For the Labor Day weekend, the Colorado Springs Gazette provided its readers with a strange two-part series highlighting the rise of the Democratic Party and the fall of the Libertarians in El Paso County.
Four years ago, the newspaper noted, the Libertarians (710 strong) had candidates running in every single race in El Paso County. This year they have none, and not even an organized local party.
By contrast, the Democrats (nearly 72,000 registered) have candidates running in nearly every race – which they didn’t bother doing in races where they stood little chance in years past. State Rep. Dave Schultheis, who is running for the senate this year, was quoted by the newspaper crowing about his Democratic opponent – saying he’s glad the Dems are spreading out their resources so they can’t win anywhere.No offense intended, but whoever thought the series would be a fascinating look at the current state of affairs in El Paso County politics was seriously deficient. Perhaps they could have jazzed things up a bit by noting that the pro-marijuana and guns, anti-tax Libertarian Party was actually born in Colorado Springs in 1971 – and though it comprises only a tiny fraction of voters there, is now one of the largest third parties in the country, with more than 600 people in office.
Or perhaps the newspaper could have mentioned that its own editorial philosophy is libertarian – and in fact for many years Gazette founder Harry Hoiles actually prohibited reporters from using the term “public schools” in news articles, preferring the expression “government-subsidized education.”
They should have at least mentioned Rick Stanley, who likely bears at least some responsibility – along with his arms – for the downfall of the Libertarians throughout the state, not just in Colorado Springs. You remember Rick Stanley – the highly entertaining megalomaniac who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2002. (Stanley claimed, among other things, that one of his opponents, Wayne Allard, should be tried and possibly hanged for treason for voting for the Patriot Act. Police seized him after the election for taking his gun to a Denver rally; ultimately Stanley was convicted and sent to jail for trying to influence a public official (he threatened two judges).
At the very least the Gazette might have thought to sex up the story a bit by doing where-are-they-now interviews with some of the Ladies of Liberty – women who graced the pages of an unforgettable 2003 calendar designed to raise Colorado Libertarian cash and get the anti-tax male blood a pumpin’.
There was Miss April, Elizabeth, appearing at the bottom of a suburban stairway in an all-black S&M outfit, wearing a Stevie Ray Vaughn-style cowboy hat, halting an unwanted intruder with a bullet.
Meanwhile Miss May, pictured as Lady Godiva, showed a hint of nipple and ample breast while protesting unethical taxation and supporting ending the income tax.
Then there was Miss July’s hot-red clad Pam – who is actually the wife of the above-mentioned Rick Stanley. In her shot Pam is all bound up in red tape to protest OSHA workplace regulations.