Get More Smarter on Tuesday (February 21)

You have only one shopping day left until George Washington’s birthday. Now, let’s see if we can’t 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…

► Congress is taking a break for its annual President’s Day Recess, but that doesn’t necessarily mean elected officials such as Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) are likely to make themselves available to constituents. As the Fort Collins Coloradoan reports, local residents are so incensed with Gardner’s inaccessibility that they are planning their own town hall meeting as protest. The Denver Post has more on Friday’s town hall meeting (sans Gardner):

Organizers invited U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who declined, but Farnan said it’s important to hold it anyway so that residents can share their ideas and demonstrate that town halls still matter.

“You should be standing in front of your constituents and hear what they have to say as long as it’s civil and respectful,” Farnan said.

Aides to Gardner said the Republican senator has meetings this week with the Colorado Space Coalition, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Colorado Health Care Association — to name a few — but no public forums. [Pols emphasis]

But they defended his outreach efforts and noted his past use of telephone town halls, a tool that has become an increasingly popular substitute on Capitol Hill.

You may not have any real access to your own U.S. Senator, but if you’re lucky, you might get invited to listen to him talk on the telephone! That’s pretty much the same, right?

Unfortunately for Sen. Gardner, this routine is wearing thin across the state. In the meantime, Colorado residents show no sign of letting up on demonstrations and protests.

 

► Before leaving Washington D.C. last week, House Republicans released a vague outline of a proposal about what to do with Obamacare if they end up repealing the health care law. On Monday, former South Carolina governor and current Rep. Mark Sanford admitted in a television interview that he could not guarantee that the Republican health care plan would allow all Americans to keep their current health insurance coverage.

As The Hill explains, Republicans may have a hard time convincing constituents that this vague new plan is even half-baked.

 

► We all know that campaign finance loopholes are big enough to accommodate whatever metaphor you prefer, but some paid campaigns are so brazenly sketchy that it’s hard to believe they could exist. For example, this barrage of advertisements promoting Walker Stapleton’s campaign for Governor apparent interest in term limits. The intent is so obvious that even Republican-aligned groups like Compass Colorado can’t help but applaud the name recognition boost for Stapleton.

 

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CPAC Conference? Call It The Beau-PAC Conference!

Bob Beauprez (right).

With the upcoming 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington making headlines after disinviting their keynote speaker Milo Yiannopoulos, those of us with Google alerts tracking two-time Colorado gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez are getting fresh updates. As Politico reported yesterday on the controversy:

Milo Yiannopoulos lost his keynote speaking slot at the Conservative Political Action Conference after tapes surfaced of the right wing provocateur and senior Breitbart editor advocating for sexual relationships between “younger boys and older men.”

“Due to the revelation of an offensive video in the past 24 hours condoning pedophilia, the American Conservative Union has decided to rescind the invitation,” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the group which sponsors CPAC, in a statement Monday afternoon. The group called Yiannopoulos to “further address these disturbing comments,” but defended its original decision to invite him as a nod to “the free speech issue on college campuses.”

…President Donald Trump, along with Vice President Mike Pence, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, will be headlining this year’s event, along with top White House aides Steve Bannon and Reince Priebus. But the Milo controversy quickly threatened to taint the event and raised questions about what it would mean if other speakers still attended.

CPAC organizers had a conference call at 1 p.m. on Monday to discuss the controversy and how to address it, according to a GOP source familiar with the matter. The decision to disinvite Yiannopoulos was unanimous and did not even need to be deliberated, the person said. Among those on the call were ACU board members Amy Frederick, Bob Beauprez, Mike Rose, Matt Smith, Matt Schlapp and Becky Norton Dunlop, along with Vice Chair of the ACU Foundation Millie Hallow. [Pols emphasis]

To have been a fly on the wall for that conference call! There hasn’t been much coverage of the Yiannopoulos meltdown in local press, which is odd since he just toured through Colorado on a college speaking tour that generated plenty of earned media. But it seems to us that somebody should pick up the phone and ask American Conservative Union board member Beauprez what led to their unanimous decision to ban this guy.

