Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 17)

On this day 11 years ago, it was 2006. 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…

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) isn’t up for re-election until 2020, but he has a LOT of work to do just to win back his Republican base. Conservative writer Jennifer Rubin absolutely dismantled Gardner in a column yesterday in the Washington Post titled “Cory Gardner Has a Choice: Voters or Trump.” Here’s an excerpt:

Gardner has sacrificed his integrity and betrayed the confidence voters place in him to be an independent-minded voice. And for what? His reputation has suffered, his profile has fallen…

…It’s Gardner’s moral absenteeism that reminds all voters how unworthy of office are Trump and his go-along Republicans. Anti-Trump Republicans and Democrats should get ready for 2020 — they can and should have the chance to knock him out of office.

Yikes! It has not been a good week for Sen. Gardner. Maybe he’ll feel better tomorrow after he hosts a fundraiser tonight in Denver along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

 

President Trump is on a mission to burn every bridge imaginable, and it may only be a matter of time before he is forced to answer his own phones in the White House. As Politico reports, Trump is essentially just an orang-er version of that angry old man down the street who shakes his fist at kids for running on his lawn:

President Donald Trump’s decision to double down on his argument that “both sides” were to blame for the violent clashes at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, was driven in part by his own anger — and his disdain for being told what to do…

…The controversy over his response to the Charlottesville violence was no different. Agitated about being pressured by aides to clarify his first public statement, Trump unexpectedly unwound the damage control of the prior two days by assigning blame to the “alt-left” and calling some of the white supremacist protesters “very fine people.”

“In some ways, Trump would rather have people calling him racist than say he backed down the minute he was wrong,” one adviser to the White House said on Wednesday about Charlottesville. “This may turn into the biggest mess of his presidency because he is stubborn and doesn’t realize how bad this is getting.”

That thing about the old guy down the street? We take that back. Trump is 9-years-old. You’re not the boss of me!!!

Never content to let a divisive issue settle, Trump is now raging about the removal of statues that celebrate the Confederate Army. From the Washington Post:

President Trump on Thursday mourned the loss of “beautiful statues and monuments” in the wake of the violent clashes in Charlottesville during a white supremacist demonstration protesting the planned removal of a statue depicting Confederate military commander Robert E. Lee.

Trump’s string of morning tweets made clear the president was not willing to back down over his claims Tuesday that some of the demonstrators had legitimate grievances over the loss of Southern “history,” and that “both sides” were to blame in the mayhem that left a woman dead and at least 19 more injured. Trump made those claims a day after he had belatedly condemned the neo-Nazi and Klux Klan groups that organized the Unite the Right rally. Politicians from both parties have criticized the president for inflaming racial tensions and failing to provide clear moral leadership for the nation.

History may well show that Trump’s Presidency truly did collapse this week. Hell, even Brick Tamland Rep. Doug Lamborn is condemning Trump’s comments about white supremacists in no uncertain terms.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Even Doug Lamborn Is Dissing Trump Now

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

As the Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reports, that’s everybody:

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn pushed back against President Donald Trump’s Tuesday comments that “there is blame on both sides” for weekend violence in Virginia, saying any statements that in any way embolden white supremacists are wrong.

“The KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists and nationalists are abhorrent,” the El Paso County Republican said. “Statements that provide even indirect comfort to these merchants of evil are unacceptable and wrong.”

Trump remarks on his home turf at Trump Tower in New York City backtracked on a more deliberate statement he made Monday in Washington condemning those hate groups. He angrily placed blame on liberal groups on Tuesday in addition to white supremacists for the Charlottesville, Va., violence. Some of those protesting the rally to save a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee were “also very violent,” he said.

“There are two sides to a story,” he said. He added that some facts about the violence in Charlottesville still aren’t known.

Not to be gratuitously insulting to the Republican representative of deep-red El Paso County and Colorado Springs, but Rep. Doug Lamborn has a well-earned reputation for not being, you know, the sharpest knife in the proverbial drawer. Lamborn has had his own racially-tinged gaffes, like his unfortunate reference to President Barack Obama as a “tar baby” he’d rather not hug–an incident that may in retrospect may have been more clumsy than than it was intentionally racist.

