Beauprez plays politics with running mate choice
When a candidate is labeled a flip-flopper wanting it “both ways,” having a palindrome for a name like Bob—spelling the same forward and backward—doesn’t help. So, one would think Bob Beauprez would avoid doing and saying anything that can further damage his image. For example, in a recent debate Beauprez stated he is “fairly black and white” on the abortion issue. Most of us understand “fairly black and white” is gray. Flip-flopping on issues such as Referendum C and domestic partnerships may be the least of Beauprez’s concern, however. His judgment is now in question.
Beauprez has chosen Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland to be his running mate, causing his campaign to be embroiled in controversy. Rowland revealed her views of gays in March stating, “I have friends who are gay, I’ve worked with people who are gay, I have utmost respect for them, I do not hate them. But I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle; that doesn’t make it a marriage. Some people have group sex—should we allow two men and three women to marry? Should we allow polygamy with one man and five wives? For some people, the alternative lifestyle is bestiality—do we allow a man to marry a sheep? I mean, at some point, you have to draw a line.”
Rowland went on to say that people from 40 or 50 years ago would be shocked by the fact that we are even considering permitting gays and lesbians to marry. One supposes then she prefers returning to the “status quo ante,” to the prevailing ethos of that time period that forbad inter-racial marriage. They were the miscegenation laws, finally struck down by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia in 1967.
Besides being a classic example of reductio ad absurdum by setting up a straw man argument, her statement is unfit for a potential governor of a state. For or against gay marriage or domestic partnerships, demeaning and debasing people by equating them to animals goes beyond the pale.
By choosing Rowland to be a heartbeat away from being governor should he win, one can only assume Bob Beauprez concurs with her position. It’s not as if she made the comments after joining the ticket. Beauprez chose Rowland after careful consideration, knowing full well about her positions and statements on issues. Insisting that Janet Rowland is the most qualified Republican in the state to be Number Two is akin to proclaiming Harriet Meyers being the most qualified nominee for the Supreme Court. If Beauprez needs help, I can think of a couple of outstanding Republicans right here in Clear Creek.
According to his campaign manager, Rowland has “apologized,” but I have heard no such words from her lips, not only for taking responsibility for her words, but also by making a clear affirmation that she rejects that sort of thinking. In other words, besides saying she is sorry Rowland needs to unequivocally affirm the dignity of gays and lesbians rather than hide behind the limp and shallow “some of my best friends are…” type of ethical justification.
That won’t happen; otherwise, he can kiss off the Colorado Springs vote and the support of religious right magnate Dr. James Dobson. Since vanquishing Marc Holtzman—or more accurately, since Holtman self-destructed—Beauprez has tried to move to the center. That proving to be no easy task with his record, he needs to hold his right flank if he hopes to beat Bill Ritter. Rowland, he hopes, will serve that purpose. In order to win the election, Beauprez is willing to risk putting someone who is extreme and outside the mainstream next in line, causing his judgment to overshadow positions he holds on any issue.
It’s both a question of judgment and of wanting it both ways—he seeming centrist, she to his right. What this indicates, however, is Beauprez is not the affable guy I interviewed last year on KYGT, but a shrewd and calculating politician doing his math. Beauprez may need Colorado Springs to win, but at what cost? Probably every American is thankful the first President Bush fulfilled his term, lest Dan Quayle become president. And for all Nixon’s faults, imagine Spiro Agnew replacing him after Watergate.
Whether it is Sen. George Allen (R-VA) calling an American-born young man “macaca” (a term meaning monkey used to demean people in North Africa), bigots calling Muslims “ragheads” or immigrants “wetbacks,” or someone equating gays and lesbians with bestiality, bigotry is bigotry. Invective name-calling and labeling is meant to demean, bully, and politically castrate the rights and dignity of a politically impotent group. That is profoundly un-American.
Janet Rowland is not fit to be first in line to be governor of Colorado, but should Both Ways Bob be elected, I will hope he remains fit and healthy in his tenure.
On the origination of the “pejorative” term religious right: “I have spent the last 30 years forming the religious right,” Jerry Falwell in Newsweek (August 14, 2006)