Rep. Lauren Boebert berates security at the Buell Theater September 10th while being escorted off the premises.
As the Grand Junction Sentinel’sCharles Ashbyreports, the explosive, sustained controversy over GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert’schurlish and lascivious behavior inside Denver’s Buell Theater during a performance of the musical adaptation of Beetlejuice on September 10 has forced a prominent Mesa County Republican elected official to take the unusual step of rescinding his endorsement of Boebert for re-election in 2024, throwing his support behind Boebert’s primary opponent Jeffrey “Not William” Hurd:
“All of it is beneath the office she holds. It’s indefensible,” [Mesa County Commissioner Cody] Davis told The Daily Sentinel. “I’ve always been uncomfortable with Boebert’s style, but I knew she wanted what was best for the 3rd CD. I was not considering this when Hurd first got in. Beetlejuice was the trigger for me.” [Pols emphasis]
Davis said he isn’t attacking Boebert per se, but believes her actions disrespected her office, adding that Republicans can’t take a higher moral ground over Democrats if they turn a blind eye to inappropriate actions of members of their own political party.
“How can I criticize Democrats for their moral shortcomings if I’m blind to the shortcomings of my own side?” Davis asked on his Facebook page. “As we aim to re-focus the Republican Party, we must support individuals who not only advocate for conservative values, but are committed to embodying them. Our voters deserve that.”
Lauren Boebert and state Rep. Matt Soper in happier times.
Mesa County Commissioner Cody Davis has been on blast from the far right with the rest of the all-GOP Mesa County commissioners for several years, lambasted by Boebert’s former campaign manager Sherronna “America’s Mom” Bishop and Mesa County’s sizable pack of fringe right-wing agitators on issues ranging from COVID-19 mask mandates to the “failure” of Mesa County Republican officials to adequately support indicted former Clerk Tina Peters. Ashby reports that Davis is not the only Western Slope Republican considering un-endorsing Boebert, with several state representatives either “praying through” their decision or at least locating the exits like Rep. Matt Soper:
“At this time I’m not endorsing, as Ms. Boebert needs the ability to ask forgiveness and take ownership, and Mr. Hurd needs to develop his campaign by getting to know voters from across the district, and become more than the not-Boebert candidate,” Soper said.
After two weeks of surpassingly brutal media coverage that due to the salacious nature of the content spread beyond traditional political news consumers to the literal ends of the earth, this combination of defections and dramatically fainter praise from Republicans in Boebert’s district indicates a significant and rapid erosion in Republican support for Boebert since the Beetlejuice incident. We still don’t see the heretofore-unknown lawyer Jeff Hurd actually defeating Boebert in next June’s Republican primary, but if Republicans turn their backs on Boebert en masse as has only happened a couple of times in recent Colorado political history–here’s looking at you, Dan Maes–Boebert could find herself limping to defeat next November written off by her own.
We’ve said it before: Boebert is too vulnerable to make any mistakes, and she’s making all the mistakes.
We couldn’t have predicted it, but “Beetlebert” could truly be the tipping point.
Rep. Lauren Boebert dressed as Disney’s Cruella de Vil for Halloween 2021.
Yesterday, the Republican-controlled U.S. House plowed away on a series of individual spending bills reflecting the non-starter ideological aspirations of conservatives with no seeming regard for the impending government shutdown set to begin at the end of the week. As the clock ticks down on a realistic proposal to fund the federal government, meaning a plan that can pass the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate and be signed into law by President Joe Biden, House Speaker Kevin McCarthytook the short-term easy path this week of caving into the far right’s desire to pass totally unworkable legislation instead of reaching across the aisle for a deal that would truly end the standoff.
Colorado’s calamitously cantankerous GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert, as readers know, has been all over the map trying to explain her welcoming of a government shutdown while preposterously claiming at the same time she was “working to prevent a shutdown.” Boebert’s principal contribution to the debate yesterday over a bill cutting food assistance programs was an amendment she offered, albeit with some difficulty, to reduce the salary of the Deputy Undersecretary for the USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Stacy Dean to $1. When the time came for Boebert to present her amendment, as Mediaitereports, things went sideways as it became painfully obvious she wasn’t prepared:
After Boebert was recognized on the House floor to discuss her amendment to “reduce the salary of the Deputy Under Secretary of the Food and Nutrition Service of the Department of Agriculture, Stacy Dean, to $1,” the camera panned to the congresswoman and showed her looking down at her phone.
“Madame Chair, one moment,” said Boebert, still looking down at her phone after a pause, as she scrambled to find the amendment.
Following another awkward pause, Boebert said, “My apologies, I do not have amendment number 77 in front of me,” before attempting to stall for more time…
A few minutes later, having finally located her prepared remarks on her phone, Boebert took the floor again to explain why USDA Undersecretary Stacy Dean must be punished–in short, Dean’s nefarious role in helping poor people–gasp–get food–GASP!–during the recent pandemic:
BOEBERT: Thank you, Madam Chair. I rise today to offer my amendment that utilizes the Holman rule to reduce the salary of Deputy Undersecretary of the Food and Nutrition Services of the Department of Agriculture, Stacy Dean to $1. As the Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services at USDA, Mrs. Dean has spent her career helping bureaucrats use loopholes and gimmicks to gut requirements for able-body adults and bypass federal eligibility requirements, even going as far as to help states make millionaires qualify for the program. The last thing Americans need are higher prices, fewer jobs, and the largest expansion of our welfare state in a lifetime.
The Biden-Harris administration expansion of the welfare state abolishes work ethic and promotes a new generation of government dependency. I’ve lived under government dependency and I’m thankful that I have broke free of that cycle. Given my life experiences and developing work ethic, I’m one of the few who are able to break free of that cycle of dependency. Stacy…
First of all, the increased funding for food assistance programs that helped alleviate hunger during the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has largely been curtailed with the end of the pandemic state of emergency, which has in turn resulted in a surge of demand at food banks across the country. Despite a couple of performative stunts, there’s no evidence that “millionaires” took advantage of the expanded eligibility for food stamps, but rather an increase in utilization by the people who need food assistance most. And as 9NEWS reported last night, a shutdown of the federal government will do even more harm:
Tens of thousands of Colorado moms and young children rely on Women, Infant and Children (WIC) benefits to put nutritious food on the table, but funding for that program could be suspended if Congress doesn’t reach a deal to fund the federal government into October.
Without access to WIC, many Colorado families will feel the strain and likely turning to food pantries already working hard to meet an increased demand…
Data from Colorado’s WIC program shows, more than 120,000 women, infants and children in Colorado enrolled in WIC benefits during the 2023 year. Right now, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports nearly 90,000 Colorado WIC clients could have their monthly food benefits impacted by a government shutdown.
As readers know, Lauren Boebert received government food assistance at some point in her childhood, a story she tells often while she disparages such programs in broad terms. Yesterday, Boebert again touted how she personally “broke free” of dependency on government relief programs through “life experiences” and a “developing work ethic.” It’s a shopworn spiel that made more sense before the business Boebert founded went out of business, after years of well-documented financial struggle that included an inability to cover unemployment insurance for her workers. Boebert’s $174,000 annual salary as a member of Congress is almost certainly the most money she has ever made in her life, notwithstanding her estranged husband’s suspiciously large payouts from his oil and gas bosses.
Boebert’s amendment passed, but with the fantasyland legislation it’s connected to dead on arrival in the U.S. Senate and getting in the way of a real solution, it doesn’t really matter. But while Boebert claims to be trying to prevent a government shutdown out of one side of her mouth and welcoming it out of the other, we wanted to be sure everyone was clear on what exactly Boebert is actually grandstanding against: food assistance for poor people.
Boebert could be trying to outrage you into forgetting about…you know, the incident? That’s the only way it makes sense politically. Boebert gains absolutely nothing from this latest bout of shamelessly hypocritical villainy. Audaciously toeing the line of her own hypocrisy has long been Boebert’s style, but it’s lost its ability to mesmerize.
GOP state senate candidate Scotch Brite, though he’s really got more of a Mr. Clean thing going.
