Caption This Photo: President-elect Donald and an Unhappy Mitt

Here’s the photo making the rounds as meme fodder today, from President-elect Donald Trump’s dinner with 2012 GOP presidential loser Mitt Romney at the Jean Georges restaurant in the Trump International Hotel:

You’ll recall that Gov. Romney was one of Trump’s most vicious critics during the Republican primary, calling Trump a “fraud” and charging that Trump’s “promises are as worthless as a degree from Trump University.”

Now that Trump is President-elect, that crow looks wonderful.

In Trump era, what to do about Muslim haters on Colorado talk radio?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Peter Boyles.

Peter Boyles.

Bigotry toward Muslims is part of the hot air on some Colorado talk-radio shows, so much so that you get inured to it and kind of accept it.

But now that Trump is about to be president, the air seems a lot hotter, and it’s impossible to ignore right-wing bigotry as fringe craziness.

How can you not worry about the safety of Muslims in our community when you listen to, for example, KNUS radio’s Peter Boyles, who’s a notorious birther and bigot?

At this moment, with Trump on the White House doorstep, can we/ should we/ pretend not to hear Boyles’ hatred? And what to do about it?

In an on-air discussion yesterday morning with a fellow bigot named Tim Furnish, Boyles denounced Islam and said Muslims are incapable of respecting the U.S. Consitution and the fundamental values of the United States, due to their religious beliefs, essentially saying there is no place for Muslims in our country.

FURNISH: There’s a real incompatibility between Islam and Western-style government democracy. There just is.

BOYLES: It doesn’t work! They don’t work!

FURNISH: They don’t work together. This incompatibility is not extremist. It is intrinsic to Islam.

BOYLES: Agreed.

FURNISH: … Islam has never come to terms with, as they say, modernity. Islam has never come to terms with the idea of a secular state that has not imposed a religion –even the majority religion–on people. Because at the heart of Islam–going back to Mohammed himself, the Quran, the Hadith, so-called sayings of Mohammed, and 1400 years of Islamic practice– is that where there is a majority of Muslims, Islamic Law must be instituted. And where there is a minority of Muslims, they should fight – at first, maybe peacefully and then later through jihad – for the imposition of Islamic Law. This tension will not go away.

BOYLES: Yeah, it’s, “First – first—“.

FURNISH: And you cannot make Western democracy work with Islamic ideals. They are incompatible.

BOYLES: “First we crawl, then we walk, then we run.”

FURNISH: Right.

BOYLES: That’s why — I mean, it’s happening before your very eyes. Hillary Clinton got all twisted up about all of the stuff, and went after Trump. Trump is telling the truth.

If you’re saying Islam “doesn’t work” with “Western-style government democracy,” and you’re agreeing that even a minority of Muslims in a country will eventually wage jihad, then you’re basically saying Muslims have no place in the United States. Worse, you are saying all Muslims are a constant threat. How else to interpret this?

Elsewhere in this interview, Boyles said Muslims aren’t the ones who are the victims of a McCarthy-like attack. It’s Peter Boyles who’s actually under attack, according to Boyles!

“Progressives,” Boyles said on air, “They hunt for victims.”

(more…)

Wednesday Open Thread

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. Yet that will be the beginning.”

–Louis L’Amour

Morgan Carroll Runs For Colorado Democratic Party Chair

Sen. Morgan Carroll.

Sen. Morgan Carroll.

As the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports, Colorado Democratic Party chairman Rick Palacio announced today that he will not seek another term, creating an opening for one of the most important jobs on the left side of the aisle in our state:

Rick Palacio, the chair of Colorado’s Democratic party, announced in an email Tuesday that he won’t seek re-election to the position he’s held for six years.

With a “new year also comes new beginnings, so I’m reaching out to you to let you know that when our party reorganizes this spring, I will begin a new adventure and I won’t be seeking re-election as your party chair,” he wrote.

Palacio did not specify in the email what he plans to do next, and in a follow-up phone call declined to say what’s ahead for him. But he said he wants state Sen. Morgan Carroll, who lost a bid this year to unseat U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, to take his place.

What we’ve heard is that Sen. Morgan Carroll is in, and is busy as we write consolidating support among the party faithful. Carroll may not be the only candidate to throw her hat in, with the last unsuccessful challenger to Palacio, Dave Sabados, and Bennet for Colorado outreach director Lily Griego both rumored to be interested. With that said, Carroll is certainly the biggest name in the mix, and her years of experience as a legislative candidate make her a highly qualified choice–perhaps enough to clear the field entirely.

