Boebert Makes “So-Called Candidates,” Like Gardner, Look Awful to Boyles

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

One funny side effect of congressional candidate Lauren Boebert’s rise to fame is that she makes other Republican Party candidates in Colorado look awful–at least in the eyes of conservative hardliners who must vote nonstop if Cory Gardner has a prayer to win in November.

Don’t take it from me. Hear it from the king of the bottom-feeding right-wingers himself: KNUS radio host Peter Boyles.

“This young woman brings the most excitement to the Republican party in the state of Colorado since I don’t know when,” said Boyles on air Monday.

But instead of turning this into a plus for the Republicans, Boyles contrasts Boebert with “so-called candidates” like…Cory Gardner!

“We’ve been through Bob Beauprez and Bruce Benson and the Coors brothers and, I mean, [Walker] Stapleton and this–Cory Gardner,” said Boyles. “You have infused more excitement, more speed, into the Republican party than any of those other so-called candidates.”

In other words, life would be great if only Gardner vanished, poof, and Colorado had Boebert all day every day, on every harvestable mail-in ballot in the state.

Boyles explained that no other worthless top Republican was in Denver last year, as Boebert was, carrying her gun and telling Beto O’Rourke “hell no” she wouldn’t give up her gun if his dangerous idea of a mandatory buyback of all assault weapons became law.

“I did that because I didn’t see anybody else doing it; I didn’t see anyone standing for freedom,” said Boebert on air, triggering Boyles.

“I didn’t see Cory Gardner standing there, or Mike Coffman, or Walker Stapleton, or any of the above–the establishment,” Boyles yelped.

“And you’re not a big woman–I’ll say tiny woman, but I don’t mean to offend anyone,” said Boyles, who says he’s “in love with” Boebert. “You’re not very tall.”

You may find that offensive but the Republicans who must go to the polls and vote for Gardner mostly don’t. It’s refreshing to them, harmless, and its message is clear.

Gardner, in Boyles own words, is a “weenie,” a weak, word-sloshing piece of political scrap, destined of course for a high-paying lobbying job with a reciprocal smile and a pat on the back, thank you very much.

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Local Republican Usual Suspect Helping Kanye Make Ballot

Kanye West.

Vice’s Cameron Joseph reports–are you “in on the joke?”

A top Colorado GOP strategist is helping Kanye West to get on the ballot in her state, the latest in a series of Republicans who have stepped up to help the hip hop star in his odd presidential bid.

Rachel George, a longtime Republican operative in Colorado, sent an email to at least one other local GOP strategist on Tuesday asking them to sign West’s Presidential Electors’ Acceptance of Nomination form so he can appear on the ballot in Colorado…

News that ex-Cory Gardner spox and local Republican fixture Rachel George, one half of the Andy and Rachel George full-time political operative couple on the ground in Colorado for many years now is taking money from Kanye West for “Ye’s” on-again, off-again, and probably off-again-for-good soon presidential aspirations is not in itself evidence of a Republican conspiracy to split Colorado non-Trump votes in November. As the old saying goes, a check is a check–and plenty of people on both sides have gladly taken money from campaigns they weren’t truly invested in heart and soul (see: Bloomberg, Michael).

But as Vice continues, it’s clear that whatever bedevilment opportunity Kanye might afford Colorado Republicans in their uphill struggle this year against majority Democrats is at least partly factoring into Rachel George’s thinking:

It’s clear from the tone of the email, obtained by VICE News, that she thinks it’s a rather funny, last-minute effort to mess with Joe Biden and Democrats.

“I have the most random favor to ask of you ever… would you help me get Kanye West on the ballot in Colorado? No, I am not joking, and I realize this is hilarious,” she wrote.

Later, George says she’s looking for operatives who are “in on the joke” to help West get on the ballot. [Pols emphasis]

What say you, readers? How many votes is this “joke”–which we know is a joke, and Rachel George knows is a joke, but sadly Kanye West himself might not actually understand is a joke–worth Colorado Republicans in votes that might have otherwise gone to Joe Biden? Our guess is not very many, but in the situation they’re in today, any advantage helps.

