Will Coffman Deliver on Promise for Large Town Hall Before Obamacare Repeal?

So, uh, about that big town hall meeting you promised…

By now you’ve no doubt heard some iteration of a quickly-growing story that large numbers of Coloradans are completely unable to reach any office of Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). As the Durango Herald’s Jonathan Romeo reports, frustrated constituents don’t seem to have many options for reaching one of their most prominent elected officialsand they aren’t happy about it:

All said Gardner has failed to respond in any meaningful way – in contrast to Congressman Scott Tipton, a Republican, and Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat – and that attempts to contact a representative in the Durango office have continually been unsuccessful.

As we wrote earlier today, it isn’t just Gardner’s main Washington D.C. office that is being flooded with calls. Reporters for the Durango Herald on Tuesday called all of Gardner’s eight offices in Colorado and his Washington D.C. headquarters. Romeo writes that the line rings with no voicemail in Durango and is regularly met with a busy signal in Denver; four voicemails were left without reply, and an actual human being answered the phone at only three offices (Grand Junction, Pueblo, and Yuma).

This story of horrible constituent relations comes on the heels of a bad week for anti-Obamacare Republicans such as Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), whose early, backdoor exit from his own town hall left a packed office of understandably-irate CD-6 residents and created a string of national stories about widespread backlash to eliminating the Affordable Care Act.

The problems with Gardner’s office are escalating calls for Rep. Coffman to follow through with a promise to provide a larger venue to discuss Obamacare repeals. In a video that hasn’t received nearly enough attention, Coffman talked with Susan Greene of the Colorado Independent on the day after his town hall fiasco and said his office was working to find a much larger venue for another meeting:

“I think the problem was that it was the wrong venue for the event,” says Coffman in a brief interview. “What we’re trying to do right now is get a very large venue, and just really get the word out for people to come. Probably a venue that could handle at least 300 people…and not in a library.”

Coffman obviously didn’t handle that Saturday town hall very well, but the backlash will grow sizably if he fails to deliver on promising a larger venue to discuss repealing Obamacare. Why? Because Coffman has said himself that he wants to hear from “stakeholders” in his district about potential repeal plans. From Politico:

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) said a retreat for House and Senate Republicans in Philadelphia later this month will be an important milestone for hashing out the details of any Obamacare replacement plan, and he’s urged stakeholders in his state to offer their suggestions in time for repeal. [Pols emphasis]

This is all setting up to be a political nightmare for Coffman if he doesn’t quickly schedule a larger venue for a discussion he himself has said should take place “in time for repeal.” What Coffman ultimately does here will resonate outside of Colorado; Republicans have been clear that they are trying to avoid “confrontations” with constituents largely by, you know, not meeting with them.

Will Coffman stick to his word? There are plenty of Republicans around the country who probably hope he doesn’t, but Coffman is too far down this road to turn back now.

13 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. itlduso says:

    We have many hundreds primed and ready to attend such an event.  But, since Pols thinks he won't ever lose (per a previous post), and we don't have an inkling of a Dem candidate to run against Coffman, does it really matter?

    • DavieDavie says:

      I don't think it can hurt, and who knows what shape the GOP and CD-6 will be in after a year of Trumponomics…  They're already talking about massive, unpaid for tax cuts to balloon the deficit by the full 10 trillion they have authorized for the national debt

      It is a recipe for high inflation since we are nearly at full employment. And if we also start trade wars or exit all the trade agreements we have, we can also return to the ’70’s Stagflation.

      Nutcases behind the wheel are aiming for the ditch as we speak.

      • ParkHill says:

        Your economic suggestions are inconsistent. Inflation is a wage price spiral caused by an over-heated economy. Stagflation happened in the US in the 1970s after the petroleum shock resulted in high unemployment and high inflation. I don't see a supply shock coming, nor do I think we'll see high unemployment, at least not right away, thanks to Obama.

        Will the tax cuts stimulate the economy and create jobs, for example by investing in new infrastructure? Job growth produces a stimulative multiplier of 1.5, because additional income in the pocket goes mostly to new spending. That's why extra debt during a recession to create jobs is extremely beneficial. 

