Yes, Scott Tipton Voted Against Public Lands


A new ad today from the congressional campaign of Democrat Gail Schwartz, running for incumbent GOP Rep. Scott Tipton’s CD-3 seat covering the Western Slope and parts of southeast Colorado including Pueblo, hits Tipton for his support for “selling off public lands.” The Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports that Tipton’s campaign is most displeased:

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., is taking issue with his Democratic rival’s newest television ad.

In it, former state Sen. Gail Schwartz says Tipton wants to sell off public lands and make them available to private individuals and corporations.

That’s not even close to being true, Tipton said.

“I’ve been a longtime advocate of keeping our federal public lands and ensuring that the American people have continued access to them,” Tipton said. [Pols emphasis]

“Never once have I advocated to sell them off.”

In the ad, called “Public Lands,” Schwartz said Tipton “wants to cut off access to public lands for generations to come, killing thousands of jobs,” adding that the land should remain open for ranching, hunting and fishing.

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

We’re a little confused about this report on Schwartz’s new ad–according to Ashby, Schwartz offered as justification for the claim legislation that doesn’t quite go the distance in terms of demonstrating Tipton’s willingness to sell off public lands. Because Ashby’s story doesn’t quote a bill number, it’s not so easy to figure out what he’s referring to.

But it really doesn’t matter–because in about five minutes of Googling, we found a recent vote from Tipton that proves Schwartz is right. On July 14th of this year, fellow Colorado Rep. Jared Polis offered this amendment to H.R. 5538, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2017:

Mr. POLIS. Mr. Chairman, I offer this amendment, along with my colleague, the gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Grijalva), the ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee.

The amendment is very simple. It offers a choice for those in Congress to make. It is a choice for Members to vote on whether we want to keep our public lands public or not. [Pols emphasis]

Very simply, my amendment says that none of the funds available through this bill can be used in violation of the law with regard to keeping our public lands public. This amendment would not undo anything or undermine any current congressional or administrative land exchanges that are done legally.

The amendment would, however, prohibit the use of funds in this bill to pursue any extra-legal ways to turn Federal land over to private owners through various things like a commission, or others that have been espoused…

I would point out that there are Members in this body–in fact, the chair of the authorizing committee in this general area–who speak regularly about privatizing our public lands, so there is a real threat. This is not simply something that comes out of nowhere. I think the peace of mind that we would get by including this kind of language in an appropriations bill would make it very clear that Congress supports the opinion of the American people, supports the economy in districts like mine, and wants to keep our public lands public.

Despite Rep. Polis’ advocacy on the floor of the U.S. House in favor of this amendment, it was defeated by the GOP majority on a 239-188 vote. One of the “no” votes against Polis’ amendment was the very same Rep. Scott Tipton who now says with great offense that he “has always supporting keeping our federal lands.”

tiptonpubliclandsno

We doubt this is the only such vote from Rep. Tipton that could be reasonably considered “against public lands,” but it’s a very clear example, as well as quite recent. The fact is that, whatever Tipton’s personal views may be, selling off public lands for private exploitation is a very popular cause among many of Tipton’s fellow Western Republicans. If Tipton has ever chosen to stand up to his “Sagebrush Rebellion” colleagues, it’s nothing we’ve seen break the surface in public.

And just over a month before the election, it’s too late now.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 27)

Get More SmarterHappy National Voter Registration Day! It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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 first Presidential debate of the 2016 General Election is in the books. After 90 minutes of debating at Hofstra University in New York on Monday, Democrat Hillary Clinton was the clear winner over Republican Donald Trump. We live-blogged Monday’s debate, so click here to check out the blow-by-blow action.

If you’re looking for more reaction from last night’s debate, most pundits agreed that Clinton walloped Trump. As the Washington Post reports, Trump is already making excuses for a terrible performance:

The consensus that Donald Trump badly lost the first debate gelled overnight. Liberals predictably panned the GOP nominee’s performance on Long Island, but some of the harshest reviews are coming from conservative thought leaders who had been starting to come around.

Trump’s surrogates in the spin room were downbeat, and the candidate himself has already begun making excuses: “They gave me a defective mic,” he complained to reporters during a gaggle. “Did you notice that? My mic was defective within the room. I wonder, was that on purpose?” There was no clear problem with his microphone during the debate, Jose DelReal notes.

