Here comes the snow! Maybe. Forecasts along the Front Range call for as much as 2 feet of snow in the next two days…which probably means we’ll get an inch of rain. 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 new Republican Congress got off to a curious start this week by attempting to quietly gut the House Ethics Committee before constituents (and Donald Trump) got wind of the plan and expressed their anger. House Republicans quickly backtracked on this idiotic idea, thanks in part to opposition from Trump but largely because voters made their voices heard:
Most members tell me blizzard of angry constituent calls were most impt factor in getting the House to sideline the amdt
— Robert Costa (@costareports) January 3, 2017
By early Tuesday morning, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Speaker Paul Ryan and the rest of GOP leadership realized the proposal was about to tank the entire House rules package — and implode the first day of the GOP-led Congress. They convened an emergency closed-door conference meeting around noon to discuss removing the ethics provision — but it was too late. Donald Trump had tweeted his disapproval, and the public outcry had risen to such a crescendo that all anyone wanted to talk about was an obscure House office few people had ever heard of just 24 hours before.
“We shot ourselves in the foot,” said Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who added that the ethics snafu was an unforced error. “Sometimes people have to learn the hard way.”…
…The day left some members shaking their heads. Many, including Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.), left the chamber Tuesday night crossing their fingers that the drama of the first day would not foreshadow the next two years to come.
“I think that there is going to be a lot of tough votes we will have to take and this wasn’t one of the toughest ones, so, I think we should learn from this,” he said. “Once you launch that ship, you’ve got to keep going… We need to go forth with more sense of purpose and direction.”
Fill the swamp! Fill the swamp! Oh, wait, that’s not right…
► Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) won’t reveal how he voted on the controversial measure to gut the House Ethics Committee. In other words, Tipton almost certainly supported the effort. Colorado Republican Reps. Doug Lamborn, Ken Buck, and Mike Coffman are all claiming that they opposed the measure. According to reports, 119 Republicans backed crippling the Ethics Committee; we have a sneaking suspicion that this number isn’t going to match public proclamations in another few days.
► A media outlet finally got around to asking some of Colorado’s top Republican officials about Donald Trump…though it wasn’t a journalist related in any way to Colorado. Come on, Colorado political reporters! How can you get scooped by something called Gray Television?
As Jason Salzman notes, there may be no more relevant question for Colorado Republicans than to be asked about Trump.
Get even more smarter after the jump…
IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…
► State Treasurer Walker Stapleton — also the likely frontrunner for the Republican nomination for Governor — is once again doing his best to scare people into the belief that PERA is going to implode.
► Denver Broncos General Manager John Elway is not going to run for Governor in 2018. Elway was never going to run for Governor in 2018, but that didn’t stop some local media outlets from completely manufacturing this story. We suppose it wouldn’t be an off-year in Colorado politics if somebody didn’t pretend that Elway was going to run for statewide office, but this nonsense has been going on for more than a decade now. Enough.
► Former Jefferson County District Attorney Scott Storey was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence on New Year’s Eve. What makes this story particularly interesting is that Storey will face charges in Arapahoe County, where George Brauchler serves as the District Attorney. Storey was Brauchler’s boss when the latter — now a candidate for Governor — was a deputy district attorney in Jefferson County years ago.
► Speaking of Brauchler, he apparently thinks that the best way to jumpstart his gubernatorial campaign is to wag his finger at Colorado voters over supporting an increase in the minimum wage.
► The Boulder City Council gave Donald Trump the middle finger on Tuesday in voting to declare Boulder a “sanctuary city.” This seems sort of strategically-pointless, but, whatever.
► Two Republican lawmakers are proposing changes to Colorado’s TABOR rules.
► Colorado House Republicans have decided to forego using a “Chief of Staff” and will instead split duties among two different positions. This should end well.
► Communications Director Kathy Green is leaving Governor John Hickenlooper’s office for a “private consulting” job.
► We’ve said it before in this space, but it bears repeating: There is nowhere for Cory Gardner to go but down now that he is leading the NRSC’s efforts at maintaining/growing its Senate majority in 2018.
► Gardner, meanwhile, wants Donald Trump to make dealing with North Korea a foreign policy priority. Poking a stick at a North Korean leader with absolutely nothing to lose doesn’t strike us as the best idea we’ve heard.
► Donald Trump’s Twitter Account, which may or may not be making autonomous decisions about the free world, is claiming that a national security briefing on allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election has been “delayed.” That’s not what everyone else not named Donald Trump is saying.
OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK
► Ford Motor Company is abandoning plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Mexico. This has virtually nothing to do with Donald Trump, despite what you will hear from His Hairness.