The Greatest Tax Reform Proposal in the History of Never

Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) was the only Colorado Republican to press the ‘NO’ button on the budget today.

The House of Representatives today passed its 2018 budget resolution in a party-line vote, the first step for Congressional Republicans are they endeavor to mold some sort of amazing tax “reform” policy. Reps. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), Doug Lamborn (R-Imbecile), and Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) voted in favor of the budget; Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) was the only Colorado Republican to vote ‘NO,’ where he was joined by all three Democrats from the state’s delegation.

As The Hill reports:

In a 219-206 vote, lawmakers approved a budget resolution for 2018 that sets up a process for shielding the GOP tax bill from a filibuster in the Senate…

…The budget reconciliation rules would allow Republicans in the Senate to pass tax reform without any Democratic votes, though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) can only afford two defections.

Republicans used the same strategy for ObamaCare repeal but failed, and are hoping for a better outcome on taxes.

Yet there are already signs of trouble, with some Republicans questioning whether the tax proposal would add too much to the deficit, and others balking at plans to eliminate a deduction for state and local taxes. The tax plan is now estimated to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit over a decade, but that figure would grow if the state and local tax deduction is not eliminated. [Pols emphasis]

Trouble? Wait…you mean to say that Congressional Republicans aren’t unified about how to overhaul the nation’s tax laws?

The problem Republicans are facing with tax reform legislation is strangely similar to what they ran into with repeated attempts at repealing Obamacare: Lawmakers are starting to understand that what they’re being sold by GOP leadership is vastly different than what the tax proposal would actually accomplish. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, and President Trump are in general agreement on a set of talking points that are about as authentic as a Rex Tillerson press conference. Trump and friends are trying to sell a 1988 Ford Taurus with talking points from a Ferrari dealership, and Republicans aren’t buying it:

Senator Paul is far from the only Republican confused by this new tax proposal. As NPR reports:

President Trump and congressional Republicans have pitched their tax plan as a boost for the middle class.

“The rich will not be gaining at all with this plan,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with lawmakers in mid-September.

But analysts at the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center who studied the proposal reached a very different conclusion. They predict that nearly three-quarters of the savings from the tax overhaul would go to the top 20 percent of earners — those making more than $149,000. More than half the savings would go to the top 1 percent — people who earn more than $732,800. [Pols emphasis] The tax breaks are even more tilted to the wealthy by the 10th year of the overhaul, when the Tax Policy Center projects nearly 80 percent of the savings would go to the top 1 percent of earners.

Republican leaders want to sell this proposal as a huge — YUGE! — benefit to the American middle class, but the math doesn’t add up. It’s no wonder that Senate Republicans are trying to get rid of a rule that requires a CBO score of legislation to be made public for at least 28 hours before a vote. Again, from NPR:

The tax benefits for the rich in the GOP plan are direct, obvious and easily quantified. Many of the promised benefits for the middle class, on the other hand, are indirect, speculative and uncertain…

So how do the tax plan’s supporters claim that it’s focused on the middle class? By highlighting speculative, indirect gains that are supposed to result from economic growth…

…Rather than simply promise that the government will cut the tax bill for working families — many of whom pay little income tax already — the GOP is arguing that its tax plan will promote growth, which in turn will boost employment, and over time result in higher wages. Break any link of that chain and the middle-class “winnings” end up in someone else’s pocket. [Pols emphasis]…

And so on, and so forth, until the middle class becomes so obscenely wealthy that they have to start lobbying for another round of tax cuts for rich people like them. This theory of “supply side economics,” or as it came to be known in the Reagan era, “trickle-down economics” does not work. We don’t have to speculate about whether or not it could work. It doesn’t. There is plenty of data to prove this. It is (again) no wonder why President Trump’s administration recently suppressed a 2012 report from the Office of Tax Analysis (OTA) that essentially lays bare the fact that this tax proposal would do the exact opposite of what Trump claims would happen.

The NPR story we cited above is an excellent resource for understanding the ins and outs of the Republican tax plan, but it’s a bit of a long read. For an even more briefer-er look, we put together this graphic to help you understand Republican math on healthcare and tax reform. If any of this makes sense to you, then you might be a Member of Congress:

Get More Smarter on Thursday (October 5)

The Colorado Rockies made the playoffs this year, but you missed it if you didn’t catch Wednesday’s game in Arizona. 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…

► Tens of thousands of Colorado children are in serious trouble if Congress does not renew funding for CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program that expired at the end of September. The Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday took the first step toward renewing CHIP funding with a bill sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

 

► Today is the last day for DACA recipients to renew permits before the process is closed under a policy shift announced last month by the Trump administration.