The only problem with Trump’s microphone on Monday was that it kept amplifying Trump’s actual words. For more on the debate, just use the Google; reaction is not difficult to find. You can also check out Politico’s five takeaways from Monday evening. The Associated Press also fact-checked some of the more notable comments from the debate.

Trump’s “stamina” attacks on Clinton fell flat on Monday in part because His Hairness was dealing with case of the sniffles.

 

► Aurora Democrat Morgan Carroll continues to hit hard at Republican incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman. Carroll’s latest TV ad ties Coffman to Trump with some very effective examples.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Morgan Carroll’s Latest Ad: Holy Crap

In an ad released today, Democratic congressional candidate Morgan Carroll takes aim once again at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump–with a new focus on how Trump’s rhetoric matches perfectly with Rep. Mike Coffman’s record:

Our humble website serves as the reference for one of the claims in this ad, that Coffman told bilingual voters to “pull out a dictionary”–which is correct and documented here.

Carroll’s ad last week attacking Trump for mocking a disabled reporter, and then tying Rep. Coffman to Trump, appears to have just been the beginning. This new ad takes a much deeper dive into Coffman’s record, establishing the commonality between Coffman and Trump in more tangible and harmful terms to Coffman than the last ad. It’s fair to say that in all the years of Coffman’s quest to hold on to a seat whose constituency completely changed out from under him with the last redistricting cycle, he has never been called out like this.

The other important dynamic to note here is how Trump has forced the “birther” issue back into the spotlight–doing so again during last night’s debate with his bizarre claiming of credit for “forcing” President Barack Obama to produce his birth certificate. For a politician like Coffman trying desperately to bury his related past misdeeds, every time Trump brings this issue back up is a new disaster. Especially with an opponent holding his feet to the fire (see above).

This is uncharted territory for Mike Coffman. And good reason to be afraid.

What Principles Allow Coffman to be Coffman?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo’s string of attacks against U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman raise questions again about what underlying principles motivate Coffman.

Tancredo now says he doesn’t know if Coffman, a Republican from Aurora, has “any real set of principles” at all.

But reporters haven’t really explored the question, about how Coffman can go from being, for example, opposed to all abortion, even for rape, to being okay with some abortions. Or from embracing Tancredo as a “hero” to apparently ignoring Tancredo’s criticism of him. Or from saying the Dream Act is a “nightmare” to allegedly supporting it.

It’s time for reporters to help us understand the set of principles that allow Coffman to act this way.

To illustrate the point, I offer this video.

Tuesday Open Thread

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

–Mark Twain

Debate Diary: Live-Blogging Clinton v. Trump

DebateDiaryThe big debate is here at last. Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump face off in the first General Election Presidential debate of 2016 at Hofstra University in Long Island, NY.

Tonight’s debate is scheduled to last 90 minutes (commercial-free), broken up into six segments moderated by Lester Holt of NBC News (Holt is a registered Republican, BTW; Trump falsely claimed last week that Holt is a Democrat).

We’ll be live-blogging what could be the most-watched television event in American history, so get your eyeballs ready for the Colorado Pols Debate Diary. For details on the format and rules tonight, check out this guide from the New York Times.

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.  

 

FINAL THOUGHTS
The spin room may not be terribly efficient tonight. Clinton absolutely destroyed Trump in this debate, sounding intelligent, prepared, and even-tempered. No reasonable person who watched this debate could possibly make a case otherwise.

Trump, on the other hand, was easily baited by Clinton into talking about issues that are not good for him. He offered very little substantial information in any of his answers and failed to suppress his temper, while also doubling-down on troublesome topics such as the birther issue and his tax returns. Clinton was masterful in using Trump’s own words against him and baiting Trump into diving down into weird political rabbit holes.

 

8:37 pm
Holt: “Will you accept the outcome of this race?”

Clinton says yes, that she respects Democracy and that “sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.”

Trump declines to say whether or not he will accept the will of the voters and instead goes on a rant about illegal immigration.

Finally, Trump says, “If she wins, I will absolutely support her.”

 

8:33 pm
Holt asks Trump about his quote that she doesn’t “have a Presidential look.”

Trump says that he was talking about her stamina. Holt cuts in and says that this is not what Trump said. Trump talks over Holt, but the damage has been done.

Clinton hits back by saying that Trump can talk about stamina when he has traveled to 112 countries, negotiated peace treaties and cease-fire agreements, and testified 11 hours in front of a Congressional committee.