Either way, President Trump has now given even the most gaffe-prone politician a wide-open shot at rehabilitation, simply by jumping on the bandwagon of condemning Trump’s increasingly undeniable and unapologetic racism–and even a bunch for whom the offenses were not ‘gaffes’ at all. After doubling down on horrifying initial remarks after the violence in Virginia last weekend that everyone thought the White House would try to walk back–and indeed, they tried–there’s just not much for Republicans to do now other than minimize the collateral damage.

Of course, this wouldn’t be the first time that more or less the whole Republican Party expressed its disapproval of Trump–and considering they did so just a couple of weeks before he won the election, their sincerity is not real easy to gauge.

Unless that prior behavior tells you everything you need to know.

Darryl Glenn to Join Primary Race in CD-5

Darryl Glenn

The Unicorn rides again! Ernest Luning has the scoop for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, the Republican nominee for Colorado’s U.S. Senate seat last year, notified GOP insiders on Friday that he plans to run for the 5th Congressional District seat held by six-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn in next year’s election, Colorado Politics has learned.

“Colleagues, I want to give you a courtesy heads up before the rumors start that I will be jumping into the Congressional District 5 race within a few weeks,” Glenn said in a text message sent Friday morning to prominent Republicans and obtained by Colorado Politics. “A lot has happened over the last week to move me to running. Have a great day. Darryl”

Glenn becomes the third candidate in the race in the GOP Primary in CD-5, just one day after state Sen. Owen Hill announced a record fundraising haul for Q2 in his own bid for Congress.

Incumbent Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) was first elected in this ultra-safe Republican district in 2006. Lamborn has since been re-elected every two years, but he is such an unpopular dolt that he can never seem to prevent a Republican Primary. Hill jumped into the race in early April and seems to be off to a good start…yet, we’ve been here before. Over the last decade Lamborn has always found a way to crawl into the General Election, where there is virtually no chance of a Republican candidate losing in November.

Could 2018 be different? Lamborn may have a more difficult road to re-election now that a third candidate with strong name ID among Republicans has entered the fray. We’ve said many times in this space that Glenn is the worst statewide candidate in Colorado history; you can make an argument for others (we’re looking at you, Dan Maes), but it’s fair to say that you can’t discuss this topic without including Glenn at the very top of your list. However, Glenn should be familiar to Colorado Springs-area voters after serving two terms as an El Paso County Commissioner prior to his surprise GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate in 2016.

Whenever you have a primary with at least three known entities on the ballot, strange things can happen. Enjoy the ride.

Rep. Doug Lamborn: “Abortion Is Not Health Care”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

As the Denver Post’s Jesse Paul reports, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs wants to make extra-super sure that the Senate’s forthcoming Obamacare repeal legislation doesn’t make anything easier on women who need abortions:

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, has penned a letter signed by 70 members of the U.S. House asking GOP leadership in the Senate to ensure “our pro-life priorities” are included in any health care legislation they draft to replace the Affordable Care Act.

“While there have been differences of opinion on the best way to fix our nation’s health care system,” the letter dated Wednesday says, “the pro-life majority in the House of Representatives has reached consensus that any health care legislation must abide by the overarching principle that abortion is not health care, and that therefore, elective abortion, abortion providers, and health plans that include elective abortion should not be subsidized.”

The request was addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, as well as the chairs of the Senate budget, health and finance committees. Colorado’s other House Republicans — U.S. Reps. Mike Coffman, Ken Buck and Scott Tipton — did not sign the letter.

Lamborn’s sweeping statement that “abortion is not health care” will come as news to the thousands of women in the United States every year who have medically necessary abortions, some of whose lives are saved via the procedure. And even in the case of abortions entirely for a woman’s personal reasons–how is that not “health care,” every bit as much as elective surgeries of all kinds and (yes) Viagra are “health care?” Perhaps vasectomies should be relegated to the back alley too?

Look, we get what Lamborn is trying to say here, but his choice of words betrays a fundamental ignorance about what he’s discussing. In Lamborn’s case that’s no accident, though it’s a useful window into the minds of dogmatic abortion rights opponents.

Minds that close in the presence of undesired context.