 

► Colorado Senate Republican leaders pledged not to do their jobs when the legislature convened for a brief session to fix an unintentional legislative error this week, and they succeeded in doing nothing once again. But the decisions of Republican leaders such as Senate President Kevin Grantham are looking even worse with the news that legislation to fix SB-267 would have passed in the Senate had a floor vote been permitted.

State Sen. Chris Holbert is among those Republican leaders whose reputations took a hit this week. Holbert was quoted by the Denver Post saying that he “did not swear an oath to uphold the opinion of a court” and preferred to follow his constituents’ interpretation of the State Constitution rather than, you know, facts.

 

► Former Judge Roy Moore, who easily defeated Sen. Luther Strange in a Republican Primary in Alabama last month, showed up unexpectedly in Washington D.C. on Wednesday and caused quite a stir. As the Washington Post reports, Moore apparently met with NRSC head Cory Gardner, despite the best efforts of both men to pretend othewise:

Rather than meeting with McConnell, Moore was on the House side of the Capitol on Wednesday. In a brief interview as he left the office of Rep. Robert B. Aderholt in the afternoon, Moore said he had no meetings set up with McConnell or members of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the Senate majority’s campaign arm, which spent millions trying to defeat Moore in the primary.

“Nothing confirmed,” he said casually, as an aide tried to head off questions. Asked why he decided to come to Washington, Moore simply replied: “Beautiful place.”

In the evening, Moore met with the NRSC chairman, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), according to a Republican close to Gardner and a second Republican familiar with the talk who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the closed-door session. Moore’s campaign declined to comment.

The meeting appeared to be hastily arranged, given Moore’s afternoon remark and Gardner’s uncertainty earlier in the day, as he and other Republicans struggled to save face.

“I haven’t looked at the schedule — I don’t know that yet,” Gardner said around midday, when asked whether he planned to meet with Moore.

The entire story is worth a read; Republicans who feared Moore and his right-wing supporters seem to have plenty of reason to be nervous. Moore’s Senate campaign was also a referendum on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom the Alabama nominee has openly criticized.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Gardner, Buck Among Top Recipients of NRA Money

As the New York Times reports today, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) are among the top career recipients of campaign money — among current members of Congress — from the National Rifle Association (NRA).

We’ll just leave this here…

No Nibiru, just rural Democrats causing trouble.

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

So the world didn’t end today (yet). I  bet a 6th grader a chocolate bar that we’d still have class Monday.  His older brother had told him for sure that September 23 was it. Young students are all on Facebook, gobbling up and sharing every bit of fake news and conspiracy theory out there.

The eclipse, the hurricanes, and the earthquakes proved that doomsday was at hand.

This didn’t happen. Nibiru hitting earth, debunked on Snopes.com

My more sciencey students rushed to debunk this: “If there was a planet about to hit the earth, we would have seen it coming! Planets don’t just jump out of their orbits and go wherever they want! NASA says it’s not true. ”

I love that they’re paying attention in science class, and using evidence-based arguments.

But, no Nibiru in sight. Just another day, living the dream in northeast Colorado. Something else surprising is happening, though….Democrats are organizing in Northeast Colorado, and in rural counties all over the state.

At Octoberfest, it was chilly and drizzly. Felt like fall.  The Morgan County Democrats were boothed next to the American Legion, so we had lots of opportunities to chat while we waited for people to stop by.

I quickly found that we could talk about anything as long as I didn’t directly criticize the President. They could criticize him, though, and did. “Needs to take a Speech 101 class,” said a spry old gentleman who later showed off his world-class polka moves. “He’s embarrassing us with all the tweeting,” confided a lifelong Republican.

Democrats were zeroing in on us, too. “You have a booth? Here? How many Democrats are in Morgan County?” Turns out, about 3,000 registered Dems to about 6,000 registered Republicans, with ~4,500 unaffiliated. Dems have kept rather quiet until now, what with that 2:1 disadvantage.