We’re sure to have more updates as the party chair election gets closer, so stay tuned.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (November 29)

Get More SmarterToday is just Tuesday. Not “black” or “cyber” — just Tuesday. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► President-elect Donald Trump continues stocking up on middle-aged white dudes for his cabinet. On Tuesday, Trump announced that Georgia Rep. Tom Price — a fierce critic of Obamacare — has been selected to serve as the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services. As the Washington Post reports:

As HHS secretary, Price would be the nation’s top health official and the incoming administration’s point person for dismantling the sprawling 2010 health-care law, which Trump promised during his campaign to start dismantling on his first day in the Oval Office. The 62-year-old lawmaker, who represents a wealthy suburban Atlanta district, has played a leading role in Republican opposition to the law and has helped draft several comprehensive bills to replace it. The GOP-led House has voted five dozen times to eliminate all or part of the ACA but has never had a chance to accomplish its goal as long as President Obama has been in the White House.

Elsewhere, Trump selected former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao to serve as his Transportation Secretary. Chao served in the cabinet under the administration of George W. Bush and is the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, which probably turned out to be a decent reference to call upon.

 

► President-elect Troll Trump continues his habit of late-night (or early morning) Twitter rants:


This is one of those Trump Tweets that you have every reason to be concerned about; flag-burning may not make you the most popular kid in the neighborhood, but it has repeatedly been ruled by the courts to be a consitutionally-protected form of free speech (via the First Amendment).

Speaking of First Amendment issues, Trump is also mad at CNN — again — for its habit of doing journalism.

 

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

Trump backer announces bid for GOP state chair

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

George Athanasopoulos.

George Athanasopoulos.

After an unsuccessful bid to unseat U.S Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), George Athanasopoulos announced this morning that he’ll be running to be Colorado Republican chair.

Athanasopoulos, who was an early Trump backer, made the announcement on KNUS 710-AM’s early morning show, hosted by Peter Boyles, who was also a loud Trump supporter.

The current GOP chair, Steve House, plans to finish his term and will decide in January whether to seek another one.

“My term ends in March and I will serve out my term completely and a decision on whether I run again or not will be made between January 1st and inauguration day,” House told me via email.

Boyles inaccurately alleged on air that House has announced that he’d not run again.

“I watched Steve House lead the walkout on Trump,” said Boyles, referring to the GOP national convention in Cleveland. “Now, you wonder why the state of Colorado is blue.”

In fact, House not only did not lead the walk out, he participate in it at all.

(more…)

Wayne Williams, Unlikely GOP Voice of Reason

Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

Secretary of State Wayne Williams.

We’re in the odd position of complimenting Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State Wayne Williams once again, as Williams again publicly disputes the unhinged accusations spewing from the Twitter account of the President-elect of the United States Donald Trump–as 9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman reports:

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams (R) seemed puzzled Monday by President-elect Donald Trump’s false assertion that “millions” of votes were cast illegally in the election earlier this month.

“People don’t always clear every tweet with me,” Williams said of his own party’s leader when asked about the political wisdom of Trump casting doubt on an election he’s already won…

On Sunday afternoon, Trump made the baseless claim on Twitter that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Williams says elections are not perfect, but said he’s seen no evidence of widespread fraud or mistakes in the American electoral system. [Pols emphasis]

We’ll admit that during Williams’ campaign for election for Secretary of State in 2014, we were not impressed by his rather feeble attempts to mimic his predecessor Scott “Honey Badger” Gessler’s rank partisanship in the then-fashionable trashing of Colorado’s 2013 election reform law. Since his election, however, Williams’ viewpoint on Colorado’s mail ballot system has brightened considerably. And as Trump ramped up his groundless accusations on the campaign trail this year that the “election is rigged,” Williams publicly disputed Trump, and assured the public that the election system both in Colorado and elsewhere was fundamentally sound.

While Williams has equivocated from time to time in an effort to not overly disparage his incoming fellow Republican President, and still fits his pet criticisms of election reform into the discussion where he can, comparing Williams’ relative honesty to the nonsensical field day Gessler would be having with Trump’s baseless allegations if he were still Secretary of State makes Williams look like an elder statesman.

And we’ll admit that is not something we would have predicted in 2014.

Tuesday Open Thread

“You can wipe out your opponents. But if you do it unjustly you become eligible for being wiped out yourself.”

–Ernest Hemingway

Advocacy journalism is expanding in Colorado. Can you trust it?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Denver Post reporter John Frank.

