Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 21)

Colorado State University lost its game Monday, so you can stop pretending to care about the NIT. Please settle in as we 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…

► House Republicans are still working toward a Thursday vote on Trumpcare, and the President himself is on Capitol Hill making threats and demands. As the Washington Post reports, President Trump’s tough talk may not be enough to sway skeptical Republicans:

President Trump went to Capitol Hill on Tuesday morning to sell the House GOP leadership’s plan to overhaul the health-care system as the legislation races toward an expected vote on the House floor by the end of the week. Assuring Republicans that they would gain seats if they passed the bill, the president told Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, to stand up and take some advice.

“I’m gonna come after you, but I know I won’t have to, because I know you’ll vote ‘yes,’ ” Trump said, according to several Republican lawmakers who attended the meeting. “Honestly, a loss is not acceptable, folks.”

But after the meeting, Meadows told reporters that the president had not made the sale, that the call-out was good-natured and that conservative holdouts would continue to press for a tougher bill.

“I’m still a ‘no,’ ” he said. “I’ve had no indication that any of my Freedom Caucus colleagues have switched their votes.”

After meeting with Republicans, Trump predicted “a real winner” following Thursday’s planned vote, though Politico also reports that members of the Freedom Caucus were not swayed by Trump’s appearance. Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) also says that he has not yet decided whether to support Trumpcare.

 

► Denver Judge Neil Gorsuch continues to take tough questions from members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in the first part of his confirmation hearing to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. Gorsuch was asked repeatedly this morning about how he might rule on cases relating to abortion, as Politico explains:

Gorsuch declined to say whether Roe vs. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion, was correctly decided more than four decades ago.

The comments came in an exchange about legal precedent with Grassley, who appeared eager to stave off Democratic attempts to pin Gorsuch down on controversial issues.

Roe “is a precedent of the United States Supreme Court,” Gorsuch testified.

“I’m not in a position to tell you whether I’d personally like or dislike any precedent. That’s not relevant to my job,” Gorsuch in the discussion with Grassley. “Precedent … deserves our respect. And to come in and think that just because I’m new or the latest thing I’d know better than everybody who comes before me would be an act of hubris.”

When asked by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) whether he viewed Roe as a “super precedent,” Gorsuch responded: “It has been reaffirmed many times, I can say that.”

Last weekend, the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University confidently proclaimed that Gorsuch would help to overturn Roe v. Wade. These are the same geniuses that think you should boycott the new Beauty and the Beast movie.

 

► Senate Republican leaders in the Colorado legislature killed a bipartisan measure intended to make adjustments to TABOR in order to free more money for education and infrastructure needs. Republican leadership instead offered up its own solution for dealing with Colorado’s budget woes…nah, just kidding.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Colorado Christian U: Gorsuch Our Kind of Hater

Neil Gorsuch.

A fundraising email from Jeff Hunt, vice president of Colorado Christian University, extolls Judge Neil Gorsuch’s “conservative values”–and makes predictions about Gorsuch’s values on the U.S. Supreme Court that Gorsuch probably won’t want to validate during confirmation hearings:

Judge Gorsuch has proven he’s pro-life, pro-family, and pro-religious liberty, which is exactly why the radical Left is rallying against him.

His rulings are very promising from a conservative perspective, which is why it’s critical we rush to his aid immediately and ensure he’s confirmed…

As a native of Colorado and a devoted follower of Christ, we couldn’t be more excited about what Judge Gorsuch will do to help overturn Roe v. Wade, uphold traditional marriage, and protect our religious freedom. [Pols emphasis]

When our past president, Bill Armstrong, was serving in the U.S. Senate, a young Neil Gorsuch even interned for him.

The late Senator Bill Armstrong helped mentor this brilliant conservative legal mind, and now he has the chance to ascend to the nation’s highest court where he will defend our values for decades to come.

We wouldn’t say that any of this is a surprise, although traditionally Supreme Court nominees don’t give specific answers on how they might rule on specific cases. What this message does do, however, is give some perspective on the origins of Gorsuch’s political views.

And if CCU is to be believed, that would be Gorsuch’s anti-choice, anti-gay, pro-bigotry political views (no word on how Gorsuch feels about the new Beauty and the Beast movie).

