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From Statesman to Silly

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From powerful congressman to gubernatorial candidate to punchline, the last 12 months have not been particularly kind to Republican Bob Beauprez.

A year ago Beauprez was probably Colorado’s most powerful congressional member, thanks to his coveted seat on the powerful House Ways & Means Committee. This time last year Beauprez’s campaign for governor was really starting to get rolling as well, and polls showed that he was in good shape to eventually win the seat. But then, Beauprez’s once-promising political career completely imploded during the course of what many politicos say was the worst-run statewide campaign the state has seen in decades. The former congressman eventually lost to Democrat Bill Ritter by a stunning 15 points.

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Beauprez’s demise has been so swift and his reputation so sullied that it has been almost painful to watch. The man who was once poised to lead the Republican Party in Colorado for years to come is now just an inane talking head.

Beauprez has said repeatedly that he hasn’t ruled out running for the U.S. Senate in 2008, and every time he says it, people just roll their eyes. Take a look at what Rocky Mountain News columnist Mike Littwin had to say this week about Beauprez in a list of potential candidates to succeed Sen. Wayne Allard:

Then there’s, uh, Bob Beauprez, who says he hasn’t ruled himself out for a Senate race. (Add laugh track here.) That would make approximately one Coloradan who hasn’t ruled Beauprez out.

In the meantime, the man who gained a reputation for sticking his foot firmly in his own mouth has a new gig doing some radio work in town, where yesterday he filled in for host Mike Rosen on The Mike Rosen Snow on KOA radio. Things seemed to be going okay until he began discussing the belief that people who think the U.S. should get out of Iraq should be executed. Colorado Media Matters has the skinny:

On Newsradio 850 KOA’s The Mike Rosen Show, guest host Bob Beauprez — a former Colorado Republican congressman and gubernatorial candidate — responded to a caller who suggested that people opposed to the war in Iraq are “traitors” and “ought to be shot” by stating that doing so would constitute “good old Western justice.”

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Beauprez was discussing a proposed bipartisan U.S. Senate resolution against the Bush administration’s troop increase in Iraq, which he called “a cut and run document.” Beauprez then spoke to a caller who said, “I remember World War II. People who wanted to cut and run back then were called traitors.” When Beauprez asked the caller, “What’s that word mean?” the caller responded, “It means that they ought to be shot some place. You know, be put up in front of the firing squad.” Beauprez replied, “That’s good old Western justice.”

After reading that, the most damning thing I can say about Beauprez is this:

Whatever.

Like Pat Robertson or Michael Dukakis, Beauprez has become silly. You can’t get upset or irritated at anything he says, because it’s too hard to even take him seriously. It’s a weird place for Beauprez to have ended up, and I’m sure he never saw it coming.

And frankly, neither did anyone else.

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