Shutdown Moves Inevitably Closer as Boebert Flops Like Fish

This is Boebert’s United States of Whatever

Members of the House of Representatives return to Capitol Hill on Tuesday and may get down to the business of casting votes as soon as tomorrow evening (but probably not, given House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s “Freedom Caucus” problem).

Not much has changed on the looming government shutdown question since McCarthy adjourned early last Thursday. McCarthy is in the same no-win situation. The Speaker can push a hard-right proposal favored by the House “Freedom Caucus” and rocket surgeons such as Rep. Matt Gaetz, but that idea is certainly DOA in the Senate. Alternatively, McCarthy could push for a bipartisan continuing resolution to keep the government open past Sept. 30, but going that route would likely doom his speakership and lead to hard-right Republicans calling for an election to select a new Speaker.

As POLITICO explains, McCarthy seems likely to try door number one:

Over the weekend, McCarthy rolled out his latest bid to pivot away from an embarrassing stretch where members of his own party left plan after plan in tatters, taking down two procedural votes and otherwise making a mockery of his ability to lead the House GOP.

McCarthy may attempt to package several full-year appropriations bills together for a vote in the House, much to the delight of Gaetz, but this appeasement of the far right is a non-starter for the rest of his caucus–not to mention DOA in a Democratic-controlled Senate:

There’s no guarantee McCarthy will be able to muster the votes to move forward — in fact, you’d have to bet against it, particularly after a top ally, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), announced Sunday that she remains a “hard no.”

And even if Republicans move forward with the full-year bills, that does nothing to avert a government shutdown next weekend. Gaetz and a handful of like-minded hardliners insist that they won’t vote for any continuing resolution to keep the government open temporarily — even one that reportedly includes a 27 percent cut to non-defense spending.

McCarthy, meanwhile, has shown no sign he’s ready to move forward with a CR that could pass with Democratic votes, lest the hard-right rebellion turn into an outright mutiny.

On the topic of Gaetz, he and Rep. Lauren Boebert were supposed to have been the featured guests at a La Plata County Republican Party fundraiser on Saturday. Instead of returning to Colorado, however, Boebert stayed in Washington D.C. We’ll get to that in a moment, but her absence at the La Plata County Lincoln Dinner led to a rough story from the Durango Herald:

Boebert and U.S. Rep Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), who was slated to make a guest appearance at the Lincoln Day Dinner, decided to skip the major fundraiser, [Durango activist Harrison] Wendt said.

“Boebert and Gaetz stayed in DC. They’re not even in La Plata County right now. She put out a video today on some news organization where she said, ‘I’m here to serve my constituents and not perform political theater,’” he said. “But unfortunately, the GOPers spent hundreds, hundreds of dollars to see Matt Gaetz and Boebert. And now they won’t be there.”

Here’s a resulting headline that will surely bake Boebert’s noodle:

The UK Independent (via Yahoo)

But this headline, as strange as it seems, is an indicator of Boebert’s hopelessly contradictory message as the shutdown rapidly approaches. Don’t take our word for it: on Friday evening, Boebert was on Newsmax telling host Eric Bolling that she was staying in Washington “working to avoid a government shutdown.”

This is basically the 180-degree opposite of what Boebert told Steve Bannon the next day:


BOEBERT: It is very well possible that we will see a one week, ten day, twelve day, maybe a fifteen day–hopefully not–shutdown of the federal government to get this right. [Pols emphasis]

With House Republicans set to vote on bills with no chance of survival in the Senate, hence doing nothing to prevent a shutdown growing more inevitable by the hour, welcoming the shutdown is probably Boebert’s first honest admission about a disaster that she and her Freedom Caucus colleagues are not only doing nothing to prevent but are the prime movers in instigating. The harm that will rapidly ensue from a federal government shutdown in Boebert’s district is the last thing America’s most vulnerable Republican incumbent needs, and that’s why she’s pretending she doesn’t want a shutdown with some audiences while welcoming it in the presence of America’s Greasiest Traitor™ Steve Bannon.

Only one of these expresses how Boebert really feels. She is lying to one or the other audience. We suspect she gave her real opinion to Steve Bannon and lied to Eric Bolling, but it really doesn’t matter. Because nobody trusts liars.