Bennet Introduces Gorsuch With Praise For Merrick Garland

TUESDAY UPDATE: Sen. Michael Bennet’s introduction of Neil Gorsuch appears to impressed somebody notable:

—–

Word spread late last week that Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet would join GOP Sen. Cory Gardner in introducing U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch of Colorado to the Senate Judiciary Committee today. This afternoon that took place–with Gardner giving his widely-expected glowing endorsement of Gorsuch, and as for Bennet…well?

 

In short, Bennet warmly praises Gorsuch, saying he “exemplifies some of the finest qualities of Colorado.” That and several other statements by Bennet praising Gorsuch in terms that seem to gloss over very serious policy differences between these two men will be enough to make Colorado Democrats quite nervous.

Niceties aside, Bennet did speak out strongly against the treatment of Merrick Garland, President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee who was denied a hearing by Republicans for almost a year. Bennet makes it clear that he considers “Judge Gorsuch a nominee to fill the Garland seat on the Supreme Court.” With that said, Bennet says that “two wrongs don’t make a right,” and that Gorsuch should receive a fair hearing.

Sen. Bennet didn’t give any definitive indication on how he intends to vote on Gorsuch, and it’s a longstanding tradition for a nominee’s home-state Senators to introduce them. But the first blush of reactions we’ve heard from Democrats are lukewarm at best. Bennet’s vote for or against Gorsuch represents what may be the greatest test of his values since his appointment in 2009, and it will be remembered.

Stay tuned, this drama is just warming up.

Bipartisan Resolve To Defend Marijuana Proves Sessions’ Folly

Molon labe.

As Brian Heuberger reported for the Colorado Statesman this week, there may be Republicans in Colorado willing to publicly support parts of the new administration’s agenda–but on the subject of Colorado’s legal marijuana industry, which is under direct threat from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, there is no daylight between Colorado Republicans and Democrats:

With U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions hinting that the Trump administration might intensify the enforcement of federal marijuana laws, Colorado leaders from both sides of the aisle have come to the defense of the state’s legal marijuana industry in an uncommon show of solidarity in what many consider to be divisive political times of unmatched proportion.

High-level Colorado politicians like Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper have both publicly defended what has become a lucrative recreational marijuana industry for the state. And many other state officials have joined them in contending that Colorado has a constitutional right to legalize marijuana and that the regulations established by the state have been statistically proven to have been effective so far.

Supporters are quick to emphasize the positive economic impact the industry has had in Colorado and the likely downward economic spiral that would occur should that now-bustling industry be tampered with by the federal government.

Likewise, both Rep. Mike Coffman and Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman are promising to fight any move by Sessions to clamp down on marijuana in Colorado:

Rep. Mike Coffman is suggesting he might use the power of the purse to protect Colorado’s legal marijuana industry…

If Sessions does take action Coffman said he’d “have to fight the Attorney General on this.” He suggested he’d do so through congress’ power to appropriate money for the administration’s budget.

Colorado’s Republican attorney general, Cynthia Coffman—a legalization opponent who says she would defend state law against Sessions—speculated, “It sounds like there is room for states to have legalization … But what it seems to portend is the federal government will be at the borders to stop marijuana from crossing state lines.”

The reason why you have all of these public officials in both parties standing shoulder-to-shoulder on marijuana, despite the fact that most of them opposed legalization to begin with, is that the experience of legalized marijuana in Colorado has rendered the issue moot here. Public support has grown, not declined, since Colorado led the way into a legalization trend that has now grown to numerous states–including all-important California, the most populous state in the nation.

In short, on this issue, our local Republicans and Democrats are responding to the clear wishes of their constituents. They know that to join Sessions on a crusade against legal pot would be politically disastrous for Colorado Republicans at this point. And the fact is, if Sessions does decide to shut down Colorado’s billion-dollar legal marijuana industry and in the other legalized states, Republicans could pay dearly at the polls in the next election all over the country including Colorado–regardless of what local Republicans do to oppose it.

So be at least a bit reassured, stoners. For the moment, both parties have got your back.

Cory Gardner’s Abysmal Poll Numbers

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) does not fare well in new polling results from Keating Research.