Clinton says Trump tried to switch topics from criticizing Clinton’s appearance because he doesn’t want to talk about all of the terrible things he has said about women. Trump tries half-heartedly to deny these claims, but it’s obvious he doesn’t have a response.

Trump did just say that nobody would disagree with him about saying nasty things about comedian Rosie O’Donnell.

Trump then decries Clinton running negative ads against him. Says he doesn’t deserve it.

 

8:29 pm
Clinton: “Let me say that words matter. Words matter when you run for President, and let me reassure our allies” that we will continue to stand with them. Very strong from Clinton.

“Donald never tells you what he would do [on Iran]. Would he cause a war? Would he bomb Iran? It’s like his plan to defeat ISIS — he says it is a secret plan, but the only thing that is secret is that there is no plan.”

Trump is so completely overmatched here that it’s impossible to suggest that anybody watching this debate might seriously argue that Trump won this debate. It’s not even close.

 

8:27 pm
Holt: “Do you support the current U.S. policy on first-use for nuclear weapons?”

Trump responds with something about B-52 airplanes being too old. Trump says he would certainly not support a “first strike”…then he immediately says that he would not rule anything out. Trump is debating himself now.

 

8:26 pm
Trump again says that other countries should pay the United States for our military support. If he’s trying to make a point, Holt can’t figure it out and is trying to get Trump to move along.

 

8:24 pm
Clinton hammering Trump for saying repeatedly that he “doesn’t care” if other countries develop nuclear weapons.

Trump looks defeated and dejected right now. He is absolutely getting his ass handed to him by Clinton.

 

8:21 pm
Trump says that his temperament is his biggest strength, and that he has a better temperament than Clinton.

Clinton can’t help but smile. This is an absolute disaster for Trump; he wouldn’t have sounded more unbelievable if he had tried to make a case that his hair is completely natural.

 

8:20 pm
“I did not support the War in Iraq,” says Trump. “That is a mainstream media [lie].”

“The record shows otherwise,” says Holt.

This debate has gone so far off the rails for Trump that he should just cause a distraction and make a run for his limousine.

For some reason, Trump keeps talking about all of these numerous conversations he supposedly has had with Sean Hannity. No idea why this is relevant.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (September 26)

Get More SmarterApparently there is some sort of Presidential debate taking place tonight. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► Hillary Clinton v. Donald Trump is going down! If you don’t have cable TV, you’ll likely be watching the first Presidential debate because you won’t have much of a choice in the matter; the 90-minute, commercial-free battle will be carried live from Hofstra University in New York by every major television network in the country. First pitch argument is scheduled for 7:00 pm Mountain Time. Tonight’s debate is widely expected to be among the most-watched television events in American history, as CNBC explains:

With estimates of up to 106 million tuning into Monday night’s debate, the first faceoff between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump may be one of the most watched presidential debates. Thanks to live streaming, it’s also going to be the most widely available ever.

ABCCBSCNN, C-SPAN, FoxNBC and MSNBC will be broadcasting the debate on TV, while several others have announced plans to stream it online through various social media platforms. Facebook and ABC have announced a partnership, Twitter will run Bloomberg’s feed and YouTube said it will be showcasing feeds from Telemundo, PBS and The Washington Post.

Prior to tonight, the most-watched Presidential debate in history occurred in 1980, when 80.6 million people tuned in to watch Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican Ronald Reagan. The most-watched television event in American history was Super Bowl XLIX (49) in 2015, when 114 million viewers tuned in to see the game between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

Meanwhile, debate previews are as prevalent as online porn today. Here’s a short list: The New York Times, the Washington Post, “The Fix,” CBS News, NBC News, and PoliticoAs then-Presidential candidate George W. Bush once lamented, Trump seems to be entering tonight’s debate behind “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

We’ll also be live-blogging the festivities tonight here at Colorado Pols.

 

► No, it’s not just you: False statements and flat-out lies seem to be more common in Colorado politics than ever before. In CD-6, Democrat Morgan Carroll is being attacked for opposing legislation that she actually supported.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman is cashing in every last chit he owns in an attempt to stave off Carroll as we enter the final six weeks of the campaign. Carroll reportedly told Arapahoe County Democrats over the weekend that internal polling shows her with a 5-point lead over Coffman…a claim that Coffman’s campaign angrily denounced as a “lie.”