Colorado Week in Review: 6/9/17

Rep. Doug Lamborn Hopes Trump’s EPA Screws Over Pueblo

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

As the Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Roper reports, GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs is appealing to the Environmental Protection Agency–that is, the new EPA under President Donald Trump–to drop a lawsuit filed by that agency and joined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Pueblo County over the city of Colorado Springs’ mismanagement of sometimes pollution-laden stormwater flowing down Fountain Creek to the Arkansas River in Pueblo:

Pueblo County officials bristled upon learning that Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., is lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency to drop its water quality lawsuit against Colorado Springs.

Pueblo County Commission Chairman Terry Hart said Lamborn has played no role in the years of negotiations between Colorado Springs and county officials over stormwater controls, adding: “He should stay the heck out of it.”

…Hart countered that Lamborn is ignoring the importance of the lawsuit in forging a better relationship between Pueblo County and Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers and that city’s council.

Hart said Suthers’ support for spending $460 million over 20 years is a fragile commitment between Pueblo County and the current leadership in Colorado Springs.

“The threat of that lawsuit was critically important in our reaching an intergovernmental agreement with Colorado Springs,” Hart said Tuesday. “We joined that lawsuit to protect our interests and right now, Colorado Springs is doing a good job of honoring its commitment. But the lawsuit would nail down the agreement to withstand the political winds that blow back and forth.” [Pols emphasis]

Lamborn and Colorado Springs argue that their agreement to improve management of stormwater from that city negates the basis of the lawsuit. But Pueblo officials counter that the lawsuit (or the threat thereof) was what motivated Colorado Springs to come to the table at all–and if it were to be dropped before resolution, especially before that remediation work was complete, Colorado Springs might find itself substantially less motivated to care about the polluted stormwater that flows downstream into Pueblo.

With that said, Lamborn’s push to get the EPA to abandon this lawsuit is meeting resistance from fellow Republican Rep. Scott Tipton, who represents Pueblo:

“While Congressman Tipton has been encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by Mayor (John) Suthers to solve this long-standing problem, the lawsuit was filed by both the EPA and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for a reason,” a spokesman said. [Pols emphasis]

It will be interesting to see if Tipton sticks to his guns in the event of an adverse decision by the EPA regarding this lawsuit, but for now it’s good to see him at least paying lip service standing up to Rep. Lamborn and Colorado Springs. Working-class Pueblo has long felt slighted by its larger neighbor to the north, whose military-based economy gives them economic stability as well as population growth that has worsened pollution along Fountain Creek. The promise of new funding to protect Fountain Creek was critical in Pueblo’s approval of the Southern Delivery System, which connected Colorado Springs water supply to Pueblo Reservoir.

All told, it’s just another consequence of the political sea change caused by Trump’s surprise election. Everyone with something to gain from rolling back environmental protections, or for that matter any regulations viewed as impediments to progress as defined by interests favored by the Trump administration, is making their play.

And without vigorous opposition, it’s always communities like Pueblo who will get the shaft.

University still won’t buy fetal tissue from companies “implicated” Planned Parenthood “investigation”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Doug Lamborn.

Two years ago, anti-abortion activists released undercover videos that showed Planned Parenthood officials discussing their program that provides fetal tissue, donated by women who have an abortion or miscarriage, for use in medical research.

In the wake of the release of the highly-edited videos, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) released documents showing that Colorado State University (CSU) had possibly obtained fetal tissue indirectly from Planned Parenthood, and the university suspended the purchase of such tissue from all suppliers “implicated in the Planned Parenthood investigation pending the outcome of the Congressional investigation.”

Now, about two years later, CSU’s policy is still in place, even though Congressional investigations of Planned Parenthood have stalled or ended and there’s been no proof of wrongdoing or lawbreaking by Planned Parenthood.

CSU’s suspension of purchases from certain fetal-tissue suppliers hasn’t been lifted because “there is no practical need to readdress it,” according CSU spokesman Mike Hooker.

Hooker says the university’s research with fetal tissue has continued “uninterrupted” since 2015, using ADM as its supplier.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 18)

Happy Tax Day, everybody! 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 Democrats are taking the occasion of Tax Day to push legislation that would make it more difficult for politicians like Donald Trump to refuse to release tax returns. As Marianne Goodland writes for the Colorado Independent:

Two days after an estimated 7,000 people took to Denver’s Civic Center Park to demand that President Donald Trump release his tax returns, a House committee okayed a bill to require presidential candidates to make their returns public.