The Denver Post reports today on new polling numbers from Keating Research showing that 54% of Colorado voters would rather save or improve Obamacare instead of eliminating or replacing the healthcare law — numbers that have been fairly consistent among Coloradans. But the more eye-popping numbers come in response to questions about the favorability of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma):

…the 503 Colorado voters surveyed in the new poll were less than happy with President Donald Trump: 43 percent viewed him favorably, compared to 55 percent who do not like the new commander-in-chief.

It’s a different story for U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a Republican who jettisoned his support for Trump last year and has spent much of 2017 trying to walk a fine line with the new administration on policies ranging from Russia to healthcare — all the while taking heat from Democrats and liberal activists for other issues, such as supporting Trump’s Cabinet picks.

The poll found a near-split on his approval ratings: 39 percent viewed Gardner favorably compared to the 38 percent who viewed him unfavorably.

But Gardner’s efforts to keep Trump at arm’s length may be hurting his support among Republicans. His approval among GOP voters was 63 percent — a far cry from the 83 percent of Colorado Republicans who approved of Trump.

Gah!

These are absolute horrid numbers for Gardner…and they are also easily explainable. As we’ve said in this space many times, the cardinal sin for any politician is to ignore your constituents, which Gardner has done regularly since the 2016 election. It doesn’t help Gardner that he tries so hard to be all things to all people, but the bigger albatross is his very public decision to avoid having contact with Colorado voters (despite what he has said himself in the past).

When a cardboard cutout is more popular than the man himself, you’ve got problems.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 15)

The NCAA Tournament starts tomorrow morning, so get those brackets filled out. Scroll down for more from Get More Smarter, which is also available through microwave ovens. 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…

► Trumpcare appears to be in trouble. Following a brutal Congressional Budget Office review of the GOP healthcare plan, many moderate Republicans are abandoning ship. As CNN reports:

Florida Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said publicly Tuesday that she wouldn’t be able to support the GOP health care legislation after the CBO score revealed the high number of people who would lose insurance.

“I plan to vote NO on the current #AHCA bill. As written the plan leaves too many from my #SoFla district uninsured,” the Florida congresswoman wrote in two consecutive tweets. “As #AHCA stands, it will cut much needed help for #SoFla’s poor + elderly populations. Need a plan that will do more to protect them.”

Republican Rep. Leonard Lance, a moderate from New Jersey who Democrats believe will be vulnerable in 2018, told CNN that he believes the House bill will fail in the Senate. As he eyes his own reelection campaign next year, Lance said he doesn’t want to support a legislation that would be rejected by his Republican colleagues across the Capitol.

“I do not want to vote on a bill that has no chance of passing over in the Senate,” Lance said. “The CBO score has modified the dynamics.”

In light of the new CBO report, Lance said House leaders must make changes to their existing bill and only bring to the floor a version that can survive in the Senate.

It’s not difficult to see the political calculations taking place here. Skittish House Republicans are going to oppose Trumpcare as written because they’ll say that it can’t pass the Senate. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans will demand changes to the bill and just refuse to do anything unless/until the legislation passes through the House.

For a terrific breakdown of Trumpcare, check out this page from the Denver Post.

 

► Allies of President Trump, meanwhile, are warning the big orange man that the GOP healthcare legislation is doomed and are encouraging the President to cut bait before he gets sucked too far into the debate (we’d argue that this has already happened, but, whatever). From the Washington Post:

A simmering rebellion of conservative populists loyal to President Donald Trump is further endangering the GOP health-care push, with a chorus of influential voices suspicious of the proposal warning the president to abandon it.

From headlines at Breitbart to chatter on Fox News Channel and right-wing talk radio, as well as among friends who have Trump’s ear, the message has been blunt: The plan is being advanced by congressional Republican leaders is deeply flawed – and, at worst, a political trap. [Pols emphasis]

Trump’s allies worry that he is jeopardizing his presidency by promoting the bill spearheaded by House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wis., arguing that it would fracture Trump’s coalition of working- and middle-class voters, many of them older and subsisting on federal aid.

It is a bit strange to hear Republicans referring to the American Health Care Act as a “political trap.” If it is indeed a trap, it is one that the GOP set for itself.