 

► Presidential campaigns use lots of different surrogates to spread their message at this point in the race, but we can’t envision a scenario whereby it would be beneficial to have former Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt stumping on your behalf less than a year after he was recalled by Jeffco voters. Remember, Witt did an absolutely terrible job while campaigning for himself last fall.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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“End of Life Options” Campaign Goes On The Air

A press release from the Yes on Colorado End-of-Life Options Campaign (Proposition 106) announces their first TV spot:

The Yes on Colorado End-of-Life Options campaign today will start airing its first television ad to help educate Colorado voters about Proposition 106. The measure will allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults who are Colorado residents access to medication that would allow them to shorten the dying process if suffering becomes unbearable.

Introducing the ad, Dan Diaz said, “As you may know, Brittany and I went to the extraordinary lengths of leaving our home in California and moved to Oregon in order for Brittany to have the option of a gentle passing afforded by medical aid in dying. We were fortunate to have the resources to relocate in order to ensure Brittany could make that personal decision. But many do not have the ability, financially or personally, to move to another state – nor should they have to do so. Coloradans deserve better.”

“We are so grateful to Dan Diaz and his willingness to share Brittany’s story with Colorado voters,” said Julie Selsberg, co-petitioner of the measure. “In Colorado we know that personal, intimate health care decisions are ours and ours alone – and that government should not dictate our choices or force us to leave our homes to go to a state where medical aid in dying is an option.”

Selsberg was at her father’s side as he slowly died from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and helped him write an open letter to Colorado lawmakers asking them to authorize medical aid in dying.

Colorado would become the 6th state to authorize medical aid in dying. Research shows that an overwhelming majority of Coloradans believes there should be aid in dying for those who want it. The Colorado Medical Society recently dropped its opposition to the law.

At this point, Proposition 106 appears to have the strongest support of any of the statewide ballot measures up for a vote this year–polling at 70% in a recent Colorado Mesa University survey. What we’ve heard about the campaign for this measure in other states is that the religious opponents of medical aid in dying–think the Catholic Church and others we usually hear from in the abortion debate–tend to “ambush” the debate very late in the election season with emotionally-charged and even openly religious counterarguments.

Whether that works in an avowedly secular place like Colorado as opposed to, say, heavily Catholic Massachusetts, where a similar measure narrowly failed in 2012, is a question to be answered by our voters in November. But for today, proponents have the advantage, and this ad will help them.

How To Lie In Political Mailers, Colorado GOP Edition

Two mailers from the Colorado Republican Party to voters in Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District attacking Democratic candidate Morgan Carroll were forwarded to us over the weekend, and a closer look at the claims and backup cited in these pieces could honestly set a new standard for deception–as we’ll explain:

carrollmailers1

The claim in the mailer is that as a state representative, Carroll voted against a bill to “protect doctors and nurses from junk lawsuits.” Unfortunately, if recipients are looking for more information, there’s no reference to a bill number, or even the year this vote supposedly occurred. The only reference on this mail piece at all is:

carrollmailers2

A mile-long URL link to a page on the Colorado General Assembly’s website. Now obviously, recipients can’t click on this mail piece to visit that page, and laboriously entering this giant URL is something we’re pretty sure very few recipients would ever bother to do. But we did–and sure enough, the URL takes you to the summary report for a February 7, 2006 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee.

From there we learn that the bill in question is House Bill 06-1076, and was indeed  concerned with “immunity from civil liability under the Volunteer Service Act.” In this summary, you can see that the bill passed the House Judiciary Committee on a 7-4 vote with Carroll voting “no.”

But that’s not the whole story. Between that committee hearing and final passage of HB06-1076 in the House on February 20, 2006, it was further debated and amended to address concerns of the “no” votes. And if you have the knowledge of the legislative process and Colorado’s famously crappy legislative website to find that “third reading” final passage vote in the House…

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Citizen Legislator

Citizen Legislator

I borrowed the title of this post from the book of the same name written by David Schmidt. While I have not read the book I feel compelled to present this position for your consideration. For me this is a RIGHT of the Citizens to petition the government to enact laws that reflect those governed.

Amendment 71 seeks to reduce the power and capability of the citizens to impact the way government impacts their life. It would require qualified petition signatures of 2% of registered voters from the 35 Senate Districts to achieve ballot status. Additionally it would require a super majority of 55% for passage.

