Caption This Photo: Cory Gardner Goes to Disney World (Again)

Former Senator Cory Gardner was spotted this weekend waiting in line at Disney World. The Yuma Republican usually hosts a “fundraising event” every November in Orlando, FL, in which his PAC picks up the check for Gardner and family to go in search of Mickey Mouse. We don’t know if this weekend’s Disney World visit was another “fundraiser,” or if Gardner actually paid to visit the park this time.

Regardless, caption away, dear readers…

Former Sen. Cory Gardner snapping photos at Disney World

And Now, the Flip Side of the Texas Abortion Ban

UPDATE: Witness this mealy-mouthed nonsense from Maine Sen. Susan Collins:


In other words…SQUIRREL!


Headline via “The Onion” (9/1/21)

As NBC News reports, President Biden is reacting strongly to a new abortion ban in Texas that took effect on Wednesday after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to intervene with an opinion:

President Joe Biden said Thursday he is launching a “whole-of-government” response to try to safeguard access to abortions in Texas after the Supreme Court’s decision not to block the state’s near-total ban on the procedure.

In a statement, Biden said he was directing the Office of the White House Counsel and his Gender Policy Council to involve the Health and Human Services Department and the Justice Department to evaluate what “legal tools we have to insulate women and providers from the impact of Texas’ bizarre scheme of outsourced enforcement to private parties.”…

…The president called the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling overnight “an unprecedented assault on a woman’s constitutional rights under Roe v. Wade” since the decision nearly 50 years ago.

“Complete strangers will now be empowered to inject themselves in the most private and personal health decisions faced by women,” Biden said. “This law is so extreme it does not even allow for exceptions in the case of rape or incest. And it not only empowers complete strangers to inject themselves into the most private of decisions made by a woman — it actually incentivizes them to do so with the prospect of $10,000 if they win their case.”

Again, via “The Onion” (9/1/21)

As we wrote yesterday, the draconian new anti-abortion law in Texas is a harsh lesson that elections have consequences. The reaction to the law from President Biden and other Democratic politicians — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has vowed to hold a floor vote on a bill that would ensure a woman’s right to an abortion in federal law — is also a reminder that bad policy positions can themselves have serious political reverberations. This could even be the case in deep-red Texas, since a majority of that state’s voters actually OPPOSE the new law.

Republican politicians (and media outlets) often insist that Roe v. Wade is “settled law” and that voters shouldn’t select candidates in a given election based upon their personal beliefs about access to safe abortion and contraception care. In fact, Republican politicians often downplay the issue of abortion because they know that any such discussion can cost them votes. This has been true in Colorado in recent elections, as this Denver Post story from the 2010 U.S. Senate race demonstrates:

As a Republican primary candidate, Ken Buck took absolutist positions on abortion and “personhood” — declaring that if elected to the U.S. Senate he would sponsor a constitutional amendment to ban abortion and backing a proposed state law that would outlaw some common forms of birth control.

Now, faced with televised attacks from incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet over those strident views, Buck is painstakingly trying to modify positions that may not match the beliefs of the unaffiliated moderates who will ultimately decide the contest. [Pols emphasis]

Before the Republican caucuses, Buck answered a Christian family group’s questionnaire and said he supported Amendment 62, the “Personhood Amendment,” on the Colorado ballot.

Buck said Saturday through his campaign spokesman that he will now vote against the measure.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Eli Bremer would rather fight you in a duel than answer questions about abortion.

What was true in 2010 remains that way in 2021. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Eli Bremer wants absolutely nothing to do with questions about the Texas law:

El Paso County Republican Eli Bremer, a former GOP official and Olympian, said in a text message to Colorado Politics that he wasn’t comfortable commenting [Pols emphasis] because it wasn’t clear whether the high court was simply waiting for another case that could establish a clearer precedent to reach its docket.

Bremer, like Buck 11 years earlier, is smart enough to understand that while his right-wing base might be fervently anti-abortion, the majority of people in Colorado absolutely ARE NOT. Colorado voters have consistently rejected anti-abortion measures of all shapes and sizes when given the opportunity (just search for “personhood fail” in the sidebar). The polling data below, conducted in November 2020, affirms this point: More than 70% of Colorado voters are clearly in the “pro-choice” category.

November 2020 polling from Global Strategy Group for Cobalt


Unlike others such as State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, Bremer may prefer to stay far away from commenting on this subject. Unfortunately for Bremer, that’s not how this whole “politics” thing works. Recent statewide Republican candidates in Colorado such as Cory Gardner (U.S. Senate, 2020) and Walker Stapleton (Governor, 2018) were unapologetically anti-abortion, and each lost their respective races by an average of 10 points. Neither Gardner nor Stapleton, however, had to contend with a ridiculous abortion ban that is the subject of widespread derision (note the two headlines from “The Onion“).

The Texas law may or may not survive a court challenge, but either way, it is now a must-answer question for politicians in 2022.

There Was ALWAYS a Real Threat to Abortion Rights

“And contrary to Udall’s tedious refrain, Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.”

    – The editorial board of The Denver Post (Oct. 10, 2014)

You can argue, as many politicos have, that Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall lost the 2014 election for U.S. Senate in Colorado because his campaign against Republican Cory Gardner was too focused on the issue of abortion. Such an argument would not be without merit; Udall’s campaign may, in fact, have spent too much time and money (and ad space) on the idea that Gardner’s election would be a significant threat to women’s rights in Colorado and across the country.

But as we saw today with the implementation in Texas of the most comprehensive abortion restriction in the country, Udall and his supporters were not wrong to be concerned about what might come next if Gardner and Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate. As it turns out, the threat to abortion rights was very real indeed. So real, in fact, that you can draw a direct line between the Republican takeover of the U.S. Senate in 2014 and the new law in Texas that went into effect today.

As Molly Jong-Fast explains for The Daily Beast:

The Supreme Court declined to act and let Texas’ insane new abortion law stand, for now, in what looks to be the day Roe v. Wade began to die.

As of today, SB8, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law, bans abortions at six weeks, with no exception for rape or incest, while targeting anyone who “aids or abets” another person’s abortion. The idea is to make anyone who helps a woman get an abortion a legal target, even her Uber driver, with any citizen able to collect a bounty on abortion providers…

…The Supreme Court’s own precedents have barred states from banning abortion before about 22 weeks, when a fetus could be viable outside of the womb. Letting a six-week law stand is a sign that things have changed, dramatically, with the court’s new 6-3 conservative majority.

There’s a lot of legal posturing here, as Republicans made their insane new law complicated by design in the hopes of sneaking it through—to the point that abortion providers had to turn to the Supreme Court, with its new majority just itching to do away with Roe, as their last best hope. And on Tuesday night, the Supreme Court did nothing, and thus let SB8 stand for now, with an emergency request to block the now-in-effect rule still pending.

Cory Gardner

The Texas law, which for all practical purposes amounts to a total abortion ban, is not even that popular IN TEXAS. But it passed because Texas has a Republican-led legislature, and it will now be implemented because the U.S. Supreme Court gave its tacit approval when it declined to offer an opinion on the matter. For this to happen, the Supreme Court needed to be overseen by a majority of justices who are fundamentally supportive of strict abortion bans.

The 2014 election gave Republicans control of the U.S. Senate, which allowed then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to refuse to even CONSIDER President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Then came the Nuclear Option, followed by Neil Gorsuch and later Brett Kavanaugh. And, finally, Amy Coney Barrett. Gardner supported McConnell’s stonewalling of Garland in 2016, but had no such concerns about nominating a new Supreme Court justice at the tail end of a Republican term in the White House. Gardner lost his own re-election bid in November 2020 to Democrat John Hickenlooper, but the damage had already been done.

Lo and behold, elections DID matter.

As recently as the 2020 election cycle, media outlets were still allowing Republicans to insist that Roe v. Wade was perfectly safe, despite whatever they regularly told their right-wing base. But in April of this year, many of those same Republicans — including several from Colorado — began to speak out more plainly in support of overturning Roe v. Wade. Later this year, the Supreme Court will consider the legality of a stringent abortion ban in the state of Mississippi. As The Washington Post notes, “Antiabortion activists have urged the court to use that case to overturn the 1973 Roe decision.”