 

► Fringe right-wing interest groups in Colorado are demonstrating that they are absolutely not interested in any sort of constructive outcome on, well, anything.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Tell Colorado’s U.S. Senators to reject Neil Gorsuch

The time has come for Coloradans to speak out against Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Because Gorsuch is from Colorado, the spotlight is on our state, and it is absolutely critical that Coloradans make our voices heard at this moment.

Tell Colorado’s U.S. Senators to oppose Neil Gorsuch’s nomination.

Neil Gorsuch is just the latest in a series of horrible choices by Donald Trump. Gorsuch’s fringe views on health care and contraception make him an enemy of Colorado women. On the Supreme Court, Gorsuch would be a vote to roll back women’s rights, environmental protections, and hard-won protections against discrimination in the workplace. Gorsuch has even been endorsed by the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, an anti-LGBT extremist group. Gorsuch may hail from Colorado, but his record stands in opposition to Colorado values.

The simple fact is that this Supreme Court appointment was stolen from President Obama last year in a shameful act of political treachery. No Democrat should in any way cooperate with or otherwise enable Gorsuch’s Supreme Court nomination, including Colorado Democrats. To do so would only hand Donald Trump another undeserved victory.

We will not stand by and allow Donald Trump to steal this Supreme Court seat, and install a Justice who would skew our law toward injustice for generations. We will not be silent while a judge who has a proven disregard for the rights of women, working people, and even the terminally ill–who Colorado voters overwhelmingly voted last year to give compassionate options to ease their suffering at the end of life.

Sign our petition calling on both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators to reject Gorsuch. We will deliver this petition to both Sen. Cory Gardner and Sen. Michael Bennet before they vote.

Thank you. We’ll update with more ways to take action as Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings get underway.

Gardner Proposes Working Around Congressional Budget Office

(Nobody drives in both lanes like Cory Gardner — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In response to the growing outcry over the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate that 24 million Americans could lose their health insurance under a proposed GOP replacement plan, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) told a conservative talk radio host today that the Trump Administration should step up repealing the national health care law by taking actions that “won’t ever be scored by the Congressional Budget Office.”

“We also, I believe, need the Administration to move forward with some of its executive actions [to repeal parts of Obamacare],” Gardner told KHOW 630-AM’s Ross Kaminsky. “Those executive actions they can take won’t ever be scored by the Congressional Budget Office. That’s not what the Congressional Budget Office does. But if they take those actions, it could result in significant improvement in the current system.”

Gardner is referring to Trump Administration actions that, analysts say, could throw the national healthcare law into a “death spiral,” even without any action by Congress. Broadly, those actions, some of which have already been taken, would undermine enforcement of the requirement that Americans buy health insurance, undermining the core of the law. At the same time, Trump could make it more difficult and less attractive for people to buy insurance through the exchanges.

With respect to Gardner’s previously stated desire for the Obamacare replacement to provide more stability for those on Medicaid, Gardner said he wants to see unspecified changes in the proposed House bill to address his concerns, released in a joint letter.

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (March 14)

If you’re having trouble reading today’s edition of Get More Smarter, note that we are also sending it out via microwave ovens. 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…

► Republicans from Capitol Hill to the White House may publicly insist that Monday’s CBO score of Trumpcare is bogus, but reality is likely to intervene. As the Washington Post reports:

The worse-than-expected Congressional Budget Office forecast seems certain to force meaningful changes to the Obamacare repeal bill now under consideration in the House.

An alarm bell for GOP leadership: Rep. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) is exactly the kind of mainstream conservative whose support House Speaker Paul Ryan needs to secure passage of his pending legislation. After reading the CBO report last night, he came out against the plan…

…Senate Republicans are making it increasingly clear that the House bill, as presently constituted, will be dead on arrival in their chamber.

The Congressional Budget Office estimate that Trumpcare would leave 24 million Americans without health insurance might have actually been generous compared to a separate analysis from the White House. As Politico reports:

A White House analysis of the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare shows even steeper coverage losses than the projections by the Congressional Budget Office, according to a document viewed by POLITICO on Monday.