And, you know, a check is a check.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 5)

Happy “Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Defenders” day. Please celebrate responsibly, or whatever. Let’s 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 an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

Several states held Primary Elections on Tuesday, but perhaps the most significant outcome came in a Democratic-held congressional district in St. Louis, MO. From The Washington Post:

Black Lives Matter activist Cori Bush lost by 20 points two years ago in her primary challenge against Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.). With higher turnout, despite the novel coronavirus, Bush beat Clay in a rematch on Tuesday by three points.Clay, the 64-year-old chairman of the House Financial Services housing subcommittee, has represented the St. Louis district for 20 years. His father, Bill Clay, held the seat for 32 years before him. He touted endorsements from high-profile establishment figures, especially Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)…

…Bush, 44, talked on the stump about her experiences getting evicted as a single mother of two and tear-gassed in the streets as a protester. She did not get involved in politics until 2014, after a Black teenager had been fatally shot by a White police officer in Ferguson. Bush has been a frequent presence at demonstrations that grew after George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day, and she pledged to keep taking to the streets if elected. During the campaign, she contracted covid-19 and spoke of that experience, as well.

POLITICO has more on some of the more notable results from Tuesday, including two big wins for Republicans in Kansas:

Democrats haven’t won a Senate race in Kansas in more than 80 years, but Kris Kobach as the GOP nominee threatened to make the state an improbable toss-up. Instead, Rep. Roger Marshall won the primary, giving the GOP a much more electable candidate to go up against a strong Democratic recruit.

In one of Kansas’ key congressional districts, indicted Rep. Steve Watkins was looking like a juicy target for House Democrats — but they won’t get the chance to run against him after state Treasurer Jake LaTurner ousted the freshman in a primary, boosting Republican chances of keeping the seat.

Watkins went down just weeks after being charged with voter fraud during the 2019 Topeka-area municipal elections.

Also notable from Tuesday: Missouri voters approved a Medicaid expansion proposal over the objection of Republican leaders.

 

You can count Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper among the Coloradans frustrated at Senate Republicans and their inability to make any headway on another stimulus bill. As we wrote on Tuesday, multiple studies have shown that a $600 extended unemployment benefit that expired in July was absolutely not preventing Americans from seeking work.

As The Associated Press reports, Gov. Jared Polis is urging Congress to do think big on providing federal help to Americans:

Polis is urging Congress to go beyond simple renewal of earlier federal pandemic assistance and provide a more extensive package of aid to blunt the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

Polis, a Democrat, said he wants food stamp benefit increases, home heating and child care assistance, support to meet anticipated surges in Medicaid demand and an automatic extension of immigrant work visas for workers in health care and agriculture.

The requests, in a Tuesday letter to the state’s congressional delegation also signed by Democratic Treasurer Dave Young, also ask for more U.S. financial support for water projects, clean energy and public lands infrastructure — key initiatives of Polis’ administration.

Polis insisted Tuesday that the initiatives would be long-term job generators and said Congress should “use this opportunity to invest in resilient, climate-focused solutions as our communities recover” from the pandemic.

As CNN reports, discussions about another coronavirus stimulus bill seem to be at last moving forward in Congress. You’ll note that Senate Republicans are still nowhere near the negotiating table:

The Tuesday meeting between Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and the top White House negotiators, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, was by far the most productive of all the meetings up to this point, according to both sides.

Schumer said both sides made concessions and, most importantly, the talks had gone beyond identifying areas of disagreement or even topline points of overlap and have now moved to trading actual paper proposals between sides. It seems minor or just an obvious step in the process, but the trading of paper means things are getting real, finally.

 

Citing coronavirus concerns, former Vice President Joe Biden will NOT travel to Milwaukee, WI to accept the Democratic Presidential nomination later this month. Biden will instead deliver his acceptance speech from his home state of Delaware.