Could this happen in Colorado? You betcha it could. Here’s Colorado Republican Party Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown — who previously failed at multiple attempts to enact a “personhood” measure in Colorado — celebrating the new law in Texas:

Polling shows that more than 70% of Coloradans support a woman’s right to choose (see below), but public opinion won’t mean squat if Republicans are able to wrestle control from Democrats in future elections. Republican leaders in Colorado want to end access to reproductive rights for women, and they’ll do just that if given the opportunity.

The threat to reproductive rights was always real…and now we’re here.

November 2020 polling from Global Strategy Group for Cobalt

Of Course Cory Gardner is Now a Lobbyist

Old Gardner: ‘Boo, lobbyists!’
New Gardner: ‘Yay, I’m a lobbyist!’

We’ll say this for former one-term Senator Cory Gardner: He’s nothing if not predictable.

As The Hill newspaper reports, the Yuma Republican has a new job that nobody everybody could have seen coming:

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will join the board of Michael Best Strategies, the lobbying firm announced Wednesday…

…Michael Best Strategies is run by Reince Priebus, who served as former President Trump’s White House chief of staff and as Republican National Committee chairman. The firm has expanded this year, naming former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) to its board of advisers in March…

…“Cory is an efficient communicator and leader and has an extraordinary track record of success in an array of policy and legislative matters,” Priebus said in a statement. “As another tenured former government representative joins our board, Cory’s addition will greatly benefit Michael Best Strategies as we continue to deepen our leadership and advisory positions with former lawmakers.”

But…but…wasn’t Senator Gardner a staunch supporter of efforts to PROHIBIT Members of Congress from moving straight from Congress into lobbying?

Well, yes. On more than once occasion, in fact.

Here’s what Gardner said on re-introducing the Close the Revolving Door Act in October 2019:

“By blocking Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists following their time in office, this legislation will bring the transparency and accountability to elected officials that Coloradans expect and deserve.”

Blah, blah, blahbity blah.

Gardner didn’t just become a complete bullshit artist after losing his re-election bid to Democrat John Hickenlooper by 9 points in 2020. Gardner was always full of craptransparently so, in fact — and it’s a big reason why he fared so poorly with Colorado voters in the years following his 2014 election to the Senate.

There’s nothing more Cory Gardner than moving straight into lobbying after years of decrying the fact that so many former Members of Congress were becoming lobbyists.

As a Member of Congress, very little of what Gardner said turned out to actually matter. May his new career be just as pointless.

Hickenlooper Unleashes His Inner Democrat

Another recent jam from Sen. Hickenlooper

The headline here is intentionally snarky.

You might remember about a year ago at this time, then-Senate candidate John Hickenlooper was getting gouged by Democratic Primary challenger Andrew Romanoff and friends for Hick’s purported lack of commitment to Democratic policies. Nevermind, of course, that Hickenlooper campaigned on a progressive agenda centered around building partnerships and helping everyone do better in our economic system.

Since Hickenlooper entered office as Colorado’s junior U.S. Senator in January, the former Governor has been doing basically what he said he would do — which (again) was to be a Democratic Senator. The latest example of this comes via press release from Hickenlooper’s Senate office:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Maggie Hassan today introduced legislation to guarantee collective bargaining rights for firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. [Pols emphasis] The Firefighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act recognizes the right of emergency services providers to join a union as well as bargain for fair working conditions, hours, and wages.

Many states, including Colorado and New Hampshire, already have local collective bargaining protections for emergency personnel, but federal law does not protect these essential workers. In 16 states, public safety employees cannot collectively bargain for safe working conditions. In five states, they are unable to unionize altogether.

“Firefighters and emergency personnel look out for our safety every day, and it’s time for the federal government to look out for theirs,” said Hickenlooper, Chair of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. “This bill guarantees their right to negotiate for healthy working conditions and a living wage.”

There he goes again: Fracken-collective-bargaining-looper.

We didn’t intentionally write this to sound like a “told you so” argument, but it kinda ended up there in the end.

ACA Survives No Thanks To Neil Gorsuch, Cory Gardner

Politico reporting on the big decision from the U.S. Supreme Court this morning rejecting the lawsuit brought by a number of states’ attorneys general seeking to strike down the landmark 2010 Affordable Care Act by a fairly resounding 7-2 majority decision:

The 7-2 decision, which preserves health insurance for millions and the law’s popular protections for preexisting conditions, may serve as the final chapter in the decade-long legal assault on Obamacare, arriving as President Joe Biden seeks to build on the law’s coverage provisions. It’s also the final blow to former President Donald Trump’s pledge to rip up his predecessor’s signature health care law, after his administration had supported the red states who brought the lawsuit…

The red states challenging the law, led by Texas, argued that Obamacare’s so-called individual mandate became unconstitutional after Congress zeroed out the law’s penalty for not having health insurance in a 2017 tax cut package. They said the entire law should fall because the mandate to purchase insurance, which remains on the books, was central to the law’s functioning.

However, the states failed to show how they were hurt by a mandate that had been rendered ineffective, the Supreme Court said.

The battle over the lawsuit dragged on for over three years, after many legal experts and politicians had originally dismissed it as a longshot. But it gained traction with Republican-appointed judges in lower courts and played a major part in shaping Trump’s presidency. Democrats attacked Trump and Republicans down the ballot for threatening health insurance to over 20 million people and popular insurance protections, putting Trump on the defensive over his failure to produce a long-promised health care plan.

The dissenting opinion, signed by Colorado’s own Justice Neil Gorsuch along with Justice Samuel Alito, reads more like a political press release than a judicial dissent:

“No one can fail to be impressed by the lengths to which this Court has been willing to go to defend the ACA against all threats. A penalty is a tax. The United States is a State. And 18 States who bear costly burdens under the ACA cannot even get a foot in the door to raise a constitutional challenge. So a tax that does not tax is allowed to stand and support one of the biggest Government programs in our Nation’s history. Fans of judicial inventiveness will applaud once again. But I must respectfully dissent,” the dissent said.

Everyone is still trying to make sense of the sweeping changes on the U.S. Supreme Court during Donald Trump’s presidency, in which Republican treachery against Barack Obama following the death of one Justice combined with the untimely death of another to cement what’s broadly believed to be a 6-3 conservative majority. But as Chief Justice John Roberts has taught us several times in his 15 year term, neither side always gets what they expect from Justices once they’re liberated from the political tensions at the time of their confirmation. We’ve said as much about Gorsuch himself, but yesterday’s weak and politicized dissent is both a disappointment and an embarrassment to Coloradans who boosted Gorsuch’s nomination.

Then-Rep. Cory Gardner complains about pro-ACA advertising in Congress in 2013.

As for the Affordable Care Act, “Obamacare,” or whatever you want to call it, it’s the law of the land. After years of fact-free demonization of the ACA failed to slow its steady gain in popularity as more Americans experienced its benefits firsthand, Republicans had a wide-open shot at replacing the ACA with Trump’s fabled better deal–and their failure to accomplish this long-promised objective severely damaged the GOP’s credibility ahead of the 2018 midterms in which Democrats retook control of the U.S. House. Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner, whose career in federal office was as much as anyone in Congress built on assailing the ACA with misinformation, promised to take action to protect patients with pre-existing conditions had this case been successful, but after Republicans tried and failed to keep their promises on health care when they had total control in Washington there was simply no reason to believe him.

Asked if he supported the lawsuit, Gardner replied: “That’s the court’s decision. If the Democrats want to stand for an unconstitutional law, I guess that’s their choice.”

At this point, Republicans–at least Gardner personally–have lost far more in their decade of total war on what amounts to the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s proposal for market-based health care reform than they ever gained in short-term political support. Slamming the door on even the ACA’s modest reforms as the problem of health care affordability worsens has put Republicans hopelessly on the wrong side of a problem that millions of Americans need solutions for, not more empty rhetoric. A realistic discussion of the country’s next necessary steps on health care can only begin once we admit that the reforms enacted ten years ago did not result in the catastrophe half the country has been taught to believe took place.