Denver Post reporter John Frank.

While most people were asleep last week, the Colorado Independent’s Corey Hutchins reported Denver Post political reporter John Frank’s view, offered during a panel discussion Nov. 15, that partisan news seems to be expanding in Colorado.

The Colorado Statesman is run by a former Republican lawmaker, The Colorado Springs Gazette started a great new political experiment I’m super excited about but their lead writer on their new political vertical is a former Republican staffer,” he said. “I am very concerned about us moving toward that partisan side of news but I think there’s a reason we’re moving in that direction— it’s because I think that’s where the money is.”

Not only is the Statesman run by a former Republican lawmaker, it’s controlled by Larry Mizel, a major GOP donor and supporter of Trump. (What’s worse, Mizel and the Statesman are mum about who owns the newspaper.)

It’s pretty clear that Frank is right that advacacy journalism is expanding here.

The sad story of the demise of Colorado Health News, as told to me last year by the publication’s former editor, Diane Carman, reinforces the point.

(more…)

Hickenlooper for President Rumors Resurface for 2020

How about a President John Hickenlooper?

How about a President John Hickenlooper?

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper was often mentioned in the lead-up to the 2016 Presidential Primaries as a potential Democratic candidate for the top job in the land.

As a popular Governor from a swing state, Hickenlooper’s name has been mentioned as a Presidential candidate numerous times over the past six years (here’s one from 2013, and here’s a mention from 2011). Hickenlooper was also reportedly a consideration for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, a job that ultimately went to Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (though Hick did get a big-time speaking slot at the Democratic National Convention as something of a consolation prize).

Because it’s never too early to talk about the next election, Chris Cillizza of “The Fix” offered up his top guesses for potential Democratic Presidential candidates in 2020. Guess who made the list?

Gov. John Hickenlooper: The Colorado governor was almost Clinton’s vice-presidential pick this time around. And in a field filled with Washington types, the governor of a swing state in the West could have real appeal. Hickenlooper also has a terrific life story — a Denver brewery owner who became mayor and governor — and a down-home demeanor that screams, “I am not a politician.” Hickenlooper’s biggest problem as a candidate may be that he is viewed as too moderate for the current Democratic Party. But some governor (Missouri’s Jay Nixon? Delaware’s Jack Markell?) will run for president, and, at the moment, Hickenlooper seems first among equals for that role.

Cillizza’s early list is very much preliminary and has already been changed to include several more names. Hickenlooper is an obvious name to include on an early 2020 list — as Cillizza wrote, “some governor will run for president” — but is it a real possibility?

Seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination certainly makes more sense for Hickenlooper in 2020 than it did in 2016. The most obvious reason, of course, is that Hick is term-limited in 2018 and will have plenty of time on his hands. Running in 2016 never seemed likely, both because Clinton was essentially entrenched as the Democratic nominee and because Hick had just been re-elected to a second term in 2014.

In the debut episode of The Get More Smarter Show in May, we asked Hickenlooper about how seriously he might have considered seeking the Presidency in 2016. Hick was not shy about expressing his concern in first making it through a partisan primary (question begins around the 13:20 mark):

“I’m the type of person — a small business guy who’s really not a traditional politician. I wouldn’t do well in a primary.”

It is true that Hickenlooper’s moderate image would not have been ideal for seeking the 2016 Democratic Presidential nomination — which is a point we’ve made in this space before — but 2020 could be a different story. Hickenlooper was much more active as a partisan surrogate for Democratic candidates in the last election cycle, and he has two more years as governor to demonstrate a more liberal agenda that could interest potential primary voters. Add to this the fact that the 2020 field should be fairly wide-open (barring the outcome of recounts, of course), and a potential Hickenlooper Presidential run makes more sense than it ever did before.

We’d still guess that a Hickenlooper run for President is unlikely, but much depends on how he decides to position himself for his remaining years as Governor and what kind of outreach (and response) he might garner from the chattering/donor class in the next 12-18 months. After all — a President Hickenlooper wouldn’t be more of a surprise than a President Donald Trump.

Uncertainty Marks Planned Parenthood Terror Attack Anniversary

komen-planned-parenthood4-1The Colorado Springs Gazette ran a number of stories over the holiday weekend commemorating the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic on Black Friday 2015 that changed much–and yet changed nothing at all–about the raging debate over abortion rights in America:

Many…involved in the Black Friday attacks – victims, witnesses, survivors – don’t wish to speak. The relatives of those slain – Jennifer Markovsky, Ke’Arre Stewart and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs police officer Garrett Swasey – turned down interview requests by The Gazette.

