Republicans and Democrats alike should face the fact that a circular firing squad is unavoidable in a primary campaign with more than one candidate, much less six going on seven, which is the number of Republicans running for governor.
The core problem is, there will always be disagreement about when a shot at another candidate counts as out-of-bounds, and when it’s legitimate.
That’s a tough line to draw, until you see it. Trump’s infamous salvos come to mind: “Little Marco,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Pocahontas,” “Low Energy Jeb.”
But here at home, Republican candidates haven’t reverted back to middle school yet. So the circular-firing-squad criteria are still kind of gray, though I’d argue a squad has been assembled.
Take for example, former Congressman Tom Tancredo’s critique last week of his fellow Republican gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler, a district attorney who prosecuted the Aurora theater shooter.
KNUS-710 AM’s Dan Caplis asked Tancredo why a voter should choose him over Brauchler, and he responded by saying Brauchler “can’t raise money,” and doesn’t do as well as Tancredo in a race against Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, the Congressman who’s competing against other Democrats in the primary:
Tancredo (here at 45 minutes): But if you can’t make anything happen, even if you’ve been in the race for months and months and months. You can’t raise money. You’ve got to consider the possibility that it’s not the strongest candidate. I can like him, and I tell ya, I’ve met with him on more than one occasions. I’ve told him about some of the concerns I’ve had, about his campaign. And that’s all I can do. And I did that long before I jumped into this race, because I think he is a good guy. I also think that when push comes to shove, and we are looking at the candidate we’re talking about as probable Democrat, I think I do better. So that’s my belief. Now every Republican and independent out there who gets to vote in the Republican primary this time has to look at that and make up their own mind. And I want them to. I want them to look very carefully at it. If they think that what I’ve just described, and the analysis I’ve provided is flawed in some way, okay. I’m okay with that. You know, I don’t want to win a primary and lose a general. I will tell you that.
Now you tell me, does that count as circular-firing-squad material? Brauchler has obviously had big fundraising problems, with The Denver Post’s John Frank characterizing his latest quarterly total as “meager.”
As for Tanc’s point about polls, I’d say general-election surveys are meaningless at this point. But it’s a legitimate point.
Now, if Tancredo calls Brauchler, “Little George,” that would be another matter.