Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler probably said it best in a recent 5280 Magazine profile: “If I’m the honey badger, [the Democrats] are the poisonous snakes—and by the way, they get their heads bit off and the honey badger prevails.”
Gessler's embrace of the nickname Democrats have given him is a sign he's a lot more politically savvy than most people give him credit for. (On that note, we hope to see Sal Pace embrace the many nicknames we have given him.)
The Dems were trying to tag Gessler as someone who doesn't care about what his critics say, as if that were a bad thing. The problem for Democrats is Gessler doesn't care, but that doesn't mean their hatred of him has no effect.
In fact, it is Democrats' blinding hatred of Gessler that has caused them to do something epically, historically stupid.
When Colorado Democrat Party Chair Rick Palacio called for Gessler to be removed from office this week, he officially turned Democrats' campaign to discredit Gessler into a parody that will end up blowing up Democrats more than it will damage Gessler.
For a while we thought Gessler was losing the battle with Democrats, with their steady drumbeat of attacks and character assaults. That battle has now been flipped on its head and gone decidedly in Gessler's direction with Palacio's Hail Mary pass only minutes into the second quarter of the political football game.
Reports Sara Burnett of The Denver Post:
As the Colorado Democratic Party spent Thursday vetting potential ways to remove Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler from office, political observers characterized the effort as everything from "off-the-wall" to a political ploy and — perhaps most important — a longshot.
…"It might come off looking like a partisan witch hunt," said Ken Bickers, professor and chairman of the political science department at the University of Colorado.
…Bickers speculated Democrats may have an ulterior motive: creating "a storyline" to appeal to a particular group of voters. Most likely that's Latinos, who are among those voters Democrats say will be disproportionately affected by Gessler's efforts, and a voting bloc that will be key to President Barack Obama winning re-election this fall.
"To me it's a sign that they think they have a weakness in the presidential election," Bickers said.
Gessler has not done anything illegal, nor has he done anything that has inspired massive protests. Most people don't even know what the Secretary of State does, let alone are outraged about minor rulemaking decisions.
Gessler just has a different viewpoint from Democrats on election administration — namely, he thinks people should have to prove they are who they say they are before voting. Quelle horror!
As Burnett's article outlines, Palacio made a big, massive mistake in calling for Gessler's ouster. He has now written a check with his mouth that his political operation can't cash.
See how seriously the media takes his condemnations and calls for removal from office in the future once Democrats are unable to do a single, substantive thing to recall Gessler.
Palacio: We knew you were a half-assed political hack when you got the job. Thanks for proving us right.
While the poisonous snake Democrats have been biting at Gessler's ankles for months, Rick Palacio just placed his party's proverbial head on the chopping block for Gessler to bite off.
You're an idiot, Palacio.