Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 25)

Don’t worry — it will totally be warm again some day next week. Maybe. It’s time to Get More Smarter! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Congressional Budget Office finally released its score of the latest Republican health care legislation, and the numbers are very bad. As the New York Times explains:

A bill to dismantle the Affordable Care Act that narrowly passed the House this month would leave 14 million more people uninsured next year than under President Barack Obama’s health law — and 23 million more in 2026, the Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday. Some of the nation’s sickest would pay much more for health care…

…The forecast by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, Capitol Hill’s official scorekeeper, is another potential blow to efforts to undo Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement. Republican senators have said they will make substantial changes to the measure passed by the House, but even Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, sounds uncertain about his chances of finding a majority to repeal and replace the health law.

Oh, and insurance premiums for people older than 65 would rise by more than 800%. None of this made Colorado lawmakers particularly happy. Here’s the front page of today’s Denver Post:

 

 Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) made a candid admission to Politico in a story published today: Congressional Republicans are obliged to bend and twist in order to accommodate the Trump administration.

 

► Attorney General Jeff Sessions apparently lied to investigators when he was being interviewed for his security clearance. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:

The problem here for Sessions — and the Trump administration more broadly — is that the meetings the Attorney General failed to disclose are with the Russian ambassador. Not the ambassador to France or England or literally any other place in the world.

And that means the omissions matter. Because they land amid a federal investigation now being run by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and potential collusion with the Trump campaign. And two congressional investigations into the matter. And the firing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn due to his misleading comments about his own conversations with Kislyak. And the Russia ties of former Trump advisers Paul Manafort and Carter Page. And Sessions’ own recusal from the federal investigation due to his meetings with Kislyak. And the reports that Trump asked then FBI Director James Comey to drop the investigation into Flynn and the Russians during a Feb. 14 meeting.

 

► Today’s special election for a Congressional seat in Montana was thrown into a tizzy when the Republican candidate literally body-slammed a reporter on WednesdayGreg Pianoforte is being charged with misdemeanor assault on Election Day.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

Jessie Danielson Runs To Succeed Sen. Cheri Jahn In Key District

Rep. Jessie Danielson (D).

Rep. Jessie Danielson of Wheat Ridge announced her run for Senate District 20 yesterday, a closely-divided swing Senate seat now held by term-limited Sen. Cheri Jahn:

Serving Jeffco in the State House has been a tremendous honor – and I am proud to have passed laws that are protecting vulnerable seniors, advancing equal pay, looking out for veterans, protecting our environment, and helping Colorado families get a fair shake when the odds are often stacked against us…

With your help, I will go to the State Senate and continue fighting for a better future – by empowering hard-working Coloradans who want to send their kids to great public schools and build a secure future for their families.

Whether it’s legalizing rain barrels or making child care more affordable, I have passed common sense laws focused on helping make day-to-day life a little easier for regular people. Just this year I passed the Wage Theft Transparency Act, which will shine a light on employers caught cheating workers out of their pay.

In the State Senate, I will continue to uphold the Colorado values that make our state a better place to live. The chaos in Washington shows that it’s up to us – here in the states – to stand up to powerful special interests and protect what makes Colorado unique. As state senator, I will never stop fighting for Colorado, for Jeffco and for you.

Sen. Jahn’s last election in 2014 against Republican candidate Larry Queen was a real nail-biter, with Jahn emerging victorious by fewer than 500 votes. Democrats nonetheless consider Rep. Danielson an ideal successor to hold the seat, with an excellent legislative track record and solid campaign skill and experience–good enough that she was considered a possible candidate for Congress to succeed Rep. Ed Perlmutter. Danielson is a sufficiently strong contender that we would be surprised to see a serious primary opponent emerge, though with an open seat you can never rule one out.

Either way, Democrats are feeling good about holding this swing seat on their way to recapturing the Senate majority in 2018, and now you know why.

Coffman Admits Why GOP Can’t Hold Trump Accountable

An eye-opening quote from Colorado’s own Rep. Mike Coffman in a Politico story today about the slow response from congressional Republican leadership to the deepening scandals besetting President Donald Trump’s administration:

The controversy over Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia is mushrooming into an all-consuming Washington melodrama and full-fledged criminal investigation. But don’t look to GOP congressional leaders to ditch the president.

Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are taking a cautious approach to Trump’s Russia scandal, pointedly refraining from criticizing the president and tiptoeing around the topic — or simply avoiding it. It’s a strategy intended to avoid intraparty fights over Trump’s controversial presidency and sidestep confrontation with a president of their own party who has yet to sign key GOP agenda items like repealing Obamacare and cutting taxes…

In a way, those committee investigations — as well as the appointment of a special counsel at the Justice Department— have given Ryan and McConnell cover to sidestep questions by claiming they’re awaiting the findings of those probes. But the reality is that neither man will lead Republicans in taking a hard line against, or call for the impeachment of, the leader of their party — even if the controversy gets uglier and the public clamors for action.

“He’s got to work with the president, so yes, since the election there’s been a change in tone,” Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), said of Ryan’s rhetoric toward Trump. “He has to work with the president to get his agenda passed.” [Pols emphasis]

Coffman’s frank acknowledgement that his party’s leadership is obliged to work with President Trump, thus necessitating a “change in tone” from their prior criticism, also describes Coffman’s own change of tone from before the election until now. Coffman, who ran in 2016 on his most audacious anti-Republican campaign even after years of triangulating off his own party, himself said how “excited” he was to work with the President after winning the election.

The point is that Rep. Coffman has ripped the scab off something critically important to understand about the relationship between Republicans in Congress and President Trump–including self-proclaimed critics of Trump like Coffman. As long as Republicans retain any hope of accomplishing long-sought agenda items like the repeal of Obamacare and tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in the near term, they need a functional Trump administration to do it. And that obliges them to soft-pedal Trump’s swirling scandals.

This also demonstrates again why Coffman opponents have railed so bitterly against his attempts to triangulate off the Republican leadership in Washington. No matter what Coffman says, or how he personally votes on the issue of the day, he voted for the GOP leadership now taking steps to enact Trump’s agenda.

Scenery aside, that’s the only thing that matters.

Senate GOP’s Civil Rights Commission Idiocy Gets Bypassed

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg.

The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby updates the strange story of Heidi Hess, the chair of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission who was denied reappointment to the commission by the Colorado Senate GOP’s one-seat majority under circumstances that seem suspiciously like bias against Hess as an LGBT representative on the panel–that, or a comedy of errors that makes the Senate Republicans look incompetent to say the least:

Gov. John Hickenlooper chose to keep her on the commission, a move his office said is legal but one Senate Republicans question.

Republicans, who have a one-vote majority in the Senate, were surprised to learn from The Daily Sentinel that she was still on the seven-member commission. Regardless, Senate President Kevin Grantham, R-Canon City, said such rejections of governor appointees happen so rarely that he was having his staff investigate the matter.

Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, however, agreed that while the governor has the legal right to keep her on the panel until he finds a replacement, even until her new term expires in 2021, he said Hickenlooper is violating the spirit of the Colorado Constitution, which requires consent from the Senate on such appointments.

“It is ridiculous, but apparently that is within his purview and within his right to do so, to go around the Senate that way,” said the Sterling Republican, who led the effort to reject Hess’ confirmation. “It absolutely is against the spirit of the Constitution, but I think it’s completely inappropriate for the governor to wave his middle finger at the Senate.”

As Ashby reports again in this story and we’ve recounted in detail in this space, here’s what happened: Hess was erroneously listed on a website for the Colorado Civil Rights Commission as a “business representative,” despite the fact that in every other description we can find of her role she is listed as an at-large community representative. On the basis of this misidentification, Republicans led by Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg turned on Hess during what should have been her routine reappointment, declaring that she supported the “sue your boss” bill–a reference to workplace discrimination legislation passed in 2013.

Although it was quickly determined afterward that the listing of Hess as a “business representative” on the commission was erroneous, we haven’t seen any acknowledgement of that error from Republicans who voted against her reappointment. Given Hess’ role as chair of the commission as well as representative of both the LGBT community and the Western Slope, voting to remove her from the commission is not something that her friends and supporters–not to mention the governor’s office–took lightly.

What happens next? Well, Hickenlooper says in Ashby’s story that it could take a very long time to find a “replacement” for Heidi Hess–maybe even all the way though the end of her would-be second term in 2021. Colorado Republican Attorney General Cynthia Coffman has washed her hands of the situation, saying only that there might be a legislative remedy to consider in an upcoming session if GOP Senators don’t like Hickenlooper’s response to their misguided vote.