        Or will the tax cuts go to wealthy who will park their extra billions in tax havens outside the US. That kind of tax break does not stimulate the economy.

        We can all see an income squeeze coming on low and middle income families… That is the intended consequence of repealing Obamacare. 

        Repealing Obamacare will have a NEGATIVE stimulus with a multiplier of -1.5.

        • Gray in Mountains says:

          Tax cuts for the wealthy are not at all beneficial to the economy. Tax cuts should be given only to those making less than $200k individual/350 joint

        • DavieDavie says:

          The point I was making is that stimulus during an expansion with essentially full employment is absolutely inflationary.  We are not (yet) in a recession.

          I agree we need the infrastructure investment to rebuild that which is long overdue.  And the jobs would go to the blue collar workers that need the boost the most.  But it will kick off inflation, which isn't necessarily bad as long as it stays in the 3-4% range at the most.  Everyone wins.

          However, if the infrastructure spending is combined with tax cuts going mostly to the wealthy (and those are the only plans Republicans have proposed), then the increase in government debt will be squandered, since there are only so many jets, yacht, luxury cars and homes the wealthy can buy (probably a negative multiplier effect).  So in that scenario, we have inflation without increased economic output.

          Finally, if Trump's trade policies lead to rising costs of imports and decreased exports, we get inflation and recession in one.  Thus Stagflation.

      • itlduso says:

        I agree, Davie.  But apparently, there is no candidate, substantial or otherwise, who agrees with us.  Terrance Carroll?  Anthony Graves?  Morgan Carroll?  Anyone?  The clock is ticking…..

        • DavieDavie says:

          Barring a complete political meltdown, the economy will probably be good for another year (again, barring a new war — military or economic), so the Democratic candidate will, at most, only have 2018 to plan and execute an election campaign based on throwing out the GOP bums.

          Republicans might stave off economic and political disaster until after the mid-terms, so there is a higher probability of it finally catching up with them for the 2020 elections.

  2. Genghis says:

    People are noticing. I saw quite a few signs at Saturday's demonstration featuring that photo of Rep. Coffman's cowardly back door exit from the town hall earlier this month.

    Oh, wait … scratch that! Coffman is a former Marine, which means that nothing he does can possibly qualify as cowardly. To the contrary, everything he does is ipso facto an act of gallantry because MARINE.

    Still, it'd be nice to see Coffman answer his constituents' questions regarding the ACA face-to-face. Rep. Jared Polis earned my respect years ago during a town hall meeting on health care reform that took place before the ACA passed. The meeting was astroturfed with an alarming number of shrieking teabilly morons. Polis was calm, collected, polite, knowledgeable and informative throughout the entire event under some very difficult circumstances.

    Holding a large town hall meeting to discuss the repeal and replacement of ACA would give Rep. Coffman a chance to display those same characteristics, but I suspect Coffman's talk of " get[ting] a very large venue" and holding just such a meeting is just another big fat lie on his part. An extraordinarily courageous lie – cuz MARINE! – but a lie nonetheless. 

  3. DawnPatrol says:

    No, no he won't. Comrade Coffman's a spineless, dissembling, cowardly worm, and unless he and his dark minions can hand-pick and totally control the crowd, he won't appear.

    And yet somehow, this lying, craven little slug of a man continues to be reelected.

    You're a pretty stupid bunch of ignorant assholes, you, the majority of CD-6 voters. Wake the hell up for once, see the truth about this horrible little man, and do the right thing — vote his ass OUT. Quit being clueless patsies for his endless lies and manipulations.

  4. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    I just checked Ballotpedia. Coffman got 50.5% of the vote. The Greens and Libs siphoned off 6.5%. If we could have kept the Greens in the fold, we could have shown Mikey the door. So CD6 Dems need a candidate that can pull those Greens back in in '18. Is there a Dem out there who can appeal to them? They've got a year to find one.

  5. itlduso says:

    We have less than a year to get a candidate.  We've been through the late entry candidate before here in CD6.  The candidate waits until a year before the election to announce his candidacy, loses, and then the late entry is blamed for lack of fundraising, name recognition, etc.

    We need a candidate SOON, otherwise our attacks on Coffman will be for naught.

    Bueller?  Bueller?

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