The Race Is Not Always to the Swift (Boat)

The CD-2 race starts down the low road.The fallout from the CD-2 Swift Boat contributions controversy keeps falling.

The Rocky Mountain News’ Lynn Bartels has a story this morning about why contributors to the despicable 527 group Swift Boat and POWs for Truth campaign against 2004 Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry would contribute to a putative liberal like Jared Polis.

What we discover is that one of the Swift Boat contributors, Tennessee auto Dealer Lee Beaman, thinks Polis is “a good conservative,” according to Bartels’ story.

Several of the contributors were urged to contribute to Polis’ campaign by economist Arthur Laffer, proponent of the eponymous Laffer Curve, a fundamental underpinning of “supply-side economics,” the unthinking adherence that led to the deep federal budget deficits of the Reagan era. Laffer is a board member of Jovian Holdings, Polis’s holding company.

The issue of the contributions was brought out Tuesday in a news release from the campaign of CD-2 Democratic candidate and former State Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald. The third candidate in the race, environmentalist Will Shafroth, made a brief comment on the topic, but has kept his head down since.

So what’s going on here? Is there some diabolical political plot to stain Polis’s escutcheon with Swift Boat excrement? We talked to a couple of political insiders – who prefer to remain nameless. One of them said:

“I think the real key is that we’ve got a real pissing match going on with these guys. Both sides have manufactured attacks. They get this and try to make a bigger deal out of it than it really is.

“When you’re vetting contributions, you wouldn’t be able to run a campaign if you checked out the history of every individual donor. You can do it in terms of direct interests, of PACs (political action committees) – cigarettes, oil and gas – that’s a direct expression of the interest those people have.

“But individuals who have given to Republicans? It would be endless.”

The Swift Boat campaign, while reaching a stupefying ethical low, was little more than another avenue for contributors to donate to President Bush in 2004. And at least four of Fitz-Gerald’s contributors also contributed directly to the Bush campaign in 2004.

Paul Bonivia, Mary Fisher, Raymond Gogol and David Wilks, all employed by Xcel Energy, gave a total of $4,000 to George Bush’s presidential campaign in 2004, but have now seen the light and contributed a total of $3,500 to Fitz-Gerald in 2007.

Fitz-Gerald campaign manager Mary Alice Mandarich said the Swift Boat-related contributions came up in a routine crosscheck of contributors. “It’s common practice in a campaign to look at who is contributing to your opponent. You do a general search of `who are these people?'” The Swift Boat associations came up in a Google search, she said.

This political veteran said:

“Look at how negative it’s getting already. Where are the issues at this point? Where are they really dealing with the issues that will affect the district?

“They blame Bush for fanning the flames of fear over the country. But these attacks are designed to inflame those same emotions. Once you get down in the mud, it’s hard to climb back out.”

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