We’re here for that discussion any time you are.

And Now For A REAL “Throwback Thursday”

Newly-elected Colorado Republican Party chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown is on a tour to visit all the vast expanses of dirt where Republicans reside from corner to corner of our rectangular state–and gentle readers, check out the fossil she dug up in Yuma!

We honestly do appreciate the periodic welfare check on Colorado’s most recently defeated former U.S. Senator Cory Gardner, mostly because we hear so little from him these days. Where many former U.S. Senators parlay their experience in that august body into a whole new career of bigger and better things, Gardner’s achievements since losing his Senate seat by nine points last November have consisted of co-chairing a new PAC and…well, whatever Gardner was doing yesterday at his family tractor shop we guess.

As for all the amazing things Cory Gardner “delivered for Colorado” during his term, you bet! Much of that is an expected by-product of six years as a Senator, so let’s give first-year Sen. John Hickenlooper a chance to catch up. What we can say is that when Colorado needed Gardner to “deliver” most, be it for JBS meatpacking workers who didn’t get tested for COVID or ventilators Colorado had seen swiped by the federal government, all Gardner had was excuses–and loyalty to Donald Trump that outlasted Gardner’s own defeat.

For good or ill, seeing Cory Gardner’s indestructible smile once again conjures up a lot of memories.

We don’t think they are memories a majority of Colorado voters want to relive.

500,000 Dead Americans, Zero Apologies From Colorado GOP

Having officially passed the tragic milestone of half a million Americans dead, we can say with certainty today that the COVID-19 pandemic was not a “psyop.”

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams got it wrong:

“I’m going to rant just a bit,” wrote Reams on Facebook. “I understand that nobody wants to catch Coronavirus but statistically, even if you catch it you’re likely to be just fine. [Pols emphasis] What I’m concerned with is our Country catching a huge case of socialism. We (our government) has self imposed an economic crash in the name of saving us from a virus and now they are offering the “solution” through money that isn’t really available; let’s call that debt. If you read the attached article, examine what is being suggested and ask yourselves if this is makes sense. Maybe it’s just me but I’d rather take my risk with the virus then socialism.”

So did Reams’ buddy, Colorado GOP chairman Rep. Ken Buck:

Fauci and his team insisted that the best-case outcome for the virus was between 100,000 to 200,000 fatalities stemming from the coronavirus. But that was before the number was revised down to 75,000. And, that was before it was revised down again to 60,000. Surely, more revisions are to come… [Pols emphasis]

Play this nine infuriating seconds of video:


Remember former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville downplaying the threat in the most offensive terms:

Describing the metro area’s stay-at-home order as “outlandish and outrageous,” leading to a “gestapo-like mentality,” Colorado’s Republican House leader vowed Wednesday to fight it, ignore it, and continue doing his job.

“It’s completely insane,” said Colorado House Republican leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock this morning on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show, as first reported by 9News. “I think we have — what? — something like 40 people, maybe it’s 80 people, somewhere in that range, who have actually been hospitalized…” [Pols emphasis]

And a joke now ex-Sen. Cory Gardner told last August that did not age well:

“My 8-year-old son came to me and said, ‘Dad, I know when the pandemic ends.’ And I said, ‘You do?’ He says, ‘Yes, the day after the election.’ [Pols emphasis] Now, he picked that up somewhere or heard that somewhere, or maybe mom and dad were talking too much around him,” Gardner told a laughing crowd.

If we had the time and inclination, we could write a book just about Republicans in Colorado who made tragicomic fools of themselves by disregarding the danger posed by the COVID-19 pandemic from the beginning of the crisis. Had these politicians only endangered their own safety, recounting their stupidity in hindsight would involve more comedy and less tragedy. Unfortunately, it is this willful disregard for public health and safety for the purpose of election-year posturing on the part of Republicans that has led directly to the United States suffering more illness and death from COVID-19 than any other nation.

None of them have said they were sorry. Most of them never will. As a nation we may be too numbed and fatigued to be outraged. But everyone who scoffed at this possibility owes an apology now that this once-unthinkable death toll from COVID-19 is a reality.

At long last, have they no shame?

Campaign Finance Complaint Moves Ahead Against Conservative Dark Money Group

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a legal action that could unveil the names of high-rolling Republicans in Colorado and beyond, the Colorado Secretary of State’s Elections Division is moving ahead with its investigation of a conservative dark money group behind millions of dollars in campaign spending during the 2020 election cycle.

In a complaint filed Feb. 1 with the Office of Administrative Courts, Attorney General Phil Weiser alleges on behalf of the division that despite making six-figure contributions to three separate ballot issue committees, Unite for Colorado, a conservative advocacy group, failed to register itself as an issue committee for any of the measures.

In short, the SOS office is arguing that Unite for Colorado, which didn’t exist until November of 2019, disclosed contributions to only four entities (the three proposition committees and its own affiliated independent expenditure committee), and provided over 80% of the entire campaign budgets of both Props 116 and 117, indeed should count those contributions as major purposes, requiring public disclosure of donors’ names.

Unite for Colorado contributed over $2 million to three campaigns (in support of Propositions 116 and 117 and opposing Proposition 113).

However, in addition to splitting the $2 million three ways, it spent another $3.5 million opposing John Hickenlooper’s campaign for U.S. Senate, and Unite director Dustin Zvonek says it spent far more money it isn’t yet required to disclose.

For these reasons, Zvonek argues that none of the three ballot initiatives count a “major purpose” of the organization, and thus it didn’t have to register with the Secretary of State as an issue committee, which would require it to disclose its donors.

Ultimately a judge will decide the legal arguments over campaign finance rules, but the documents already filed in this case offer a peek at an unprecedented structure of legal entities set up by Colorado’s establishment conservatives to achieve their political goals.


Get More Smarter on Thursday (February 11)

Happy “National White T-Shirt Day” (it’s not what you might think). Let’s get even more smarterer; 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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


Day three of Impeachment 2.0 is well underway, kicking off with the first appearance of Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) in her role as a House impeachment manager (another Colorado Member of Congress, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish), has been perhaps the breakout star of the hearings thus far). The Washington Post explains more about what to expect from today:

The House managers opened the second day of their presentation Thursday by trying to strengthen the case that former president Donald Trump incited the violent Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. The Democratic managers are initially focusing on what the insurrectionists said about their motivations.

On Wednesday, the managers used surveillance footage from the Capitol, along with Trump’s own words and tweets, to try to build a case against him. Trump’s attorneys are scheduled to begin their presentation on Friday. A verdict could come as early as the weekend.

The New York Times summarizes the action from Wednesday, which included more new video clips from January 6:

Filling the Senate chamber with the profane screams of the attackers, images of police officers being brutalized, and near-miss moments in which Vice President Mike Pence and lawmakers came steps away from confronting a mob hunting them down, the prosecutors made an emotional case that Mr. Trump’s election lies had directly endangered the heart of American democracy.

They played frantic police radio calls warning that “we’ve lost the line,” body camera footage showing an officer pummeled with poles and fists on the West Front of the Capitol, and silent security tape from inside showing Mr. Pence, his family and members of the House and Senate racing to evacuate as the mob closed in, chanting: “Hang Mike Pence! Hang Mike Pence!”

All of it, the nine Democratic managers said, was the foreseeable and intended outcome of Mr. Trump’s desperate attempts to cling to the presidency. Reaching back as far as last summer, they traced how he spent months cultivating not only the “big lie” that the election was “rigged” against him, but stoking the rage of a throng of supporters who made it clear that they would do anything — including resorting to violence — to help him.

Chris Cillizza of CNN provides his 5 key takeaways from Wednesday. Here’s the key video footage from Wednesday provided by House impeachment managers:


► Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on Rep. Joe Neguse’s performance Wednesday:

Neguse’s role in the impeachment trial has given the talented orator a national audience and drawn applause from pundits and politicians across the political spectrum. He’s a sophomore in the House and a rising star within the Democratic Party who has climbed the leadership ranks since his election in 2018.