In the end, we rather doubt Republicans are going to push the matter any further under Hickenlooper’s administration. Whatever their motives were for this action–which we’ve heard credibly attributed to revenge over a vetoed bill, Tony Gagliardi’s outsize influence on the caucus, and yes, straight-up bigotry against LGBT people given a rare moment to lash out–it has definitely backfired. There’s nothing to be gained by perpetuating a conflict caused entirely by their own incompetence or enmity (or both).

Time to walk away.

At Least He’s Not Your Berzerk Congressional Candidate

UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark has got a point:

—–

Washington Post reporting, never ever ever let your temper get the best of you like this in politics:

Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Montana’s special congressional election, was charged with misdemeanor assault Wednesday after allegedly assaulting a reporter for the Guardian who had been trying to ask him a question. Gianforte, who is seen as the slight favorite in a race that ends Thursday, left what was supposed to be a final campaign rally at his Bozeman headquarters without making remarks.

The Gallatin County sheriff’s office announced the charges in a press release posted to the county website. At a press conference earlier in the day, Sheriff Brian Gootkin said that witnesses were being interviewed, and that four other people had been present for the incident…

Reporter Ben Jacobs of the Guardian reportedly asked GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte his opinion about the Congressional Budget Office score of the latest Republican proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act. After Jacobs brushed off one round of dust-off from Gianforte like any reporter worth their salt would do, he asked again. And then:

After Gianforte tells Jacobs to direct the question to his spokesman, Shane Scanlon, there is the sound of an altercation, and Gianforte begins to scream.

“I’m sick and tired of you guys!” Gianforte says. “The last guy that came in here did the same thing. Get the hell out of here! Get the hell out of here! The last guy did the same thing. Are you with the Guardian?”

“Yes, and you just broke my glasses,” Jacobs says.

“The last guy did the same damn thing,” Gianforte says.

“You just body-slammed me and broke my glasses,” Jacobs says.

“Get the hell out of here,” Gianforte says.

The incident was witnessed by a FOX News crew, which posted a commendably straightforward account of the assault:

Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him. Faith, Keith and I watched in disbelief as Gianforte then began punching the reporter. As Gianforte moved on top of Jacobs, he began yelling something to the effect of, “I’m sick and tired of this!”

Jacobs scrambled to his knees and said something about his glasses being broken. He asked Faith, Keith and myself for our names. In shock, we did not answer. Jacobs then said he wanted the police called and went to leave. Gianforte looked at the three of us and repeatedly apologized. At that point, I told him and Scanlon, who was now present, that we needed a moment. The men then left.

To be clear, at no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies.

And there you have it, folks! Gianforte’s campaign later put out a statement attempting to blame the reporter for being assaulted, but the FOX News crew’s story had already undermined it. Gianforte is described as the “slight favorite” in this race, which like other recent special elections has been dramatically narrowed by voter discontent with Republicans under President Donald Trump. Montana like Colorado is a mail-ballot state, and a large percentage of votes in this election have already been cast. With that said, lots of Montanans will be voting today as well. After this, maybe a lot more.

So now we get to see if assaulting a reporter the day before the election is, you know, a disqualifier.

Thursday Open Thread

“An oath will encourage fidelity in office only to the degree that officeholders continue to believe that they cannot escape ultimate accountability for a breach of faith.”

–James L. Buckley

“Trumpcare 3.0” CBO Score Released: Another Bloodbath

UPDATE #2: Colorado Democrats weigh in via Denver7’s Blair Miller:

Two of Colorado’s Democratic members of the House, Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis, voted against the bill, and offered their critiques of the bill again following the CBO score.

“Congress should have found out what the bill did before they passed it,” Polis said. “The nonpartisan analysis reaffirms the danger of the Republican health care plan…It has every day consequences that could be the difference between wellness and sickness or even life and death.”

“The latest analysis from the Congressional Budget Office confirms how detrimental the Republicans’ health care bill is in terms of reducing coverage, reducing essential benefits and allowing for discrimination against those with preexisting conditions,” Perlmutter said.

Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver:

“Trumpcare is bad news for a lot of people, as the CBO has shown yet again,” DeGette said. “If this bill becomes law, it will ration care and put insurance companies back in charge. Millions of people will lose their coverage while the cost for others will go up – including those covered through employer plans. People can expect higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs for skimpy coverage that in many cases won’t include essential services such as maternity care and treatment for mental health and substance abuse. And those over age 50 will pay even more – that is, if they can afford the age tax that this plan would impose.

“President Trump promised that no American would lose health insurance under his plan and that he wouldn’t cut Medicare or Medicaid. This bad bill breaks those promises and spells disaster for countless Americans.”

“The onus is now on the Senate to prevent this damage,” DeGette said. “It was dangerously irresponsible for House Republican leaders to ram this bill through the House for a vote with no CBO score. If Republicans really want to provide better health care for Americans, they should work with Democrats on making improvements to the ACA rather than dismantling or sabotaging it.”

—–

UPDATE: Sen. Cory Gardner says don’t sweat the CBO score, that’s just those wacky House crazies:

The CBO score is regarding the House legislation, and the Senate is currently working on its own legislation to rescue Coloradans from the collapsing healthcare law. Obamacare has driven up costs and made it harder for middle class families to find access to quality and affordable care. Anyone who looks at the current healthcare system will see that Obamacare is not working. The status-quo is unacceptable, and Democrats and Republicans have a responsibility to put politics aside and act.

Okay then! Let’s see Gardner come up with a bill that 1. doesn’t kill as many people and 2. can pass the House.

—–

Trumpcare 3.0

Moments ago, the Congressional Budget Office released its score of the latest iteration of the American Health Care Act, a.k.a. “Trumpcare,” which passed the U.S. House before the score was released and is now laying heavy on the U.S. Senate.

Its effects can still be measured in, for lack of a better term, dead bodies:

CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) have completed an estimate of the direct spending and revenue effects of H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act of 2017, as passed by the House of Representatives. CBO and JCT estimate that enacting that version of H.R. 1628 would reduce the cumulative federal deficit over the 2017-2026 period by $119 billion. That amount is $32 billion less than the estimated net savings for the version of H.R. 1628 that was posted on the website of the House Committee on Rules on March 22, 2017, incorporating manager’s amendments 4, 5, 24, and 25. (CBO issued a cost estimate for that earlier version of the legislation on March 23, 2017.)

In comparison with the estimates for the previous version of the act, under the House-passed act, the number of people with health insurance would, by CBO and JCT’s estimates, be slightly higher and average premiums for insurance purchased individually—that is, nongroup insurance—would be lower, in part because the insurance, on average, would pay for a smaller proportion of health care costs. In addition, the agencies expect that some people would use the tax credits authorized by the act to purchase policies that would not cover major medical risks and that are not counted as insurance in this cost estimate…

CBO and JCT estimate that, in 2018, 14 million more people would be uninsured under H.R. 1628 than under current law. The increase in the number of uninsured people relative to the number projected under current law would reach 19 million in 2020 and 23 million in 2026. In 2026, an estimated 51 million people under age 65 would be uninsured, compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.

One of the biggest concerns over the newest version of this legislation is the option by states to waive coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act–allowing red states to dramatically change the rules for pre-existing conditions:

[T]he agencies estimate that about one-sixth of the population resides in areas in which the nongroup market would start to become unstable beginning in 2020. That instability would result from market responses to decisions by some states to waive two provisions of federal law, as would be permitted under H.R. 1628. One type of waiver would allow states to modify the requirements governing essential health benefits (EHBs), which set minimum standards for the benefits that insurance in the nongroup and small-group markets must cover. A second type of waiver would allow insurers to set premiums on the basis of an individual’s health status if the person had not demonstrated continuous coverage; that is, the waiver would eliminate the requirement for what is termed community rating for premiums charged to such people.

You’ll recall that Rep. Mike Coffman, who trended toward support for this legislation right up until the vote, in the end voted no because of a “small percentage” of patients who he said could lose coverage for pre-existing conditions. As the CBO’s estimate shows, that “small percentage” could amount to millions of Americans.

All told, the new legislation is only slightly less harmful to Americans than the last version, and the negative effects are still plenty nightmarish to justify the overwhelming public opposition all polling is showing against the bill. Rep. Coffman may have dodged culpability in this latest version of “Trumpcare,” but most of the Republican caucus in the U.S. House including the other three Colorado Republicans are now saddled with this vote.