When the time comes to end the posturing and do the work, Boebert will not be part of the solution.

Government May Shut Down, But Not Us! (feat. Karen Middleton)

Karen Middleton, executive director at Cobalt

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, Jason Bane is psychic. Or Ken Buck is predictable. Or both! As the MAGA Shutdown Shitshow careens toward it’s inevitable conclusion, one question remains, will Kevin McCarthy screw up Ian’s Yom Kippur plans this year? The scandal known as Beetlebert continues into a third week; will our 8th favorite member of Congress from Colorado ever be able to send a tweet without her replies becoming a hot mess ever again? The deal struck between the Colorado GOP and the Colorado Libertarian Party is going great…for Colorado Democrats. And Donald Trump, like Thanos — the guy who eradicates every other living being in the universe — really seems inevitable.

BUT FIRST…Karen Middleton, Executive Director of the abortion rights group Cobalt, joins us to talk elections, reproductive freedom, and the 2024 initiative to protect the rights of roughly one half of the population coming to a ballot near you.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

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Up Inside Desperate Jon Caldara’s Latest Stinky Stunt

Jon Caldara’s latest plea for attention is not going well.

Newer readers can be forgiven for not knowing the name Jon Caldara, the decades-long frontman for the conservative Independence Institute–an organization that has declined in relevance with the sagging fortunes of Colorado Republicans generally. Caldara’s fire has been stolen in recent years with new organizations springing up like the Common Sense Institute soaking up corporate donor dollars, while the MAGA grassroots right ignores the stodgy Independence Institute to fund more alluring priorities like Tina Peters’ legal defense.

Well folks, nothing brings out the desperate stunts like a crisis of relevancy! In a press release this morning, Colorado’s oldest cheap political trickster, who almost got prosecuted a decade ago for trying (and failing) to break Colorado election laws, announced what could be his most malodorous prank ever literally and figuratively:

Jon Caldara, President of Independence Institute, like so many other people who run businesses and organizations in Denver, has had enough of cleaning up the litter, trash, bottles, syringes, urine, vomit, and human fecal matter left by the homeless who trespass on private property.

It is a near daily chore to clean up after the homeless at our beautiful Independence Institute building because the leaders of Denver refuse to enforce the law on urban camping, trespassing, and a host of other crimes…

At 1:00 PM on Monday September 25th, 2023, Jon Caldara will drop some of the human excrement he has picked up from the grounds of the Independence Institute and drop it on the steps of City and County Building because quite simply, “we have had enough of this shit.” [Pols emphasis]

You’re reading this right: this afternoon, Jon Caldara intends to deposit human feces obtained by processes unknown on the steps of Denver’s City and County Building. As you can see, Caldara claims that the human feces he plans to leave on the steps of city hall were gifted to him in turn by persons experiencing homelessness, who left them on the grounds the Independence Institute’s so-called “Freedom Embassy” headquarters on East 17th Avenue in Denver.

One big problem with Caldara’s claim that persons unknown are defecating on the property of the Independence Institute is the lack of homeless encampments in the immediate area around their headquarters, which like any place named after “Freedom” is also fenced in and festooned with security cameras. We should allow for the possibility of individuals copping a proverbial squat next to the statue of Thomas Jefferson, but that would be more of a political protest. Either way, it’s far from the most inviting location for doing the most essential of excretory duties.

The main takeaway here is that short of a DNA test, no one has any way of verifying conclusively where the poo Jon Caldara is bringing to Denver city hall actually came from. The only thing we do know is that the moment Caldara relocates the poo in question to the steps of city hall he becomes the poo-flinger, just like trying to commit vote fraud made Caldara a vote fraudster. That’s how it works when you need so badly for something to happen that you go ahead and do it yourself.

With that, Caldara can go on with his bad self in full view of the potential consequences.

Just don’t be surprised if the only people who “give a shit” are the Denver Police.

Monday Open Thread

“I think we’re lucky to be living when we are, because things are going to get worse.”

–David Attenborough

Weekend Open Thread

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

–Mark Twain

Two Lincoln Day Dinner Stars Who Need To Talk

Colorado GOP chairman Dave Williams, Rep. Lauren Boebert.