But those days are gone. Dems had big, loud, crowded floats in all of the recent town parades.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (September 8)

In these times of escalating partisan rancor, it’s nice to know that we can all come together in a shared dislike of Tom Brady. 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…

► Congress this morning gave final approval to a $15 billion disaster relief package in the wake of Hurricane Harvey…just as Hurricane Irma prepares to throttle Florida. President Trump is apparently quite excited that his show of “bipartisanship” this week has attracted so much positive media coverage. As NBC News reports:

Trump expressed that he was thrilled with the positive news coverage the debt limit deal had received, a senior Democratic aide told NBC News.

“The people of the United States want to see a coming together, at least to an extent. We’re different parties, we have different thoughts, different feelings, different ideas. But I think you’re coming to see a much stronger coming together,” Trump told reporters at the White House Thursday.

Earlier in the day he said he looks forward to working with both Republicans and Democrats.

You’re a good wittle President, aren’t you? Yes, you are! 

 

► Anyway, back to the hurricane news…As the New York Times reports, nearly the entire state of Florida is in danger from one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded:

One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever recorded crescendoed over the Caribbean on Thursday, crumpling islands better known as beach paradises into half-habitable emergency zones and sideswiping Puerto Rico before churning north. It is expected to hit the Florida Keys and South Florida by Saturday night…

…Gov. Rick Scott of Florida urged extreme caution in the face of a powerful storm that could quickly change course. “Every Florida family must prepare to evacuate regardless of the coast you live on,” he said.

Hurricane Irma is the size of France — like, the entire country. Miami could take a near-direct hit by Sunday morning.

Meanwhile, a third potentially major hurricane, Jose, is right on the heels of Irma. And a major 8.1 magnitude earthquake was recorded off the southern coast of Mexico.

 

► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) has already dropped his plans to push a discharge petition for a House vote on DACA. As The Hill reports:

Coffman said he made an agreement with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to hold off on gathering support for his discharge petition for the bill, which would extend protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for three years.

Coffman filed the discharge petition on Tuesday, which would need 218 signatures to trigger a House floor vote. Discharge petitions are typically used by the House minority party to bring attention to legislation ignored by the majority-party leadership — but are rarely successful.

For a member of the House majority like Coffman to file a discharge petition was an exceedingly rare move.

If you were cynical about Coffman’s newfound commitment to DACA, well, go ahead and say, “I told you so.”

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman — Mike Coffman’s former spouse — doesn’t want any part of the controversy surrounding President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program for children of undocumented immigrants. Elsewhere, a group of 11 Democratic Governors are urging Congress to take swift action to assist DREAMERS.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Ken Buck Preparing to Announce Run for Attorney General

Rep. Ken Buck (R) prepares to press the “Attorney General campaign” button.

Dominoes, prepare thy fall.

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is apparently on the verge of making official his plan to run for Attorney General in 2018. From what we hear, a formal announcement is expected to happen in “days, not weeks.”

A few weeks ago we outlined the chaos that would result if current Attorney General Cynthia Coffman were to announce a run for Governor in 2018. Coffman has been hemming and hawing on that decision for some time, and Buck is apparently tired of waiting for her to make it official. It is important to note here that Buck does not plan on running against Coffman in a GOP Primary; many Republicans expect Coffman to run for Governor rather than re-election, so Buck is really just prodding her to get off of the metaphorical pot.

Buck has only been in Congress for two terms, first winning election in 2014 to fill the seat vacated by Cory Gardner’s ascension to the U.S. Senate. The former Weld County District Attorney would literally cut his salary in half if he is elected Attorney General, but Buck — who recently announced the death of the Republican Party — would apparently welcome the change because he’s generally miserable in Congress and isn’t getting anywhere in his efforts to drain the swamp.

There is no shortage of Republican candidates who would like their chance to be miserable in Congress. From what we hear, House Minority Leader Patrick Neville is already preparing as though he’ll be a candidate in a likely-crowded Republican Primary in CD-4. State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg and former state Senators Mark Scheffel, Tom Wiens and Scott Renfroe are also among the names to watch here.

Follow the Bouncing Ball if Coffman Runs for Governor

When a politician prepares to change jobs — either voluntarily or because of term limits — it can often create a ripple effect that extends several seats down the ballot in the next election. That’s exactly what may happen for Republicans if Attorney General Cynthia Coffman decides to run for Governor in 2018 instead of re-election.