On Wednesday, Neguse’s job was to “provide a roadmap” of the prosecutors’ evidentiary case, in the words of lead impeachment manager Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland. Neguse explained the case in broad terms, before six other managers went into greater detail.

“As you’ll see during the course of this trial, that mob was summoned, assembled and incited by the former president of the United States, Donald Trump,” Neguse alleged. “And he did that because he wanted to stop the transfer of power, so that he could retain power, even though he had lost the election.”


Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) offers up a new explanation for $22k in mileage reimbursement claims from her 2020 campaign that includes something about having to buy new tires. This is not going well for Boebert, who is dealing with a complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics for questionable campaign spending.


State officials say that half of Coloradans age 70 and older have received a COVID-19 vaccine. Less clear is the number of first responders to have received a vaccine in Colorado.

As 9News reports, there are 57 confirmed cases of a COVID variant in Colorado believed to have originated in the U.K.. Officials say there are no confirmed variants from Brazil or South Africa in our state.

You may want to avoid Winter Park for awhile; the ski resort area has seen a huge outbreak of COVID-19 cases.


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



In Which Cory Gardner Makes You Glad He’s Gone

Former Senator Cory Gardner, still full of crap

Former Colorado Senator Cory Gardner was a guest on “Fox and Friends” on Wednesday morning to discuss his new career venture running a SuperPAC for Republican candidates.

But before Gardner discussed his new fundraising job, talking muppet Ainsley Earhardt asked Gardner to comment on Tuesday’s opening hearings in the second impeachment trial against President Trump. If you thought perhaps that Gardner would be less “used car salesman-like” now that he is no longer in elected office, then you’ll be disappointed:

EARHARDT: Good morning. What did you think about what happened yesterday and what can we expect going forward?

GARDNER: Like most Americans yesterday I was working and wasn’t glued to live television processies [sic]. Reading the aftermath of yesterday it sounds like there was a video presentation made for TV, is how it was described.

You know, I would remind people that there is no “made for TV” provision of the Constitution. And so, this is a trial taking place in spite of the fact that the new President says he wants unity. An impeachment trial to remove someone from office who is out of office, following cries and calls for unity in a city that is now seeing an impeachment trial and a partisan COVID-19 relief measure. And so, I really think you’re seeing Washington again completely at odds with the rhetoric that is coming out of its leadership. 

Gardner has never publicly commented on Trump’s claims that the 2020 Presidential election was fraudulent. When he was asked in mid-November about whether he considered Joe Biden to be the President-elect, Gardner responded by saying, “I’m not going to play your gotcha questions.” Gardner didn’t address Trump’s election lies in his farewell speech on the Senate floor in December. To our knowledge, Gardner has also never publicly commented about the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 (he was no longer in the Senate at that point).

In his brief interview today, Gardner affirmed all of the criticism about him as a dishonest, snake oil salesman of a politician, framing the impeachment of Trump for inciting an insurrection as little more than a mean thing Democrats are doing (while also tossing in a weird attack on Democrats for trying to pass a COVID-19 stimulus package). This is why Gardner lost his re-election bid in November by a 9 point margin to John Hickenlooper.

Gardner was always a mealy-mouthed huckster who, for a brief time, managed to fool enough Colorado voters into believing there was some actual substance behind his cherubic grin. That old saying, “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” doesn’t apply here; we know what we had, and we’re thrilled that we don’t have it anymore.

Cory Gardner: He’s Back And Taking No Blame

UPDATE: AP’s Nick Riccardi observes correctly, this isn’t a promotion:


National Victory Action Fund chairman Cory Gardner.

For months since losing the 2020 U.S. Senate election in Colorado by almost ten points, ex-Sen. Cory Gardner has been dead silent while the country plunged into political chaos caused by the man Gardner followed happily into the political abyss, now ex-President Donald Trump. While Gardner himself conceded defeat on Election Night, Gardner kept completely under the radar while Trump denied the results in the presidential race and eventually fomented the violence that broke out at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th just days after Gardner left office.

Well folks, as of today, Cory Gardner is back–as the chairman of a new SuperPAC called the National Victory Action Fund (NVAF), whose stated mission is to “get money to campaigns as early as possible” and “consequently, elect conservative candidates to the House and Senate in 2022.” Jeff Larson, former RNC chief of staff and adviser to former RNC chairman Reince Priebus, talks about Cory’s new gig:

Outside groups provide critical resources, but we cannot rely on them alone. Compared to campaigns, outside groups pay far higher rates for television ads, have no access to the actual candidate or specific guidance on messaging, and often start their ads only weeks before Election Day.

Therefore, we need to find ways to get more money into the hands of the actual campaigns themselves.

And that’s where NVAF chairman Cory Gardner takes over–but the story Gardner tells about his defeat in the 2020 elections is, we’re sorry to say, not recognizable to anyone who lived through it:

Out in Colorado, we had far-left groups from out of state saturating the airwaves with millions in television ads years before Election Day. When I finally had enough money to respond in kind, they had already influenced public opinion in a way that was almost impossible to overcome. I’m proud to join with NVAF because getting resources to campaigns is vital if we want to prevent this from happening to other candidates.

It could have been worse we guess.

As Coloradans became painfully used to during Gardner’s decade in federal office, this account of Gardner’s defeat is complete fictionalization. The truth is that Gardner entered the 2020 election cycle with a huge incumbent war chest, while his eventual opponent John Hickenlooper first had to slug it out in a Democratic primary. Hickenlooper’s fundraising did eventually build a massive advantage over Gardner, but to suggest that Gardner never had the money to “respond in kind” to attacks is simply not accurate.

And this leads to the real problem with Gardner’s excuses for why he lost, at least the closest to an excuse we’ve seen publicly: it’s not money that sank Cory Gardner at all. Public opinion turned against Gardner over choices Gardner made on his own, the most damning of which was to lash himself to Trump in a state that rejected Trump in 2016 and then punished Republicans up and down the ballot in 2018 in a referendum on Trump. And it goes back even further than that: ever since Gardner’s close election in 2014 counter to the prevailing leftward political trajectory of the state, he was on the wrong side of Colorado voters on most issues.

It’s not about “influencing public opinion.” Gardner was always a bad fit politically for Colorado.

The sad fact is that few Republicans have paid a higher price for their loyalty to Trump than Cory Gardner. Gardner’s choice to align with Trump to the bitter end, unlike some other GOP Senators whose legacies will survive Trump’s, had lasting consequences. This new job represents a tremendous diminishment of Gardner’s once-limitless career prospects, and underscores the difficulty that Trump loyalists are reportedly having finding new employment anywhere near the prestige they once enjoyed.

Though yes, it probably beats selling tractors.

Cory Gardner’s Last Con Falls Apart

UPDATE: Politico reports that the Colorado delegation isn’t taking this adverse decision lying down:

“This last-minute decision, based entirely on political expediency, will devastate our space capabilities,” [Rep. Doug] Lamborn wrote. “I call on you to use your authority upon taking office as our nation’s commoner-in-chief to reverse this foolish and hastily made decision.”

Separately, Colorado Democrats Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper released a statement saying they will “ensure the Biden administration reviews this purported decision.”

“Just as President Trump is leaving office, Colorado was not selected despite reports that it was the Air Force’s top choice,” the senators wrote. “We believe a process based on the merits will keep Space Command in Colorado. There is no role for politics when it comes to our national security.”

The Pentagon named six finalists to host the headquarters in November after a politically charged search that spanned two dozen states and lasted more than a year. Officials then winnowed it to the bases in Colorado Springs and Huntsville.

Rep. Doug Lamborn condemning President Donald Trump’s announcement as “political expediency” could be the most pointed disagreement Lamborn has ever worked up the nerve to vocalize with Trump–a sign that perhaps Lamborn too has realized the future is not on the Trump Train.

Might this decision be reversed by incoming President Joe Biden? We’ll have to see, but the worm may be turning even as the announcement is made.


Apparently the reverse is also true.