Tomorrow, the La Plata County Republican Party will hold their annual Lincoln Day fundraising dinner at a casino near Durango with headlining scheduled speakers Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and her closest of congressional friends Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florabama. Gaetz’s leading role in the red-on-red standoff in Washington that threatens to shut down the government at the end of the month makes Gaetz a big “get” for inquiring media who might be in the vicinity, but the county party recently made clear that the local newspaper the Durango Herald would not be allowed to attend.

Although Gaetz would have some timely things to say about the impending shutdown in Washington, the upcoming Lincoln Day Dinner hosted by the neighboring Archuleta County Republican Party on October 21 in Pagosa Springs could feature a more direct intraparty conflict based on its keynote speakers:

What’s the problem, you ask? Last weekend, a Libertarian candidate named James Wiley announced his run for Boebert’s CD-3 seat on the specific grounds that Boebert refused to sign the Libertarian Party’s multi-point pledge to avoid a third-party spoiler. Wiley’s candidacy was announced by the state Libertarian party, suggesting their support. After Boebert’s 546-vote squeaker of a victory in 2022, a strong Libertarian in the race is just one of any number of factors that could easily flip this race.

Boebert’s race represents the first real test of the deal brokered by Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave Williams with the Colorado Libertarian Party to help clear a path in 2024 for Republican candidates willing to commit to the Libertarians’ far-flung set of demands. Keep in mind that even before Boebert declined to sign the Libertarian purity pledge, LPCO chair Hannah Goodman suggested strongly that Boebert wouldn’t meet their standards.

On October 21st, Boebert and Williams will be in the same room to hash this all out! Will Dave Williams apologize to Boebert for unleashing this third-party peril on the most vulnerable Republican in his charge? Will Williams make another attempt to persuade Boebert to sign the Libertarian Party’s wacky pledge after all? Or will Williams agree with Libertarians that Boebert has ideological and/or (pregnant pause) other shortcomings?

Williams can’t stay silent about this. It was his mistake to give Libertarian “whacktivists” the power to undermine the few remaining Republican strongholds in this solidifying blue state. If the ideological standards of the Colorado Republican Party are now so exacting that not even Lauren Boebert can meet them…perhaps no one will ever again.

Biden to Announce New Office of Gun Violence Prevention

President Biden is naming Vice President Harris to oversee a new office of gun violence prevention.

While Congressional Republicans are busy fighting amongst themselves over basic governing functions like funding the damn government, President Biden continues to chalk up new accomplishments. During an event this afternoon at the White House Rose Garden, Biden will announce a new office of gun violence prevention.

As POLITICO reports, Biden will task Vice President Kamala Harris with overseeing the new office:

Harris, who has played a leading role in gun safety policy, will oversee the office, according to a White House statement. Longtime Biden aide Stefanie Feldman, who has worked on gun policy for more than a decade, will serve as its director…

…Greg Jackson, executive director of the Community Justice Action Fund, and Rob Wilcox, the senior director for federal government affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety, will report to Feldman as deputy directors of the new office.

For years, gun groups have pleaded with Biden to take this action, which advocates see as a concrete step forward as gun safety legislation remains stalled in Congress. Activists have argued that such an office will help the administration coordinate on gun policy issues across the federal government, while also allowing the White House to show leadership on the issue.

Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish), who serves as Vice Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, helped lead an effort in early 2022 to push the White House to create an office of gun violence prevention.

“In 2023, there have been more mass shootings than days in the year. It’s long past time we confront this crisis with the urgency it requires.”

— Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

Neguse issued a statement on Thursday praising the news:

“In 2023, there have been more mass shootings than days in the year. It’s long past time we confront this crisis with the urgency it requires, ensuring that we are investing in every solution at our disposal to reduce incidents of gun violence, protecting our kids and our families, and building safer communities. I applaud President Biden for heeding the calls of lawmakers across Congress and working to establish an Office of Gun Violence Prevention.”

“Communities in my home state of Colorado are far too familiar with traumatic incidents of gun violence. It’s imperative that we continue to take action to create a country free from the scourge of gun violence. Our work is not over, but this news makes historic progress toward saving lives.”