And if you happen to be headed to CPAC this weekend, you can catch Beauprez as the moderator of this truly fascinating panel discussion on Saturday morning:

We can’t explain the ID of Beauprez as the representative of Colorado’s 10th congressional district, since Colorado only has seven congressional districts. Perhaps it’s an acknowledgement of how long Beauprez has been out of office? We digress. Anyway, we are of course very interested in hearing what Beauprez and Rep. Ken Buck have to say about border security.

In…Heaven. Aren’t you at least a bit curious?

Get More Smarter on Friday (February 17)

Have a nice President’s Day Weekend; try the meatloaf. Now, let’s see if we can’t 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…

► As the Associated Press reported this morning, President Trump is considering mobilizing the National Guard — as many as 100,000 troops — to undertake mass deportation efforts across the country. Colorado is one of the states listed in the draft memo obtained by the AP.

Again: The President of the United States of America is considering deploying the military to conduct mass roundups and deportations across the country. This is all kinds of wrong.

 

A “shit sandwich.” That’s how Vice Admiral Robert Harward viewed an offer from President Trump to become the next National Security Adviser — an offer Harward publicly declined — which leaves the Trump administration scrambling to find another candidate for one of the most important jobs in the White House. The resignation of former NSA Michael Flynn highlights a massive credibility problem among national security experts, as the Washington Post explains:

Multiple former national security experts conjectured that the hang-up specifically was Trump’s deputy national security adviser, KT McFarland, a TV commentator who has not served in government since the Reagan era. Few foreign policy professionals consider her qualified for the job. [Pols emphasis]

…Harward certainly knows the struggles that Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson have had hiring their own staff — neither has an announced deputy; Harward was not about to subject himself to the same micromanaging from the White House. Former State Department official and vocal Trump critic Eliot Cohen says, “It makes it very difficult for any serious person to take the job under less reasonable conditions than Harward seems to have demanded, i.e., control of staffing.” He explains, “No sane person would take this extremely important and difficult job without (a) control of staffing, and (b) eliminating or neutering Bannon’s shadow NSC staff.” …

…Harward’s decision reflects how far the president and this administration have fallen in the eyes of esteemed national security experts, including current and former officials. The White House is without an experienced chief of staff or normal internal decision-making procedures. [Pols emphasis]

 

► Congress is preparing for its annual President’s Day recess, which will keep lawmakers out of the nation’s capitol until February 27. Before he skipped out of town, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) released a video in which he declares that he will not support a repeal of Obamacare without a concurrent replacement plan. The New York Times on Thursday reported on a potential new GOP healthcare plan that would redirect money from the lower- and middle-class to the benefit of the wealthy in America.

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (February 16)

It would certainly be hard for things to Get More Dumber at this point, so let’s see if we can’t 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…

► So…that didn’t go well. President Trump held his first solo press conference as a resident of the White House, and it’s almost like he’s daring someone to declare that he is unfit for office. Put it this way: If you had to place a bet on whether or not Trump would make it through his first term in office, would you really put big money on “YES”?

Did you vote for Donald Trump for President?” could be the most important question for Colorado political candidates in 2018. That’s one big orange albatross we’re talking about.

 

► President Trump has a new nominee for Labor Secretary. Andrew Puzder withdrew his name from consideration Wednesday, on account of the fact that he had no chance of winning confirmation from the Senate. The new nominee is Alexander Acosta, dean of the Florida International University School of Law and a former member of the National Labor Relations Board.

The Washington Post takes a look at how Puzder’s nomination went so completely off the rails, while Politico previews trouble ahead for the new nominee.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) thinks that we should investigate the FBI after the resignation of National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. From CBS Denver:

Rep. Mike Coffman agrees with Republicanson the House Ethics Committee who don’t think President Donald Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn needs to be investigated for ethics violations following his ouster over interactions with Russian officials…

…Controversy still lingers over the White House’s handling of the brief tenure of Flynn, who continued to advise the president weeks after the Department of Justice warned the administration of Flynn’s conduct on the phone with Russia’s ambassador.

“I want to see that transcript to see if there are other conversations that he had is worthwhile finding out, but I also think it’s important to move on,” Coffman said. [Pols emphasis]

Move along!