Colorado Public Radio reports:

The U.S. Space Command will be calling Alabama home permanently — and not Colorado.

Petersen Air Force Base in Colorado Springs was named the temporary headquarters for the combatant command in May 2019 — and it looks like that status won’t have a chance to establish Centennial State roots…

In a statement, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the decision “misguided” and said the state’s aerospace security, military heritage, and quality of life makes it the “epicenter of national security space and the only permanent home for U.S. Space Command.”

“Reports that the in-depth military process found Colorado Springs to be the best location for military readiness and cost and recommended Colorado to the President only to be overruled for politically motivated reasons are deeply concerning,” Polis added. [Pols emphasis]

Donald Trump, Cory Gardner at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs last February.

News that the U.S. Space Command’s permanent headquarters would be moving to Huntsville, Alabama instead of bringing jobs and construction money to the Colorado Springs area is a significant blow to the southern Front Range’s economy, which is heavily dependent on the region’s major military installations. During Sen. Cory Gardner’s unsuccessful re-election campaign last year, the prospect of Space Command being permanently located in Colorado was touted by the campaign one of Gardner’s biggest “accomplishments,” and was dangled by President Donald Trump himself at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs last February:

“You are being very strongly considered for the space command, very strongly,” Trump told a capacity crowd of 10,000 inside The Broadmoor World Arena and hundreds more who stood outside in the cold to watch him on a screen set up for the event.

Trump said he will decide where to house the command by the end of 2020, possibly after the November election. The decision was originally due last summer, and the delay has gone unexplained by the Pentagon.

Trump’s implied personal involvement in the decision is a rarity for the White House, which in the past two administrations has steered clear of basing decisions which are generally settled in the Pentagon. [Pols emphasis]

Despite this, as reports jubilantly, the Air Force insists they didn’t play political favorites:

The Air Force studied sites in numerous states including Alabama and Colorado, where the headquarters is temporarily located. A report in Politico today said Huntsville ranked higher than Colorado in each category of the evaluation. That included cost of living and housing availability off base.

With that said,

The Politico story also quoted a top Air Force official saying the choice was “made in consultation with the White House, [Pols emphasis] senior military commanders, the congressional defense committees and others.”

Either way, at least one local Republican operative couldn’t conceal his glee at seeing Colorado lose out:

Obviously, for everyone in Colorado who wanted this major command permanently located in Colorado Springs with all the economic benefits that entails, this sucks. But it’s clear at this point the promise that a “vote for Cory Gardner is a vote for Space Command” was woefully empty. At best it was a political carrot dangled by Trump to a state his campaign quickly realized was not competitive–and no such largesse could save Gardner, who was all but written off by national Republicans early on in the 2020 cycle.

As for Alabama, we’re inclined to agree that to whatever extent Trump did have sway over this decision, he would certainly try to reward Mo Brooks and Tommy Tuberville for their unwavering loyalty right to the bitter end of Trump’s presidency. With Gardner’s loyalty to Trump there was also “no waver,” but the voters of Colorado rendered the question of Gardner’s loyalty moot. He was useless to Trump in defeat. The only caveat to this we feel obliged to add is some presumption of the best when it comes to the Air Force’s political impartiality, and readers can debate that for themselves.

Perhaps the one upside is Gardner doesn’t have to make excuses about losing Space Command now, and that’s good because we’re pretty sure nobody in Colorado would want to hear them. So long, Cory Gardner, and thanks for even closer to nothing than we thought.

Top Ten Stories of 2020 #2: Cory Gardner, Out With a Whimper

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt)

November 3, 2020, 7:01 p.m.

That was the exact moment when we learned that Republican Sen. Cory Gardner had lost his bid for re-election to Democrat John Hickenlooper. Gardner was so far out of contention in 2020 that the race for U.S. Senate was called literally one minute after the polls closed in Colorado.

It was an ignominious ending for Gardner, who just barely avoided a double-digit loss (53.5% to 44%). This was a startling change of direction from 2014, when Gardner narrowly defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and was widely pegged as a rising star in the Republican party.

After the 2018 mid-term elections, Colorado was primed as the most competitive Senate battleground race in the country. We never got that far. Gardner’s poll numbers were consistently in the toilet, right next to his credibility, and despite tens of millions of dollars spent on his behalf, Gardner was never even really a threat to win re-election in 2020. This bears repeating: Gardner was SO bad at being a Senator and a candidate for re-election that his eventual defeat was a foregone conclusion for months beforehand.

Just before the November 2020 election, we took a long and detailed look at how things went so horribly wrong for Gardner in the years following his 2014 upset victory. We’re not going to repeat that analysis here, but the short version is this: Gardner lost his re-election because he made awful decisions nearly every step of the way.

In the end, it was fitting that Gardner’s Senate career would close with little more than a shrug from local and national observers. Cory Gardner didn’t go down swinging…he just sorta went away.

The word you’re looking for is “anticlimactic.”

Top Ten Stories of 2020 #4: Lunacy Becomes GOP Platform

Republican Rep. Larry Liston (now Senator-elect) during special legislative session on November 30, 2020.

Republicans have not been very competitive in Colorado elections in recent years, helping to turn what was once a swing state into a solid blue rectangle. Republican ineptitude was not a new story in 2020, but there was a different flavor to the Colorado GOP’s brand of nonsense in the weirdest year any of us can remember.

It was perhaps inevitable that Colorado Republicans would further descend into madness in 2020 after spending much of 2019 on rudderless grifting operations they called “recall attempts.” But it still would have been hard to predict just how absurd things would get for GOP politicians in our state. Nobody knew much about Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert at this time a year ago, but now she’s the face of the Colorado Republican Party despite the fact that virtually every news outlet in the state reported that she basically has no idea what she’s talking about on any issue.

The coronavirus pandemic opened up a new rabbit hole for Republicans, who immediately responded to efforts to contain the spread of the virus by declaring that wearing a mask was against freedom and that stay-at-home orders were reminiscent of a “Gestapo-like mentality.” A group of Republican lawmakers, including then-House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, launched a ridiculous effort to convince Douglas County to end its association with the Tri-County Health Department IN THE MIDDLE OF A FREAKING PANDEMIC. Neville, for one, took this as an opportunity to convince a few idiots to give him money so that he could sue Gov. Jared Polis for making people wear masks.

The GOP attack on the Tri-County Health Department also included State Sen. Jim Smallwood, who contracted COVID-19 after inexplicably traveling to California when the state legislature paused all activity in mid-March. In other words, the people who were urging others to disregard health precautions were themselves becoming health risks because they disregarded health precautions. Meanwhile, Republicans were also busy trying to paint the COVID-19 outbreak as a racial issue…up until it turned out that deep red counties were being hit harder than anywhere else.

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the new face of the Colorado GOP.

Republican attacks on the Tri-County Health Department ended up going nowhere from a practical standpoint, but they had very real and unsettling consequences elsewhere. In May, for example, Aurora police arrested a man for vandalizing a Tri-County Health office and making all sorts of violent threats. It was not a coincidence that these deranged actions happened after local Republicans began rattling cages about health department officials who were just trying to keep people safe.

Things got even weirder in May after global protests that followed the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers created a new opportunity for Colorado Republican leaders to play the fool. While the rest of us were gripped by rallies and calls for social justice, GOP leaders primarily complained about vandalism in Denver. Some Republican county party leaders were pretty sure that Floyd’s death was just a big ruse of some sort. Others fully supported violent counter-protests around the state. There was even a common refrain that the City of Denver was a burning pile of rubble…something that could be easily verified by anyone who just looked around.

It would take us too long to list every absurd thing that Colorado Republicans said or did in 2020, but here are a couple more examples:

♦ Congressman Ken Buck, who also serves as the State GOP Party Chairman, made a complete fool of himself on Fox News in trying to explain his idea that Antifa was funded by George Soros, or something.

Neville compared the killing of Elijah McClain in 2019 to protestors who tried to super glue themselves to a railing at the state capitol.

♦ Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was far from the only Republican to express belief in QAnon conspiracy theories.

♦ This ridiculous Op-Ed from Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) speaks for itself.