And for Sen. Cory Gardner, who is crafting the Senate version of this bill behind closed doors, the stakes just got even higher. Coming up with a plan that isn’t political suicide, but can manage to attract support from the hard-right House Republicans who just approved this disastrous bill, seems like a more impossible task than ever now.

Sen. Dominick Moreno Jumps Into CD-7 Race

Sen. Dominick Moreno.

The Denver Post’s John Frank reports, three Democratic state lawmakers are now in the hunt to succeed outgoing Rep. Ed Perlmutter in swing suburban CD-7:

Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City will announce his candidacy Wednesday for the 7th Congressional District post being vacated by U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter, who is running for governor in 2018.

He joins fellow state Sen. Andy Kerr and state Rep. Brittany Pettersen, both of Lakewood, in the contest.

Moreno, 32, is touting his legislative record as what sets him apart — noting the bills he carried to require breakfast for students at low-income schools in Colorado and his work this year in crafting a $26.8 billion state spending plan as a member of the powerful budget committee.

“I think I bring the strongest record for actually getting things done, and that goes for the Democrats and the Republicans,” he said in an interview ahead of the announcement.

Sen. Dominick Moreno of Commerce City is a well-loved and respected progressive legislator, and the only one of the three contenders in the ÇD-7 primary to hail from Adams County. Moreno has nothing to lose by running for Congress in 2018, being an off-year for his Senate seat, so he can make the attempt without giving up his current office. Whatever the outcome, this race is a great chance to Moreno to build his name recognition for future upward mobility. And who knows? In a wide-open race, he might even go all the way.

Anybody else want in the CD-7 primary? The water appears to be fine.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 24)

By the time you finish reading this post, George Brauchler will have come up with another position on dealing with Colorado’s budget problems. It’s time to Get More Smarter! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Congressional Budget Office is expected today to release its score of the latest House Republican version of Trumpcare. As the Washington Post explains, Senate Republicans are about to take the baton of stupid:

The Senate can begin health-care discussions in earnest today when it finally gets an official word from the Congressional Budget Office on how much money there is to work with on an overhaul of President Obama’s health-care law.

Remember that crazy roller-coaster ride a few weeks ago, as the House started and stopped…and stopped and started…and finally gained enough speed to pass its health-care measure (and, I might add, gave reporters the legislative equivalent of motion sickness)? Ever since then, senators have been waiting in line for their own wild ride to start.

But now the cars can start chugging down the tracks, when the CBO releases its anxiously anticipated and final estimate of how much the House’s American Health Care Act would cost and how many people it would cover…

…the Senate needs a CBO score for very practical reasons. Anything it wants to do regarding replacing the ACA hangs on this score. That’s because if Senate Republicans want to pass a health-care bill without any help from Democrats, they must use the budget bill currently housing the House health-care measure. Using the budget measure allows them to pass it with just a simple majority instead of the typical 60-vote threshold.

Here in Colorado, the health care spotlight now turns to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who is among the Senate leaders tapped to come up with some sort of health care legislation of its own.

 

“Waffler Brauchler?” Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler is running for governor, and he’s already flip-flopping in a manner that would make “Both Ways” Bob Beauprez beam with pride. Within the span of 24 hours, Brauchler told the Colorado Independent that he both supported and opposed efforts by the Colorado legislature to re-classify the Hospital Provider Fee.

 

► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is pushing legislation that seeks to end the “revolving door” of politicians becoming lobbyists on Capitol Hill. From the Colorado Statesman:

“This bill puts power back into the hands of the Coloradans I came here to represent,” Bennet said. “By banning members of Congress from lobbying when they leave Capitol Hill, we can begin to restore confidence in our national politics.”

Along with a lifetime ban, the legislation would increase congressional staff restrictions on lobbying from one year to six years, implement a 6-year ban on lobbyists from joining congressional or committee staff that they previously lobbied and create a more accessible website for public reporting of lobbying efforts.

Results of a new poll, meanwhile, show that Americans are not enthusiastic about President Trump’s prospects for “draining the swamp” in Washington D.C.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

“Waffler Brauchler” Can’t Take The Heat

George Brauchler.