The Washington Post adds more detail:

Since Biden was elected, gun violence prevention groups have pressed the White House to create such an office, arguing that it would help coordinate efforts across the federal government to reduce gun violence. Activists say this type of office would also allow the White House to exert more leadership on the issue.

“If this announcement is, in fact, the creation of a single point of leadership on gun violence in the administration, it’s a very big deal for the movement,” Shannon Watts, the founder emerita of Moms Demand Action.

Obviously this new office isn’t going to solve the issue of gun violence in America, but it is important to have people close to the President who are working on only this issue. If devoting time and resources specifically to gun violence prevention wasn’t significant, Republicans and gun groups like the National Rifle Association wouldn’t expend so much effort trying to stop it from happening. In 2019, Congress authorized — for the first time — funding dedicated specifically for gun violence research, which opened up a new front of opposition.

As The Los Angeles Times reported in late July:

California is the epicenter of American gun violence research, largely because it maintains an extensive repository of firearms data and, unlike other states, has historically made much of the data available to scientists studying the root causes of gun deaths.

A lawsuit brought by gun-rights activists now threatens that longstanding data infrastructure. And although the federal government began funding gun-violence research again in 2019, following a two-decades-long drought, that funding is under threat from House Republicans, who have vowed to kill it…

…Firearm industry interests, who consistently oppose efforts to provide academics with data on gun violence, know that their political efforts hinder potentially useful research. Laws that block data access “prevent researchers from conducting accurate studies with the number and distribution of firearms as a variable,” Josh Savani, the National Rifle Assn.’s director of research and information, wrote in a 2021 internal report.

As the late author Tom Clancy once said: “The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.”

Today’s announcement is an important step toward changing that dynamic around guns in America.

Friday Open Thread

“Success in the majority of circumstances depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed.”


The Colorado GOP is Getting Some Bad Advice…But From Whom?

UPDATE: Apparently Erik Maulbetsch of the Colorado Times Recorder noticed the same thing and published his own story just a little earlier than ours. Maulbetsch also notes that State Republican Party Treasurer Tom Bjorkland was paid $5,000 for “Treasury Services” via his own business entity called “Tactical Data Solutions, Inc.”

If you happen to work for the Colorado GOP and have yet to receive a paycheck, you might want to head over to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website and make yourself a business entity.


Follow us down the gopher hole (because rabbit holes are so cliche).

Things have been quite the mess for the Colorado Republican Party for many years now, but Chairman Dave Williams has taken that mess to a whole new level since being installed as the new head honcho in March.

Instead of focusing on fundraising and helping Republican candidates prepare for 2024, Williams has wandered off in multiple different directions in the last few months:

♦ He “negotiated” an “alliance” with the Colorado Libertarian Party that has turned out to be a worse idea than injecting yourself with bleach in order to fight off COVID-19;

♦ Williams regularly trolls members of the LGBTQ community and recently emerged as the registered agent for a group trying to get an anti-transgender measure on the 2024 ballot;

♦ He keeps trying to get Republicans to vote in favor of a proposal to opt-out of Colorado’s open primary system. Since Republican committee members keep voting him down, Williams is using the State GOP to file a second lawsuit against the Colorado Secretary of State’s office…AND he has retained the services of (soon to be disbarred) attorney John Eastman, whose name you’ll remember on account of his work trying to organize a coup to keep Donald Trump in power;

♦ Williams is also pushing for new party bylaws that would “assume” that someone who doesn’t show up to vote at a central committee meeting was probably planning to vote YES on whatever was being discussed;

Williams accomplishes all of this when he takes a break from attacking other Colorado Republicans for one reason or another. We also know he hasn’t been that busy raising money for a staff that has yet to receive a paycheck; Williams has been saying publicly that he purposely didn’t try to raise money after becoming GOP Chair because of…reasons.