♦ Rather than spend the last weeks of the 2020 election campaigning for Republicans, a group of activists instead devoted their time and effort on once again not recalling Gov. Polis.

Colorado Republicans enter the new year with their party in tatters. Their highest-ranking statewide elected official is CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, and the GOP might just elect disgraced former Secretary of State Scott Gessler as its new Party Chairman. Republicans need to find candidates for five big statewide races in 2022, but it’s hard to envision anyone but the most far-right candidates emerging from the various Primary elections. Heck, it could still be months before some in the GOP finally stop pretending that Donald Trump was re-elected as President.

Colorado Republicans had a lot of problems well before 2020. Thanks to a year of astonishingly-terrible decisions, the future of the state GOP is considerably bleaker today.

Top Ten Stories of 2020 #6: Colorado is a Solid Blue State

Happy Cory Gardner and Sad Cory Gardner. You can plot out Colorado’s shift from a swing state in 2014 to a solid blue state in 2020 with these two images:

Colorado was swept up in a massive blue wave in 2018, handing Democrats all four of the top statewide offices (Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, and Secretary of State), as well as control of both chambers of the state legislature. Democrat Jared Polis cruised to an 11-point victory over Republican Walker Stapleton in the race for Governor. On a federal level, Democrat Jason Crow’s victory in CO-06 gave Democrats the keys to four of Colorado’s seven congressional districts.

In 2020, Democrats solidified their advantage in Colorado, with Democrat John Hickenlooper snatching Gardner’s Senate seat by a nearly 10-point margin. Democrats even managed to add a seat in the State Senate while maintaining a solid majority in the State House.

In the race for President, Democrat Joe Biden easily defeated President Trump by a margin of nearly 14 points, which was a massive increase from Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 5-point victory in 2016. Consider this: Colorado was a swing state for President in 2008 and (sorta) in 2012. In 2020, neither major party candidate for President even bothered visiting our state in the six months before Election Day.

Colorado Republicans have fallen hard since Gardner defeated incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in 2014 by a narrow 47-45 margin. The numbers are staggering: Hickenlooper added 786,911 votes to Udall’s 2014 total, while Gardner’s vote total only went up by 445,601. Democrats now have such an advantage in Colorado that Hickenlooper would have still beaten Gardner if we didn’t count any of the votes from Denver, which is the most heavily-populated area in the state and always a reliably-blue county.

Republicans aren’t just losing in Colorado — they’re not even competitive anymore. In fact, Republicans are so buried in our state that it’s difficult to even come up with plausible names for top ticket races in 2022.

The 2020 election proved that the 2018 Democratic wave in Colorado was no fluke. We are a blue state now, and there’s no way to argue otherwise.

“Santa Cory’s” Last Chance

Mitch McConnell, Cory Gardner.

For Americans hoping to see a substantially bigger economic relief check in their account next month than the first $600 they’ve seen since the CARES Act passed last March belatedly signed into law this week by outgoing President Donald Trump, the latest news from The Hill is not good news:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to set up a stand-alone vote on increasing the amount of recently passed stimulus checks from $600 to $2,000…

The GOP leader did not directly address why he objected.

But he signaled separately that he could package the increase in direct stimulus checks, with a repeal of a tech shield that has emerged as a top target for Trump and election-related investigations.

Although attention has been focused most heavily on Trump’s call to increase the stimulus direct payments from $600 to $2000, attaching Trump’s other conditions like repeal of protections for social media platforms from being sued over content posted by users, or validating Trump’s baseless contentions of election fraud, is very likely a nonstarter for Democrats in the House and Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s blocking of a quick vote on the bill passed by the House is not the end of the road, but it’s a clear signal that a “clean bill” like what the House passed is not going to happen. It’s definitely a setback.

We’ll say it again, since there’s just a few days left to say it: outgoing Sen. Cory Gardner has one more chance in this moment to do something good for Americans, not to mention the two candidates running in Georgia who will decide control of the Senate, by coming out for a swift and clean vote to increase the direct payments to $2,000. Both David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler say they support $2,000 checks. And just like Cory Gardner found in Colorado on a variety of issues, if Mitch McConnell proves to be the block that prevents relief Georgia voters desperately need over the objections of fellow Republican Senators, where’s the incentive to cast a vote that keeps McConnell in power as Senate Majority Leader?

It’s now or never, “Santa Cory.” Go out with a bang, or the whimper we’ve grown accustomed to.

Top Ten Stories of 2020 #8: The Trouble With Andrew Romanoff

Republicans wanted to run against Andrew Romanoff. They didn’t get him.

Now-defeated Sen. Cory Gardner came into 2020 as the nation’s most vulnerable incumbent Republican U.S. Senator up for re-election. Running in a state that has steadily shifted leftward politically since Gardner’s narrow election in 2014, and with Gardner having lashed himself to an unpopular President Donald Trump to preserve his GOP base, Republicans were desperate for any edge to keep Gardner viable.

Through the June 30th primary, Republicans shamelessly exploited someone they thought could give them the edge they so desperately needed–Democratic primary candidate Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff, who served as Speaker of the Colorado House over a decade ago, had lost an unusually bitter Democratic primary against Sen. Michael Bennet in 2010, then ran with full Democratic support in a marquee race against GOP Rep. Mike Coffman in 2014 and lost again. Romanoff’s entry into the 2020 Democratic Senate pack in February of 2019 nonetheless made him the best-known contender at that time against a pack of relatively unknown minor candidates.

But Romanoff was in no position to dominate. When former Gov. John Hickenlooper decided to end his longshot presidential campaign and run against Cory Gardner in 2020, he brought resources and campaign experience to the Senate race that Romanoff simply had no access to. Hickenlooper went on to dominate the primary campaign, outclassing Romanoff by every conceivable metric and blowing out Romanoff by over 17 points on June 30th.


Top Ten Stories of 2020 #10: The Rally That Made No Sense

Photo by Erik Maulbetsch, CTR

On February 20, President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign held a rally at the Broadmoor World Arena. In typical Trump fashion, the campaign gave out tickets far in excess of the World’s Arena’s capacity, resulting in a large and intentional “overflow crowd” outside of freezing but enthusiastic supporters. Inside, the politician with the most to lose next to Trump himself, Sen. Cory Gardner, swore allegiance once again to the man he had once denounced and called on to pull out of the race for President back in October of 2016.

With the benefit of hindsight, it’s clear today that this Trump’s rally in Colorado Springs in late February was a profound miscalculation. Within a few short weeks of this rally, the COVID-19 pandemic escalated on a trajectory that would lead to the United States suffering more illness and death than any other nation on Earth. Long after the pandemic had taken hold and as Republicans including Gardner tried desperately to pretend they had been worried about the pandemic back when quick action could have saved lives, this rally made a cruel joke of Gardner’s protestations. If you were really worried about the pandemic in January as Gardner claimed, why the hell would you hold a rally with 20,000 people at the end of February?

Politically, this was an event born of pure hubris. The Trump campaign insisted a state he would lose by almost 14 points was “in play,” and dead-man-walking Cory Gardner concluded that appearing on stage with Trump would help Gardner win re-election more than it hurt. As we can say confidently today, that deliberate choice by Gardner was wrong. Ever since Gardner’s narrow victory in 2014, this state has trended bluer in each successive election. In 2018, Colorado Republicans were absolutely demolished at the polls in what was largely seen as a referendum on Trump. If Gardner’s “only path” to survival was to lash himself ever closer to Trump, the truth is Gardner had no path at all.

They’re maybe not all this counterproductive, but here’s one Trump rally that didn’t help anyone except Democrats.

Cory Gardner is a Bad Example

Sen. Cory Gardner (left) standing next to Sen. John Barrasso.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell congratulated Democrat Joe Biden for winning the Presidential election today, exactly six weeks after Election Day. As The Washington Post reports:

“The electoral college has spoken, so today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” said McConnell (R-Ky.). He also nodded to the historic elevation of his Senate colleague, Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), to the vice presidency.