As Ernest Luning at the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports–after botching their attempt at revenge against GOP-flipped-Democratic Sen. Kevin Priola in a recall that never got off the ground, Republicans have a candidate to try again for this swing seat the old-fashioned way:
Platteville Republican Scott Bright, the owner of a chain of child care centers, announced on Monday that he’s running for the state Senate seat held by term-limited Democrat Kevin Priola, who switched parties a year ago.
In a statement, the 53-year-old Bright said he wants to help spur “a conservative renaissance in the state legislature focused on protecting our communities and defending the values of smaller government, low taxes and better schools.”
“The American dream is under assault by Colorado Democrats’ agenda of higher taxes, job-filing [sic?-Pols] regulations, hostility toward education innovation and criminal-coddling politics,” said Bright…
Scott Bright checking all the boxes for a “pilled” Republican.
Although Republicans won’t have Kevin Priola to kick around anymore as they had hoped when he defected to the Democratic Party last year, the fight for Senate District 13 is expected to be one of the main event races next year as Republicans try to stave off a Democratic supermajority in the Colorado Senate–one of the last places in the state where Republicans wield even significant minority influence. Redistricting made this seat a bit more difficult for Democrats than it was before, but it’s not out of reach if Colorado Democrats continue their recent trend of running up the score beyond predictions.
Naturally, Colorado Republicans would want to have every possible advantage lined up for this prime pickup opportunity, wouldn’t they? Here we run into a big, now-familiar problem:
Bright told Colorado Politics that he doesn’t intend to sign a pledge released earlier this summer by the Colorado Libertarian Party [Pols emphasis] as part of a deal reached with the state GOP to avoid potential third-party spoiler candidates, though the Republican noted that he agrees with the elements of the document.
“I fully support all 19 points articulated by the Libertarian Party, but it’s un-American to be strong-armed into signing a document ‘or else,'” Bright said in an emailed statement.
For a while, it looked like the Colorado Libertarian Party’s much-ballyhooed Republican candidate pledge to avoid a third-party spoiler in their race was dead after Rep. Lauren Boebert and other Republican candidates announced they had no intention of signing it. Since then, however, the Libertarians have retaliated against Boebert with a challenger in CD-3, expressly citing Boebert’s failure to sign the pledge as the reason for getting in the race. After holding on to her seat by a mere 546 votes, a Libertarian spoiler could easily make the difference between winning and losing.
Another race where Republicans do not need a Libertarian pulling votes from their candidate is Senate District 13. This is setting up to be another case where the Republican/Libertarian unholy alliance that was supposed to grease the wheels for Republicans willing to kiss the Libertarian ring is instead ripe for backfire. We still haven’t heard a response from Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave Williams on the question of how exactly Lauren Boebert doesn’t pass the Libertarian purity test to be a “liberty-minded candidate.”
When Williams is done explaining what happened with Boebert, there will be others.
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:
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 Bannonthe 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.
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.
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 Wileyannounced 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.
surely ends Boebart’s hopes for reelection.
According Wiley’s campaign announcement, in full below, “…Lauren Boebart, aka Beetlejuice, has publicly denounced our pledge and defamed the principles we cherish as unworthy.”
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.
The sordid tale of GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert’scalamitous visit to Denver’s Buell Theater a week ago to disrupt watch the new Beetlejuice musical took yet another quizzical turn yesterday as leading celebrity gossip site TMZcaught up with Boebert at Washington “Don’t Call It Reagan” National Airport, and asked her in the friendliest terms possible how she was doing after a week of some of the most brutal scandalizing ever inflicted on a sitting member of Congress from Colorado. The Hillreports:
“It’s always hard whenever there’s gravity put on the voters. I’m here to provide levity, and lift burdens off of people,” Boebert said in an interview with TMZ on Monday. “So anytime that they’re carrying mine, it’s something that you kind of feel deep inside.”
“But ultimately, all future date nights have been canceled. And I learned to check party affiliations before you go on a date,” [Pols emphasis] Boebert — who filed for divorce from her husband in May — quipped, an apparent reference to reports that her date at the “Beetlejuice” performance is a Democrat…
Hapless date comforting an usher being verbally abused by Rep. Lauren Boebert.
We have tried to avoid getting into scrutiny of Boebert’s companion, who joined her being tossed out of the Buell and who, it can be fairly said, was an equal participant in the bad behavior that got Boebert ejected from the theater. But now that Boebert is suggesting the possibility that she was set up by questioning the party affiliation of her date, we’re obliged to note that despite some reporting to the contrary, Boebert’s date is a registered unaffiliated voter, not a Democrat–and the last time we checked, Boebert needs unaffiliated voters in her camp not under the bus.
As for the future of what certainly looked like a budding romance a week ago?
Asked if her dating life with the man was “over,” the 36-year-old congresswoman replied, “We’ve peacefully parted at this time. Great man, great friend. And I wish him all the best.”
This seems like something you can’t have both ways. Either he’s a “great friend” or a Democrat plant who just set Boebert up for the biggest PR disaster of her short career? Either way, by the end of the video released by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts via 9NEWS’ open records request, the gentleman appears to be trying to ease tensions with the staff while Rep. Boebert continued to berate them all the way out the door. Notwithstanding his own contribution to the disruptive behavior that resulted in their ejection from the theater, we would argue that Boebert needs more people in her life apologizing on her behalf as opposed to running over mailboxes.
Boebert’s lame attempt at a partisan excuse for this self-inflicted disgrace is another indicator that Boebert really isn’t sorry about what happened, and is only troubled by the damage to her reputation. As of this writing, Boebert has only acknowledged her use of a vape pen in the theater with children present, while denying other documented misconduct such as threatening DCPA staffers with retaliation. Now Boebert has thrown her “date,” whom she was previously reported to have been “secretly dating” for months, under the bus like a jilted secretary in Mad Men.
What Boebert really needs to do here, of course, is the one thing she does not know how to do: stop talking.
State Republican Party Chairman Dave Williams contemplating some other terrible idea.
Over the last couple of months, we have probably spent more time in this space discussing the Colorado Libertarian Party (LPCO) than we have over the course of the entire previous decade. Third parties in Colorado rarely take on much relevance because of their fairly small memberships and overall lack of organization; in fact, most of our discussions about third parties in Colorado are because of some relation to the Colorado Republican Party.
We’re discussing a third party again today because of the bizarre “alliance” that State Republican Party Chairman Dave Williams made with the LPCO earlier in the summer. The stated goal of this alliance was to prevent a Libertarian candidate from running in battleground districts because of the concern that a 2022 Libertarian challenger might have siphoned enough votes away from the Republican to ensure a CO-08 victory for Democrat Yadira Caraveo. The LPCO agreed to withhold support for a Libertarian candidate in 2024 should Republicans sign a wacky pledge promising to endorse a bunch of bizarre Libertarian positions. To the great joy of the LPCO, Williams began sending the Libertarian pledge — from a Colorado GOP email address — to all announced Republican candidates.
As far as we can tell, no Republican candidate has agreed to sign the LPCO pledge — including the GOP candidates running in the two biggest races of 2024 (CO-03 and CO-08). The pledge made even less sense in CO-03, given that there was already a Libertarian candidate in the race (Mark Ellworth, Jr); nevertheless, incumbent Rep. Lauren Boebert’s (R-ifle) refusal to sign the pledge has drawn the ire of the LPCO and added a second Libertarian candidate to the field of candidates.
A Libertarian challenger, James Wiley (@Redddevil89), has emerged and will seek the Party’s nomination for Congressional District 3 following @laurenboebert‘s failure to sign The Libertarian Party of Colorado’s (LPCO) Liberty Candidate Pledge.
Artist rendering of James Wiley, the new Libertarian challenger in CO-03.
There is a whole thread attached to that Tweet/X above detailing the decision to run (another) Libertarian candidate against Boebert, whose name is also regularly misspelled by the LPCO:
The Pledge, which simply commits the COGOP candidates to abide by the US Constitution and the principles of limited government, was a bridge too far for the Congresswoman. Considering Congresswoman Boebart won reelection by a razor thin margin, a Libertarian challenger…surely ends Boebart’s hopes for reelection.
