Schwartz's reasonable objection with facts.
But Gessler isn't normal, and his immediate response sounds like something Rush Limbaugh might blast out.
"Unfortunately this is part of the left's common tactic," Gessler told Rosen, "just to scream voter intimidation whenever anything comes up they don't like."
Let me just say, I'm part of the left and I don't scream voter intimidation "whenever anything comes up" that I don't like. I never scream it at my 15-year-old son, for example, when he leaves a pig-pen-like trail of debris around the house.
Gessler's un-statesmanship continued, with Rosen's approval:
Gessler: "I mean if you look back, back in 2004, you know, the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign actually published a Colorado election-day manual, and in that, they specifically said, if no signs of intimidation techniques have emerged yet, launch a preemptive strike. And they go through a whole list of things where the Democrats are supposed to launch a preemptive strike, accusing Republicans of intimidation, rounding up minority people. And that's their word. It says, quote minority leadership denouncing tactics that discourage people from voting. So it's really sort of a cynical way for the Democrats to try and rile up, and I should say the left as well, to rile up their base by making these accusations whether or not there are any facts to support it."
Even if you accept Gessler's facts about the Kerry-Edwards campaign, and if you read the manual you find Gessler's fact to be wrong, do you really want your secretary of state to dismiss a historically legitimate concern about voter intimidation by accusing Democrats of cynically riling up their base?
It's this sort of brazen partisanship that, at the end of the day, is Gessler's core downfall as Secretary of State, epitomized in Gessler's quote to the Greeley Tribune about his job: "You're here to do something, to further the conservative viewpoint."
We can disagree with Gessler's loose-with-the-facts style, and policy initiatives, which the liberal group ProgressNow has catalogued in a new website called GesslerWatch.com.
But Gessler's sullying of the office is what kills me most -- and should even kill a guy like Rosen, who has moments of being civic-minded.
"You have to sort of wonder at the motivations," Gessler said later in the Rosen interview, speculating about the evil leftists that seem to haunt him. "I think a lot of times, what they are trying to do is play the race card, play the disenfranchisement card, and use it as a political talking point to rile up their base."
A right-wing talk show host couldn't have said it better. Too bad it's our Secretary of State talking.
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