McConnell’s statement comes after some of his Senate colleagues strained to avoid saying the same thing Monday. The No. 3 Senate Republican, John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), called questions about the matter “gotcha” questions.

Chris Cillizza follows up for CNN on Barrasso’s ridiculous comment:

After the Electoral College — as expected — confirmed Monday that Joe Biden will be the 46th president of the United States, a reporter asked Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso whether or not Biden was now officially the “President-elect.” Barrasso called it a “gotcha” question.

Yes, you read that right.

How was asking whether Biden is President-elect a “gotcha” question, you ask? “I know what the Constitution says, Article 2, Section 1. And I know that the Electoral College has voted today, so to me, that tells us a lot … I follow the Constitution,” Barrasso, the third ranking member of Republican Senate leadership, explained. “Three weeks ago the transition occurred in terms of … access to the briefings and access to the money.”

It’s possible that Barrasso was following the example set by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), who used this same lame excuse for an answer back in November:

The lesson, as always: Don’t be like Cory Gardner.

Let the Nonsense Commence!

UPDATE (10:44 am): 9News political reporter Marshall Zelinger has already had enough:


UPDATE (10:15 am): The first witness is Trump legal adviser Jenna Ellis, who is testifying remotely. Ellis says she is here to encourage legislators “to take election integrity seriously.” She concludes her statement without offering any sort of evidence of election impropriety in Colorado. Great start!


UPDATE (10:07 am): The Legislative Audit Committee has already called a recess because of technical problems with its remote participation software. This seems like an appropriate sign.


Look behind you…ah, nevermind.

You’ve seen this movie before.

Republicans who will trudge through the snow today to attend a special meeting of the Legislative Audit Committee, called by Chair and outgoing Rep. Lori Saine (R-Firestone), are every minor character in any horror movie you’ve ever seen. They are the group of mismatched friends who reach a literal fork in the road and say to each other, “let’s split up,” while every person in the movie theater says to themselves, No, don’t do it!

Saine and Republican lawmakers have invited conspiracy theorists and self-appointed election experts to the State Capitol for the purpose of “investigating” nonexistent election fraud in Colorado. There is a 100% chance that this silly spectacle will accomplish precisely nothing other than making Republicans look like fools, but they’re doing it anyway. 

As Marianne Goodland wrote last week for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

The Dec. 15 committee hearing is expected to look into election voting systems — Saine told Colorado Politics she has invited Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems to send a representative — as well as other allegations around election irregularities, contained in a press release Wednesday, that have already been thoroughly debunked. [Pols emphasis] 

A number of fairly well-known Republicans are scheduled to appear today, including disgraced former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and President Trump’s legal mastermind Jenna Ellis, who loses election fraud lawsuits more often than most of us drink a cup of coffee. Some lesser-known names will also appear to blather on about algorithms related to Dominion Voting Systems, the Denver-based election technology company that conspiracists allege is somehow connected to a former President of Venezuela who has been dead for seven years.  

Yeah, Scott Gessler will fix it!

Oh, and all of this will take place after the Electoral College on Monday voted without incident to confirm that Democrat Joe Biden is the President-elect. The same Joe Biden who carried Colorado by a whopping 13 points in November.

The only tangible impact of continuing to question an election that the Department of Homeland Security called “the most secure in American history” is to ensure that local election officials continue to receive threats of violence for doing their jobs effectively; in Michigan, election offices and the state capitol were both closed on Monday in response to credible threats of violence. There is nothing else that can be accomplished, despite Saine’s ridiculous claims that “It is our duty as elected representatives of the people to put to rest any doubt the public may have concerning the integrity of our elections.”

But let’s play along for a moment and pretend that Saine called this hearing for reasons other than spreading discredited disinformation. What’s the best-case scenario here for Republicans? Is Saine hoping to call into question an election in which she won her own race for a seat on the Weld County Board of Commissioners? 

Perhaps Republicans think they will uncover something that could somehow change the result of the Presidential race (Biden +13) or the U.S. Senate race in Colorado (in which Democrat John Hickenlooper defeated incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner by 9 points). It’s important to note that the losing candidates in November’s election all conceded their respective races in Colorado — in some cases even after a recount was conducted. Any concern about election irregularities isn’t actually coming from candidates themselves.

Rep. Lori Saine (R), in custody after being caught with a loaded gun at DIA in December of 2017.

Suppose Saine and friends actually discovered something relevant today: As Goodland explained last week, the Legislative Audit Committee doesn’t have the authority to DO anything about it. The State Auditor can’t audit county election operations, and it can’t “investigate” private companies like Dominion Voting Systems. 

For Republicans conducting today’s spectacle, their best case scenario may be convincing President Trump to Tweet something nice about them. That would be neat.

For Democrats attending today’s hearing, they need only to restrain themselves from following Republicans down the rabbit hole. There is no real point in arguing with Saine or any of the people she calls to “testify” today, because it’s not possible to win over conspiracy theorists with tactics of “logic” and “reason.” Democrats should just keep their COVID-19 face masks firmly attached and let the hearing conclude as quickly as possible.

This is a clear abuse of authority on the part of Saine, but it’s not out of character for a lawmaker who thrives on gibberish and was once caught trying to sneak a loaded gun onto an airplane. Republicans know full well that today’s hearing is a bad idea, but they’re moving ahead because they’re terrified of disappointing Trump’s unhinged base of supporters.

And besides, accomplishing nothing is basically the Colorado Republican brand. 

Get More Smarter on Thursday (December 10)

Happy “Human Rights Day.” Please be a nice human today. 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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


► The United States broke a week-old record by surpassing 3,000 daily deaths from COVID-19. The good news: Americans could be receiving vaccinations within a matter of days. As The New York Times reports:

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel, composed of independent scientific experts, infectious disease doctors and statisticians, as well as industry and consumer representatives, is meeting all day on Thursday to discuss whether Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine should be authorized by the agency. Although the F.D.A. does not have to follow the advice of the panel, it usually does.

If the experts vote in favor of the vaccine, it will clear the way for the F.D.A. to authorize the vaccine within days and for some health care workers and nursing home residents to begin receiving it early next week.

Earlier this week, career scientists at the F.D.A. published more than 100 pages of analysis of Pfizer’s clinical trial data that showed the vaccine was safe and effective across a variety of demographic groups and also began to show effectiveness after the first of two doses.

Colorado Public Radio and The Denver Post have more on how the State of Colorado plans to prioritize the availability of vaccinations, broken down by Winter, Spring, and Summer stages. The short version is that extremely-high risk health care workers and individuals will get the vaccine first, while the general public probably won’t get stabbed in the arm until early Summer 2021.

Prisoners in Colorado jails have been moved down the priorities list, though as 9News reports, the biggest outbreak in the federal prison system is in the Denver Metro area:

A minimum security federal prison in Jefferson County is experiencing the largest outbreak in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) system.

Out of 900 inmates at FCI Englewood, 451 presently have COVID-19, and 50 out of 251 staff have COVID right now, according to BOP.


► Scrooge McConnell appears to have scuttled a coronavirus relief package. Again.


► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is still officially on the job until Democrat John Hickenlooper is sworn in as his replacement on January 3. But as Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Gardner hasn’t really been doing his job for weeks now:

The email contact form on Gardner’s website disappeared soon after the election, and the “email Cory” link at the bottom of the site’s other pages leads to a 404 page that says, “404. We’re sorry. The page you requested cannot be found.”…

…Gardner’s eight in-state offices in Colorado shuttered for good on Friday, according to a message reached by calling the senator’s Pueblo office. Multiple calls to each of his offices, including the one in Washington, D.C., went unanswered this week.

A Gardner spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

While it is not at all unusual for Gardner’s office to avoid comment — on pretty much any question — it is not standard practice for outgoing U.S. Senators to just stop doing their job:

Four of the other five departing senators had functioning email contact forms on their Senate websites on Wednesday, and the fifth, retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, greeted constituents with messages urging them to get in touch with other members of the state’s delegation…

Spokeswomen for U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette and Jason Crow said they’d be happy to help out constituents who can’t reach Gardner’s office. [Pols emphasis]

► Colorado is one of 46 states that have joined an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. As The Denver Post explains:

The lawsuit alleges Facebook aggressively bought out any company that threatened the platform’s dominance, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and worked to “bury” companies that did not sell out to the social media giant by using a variety of competition-stifling tactics, like limiting access to Facebook for third-party applications.