 

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Gov. Hickenlooper Condemns Trump Muslim Ban

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Here’s a statement today from Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, denouncing President Donald Trump’s executive order banning travel from several Muslim-majority nations in the strongest possible terms:

“The vast majority of refugees admitted to the United States are families, mainly comprised of women and children, and all refugees are admitted only after they make it through the world’s toughest vetting program. Many of the refugees helped US forces, often in violent and chaotic circumstances, risking their lives in the process.

We can and should continue to work with the federal government and Homeland Security to ensure that the verification system used to screen refugees is as stringent as possible. But we can do that while we honor our values as Americans. Religious tests and blanket bans diminish those values and injure our international reputation. The executive order serves as a powerful recruiting tool for our enemies and needlessly antagonizes our allies around the world. We believe that Americans will be less safe, at home and abroad, if the executive order is fully implemented. [Pols emphasis] We urge the President to rescind the executive order.”

Here’s some additional information we were forwarded that gives some scope of both the number affected in or in transit to Colorado, as well as the number of refugees who have already been resettled here in recent months:

Since October 1, 2016, Colorado has resettled 736 refugees, of whom 88 were Syrian. With the executive order in effect, estimated arrivals to Colorado for the fiscal year will total 1,042, or half the number expected before the order was signed.

Of those who had been set to come to Colorado between now and the end of the fiscal year, 83 would have been Syrians. Until the executive order, Colorado had expected 2,195 refugees in FY17. With the order, that decreases to an estimated 1,042. Colorado had expected 55 refugees in the next few days, including families from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.

As you can see, Colorado welcomes refugees. Colorado has historically welcomed them, welcomes them today, and would continue to do so if Trump were to rescind his executive order. All we can hope is that Hickenlooper’s statement is heard over the din–and America’s enemies and allies alike understand that what’s happening is not Colorado’s choice.

Cynthia Coffman Laying Groundwork for Gubernatorial Bid

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman wore this red thing to the Jan. 20th “Deplorables Ball.”

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is up for re-election in 2018, but she is apparently taking a hard look at running for Governor instead. We hear that Coffman has been meeting with consultants about a potential run for the state’s top job, where she would join a Republican field already likely to include State Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler.

After she was first elected in 2014, Coffman was briefly considered something of a rising star in the Colorado Republican Party. That spotlight dimmed considerably, however, when she inexplicably emerged at the center of a weird blackmail scandal aimed at trying to unseat State GOP Chairman Steve House not long after House was elected to oversee the State Republican Party (Coffman had endorsed House for the role just a few months earlier). The Coffmangate Scandal has never really been resolved, though Coffman is on the record with the media trying to explain why her actions did not constitute blackmail.

When House announced early last week that he would not seek re-election as State GOP Chair, it cleared up a significant hurdle that would have made a gubernatorial run much more awkward for everyone involved. From what we hear, Coffman is not particularly happy with her job as Attorney General and wouldn’t need much convincing to abandon a run for re-election.

We’re still skeptical that Coffman would be able to put together a strong team around her in a potential Gubernatorial bid (would you want to work for someone with such a penchant for tossing people under the bus?), but her recent rhetoric does seem to indicate that she could be testing the waters for a big jump in 2018. Coffman looks to be trying to channel the support of Donald Trump backers as she positions herself for a potential primary battle. As Ernest Luning wrote for the Colorado Statesman on Jan. 23:

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman told the crowd that she had noticed something different starting on the night of Nov. 8, when Trump defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to win the presidency.

“I realized I was taking deep breaths, in and out, for the first time in two years,” she said. “For me, in my two years as attorney general, I think I have been holding my breath, waiting for the next over-reach from Washington, D.C., the next horrible Supreme Court decision that does not understand or appreciate the 10th Amendment, and suddenly I could take a deep breath and not worry nearly so much about the state of our country or our beautiful Colorado.”

Cynthia Coffman was not exactly a vocal Trump supporter before the election, but she seemed to sense the rising tide on Election Night at a victory celebration for her husband, Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) when she put a fist in the air and yelled, “Go Trump!” (jump ahead to :30 in the video below).

Cynthia Coffman may be trying to be the “Trump candidate” for Governor in 2018. That might not be such a great idea 18 months from now.

