The Start Of A Meme--McInnis The Wonder Moderate
Democrats seem eager to paint any forthcoming GOP candidate for Senate--especially Bob Schaffer--as the dreaded "social", "traditionalist" or "ultra" convservative candidate (=evil, of course), while painting Scott McInnis as the friendly "moderate" who was the GOP's only hope for retaining a seat held by the conservative Sen. Wayne Allard.
To make Rep. Mark Udall seem less liberal.
A head-to-head match-up between Schaffer and Udall would be a true test over the political divide in Colorado. Neither candidate can easily be branded with the meaningless "moderate" label--meaningless in the sense that it usually only indicates the ideological position of the person using the term, and is not a helpful characterization of the candidate. For McInnis, this has turn into code for "less socially conservative", which is now being used as the attack on a potential Schaffer run.
It is no surprise that Democrats wish to capitalize on what they perceive as a sudden lurch to the left in American politics, and hope to establish some of their more liberal members as "mainstream" (another word for moderate), and not really "liberal" or the even "progressive". If the American voters truly moved that far to the left, their would be no need to abandon the labels or avoid accepting one's identity as a solid liberal on the issues.
By portraying Udall as a successor to the "moderate" Ken Salazar or Bill Ritter, Dems are appealing to Colorado's independent spirit, unaffiliated voters, and a general disdain for extreme West or East Coast liberalism, outside of the Boulder-Denver-Aspen areas. Demonizing Schaffer with the social conservative label--and therefore the only extremist in the race is both logical and also indicative of the extent to which they believe Udall is weak on his record as a "latte-sipping" Boulder liberal.
Note--the source for the statement that McInnis was the only GOP candidate with a chance to succeed comes from the NY Sun--from a blogger/editor of gopprogress.com, a place for a "moderate or a small 'l' libertarian Republican". Perhaps this writer overlooked the Hogan & Hartson lobbying connection that weighed heavily, perhaps more so, on McInnis. The money and the attacks that that job created for McInnis created heavy incentives for him to avoid a costly Senate run. No one doubts that an election would be a tough call, but losing a lucrative position to run for an office that paid less, carried no guarantee of actually being his, and would result in endless bashing through the many variations of the "McLobbyist" theme undoubtedly steered McInnis into the "also-ran" category.
Hotline has some thoughts on Colorado's Senate race.