Doesn’t sound unreasonable and that’s what the supporters are counting on! The reality is completely different. If one Senate District fails to get the required signatures it fails. Colorado has more than a few sparsely populated regions where this is a possibility, and the supporters know it. We call this the tyranny of the minority. It’s in the news every day. One complaint and the school district is face to drop a harmless program. One complaint a city punishes the majority. You can fill in your own example and you know it is true and works.

This amendment is neither conservative or liberty advancing. Advertising has been created to portray that some terrible wrong has been committed when it has not.

Supporters rightly point out we are a Representative Republic, where elected officials represent the governed. That’s fine until those elected officials represent “special interest” groups or their own ambitions over the Citizens they represent.

At every caucus that I attended there is a resolution to support National term limits. It will never happen because the Congressman and Senators will have nothing to do with it. But we are fortunate that in Colorado we have term limits on State offices. Here’s a question, did those State elected officials voluntarily offer to limit their terms? NO! It was a Constitutional Amendment offered by Citizen Legislators that did that.

Tax Payer Bill of Rights (TABOR) was a Constitutional Amendment offered by Citizen Legislators. It would have never passed in the State House when left up to politicians. Colorado is unique in its Constitutional process. We must preserve this option.

Comments from a previous post focus on an idea that the Front Range provides all the petition signatures, leaving the rest of the State unrepresented. It takes approximately 98,000 signatures to get an amendment to the ballot stage. There is nothing prohibiting the Western Slope or any other area of the state from advancing their own ideas and getting the required signatures. There is not a single area of the State that has a monopoly on ideas! Population density is an advantage, but if you are mad about that and want to show those “front range” people a thing or two then you are playing into hopes of the “special interest” and politicians who want to protect their influence.

Other comments lament the ridiculous nature of the amendment objective. Who will be the arbitrator the objective? The VOTERS. You can expect amendments from the “Right” and the “Left” but the VOTERS will ultimately decide the question. If this is your objection, then you have been sold on the deceptive advertising created by the supporters.

So who are these supporters? When you look at the web site you’ll see, Chambers of Commerce and esteemed elected officials. Officials who in a current capacity would never pass term limits or TABOR. Officials who cherish their influence and power. I’m not a current Chamber member but I know there many members who are outstanding individuals. But as a group they are subject to “group think”. Few would dare to offer opposing opinions for fear of being targeted or ostracized by their peers. Thankfully I am free of that concern.

There are many who will succumb to the pious advertising campaign from the YES crowd, which is unfortunate. When the cause of Liberty is diminished we are all diminished! The current process is just fine. Vote NO on Amendment 71.

Normally I try to keep my post short, forgive for the length. Share this with your friends.

Stickman
“Sandpaper on the conscience of politicians and group thinkers.”

Jeffco’s Ken Witt Stumps For Donald Trump: Yes, Really

jeffco-recalled-boe_1446610908934_26204529_ver1-0_640_480We took note a few weeks ago of the gobsmacking announcement by Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that Ken Witt, the recalled ex-president of the Jefferson County Board of Education, has been selected as an “education co-chair.” Less than a year ago, as everyone with any knowledge of Colorado politics is well aware, Witt and his two fellow conservative activists comprising a majority were thrown off the Jeffco school board by an overwhelming majority of voters. The Jeffco school board recall was a national story over the course of months in mid-to-late 2015, and the crushing defeat for these three conservative “reformers” has been interpreted as a major setback for the larger right-wing “Separation of School and State” education agenda.

Politically, Trump taking on the baggage of this recall by elevating Witt goes beyond whether or not it makes political sense, which is of course does not. It invites very basic questions about the wisdom of the Trump campaign–at least in Colorado. Jefferson County is considered a bellwether for the state as a whole, with a large politically diverse suburban middle-class population that often proves decisive in statewide elections. In is not an exaggeration to state that the Trump campaign has chosen one of the most demonstrably unpopular political figures in recent Colorado political history, certainly in Jeffco history, to front for them with the voters.

Donald Trump (R-IDGAF).

Donald Trump (R-IDGAF).