Get More Smarter on Friday (January 13)

Superstitions like “Friday the 13th” seem like they belong in a simpler time — when reality wasn’t so scary. 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…

►As the Obamacare repeal-and-we-swear-we-have-a-plan-for-replacement debate rages on in Congress, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is finally getting a bit more attention from local media outlets. Gardner is fully onboard with plans to repeal Obamacare – replacement be damned — and is doing his best to pretend that his constituents in Colorado actually want this mess…nevermind the fact that constituents are not able to get through to Gardner’s office at all. As the Associated Press reports today, Senate Republicans still seem to be no closer to even having a plan for replacement.

Polling results are continually showing that repealing Obamacare without a replacement in place is HUGELY UNPOPULAR with Americans. From The Hill:

Only 18 percent of voters think Congress and President-elect Donald Trump should fully repeal ObamaCare, a new poll released Thursday finds.

Another 47 percent said only some of ObamaCare should be repealed, while 31 percent said it should be left untouched.

According to a separate poll from NPR/Ipsos, only 14% of Americans support repealing Obamacare without a replacement plan in place. 

 

► When President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated next week, he will assume office as the most unpopular incoming President in modern history. From “The Fix”:

Just four in ten people polled by Gallup say they approve of the way Trump is handling his transition — a stand-in for presidential approval in this odd three-month interregnum.  Those are the lowest marks ever measured by Gallup for an incoming president. They are also half — yes HALF — as high as the 83 percent of people who approved of how then President-elect Barack Obama handled his own transition in late 2008/early 2009.  And Trump’s numbers even track well below those of George W. Bush, whose transition was cut short by an extended recount that left lots of the country unconvinced that he had actually won! [Pols emphasis]

Wow. Worse than Dubya?

The Colorado Springs Independent has a handy list of local events related to the January 20th Inauguration.

 

► In his State of the State address on Thursday, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper called on the legislature to ask voters to approve a tax hike for transportation and infrastructure needs.

“We’ve had this debate for too long. If talk could fill potholes, we’d have the best roads in the country.”

 

 

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The State of the 2018 Governor’s Race

Who wants to follow this routine?

It’s that time of year in an off-year election cycle when the rumors and name-dropping are coming from every direction. On the same day that Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his State of the State address, we thought it would be a good time to takes a look at what we’re seeing, reading, and hearing when it comes to jockeying for Colorado’s top job in 2018…

 

IN THE RACE
Noel Ginsburg (D)
As of this writing, there are seven candidates who have officially filed with the Secretary of State’s office to run for governor in 2018. Ginsburg is the only relevant name here; the other six are just gadflies who apparently think it would be fun to run for governor. We’ve written a bit about Ginsburg already, though it’s far too early to gauge whether the Denver businessman can really make a dent in this race.

 

NOT YET “OFFICIAL,” BUT DEFINITELY RUNNING
George Brauchler (R)
Walker Stapleton (R)
Cary Kennedy (D)
Mike Johnston (D)
Brauchler and Stapleton are both going to run for governor; the only suspense is about when they will make an official announcement. Kennedy and Johnston have been moving toward a run for governor for many months now, and it would be more of a surprise at this point if they chose not to enter the race — although that could change depending on what happens with Ken Salazar and Ed Perlmutter (see below).

 

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Call Your Senator – Refuse Rex Tillerson as Sec/State

Rex Tillerson, Exxon CEO and Trump’s Nominee for Secretary of State, Accepting the Order of Friendship from Vladimir PUtin in 2013. Wikipedia Russia

Today, January 11, 2017, was the first day of hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (SFR) on the confirmation of Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. Tillerson evaded direct questions about if he would continue to press for removal of sanctions against Russia. He refused to denounce Russia’s human rights abuses of Syrian civilians.  He equivocated about whether climate change is caused by human activity. He seemed clueless about world affairs, outside of Russia. He played dumb about Russian hacking. And he gave little indication that he would act independently of his boss, Donald Trump.