And who is this brave challenger? Some dude named James Wiley, whose website is called — we couldn’t have possibly made this up — “Wiley4Vengeance.com“.
We don’t know much about Wiley — including what he looks like — because there is very little information about him online. There isn’t a photo or a bio on his website, but the LPCO does link to this amazeballs letter from Wiley:
The Libertarian Party of Colorado entered a Pact with the Colorado Republicans to not challenge their candidates so long as they would pledge to abide by Libertarian Principles. Since then, Lauren Boebert, aka Beetlejuice, has publicly denounced our pledge and defamed the principles we cherish as unworthy. This insult to who I am as a Libertarian compels me to eagerly fulfill the duties invoked by the Libertarian Pact and challenge her in her district which she so nearly lost by only 542 votes. 542 votes are not enough to stop me from being the cause of her defeat. [Pols emphasis]
In truth, I will be elected by the voters of CD-3 as their Libertarian representative to Congress because the land of our district is filled with Sovereign American People whose rights have suffered immeasurable damage by state actors. CD-3 needs activist leaders prepared and willing to demolish the federal government. These damages began to accumulate 247 years ago in the year 1776 and have now reached an abhorrent scale of violation too grand for a free People to submissively bear. An entire generation of elected officials will be replaced by radical American idealists prepared to reset and restore our federal governance to its most primitive and most powerless state of origin.
[Pols note: Boebert won re-election in 2022 by 546 votes, but fact-checking is for people who hate liberty.]
In short, Wiley is running for Congress because Boebert wouldn’t sign the LPCO pledge and because he wants to completely dismantle the federal government. We’re not sure that a Libertarian candidate would actually make the difference between victory and defeat for Boebert in 2024, but we’re very comfortable in predicting that James Wiley has no chance whatsoever at winning this race.
Regardless, that “alliance” concocted by GOP Chair Dave Williams seems to be backfiring. The “pledge” has succeeded mainly in handing the LPCO a specific reason to challenge a Republican incumbent such as Boebert — and it has made Libertarian candidate announcements more newsworthy than they have ever been in Colorado.
This wouldn’t be the first time that a Republican Party dalliance with a third party went awry. In 2010, the American Constitution Party (ACP) became a big topic when former Republican Tom Tancredoran for Governor under the ACP banner. Colorado Republicans pushed Tancredo to run as the ACP candidate because they were worried that little-known Dan Maes — the actual Republican Party nominee for Governor — would have no chance against Democrat John Hickenlooper. Then-Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams even announced that Maes would not be supported by the Colorado GOP. Hickenlooper won that election easily, but playing footsie with the ACP nearly cost the Colorado Republican Party its “major party status” when Maes came dangerously close to dropping below 10% of the statewide vote (Maes finished with 11%).
On Friday evening, Colorado’s perpetually embattled GOP Rep. Lauren Boebertissued an apology for getting caught vaping inside Denver’s Buell Theater after days of denials, along with other unspecified ways in which Boebert said she “fell short” of her values a week ago resulting in Boebert and her companion being kicked out of the performance of the new Beetlejuice musical. Security camera footage released Thursday via 9NEWS not only proved Boebert was lying about vaping, but also revealed the full shocking extent of Boebert’s behavior both during the performance and while being escorted out–none of which was directly addressed in Boebert’s apology.
As The Hill reports via Denver’s FOX 31, yesterday Boebert appeared on the right-wing pseudonews channel One America News, where she not only didn’t restate her apology but appeared to in large part take it back:
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) pushed back on media accounts of her being kicked out of a Denver theater production of “Beetlejuice” last week over bad behavior, saying that some accounts were exaggerated and untrue. [Pols emphasis]
“I was a little too eccentric. I’m very known for having an animated personality, maybe overtly animated personality. I was laughing, I was singing, having a fantastic time,” Boebert said in an OAN interview Sunday. “Was told to kinda settle it down a little bit, which I did, but then my next flip up was taking a picture.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert berates security at the Buell Theater.
Boebert told OAN that she is “on the edge of a lot of things,” which is a statement we’ll let readers analyze for themselves. More importantly, when it comes to Boebert’s threats to staff and general hostility while being escorted out of the theater, Boebert is back to full denial after trying to garner sympathy all weekend for her supposed contrition:
Boebert vehemently denied those claims.
“There’s reports saying I was arguing, threatening to call the Denver mayor — I don’t know why I would ever call the Denver mayor, I think he would have tried to lock me up,” she said Sunday.
While we agree it’s ridiculous to expect Denver’s Democratic mayor to retaliate on Boebert’s behalf against Denver Center for the Performing Arts employees doing their jobs, we also have no reason to doubt those employees’ truthfulness–especially compared to Boebert, who got caught red-handed lying and was forced to make a strained apology that absolutely no one believes (or for that matter, believes she even herself wrote). The video of Boebert’s inappropriate behavior of all kinds, from vaping to flash photography to what could be argued was criminal public indecency, is damning beyond the scope of anything Boebert apologized for–and that’s before she reverted to denial.
Rep. Lauren Boebert in promotional materials for the Texas Youth Summit.
Unfortunately for Boebert, it appears that other conservatives are making their own judgments. Last week as the #BeetleBert story was developing, the Texas Youth Summit announced Boebert as a late addition to their roster of speakers. In the last 24 hours, as MTN reports, Boebert got scrubbed:
The Texas Youth Summit has scrubbed spunky Republican Representative Lauren Boebert from their youth oriented event.
The group, founded by failed Republican House candidate Christian Collins, announced the addition of Boebert after the Colorado congresswoman was kicked out Buell Theatre in Denver for disruptive behavior which including vaping, flash photography, and exchanges of fondling between her and her date.
The latest roster of speakers no longer includes Rep. Boebert:
Though not related to Boebert’s official duties, this scandal has penetrated well beyond the confines of political news audiences, morphing into a pop culture story carried by nonpolitical outlets like TMZ where it’s been the most popular story for two days. The huge reach of this story beyond the political news silo makes it far more damaging to Boebert than the usual Politico scuttlebutt. In many cases it could be the first time casual observers have heard of Boebert, or maybe they dimly recall the parodies they saw on SNL.
Either way, #BeetleBert has a life of its own now. It may not be the way some wanted Lauren Boebert to go down, but it’s a public image catastrophe that Boebert could only have brought upon herself. Boebert is in absolutely no respect the victim here, having compounded an already bad situation by lying until the video came out. The precise method of self-destruction for politicians in a political death spiral is often unpredictable.
This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, our 8th favorite member of Congress from Colorado is once again making headlines for all the wrong reasons — this time getting kicked out of a production of the musical version of the seminal 90’s movie, Beetlejuice; the madness continues in Congress under weak loser House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as the MAGA caucus continues to demand things, move the goalposts, investigate Joe Biden and try to shut down the government (hey didn’t they all campaign on crime and inflation? What the hell happened to that?); and our seventh favorite member of Congress from Colorado does a head spinning reversal after doing a Sunday show audition tour pretending to have integrity.
But that’s not all! Our guest this week is Micah Parkin, executive director of 350.org, who sits down to talk about a potential 2024 ballot initiative to fight climate change in Colorado.
Boebert and companion at the Buell Theater on September 10th.
Yesterday evening, as the Colorado Sun’sJesse Paulreports, Colorado’s most consistently controversial Rep. Lauren Boebert issued a rare apology for some of her behavior last Sunday at Denver’s Buell Theater, from which Boebert and her companion were ejected after repeatedly causing “disturbances” to other theatergoers.
“Whether it was the excitement of seeing a much-anticipated production or the natural anxiety of being in a new environment, I genuinely did not recall vaping that evening when I discussed the night’s events with my campaign team while confirming my enthusiasm for the musical,” [Pols emphasis] Boebert’s statement on Friday night said. “Regardless of my belief, it’s clear now that was not accurate. It was not my or my campaign’s intention to mislead, but we do understand the nature of how this looks. We know we will have to work to earn your trust back and it may not happen overnight, but we will do it.”
