Get More Smarter on Monday (August 7)

You can visit Colorado State Parks for free today — just bring an umbrella. 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…

► Colorado’s top elected officials took part in a “sorta town hall” in Durango on Friday. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) were on-hand to theoretically discuss the cleanup process from the Gold King Mine Spill, but the only thing that audience members wanted to discuss was Gardner’s awful votes on healthcare. As the Denver Post reports, Gardner faced “an angry crowd”:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner was shouted at and derided during a Durango town hall Friday afternoon that was slated to center on the Gold King Mine but which focused on almost anything but, as an unruly-at-times crowd pressed the Republican on health care.

“Why on Earth did you vote for the Republican (health) care bill when the vast majority of your constituents opposed it?” one man asked Gardner to cheers…

…One man used his floor time to ask Gardner and Tipton when they would return for a longer, individual town hall with voters. “This venue is entirely too small,” the man complained. “The amount of notice we were given was under 24 hours, and it’s in the middle of the workday.”

Perhaps the most telling thing to come out of Friday’s event is that major Colorado news outlets are clearly fed up with Gardner’s penchant for lies and half-truths. Check out this brief video from 9News:

► The U.S. Senate is in the midst of its August recess, but will they continue to try to do something to repeal Obamacare when they return to session? If it is up to Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch, probably not. As Politico reports:

“We’re not going back to health care. We’re in tax now. As far as I’m concerned, they shot their wad on health care and that’s the way it is. I’m sick of it,” Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said Wednesday, a day before he outlined his committee’s agenda for the fall.

That’s a…colorful explanation.

 

► Winning or waiting? What’s the difference, right? They both start with the letter ‘W.’ From the New York Times:

Donald J. Trump promised Americans that they would be exhausted from “winning” on trade under his presidency. But nearly seven months after Mr. Trump took office, the industries he vowed to protect have become tired of something else: waiting.

After beginning his presidency with a bang by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact in January, Mr. Trump has accomplished little else of significance when it comes to reorienting deals with other countries. Instead, his administration has been struggling to work through the complicated rules that dictate international commerce. All the while, they are learning that bold campaign promises are hard to keep when many voices advocate different plans.

For many businesses that had raised their hopes, frustration is mounting by the day.

America’s steelworkers are on edge as they wait for Mr. Trump to fulfill his promise to place tariffs on steel imports. Home builders are desperate for the president to cut a deal with Canada to end a dispute over its softwood lumber exports. And cattle ranchers are longing for a bilateral pact with Japan to ease the flow of beef exports.

Elsewhere, Trump’s proposal to limit legal immigration to the United States has Colorado companies worried about where they will find the workforce needed to sustain their business.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

IN CASE YOU ARE STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

 

► Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper appeared on the CBS political talk show “Face the Nation” on Sunday and made the case that the nation’s governors can lead the way on healthcare policy. The Colorado Springs Gazette has more on Hickenlooper’s appearance alongside Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich.

 

► Vice President Mike Pence is preparing to run for President in 2020, according to a detailed story over the weekend from the New York Times. However…since that story was published, Pence went out of his way to make it clear that he absolutely has no plans to challenge President Trump in 2020.

 

Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to a handful of Governors last week — including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper — indicating that he is not at all happy about the fact that marijuana is legal in certain states. But so far, Sessions’ marijuana angst appears to be all bark and no bite

 

► Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake has been making a lot of news lately for (cough, cough) “standing up” to Donald Trump. Flake is going even further in his reflections on Republicans — remember, Flake is up for re-election in 2018 — saying that he regrets that GOP elected officials didn’t do more to stand up to “Birtherism.”