The preliminary analysis from the Office of Management and Budget forecast that 26 million people would lose coverage over the next decade, versus the 24 million CBO estimates. [Pols emphasis] The White House has made efforts to discredit the forecasts from the nonpartisan CBO.

 

► An increasing number of prominent Republicans are backing away from Trumpcare in the wake of Monday’s news (“Let’s say the CBO is half-right; that should be cause for concern,’’ said Sen. Lindsey Graham), but Congressional leaders are still trying to convince members to choke down this shit sandwich. The Republican-aligned “American Action Network” is running advertisements praising Congressional Republicans — including Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) — for committing to support the Trumpcare disaster. On Monday, Coffman said that he supports the GOP healthcare bill “in its current form.”

 

► Conversations at the State Capitol about a potential sales tax increase for road construction are getting more convoluted as conservative Republicans balk at the idea. From the Denver Post:

How troubled is the much-acclaimed deal at the Capitol to spend $3.5 billion on Colorado roads to relieve traffic congestion?

Here’s the best indication to date: The No. 2 Republican in the state Senate said Monday he is proposing an alternative to the measure unveiled last week by the Senate’s No. 1 Republican.

Senate President Pro Tem Jerry Sonnenberg calls his effort “supplemental” but the proposal is a clear alternative to the one put forward by Senate President Kevin Grantham and House Speaker Crisanta Duran.

Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, said his draft bill would not increase taxes and would use $100 million in existing state dollars to cover a much smaller $1.3 billion bond, which is only enough to improve small local roads. [Pols emphasis]

Way to get a handle on your caucus, Sen. Grantham.

 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Lipstick on a Pig: Ad “Thanks” Coffman For GOP Health Disaster

Rep. Paul Ryan with now-Sen. Cory Gardner.

The news yesterday from the Congressional Budget Office that the much-anticipated Republican repeal/replacement legislation for the 2010 Affordable Care Act would leave 24 million Americans uninsured by 2026 has rocked the debate over former President Barack Obama’s signature health reform law. We haven’t seen much in the way of response to the CBO’s damning analysis from Republicans, some of whom were fully intending to dismiss the estimate until the White House’s own numbers projected an even larger loss.

Politico obtained one of the only responses from Sen. Cory Gardner we believe has been made public as of now:

“We’ve got work to do here,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who had raised concerns about the bill’s effect on Medicaid. [Pols emphasis]

Whatever that means! Sen. Gardner’s decision to join with three other vulnerable Republicans in expressing concern about Medicaid patients under the House GOP’s plan was contradicted by Gardner’s appearance at a press conference with Vice President Mike Pence to support the plan a day later. This contradiction has yet to be resolved, but we have to believe that time is running out for Gardner to continue skating.

On the other hand, as Jason Salzman reported yesterday, Rep. Mike Coffman has explicitly committed himself to voting for the House GOP legislation “in its current form.” Coffman said that before the CBO score was made public, and there’s been no subsequent statement to suggest otherwise. Not that it would matter much anyway, after the Paul Ryan-orbit American Action Network started running ads today praising Coffman for his support of Ryan’s American Healthcare Act:

Today the American Action Network (@AAN) begins a new $1.5 million issue advocacy campaign to further momentum as conservative lawmakers fight to pass historic health care reform with the American Health Care Act (AHCA). The ad highlights key elements of the plan and encourages lawmakers to deliver on their health care promise. Over the next two weeks, the ads will air nationally on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and in 15 congressional districts nationwide…

“This is a historic opportunity to reverse the trajectory of health care in our country. Many conservative lawmakers are fighting for strong, conservative solutions to the Affordable Care Act that has failed and will only get worse unless Congress passes the American Health Care Act,” said Corry Bliss, AAN Executive Director. “We want constituents to know about their representatives’ efforts as they fight to keep their promise and deliver a plan that will provide access to quality, affordable health care of their choice.”

At some point, we expect Coffman to issue a statement on whether he, you know, wants their “thanks!” With Coffman already committed to the bill prior to the analysis of its effects being released, the ad makes sense–as of right now.

But for politicians with an interest in their own career survival like Coffman, these things have a way of changing. The stark human costs of the House GOP repeal bill, weighed against any economic benefit it might have for the nation, invite the most basic questions about what the point of this entire exercise even is. And it breaks the central promise that has been made by Republicans throughout the long debate over Obamacare: to replace it with something quantifiably better.

