Letters to the Editor

Making a mistake does not automatically involve one’s integrity

Dear Editor,

I appreciate Shirley Seitz’s efforts to defend Bob Beauprez’s integrity (Statesman, 6/30/10) but, if she reviews my column carefully, she will see nothing was said to impugn Bob’s integrity. The objective point of the column was the Democratic nominees for Governor in 2006 and now 2010 both benefitted tremendously from mistakes made in the gubernatorial campaigns of their Republican opponents.  

The headline of the column I submitted (“Scott McInnis — 2006 Redux?”) evidently was changed by The Statesman (to “Scott McInnis —This year’s Bob Beauprez?”) but the content remained unmodified. 

Because Ms. Seitz was the Beauprez Campaign Office Manager, she had to be aware of how certain decisions made by the Beauprez campaign severely damaged it. In my own frank discussions with Bob Beauprez, who is a friend and is a man of high integrity, he was the first to admit he and the campaign made mistakes. Making a mistake does not automatically involve one’s integrity. 

And while Ms. Seitz tries to blame the political climate in 2006, the reality is that climate was not why Congressman Beauprez lost the election four years ago. There have been Republicans who won in “Democratic years” both in Colorado and across the nation as there are Democrats who win in “Republican years” (as likely will be the case this year as well). And because Colorado voters evaluate the merits of each candidate, good candidates from parties not in favor do win elections here. 

In fact in Colorado, John Suthers (R) won the statewide race for Attorney General over Fern O’Brien (D), Mike Coffman (R) won the Secretary of State race over Ken Gordon (D), and embattled U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) won her election over Angie Paccione (D) — all in a “Democratic year.” These results along with early polling data in the races proved Republicans had a good chance at the Governor’s Mansion and that national factors were not determining. 

Similarly, although ICE Agent Cory Voorhis may have lauded candidate Beauprez, it was a terrible mistake to argue violating the law was acceptable. Beauprez should have thanked Voorhis for his effort and concern while making it clear he would not use Voorhis’s information to the campaign’s advantage because he (Beauprez) was opposed to anyone breaking the law. By holding Voorhis out as a law-breaking hero, Beauprez played right into District Attorney Bill Ritter’s hands — making Ritter appear to be the only candidate concerned about the equal application of the law to all Coloradans. 

Congressman Beauprez made a number of mistakes and he is honest enough to admit it. That actually is why I thought he would have been a good candidate for the Republican Party in 2010. Scott McInnis is having problems with events that occurred years prior to his campaign. This created an even more unfortunate and challenging situation for him.  

My point was that these problems could have been mitigated by an immediate apology to all involved, by concluding an agreement to repay the funds involved (I don’t know too many people who can write a check for $300,000 on the spot), and by making a request to the public for forgiveness. 

Understandably, the McInnis campaign succumbed to the natural tendency to wait and see how the accusations played out. Many members of his inner circle likely believed voters would not pay attention to something which happened several years ago and which seemed technical in nature. And for those who understand the culture of Washington — where documents are ghostwritten and traded routinely (not that they should be) — McInnis’s transgressions probably did not appear as serious as they were.   

This “culture of sharing” in the political realm puts participants on a slippery slope and McInnis clearly slipped and fell down it. While this does not excuse any plagiarism which occurred, it may explain the warped environment in which certain decisions were made. 

Perhaps McInnis’s biggest mistake was to stonewall the state’s mightiest news source — The Denver Post. Anyone following this story watched as The Post went after McInnis with a vengeance. McInnis wisely began talking to The Post again but it still remains difficult to find a anything positive about him in print. And everyone already knows the newspaper will endorse John Hickenlooper for Governor. 

In conclusion, Bob Beauprez’s integrity was not impugned. I simply was critical of many of the decisions made by the campaign. The point was the implosion of his campaign in 2006 and that of Scott McInnis in 2010 made the path to the Governor’s mansion easy for the Democratic nominees (and both already had an easy path by not facing any kind of primary election opponent). Of course, the voters have the last say in all of this… and will.
Sincerely yours,
Aaron Harber
On-Air Host & Executive Producer
“The Aaron Harber Show TM” and “Colorado Election 2010TM”