It’s an apology reminiscent of Ronald Reagan’s sort-of-sorry speech during the Iran-Contra Affair, which has been studied and mimicked by Republican comms folks ever since–‘in my heart I’m not a liar, but I can no longer deny that lies were told by me.’ The only possible legitimate explanation for Boebert not remembering repeatedly pulling a vape pen out of her purse and smoking it would be that she was far too inebriated to be out in public, and that of course raises its own set of problematic questions.
Here’s a Tweet that’s about to age very, very poorly.
So, there’s that. But while Boebert was drafting and issuing this apology yesterday afternoon focused solely on the indoor vaping, a whole new dimension of the scandal was coming into view–and reported today by multiple national news outlets. Rather than put our own spin on it up front, let’s get right to the roundup with the New York Daily News:
Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert did a bit more than just vape before she was booted from a performance of “Beetlejuice the Musical” in Denver last weekend.
A new surveillance clip obtained by TMZ appears to show the Republican representative getting aggressively handsy with her date during the family-friendly performance, recommended for children ages 10 and up by the The Broadway League.
Security cameras caught Boebert’s male plus-one overtly fondling her breast, prompting her to dip her hand between his legs. The groping continues on for several minutes, with Boebert at one point grinning and squirming about in her seat before she places another hand below her partner’s belt.
Footage from the venue was released after the incident took place and showed Boebert vaping and blowing vapor into the air. Other footage shared across social media appeared to show Boebert and the male patron touching each other inappropriately during the show.
Boebert, a Republican representative for Colorado, and a male guest accompanying her were ejected from the musical on 10 September for vaping, recording video and disturbing other patrons during the Sunday performance. Video also showed them eagerly groping each other while in their seats…
The CCTV video also shows Boebert’s guest fondling her breasts after they had taken their seats for the musical performance. Boebert is also seen petting her guest’s crotch in the venue whose patrons often include children and their families. [Pols emphasis]
Another video appears to show Boebert and her male companion fondling each other sexually during the show.
Boebert did not directly address the second video in her Friday apology. She did mention her vaping but claimed that she had previously denied it only because she “did not recall” having done so.
It’s even harder to believe that Boebert doesn’t remember the…interactions with her date during the performance than it is to believe she doesn’t remember repeatedly using her vape pen. The timing of Boebert’s apology Friday evening suggests that Boebert may have been trying to forestall the blowback from this new development by issuing an apology focused solely on the vaping.
Legally, what we saw in this latest video (which you can watch here having been appropriately warned, or after the jump) is at least as troubling as violating Colorado’s Indoor Clean Air Act by vaping in a public theater. Colorado’s public indecency statute states clearly that “lewd fondling or caress of the body of another person” in a public place is a crime. It does not require prudish sensibilities to watch this video and reasonably conclude that their behavior is totally inappropriate in a public theater where children are present.
This is not a moral judgment. These are matters of law, and unless Republicans want to change Colorado’s public indecency statute, the behavior that Boebert engaged in last Sunday has no lawful defense that we can see. Is it ironic that a politician who grandstands about “protecting kids” from supposedly immoral influences like drag shows engaged in a little public indecency of her own?
Yes. But it’s entirely consistent with the story of Boebert’s consummately hypocritical American life.
You’ll laugh! You’ll cheer! You’ll engage in all sorts of inappropriate behavior!
We’ve written about the #Beetlebert scandal as it has unfolded this week, including the latest video evidence that Rep. Lauren Boebert’sspokespeople were flat-out lying when they denied allegations that Boebert was vaping in the theater during a performance in Denver of the popular Beetlejuice musical. It’s important now to take a step back from the coverage of Boebert’s latest scandal – and there has been a LOT of coverage worldwide – to consider exactly how and why this incident might be more harmful to Boebert’s political future than any of her antics that have come before.
We know from polling data that Boebert’s constituents in the third congressional district largely view her as a politician in the “performative obstruction” mold who is more concerned about social media and the approval of MAGA Republicans (and small donors) than she is with the voters in CO-03. It is remarkable that Boebert nearly lost her seat in 2022 despite representing a district that statistically should give her a roughly 9-point advantage over a Democrat. Yet for all her faults, Boebert is still a Republican incumbent in a Republican-leaning district.
For example, calling for the impeachment of President Biden for reasons she can’t really explain may seem absurd to a sizable percentage of the population, but there are plenty of MAGA nuts – local and national – who eat this stuff up. Boebert doesn’t try to be an effective lawmaker; she exists to “own the libs,” which is a role she embraces wholeheartedly that provides her with a fairly loyal base of supporters and campaign cash.
So why is #Beetlebert different? The lies are very much a problem, as we discussed earlier, but anyone who follows Boebert is familiar with her penchant for taking credit for things she opposed or just making up stories about migrants receiving thousands of dollars in handouts from the federal government. Boebert has plenty of supporters who share her opinions on certain issues and don’t care a whit that she lies about the details.
No, #Beetlebert might well mark the beginning of the end of Lauren Boebert’s career in Congress precisely because it has nothing to do with politics…
The story of far-right GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert’sejection from Denver’s Buell Theater Sunday night after causing a disturbance during the performance of the new Beetlejuice musical took a damaging turn yesterday, after new video surfaced conclusively disproving Boebert’s contention that she was not vaping during the performance before she was booted out. NBC News:
Surveillance video captured during the “Beetlejuice” musical in Denver on Sunday appears to show Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., vaping inside the theater, which contradicts her aide’s claim that the smoke was emitted from fog machines.
The video, obtained by NBC’s Denver affiliate, shows Boebert sitting in the theater next to a man she was with as people around her were still getting seated. It then shows her raise one of her hands to her face, and then a puff of smoke comes out of her mouth toward the person in front of her.
The lights seem to be lowered in the theater, and the woman sitting behind Boebert leaned in to speak to her. The Denver Post said the woman was pregnant and asked that Boebert stop vaping, which the congresswoman refused to do.
New security footage released by 9NEWS yesterday appears to fully corroborate the account of Boebert’s behavior reported by Denver Post opinion editor Megan Schrader, including Boebert obviously making use of a vaping device while seated in the theater, exhaling in the direction of other attendees, being confronted by at least one other patron, and Boebert continuing to engage in disruptive behavior right up to the moment she and her companion were escorted out of the theater.
This latest video totally undercuts Boebert’s spox Drew Sexton, whose denials were reported by the Pueblo Chieftain and everybody else in the country, and Sexton can’t take back now:
Boebert’s campaign manager, Drew Sexton, told the Chieftain Boebert was not vaping during the performance. [Pols emphasis]
Sexton said in a written statement that Boebert “appreciates” the “strict enforcement” of the ban on photography “and only wishes the Biden Administration could uphold our border laws as thoroughly and vigorously.”
As for the vaping accusations, Sexton told POLITICO that it was a “misunderstanding,” as the venue’s site said heavy fog machines and electronic cigarettes were used during the play. [Pols emphasis]
Proof that Boebert was indeed vaping during the performance, in addition to the new footage of Boebert interacting with neighbors and obviously acting out in comparison to those seated around her, should eliminate any last vestige of sympathy. Boebert’s spokesman is in a terrible position now, having straight-up lied to every news outlet in the country covering this story. Boebert’s arrogant indifference when confronted with her obviously inappropriate behavior by a pregnant neighbor, her castigation of theater staff as they escorted Boebert out of the theater–all of this looks immeasurably worse now that Boebert’s original infractions justifying her removal from the theater have been confirmed.
It doesn’t matter what your politics are. This is about character, integrity, and honesty at a level that transcends political divides. Boebert’s proven willingness to tell lies on matters large and small makes it impossible to believe anything she says–and that’s among the segment of voters who ever trusted her to begin with. For everyone else, it’s just further confirmation of what they already have come to believe about Boebert.
Arrogant, entitled, deceitful, and unfit for any office.
This week, the Durango Herald’sReuben Schafirhad the honor of reporting on a protest by the La Plata County Republican Party against his own employer the Herald, and by extension himself. It’s an interesting journalistic predicament:
Approximately 20 protesters, including leaders of the La Plata County Republican Central Committee, convened outside The Durango Herald office Tuesday morning holding signs asking passersby to “boycott biased Herald.”