Anyhoo, this got us wondering about whether all of this crackpottery comes solely from inside Williams’s melon or if there have been other outside consultants chirping in his ear. We looked up recent expenditures for the Colorado Republican Committee federal account — which is traditionally the account that the Colorado GOP uses for day-to-day needs such as rent, electricity, salaries, etc. — and lo and behold, look what we found:

Federal campaign finance reporting

The Colorado Republican Committee made a $2,500 payment on August 21, 2023 to “Fox Group Ltd” for “Chairman Consulting for GOP.”

We’d never heard of “Fox Group Ltd,” so we looked up the entity registration on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website:

“Fox Group Ltc” (we blacked out the address)

“Fox Group Ltd” is a business entity in good standing with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office. Its registered agent is a guy named…David Williams?


Maybe “David Williams” is a different person than GOP Party Chair Dave Williams? After all, it is a common name. So we checked the address of “Fox Group Ltd” and the voter registration address for Dave Williams (which is public information), and lo and behold…

Yeah, you figured it out by now. It’s the same guy (if you need further proof, this is also the address that Williams used for his State Representative campaigns).

Dave Williams voter registration (again, we blacked out the address)



The person doing “Chairman Consulting” for the State Republican Party is, in fact, the same person who is ACTUALLY the Chairman for the Colorado Republican Party.

To paraphrase Lil’ Wayne, Dave Williams is talking to himself because he is his own consultant.

This is weird for a number of reasons. As far as we can tell, nobody at the State Republican Party has received a paycheck yet (if anybody is even there doing work…or if they even have an office anymore). But Williams has still found a way to make some money by creating a silly expenditure paid out to his own business entity.

Is this legal? Sure. Is it a little shady? Yes. Is it totally and completely in-character for Williams? You betcha!

If and when the Colorado GOP does find enough money to pay for staff salaries, it will be fun to see if Williams is paid for the time he spends advising himself.

Congress Stalls Out as Republicans Throw Rocks at Each Other

UPDATE #2: Congress is indeed adjourned and Members are headed back to their home districts (or in the case of Rep. Lauren Boebert, wherever it is she goes when she’s not in Congress). House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is not in good company, either presently or historically:



UPDATE: Not a good sign:


“I don’t understand why anybody votes against bringing the idea [forward] and having the debate. This is a whole new concept of individuals that just want to burn the whole place down. That doesn’t work.”

— House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (9/21/23)

Congress has ground to a halt as right-wing Republicans dig in on their spending cut demands in advance of a Sept. 30 deadline to continue funding the federal government.

As The Washington Post reports, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives can’t even agree to hold a vote on funding for national defense:

House Republicans on Thursday failed to advance a Defense Department appropriations bill, a stunning defeat after leaders believed they had swayed enough votes to move the bill forward.

It was the second time in a week that a vote on the rule, needed to advance the bill, was defeated.

The failed vote came after an almost three-hour meeting Wednesday that focused both on long-term spending bills and the more immediate task of avoiding a government shutdown after Sept. 30. During the closed-door meeting, a majority of the House Republican conference found consensus around more than $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending for the upcoming fiscal year. And while they reported progress on a bill to keep the government open in the short term, a plan to avoid a shutdown was not finalized.

But any good feelings out of that meeting crumbled Thursday morning, when five Republicans — Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Dan Bishop (N.C.), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Eli Crane (Ariz.) and Matthew M. Rosendale (Mont.) — voted against advancing the measure to a final vote. [Pols emphasis] Rules Committee Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) switched his vote from a “yes” to “no,” which allows Republicans to bring up the motion again later if they have the votes.

No shit, Sherlock

Things have gotten so bad for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that his own Republican caucus can’t even agree on trying to vote on a spending agreement. A government shutdown seems unavoidable at this point, even though House Republicans know full well that they will get hammered by voters as a result.

Republicans and Democrats agreed on a new federal budget in May in order to raise the debt ceiling and stave off what economists predicted would have been a catastrophic default (this was the same debt ceiling vote that Rep. Lauren Boebert infamously missed altogether). But right-wing Republicans, led by the House “Freedom Caucus,” aren’t interested in abiding by that agreement and want MORE cuts.