The Colorado Independent reports on the fallout from the passage this year of Senate Bill 17-267, the hard-fought compromise to save rural hospitals and give the state budget a small bit of breathing room through the reclassification of the state’s Hospital Provider Fee program to exempt it from revenue limits imposed by the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR). Though the deal is done, among Republicans the finger-pointing continues:

In the days after the end of the latest legislative session, a narrative that emerged was one of bipartisanship and compromise.

But “compromise” can sometimes be a dirty word, especially when it comes to party primaries, plenty of which could take place in 2018. Some potential challenges follow a high-stakes deal lawmakers passed to reclassify the state’s hospital provider fee so it is exempt from the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, commonly known as TABOR…

Now, with the session over, election season soon begins. And one looming question will be whether TABOR hardliners will try to make those Republicans who voted for the plan pay for what they did.

The Colorado Union of Taxpayers, for one, has thrown down the gauntlet.

“As Rush Limbaugh said after Obamacare repeal passed, ‘there’s no reason to vote for Republicans,’ and that applies to the Colorado Republican Party as well,” CUT’s president, Greg Golyansky told The Colorado Independent.

We noted last week the Independence Institute’s Jon Caldara’s bitter denunciation of Republicans who supported the Hospital Provider Fee fix, calling out GOP leadership by name and claiming the deal is the “largest ‘grand betrayal’ from Republicans I have ever witnessed in my more than 25 years in Colorado politics.” Much like the aftermath of 2005’s bipartisan Referendum C campaign to give the state a “time out” from TABOR limits, Caldara finds himself not just on the losing side, but at odds with elected GOP leadership in Colorado.

With that said, Caldara’s rage does appear to have tripped up at least one Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate, in a way eerily similar to how Referendum C caused terminal problems for GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez in 2005-06:

One of the Republican candidates who said he would sign the law was Arapahoe County-area District Attorney George Brauchler. He would do it, he said that day, but grudgingly.

“I think the alternative is too devastating for the rural community and I think we’re sort of in a place now where we’ve got to take this the way it’s at,” he said. “My regret is that because of a lack of leadership and political pressure from an office that could have exerted both we’re at a place where we’re going to have to accept not the best outcome here. But I think we have to do it for rural Colorado and for that I support it.”

Post-Caldara freakout, George Brauchler has pulled a full-on “Both Ways Bob.”

UPDATE: Since this story was posted, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler, who is running for governor as a Republican, said after thinking about it more he would not have signed the law. He said he believes it is unconstitutional. He said he would find the money to save rural hospitals elsewhere in the budget. He said he was a reluctant supporter at best on the day the compromise passed. “Certainly I’ve changed my position on signing it, but the distance between those positions isn’t that dramatic,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

Wait a minute–the “distance” between taking action to prevent something “devastating for the rural community” and not taking that action…”isn’t that dramatic?” For the communities that could have seen their hospitals close, it would be pretty damned dramatic. Given what other Republicans have said about the urgency of the problem, like Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, Brauchler’s dismissal of his own flip-flop on the Hospital Provider Fee fix is nonsensical in the extreme.

And he’s given his primary opponents the perfect wedge — one that GOP primary voters have smelled before.

Television, Radio Ads Push Gardner to Dump Trumpcare

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is positioned to take a key role as Senate Republicans attempt to craft something plausible out of the steaming pile of crap health care legislation that the House narrowly passed earlier this month. As we noted on Monday, Gardner is saying lots of words about his perspective on Trumpcare (the “American Health Care Act,” or “AHCA”) though most of those words are little more than inane partisan talking points.

While Gardner may be avoiding talking specifics on health care, one local advocacy group is not wasting any time on the issue. The organization “Healthier Colorado” is spending $125,000 on two weeks worth of television and radio ads in an effort to convince Gardner to stay far away from the AHCA. The ads feature Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger delivering a message highlighting the negative effect Trumpcare could have on rural Colorado.

 

According to a press release:

“People across Colorado stand to lose under Trump’s health care plan, but rural communities would be hit the hardest,” said Monger. “I know that Sen. Gardner has stood up for rural Colorado on other issues, so we need to make sure he knows what’s at stake on this one.”