Party chairwoman Shelli Shaw, past chairman Dave Peters and secretary Hope Scheppelman were all present. Signs held by attendees called out staff of The Herald by name.
“Put the information out there and let people decide for themselves,” Shaw said. “It doesn’t need to be censored or decided by The Durango Herald or any other media outlet. It needs to be presented and let people have the ability to think for themselves.”
Reps. Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, featured guests at the La Plata County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner.
As can be expected, Tuesday’s Republican protest against the Durango Herald was long on pseudo-patriotic incendiary rhetoric but terribly short on concrete allegations, citing a minor typographical error in one photo in a story about a recent visit to the area by Monument-based far-right whacktivistDarcy Shoening and an overall unsubstantiated sense of “bias” against conservatives in the Herald’s reporting. La Plata County GOP chairwoman Shelli Shaw is herself a well-known source of far-right verbal diarrhea, but from what we can see the Herald has actually been kinder to her than other outlets who have reported her immoderate views in much greater detail. Apparently the Herald also enforces minimal standards for their letters to the editor section:
Opinion Editor Ann Marie Swan was not available for comment before deadline, but a recent editorial calling for letter submissions said that some letters “won’t see the light of day in our pages because they’re inappropriate or don’t meet basic criteria,” and highlighted that “the most common reason being letter writers’ opinions must be based in fact.” [Pols emphasis]
Rather than meet the exceedingly low bar that submissions be based in reality, La Plata County Republicans served notice to the Herald that they are no longer welcome at party events.
The GOP executive committee also delivered a letter to The Herald stating that its members would only communicate with the newspaper “via digital means.” The letter also said The Herald’s journalists were no longer welcome at the party’s events, including the upcoming Lincoln Day Dinner.
Banishing the Herald from the La Plata GOP’s upcoming Lincoln Day Dinner is particularly notable due to the headline speakers slated to attend, Reps. Matt “Giggity” Gaetz of Florabama and Gaetz’s regular traveling companion Lauren Boebert. The event, scheduled for a week from Saturday, lands right in the thick of what’s expected to be Gaetz and Boebert’s drive to either impeach Joe Biden or remove Speaker Kevin McCarthy. There’s a good chance that their remarks will have news value well beyond the confines of La Plata County, so hopefully the party’s exclusion of the Herald will motivate other outlets to make the trip to Durango to cover the event (we recommend staying at the Strater Hotel).
It’s the age-old story: all criticism of the media is not created equal. Democrats get upset when the media doesn’t report the facts, and Republicans get upset when the media does report the facts. Journalists should be receptive to critique of the former, but proud of the howling from Republicans over the latter.
Hapless date comforting an usher being verbally abused by Rep. Lauren Boebert.
UPDATE #2: The Denver Post’sMegan Schradertracked down one of the theatergoers affected by Rep. Lauren Boebert’s bad behavior leading to Boebert getting escorted out of the Buell Theater in Denver Sunday night. You’ve got to read this to believe it:
“These people in front of us were outrageous. I’ve never seen anyone act like that before,” the woman, who lives in Denver and is in her 30s, said. It wasn’t until later during the play that someone informed her that the misbehaving theatergoer was, in fact, Boebert, a member of Congress.
The woman says Boebert took multiple long videos during the first half of the performance. When she asked Boebert to stop vaping, the congresswoman simply said “no,” the woman said. [Pols emphasis] Boebert was also kissing the man she was with, and singing along loudly with her hands in the air, the woman said.
“At intermission, I asked, ‘Are there any other seats available? Can we sit somewhere else?’” the woman said. “The usher said, ‘You’re not the first complaint we had.’ ”
When the woman returned with her husband to their seats, she said Boebert called her a “sad and miserable person.”
At 2:33 in the surveillance video posted by 9NEWS below, you can see Rep. Boebert’s date attempting to comfort one of the ushers escorting Boebert out while Boebert berates them. The account of the woman interviewed by Megan Schrader also appears to feature this gentleman clumsily trying to make amends for Boebert’s rudeness just before they were booted from the venue:
“The guy she was with offered to buy me and my husband cocktails. I’m pregnant!” she said. [Pols emphasis]
We were closing in on something like pity for Boebert’s companion before we read this, though there’s an argument that after this date from hell the man has been punished enough. This story also corroborates initial reports about vaping in the theater, and who was doing it. Now that #BeetleBert is a global sensation, other witnesses are going to come forward to tell their stories.
UPDATE: When even indicted Trump attorney Jenna Ellis is dunking on you, you’re having a bad day:
Local news headlines this morning are dominated by coverage of an incident Sunday at Denver’s Buell Theater, in which a reportedly combative Rep. Lauren Boebert was escorted out of a performance of the new Beetlejuice musical adaptation by security after causing repeated “disturbances”–the details of which remain in dispute as of this writing. The Denver Post’sJohn Aguilarreported first yesterday afternoon:
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert was escorted out of a Sunday night performance of the “Beetlejuice” musical in downtown Denver, accused by venue officials of vaping, singing, recording and “causing a disturbance” during the performance.
In an incident report shared with The Denver Post on Tuesday afternoon, officials with Denver Arts & Venues wrote that two patrons were asked to leave the city-owned Buell Theatre during the performance of the touring Broadway show. They previously were issued a warning during the intermission regarding behavior that prompted three complaints from other theatergoers, the report says.
Rep. Lauren Boebert berates security at the Buell Theater Sunday.
Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog recaps the incident report:
According to a Buell incident report, theater staff received three complaints that the two patrons had been “vaping, singing, causing a disturbance.” The two “were argumentative” and insisted they were responding to the performance the same as surrounding audience members after ushers told them that they “need to be respectful to their neighbors” and that they would be asked to leave if there were more complaints.
About five minutes into the second act, following the intermission, Buell staff received another complaint about Boebert and her companion, this time alleging they were “being loud” and using a recording device. When an usher asked to speak with them outside the theater, they refused to leave and repeated their refusal after being told they would be trespassing.
“I told them I would (be) going to get Denver Police. They said go get them,” the Buell staffer wrote in the incident report. [Pols emphasis]
As our readers know very well, Lauren Boebert is no stranger to being, as they say in the nightlife business, “86ed” from an establishment for bad behavior. In 2015, Boebert was handcuffed and detained at the Country Jam concert in Mesa County after Boebert confronted officers and allegedly “encouraged people arrested for underage drinking to break free.” Boebert then informed officers that she has “friends at Fox News” who would take journalistic revenge if they learned how Boebert was being treated. And of course, there was the incident involving Jayson Boebert whipping out his unnaturally large “thumb” in 2004 that got him banned from a local bowling alley.
Well folks, it appears that Boebert hasn’t gotten any better at handling these situations:
The report said after the two patrons were escorted out and reached the building’s vestibule, they resisted leaving and said “stuff like ‘do you know who I am,’ ‘I am on the board’ (and) ‘I will be contacting the mayor.’ ” [Pols emphasis]
Rep. Lauren Boebert twirls outside the Buell Theater after bring kicked out Sunday.
So first of all, the idea that Lauren Boebert has some kind of influence over Democratic Denver Mayor Mike Johnston with which to exact revenge on ushers at the Buell Theater is ludicrous. Like the Wicked Witch of the West in Munchkinland, Boebert has no power in the Mile High City. But her empty threats to use her position as a member of Congress to retaliate against employees who are just trying to do their jobs and ensure that everyone who buys a ridiculously overpriced ticket to see Beetlejuice has a good time are totally unacceptable. It’s not okay to “pull rank” in this situation any more than it is for a lawmaker stopped for a DUI.
Boebert’s staff reportedly denied the allegation that either she or her date were vaping in the theater, and claimed that they were not being any more disruptive than their neighbors. The only possible explanation in that event would be that Boebert was somehow singled out for mistreatment, and we don’t believe that for a minute. It’s much more believable, given Boebert’s long history of exactly this kind of bad behavior, that Boebert not only richly earned her early exit from the theater but also threatened to retaliate afterward against security invoking her status as a member of Congress.
As for the allegations of “vaping” or being otherwise intoxicated? One has to wonder how much inebriant it takes to twirl away carefree (above right) after being booted from a theater for making a scene. With that said, we weren’t there with a breathalyzer.