For Sen. Gardner and Rep. Coffman, this is a fateful moment. Six years of posturing and misinformation just hit the wall of reality. It is not hyperbole to suggest that what they do next will make or break their careers.

Trumpcare Would Leave 24 Million Without Health Coverage

Vice President Mike Pence announcing support for Trumpcare last week (Sen. Cory Gardner is on the left of the photo)

The numbers are in! As the Associated Press reports, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has reviewed the House Republican healthcare plan, also known as Trumpcare, and the math doesn’t look good:

Fourteen million Americans would lose coverage next year under House Republican legislation remaking the nation’s health care system, and that figure would grow to 24 million by 2026, Congress’ nonpartisan budget analysts projected Monday. [Pols emphasis] The figures dealt a blow to a GOP drive already under fire from both parties and large segments of the medical industry.

The report by the Congressional Budget Office flies in the face of President Donald Trump’s aim of “insurance for everybody,” and he has been assailing the credibility of the CBO in advance of the release. Administration officials quickly took strong issue with it.

Congressional Republicans and The White House had anticipated poor marks from the CBO, which is why they spent much of the last week talking about how little confidence they had in the CBO’s forecasting abilities. But today’s CBO report may be much worse than Republicans could have predicted; remember those claims that Obamacare is unstable and on the verge of collapse? Yeah, not so much:

“Insurance for everybody!”

— President Trump speaking about GOP healthcare plans in January.

 

It also undercuts a central argument that he and other Republicans have cited for swiftly rolling back former President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul: that the health insurance markets created under the 2010 law are unstable and about to implode. The congressional experts said that largely would not be the case and the market for individual health insurance policies “would probably be stable in most areas either under current law or the (GOP) legislation.”

“Nobody will be worse off financially…”

— Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, speaking about Trumpcare on Sunday.

Today’s report also undercuts statements made by President Trump just this morning, when he said, “Things are gonna be very bad this year for the people with Obamacare. They’re gonna have tremendous increases.” As it turns out, according to the CBO, Trumpcare would cost Americans much more than Obamacare:

…The budget office found that average premiums for individuals would rise in 2018 and 2019 by 15 percent to 20 percent compared to current law, because Republicans would eliminate the penalties designed to induce people to buy insurance coverage.

Aside from the fact that Trumpcare will leave 24 million people uninsured and will be more expensive for those who can still manage to get coverage, this is a great piece of legislation!

What you can do to fight back this week (March 13)

“The pressure is working.”

For almost two months, Coloradans have been turning out by the thousands to hold President Donald Trump and right-wing Sen. Cory Gardner accountable for the steady stream of bad news about what’s happening in Washington.

Friday evening, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC recounted in detail the enormous success of the protests in Colorado against Trump and Gardner. When this began in January, Cory Gardner called the citizens gathering outside his offices “paid protesters.” Gardner told Coloradans to “not be afraid” of Trump’s agenda. And he assured us that the Trump/Gardner plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, was in our best interests.

Today, Cory Gardner is singing a very different tune. Instead of telling Coloradans to “not be afraid,” Gardner leads off every speech now with issues on which he and Trump don’t agree. After making the promise to repeal Obamacare a central plank in his campaign, Gardner suddenly claims to be worried about Medicaid recipients in Colorado who could lose care.

We still don’t know how Gardner is going to vote. But we know that the protests are working. We know that Gardner would not even be paying lip service to these issues if not for the protests he has faced at home. What we are doing to fight back against Trump is not in vain, and once again Colorado is being held up as a model. Thank you–and keep fighting!

Here are things you can do to fight back this week:


Featured event: Ralph Carr Freedom Defense Act Rally

Call to Action! It is time to take action against unconstitutional Federal overreach that will adversely and dramatically impact Colorado residents and law enforcement. On the 16th the Ralph Carr Freedom Defense Act brought by Representative Salazar and Representative Esgar will be heard in the Judiciary committee. At 12pm there will be a press conference on the west steps of the capitol.