Meanwhile, President Trump’s re-election campaign is considering violating the Hatch Act a scenario whereby Trump accepts the Republican Presidential nomination with a speech from the South Lawn of the White House. As The Washington Post reports:

The South Lawn, which can be subject to intense heat and afternoon thunderstorms in late August, is one of several sites under consideration for the week of festivities, including the Trump International Hotel in D.C., which the president leases from the federal government, officials said. Any costs incurred by the government to host the events would be repaid, said the Republican, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Several hundred Republican delegates plan to gather for a pared-down session of official meetings on Aug. 24 in Charlotte to nominate Trump. That will be followed by three more days of speeches and programming from undetermined sites, culminating in Trump’s acceptance speech on Aug. 27.

In a press briefing last month, Trump dodged a question about holding the acceptance speech in the White House.

Listeners of The Get More Smarter Podcast may recognize that we literally predicted this would happen in the latest episode:


More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Colorado Militia Member Appears to Threaten Fellow El Paso County Statehouse Candidate

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Three Percenter militia sniper, Colorado Springs BLM protest, June 6. Photo by Heidi Beedle, Colorado Springs Independent

A Three Percenter militia Facebook page that appears to be run by Libertarian statehouse candidate Nathan Foutch posted threats against retired Army Lt. Colonel John Foley, who is also running for a statehouse seat (as a Democrat) in El Paso County.

In a June 18 Facebook post, Foley objected to members of the “Three Percenters” militia setting up a sniper position atop a parking garage in downtown Colorado Springs during a June 6 Black Lives Matter protest. Foley wrote,

“This is the face of hate and extremist in our Colorado Springs community and why I oppose the Three Percenter extremist group,” wrote Foley on his campaign Facebook page. “They set up a sniper position, with a spotting scope and suppressors and bipod legs, overlooking the peaceful BLM rally on 6 June. This was a clear act of hateful intimidation. Let’s join together and say NO to such hate and extremism.”

 

Posts and comments made by the Real Three Percenters Colorado Facebook Page refer to Foutch in the first person.

On June 19, the page shared Foley’s Facebook post with the comment, “Get a load of this tyrant. Time to get the ropes ready.”

The following day Foutch then commented on Foley’s page saying he was “spreading fear-based propaganda for [his] anti-gun agenda.”

Foutch went on to call Foley “a Communist who will be dealt with accordingly when the times comes for your treason.”

When Foley reshared the comment noting that it proved his point about the Three Percenters being a threat, Foutch responded “What a bitch of a man. Now he will twist it into a threat to pander to the other pussies in El Paso County.”

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Please Stop Trolling The Ballot

Known forever as the Garcia Recall Yokels.

The Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports while we roll our eyes back to the front:

Advocates of a proposed Colorado ballot measure for expunging nonviolent criminal offenses only turned in 255 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Office by the petition deadline Monday.

They needed at least 124,632 to qualify, raising the question of why organizers submitted signatures at all. Designated representatives Stephen and Paul Ball did not return requests for comment Monday and Tuesday.

The deficit made it an easy call for elections officials to deem the petition insufficient Monday…

We asked the same question last summer when a pair of (decidedly) casually-dressed gentlemen drove the two hours up from Pueblo to deliver a whopping four valid signatures in support of a recall of Senate President Leroy Garcia–why the hell do people do this? If you don’t have enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, like not enough remotely close to the number, you don’t have to show up at the Secretary of State to humiliate yourself. And make no mistake this is terribly humiliating, even if the individual(s) doing it think it’s some kind of cool political statement.

In this case, it’s an issue that might have had more support in different circumstances unlike the failed recall attempt against Sen. Garcia–so maybe don’t make a joke of it.

Surprise! Republicans Have No Good Reason for Doing Nothing

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is here to help…but only about this much help.

Guess what? Senate Republicans have STILL not made any progress on renewing some form of extended unemployment insurance benefits for 20-25 million Americans who are out of work. Americans are desperate to pay rent and buy food for their families, but Senate Republicans still can’t get past the idea — which, as you’ll see, is based on no actual facts — that extended benefits were preventing people from getting jobs.

Let’s recap quickly: In May, the House of Representatives passed a massive coronavirus relief bill — dubbed the HEROES Act — that includes a renewal of extended unemployment (UE) benefits. That legislation has been taking up space on Senate Republican desks for months while they half-heartedly argue about whether or not to take significant action to boost an economy that is, by all accounts, in deep shit.