But from the State of the Union to Beetlejuice, the moral of the story sems to be that you can’t take Lauren Boebert anywhere. We’ve all known someone like Boebert in our lives, and (hopefully) you learned not to party with them without criminal charges of your own.
On this day in 1985, Super Mario Bros. was first released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in Japan. Let’s GetMore Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.
► Utah Senator Mitt Romney announced that he will not seek re-election in 2024. As The Washington Post reports:
Sen. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee in 2012 and the only member of his party to twice vote to convict former president Donald Trump in politically charged impeachment trials, announced Wednesday that he will not seek a second term in the Senate representing Utah, saying in an interview that it is time for a new generation to “step up” and “shape the world they’re going to live in.”
Romney, 76, said his decision not to run again was heavily influenced by his belief that a second term, which would take him into his 80s, probably would be less productive and less satisfying than the current term has been. He blamed that both on the disarray he sees among House Republicans and on his own lack of confidence in the leadership of President Biden and Trump.
Romney is one of the few rational Republican voices left in Congress. While it is a surprise that he is not seeking re-election, it’s hard to blame him; trying to work with this current generation of MAGA Republicans would be a nightmare.
Coincidentally, this news is all coming out on the same day that POLITICO published an in-depth story from “reporter” Olivia Beavers about how Boebert is trying to turn over a new leaf, or something. It’s possible that she smoked that new leaf at the Buell Theater in Denver on Sunday.
► House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given Republicans the go-ahead to pursue impeachment investigations into President Biden…as soon as they figure out what to investigate. Colorado Public Radio tracked down some of Colorado’s notable elected officials for comment:
Rep. Lauren Boebert said the Oversight Committee has already produced evidence of impeachable conduct.
Still, none of the documents or transcripts released thus far have shown evidence of any concrete instances of corruption by Biden. [Pols emphasis]
That’s what many Colorado Democrats focused on in response to McCarthy’s announcement.
“There is no concrete evidence of any wrongdoing by President Biden. Even Congressional Republicans are questioning the merits of this nakedly partisan investigation,” said Democratic Rep. Diana DeGette…
…Democratic Rep. Jason Crow, who was an impeachment manager for Trump’s first impeachment, also criticized the move, especially the choice to open an inquiry without first allowing the House to vote on it.
“Democrats held a vote on both impeachment inquiries into President Trump because they were based on facts and evidence. House Republicans know their inquiry is a scam, so they won’t even hold a vote on it,” he said via X, formerly known as Twitter. “What a disgrace. Americans deserve better.” [Pols emphasis]
► While “impeachment” grabbed headlines early in the week, the bigger story in Congress is a looming government shutdown at the end of the month. A shutdown seems likely given the rhetoric from right-wing Republicans intent on proving some sort of point that would ignore the historical reality of the political consequences of such a move. As Colorado Newsline explains:
The most conservative Republicans in the U.S. House announced Tuesday they won’t support the short-term spending bill that’s needed to stop a partial government shutdown from beginning on Oct. 1.
Freedom Caucus Chair Scott Perry, a Pennsylvania Republican, said the group is not interested in a stopgap spending bill that “continues the policies and the spending of the Biden-Schumer-Pelosi era and we’re not going to vote for it.”…
…The GOP-controlled House passed one of its dozen annual government funding bills before going on a six-week break throughout August. The Senate began debate on a three-bill package Tuesday.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has given in to the crazies in the Republican caucus and agreed to move forward with an impeachment investigation into President Biden.
This impeachment effort will be much different than either of the impeachment investigations into former President Donald Trump in large part because it’s not actually clear what Biden might have done wrong to warrant such a significant undertaking. There were multiple credible whistleblowers and mounds of evidence against Trump in both of his impeachment trials; this impeachment effort seems to be more of an investigation in search of a problem.
McCarthy said Tuesday he is directing House committees to open an impeachment inquiry into President Biden, amid pressure from some hard-right members of the Republican caucus to do so.
The inquiry would center on whether Biden benefited from his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings, among other issues, McCarthy said.
“These are allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption and warrant further investigation by the House of Representatives,” McCarthy told reporters Tuesday morning. “That’s why today I am directing our House committee to open a formal impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden.” [Pols emphasis]
McCarthy spoke for three minutes, did not take any questions and left the lectern shortly after making his remarks. McCarthy has previously said he would not launch an inquiry without a vote by the full house.
If you’re wondering how serious McCarthy is taking this impeachment effort, look no further than his brief comments this morning: “Allegations of abuse of power, obstruction and corruption” is such a nebulous statement that it could apply to just about anyone in Washington D.C.
Why, then, is McCarthy doing this? It’s simple, really: There are enough right-wing MAGA lunatics in his caucus that are demanding impeachment hearings — including (not)BFFs Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert — that McCarthy risks a challenge to his speakership if he doesn’t at least go through the motions of an investigation. As POLITICO explains:
It’s a huge win for conservatives, who have pressured the California Republican for months to move existing investigations into the Democratic president into a formal impeachment inquiry. Some members of McCarthy’s right flank have openly threatened to try to strip him of the House gavel if their demands weren’t met
Remember, back when McCarthy was waiting longer than anyone since before the Civil War to get enough votes to become House Speaker, one of the concessions he made was to change the rules so that any one Member of the House could call for a vote for a new Speaker. McCarthy apparently feels like he’ll lose his gavel if he doesn’t play along with a Biden impeachment investigation.
Side Note: This is the difference between being the Republican leader in the House of Representatives and directing the GOP caucus in the Senate. In order to keep his job as House Speaker, McCarthy had little choice but to give in to the lunatics demanding an impeachment hearing for President Biden — even if nobody is really sure why Biden should be impeached. In the Senate, Mitch McConnell only needed to prove that he was still a relatively-functional human being in order to maintain his job as Senate Minority Leader.
Can you impeach a laptop computer?
It is also unclear just how plausible an impeachment inquiry might be for McCarthy. Let’s go back to POLITICO:
So far, McCarthy doesn’t have 218 GOP votes needed to launch an impeachment inquiry. He and other top Republicans have tried to characterize such a step as strengthening their investigative power, rather than a concrete move toward attempting to boot the president from office — semantics that matter to centrist Republicans.
So this is just a “kinda impeachment”?
Colorado Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) has been speaking out quite a bit lately on his opposition to an impeachment of President Biden. Nebraska Republican Rep. Don Bacon is also not on board, telling POLITICO:
“As of now I don’t support [an impeachment inquiry]. I think an inquiry should be based on evidence of a crime that points directly to President Biden, or if the President doesn’t cooperate by not providing documents. There’s clearly corruption with Hunter using his Dad’s name to earn tens of millions of dollars. But impeachment needs to be about the dad, not the son.” [Pols emphasis]
McCarthy can only afford to lose four Republican votes in his thin majority; Buck and Bacon drop that number to two. There are 18 other vulnerable “centrist” Republicans who are definitely nervous about this given that they represent districts that Biden won in 2020.
The other problem with McCarthy’s announcement is that it removes impeachment as a potential bargaining chip with the White House over a looming government shutdown. The impeachment stuff is making news today, but it won’t be the top story for long once it becomes obvious that McCarthy doesn’t have a way to convince House Republicans — particularly those in the “Freedom Caucus” — to avert a shutdown at the end of the month.
Early in the summer, Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dave Williams announced that he had formed an alliance of some sort between the Colorado GOP and the Colorado Libertarian Party (LPCO). Nearly four months later, the results of this alliance have proven to be a bit elusive.
The stated goal — from Williams’s point of view, anyway — was about trying to prevent Libertarian candidate “spoilers” from potentially mucking things up for a Republican candidate in a close General Election. Curiously, Williams would later promise to find a Libertarian “spoiler” candidate to run against Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer if she ran again in CO-08 (No, these sentences do not go together, but we all just have suspend our understanding of reality in order to make sense of any of this).