As the editorial board of The Washington Post explained earlier this week, there is a way out of this mess:

A deal already exists to avert a U.S. government shutdown. It’s the debt ceiling compromise that was agreed to in May by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and President Biden. The deal was a true middle ground: Mr. Biden and other Democrats agreed to spending cuts on domestic programs in 2024 and 2025 and a reduction in IRS funding in exchange for House Republicans raising the debt limit and forgoing deeper cuts. Both sides gave a little, and the result was some real (though modest) savings. As a new budget year approaches in October, all lawmakers have to do is follow the spending levels they agreed to earlier this year.

Yet far-right lawmakers are demanding a renegotiation, insisting on substantial cuts to everything but defense and veterans aid — the things they did not get earlier this year — and threatening a government shutdown if they do not get their way.

Mr. McCarthy does not have to bow to these lawmakers’ demands. He can stick to the previous agreement, passing a budget with some votes from House Democrats, and avoid an Oct. 1 shutdown. [Pols emphasis]

Soon-to-be-former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy

If McCarthy does not negotiate with Democrats, he’ll be giving into the demands of right-wing terrorists that will only lead to another round of ridiculous demands later:

Instead, Mr. McCarthy has tried to get his far right on side, proposing a budget that would slash funding for everything other than defense or veterans by 8 percent. That means cuts to education, transportation, national parks, public health and even law enforcement, among other popular and widely used programs. The bill would fund the government only through October, meaning there would be another hostage-like situation over the 2024 budget again this fall — during which the new, lower spending levels would no doubt be the basis for further demands. [Pols emphasis]

The other problem for McCarthy, which he created himself when he agreed to a bunch of silly demands back in January in order to secure enough support to become Speaker in the first place, is that making a deal with Democrats will likely lead to a Republican effort to call a vote to “Vacate the Chair” and elect a new House Speaker. McCarthy can work with Democrats to prevent a government shutdown…or lose his job as House Speaker.

McCarthy wouldn’t be the first Republican leader in Congress to fall victim to right-wing Republicans waving torches. The 2013 government shutdown happened for many of the same reasons and bled into a debt ceiling debate that ultimately ended the career of House Speaker John Boehner. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, who was next in line to become Speaker, himself suffered a massive upset in a Republican Primary Election just a few months later.

This movie will likely end the same way. It’s not a coincidence that government shutdowns almost always happen when Republicans are in control in the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, the rest of Congress (and America) are left waiting for House Republicans to get their shit together so that everyone else can get back to the job of governing.

Colorado Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is at least trying to maintain a sense of humor about one cancelled vote after another. Check out this video featuring a star turn for “Buddy” the dog:


Two-Timing Thornton: Jan Kulmann For Congress Redux?

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann (R).

Earlier this summer, defeated 2022 Republican primary candidate for Colorado’s new swing CD-8 seat Jan Kulmann announced with what seemed like finality that she would not be making another run for Congress in 2024, instead campaigning for re-election as Mayor of Thornton. Colorado Community Media’s Luke Zarzecki reported in July:

Thornton’s Mayor Jan Kulmann will not be running for the Republican seat in the 2024 Congressional District 8 race.

“I am not doing it because I am not a partisan politician. That is the lesson I learned running for Congress,” Kulmann said…

Kulmann, who is running for reelection as mayor in the 2023 Thornton election, said she was hoping to bring nonpartisan politics to Congress.

“I thought being a mayor, I could bring non-partisan politics to Congress and I was wrong. Nobody wants that. They wanted a show and that’s not who I am. So I enjoy being the mayor because it has not been partisan,” she said.

Fast-forward to the present day, and it appears this sentiment is out the window. Reliable sources tell us that Jan Kulmann was in Washington recently to meet with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and despite Kulmann’s pledge to remain with the people of Thornton and eschew “partisan politics,” Kulmann appears to be seriously considering jumping into the 2024 GOP primary for CD-8. Kulmann is unlikely to formally announce a congressional campaign until after she wins re-election as Mayor of Thornton in November, since premature disclosure of a run for Congress could be a huge political headache for Kulmann after promising Thornton voters she wouldn’t.

Sorry about that.