Two weeks ago, Senate Republicans had a lovely Louisiana-inspired lunch and then left town for a three-day weekend without doing anything about the soon-to-expire UE benefits. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that they would return in a few days with an actual bill to discuss…which they did. But their proposed legislation was such a convoluted mess of unrelated crap that it was declared dead on arrival by pretty much everyone in Washington D.C.

Last Thursday, after flailing away for a few days, Senate Republicans AGAIN left town for a three-day weekend without doing anything to address what had been the last financial lifeline for millions of Americans. Senate Republicans were by now so disassociated from even contemplating this critical decision that journalists were left asking HOUSE SPEAKER Nancy Pelosi to provide them with an update. Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were left to continue negotiations with the White House Chief of Staff and the Treasury Secretary.

“We have to do things to ensure people’s safety and make them feel confident to go back out. Spend what you need to do it.”

— Doug Holtz-Eakin, a former economic adviser to George W. Bush and John McCain (7/30/20)

Extended unemployment benefits for more than 20 million Americans officially expired on Saturday, though for most of those affected, their final check arrived a week earlier. So, what’s the holdup on a new package? As Paul Waldman explains for The Washington Post:

Let’s be clear: The main holdup is that the White House and congressional Republicans can’t agree on what they’re seeking. They know they don’t want to be as generous as Democrats do, but beyond that, they seem all over the map. For their part, House Democrats passed their rescue bill back in May.

While there are a number of disagreements — how much help to give states, whether to give the Postal Service an infusion of cash — the biggest sticking point is the now-expired enhanced unemployment benefits, which were giving the 30 million or so Americans receiving benefits an extra $600 a week on top of payments from states.

Democrats want to revive and continue those enhanced benefits as long as the crisis lasts; Republicans are consumed with the idea that millions of lazy Americans might be sitting at home when they could be out working. So they’re playing around with various complex formulas (what if we replace 70 percent of people’s former incomes or give them $200 a week?) but can’t come up with a single position.

”[We] want to make sure that we’re helping people in need, uh, but not creating an unfair competition between the government and the private sector.”

— Sen. Cory Gardner (7/29/20)

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is among the Senate Republicans who are mindlessly repeating talking points about the idea that extended unemployment benefits might be causing a disincentive for unemployed Americans to find a new job. But why are Senate Republicans so convinced that extended unemployment benefits are preventing people from seeking jobs?

Let them drink champagne!

For no reason, apparently. As Waldman continues:

The truth is that multiple studies have now found that people are not refusing to work because their unemployment benefits are too generous. Not only that, but the added $600 benefit has boosted consumer spending, helped people pay for housing and otherwise kept the economy from getting even worse. [Pols emphasis]

Oh, reaaalllyyy??? For more on this development, you need to follow the link to this story from Catherine Rampell of The Washington Post. Rampell cites five recent studies (from big names such as Yale, the University of Illinois, the University of Chicago, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania, and even the Federal Reserve Bank of New York) that all — separately — found the same results:

Using a variety of government and private-industry data sets, they all concluded the same thing: The $600 federal supplement does not appear to have depressed job growth.

As the Yale economists summarized: “We find no evidence that high [unemployment insurance] replacement rates drove job losses or slowed rehiring.” [Pols emphasis]

Not only is there no evidence to support the idea that extended unemployment benefits are a disincentive to find work…there is also ample evidence that the extra $600 benefits were directly boosting the economy in general. In other words, it should be a no-brainer decision for Senate Republicans to immediately renew extended unemployment benefits.

So, what is Gardner thinking today? Nothing about this. As POLITICO reports:

“U.S. Senators Doug Jones of Alabama and Cory Gardner of Colorado … introduced the American Dream Down Payment Act of 2020. The bipartisan legislation would help prospective homeowners save for a traditional 20-percent down payment by creating special tax-advantaged savings accounts for eligible housing costs”

The New York Times spoke last week with a woman who has been unemployed since April and is absolutely terrified about what comes next for her family now that extended UE benefits have expired. But worry not! Senator Gardner has a plan to help her save money that she doesn’t have for a traditional 20-percent down payment on a new house she can’t possibly afford!