Two-dozen officers have since been awarded the department’s Medal of Honor, its highest commendation for bravery. They include Mike Zamonas, the Colorado Springs police officer who lost a finger in the shooting. Dozens more received the Medal of Valor and Distinguished Service Award.

At the Police Foundation of Colorado Springs’ annual Medal of Valor observance this month, the pain and weight of what happened were palpable. The officers hugged each other, and their eyes welled.

Confessed Planned Parenthood domestic terrorist Robert Dear has not faced trial for the murders committed that day due to being ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial. Karen Middleton of NARAL Pro Choice Colorado says that’s a mistake:

Karen Middleton heads NARAL Pro-Choice Colorado which is part of a coalition with Planned Parenthood. She feels the admitted killer is competent and his actions amounted to domestic terrorism.

“He planned it, made a vest, made propane, all sorts of things are premeditated and I think he should be standing trial,” she said.

The attack on the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic occurred after almost a full year of false claims that the organization was involved in the sale of “baby body parts”–a sensationalized reference to longstanding fetal tissue donation programs for medical research the organization had participated in with patients who voluntarily consented. Those false claims were repeated by too many Republican politicians at the state and national levels to mention them all, but after Dear admitted he attacked the clinic to stop the flow of “baby parts” these claims tapered off–at least for awhile.

In Colorado, at least two Republican state lawmakers lost their seats as a result of regrettable on-record comments about the Planned Parenthood attack: Rep. Kit Roupe who falsely claimed the shooting was a “robbery gone wild,” and Rep. JoAnn Windholz, who outright blamed Planned Parenthood for the violence committed against the organization.

But apart from those two directly attributable election defeats it’s hard to find negative consequences for Republican anti-choice politicians, despite a reasonable argument that they helped provoke Robert Dear’s terrorism. From the Colorado legislature to Congress, anti-choice politicians who rode the fact-free “baby body parts” moral panic to prominence in 2015 did not suffer at the polls in 2016. In fact, their power grew in Congress and in state houses across the nation. The witch-hunt investigations continue. And despite all the election-year assurances that abortion rights were “settled law,” a man who has vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade has been elected President.

And so a year later, we’re obliged to conclude with dismay that the Planned Parenthood terrorist has won.

Or at the very least, he has not lost.

Get More Smarter on Monday (November 28)

Get More SmarterHappy Cyber Monday! To celebrate, today’s edition of Get More Smarter is completely free (sans shipping and handling). It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. 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…

► President-elect Donald Trump is casting doubts on the legitimacy of his own election. From Politico:

Donald Trump on Sunday used his platform as president-elect to peddle a fringe conspiracy theory to justify his loss of the popular vote, claiming without evidence that millions of people voted illegally Nov. 8.

Trump’s tweets marked an unprecedented rebuke of the U.S. electoral system by a president-elect and met with immediate condemnation from voting experts and others. And they offered a troubling indication that Trump’s ascension to the highest political office in the United States may not alter his penchant for repeating unproven conspiracy theories perpetuated by the far right.

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump wrote on Twitter. There is no evidence to support Trump’s claim and PolitiFactruled it false.

Several hours later, he added more specifics, but again without any evidence: “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California — so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias — big problem!”

Election law experts quickly rejected Trump’s claims as far-fetched.

Trump’s comments on Sunday are confusing to say the least; the President-elect is almost making an argument in favor of a recount of his own victory. Last week, Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein moved forward with a plan demanding a recount of votes in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania; on Monday, officials in Wisconsin set Thursday as the starting date for a recount. Casting your own doubts on the legitimacy of the 2016 election is not a good strategy when you are simultaneously trying to delegitimize efforts that could cost you the election.

 

► Trump-whisperer Kellyanne Conway is definitely not on board with the possibility that Mitt Romney could be named Secretary of State. From “The Fix”:

Kellyanne Conway made one thing very clear in her Sunday interview with “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd: She’s not a fan of Mitt Romney. Like, at all.

Here’s how she responded to Todd’s question about her feelings about the 2012 Republican presidential nominee:

People feel betrayed to think that Governor Romney, who went out of his way to question the character and the intellect and the integrity of Donald Trump, now our president-elect, would be given the most significant cabinet post of all, secretary of state. And that is a decision that only one man can make, President-elect Donald Trump. I will respect it, and I will support it 1,000 percent. But I’m reflecting what the grass roots are saying…

They feel a bit betrayed that you can get a Romney back in there after everything he did. We don’t even know if he voted for Donald Trump. He and his consultants were nothing but awful to Donald Trump for a year. [Pols emphasis]

Trump is scheduled to meet again with Romney on Tuesday.