Anyway, in August, the LPCO unveiled a “pledge” for Republican candidates to sign in order to receive the official support of the Colorado Libertarian Party. Williams then started sending out this pledge to Republican candidates — again, a Libertarian Party Pledge coming from an official Colorado Republican Party account — which clearly amused LPCO leaders but thus far hasn’t received much enthusiasm among candidates for top jobs in Colorado.
We already knew that neither of the Republican candidates in the third congressional district — Lauren Boebert and Jeff Hurd — were planning to sign the pledge. This was probably always going to be a harder sell given that a Libertarian candidate named Mark Ellworth Jr was already in the race, but nevertheless…
Evans told Colorado Politics he won’t sign a pledge released last month by the Colorado Libertarian Party as part of a deal between the state’s third-largest party and the state GOP aimed at avoiding potential spoiler candidates in competitive races. [Pols emphasis]
While Caraveo defeated Kirkmeyer last year by just over 1,600 votes — out of almost 240,000 ballots cast — Libertarian nominee Richard Ward received more than 9,000 votes despite not mounting an active campaign, prompting some Republicans to describe the third-party candidate as a spoiler.
“I think that pledge indicates the level of frustration we’re seeing in Colorado with the left being in complete control of really everything in this state,” Evans said. “But there’s some things there I can’t agree to. Most concerning is ultimately moving toward degrading, getting rid of the intelligence community. I’ve been overseas, I’ve seen the threat that adversaries like Iran, Russia, North Korea and China pose. In 2023, we’ve got a dangerous environment in the international community, so we’ve got to make sure we have the tools to protect our country, protect the homeland.”
He said he has reservations about additional elements contained in the lengthy pledge.
Not the slogan (probably) of the GOP/LPCO alliance.
None of the Republican candidates running in the two biggest races of 2024 will sign the Libertarian Party pledge to complete the alliance that the Republican Party Chairman forged in…um…not steel, or blood…but…we’ll go with “spray-can cheese”?
Surely, someone will sign the “Pledge of Alliance,” right?
Actually, yes — we think it will get plenty of signatures.
As easy as it would be to just make fun of the LPCO pledge for Republicans and laugh at its architect, there are plenty of Republican candidates who would sign this pledge, either 1) Because they can use it as a wedge in a tough Primary campaign, and/or 2) Because they happen to believe most of this stuff anyway.
If this pledge had been around in 2022, at least two major congressional candidates would have signed. Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine absolutely would have scribbled her name as a way to separate her from other Republican congressional candidates in CO-03. And Dave Williams himself would have signed it in his bid to unseat Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn in CO-05. Ron Hanks, a 2022 U.S. Senate candidate, would have signed. The Republican gubernatorial candidate, Heidi Ganahl, would have scribbled her name in crayon.
Heck, Lauren Boebert would have signed it…in 2020 when she was running in a Republican Primary against Scott Tipton.
Plenty of Republicans will join up in 2024. State Reps. Scott Bottoms and Ken DeGraaf will say pretty much anything; they’ll sign basically anything, too, if you include the right key words in bold type (FREEDOM! LIBERTY! LIQUID SILVER!) Most of the Republicans in the House of Representatives now will give serious consideration to inking their name.
As far as we know, the “Pledge of Alliance” has not yet been signed by a Republican candidate, but it will happen. The next questions are much more interesting.
► Congress is back in session after the August recess, and the big topic on everyone’s mind is whether or not there might be another government shutdown at the end of the month. As POLITICO explains, Colorado Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is at the heart of the brewing tornado:
There’s a “perfect storm” brewing in the House in the coming weeks, and it could pose a threat to Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s speakership, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) said Sunday.
“On the one hand, we’ve got to pass a continuing resolution,” Buck said during an interview on MSNBC’s “Inside with Jen Psaki.” “We also have the impeachment issue. And we also have members of the House, led by my good friend, Chip Roy, who are concerned about policy issues. They want riders in the appropriations bills, amendments in the appropriations bills that guarantee some type of security on our Southern border.
“So you take those things put together, and Kevin McCarthy, the speaker, has made promises on each of those issues to different groups. And now it is all coming due at the same time,” Buck said.
Buck has also been vocal about his opposition to efforts by folks such as Rep. Lauren Boebert to push forward with an impeachment vote against President Biden that would serve no purpose other than to placate a few MAGA nuts.
In a separate story from Ian Ward of POLITICO, a former Republican leader is warning House Speaker Kevin McCarthy NOT to allow a government shutdown to happen:
In October 2013, the Republican-led House of Representatives failed to pass a last-ditch spending bill for the first time in 17 years, forcing the federal government into a costly and controversial 16-day shutdown. Now, as Congress once again careens toward a potential shutdown on Oct. 1, one of the Republican leaders at the center of the fight 10 years ago — former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor — has some advice for his colleagues in the GOP.
Don’t do it again.
“Unless there is a plausible way to execute a plan of a shutdown — meaning [Republicans] can actually win when you come out of it — I’m not sure there is a win there,” Cantor told me when I spoke to him. That judgment, Cantor said, is largely informed by what happened a decade ago, when Republicans in the House tried — and failed — to block the implementation of Obamacare by shuttering the government. What they got instead, Cantor told me, was a major political headache that did little to stymie the rollout of Obama’s health care program.
“A lot of people were just fine with being able to vent their anger and frustration, go into the shutdown and leave it to leaders to figure out how to get out of it,” said Cantor, who lost his seat in a shocking upset to a conservative primary challenger in 2014 and now works for the investment bank Moelis & Company.
“I think that politically, that’s not a winner.” [Pols emphasis]
No, but that doesn’t mean that right-wing voices, including the Freedom Caucus, won’t do it anyway. During a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in August, Buck said that he expects that a shutdown will happen because of the insistence from him and others that the government reduce spending.
► As The Associated Press reports, attorneys for Donald Trump have succeeded (thus far) in moving a case about his eligibility for the 2024 ballots from state to federal court:
The liberal group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed the initial lawsuit on Wednesday in state court, arguing a Civil War-era clause prohibiting higher office for those who once swore an oath to the Constitution and then engaged in “insurrection” prevents Trump from running in 2024…
…CREW’s case is the first of what’s expected to be many challenges filed in various states by the group and Free Speech for People, another liberal nonprofit. Activists in other states have filed lawsuits in which they represent themselves, but legal observers contend the more robust complaints by the nonprofits are more likely to end up at the nation’s highest court, which has never ruled on the clause.
CREW can still petition to move the case back to state court.
► Colorado Senate Democrats elected new leadership on Friday. Senator Robert Rodriguez will serve as Senate Majority Leader after defeating Sen. Rachel Zenzinger. Rodriguez replaces Dominick Moreno, who resigned from the Senate to take a job with Denver Mayor Mike Johnston. Senator Faith Winter was elected to serve as assistant majority leader.
Last Friday, we reported on a letter signed by every member of Colorado’s congressional delegation except Rep. Lauren Boebert to the Internal Revenue Service, requesting for the second year in a row that the federal government not subject tax refunds under the state’s unique so-called “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” to federal income tax. It’s not the first time that Boebert has missed the boat for reasons unknown on some of her most basic responsibilities, and every one of these fumbles contributes to Boebert’s general perception of being too focused on her social media constituency to attend to the needs of the voters who actually elected Boebert to Congress.
Almost as predictable as Boebert fumbling the ball, as the Grand Junction Sentinel’sCharles Ashbyreports, are the lame excuses that come afterward:
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert has sent a letter of her own to the Internal Revenue Service asking it not to tax refunds Coloradans receive as a result of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
That letter, sent on Tuesday, is nearly identical to a similar one that the rest of Colorado’s congressional delegation sent to the IRS asking the same thing.
At the time, Boebert was criticized for not also signing onto that first letter, sent Aug. 31, but that’s only because she was notified of the letter while traveling and only given an hour to respond, her office said. [Pols emphasis]
During the month-plus congressional recess that wraps up this weekend for House members, Colorado’s congressional delegation has literally been all over the world in addition to traveling widely throughout their districts. Rep. Doug Lamborn went on a tour of far-flung Pacific island nations and U.S. territories, and Rep. Jason Crow was in Eastern Europe last week. Yet somehow yet again only Lauren Boebert is the only one who wasn’t given enough time to respond to this no-brainer request?
