“You are not serious people.”
The cutting line uttered by Logan Roy, the cantankerous media mogul in HBO’s hit show “Succession,” could have as easily described the Colorado Springs GOP rather than his own children.
After Yemi Mobolade beat former Secretary of State Wayne Williams in the Colorado Springs mayoral race last week, it underscored just how far the current iteration of the GOP is from being a serious political influence in either that city or this state. They have neither the will nor ability to run effective campaigns, much less elected offices.
As the fictional Roy offspring have demonstrated over the past four years, that is probably a good thing.
HBO’s latest pop culture juggernaut has always been a mashup of corporate and right-wing caricatures playing a twisted version of musical chairs with sharpened knives drawn. The titular game is who will succeed Logan Roy as head of his family, corporation, empire.
While several corporate sycophants have attempted half-measure coups throughout the series, the plot twists always come back to the Roy offspring. Three — Kendall, Siobhan (Shiv), and Roman — alternatively plot against their father and each other. Their fumbling attempts to seize power inevitably turn into television train wrecks that mix schadenfreude with actual pity in the audience.
Connor, the oldest sibling, never makes a serious attempt to take over his father’s legacy. Instead, he runs a campaign for president. Obviously based on the 1992 Ross Perot presidential windmill tilt James Carville once proclaimed to be “the single most expensive act of masturbation in the history of the world,” Connor is blind to the utter fool he made of himself before the rest of the world.
The Colorado GOP, and particularly the Colorado Springs-based version, seems caught up alternating between these roles. And it is nearly as entertaining.
El Paso County has long been an unassailable bastion for Republicans in our state. Home to several military installations, Focus on the Family and a multitude of mega-churches, their political grip seemed set in iron. While Democrats made inroads across the rest of the state over the past two decades, they were forced perennially back up the steep incline to Manitou Springs in El Paso County.
But just as the billions of dollars the Roy children grew up enjoying created an entitlement parading as a false sense of competence, winning election after election in the deep red county convinced Colorado Springs Republicans of their own infallibility. No dose of reality could damper that self-aggrandizing belief.
Consequently, the most vitriolic intra-party battles have arisen in that part of the state.
Over the past several years their blood feud has made the vulgarity-laced machinations of the Roy children seem like toddlers struggling over the same toy in a playpen. For example, over the past year local officials attempted to form a parallel “shadow party” because the incumbent chairwoman, Vickie Tonkins, both courted militias dabbling in domestic terrorism and appeared to put her finger on the electoral scale during party elections.
The state party stepped in to appoint a neutral election official and just made matters worse. Tonkins’ forces filed a lawsuit against their own party before threatening to hold a separate and competing election.
The entire saga sounds like something so wild and weird and unbelievable that it got crumpled up and left on the writers’ room floor at HBO for getting too close to jumping the shark. At some point the audience just gets disgusted with the gimmicky contrivances and tunes out.
That is effectively what happened this past Tuesday. Colorado Springs voters, fed up with the antics of the local GOP succession fight, turned the channel.
I do not know that much about Mobolade, though reports indicate he is hardly the unapologetic progressive liberal some would have you believe. While Democrats crow about turning the city and county blue, it appears he simply stepped aside as the intra-party scuffle left a deep red stain spilling from Williams’ campaign as he bled out, collateral damage to the conceited turf war going on around him.
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The Colorado Springs GOP were not interested in governing or winning actual elected offices, just holding onto the bully pulpit within their own political silo. They seem more intoxicated by that shiny bauble than any Roy child is by a multibillion-dollar blunder.
Sadly for the state party, their current chair is a product — and purveyor — of that toxic cesspool. The spinoff series for the state could be utterly unwatchable.
While “Succession” is only a few Sundays away from concluding its series story arch, the Colorado Springs GOP seems destined to continue to carry on. Whether you are entertained or sickened or just choose to turn the channel, it is evident they are not serious people.
Mario Nicolais is an attorney and columnist who writes on law enforcement, the legal system, health care and public policy. Follow him on Twitter: @MarioNicolaiEsq.
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