“If you stepped on Facebook’s turf or resisted pressure to sell, (Mark) Zuckerberg would go into ‘destroy mode,’ subjecting your business to the ‘wrath of Mark,’” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit and a separate complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission seek to stop Facebook’s anti-competitive behavior by forcing the company to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, and preventing the company from making any acquisitions for more than $10 million without first alerting officials in the states that filed the suit…

…The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, as well as an eight-member executive committee that includes Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and South Dakota did not join the effort. The District of Columbia and the territory of Guam did join.


 Colorado House Republicans want to hold a hearing of the Legislative Audit Committee in order to “investigate” nonexistent election fraud in Colorado. Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster have been invited to testify.


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



Get More Smarter on Wednesday (December 9)

Happy “Anna’s Day” to all of our readers named ‘Anna’; please celebrate responsibly. 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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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


► So much winning losing.

President Trump seemed convinced that the U.S. Supreme Court would somehow just make him the winner of the 2020 election. But as The Washington Post reports:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a last-minute attempt by President Trump’s allies to overturn the election results in Pennsylvania, a blow to the president’s continuing efforts to reverse his loss to Democrat Joe Biden.

The court’s brief order denying a requested injunction provided no reasoning, nor did it note any dissenting votes. [Pols emphasis] It was the first request to delay or overturn the results of last month’s presidential election to reach the court, and it appears that Justice Amy Coney Barrett, Trump’s latest nominee, took part in the case.

The lawsuit was part of a blizzard of litigation and personal interventions Trump and his lawyers have waged to overturn victories by Biden in a handful of key states. But time is running out, and the electoral college is scheduled to meet in less than a week.

We’ve reached the point where judges are just saying, “No. Go Away.” As Stephen Collinson writes for CNN, there’s really only one question remaining:

The only questions now are how many more times President Donald Trump wants to lose the election to President-elect Joe Biden and whether his Republican acolytes on Capitol Hill will wake up and recognize reality.

Trump’s dangerous delusions about a stolen election represent the most overt attempt in modern history by a President to overthrow the will of the voters. But they have reached the point of no return after the conservative-majority Supreme Court largely crushed what remaining hallucinatory hopes Trump harbored of reversing his defeat…

The denial of Pennsylvania Republicans’ request to block the certification of their state’s results, for which there were no noted dissents, was a humiliating repudiation of Trump’s fundamental misunderstanding that three justices that he installed on the Court would swing him a disputed election. It also showed that evidence-free conspiracy theories might thrill the President’s base and his media propagandists, but they don’t cut it in court. [Pols emphasis]

The Denver Broncos win more often than Trump’s legal team. The Trump campaign has pursued more than 50 different lawsuits around the country since Election Day, with only one minor “victory” in Pennsylvania to show for their efforts.

Democrat Joe Biden is the President-elect and will be inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2021. Nothing is going to change this fact — not even your dumbass finger-waving, Sen. Ron Johnson.


President Trump’s bellyaching about his election loss won’t end up accomplishing anything, but observers are growing more worried about the potential for violence from Trump supporters. As The New York Times reports:

Despite his clear loss, Mr. Trump has shown no intention of stopping his sustained assault on the American electoral process. But his baseless conspiracy theories about voting fraud have devolved into an exercise in delegitimizing the election results, and the rhetoric is accelerating among his most fervent allies. This has prompted outrage among Trump loyalists and led to behavior that Democrats and even some Republicans say has become dangerous…

…Those supporters have started to flood the voice mails, cellphones and inboxes of dozens of elected officials across the country with angry messages and threats, as well as countless officials who handle local elections. The tenor has seemed to grow more menacing as Mr. Trump’s efforts appear even more unlikely to succeed, some officials said.


 Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is among the many Republican elected officials in Congress who have refused to acknowledge that Joe Biden is the President-elect. In Gardner’s typical hypocritical style, he delivered a farewell speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday in which he talked about the importance of a peaceful transition of power…which he is helping to obstruct.

The election is truly over, at least in Colorado. As The Denver Post explains:

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold officially certified the state’s November election results Tuesday, a normally sleepy affair that took on unusual significance in the face of President Donald Trump’s persistent rejection of 2020’s vote count showing Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential race…

…Colorado saw record turnout in last month’s election, with nearly 87% of active voters — representing nearly 3.3 million ballots — casting votes. Griswold said 94% of ballots in Colorado were cast using a mail ballot, a system Trump has without evidence denounced as susceptible to fraud.


 Governor Jared Polis extended a statewide mask mandate in Colorado for another 30 days. Masks are required to be worn indoors in all public spaces.


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



Cory Gardner: Dishonest to the Very End

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) delivers his farewell speech on the Senate floor.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) delivered his farewell speech today on the Senate floor. It was, sadly, a typical Gardner performance: Intellectually dishonest to the very end.

To understand the brazen hypocrisy of Gardner’s speech, you need to know that Gardner has steadfastly refused to acknowledge that Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Trump in the 2020 election. Gardner did not respond to some pretty basic questions from The Washington Post last week about the election outcome. On November 17, Gardner snapped at a reporter who asked if he considered Biden to be the President-elect:

“You’re going to play gotcha questions with me? You guys, just come on. I’m not going to play your gotcha questions. I’m not going to play your games. I’m tired of it.”

Asking a U.S. Senator if he recognizes the winner of the 2020 election as the President-elect is a “gotcha question”?

So it was that a man who refuses to participate in a peaceful transition of power used his farewell speech to talk about…yes, the peaceful transition of power. (Click after the jump to watch Gardner’s full farewell speech):

GARDNER: Ten years ago, I sat on the floor of the United States House of Representatives as we prepared — some of my colleagues here with me — to be sworn in to the 112th Congress. I watched with our daughter Allison patiently sitting by my side as the peaceful transition of power took place. The hallmark of our Republic. As the most powerful Constitutionally-prescribed Member of Congress, the Speaker of the House, gave the gavel to a newly elected Speaker, without gunshot or war, peacefully transitioning to a new majority.

Today I speak on the Senate floor with a heart of gratitude, that as I leave, with a new Congress set to begin, I go home not because of or due to the threat of violence or revolution, but because of that same Constitutional governess that has give this country over two centuries of strength and certainty. A jewel among nations, exceptionally blessed by God.

The irony of Gardner’s words was not lost on others, including Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post.

Via Twitter (12/8/20)

In many ways, Gardner’s farewell speech was a good summation of his time in the U.S. Senate, where his motto seemed to be, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Gardner went on and on about the importance of ideals that he himself refuses to demonstrate:

All of us here in the Senate — the American people, all of us — are responsible for the starting point that we hand off to the next generation. And we have a moral obligation to make it the best starting point possible. 

Apparently everyone else has this “moral obligation,” since Gardner will not allow a Democratic President this same courtesy.

Here is the same Sen. Gardner who regularly lied about important issues, including his support for protecting pre-existing medical conditions, decrying the celebration of political tactics over legitimate leadership:

But today it seems as though we live in a world where tactics are elevated to the same status as principles, and that staying true to principle means that the tactics used to achieve that principle are elevated to the same importance as the principle itself. It’s always my way or the highway…

…We cannot govern when every tactic and detail is elevated to the status of principle. There is no compromise with this approach.

This nonsense reminds us of what The Denver Post editorial board famously opined in March 2019:

We endorsed Sen. Cory Gardner in 2014 because we believed he’d be a statesman. We knew he’d be a conservative voice in Congress, to be certain, but we thought his voice would bring “fresh leadership, energy and ideas.”

We see now that was a mistake – consider this our resolution of disapproval.

Gardner fooled Colorado voters into electing him to the Senate in 2014 by pretending to be something he was not. It is fitting, then, that he would end his Senate career committed to the same misdirection. Goodbye and good riddance.