The measure, which is sponsored by Democratic Reps. Edie Hooten of Boulder and Chris Hansen of Denver, would require both presidential and vice-presidential candidates to submit the most recent five years of tax returns. Those who don’t submit those documents won’t appear on Colorado’s presidential election ballot, under the bill.

At least eight other states are working on similar legislation to require those tax returns, Hooten said; six are states carried by Trump in the 2016 election. In other states, although not Colorado, the legislation is referred to as the Tax Returns Uniformly Made Public Act, or TRUMP Act.

Trump is the first major party candidate in 40 years (since President Gerald Ford ran for election in 1976) to not provide his returns, according to Politifact.

At least a dozen Congressional Republicans also agree that Trump needs to release his tax returns before they will take any sort of action on a Trump tax reform plan.

Meanwhile, the Colorado legislature remains gridlocked over the state budget, with both Democrats and Republicans accusing each other of mucking things up. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on May 10.

 

President Trump is embracing the idea that today’s special election in Georgia could be a referendum on Trump. It’s true that the special election to replace Republican Rep. Tom Price (now President Trump’s Secretary of Health and Human Services) is being watched closely as a sign of how voters are feeling about the first 90-odd days of the Trump administration. But as Chris Cillizza explains, Trump may be getting louder about today’s election because he could be getting word that Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff is unlikely to surpass 50% of the vote and thus avoid a runoff election with one of 11 Republican candidates.

 

► British Prime Minister Theresa May shocked European political observers — and even those in the United States who even sorta understand how the British election system works — by calling a surprise election on June 8. Here’s a helpful summary from CNN about what happened and why it is such a surprise (and why you should care):

British governments generally last for five years, and the Conservative Party’s administration — then led by May’s predecessor David Cameron — was elected in 2015. The next election was not due to take place until May 2020…

…May, who took over when Cameron resigned in the wake of Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, wants to seek a stronger mandate in Brexit talks.

The UK government formally served divorce papers on the European Union last month, signaling the beginning of the end of a relationship that endured for 44 years.

But her party only has a slim majority in Parliament, and opposition parties have attempted to throw rocks in her path towards Brexit.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Lamborn Not Spared Constituent Backlash As Primary Looms

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

As the Colorado Statesman’s John Tomasic reports, the Brick Tamland of Colorado’s congressional delegation Rep. Doug Lamborn has been holding town halls in across the beating red heart of his El Paso County constituency–and like fellow Republicans across the state and nation with the temerity to stick their heads out during the Easter recess, Lamborn got chewed out but good:

Town hall season in Colorado Springs is not only of interest for the way angry crowds are meeting Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn, it’s also of interest for Colorado election politics watchers looking for pregame action by which to gauge a likely top primary race in the state.

Lamborn is gamely wrestling at town halls across his conservative 5th District with angry constituents alarmed mainly by Trump administration bumbling and the Republican health care reform plan.

He was jeered by an overflow crowd at a meeting in Colorado Springs on Wednesday, as the Gazette reported. The crowd mocked him when he said he supported renewable energy. They pushed him on climate change. They shouted out “Affordable Care Act” whenever he said “Obamacare.”

As Tomasic reports, Lamborn is smiling his way through the recess with the kind of indestructible confidence that can only come from a complete lack of self-awareness. Or perhaps not–Lamborn’s very safe Republican seat means the biggest threat he will likely face would come in a Republican primary, not the general election. Hard-right Republican primary challenger state Sen. Owen Hill is a fresh face, but he certainly doesn’t offer anything to appeal to the independent-left voters Trump has mobilized to resistance at town halls.

Bottom line: Lamborn is the poster child of Congress’ 11% approval rating and a 96% incumbent re-election rate.

Get More Smarter on Friday (April 14)

Have a Good Friday. For that matter, have a good Saturday and Sunday, too. 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…

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has been all over the news in the last few days following a town hall meeting earlier this week that did not go particularly well for the longtime Republican politician. On Thursday, Coffman made some interesting statements in an interview with Kyle Clark of 9News that included a sharp rebuke to Republicans who continue to complain — with no evidence — about “fake protestors” badgering Members of Congress. Here’s the relevant excerpt:

CLARK: Do you think they’re ‘fake protesters?’