If Coffman goes ahead with plans to seek the top job in the state, a decision that we hear is increasingly likely, it is widely presumed in Republican circles that Rep. Ken Buck — a former Weld County District Attorney — will leave his relatively-safe seat in Congress in order to run for Attorney General.

Should Buck leave CD-4 open for a new Representative, there will be no shortage of Republican suitors for the position. House Minority Leader Patrick Neville will almost certainly take a shot at Congress (remember, the boundaries of CD-4 creep south around Aurora to the Castle Rock area, which puts Neville’s state House seat in the district), but he won’t likely be alone in a Republican Primary. State Senator Jerry Sonnenberg and former state Senators Mark Scheffel, Tom Wiens and Scott Renfroe will all take a long look at running.  

In this scenario, openings would be created in HD-45 (Neville) and SD-1 (Sonnenberg) — both fairly safe GOP seats that would certainly draw plenty of interest among potential candidates looking to slide into a legislative seat.

We’ve been skeptical in this space about Cynthia Coffman’s chances at actually winning the Republican nomination for Governor, but the outcome of a potential Coffman campaign would do plenty to shake up Republican politics in Colorado no matter how well she performs as a candidate.

Ken Buck “Very Happy” as Part of “Dead” Republican Party

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Despite his belief that the Republican Party is “dead” and its soul “has rotted,” U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) loves his job as Congressman.

“I am very happy where I am,” Buck told KNUS’ Dan Caplis yesterday. “And I am really feeling emboldened, in a lot of ways, about things – having a voice that can try to change the direction of policy in DC. And so I’m very thankful for that.”

And Buck apparently has no plans to drop his GOP affiliation, even though some candidates might not want to be associated with a dead party.

Buck told KNUS’ Boyles today:

Buck: “There is still a Republican Party that is registered with the Secretary of State. You’ll still see it on the ballot. But in terms of a political party, who is fighting for the conservative beliefs that that you and I share – and that many others share – the Party is dead.”

But Buck has concluded that “the soul of the Republican Party has rotted, and the Party has died from within.”

Buck believes the Republican Party can rise from the dead, at least according to an op-ed he wrote in The Denver Post Monday.

Rep. Ken Buck – Still lying, but nicely

Representative Buck is a good communicator. His conversational skills were on display in his Sterling Town Hall on July 29, 2017.  He does not always tell the truth, and his point of view is limited to what one would expect from one of the ten most conservative members of the House of Representatives, and proud member of the ultra-right wing Freedom Caucus.  I’ve listed Buck’s lies and lies by omission below.

Buck handles these town halls well – he doesn’t get flustered when confronted, and  stayed in control with a crowd that was at least 50% Democratic and progressive. The impromptu town hall in Longmont got a little rowdier, but Buck still kept his cool.  I’d call the overall tone of the Sterling meeting “polite but firm” , for all parties involved.

Over the course of the  one hour town hall meeting, Buck and his constituents discussed the budget process, the health care bills past, present, and future, education, water law, Bitcoin and “crypto-currency”, renewable energy, constitutional convention, the VA hospital, and civility in politics. I’ve highlighted some of the places in which Representative Buck strayed from the truth.

  • At 22:59, during a renewable energy discussion , Buck said that he’s against mandates, not renewable energy, even though Colorado now gets 24% of its electricity from wind and solar, and wind turbine jobs are the fastest growing job category in the country. . He was unable to justify his statement that renewable energy is hurting Coloradans and costing them money.
  • At 30:00 Buck says he’s against unfunded mandates in education, but doesn’t commit to fund them.
  • At 39:00, Buck lies about how much ACA coverage cost in 2014. (ACA = $1800, wife’s plan =$108 – but not mentioning that the  Federal Government subsidizes all congressmembers health at 90%, so his remaining 10% cost would have been $180/mo). If you recall, Cory Gardner  tried to scam voters with this same BS, and was never able to show any proof that his ACA payment was more expensive than his private plan.
  • At 40:00 Rep. Buck says he wants to drive down costs of premiums & deductibles, but neglects to mention that the House AHCA bill would have driven those way up for consumers.
  • At 49:45 , he says we should encourage people to be healthier and drive down health care costs that way (but the bill he supported would have eliminated ACA’s preventative medicine coverage).
  • Buck told a LIE again at 51:13 when he said that the GOP congress “never attempted to repeal and replace” Obamacare. The GOP Congress voted over 50 times to “repeal the ACA, and Buck personally voted 3X since he was elected in 2014 to repeal the ACA.
  • Again, at 53: 00 when Buck is asked what can be done about the lack of civility in DC, he blames the media for publicizing sensational stories, not a Republican administration which refuses to work across the aisle, nor a President who models terrible and uncivil behavior.
  • At 53:30, Buck is asked about his book Drain the Swamp, and  if it is true that he wants to change the Constitution. He replies that he would like to have a Constitutional Convention, but only to get a balanced budget and term limits. Whew. It’s not like there are any Koch brothers or nuts out there who want a Con-con just to repeal the last two centuries of progress.