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax, Denver
When: Thursday, March 16, 12:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Colorado Youth Civic Engagement Forum

Join us for this unique opportunity to experience democracy in action! State and local leaders will be meeting with young voters to talk about important issues and focus on solutions. Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams will open the event speaking about the importance of youth civic engagement. The evening will then turn to a panel of state and local elected officials discussing issues important to Colorado youth and fielding questions from youth in the audience. RSVP to join us for this unique close up with Colorado elected officials.

Where: History Colorado, 1200 Broadway, Denver (Colorado Room)
When: Monday, March 13, 5:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Resist Trump Tuesdays

Republican’s foolish attempt to replace not repair the Affordable Care Act will deny health coverage to MILLIONS! Even Cory Gardner has his doubts! Why do they hate the poor and aged among us? At the same time, we are still mystified by Trump’s curious Russian connections. The swamp just gets deeper and deeper. Join us to raise our voices and #ResistTrumpTuesday!

Where: Skyline Park, 1125 17th Street, Denver
When: Tuesday, March 14, 12:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


CWAM Museums Advocacy Day

Join us at the Colorado State Capitol to advocate for museums. Set-up one-one-one meeting with local legislators or museum advocates. Then, attend a cocktail reception at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science Wednesday evening. Enjoy cocktails, appetizers, presentations by museum professionals and legislators.

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax, Denver
When: Wednesday, March 15, 10:00am


Jose Antonio Vargas – “My Life as an Undocumented American”

Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker whose work centers on the changing American identity. He is the founder of Define American, a non-profit media and culture organization that seeks to elevate the conversation around immigration and citizenship in America. In 2015, MTV aired White People, a television special he directed on what it means to be young and white in America as part of its “Look Different” campaign. In February 2016, Jose launched #EmergingUS, a multimedia news platform he conceived focusing on race, immigration, and the complexities of multiculturalism. At the University of Colorado Boulder, Jose will speak about his experience as an undocumented immigrant in America and as an immigration reform activist, exploring one of the most divisive questions facing our country today: how do you define “American”?

Where: Glenn Miller Ballroom, University of Colorado, 1669 Euclid Ave, Boulder
When: Wednesday, March 15, 7:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Reproductive Freedom Lobby Day

Women’s Health, along with our partners in the Colorado Reproductive Freedom Coalition, will lobbying for legislation to promote reproductive choice and access to healthcare, and urging legislators to oppose legislation limiting our reproductive rights and freedom. Please join us! RSVP required for this event.

Where: Colorado State Capitol, 200 E Colfax, Denver
When: Thursday, March 16, 8:00am

Click here to RSVP.


The Far Reaching Effects of Wastewater Injection: Recent Case Studies of Anthropogenic Earthquakes

Will Yeck, National Earthquake Information Center, USGS: The Far-Reaching Effects of Wastewater Injection: Recent Case Studies of Anthropogenic Earthquakes. At Shepherd of the Hills Church, 11500 W. 20th Ave., Lakewood. All are welcome. Social time 6:30, meeting begins at 7.

Where: Shepherd of the Hills Church, 11500 W. 20th Ave, Lakewood
When: When: Thursday, March 16, 7:00pm

Click here for more information.


Stand Up for Climate: An Experiment with Creative Climate Comedy

Humor is a tool underutilized in the area of climate change; yet comedy has power to effectively connect people, information, ideas, and new ways of thinking/acting. This event will feature a range of comedic approaches, including stand-up comedy, sketch and situational comedy, and improv.

Where: TBA, University of Colorado, Boulder
When: Friday, March 17, 5:00pm

Click here for more information.


March: Demand Russia-Trump Ties Investigation

We need to come together across the country and march to demand that Congress do their job and open a full, public, non-partisan, and independent investigation into Trump’s connections to Russia. Let’s make our voices heard on Saturday, March 18th and march to demand that Congress do their job and open up this important investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia.

Where: Denver’s Civic Center Park, Colfax and Bannock, Denver
When: Saturday, March 18, 12:00pm

Click here to RSVP.


Since Trump’s inauguration, the protests in Colorado have become a rallying point for all of us who are concerned about where our nation is headed. But the hope that you inspire with your actions is no longer just a story for local consumption. Because you are not getting bored, getting distracted, or giving up when the weather isn’t perfect, you are proving how much these issues matter to all of us. You are proving that Coloradans are neither self-absorbed nor ignorant of what’s happening. And you are showing America the way forward in these difficult times.