National Republicans circling back to Jan Kulmann in this high-profile swing congressional race is first and foremost a sign of dissatisfaction with the current field of Republican CD-8 contenders–not to mention the new challenge created by a state Republican Party bent on purity testing candidates, which at least in part affected 2022 CD-8 nominee Sen. Barb Kirkmeyer’s decision to herself not run again in 2024. The two “leading” candidates in the race today, Weld County Commissioner Scott James and freshman state Rep. Gabe Evans, are in no way strong enough to deter other primary candidates. Kulmann, on the other hand, has the strong support of oil and gas interests and the well-known GOP political consultants allied with them.

The timing of these alleged discussions is Kulmann’s most immediate problem. A mayor running for re-election on a promise to serve the people of her community first should not be simultaneously running a shadow campaign for Congress just two months after swearing it off. For Thornton voters, Kulmann waiting until after this November’s election to break her promise from July and announce her run for Congress would be a considerable betrayal.

There’s an easy way for Kulmann to prove these new rumors wrong, and that would be to firmly and publicly shut the door on running for Congress next year. Even the smallest hint of equivocation on this question is a sign that the situation has changed from earlier in the summer. The one thing everyone should be able to agree on is that the voters of Thornton deserve straight answers before they receive their municipal election ballots next month.

Thursday Open Thread

“A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.”

–Mark Twain

McCarthy’s Leadership Teeters As Nation Careens Toward Shutdown

“The game is not over,” Speaker Kevin McCarthy said.

CNN puts the best face possible on GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s bad situation in an update today:

Speaker Kevin McCarthy, facing a looming government shutdown deadline and intense pressure from his right flank, projected optimism that his conference can work together on potential tweaks to the conservative stopgap measure.

“I feel like we are” making progress, McCarthy said Wednesday morning, less than two weeks away from the September 30 government funding deadline…

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, characterized discussions Wednesday morning as “very positive” and said they have “both sides of the equation” in the room discussing and they are “working through” disagreements.

However, the GOP-led proposal is likely dead on arrival in the Senate, so it’s unclear how Congress avoids a shutdown.

Draft resolution to oust Speaker McCarthy left in a bathroom by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R) of Florida.

As Politico reports, while McCarthy tries to cobble together a deal that can satisfy the hard-liners in his caucus and still have a prayer in the Democratic-controlled Senate–at this point considered a rational impossibility–the White House is paying out the proverbial rope:

On Tuesday, GOP leadership canceled plans for a procedural vote on a short term funding bill, wary it had the numbers to pass. Hours later, hard-right conservatives tanked a procedural vote related to a defense spending bill. Moderate House Democrats have been working on a last-ditch fall back option to avert a shutdown, but any final product will need approval from the Senate.

For now, the White House is staying out of the mix, trying instead to draw a contrast between the House majority that can’t complete the task of keeping the government’s lights on and Biden, who on Tuesday addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York. It’s also highlighting the price of the latest GOP plan, such as, in their estimation, cutting 800 Customs and Border Protection agents and 110,000 Head Start positions for children…

This morning, Colorado’s Sen. John Hickenlooper put out a statement blasting House Republicans for their unrealistic dickering while the deadline approaches, and warning of the serious economic impact of a government shutdown that will be felt once again from Colorado’s national parks to government employee strongholds like El Paso County:

“A government shutdown would be catastrophic. It would disrupt much of our country, including freezing military service members’ pay, delaying Medicare payments to seniors and closing our National Parks.

“There’s a process for getting a federal budget done, but it involves everyone working in good faith and looking for space to compromise.

“Instead of coming to the table, House Republicans are barricading themselves and almost using military and seniors as hostages.”

At this point, McCarthy’s task of passing a funding resolution that can pass the U.S. Senate, meaning a bill that doesn’t give in to the far right’s futile and expanding draconian demands, looks impossible without once again reaching across the aisle for Democratic support in a reprise of the deal ending the artificial crisis over raising the nation’s debt limit earlier this year. McCarthy barely survived that power play, mostly because the positive outcome for the country stymied the anger from the right.