Ken Buck apparently also has access to the Trump White House connection to Breitbart public relations  services. Buck’s humorous “Cut the Debt” video

features Trey Gowdy, Mia Love, Ted Cruz, and other Congress members, and promotes his point of view that cutting the national debt is an urgent priority. It was a front page Breitbart story on 3/15/2017.

Ken Buck is still one of the most conservative members of Congress. People running against him need to confront him on policy and votes. He’s not stupid or undisciplined – he’s not going to curse anyone out or get into a sex or money scandal. He’ll be a formidable foe not least because he is so “nice” and “personable”. Candidates running against him need to be prepared to confront him on votes, policies, and facts, stay polite and respectful, but call his lies out when necessary.

Representative Buck has other town hall meetings scheduled. See his website for updates.

Ken Buck Says the Republican Party is Dead

Rep. Ken Buck to the rescue!

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) authored a pretty interesting Op-Ed in the Denver Post over the weekend in which he asserts that the Republican Party — of which he is a member — has destroyed itself:

The Republican Party is dead.

At one time, the blood of the people coursed through its veins, enlivening the party with their values and virtues, their goals and dreams. The party became its own energizing force, compelling people to sacrifice for a higher moral purpose.

But today’s Republican Party abandoned these people. It no longer represents their values. It no longer has a vision for a better America. And no one is stepping up to provide that vision…

…After eight years of assuring that unified Republican government would allow for conservative policy, our Republican Congress has accomplished little, except for passing a spending bill that shackles the aspirations of future generations with crippling debt.

Egads! The Republican Party is dead? To whom shall conservatives turn for guidance in these troubled times? Who will drag the Republican Party further to the right, where it (apparently) belongs?

We’re guessing Ken Buck is the answer to this question:

More than anything else, we need a vision, someone who has a message and a plan to unify this country. Instead, we’ve assembled a “b-team” of messengers who distract the nation with frivolities.

But Coloradans do not care about the frivolous. We care about the meaningful. We have a vision for the meaningful. If we can pass a balanced budget amendment, a responsible spending bill, and reforms of our health care system, of our tax system, of our entitlement system, and of our immigration system, then we can begin to fulfill the one-time destiny of this party, a destiny to offer hope and prosperity to the people of this great nation.

The Republican Party may well be dead, for many of the reasons Buck lists in this Op-Ed. Of course, it certainly doesn’t help that people like Buck are willing to throw the elephant in the lake in order to get the credit for diving in to save it from drowning.

Trump Transgender Service Ban Slammed From All Sides

So much for that.

A press release from One Colorado, the state’s principal LGBT advocacy group, slams an announcement via Twitter today from President Donald Trump, apparently barring transgender Americans from serving in the U.S. military:

One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and their families released the following statement from Daniel Ramos, Executive Director, on President Trump’s announcement that transgender people can no longer serve in the U.S. Military.

“President Trump just attacked thousands of patriotic transgender Americans who already serve in our military and who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and free. The U.S. military is the largest employer of transgender people in the world, employing an estimated 15,000 transgender people today.

“This is yet another example of the Trump Administration attacking the most vulnerable among us instead of bringing Americans together to fix the problems that face all of us. Transgender people — like all Americans — should be judged for their qualifications, nothing more, nothing less. As we learned in repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, allowing service members to serve with integrity strengthens our armed forces.

“Our veterans and military deserve better and we will fight against this vicious attack on dignity and equality. Transgender people are our friends, neighbors, and coworkers. They are veterans who have served with honor, and active duty service members who have sacrificed to protect our freedoms. When it comes to being able to serve their country, earn a living, having a place to live, or being served by a business, transgender people should be treated like anyone else and not be discriminated against.”