Thanks again, and we’ll see you in the streets.

Maddow Showers Praise on Colorado Gardner Protests

Last night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow paid tribute to the going on two months of continuous pressure on GOP Sen. Cory Gardner to resist President Donald Trump’s agenda–and what Maddow sees as the direct effect those protests have had on Sen. Gardner’s statements about Trump since January:

We apologize for the video quality of this clip–if MSNBC would care to post this as its own embeddable item themselves, we’ll happily replace. Whether or not you consider Gardner’s hesitance to embrace an agenda he told us in January not to fear legitimate, you can’t deny that he has at least become a symbol of that hesitance. In the end, it’s Gardner’s votes that will put him one side or the other for posterity.

Whatever Gardner does, Colorado’s scrappy resistance movement can take a bow. You’re getting hard-earned credit.

Get More Smarter on Friday (March 10)

Fifty. That’s how many days Donald Trump has now been in the White House. Let’s go ahead and see if we can 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…

► Congressional Republicans are nervously awaiting the results of a Congressional Budget Office assessment of Trumpcare. As Politico reports:

The fate of Obamacare may lie in the hands of a number-crunching Republican appointee whose bottom line might single-handedly blow up the GOP quest to repeal and replace it.

Congressional Budget Office Director Keith Hall was handpicked two years ago by top Republicans in Congress — including now Health and Human Service Secretary Tom Price — to lead a nonpartisan office that will soon release its estimate of how many Americans the Republican health care bill will cover and whether it shrinks or balloons the federal deficit…

…Hall, in the post for two years, has already signaled that his office won’t soft-pedal the coverage assessments. If a health plan doesn’t have comprehensive benefits, it won’t count as coverage. Fearing a bad CBO “score,” Republicans facing backlash in their drive to gut Obamacare are turning the budget agency and its team of professional economic analysts into a punching bag as they try to discredit it. [Pols emphasis]

Republican leaders, meanwhile, are finding that it is difficult to enact new healthcare legislation at the same time that President Trump is sowing widespread confusion with differing remarks on a potential compromise policy.

 

► Colorado business leaders (and the Denver Post editorial board) are praising a potential legislative compromise that could place a tax increase for infrastructure improvements on the November ballot. As the Denver Business Journal reports, that doesn’t mean some conservative Republicans won’t continue to oppose the idea:

Conservative politicians and organizations savaged a bipartisan transportation-funding bill Thursday as offering a burdensome tax hike without commensurate spending cuts, while liberal groups gave it better reviews, despite the proposal containing less transit funding than they had sought.

The reaction — particularly a statement from state House Republican leaders that they will “aggressively oppose” the plan — showed that House Bill 1242, introduced late Wednesday, will have tough roads to travel even to get onto the November statewide ballot.

That path is difficult enough, in fact, that the Colorado Contractors Association, one of the primary supporters of this and past road-funding measures, will go ahead and file its own tax-increase ballot measure on Friday as a back-up plan in the event that the Legislature kills HB 1242.

The Denver Post has more on the predictable knee-jerk reaction from conservative Republicans who don’t have a solution of their own to Colorado’s transportation problems but simply oppose any effort to raise taxes for any reason whatsoever.

 

► Politico takes a look at the prospects for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico, which may or may not end up being built out of Legos:

Trump is claiming that the ambitious — and hugely controversial — construction plan is “way, way, way ahead of schedule,” but in reality, there is growing evidence that Trump’s central campaign pledge is in political peril…

…As the issues mount, several prominent Republicans are making their concerns more explicit.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told constituents during a telephone town hall Wednesday that “billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed” to secure the border, according to audio obtained by POLITICO on Thursday. “I don’t support a tariff to pay for any kind of wall.”…

…”We shouldn’t just build a wall and add billions of dollars because that’s what somebody said should be done,” Gardner said.

Federal budget gurus are trying to figure out the most cost-effective material for a wall, but they still haven’t even begun to deal with the “eminent domain” problem that could skyrocket the potential price tag.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)