 

► As much as Colorado Republicans would like to blame the federal government, Colorado is not facing crippling budget problems because of Medicaid. Get the facts first.

 

 

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

Banker Scott Tipton Finally Gets His Chance

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

Rep. Scott Tipton (R).

GOP Rep. Scott Tipton, the Western Slope Republican who trades heavily on his “profession” as co-owner of Mesa Verde Indian Pottery, is excited to reveal his other talents to the world under the incoming Donald Trump administration and undivided Republican Congress! As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Gary Harmon reports:

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., will reintroduce three measures that he has already introduced to reduce the effects of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said regulations issued by the Obama administration in recent months will get close congressional review and possibly reversal once the GOP-run Congress is in place and Donald J. Trump is in the Oval Office…

Tipton is looking to continue his efforts to pass legislation aimed at reducing regulatory burdens aimed at larger banks that must be met by small, community banks, Tipton said.

Another measure aimed at increasing banking services for rural-area residents will be reintroduced, as well, Tipton said.

Former U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., half of the Dodd-Frank tandem, has conceded that the measure likely overreached, especially on its effect on community banks, Tipton said…

Not everything will be rolled back, Tipton said, noting that new financial instruments are on the market and that consumer protections still are in order, but that so are cost-benefit analyses and “a level of common sense.” [Pols emphasis]

Now the truth is that former Rep. Barney Frank has only mentioned a couple of changes he would make to his namesake banking reform law, including raising the minimum amount of assets required to mandate a higher degree of scrutiny of a bank. By contrast, Tipton has expressed a desire to go much farther in dismantling the law’s protections than anything former Rep. Frank would ever support–even if that’s not the impression you get from Tipton in this story.

And the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Tipton playbook, which we doubt very many people in CD-3 care much about–especially right now–is one of the few places you can find out the answer:

Scott Tipton served on the board of directors for Vectra Bank Colorado from 1998 to 2005. [Pols emphasis] During Tipton’s tenure as a bank board member for Vectra Bank, there were reported incidences of Vectra Bank charging exorbitant interest rates to rural Colorado farmers. Additionally, Vectra Bank made the decision in early 2003 to close several rural banks in rural Colorado. In 2010, when Tipton’s participation with Vectra Bank was questioned by the Salazar campaign, Tipton denied his involvement as a bank board member for Vectra Bank.

There’s no mention of it in Tipton’s official congressional biography, but the truth is that Tipton was a much more influential banker than pottery maker. It’s understandable that Tipton “forgot” to mention this in his bio, since bankers don’t have a very good reputation.

Anyway, we’ll have to wait and see what Tipton’s next moves are with regard to rolling back regulations on the banking industry, though the current climate among congressional Republicans as Trump prepares to take office has been described as “heady.” Trump’s transition team has specifically mentioned Dodd-Frank as an early repeal target, without all that happy talk about keeping parts of the law that protect consumers.

It will be interesting to see if banker Scott Tipton is as beloved as the pottery maker when it’s over.

A Pox On John Elway

A POX ON JOHN ELWAY

Tim Tebow has new book out and is making the circuit on cable promoting his story. His story is one of shame for John Elway and the NFL. After taking over the Bronco’s Elway trades Tebow, brings in Manning and drafts Osweiler to back up Manning. Now I can understand taking advantage of Manning at that point in time but to trade a player who had the number one selling jersey in the NFL, won a playoff game, and was team motivator, made Bronco football exciting, made no sense at all. The real reason for the trade was Tebow’s overt expression of his faith which was too much for Elway to have to deal with. The NFL along with marginal, talking head quarter back, Boomer Esiason savaged Tebow for his faith and allowed the NFL and its owners cover, to engage in ethnic cleansing of Tebow from the NFL.

So Tebow a class human being is driven from the NFL, while the reprobate Colin Kaepernick is held up as a pillar of free speech and protest. The values of Kaepernick, a Castro loving, police hating, non-voter, who doesn’t have 1/10th of the character of Tebow, who is able to keep his job, should be an irremovable stain on the NFL and its owners and John Elway in particular.

California and San Francisco deserve Kaepernick and the values he promotes.

Monday Open Thread

“Since a politician never believes what he says, he is quite surprised to be taken at his word.”

–Charles de Gaulle