07/26/2010 06:16 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Colorado GOP Politics: From High Heels To Plagiarism

It looks like the Mad Hatter is running Colorado's tea party.

Instead of debates over how to control the expansion of government, the candidates appear to have fallen down a hole of their own making.

It's hard to top Ken Buck, a candidate for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Michael Bennett.

He put his cowboy boots in his mouth when asked why voters should choose him over former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton: "Because I do not wear high heels."

A female friend of mine wondered: "Why? Does he have ugly legs?"

Buck said his comment was meant to address Norton's criticism of one of his ads, challenging his manhood.

"You've seen those ads attacking me. They're paid for by a shady interest group doing the bidding of Ken Buck. You'd think Ken would be man enough to do it himself."

In another "joke," Buck was caught calling Tea Party members "dumbasses" for constantly pressing the "birther" issue. The Denver Post was given an audio tape of the comment.

Norton, fighting with Buck for the Tea Party vote, is still trying to live down a comment that Social Security is a Ponzi scheme.

Though not nearly as comical, the race for the GOP nomination to succeed Democrat Bill Ritter is even more likely to split party regulars and the Howard Roark crowd. Apologies to Ayn Rand.

Former GOP Congressman Scott McInnis was caught plagiarizing the work of others. Granted, plagiarism is usually only a concern for journalists and authors. But McInnis was being paid $300,000 to focus attention on water issues. Some of the work he delivered under his name was written by others.

The issue won't die even though McInnis has promised to pay the money back.

His opponent, Dan Maes, was fined for claiming campaign mileage money for driving 90,000 miles in less than 12 months. Westword magazine reports he bargained the fine down from $27,000 to $17,000. He might want to borrow Buck's cowboy boots to wade through that.

But we haven't reached the pièce de résistance yet.

Enter, stage right, Tom Tancredo. The former GOP congressman known for opposing illegal immigration said both McInnis and Maes should drop out of the race.

That would make it easier for him to run against the likely Democratic nominee, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

Dick Wadhams, Colorado GOP chairman, said a Tancredo run would be the party's "worst nightmare."

Once again it seemed that those cowboy boots would be needed. Tancredo's response to Wadhams was: "This is all bullshit, and he knows it." He compared Wadhams to the captain of the Titanic, who ignores signs to turn around.