Steamboat Springs Unlike football, where the dimensions of the field of play are defined and consistent, baseball allows a lot of latitude, particularly with regard to the distance between home plate and the outfield fences. This latitude has allowed teams to "tailor" their park from season to season to fit their particular personnel. You might say that, if we employ the following definitions presented in the Encyclopedia Britannica, football is conservative (providing a level and equal field of play) and baseball is radical.
n Political conservative: Political attitude or ideology denoting a preference for institutions and practices that have evolved historically and are thus manifestations of continuity and stability. Conservatives believe that the implementation of change should be minimal and gradual.
n Political radical: In politics, one who desires extreme change of part or all of the social order.
So how does a conservative find himself being a radical? When consensus, compromise and political correctness erode principle and integrity beyond all recognition. To continue our baseball analogy, suppose that all nine starters of a certain team are power hitters. It is determined that 85 percent of their fly balls are hit to right field and travel an average of 285 feet. The current right field fence is 300 feet from home plate. Knowing that moving the right field fence in 30 feet will not go unnoticed, they announce that they are going to move it in 60 feet. After a great controversy, the team agrees to a "compromise" to gain a "consensus" and only moves the fence in 30 feet. At year's end, when this team has won 95 percent of its home games and set single-season home run records, the rest of the league asks that the fence be moved back 30 feet. The liberal press immediately brands the league as radicals, racists, and Bible-toting conservatives who want to negate the spirit of compromise and consensus.
Unfortunately, so-called "moderate Republicans" (Republicans in name only) have abandoned the two most basic principles that were the foundation of the party: low taxes and limited government. Mark Hillman, former Colorado state treasurer, wrote an excellent article two weeks ago exposing the deceit and deception of Referendum C. Hillman showed conclusively that the tax increase from Ref. C far exceeded the amount represented and has not been spent for the purposes advertised.
Sadly, for the two years in which "Colorado fell behind because of the recession," Republicans had control of the House, the Senate and the governor's mansion, and could have addressed the issues honestly and sanely. Instead, as in our baseball example, they moved the fence in 60 feet and destroyed the Taxpayers Bill of Rights. Now, we can never push the fence back. Our current Republican state senator and Republican state representative were incumbents for those two years.
Ref. C was presented to Routt County Republican leadership by Jack Taylor and Al White. Several questioned how and why an issue of such enormous and potentially devastating consequences was put before the committee after it was a done deal - resplendent with boxes of slick and glossy promotional brochures. Jack and Al essentially said we were too stupid to understand. This despite the creative mathematics in Ref. C's promotion that are rivaled only by White's calculation of the percentage of time that he resides in Hayden and the fact Ref. C was rejected by party leadership in the vast majority of Colorado's counties.
We got the shaft, they got committee appointments and chairmanships from their Democrat friends. Sadly, I believe that had the party nominated and elected people who put principle over perceived political expediency, we would still have the faith and votes of the citizens of Colorado.
Paul Epley is a longtime Routt County conservative activist, holds a PhD in biology from the University of Southern California, and is a director of the Conservative Leadership Council of Northwest Colorado.