The hearing will continue Thursday, January 12, and from that point the SFR can decide to move the nomination to the entire Senate for an up or down vote, or stall it in committee, effectively killing the nomination. We want Tillerson’s nomination to die in the SFR committee. If the SFR Senators get enough calls from their constituents, it can happen. Public pressure has prevented complete gutting of the Government Ethics Office, and has postponed several hearings that Trump originally wanted on 1/12/17


Five Reasons to Call Your Senator Now to refuse this nominee

  1. Exxon is the world’s #1 contributor to climate change. The company has known for 40 years that fossil fuel extraction and burning contribute to climate change, and it has spent 35 of those 40 years actively denying the science and lobbying to prevent worldwide action on climate change.  Meanwhile, Exxon factored warming seas into its calculations on Arctic oil extraction.
  2. Rex Tillerson, as Secretary of State, would enter with huge conflicts of interest. Tillerson could reverse or make policy decisions about U.S. sanctions against Russia. Reversing sanctions would allow a $500 billion Arctic oil exploration deal to go forward, making Exxon and Russia’s state-owned oil company Rosneft rich, even if it makes the U.S. less safe. Tillerson himself owns $218 million in Exxon stock.
  3. The Arctic climate is fragile. It’s not just the risk of spills; methane and black carbon pollution from offshore oil development will increase global warming.

    Polar Bear on Arctic ice

    Expanded drilling would increase Arctic ice melt and decrease wildlife habitat. – Credit: Wikimedia Commons

  4. Tillerson has no experience in diplomacy . World diplomacy is not one giant business deal – there are very delicate situations in the world that need tact, knowledge, and patience.
  5.  Tillerson cannot be trusted to put the USA’s interests ahead of Russia’s or of Exxons –  as intelligence expert Malcolm Nance asked on MSNBC’s Joy Reid show, “Do we want a secretary of state who is going to be working hand in hand first and foremost for the U.S. and Russian petrochemical industries?”

Call your Senator on the  Foreign Relations Committee

Contact info:

  1. Marco Rubio (R-Florida)  @ Next election: 2022
  2. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee)(Chairman) Next election: 2018
  3. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) Next election: 2020
  4. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) Next election: 2022
  5. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) Next election: 2018
  6. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) Next election: 2020
  7. David Perdue (R-Georgia) Next election: 2020
  8. Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) Next election: 2022
  9. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) Next election: 2022
  10. John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) Next election: 2018
  11. Todd Young (R – Indiana) Next election: 2022
  12. Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) (Ranking Member) Next election: 2018
  13. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) Next election: 2018
  14. Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) Next election: 2020
  15. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) Next election: 2020
  16. Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) Next election: 2020
  17. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) Next election: 2018
  18. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) Next election: 2018
  19. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) Next election: 2020
  20. Cory Booker (D- New Jersey) Next election: 2020
  21. Jeff Merkley (D- Oregon) Next election: 2020

Winners and Losers from 2016

Today is the first “official” workday following the Holidays, and since we’re still practicing writing “2-0-1-7,” let’s take one more look back on the year in politics that concluded (finally) over the weekend…

WINNERS

Darryl Glenn is neither a unicorn nor a U.S. Senator.

Michael Bennet
Few politicians entered 2016 with more at stake than Bennet, who was widely considered to be the number one Senate pickup opportunity for Republicans in the entire country (with Harry Reid’s retirement, Bennet was in fact the only incumbent Democrat facing re-election in a swing state in 2016). Bennet ran a strong re-election race, raising tons of money and making himself a consistent presence in TV ads for months leading up to Election Day, but his re-election was all but assured when Colorado Republicans turned the GOP Senate nomination into a dumpster fire. After a 2010 campaign against Republican Ken Buck that went down to the wire, Bennet no doubt appreciated being able to shift into cruise control for most of 2016.

 

Mike Coffman

After more than 30 years in elected office, the Aurora Republican can finally exhale. Four years ago, Coffman nearly lost his seat in CD-6, eking out a 2-point win over a fairly weak challenger in Democrat Joe Miklosi. Democrats smelled blood in the water, but since then Coffman has handily dispatched two difficult Democratic opponents (9-point victory over Andrew Romanoff in 2014 and 8-point win over Morgan Carroll in 2016). Coffman’s consistent obfuscation seems to be the right formula in his Aurora-centered district, where he keeps winning big no matter the coattails (or lack thereof) in Colorado. The 61-year-old Coffman is not particularly well-liked among Republicans and is unlikely to be a factor for higher office in Colorado, but Democrats won’t likely expend serious effort at defeating him again…at least until redistricting muddles the picture in 2022.

