There's Socialists in Them Thar Bike Lanes.

Most progressives are feeling uneasy about this fall's elections, the results of which will probably be somewhere between "that could have been worse" and "Oh. My. God." I'm willing to bet that many of the nutball Tea Party candidates who have emerged will end up proving too extreme even for an angry electorate (and some of them have already lost primaries). But some of them are going to win. And when you hear what they actually believe, it's pretty frightening. Witness this story about Colorado governor candidate Dan Maes (via Think Progress). Cue the crazy:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes is warning voters that Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper's policies, particularly his efforts to boost bike riding, are "converting Denver into a United Nations community."

"This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed," Maes told about 50 supporters who showed up at a campaign rally last week in Centennial.

Maes said in a later interview that he once thought the mayor's efforts to promote cycling and other environmental initiatives were harmless and well-meaning. Now he realizes "that's exactly the attitude they want you to have."

"This is bigger than it looks like on the surface, and it could threaten our personal freedoms," Maes said.

OK, you might say, this guy is plainly nuts, but he must be some fringe candidate, right? Destined to come in eighth in an eight-candidate field? Nope: "Polls show that Maes, a Tea Party favorite, has pulled ahead of former Congressman Scott McInnis, the early frontrunner in the Aug. 10 primary for the Republican gubernatorial nomination." You might remember that McInnis' campaign has been hampered by revelations of plagiarized essays. Hickenlooper is a strong candidate, but it's still possible that Dan Maes could be the next governor of Colorado, scanning the skies for black helicopters as he takes the oath of office. All those bike-riding, U.N.-loving hippies in Boulder better watch out.

-- Paul Waldman

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