Witt is the Trump campaign’s official surrogate in a guest op-ed in the Denver Post today:

I was encouraged to hear Donald Trump unveil his school choice policy earlier this month, because school choice made made such a difference for my family. Trump committed to provide $20 billion in existing federal spending to states in the form of block grants, so more at-risk families can find the best educational fit for each student, allowing every child to realize their full academic potential…

I am hopeful to once again have a president in office who understands that one size does not fit all, and that our students best succeed when they can each find their own best academic setting in which to thrive.

Witt’s forgettable anecdotes about school choice helping his family, an issue which hasn’t really come up on either side as a campaign issue, won’t distract Jeffco voters from the fact that Ken Witt is the author of the pro-Trump op-ed in today’s Denver Post head-to-head. The pro-Hillary Clinton side was represented by former Colorado Governor and Los Angeles Public Schools superintendent Roy Romer, whose relative credentials to speak about education policy…for pity’s sake, do we even need to say it? This “matchup” is an insult to Gov. Romer, and your intelligence too. And politically, it’s so incredibly foolish it leaves us at a loss for words.

In a perfect world, Witt re-emerging from his disastrous recall as Trump’s education spokesman would be nationally lampooned–at least earning the attention that last year’s recall of Witt and the right-wing school board majority itself did. At the very least, it’s an incredible mistake to make in Colorado’s most-watched suburban battleground, and it will cost the Trump campaign dearly with voters in Jefferson County.

And to whoever thought this was a good idea…seriously, get your head examined.

Everybody’s Trying So Hard To Save Mike Coffman

coffmanpushupThe recent story of national conservative “astroturf” organizing behemoth Americans For Prosperity’s single-minded fixation with Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District, where the organization’s president Tim Phillips was personally knocking on doors last week with literature attacking incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman’s Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll, has made political outsiders more aware of something we’ve known for months: this is one of the most important congressional races in the entire nation, and the threat Coffman faces is a bellwether for the GOP’s ability to function in a post-Donald Trump political landscape.

This year in Colorado, Americans for Prosperity is targeting Democrat Morgan Carroll, who is challenging Republican incumbent Mike Coffman in the 6th Congressional District. The organization is not making a play in the presidential race to help Donald Trump, nor Colorado’s U.S. Senate race to boost Republican Darryl Glenn, who AFP strategists don’t consider competitive.

The Carroll-Coffman contest is the only U.S. House race in the nation this year to draw attention from the organization backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch…

George Will, y'all.

George Will, y’all.

AFP may be singularly focused on Coffman’s race in Colorado due to the lack of any decent prospects higher up the ticket, but they’re not the only big guns on the right side of the aisle jumping into the fight to save him. In the Washington Post this weekend, iconic conservative columnist George Will himself devoted an entire column to talking up Coffman’s “reinvention” into…well, something most conservatives oppose:

After he was reelected with 66 percent of the vote in 2010, his district was gerrymandered to make it more Democratic — 20 percent Hispanic, with a generous salting of other minorities. He won in 2012 with just 48 percent of the vote. In 2014, national Democrats recruited a formidable opponent, a Yale University graduate who had taught, in Spanish, in Central American schools. So, Coffman learned Spanish well enough to do an entire debate in the language, and today banters in Spanish with the children at Roca Fuerte Academy…

Will goes on to describe how Coffman, who once called the DREAM Act a “nightmare” and told bilingual voters to “pull out a dictionary,” has switched positions on immigration and sponsored various stillborn efforts to pass at least part of the DREAM Act in recent years.

As we’ve discussed in this space many times, the question of Coffman’s “reinvention” since 2011 comes down to whether you find it believable, or merely shrewd politics. After all, Coffman’s Republicans majority leadership in the House has consistently ensured that none of these newer reforms Coffman has proposed go anywhere–and Coffman’s would-be change of heart of immigration has never motivated him to go after John Boehner or now Paul Ryan for killing them.

Setting that question aside though, we think the best explanation for so much attention being focused on Coffman’s race is that Republicans nationally are genuinely afraid of the consequences of losing, viewing CD-6 and Coffman’s political reinvention as a model for their whole party’s increasingly likely retreat from the wreckage Trump leaves behind after his own defeat in November. You don’t see this kind of fixation on a race they’re comfortable about. But if New Coffman® can triangulate his way through this election with the damage Trump is doing to the Republican brand, he blazes a trail for how other Republicans can do the same thing–now and in the difficult years that lie ahead.

That or Coffman goes down, and Republicans learn that not even abandoning their principles can save them.