COFFMAN: You know, I really don’t. You know, God bless the Republican Party for what it does, but I don’t–the fact is that they had to register for the event because we wanted to make sure that the people were from the district. And so, ah, uh, I thought it was a great event, I thought it was very lively, uh, I thought, I felt they were very committed, uh, to their issues, uh granted the audience leans left relative to the district, but they’re the people who are most concerned. With potential changes, mostly to Medicaid. And so I respect the fact that, you know that they were there, they were voicing their views, and they were not shy about it…

…I mean the fact is that, I think that the reality is, that sure there are some organizers there. But the vast majority of these people are simply committed activists in their own right. Uh, and they are not paid. They are simply, this is where their heart is. And I respect that.

Coffman’s answer here is not only a rebuke to the hysterical nonsense coming from partisan Republicans, but a sharp blow to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) as well. Gardner has been trying to months to make the argument that people who are disappointed with his actions are “fake” or “paid” protestors, and Coffman’s words make this a difficult narrative to continue.

 

► Not all is well for Rep. Coffman, who is still getting poor reviews for his ham-handed town-hall event on Wednesday.

 

► As for Gardner, he is meeting today with employees of CoBank in Greenwood Village. It’s sorta like a town-hall meeting, except that you can’t come. Gardner took a tour of Devils Canyon in Western Colorado on Wednesday; he’ll go anywhere so long as he isn’t likely to run into actual constituents.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Lamborn would “probably” vote to eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO Springs) told a conservative talk-radio host Monday that he’d “probably vote” to get rid of the Environmental Protection Agency, if he had the opportunity, even though he does not think it’s currently “in the cards to get rid of EPA completely.”

“But right now, it’s not in the cards to get rid of EPA completely.  And I would probably vote for that, because I trust states like Colorado to step in and do it anyway,” Lamborn told KVOR radio host Doug Lamborn April 10. “But while we have the EPA, at least have them not destroy jobs, and have multiple layers of bureaucracy, like Waters of the U.S.  That’s a job killer.”

“We had Gina McCarthy of EPA come in front of us,” Lamborn said on air. ” And I told her, ‘You know, in my district and in my part of the world, my part of the country, Gina, people despise you and the EPA. ‘What are you doing wrong that they despise you?’  And she just said, ‘We’re just doing our job.’ She didn’t even understand.”

Lamborn mentioned the Gold King disaster, but he’s also upset over an EPA and Colorado Department of Health lawsuit alleging stormwater violations.

“There is this weird lawsuit that EPA brought against Colorado Springs, even though we’re doing our best to mitigate the storm water issues that affect Pueblo and other downstream users of the water,” said Lamborn, not mentioning the health department’s participation in the suit.

“And, in fact, there are plans – we don’t have a final plan, but there are plans to spend maybe hundreds of millions of dollars to be responsible there.  And yet the EPA sues us, which means money that could have gone to that is going to be tied up with lawyers and paying fines, perhaps.  It doesn’t help solve the problem!”

But Colorado Springs wasn’t adequately addressing the problem itself, according to the he EPA suit, which found longstanding and repeated violations.

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Colorado GOP Barely Even Tries To Justify Syria Hypocrisy

Last night, President Donald Trump ordered a round of cruise missile strikes against a Syrian government airbase believed to have been the origin of an horrific chemical weapons attack on civilians and rebel-held positions in that country. The response from Colorado Republicans and Democrats to this strike was generally supportive on both sides–but as Denver7’s Blair Miller reports, Republican reactions to the strike are markedly different than a very similar situation in 2013, when President Barack Obama unsuccessfully sought permission to attack Syria after another incident where chemical weapons were used against civilians:

The reaction from many lawmakers to Thursday night’s U.S. attack on a Syrian air base that followed a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens earlier this week stands in stark contrast to their reactions when President Obama called for similar military actions in 2013.

Thousands of Syrians were hit with chemical weapons in a strike purportedly ordered by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Aug. 21, 2013.

As the Obama administration wringed its hands over how to respond to the attack, which was a violation of the Geneva Convention that bans the use of chemical weapons, most members of Congress also fretted over how the U.S. government might respond…

On Aug. 28 of that year, then-Rep. Cory Gardner, Rep. Scott Tipton, and Rep. Mike Coffman signed on to a House letter to Obama that urged the president to “consult and receive authorization from Congress before ordering the use of U.S. military force in Syria.”

