Public Eye 

Last week, out of the blue, El Paso County Republican juggernaut Larry Liston sent a grubby e-mail to the Public Eye, accusing her of all sorts of nefarious things, especially for not giving Republicans credit where credit's due. "Whine, whine, whine, is that all you ... can do?" Astonishingly, Liston was whining about a Nov. 16 column which, you got it, lauded Republicans for winning all their local elections. In fact, eyeball actually stated, "The local Republican Party is to be truly commended for their efforts."

Liston's momentary meltdown shows just how far from Florida those frayed partisan nerves have disintegrated. The co-chair of the local Bush/Cheney 2000 drive and one of Colorado's s national GOP committeemen, Liston is gregarious and friendly, not normally the snarling type at all.

So it is with compassionate conservatism that we dedicate this column to the recent accomplishments of our Republican pals. (Pssst, Larry, if you really want bipartisan bashing, give us some elected Democrats and we will pick on them instead, or at least equally.)

First of all, Republican Mark Cloer sealed his win in House District 17 this week, winning by 110 votes in a recount. And, congratulations are also in order for state Rep. Lynn Hefley in her decisive win over Libertarian Ariane Hildenbrandt. With an 85 percent win, Hefley won House District 20 by more percentage points than any other Republican in El Paso County -- including her husband, Congressman Joel Hefley, who got a little over 82 percent of the vote.

Of course, earlier this year, Lynn Hefley also decisively knocked former state Sen. Charlie Duke off the primary ticket. Duke held that seat for six years in the late 1980s and 1990s before becoming a senator and national sensation as a states-rights leader in the militia and patriot movements. Duke was even recruited by the FBI to help end the Freeman standoff in Montana. Then, just two years ago, at God's request, Duke quit his Senate job, moved away, got married, got divorced and became a trucker.

Earlier this year Duke returned to Colorado and claimed God wanted him to re-enter politics. First he reportedly told Sen. Doug Lamborn to step aside and -- as per God's wishes -- let Duke back in. Lamborn declined. Duke then claimed that Hefley and her congressman husband were conspiring along with the Clintons, the Mafia and Jewish bankers, to destroy him personally. And recently, Duke was arrested when he tried to take a gun into the Denver City and County building.

Speaking of truckers, our own U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell this week took the wheel of the truck/covered wagon to haul a 75-year-old, 65-foot tree from the Pike National Forest to Washington D.C., where it will be decorated as the nation's Millennium Christmas tree. According to the Denver Post, the tree's location had to be kept secret until the last minute, to fend off any potential "eco-terrorists."

But the event went off without a glitch, and Colorado's senior U.S. senator (a former Democrat, Larry!) drove the big rig out to D.C. while reportedly singing along to Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. The Post report noted that Campbell hopes to reconnect with a couple of his old pals, CB operators who answer to the handles "Miss Piggy" and "Trash Can." Now, with due respect, which of these handles do you think Charlie Duke might be sporting?

And finally, now that Republican state Rep. Marcy Morrison is done battling Republican challengers who have accused her of being a Democrat in disguise for the past eight years, the big guns have finally arrived to honor her for 26 years of serving the community.

Sen. Campbell, along with Colorado's other U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, Colorado Gov. Bill Owens, Colorado Springs Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace, Citizens Project founder Amy Divine and the most powerful man in Southern Colorado, Bill Hybl, are among a lineup of honorary committee members who will honor Morrison and her husband, attorney Howard Morrison, as recipients of Temple Shalom's first humanitarian award. That award will be presented during a dinner on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at the Antler's Adams Mark Hotel downtown.

The invite notes: "Jewish tradition teaches that there are three crowns: the crown of study, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty; but the crown of a good name exceeds them all. Marcy, whose good name has championed so many causes, is a deserving recipient of this prestigious award. Her leadership and commitment have truly made a difference in our lives and our community."

-- degette@csindy.com


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