And as the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports, arch-conservative Rep. Ken Buck, a consistent Trump defender, is not happy with this decision:

Colorado Congressman Ken Buck, a Republican, pushed back against President Donald Trump’s decision Wednesday morning to bar transgender people from serving in the military “in any capacity.”

“America needs a military comprised of patriots willing to sacrifice for this country,” Buck, who represents Weld County and the Eastern Plains, said in a written statement to The Denver Post. “Any American who is physically and emotionally qualified should be allowed to serve.”

Buck, who led the high-profile Greeley hate-crime prosecution of the the killer of transgender woman Angie Zapata, was one of several members of Colorado’s congressional delegation to weigh in following Trump’s Twitter posts Wednesday morning.

In a statement, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs is supporting Trump, saying “there are too many unanswered medical, housing, readiness, and deployment questions to allow the previous policies of the Obama administration to continue.” That’s the only clear support we’ve seen from any elected official in Colorado, though others have yet to weigh in. As for Rep. Buck, it’s believed that his experience in the high-profile 2009 trial of the murderer of Greeley transgender woman Angie Zapata genuinely affected him, and made him more tolerant in the specific case of transgender people.

Obviously, this is a major setback for Trump’s not-insignificant number of defenders in the LGBT community–and we expect the president’s daughter Ivanka Trump will have even more trouble explaining this, like so many other things her dad has said and done, to her socially liberal wealthy friends in NYC. With all of the very real problems besetting the Trump administration today, there’s only one reason why Trump would voluntarily open himself to this whole new line of fully avoidable criticism.

It’s petty and mean-spirited, but it’s also a distraction.

That Ridiculous “Trolls” Video, Though


The weekend’s main political event in Denver after a big week for local Republicans was the Western Conservative Summit, which played host to a large number of conservative politicos, interest groups, and individual activists–and featured a memorable disruption of Sen. Cory Gardner’s speech by disability-rights activists.

But what people are talking about most today is a video shot for Jeff Hunt of the WCS’ sponsoring organization Colorado Christian University, featuring a bevy of Colorado elected officials and Hunt dancing to the tune of Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling”–as featured (without a shred of irony) in the hit Dreamworks animated movie Trolls! Now the video hasn’t yet been taken down for copyright violations, so we assume the song was licensed? Either way, Denverite:

Described as the largest gathering of conservatives outside of Washington, D.C., the summit started Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday at the Colorado Convention Center. The video features Colorado Republicans dancing all over Denver, though some of them are closer to “dancing.”

They were at the State Capitol, the Convention Center, Little Man Ice Cream, Ace Eat Serve and apparently an Audi dealership — among other locations…

Using the song from Trolls is doubly ironic once you see what the internet did to this video within moments of its release. See–George Brauchler dancing a jig!

See–Rep. Ken Buck blow ’em away!

See–Jeff Hunt loving him some Audi R8. Call it the “prosperity Gospel?”

Sen. Cory Gardner and Hunt say, “it’s fun to stay at the W-C-S!” Except you’re on camera, so do it backwards! Crap, too late:

Cory Gardner, cool guy in the Corvette gets turned into:

Check out more examples at Denverite, or show us your own in comments.

And no matter how good it sounds in a staff meeting, don’t ever let this happen to you! The internet is a cruel, unforgiving place–where context has no obligation to exist at all. Until you’ve thought through not just how a video like this will be received, but how it will be used against you out of context…just don’t.

Every so often it’s necessary for the political class to relearn this lesson the hard way.

Buck Blasts U.S. Chamber of Commerce

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The schism between business groups and some members of the Republican Party in Colorado came into sharp focus Saturday when U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO), speaking on conservative radio, lit into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

In an interview about his book Drain the Swamp, Buck was asked by KNUS 710-AM’s Chuck Bonniwell about the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Listen, hour 3, at 15 min)

“They are one of the big problems in Washington DC,” replied Buck. “They affirmatively go after conservatives. Tim Huelskamp lost his seat in the western district of Kansas because of the U.S. Chamber targeting Tim as a conservative, and defeating him. They play, and they play very hard. We have some groups on the right, like Club for Growth, that also target folks. But, you know, the Chamber is a corporate cronyist organization that promotes corporate interests at the expense of conservative values. There are a lot of stories to tell about the swamp, and if I didn’t mention the Chamber, they certainly deserve to be mentioned.”