“Engaging our military in Syria when no direct threat to the United States exists and without prior congressional authorization would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution,” the letter said. [Pols emphasis]

Cory Gardner, Mike Coffman, Scott Tipton, and Doug Lamborn.

As the situation developed in August of 2013, Colorado Republicans hardened in opposition to any use of force against Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack on Ghouta, Syria on August 21st of that year:

Coffman tweeted on Aug. 29 of that year, “Pres. Obama must obey Constitution and come to Congress before any military action in Syria,” a day after saying, “Your Colorado delegation agrees, no to war in Syria and yes to transparency from the President.”

…Gardner tweeted on Sept. 4 and 5 of that year that he was “skeptical” of the U.S. getting involved in Syria. On the 4th, he said, “I am not yet convinced of a compelling & vital national interest.” [Pols emphasis]

As for Rep. Doug Lamborn? You can just imagine:

Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., issued a statement Sept. 12 of that year saying, “Nothing I heard from President Obama tonight convinced me that a military strike against Syria is in America’s best interest,” adding that he had “lost confidence in the president’s ability to lead” and that neither classified nor unclassified briefings convinced him he should vote for or against any possible resolution to authorize military actions in Syria – a resolution that never came.

But as FOX 31 rounded up last night, that was then. This is what Cory Gardner says now:

Tonight, the United States of America took action against a treacherous regime whose actions and allies have shown the world the dark edge of humanity. The use of chemical weapons is illegal under international law and the Administration is well justified taking this long-overdue action tonight against a designated state sponsor of terrorism.

And Rep. Mike Coffman, for whom the War Powers Resolution was so critically important under Obama:

Tonight’s actions in Syria come after Assad’s horrific actions against his own people. America must show leadership and I’m thankful for what appears to be an effective response by our military.

And Rep. Doug Lamborn, who told Obama that striking Syria is not in America’s best interest–does he even remember what he said before?

Syrian President Assad continues to act far beyond the norms of civilized leaders. Unlike the previous administration which walked away from similar outrages, [Pols emphasis] President Trump is willing to send a clear signal of U.S. opposition to crimes against humanity.

In Blair’s story, Gardner makes a feeble attempt to justify this clear contradiction, claiming that the situation is worse now, even though many more civilians died in the 2013 chemical weapons attacks. As for Lamborn and Coffman, they don’t even try to make sense of what they said then versus now.

That’s because they can’t. The hypocrisy on display here is simply too much to explain away. The only real difference between the chemical attack by Syria in 2013 and the latest attack is the fact that a Republican is now President. And that means to these politicians, the lives lost and the moral need to respond to the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians are all just part of the game.

However you feel about this military action, if that is not outrageous, nothing is.

Owen Hill Auditioning for Same Movie You’ve Seen Before

State Sen. Owen Hill

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman broke the news on Saturday that state Sen. Owen Hill is mounting a primary challenge against six-term incumbent Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs:

Hill, a 35-year-old Air Force Academy graduate and small business owner, was reelected in November to a second four-year term representing El Paso County’s Senate District 10. He serves as the chairman of the Senate Education Committee.

Hill ran in the 2014 Republican U.S. Senate primary eventually won by Republican Cory Gardner, who went on to unseat Democratic incumbent Mark Udall. Before Gardner entered the race, Hill received endorsements from Ron Paul, the former congressman and presidential candidate, and the Tea Party Express organization.

But Hill, who first ran for office at age 28 — he lost a bid in 2010 in a different state senate district by just 340 votes to Democrat John Morse, then the incumbent Senate majority leader — defies easy political classification.

Hill is an ambitious conservative switchblade enthusiast who has long been looking to move up in the political world — he had been mentioned as a potential candidate for State Treasurer in 2018 — but settling on CD-5 as his ladder of choice is at once an obvious and questionable decision. We suppose that a CD-5 Primary makes more sense for Hill than embarking on a statewide campaign, though it’s fair to question whether it is even possible to defeat Lamborn in CD-5. 