 

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Noel Ginsburg Gets Gubernatorial Campaign for Christmas

Noel Ginsburg may already be a candidate for Governor in 2018.

You read it here first on Colorado Pols earlier this week: Businessman Noel Ginsburg looks to be the first official Democratic candidate for Governor in 2018.

According to a press release dated December 22, 2016, Ginsburg “has filed with the Secretary of State to be a candidate for Governor of Colorado in 2018.” As of this writing, Ginsburg’s candidacy is not listed on the Secretary of State’s website, though that could just be a delay due to the holiday season.

According to a bio attached to the press release:

Noel Ginsburg is a manufacturing entrepreneur and trusted civic leader. Ginsburg serves as the Chairman and CEO of Intertech Plastics as well as the founding CEO and Chairman of CareerWise Colorado, a statewide system of innovative, business-led youth apprenticeships.

Ginsburg currently chairs the Denver Public Schools College and Career Pathways Council. He has previously served as the chair of the Denver Public Schools Foundation, the Mile High United Way and JEWISHcolorado (formerly the Allied Jewish Federation of Colorado). In addition, Noel served as Founding Board Chair for Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation. He and his wife Leslie are Colorado natives and have two adult children.

Beauprez Keeps Getting Dissed for Interior Secretary

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right) is only getting one response as he campaigns for Interior Secretary.

Former Congressman and two-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez really wants to become Interior Secretary under President Donald Trump. The feeling is apparently not mutual.

Beauprez’s name was floated as a potential Interior choice by the Colorado Springs Gazette a few weeks ago — though the only confirmation the Gazette received was from Beauprez himself. “Both Ways Bob” has definitely been working hard trying to get on Trump’s radar, and even managed to convince the Denver Post to publish a weird backhanded endorsement for the job.

But if there is a short list for Interior Secretary, Beauprez’s name does not appear to be listed. Late last week, Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers was rumored to be Trump’s pick for Interior Secretary…until she wasn’t. McMorris-Rodgers apparently did not get the thumbs-up from Trump, and now Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke is the new favorite for the job.

All hope is not yet lost for Beauprez, however; it is not clear that Zinke actually wants the job of Interior Secretary, as Republicans had been grooming him for a potential U.S. Senate run against Democratic incumbent Jon Tester.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (December 1)

Get More SmarterDecember? Holy crap! 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…

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) famously pledged during the 2016 campaign that he would “stand up” to Donald Trump if the Republican nominee were elected President. Well, Congressman, here’s a good opportunity for you — unless you happen to think that Sarah Palin is somehow uniquely qualified to serve as the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Coffman is, after all, the Chairman of the Oversight and Accountability Subcommittee within the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

 

► President-elect Donald Trump begins his post-election victory lap today with stops in the Midwest. From the Washington Post:

The billionaire businessman quipped throughout the campaign that America is going to win so much when he’s president that people are going to get tired of winning. This morning he flies to Indiana to tout the first such win, a deal he cut with Carrier to keep 1,000 jobs in the U.S. that were otherwise going to Mexico. (He’ll tour a plant that will no longer be closing.) From there, he flies to Cincinnati for a blowout rally at U.S. Bank Arena, the first stop of a “Thank You Tour” that will also take him to Iowa and Michigan in the coming days.

► Questions continue to swirl about Donald Trump’s “deal” with Carrier that purportedly will prevent moving 1,000 jobs to Mexico. For Republicans, this is a particularly thorny issue; interfering with the free market is not exactly a core GOP issue.

 

 

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Denver Post’s Bizarre Backhanded Endorsement of Beauprez

THURSDAY UPDATE: Sen. Cory Gardner adds some Marcomentum to Beauprez’s bid:

—–

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

Moments ago, the Denver Post’s editorial board released…well, the title makes it clear it’s an endorsement of two-time Colorado GOP gubernatorial loser Bob Beauprez for Interior Secretary in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, but the content?

It’s not quite damning with faint praise, but…

We were glad to learn Beauprez had made President-elect Donald Trump’s list for the position that oversees federal lands, even if environmentalists were not.

Beauprez has gotten a bad rap in the environmental community, perhaps deservedly, [Pols emphasis] as a man who subdivided his parents’ farm into a sprawling housing development and golf course in Lafayette. And for his recorded votes in Congress to open up more federal lands for oil and gas leasing while reducing regulation surrounding critical habitats for endangered species.