If Gardner were a medical doctor, he’d suggest removing some of your teeth in order to alleviate the pain from a sprained knee. But at least in that case, he’d only be harming one person instead of 25 million Americans.

Garcia Smacks Down GOP Call To Voucher-fy Schools

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D).

Last week, the Colorado GOP Senate Minority issued a call for a special session of the state legislature for the purpose of redirecting public education funding away from schools on an “emergency basis” during the pandemic–a novel pretext for the entirely non-emergency objective of Republicans to “voucher-fy and charter-ize” education at the expense of neighborhood public schools. Because Republicans have no power to compel the legislature to do anything, the net effect of this was a press stunt everybody basically ignored.

But as the Pueblo Chieftain reports, Republicans provoked a fiery response from Democratic Senate President Leroy Garcia worth noting for the permanent record, lest there be any confusion about their real intentions:

“The Republicans’ letter to the governor is the epitome of partisan gamesmanship. Rather than coming to the table in good faith, they chose to engage in underhanded tactics in an effort to score cheap political points. Sadly, this stunt and their subsequent proposal are to the detriment of students,” Garcia wrote.

“Their shortsighted plan would hollow out public schools – which are already struggling – and create an inconsistent, patchwork of learning experiences for our kids. We need holistic solutions that help our teachers and students get back to school safely, not extreme partisan policies meant to stoke political fires and grab press attention.

“It’s time to listen to those on the frontline of education, not rush to conclusions and force through a thinly-veiled voucher program that only further disenfranchises low-income and minority students.”

Although the immediate future for public school students in Colorado is uncertain due to emergency measures to keep students and teachers safe, this situation is not going to last forever. Using the pandemic as a pretext to pull funds from public schools and create a de facto voucher system is a shortsighted response to a short-term problem at best. At worst, it’s a manipulative play on pandemic anxiety to achieve a long-sought political objective for conservatives.

Instead of school vouchers, wear a mask–and do your part to get Colorado’s schools open safely.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 4)

Happy “Barack Obama Day.” Please celebrate responsibly. Let’s 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 an audio/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

As The Denver Post reports, the number of new coronavirus cases in Colorado saw a recent drop after six weeks of increases:

The number of new coronavirus cases in Colorado dropped 18% last week, marking the first week-over-week decline since confirmed infections began increasing in the state a month-and-a-half ago.

The state health department recorded 3,243 new COVID-19 cases between July 27 and Sunday, down from 3,961 cases the prior week.

The drop in new cases comes after Colorado saw infections rise for six consecutive weeks following a long decline, as more residents left their homes while the state reopened, which can increase the chances of exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Colorado also is seeing a decline in hospitalizations and the rate at which COVID-19 tests come back positive. The former is an indicator of the severity of the pandemic, while the latter provides insight into the transmission of the disease within the community.

Patriots Wear Face Masks!” That’s the new line from President Trump, who had long been an outspoken opponent of mask-wearing.

 

► President Trump’s insistence on re-opening public schools is drawing opposition from his own advisers, as The Washington Post reports:

Deborah Birx was at a vacation home in Delaware when White House communications staffers called to say they needed to put her on the Sunday shows. Ever the good soldier, the coordinator of President Trump’s coronavirus task force appeared remotely on CNN’s “State of the Union.” Asked whether schools should fully reopen, Birx answered: “If you have high caseload and active community spread … we are asking people to distance learn at this moment, so we can get this epidemic under control.”

Administration officials say Birx has been arguing this privately, citing recent studies to make her case, but saying so publicly was one of the factors that put her crosswise with Trump. The president responded to the interview by calling her “pathetic!” in a tweet on Monday morning and continued his aggressive push to fully reopen schools during an afternoon news conference, disregarding warnings against doing so from a chorus of public health experts while ignoring mounting evidence that this could lead to potentially deadly outbreaks.