 

► President Trump, meanwhile, insists that his political base is “stronger than ever.” As the Washington Post explains, it’s not:

In a series of tweets from Bedminster, N.J., where Trump is on what aides describe as a 17-day “working vacation,” he ticked off a number of factors that he said have “driven the Trump base even closer together.” Among them: record stock-market numbers, strong jobs reports, his Supreme Court pick this year and a backlash against “the Fake News Russian collusion story.”…

…A poll last week from Quinnipiac University found that just 33 percent of voters overall approve of Trump’s job performance, a new low. Notably, support among white voters without a college degree — a key Trump demographic — had fallen off as well.

Just 43 percent of that group approved of Trump’s job performance while 50 percent disapproved, the Quinnipiac poll found. In June, 53 percent of white voters without a college degree approved of the president.

 

 David Sirota and Josh Keefe of the International Business Times consider the pending gubernatorial candidacy of Democratic Lieutenant Governor Donna Lynnand the potential impact of a candidate with a background as a healthcare executive:

Lynne, an outspoken critic of single-payer health care, was appointed lieutenant governor in 2016, coming straight into state government from her job as a vice president for health insurance conglomerate Kaiser Permanente. Lynne’s former employer has been raising premiums in the state, has faced regulatory punishments, and has led the fight to stop single-payer initiatives in Colorado and California. Just as Lynne was being confirmed for her state government job, her company successfully lobbied against a Democratic measure in Colorado that would have strengthened requirements for health insurers to cover annual breast cancer screenings…

…Under Lynne’s leadership, Kaiser was sanctioned twice by Colorado regulators for violating consumer protection laws, according to state records reviewed by International Business Times. One set of those sanctions was handed down by the administration of her current boss, Gov. Hickenlooper — a potential 2020 presidential candidate whose support Lynne may be counting on in the primary.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner’s office on Friday made a surprise announcement that it was moving its Denver office to a federal office building a few blocks away. As Blair Miller writes for Denver7:

Gardner’s office announced Friday that it would be temporarily moving to the U.S. Custom House on 19th Street—a federal building that is part of the federal court complex with tight security.

Gardner’s press office says the move to the federal building will be temporary and that they’ll announce the permanent location later on.

Gardner’s communications director, Alex Siciliano, said the move had been discussed “for a while” before it was announced and that the team “thought a government building would be best for our constituent services.”

If you’re thinking that this move may have something to do with Gardner’s disinterest in engaging his constituents…you might be right.

 

► Congressman Jared Polis talked about clean energy during a visit to Pueblo as part of his 2018 campaign for governor.

 

► Colorado Republicans are considering CANCELLING the 2018 GOP Primary. From the Denver Post:

The Colorado Republican Party is considering whether to cancel the June 2018 primary elections for Congress, the governor’s office and other offices, and instead nominate candidates through an existing caucus process dominated by insiders.

The move is permitted under Proposition 108, a ballot question approved in 2016 that overhauls how major-party candidates are selected in Colorado and allows the state’s 1.4 million unaffiliated voters to cast ballots in either the Republican or Democratic primaries.

A caveat in the new law allows political parties to opt out of the new law by a 75 percent vote of its central committee.

Republican Party Chairman Jeff Hays told The Denver Post he will discuss the question Friday, when the party’s executive leadership meets and plans to put the question to a formal vote at the party’s Sept. 23 gathering.

This sounds like an absolutely terrible idea.

 

► New development or oil and gas drilling in Northeast Colorado?

 

► A former Jefferson County School Board member is warning about something called “spiritual warfare.”

 

President Trump is back to attacking Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal over the latter’s misleading claims about the Vietnam War. Maybe this is just how Trump relaxes when he is on vacation. 

 

OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK

 

► White House advisor Kellyanne Conway thinks that President Trump’s approval ratings should rise

 

► Finally! The “real news” (this is gross).

 

ICYMI

► Democrats running in 2018 may be moving further to the left in their policy platforms. As the Washington Post explains, this might be a good sign of things to come for the Dems.

 

Click here for The Get More Smarter Show. You can also Get More Smarter by liking Colorado Pols on Facebook!

 

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