Remember, folks, this is a newspaper with a longstanding editorial tradition at least somewhat in acknowledgement of fundamentals like science and critical thinking. And we are talking about a politician who says that climate change is a “complete hoax.”

But apparently, says the Post’s editorial board, that’s no problem! Because the world is going to hell anyway.

No seriously, that’s what they say:

It’ll be a stark transition for the nation’s public lands no matter who Trump taps as the next secretary of the interior. [Pols emphasis] For Colorado and the West, that transition will be made a bit easier by having someone in office who we know and trust.

With a few edits, this endorsement of Beauprez for Interior Secretary could made easily made into an editorial opposing his nomination. It’s not the first time the Post’s editorial board has left us scratching our heads as to the decisions that led to an oddly-worded backhanded endorsement, which are sometimes rumored to emanate from a higher level than the editorial board members themselves. If so, that could indicate Beauprez is a more serious candidate for the job than first thought, in which case we’ll be talking about “Both Ways Bob” much more going forward.

Either way, in this case not only is the Post again making an endorsement contrary to their stated editorial position on the pertinent issues, they’re straining their credibility to the breaking point to do it.

Hickenlooper for President Rumors Resurface for 2020

How about a President John Hickenlooper?

How about a President John Hickenlooper?

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was often mentioned in the lead-up to the 2016 Presidential Primaries as a potential Democratic candidate for the top job in the land.

As a popular Governor from a swing state, Hickenlooper’s name has been mentioned as a Presidential candidate numerous times over the past six years (here’s one from 2013, and here’s a mention from 2011). Hickenlooper was also reportedly a consideration for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, a job that ultimately went to Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (though Hick did get a big-time speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention as something of a consolation prize).

Because it’s never too early to talk about the next election, Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” offered up his top guesses for potential Democratic Presidential candidates in 2020. Guess who made the list?

Gov. John Hickenlooper: The Colorado governor was almost Clinton’s vice-presidential pick this time around. And in a field filled with Washington types, the governor of a swing state in the West could have real appeal. Hickenlooper also has a terrific life story — a Denver brewery owner who became mayor and governor — and a down-home demeanor that screams, “I am not a politician.” Hickenlooper’s biggest problem as a candidate may be that he is viewed as too moderate for the current Democratic Party. But some governor (Missouri’s Jay Nixon? Delaware’s Jack Markell?) will run for president, and, at the moment, Hickenlooper seems first among equals for that role.

Cillizza’s early list is very much preliminary and has already been changed to include several more names. Hickenlooper is an obvious name to include on an early 2020 list — as Cillizza wrote, “some governor will run for president” — but is it a real possibility?

Seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination certainly makes more sense for Hickenlooper in 2020 than it did in 2016. The most obvious reason, of course, is that Hick is term-limited in 2018 and will have plenty of time on his hands. Running in 2016 never seemed likely, both because Clinton was essentially entrenched as the Democratic nominee and because Hick had just been re-elected to a second term in 2014.

In the debut episode of The Get More Smarter Show in May, we asked Hickenlooper about how seriously he might have considered seeking the Presidency in 2016. Hick was not shy about expressing his concern in first making it through a partisan primary (question begins around the 13:20 mark):

“I’m the type of person — a small business guy who’s really not a traditional politician. I wouldn’t do well in a primary.”

It is true that Hickenlooper’s moderate image would not have been ideal for seeking the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination — which is a point we’ve made in this space before — but 2020 could be a different story. Hickenlooper was much more active as a partisan surrogate for Democratic candidates in the last election cycle, and he has two more years as governor to demonstrate a more liberal agenda that could interest potential primary voters. Add to this the fact that the 2020 field should be fairly wide-open (barring the outcome of recounts, of course), and a potential Hickenlooper Presidential run makes more sense than it ever did before.

We’d still guess that a Hickenlooper run for President is unlikely, but much depends on how he decides to position himself for his remaining years as Governor and what kind of outreach (and response) he might garner from the chattering/donor class in the next 12-18 months. After all — a President Hickenlooper wouldn’t be more of a surprise than a President Donald Trump.