 

As Colorado Public Radio reports, the November ballot keeps growing in size:

Colorado voters will have many decisions to make in November, and not just about their elected officials. The state will also decide on topics ranging from abortion to voting and taxes. And with the deadline now passed for groups to turn in signatures to the Secretary of State’s office, the list of ballot measures could rise to an even dozen.

Five initiatives made it in by Monday’s deadline and will now have their petitions reviewed by state officials. Under Colorado law, a campaign needs at least 124,632 valid signatures for a measure to make the ballot.

Denver7 has more on the various measures that will be added to the ballot for 2020.

 

 Details are still emerging following a tremendous explosion in Beirut, Lebanon earlier today. As The Associated Press reports:

Massive explosions rocked downtown Beirut on Tuesday, flattening much of the port, damaging buildings and blowing out windows and doors as a giant mushroom cloud rose above the capital. Witnesses saw many people injured by flying glass and debris.

An Associated Press photographer near the port saw people lying injured on the ground, and hospitals called for blood donations, but exact casualties were not immediately known.

Miles from the scene of the blast, balconies were knocked down, ceiling collapsed and windows were shattered.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

Sorry Pat Neville: Trump Sends Face Mask Appeal To Supporters

Face masks. How do they work?

Yesterday evening, President Donald Trump sent out an appeal to his email fundraising list, which plenty of Democrats subscribe to just to read the increasingly colorful pitches coming from the embattled President’s campaign–but this time, not requesting funds. This was a request by President Trump for his supporters to wear face masks. You know, that simple step Trump has scoffed at for months, helping turn the issue of wearing one into a partisan circus instead of a deadly serious matter of public health.

Those days are over, nation! The subject of last night’s missive: “Patriots Wear Face Masks.”

I know how difficult the past few months have been. Your unwavering support during this time has not gone unnoticed.

Sen. Cory Gardner, he’s talking to you.

I am writing to you now, not to ask for a contribution, but to ask for your help.

We are all in this together, and while I know there has been some confusion surrounding the usage of face masks, I think it’s something we should all try to do when we are not able to be socially distanced from others.

“Some confusion surrounding the use of face masks.”

I don’t love wearing them either. Masks may be good, they may be just okay, or they may be great. They can possibly help us get back to our American way of life that so many of us rightfully cherished before we were so terribly impacted by the China Virus.

Just in case you thought you would get through this email without being offended. Sorry!

My feeling is, we have nothing to lose, and possibly everything to gain, including the next chapter to our country, and to keep things open whether it be schools or businesses.

I recently tweeted that many view wearing a mask as a patriotic act, and there is no one more patriotic than me and you. Why not give it a shot!

If you would like more information on the benefits of wearing a face mask, or information on how to get one, please follow this link. >>

Thank you,


Donald J. Trump
President of the United States

Shameless though it may be, if convincing some number of Republicans to abandon Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s “mask resistance” campaign and just wear the damn things already results in fewer people catching and spreading the pandemic, that is an objectively good thing regardless of how we get there. If the only way to convince the GOP base to put on their face masks is by making them think it was Trump’s idea…sure. Whatever it takes. This is a crisis.

Americans aware of just how shameless this is, which is most of us, are already wearing ours.

Tuesday Open Thread

“The human voice can never reach the distance that is covered by the still small voice of conscience.”

–Mahatma Gandhi

Trump Mail Ballot Fearmongering Works…on Republicans

D’oh!

President Trump has been on a rampage in recent months warning anyone who will listen about how an increase in mail balloting will lead to rampant election fraud. When asked for specific evidence about the existence of mail ballot fraud, Trump usually just throws out the first random numbers that pop into his head and then changes the subject.