With the Medicaid expansion enacted under the Affordable Care Act, 87,000 rural Coloradans have gained health coverage, according to a report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. The Trump-endorsed American Health Care Act would end this coverage. The proposed Medicaid cuts in the bill would also put the bottom lines of rural hospitals in peril and slash access to addiction treatment at a time when opioid addiction is at crisis level in rural communities. Overall, the cuts would shift $14 billion in costs to the State of Colorado by 2030.

The “Healthier Colorado” ads are well-timed; the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is expected to release a new score on the impact of the AHCA on Wednesday.

Trump thanked for “giving up billionaire lifestyle” to “save the American people”

(With a straight face – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Donald Trump.

The Chaffee County Republicans posted a meme on their Facebook page this week featuring a photo of President Donald with the text, “TRUMP, the man that gave up his billionaire lifestyle to be humiliated and ridiculed and slandered in order to save the American people.”

“It’s good to see Donald Trump tearing down the established Old Guard Republican Party and calling out the Socialists that have hijacked the Democratic Party,” wrote the Chaffee Republicans in a comment above the meme.

Trump has been criticized for numerous actions, such as his request of former FBI director James Comey, whom Trump fired, to drop the FBI investigation of Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, who later resigned.

But Trump’s highest profile critics haven’t been accused of slander.

A message left for the Chaffee GOP was not responded to.

The accusation of slander may be connected by the belief by some, like U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, that Trump has been the object of unfair media coverage. Buck stated recently that journalists are “inventing this Russia story.” However, there’s no evidence that Buck has asked journalists to correct their reporting on Russia. And technically, a newspaper would be subject to libel.

However, Trump has endured endless ridicule on late-night TV and elsewhere, with many, including Trump himself, suggesting that NBC’s Stephen Colbert is enjoying a ratings surge due to his skewering of Trump.

The strong support of Trump is a theme on the Chaffee GOP Facebook page. Another post reads:

The hysteria on the hard left should energizes us to stay involved and increase our efforts to take back America from the socialistic influence of the last 8 years!

Socialism is birthed in hatred and greed!

The United States of America is the strongest nation on earth, because it has had a united people, until recently! But we are getting dangerously close to Socialism, because a godless ideology has gained a stronghold in our educational system, the media and Hollywood, those tools are being used to persuade people that America is not great and to promote mistrust and hatred between races, between classes of people and a hatred toward the rule of law!

The goal is to divide America so that it will fail and then the one world crowd, the ruling elite can have full power over the masses! That is not good for our children and grandchildren, in fact it is the worst form of slavery!

George Brauchler Gets Schooled on SEO

For ordinary voters looking for more information about a candidate for office they hear about through word of mouth or see on the news, more often than not the first stop is Google. That’s one of the reasons why smart campaigns pay to make sure their content comes up at the top of search engines, as well as design their sites to be search-engine optimized (SEO). There is a whole industry of companies who specialize in this fine art.

Unfortunately, if you Google GOP gubernatorial candidate George Brauchler’s name, his campaign website is nowhere to be found:

There are a couple of news stories about Brauchler running, and of course Brauchler’s infamous Twitter account–but not Brauchler’s own website. That’s a sure sign that nobody on his team has made it a priority. And trying some other search term combinations, it might not just be his campaign’s incompetence:

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Michael Dougherty Makes Three for A.G.

Michael Dougherty

As Joey Bunch writes for the Colorado Springs Gazette, Democrats now have three candidates for Attorney General in 2018:

“As attorney general, I will do what I have done for my entire career, fight for what is right,” Dougherty said in a statement. “Our attorney general should share the same values of everyday Coloradans, such as protecting our water, environment and public safety.

“The attorney General has to be above politics and do the right thing for all the people of Colorado. Consumer protection, public safety, and transparency of government are non-partisan issues and I plan to work with people from all across Colorado to make real progress.”

Before joining the DA’s office in Golden, Dougherty ran the criminal justice Section of the Attorney General’s Office, supervising special prosecutions, environmental crimes, financial fraud and the Peace Officer Standards and Training Unit, according to his website.

He also represented the office in hearings and meetings with the legislature. Before taking over the Criminal Justice Section, Before that, he supervised the the Colorado DNA Justice Review Project for the AG’s office.

State Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton) and University of Colorado Law Professor Phil Weiser have previously announced their intentions to seek the Democratic nomination for Attorney General in 2018. Incumbent Republican Cynthia Coffman continues to threaten to run for Governor, but she is more likely to run for a second term instead.