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Worthless)

Despite representing the safest Republican congressional district in Colorado — GOP candidates for President regularly win CD-5 by 20-30 points — Lamborn has only been able to avoid a GOP Primary once since sneaking through a six-candidate GOP circus back in 2006. Of course, this also means that Lamborn has never lost a bid for re-election despite regularly facing difficult opposition from his own party, so you should attempt to read these tea leaves at your own peril.

Republican voters in CD-5 are also not traditionally enamored with the idea of change. Lamborn is only the second person to represent the district in the last 30 years (former Congressman Joel Hefley served CD-5 from 1987-2007). In the past three decades, the Denver Broncos have more Super Bowl trophies than Colorado Springs has had Members of Congress. 

None of this is to say that Colorado Springs residents don’t deserve better representation in Washington D.C. You can make a solid argument for Lamborn as the single worst Member of Congress in the entire country. Lamborn is an incompetent boob with a special talent for jamming both feet in his mouth on the rare occasion when he actually bothers to show up for scheduled events. As 2016 Republican opponent Calandra Vargas memorably explained:

“Doug Lamborn is the worst. He’s just the living worst. People need to know that Doug Lamborn is the worst. He makes Christians look stupid. He makes Republicans look mean, and he doesn’t offer solutions.”

Those are some exceptionally-strong words from a fellow Republican, but Vargas’ venom didn’t prevent Lamborn from more than doubling her vote total in the June 2016 Primary. Among Republican challengers, Bentley Rayburn came the closest to defeating Lamborn in a 2014 Primary (53-47); two years earlier, Lamborn dispatched GOP opponent Robert Blaha by 25 points.

Recent history hasn’t given us any reason to be surprised that Lamborn has drawn yet another Republican opponent…but history also doesn’t give us any reason to think that 2018 will end any differently for Lamborn. Owen Hill may or may not be a better candidate than Rayburn was in 2014. It’s hard to suggest that it even matters.

Trumpcare’s Day of Reckoning

Watch this space throughout the day as new information becomes available on a potential House vote on Trumpcare.

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1:28 pm: The House punts:

 

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1:23 pm: The House has not even begun the process of moving Trumpcare toward a vote on the floor — which by itself can take several hours.

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12:45 pm: The “Freedom Caucus” may have killed Trumpcare — at least for today. As Politico explains:

President Donald Trump and conservative House Freedom Caucus members failed to strike a deal on the GOP Obamacare replacement Thursday, endangering the prospects of passage and all but assuring any immediate vote on the measure would fail.

Negotiations between Trump and the arch-conservatives opponents of the bill reached at least a temporary standstill after Freedom Caucus members were told recent concessions to the far-right were a final offer. The group rejected that, wanting more.

Trump’s inability to clinch an agreement means that Speaker Paul Ryan does not likely have the votes needed to pass the measure. [Pols emphasis] The Wisconsin Republican can afford to lose only 22 votes on the floor. The House Freedom Caucus, however, has three dozen members, who have vowed to block the bill unless they get what they want. Roughly a dozen centrist Republicans also have come out against the bill.

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11:39 am: The conservative House Freedom Caucus says “no deal!”

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11:30 am: New polling numbers continue to show widespread public opposition to Trumpcare. From TPM:

American voters oppose the GOP health care bill by a three-to-one margin, according to a Quinnipiac poll released Thursday.

The poll found that 56 percent of respondents opposed the American Health Care Act, compared to only 17 percent who supported the bill. Twenty-six percent did not know or had no answer.

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10:02 am: Opponents of Trumpcare are literally lining the halls outside House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office today.

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9:55 am: The Washington Post sets the stage for today’s healthcare battle:

The Republican health-care overhaul faces its greatest test ever Thursday as President Trump and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) work feverishly to persuade enough Republican lawmakers to back the measure and push it to a floor vote.

Late Wednesday, the White House and House leaders were still scrambling to boost support, and signaled at the 11th hour a willingness to rework the measure to mollify conservatives. On Thursday morning, House leaders postponed a 9 a.m. meeting of the entire GOP Conference, signaling that negotiations were still underway.

As of late Thursday morning, 36 House Republicans — mainly conservatives — had announced their opposition to the bill, known as the American Health Care Act.

After insisting for weeks that the changes sought by hard-right members would render the bill unable to pass the Senate, White House officials and GOP House leaders appeared to shift their thinking — and opponents agreed to keep working on a deal with the goal of holding a floor vote in the House by Thursday night.