The real reason that Trump is worried about an increase in mail balloting is because of his belief that more people voting will lead to fewer Republicans winning elections. There isn’t much evidence to support this claim, either, but Trump rarely concerns himself with “facts.” Yet as The Washington Post reports, Republicans are growing increasingly concerned that Trump’s anti-mail ballot rhetoric is going to suppress voter turnout AMONG REPUBLICANS:

President Trump’s unfounded attacks on mail balloting are discouraging his own supporters from embracing the practice, according to polls and Republican leaders across the country, prompting growing alarm that one of the central strategies of his campaign is threatening GOP prospects in November. [Pols emphasis]

Multiple public surveys show a growing divide between Democrats and Republicans about the security of voting by mail, with Republicans saying they are far less likely to trust it in November. In addition, party leaders in several states said they are encountering resistance among GOP voters who are being encouraged to vote absentee while also seeing the president describe mail voting as “rigged” and “fraudulent.”

As the Post notes, worried Republican officials are now scrambling to promote mail balloting via mailers and Facebook ads so that their own supporters don’t lag behind. Trump’s mail ballot scare tactics have largely just confused GOP voters:

In the process, some Republican officials have tried to draw a distinction between “absentee ballots,” which Trump claims are secure, and “mail ballots,” which he has repeatedly attacked. The terms are typically used interchangeably. [Pols emphasis]

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, describing a recent meeting with a group of Republican voters in Fort Payne, said he felt compelled to explain that there is only one kind of mail-in voting in Alabama, and that it is safe and secure.

“They were confused about two different kinds of mail-in balloting,” he said, “where one is ‘good’ and one is not.”

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has been reluctant — as he is on every issue — to disagree with Trump. As Colorado Public Radio reported in June, Gardner had this to say when asked about whether he agrees with Trump’s mail ballot concerns:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, a couple of weeks after the passage of the CARES Act, said that it should be a state decision.

“Washington, D.C. should not run the state’s elections,” he told Politico. “If a state determines that’s the way it wants to go, a state should make that decision.” [Pols emphasis]

Colorado first went to an all-mail ballot format in 2014 — the same election cycle in which Gardner was elected to the U.S. Senate. It is a delicious irony that Gardner’s toady tendencies are only hurting his own re-election efforts six years later.

Normal Days Gone By: Feel The Obama/Hick Nostalgia

Today’s announcement by former President Barack Obama of his first round of 2020 endorsements including top-tier Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Hickenlooper is no surprise, but the moment of warm fuzzy this endorsement brings from the memory of American politics just a few short years ago adds some emotional weight:

Governor Hickenlooper and President Obama forged a bond that made a big difference for Colorado. During some very tough times for Colorado, their leadership helped our economy recover from the Great Recession and helped our state heal after the Aurora theatre shooting. Together, they expanded health coverage to half a million Coloradans and made sure that people with preexisting conditions were protected…

“I am honored to have President Obama’s endorsement,” said Hickenlooper. “He knows how broken and dysfunctional Washington is — and how the work delivering for Americans can’t stop in the face of partisan politics, especially during a crisis. In the Senate, I look forward to building on the work President Obama and I did together here in Colorado, from protecting and expanding health care, to tackling climate change, to making it easier to vote.”

Was the Obama/Hickenlooper decade a golden age of progressive political achievement? Of course not. Obama turned out to be a pretty moderate chief executive in the end, hamstrung by irrational GOP opposition that declared him the second coming of Joseph Stalin after passing the conservative Heritage Foundation’s health care plan. As for Hickenlooper, he’s a gaffe-prone gawky former petroleum geologist whose aversion to lefty buzzwords has gotten him into trouble on his left flank more than once.

But if you don’t miss those olden days in August of 2020, warts and all, there’s something wrong with you.

We suspect a majority of Colorado voters are going to agree.

Colo County GOP Leader Feels Deep Connection To QAnon Conspiracy Movement

(The Colorado Q-reepshow goes on – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“I feel this, with every ounce of my being,” wrote Otero County, Colorado, Republican leader Stephanie Garbo on Facebook last month, in response to a post, retweeted by an account associated with QAnon, an online conspiracy movement tied to violent acts and flagged by the FBI as a potential domestic terror threat.

Garbo responded to a statement on Facebook expressing a deep allegiance to QAnon, which is built largely around the idea that government workers are out to undermine conservatives like Trump.

“I just keep reminding myself that no matter what, I was drawn to the movement because I sensed something was horribly wrong…and whatever happens, I will be equipped to love and guide those who were blind,” stated the Facebook post that Garbo responded to. (See below.)

