No Offense

Who’s going to have a tougher time scoring this year in Colorado—the Broncos or the GOP?

Here’s the plot: Two marginally talented frontrunners duke it out all summer for the right to lead their team in the regular season. With no standout skills, spotty win/loss records, and forgettable faces, it’s hard to give the edge to either one of them.

Then suddenly, a dark horse enters the scene. Media friendly, with a big-game name and national recognition that absolutely ignites the fanbase, he sparks a three-way battle for the signal-caller’s position. It’s winner take all, with the victor either galvanized by his public trial by fire, or the last man at the helm as the entire team’s season goes down in a ball of flames.

Does that sound like this year’s Broncos? Is it a snapshot of the Kyle Orton vs. Brady Quinn quarterback battle (also billed as Neckbeard vs. Beefcake) that’s been so stunningly disrupted by the arrival of wonder boy Tim Tebow? He whose proven game-changing heroics in college resulted in one Heisman Trophy and two national championship wins?

Nah. That was actually the plot of the Republican primary race for Colorado governor. You remember, the Scott McInnis vs. Dan Maes vs. “Tornado” Tom Tancredo primary in which common sense got hijacked by plagiarism, race baiting and the idea that supporting bicycle use in urban areas was nothing short of an especially toxic brand of UN-sanctioned, micro-brew swigging Socialism.

The GOP, in what should have been an easy place kick into the governor’s office, instead unleashed ‘The Biggest Loser Part Two,’ a three-legged race to see who can be the poster boy for a John Hickenlooper-styled tomahawk jam in the upcoming election.

It first I didn’t think there could be anything stranger than GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis claiming he was innocent of plagiarism because the copied text in his 150-page “Musings on Water” had actually been “borrowed” by the man—Glenwood Springs water engineer Rolly Fischer—whom McInnis had hired to provide the “research” for the document for him.

That the lifted copy was from a 1984 essay by Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory did McInnis no favors. Nor did the fact that Fischer declined to take the fall for him. He told the Denver Post that he thought the documents were part of “a private communication.”

According to the Post, McInnis actually knows very little—if anything—about water in Colorado, or just about anywhere else this side of the moon. Yet he was paid $300,000 to wax specific on that very same subject for the Hasan Family Foundation, whose self-described “original mission was to fund educational and health initiatives in Southern Colorado.”

I’m not sure how water and education mix. Except maybe it’s a conglomeration of common fates, like upstream and downstream. I do think that McInnis, in a sort of exam-night panic, hired a little help for his mid-term. At about $2,000 per page for the finished work, it’s hard to blame him.

Since being busted, he has signed a pledge to return the money. And Dr. Malik Hasan, who started the foundation, said he would be glad to accept the refund. He told the Post, “We are happy the foundation can now use the money for a more worthwhile cause.”

Of course, things got stranger. The McInnis gaffe was quickly usurped by Republican adversary Dan Maes declaring that bike pedals—and certainly not gas pedals—are speeding America down the well-paved road to a despotic, freedom-stealing, internationally conspired foreign assistance program.

As Maes told the Post, “Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are “converting Denver into a United Nations community.”

That actually sent me daydreaming about international Cosmopolitania’s like Copenhagen and Amsterdam where hundreds of beautiful women go bicycling by wearing knee-high black boots with their hair blowing in the wind.

But then I realized that Maes thinks this is bad thing. And that self-powered transportation is a danger to this country, rather than a patriotic testament to the strength of self-reliance. He thinks the sheer act of riding a bike could contribute to the formation of a mountain bike patrolled police state run by French guys, vegans and triathletes (also known as Boulder).

Or, as he told the Post, bicycling “is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms.” You can be forgiven if you thought bicycling is a personal freedom. And that you couldn’t invent the irony of Lance Armstrong and current Gov. Bill Ritter hitting the streets the day after Maes’ statement to announce a new bike race to be held in Colorado in August next year, called the Quiznos Pro Challenge.

After all, you were probably more concerned about what a clear-eyed, thoughtful guy like Tom Tancredo was going to do to “fix” immigration. You know Tom. He’s the former Republican Congressman and current Tea Party darling who’s such a fixture on Fox News, and who famously called out Karl Rove and President George Bush for being soft on border protection.

Realizing that Maes and McInnis had about as much chance of residing in the Governor’s Mansion as Kyle Orton has of being named Super Bowl MVP, Tancredo decided to clear things up … by throwing his own hat into the ring.

After calling for Maes and McInnis to exit the race, Tancredo, said that he is willing to do whatever is necessary to “avoid the electoral disaster looming on the horizon.” By which he must’ve meant that by eschewing the Republicans, declaring his candidacy on the American Constitution Party ticket and shot-gunning the conservative vote, he would ensure that no one on the right would have a chance to win.

And all of this happened during the political world’s version of training camp, before Maes actually won the primary and headed for the big game against Hickenlooper’s Democratic cycling machine, all while towing his little buddy Tancredo’s baggage along.

Which is why I absolutely cannot wait for the regular season to begin. For the Broncos I mean. With sixteen games to play, they’ve got a few more chances to actually win. •

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