A spokesman from the Chamber promised to return my call with the Chamber’s decision on whether to respond to Buck.

Syndicated right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin, who resides in Colorado, has a similar view of the Chamber, writing in 2014. “The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a politically entrenched synod of special interests. These fat cats do not represent the best interests of American entrepreneurs, American workers, American parents and students, or Americans of any race, class, or age who believe in low taxes and limited government. The chamber’s business is the big business of the Beltway, not the business of mainstream America.”

Buck’s comments came after some Republicans in the Colorado General Assembly appeared to anger business groups by voting against a measure that classified a hospital fee as a business enterprise within the Colorado budget, freeing millions of dollars for health, transportation, and other state priorities.

After his vote against the legislation, which passed, State Sen. Ray Scott (R-Alamosa) alleged that the Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce was so angry at him that the organization refused to read Scott’s letter about the General Assembly session at an annual breakfast.

Scott wrote on Facebook that he’s either “chopped liver” or, according to Scott, “they wanted to see how many would notice” [his absence from the meeting].

Good News! Week of June 3-June 10

(Get More…Gooder! – promoted by Colorado Pols)

This diary, which I hope to publish every Friday, will be all about small victories in the big battles: People doing the right thing for the right reasons. Stories of bravery, generosity, caring, and integrity. Where possible, I’ve connected this to Colorado politics and stories.

This is a selfish project for me – I need to see those small victories and uplifting stories just to keep going as an activist. Without them, it’s too easy to be overwhelmed by the flood of bad news and attacks on democracy and civil rights, and simply stop trying to keep politicians accountable.

There are many “good news” items I haven’t covered; more possible categories for good news are: Race, discrimination, justice, bizarre news, animals, marches, town halls, community organizing, “the resistance”. Where another organization such as ProgressNow Colorado reports on “How to fight back this week”, I’m not going to duplicate coverage. As always, add your own “good news” stories and commentary.

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What’s The Matter With Kansas, Weld County Edition

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

The Greeley Tribune’s Sharon Dunn reports from Weld County, Colorado, where a solidly Republican electorate voted for Donald Trump last November–and now face the consequences of their vote:

About 73,584 Weld County residents use Medicaid, according to the most recent count by the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy & Financing. That’s about 24 percent of the county.

With President Donald Trump’s budget plan calling for $800 billion in cuts to the federal Medicaid program over the next 10 years and reports that the American Health Care Act, if passed, could leave 23 million more people across the country uninsured, it’s likely Weld residents will feel the changes…

So we’re clear,  these are not positive changes. Unless you’re Weld County’s congressman, GOP Rep. Ken Buck:

The Congressional Budget Office released a report May 24 estimating the direct spending and revenue effects of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House but has yet to go to the Senate. The report estimates the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over the coming decade.

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., who voted for the bill, said it’s important to reduce the country’s deficit.

“It is clear we have healthy, able-bodied men and women who can join the workforce who are not in the workforce, and we have got to cut benefits [Pols emphasis] and incentivize employment in this country,” Buck said.

There are few members of Congress willing to be as frank about the goals of Republican policy as Ken Buck. Other Republicans couch their desire to cut people off from social safety nets in platitudes about offering “better” services to needy Americans than what current law provides, or highlight individual cases of people who aren’t seeing the benefits of reform.

It’s another thing completely to say we have to cut benefits to “incentivize” lazy Americans to go to work. Buck is evoking the worst kind of prejudice against recipients of all kinds of public assistance, the assumption that safety nets breed dependency and complacency instead of bridging financial gaps any family could face. The argument that we need to “incentivize employment” by cutting public assistance assumes a lack of work ethic that is simply offensive to recipients–especially considering how many recipients work full time at jobs that don’t pay enough to cover basic needs.

With all of this in mind, Rep. Buck’s dismissive insult of 24% of the population of the largest county in his congressional district is politically mind boggling to us. There is nothing to be gained politically from making such heartless assumptions about thousands of your own constituents. With so many residents on Medicaid, even the most hard case talk radio-loving social Darwinist knows someone who could be affected. We’re not saying this could endanger Buck’s re-election in his deep red district, but it’s horrible both for his own public image and for the Republican brand generally. It undermines more moderate Republicans looking to put a kinder face on these proposals.

Ken Buck’s lack of a filter is at least as big a threat to fellow Republicans as it is to Buck personally.