Most of Otero County, in Southern Colorado, is represented in Congress by U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-CO), who was toppled in a primary this year by Lauren Boebert, of Rifle, who’s also praised QAnon.

In a May interview first reported by Right Wing Watch, Boebert said, “I hope that [Q] is real, because it only means America is getting stronger and better and people are returning to conservative values.”

The congressional candidate later said she’s not a QAnon follower.

Four GOP congressional candidates in California have expressed support for QAnon, as has a Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Oregon.

Trump has also repeatedly amplified QAnon content.

(more…)

Trump Leaves Cory Gardner’s Backside In The Breeze


Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Last Wednesday, as the Republican coronavirus relief legislation faced overwhelming condemnation for being totally inadequate even as a starting point for negotiations with Democrats, GOP Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado appeared in the cozy confines of local conservative talking head Jimmy Sengenberger’s podcast to defend the GOP’s proposal to slash the expanded unemployment benefit 330,000 Coloradans are currently relying on to pay their bills:

SENGENBERGER: Senator Cory Garner, one of the questions that people have been discussing is the unemployment provision. The previous CARES Act had $600 a week that was given additional to the basic unemployment amount to people. Now the Republican proposal the HEALS Act is $200, Democrats are saying that’s not nearly enough. What’s your take on that? Because we have seen this show to be a bit of a disincentive to work. Some people saying that ah, I’m making more money on unemployment than going back to work.

GARDNER: Yeah, I think both Republicans and Democrats alike want to make sure that we’re helping people in need, uh, but not creating an unfair competition between the government and the private sector. [Pols emphasis] So, let’s continue to help those people in need it, let’s create jobs and help people get into the workforce without a disincentive–the people of Colorado want to work. The people who don’t have a job right now, they want to work but let’s not make sure, let’s make sure we don’t put the government in the place of the private sector in terms of unfair competition.

In a moment of classic Cory Gardner doublespeak, Gardner explains that although “Coloradans want to work,” the expanded unemployment benefit could create “unfair competition between the government and the private sector.” This statement is inherently self-contradicting–and that’s by design, as Gardner doesn’t want to answer the question so much as cushion the answer everybody knows in language that isn’t as toxic to swing state voters. This answer on an obscure conservative podcast is also a brazen contradiction of what Gardner told Colorado Public Radio in a story that ran literally the next day:

Gardner said he supports extending the unemployment benefits that were part of the CARES Act.

“COVID-19 has affected our entire state and we must continue working to ensure relief is reaching those in need, including through extending unemployment benefits,” Gardner said in a statement.

That’s right, folks! In less than 24 hours, Cory Gardner was on record taking both sides of the biggest issue in domestic American politics. And then, as AP reports, it got worse: Gardner and the Senate GOP got sideswiped by President Donald Trump.

The White House and its GOP allies appear to be retreating from their opposition to a $600-per-week supplemental unemployment benefit that has propped up the economy and family budgets but is expiring Friday.

President Donald Trump is eager to extend the benefit, undercutting his GOP allies on Capitol Hill who have spent considerable effort devising an alternative that could unite Republicans…

Republicans in the Senate had been fighting to trim back the $600 jobless benefit in the next coronavirus package, but their resolve weakened as the expiration of the popular benefit neared — and as Trump undercut their position by signaling he wants to keep the full $600 benefit for now.

In the friendliest of venues, Gardner was asked to take a firm position on a crucially important question. Gardner came about as close as he ever does to doing so, bracketed by platitudes though it may have been. And it’s not what he told the mainstream media at all.

Two days later, Trump blew up the debate. In the process, Trump left Cory Gardner and the rest of the GOP Senate majority looking like the villains. If you’ve ever wondered why Cory Gardner is almost always the last public official to comment on the news of the day–when reporters can catch him, that is–here’s one of the better examples. This time Gardner got caught lying to somebody, either his base or the mainstream media, and then Trump salted the wound by undercutting the more conservative of Gardner’s contradictory positions.

No matter what happens next, Cory Gardner loses.

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