That is not a dynamic that McCarthy can count on again. After being burned and scorned in the debt ceiling fight, the Freedom Caucus risks losing its own influence if their threats to topple McCarthy prove toothless a second time. The far right has no realistic plan to win this budgetary impasse with the Senate and White House controlled by Democrats, instead they seem to be choosing destruction out of pure ideological spite. McCarthy, despite his willingness to appease the Freedom Caucus by entertaining their obsession with tit-for-tat impeachment of Joe Biden, will have no choice but to give his right flank the shaft once again–unless he wants to go down in history as the man who presided over yet another preventable economic disaster.

Despite his best efforts to learn from their example, McCarthy has arrived at the very same predicament that ended the careers of Republican House Speakers Paul Ryan and John Boehner before him. McCarthy must now choose between the best interests of the nation in the most basic sense, and the crazies he gave the power to challenge his speakership at any time they choose.

If Ryan and Boehner couldn’t run this gauntlet, we don’t see how McCarthy does either.

Evans Supports Overturn of Roe, Dodges Nat’l Abortion Ban

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The hard-line stance against abortion taken by state Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, the Republican who ran for Colorado’s new congressional seat last year, is widely seen as one of the top reasons Kirkmeyer lost her race to Democrat Yadira Caraveo.

But that may not stop the new crop of Republican candidates hoping to oust Caraveo next year from staking out hard-right anti-abortion stances as they compete against each other for Republican primary voters, who are more anti-choice than the general electorate.

State Rep. Gabe Evans (R-Ft. Lupton), who announced his bid to unseat Caraveo on Sept. 6, told KNUS radio’s George Brauchler on Sept. 11 that he supports the Dobbs decision, which rescinded the constitutional right to an abortion, saying he sees no reason to “reverse course.”

Gabe Evans

Evans made the comment in response to Brauchler’s question about whether Evans would “support the nationalization of pro-life laws.” The overturn of Roe allowed individual states to decide whether to legalize abortions, and some anti-abortion activists are pushing Congress and the president to pass a law banning abortion in all states, even in Colorado where abortion is permitted.

“Do you support congressional action in this area?” asked Brauchler of Evans.

Evens didn’t commit to backing a national abortion ban, saying instead, “You know, so the pro-life movement has been working for the last 50 years to try to have this issue, you know, overturned and returned to the states. We’ve seen a lot of success there. And I don’t really see any reason to reverse course on the success that the pro-life movement is having.”

Evans’s support for the overturn of Roe v. Wade comports with an anti-choice stance he took in a Freedom Voter Guide survey. There, he indicated he opposed abortion, even for women who were raped by a family member and supported abortion only to save the life of the mother.

Evans’ Republican primary opponent, Weld County Commissioner Scott James, also supports the overturning of Roe. He apparently hasn’t talked publicly about abortion since announcing his candidacy Sept. 5, but he wrote in 2022, prior to the Dobbs decision, that if “Roe is indeed overturned, the matter will rightly (my opinion) be returned to state legislatures to be decided by the people.” He also wrote that he personally believes life begins at conception and opposes a Colorado law enshrining the right to an abortion in state law, calling the 2021 Reproductive Health Equity Act (RHEA) “horrible.”

James has not said how he’d vote on a national abortion ban.

James didn’t return an email seeking comment.

The incumbent, Caraveo, a medical doctor, disagrees with the Dobbs decision and is against banning abortion via statute. She’s promised to “fight to guarantee a woman’s right to choose at the federal level, just as we’ve done in Colorado.”

Scott James

Colorado State University Political Science Prof. Kyle Saunders points out next year’s election will be substantially different than the 2022 mid-term because, among other things, it’s a presidential contest, but the candidate’s positions on abortion could make a difference in multiple ways.

“In the nationalized elections that are coming in 2024, opinion on the presidential candidates as well as the candidates and their stances will matter in vote choice *on the margins,*” Saunders wrote in an email to the Colorado Times Recorder, adding that abortion will “likely be a big issue in the Republican primary process, but so will crime, inflation, and other economic concerns.”

“In a marginally close district like this one, Republicans are in a difficult situation: they have to activate and turn out their voters while also not losing enough of the smaller portion of persuadable voters that they lose on the abortion issue,” wrote Saunders. “To be able to overcome this, the candidate that Republicans choose in their primary process must have the political skills to be able to effectively speak to both the base and to that smaller but consequential set of moderate voters, which is a pretty big lift.