Boebert would have done much better to simply acknowledge she missed the boat than insist on making an excuse belied by every other member of the delegation. Sometimes it’s even endearing for politicians to admit to making a trifling error with candor, but like her mentor Donald Trump, admitting to even the smallest mistake is something that Lauren Boebert is pathologically unable to do.
To sanitize the old saying, excuses are ubiquitous. But in Colorado politics, Boebert has the most by far.
New polling data from CNN/SSRS was released on Thursday that made headlines largely because it showed significant vulnerabilities for President Biden, including a topline finding that Biden and former President Donald Trump are running neck-and-neck in a hypothetical 2024 rematch. Analysis from ABC News, for example, exclaimed that CNN’s new polling was “nothing but bad news” for Biden.
Yet while Biden’s approval ratings aren’t very good and voters aren’t enthusiastic about the impact of White House policies on improving the economy, there was a significant and largely overlooked piece of data included in the CNN/SSRS polling results that should make Democrats feel a little better: For the first time in modern memory, a plurality of Americans believe that the government should do MORE to solve the country’s problems.
Via CNN/SSRS (Aug. 2023)
As you can see from the comparisons below, for decades Americans have tended to agree with the idea that the government is too big and too burdensome and that the free market fairy will always make things right. As conservative activist Grover Norquist infamously said in 2001:
“I’m not in favor of abolishing the government. I just want to shrink it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
Via CNN/SSRS (Aug. 2023)
In 1985, Norquist founded “Americans for Tax Reform,” an organization that opposed all tax increases “as a matter of principle” and was a vocal advocate for Colorado’s “Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights” (TABOR) in 1992. As even Republicans will tell you today, TABOR has been awful for Colorado because it places artificial spending restrictions on a state that has been growing in population since it was first passed more than 30 years ago; it’s no accident that no other state in the country has ever wanted to replicate TABOR.
For decades, “Americans for Tax Reform” played an outside role in conservative politics by serving as a litmus test for any Republican candidate seeking elected office. Failure to sign the ATR “no taxes” pledge could be a campaign killer. But as Paul Krugman wrote for The New York Times in 2010, the “starve the beast” Republican strategy came with one YUGE problem: Nobody really wanted to cut programs that Americans had come to rely upon:
But there has always been a political problem with this agenda. Voters may say that they oppose big government, but the programs that actually dominate federal spending – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security — are very popular. So how can the public be persuaded to accept large spending cuts?
The conservative answer, which evolved in the late 1970s, would be dubbed “starving the beast” during the Reagan years. The idea — propounded by many members of the conservative intelligentsia, from Alan Greenspan to Irving Kristol — was basically that sympathetic politicians should engage in a game of bait and switch. Rather than proposing unpopular spending cuts, Republicans would push through popular tax cuts, with the deliberate intention of worsening the government’s fiscal position. Spending cuts could then be sold as a necessity rather than a choice, the only way to eliminate an unsustainable budget deficit…
…Why are Republicans reluctant to sit down and talk? Because they would then be forced to put up or shut up. Since they’re adamantly opposed to reducing the deficit with tax increases, they would have to explain what spending they want to cut. And guess what? After three decades of preparing the ground for this moment, they’re still not willing to do that. [Pols emphasis]
Rep. Ken Buck recognizes the problem.
Not much has changed in the 13 years since Krugman wrote that opinion piece. Republicans still want to cut spending…but they don’t want to talk about how that might work. Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Bucksaid last month that a federal government shutdown — perhaps as soon as the end of this month — was all but inevitable. “We are going to shut down,” he told the crowd at a Colorado Chamber of Commerce luncheon, claiming that the federal government simply must cut spending in order to avoid some sort of nebulous debt/deficit problem that is often predicted but never realized.
The only serious way to reduce spending is to propose meaningful cuts to military spending, medicaid, medicare, or social security, but Republicans aren’t going to do that because voters would revolt and throw them out of office. Earlier this year, Buck suggested raising the retirement age to 72, which would require Americans to work longer than people in any other industrialized nation. Buck hasn’t really said much about that idea since floating it during a Fox 31 interview in May.
But it’s not just these long-running entitlement programs that voters seem to like. As The Washington Post reported this week, $24 billion in stimulus funding that helped make child care possible for millions of parents is about to run dry:
That record investment has helped keep the industry afloat by propping up workers’ salaries, boosting training programs and waiving family payment requirements.
Now, with the last of that money expiring this month, an estimated 70,000 child-care programs — or about 1 in 3 — could close as a result of lost funding, causing 3.2 million children to lose care, according to a study by the Century Foundation, a liberal think tank. That translates to $10.6 billion in lost U.S. economic activity, researchers found, adding new strain to a nation already struggling with a profound lack of child care.
“It isn’t just individual children or parents that will be impacted, it’s the economy as a whole,” said Julie Kashen, a senior fellow at the Century Foundation. “When more than 3 million children lose care, that means all of those parents are going to have to figure out something else or reduce their work hours or leave their jobs altogether.” [Pols emphasis]
It’s hard to understate the significance of the philosophical change that Republicans will need to confront if Americans continue to express the belief that we should have MORE government instead of less. Buck is a perfect example of that: He votes against just about every spending bill — sometimes one of just a handful of Republicans to oppose things like raising the debt ceiling — based solely on his robotic devotion to the old “starve the beast” ethos. This is his entire political identity.
A new generation of Americans sees what governments CAN do for people in other countries, and they’re no longer buying into the message long shouted from the mountaintops by rich white men. If support for a more active government continues to rise, Republicans are going to need to toss out the old “smaller government, lower taxes” routine or just cede the entire argument to Democrats.
We haven’t done one of these roundups in awhile, and we need to get back in the habit. Let’s GetMore Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.
► Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell returned to the U.S. Capitol this week to deliver brief remarks about his health. McConnell says he will finish his current term (which ends in 2026) and remain Minority Leader despite concerns about his functionality as a human being. McConnell has frozen in place twice in the last six weeks while speaking publicly in front of a microphone:
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared to freeze for about 30 seconds while speaking with reporters after a speech in Covington, Kentucky. The incident is similar to an episode McConnell experienced at the US Capitol late last month. pic.twitter.com/24uqZEd14d
Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress, ruled out several potential causes for McConnell’s recent troubles — but notably didn’t mention what might be wrong other than to blame dehydration.
As NBC News reports, the 81-year-old McConnell’s health is making it more difficult for Republicans to attack President Biden over his age (80).
► In a related story, Americans seem to approve of the idea of a mental competency test for politicians, though how such a test might functionally operate is another question. From The Washington Post:
Americans overwhelmingly favor mental competency tests for politicians over 75 — and for the results to be made public — as well as imposing age limits on who can serve in the White House and Congress, according to a new poll that highlights deep misgivings about older leaders they nonetheless elect time and again.
In practice, that would mean acuity assessments for people like President Biden, 80, the oldest to get the job; former president Donald Trump, the runaway front-runner for the Republican nomination in 2024, 77; and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.), 81…
…There are already age limits to serve as president or in Congress — but they’re a floor, not a ceiling. The poll found broad support for imposing an upper limit: 76 percent for the commander in chief, 73 percent for senators, 72 percent for representatives.
“When asked what the maximum age should be, the average ages given are 67 for president and 66 for senator and member of Congress (the median age given is 70 for all three positions). If an age limit of 66 were in effect, almost half of senators currently in office would be ineligible, given that the median age of Senators is presently about 65,” the poll authors wrote. [Pols emphasis]
► Another Republican has jumped in the race for Congress in CO-08 for the right to challenge incumbent Democratic Rep. Yadira Caraveo. State Representative Gabe Evans says he’s ready to move up after just one legislative session in his pocket. If recent history is any indication, Evans is in for a rough ride; no Republican state legislator in Colorado has been elected to higher office since 2010.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) seen here nearly losing the 2022 election.
As Austin Corona at the Aspen Daily Newsreports, fundraising email blasts from Colorado’s vexatiously vulnerable Rep. Lauren Boebert have taken a dark turn since the release of the late August poll showing her narrowly losing to Democratic challenger Adam Frisch:
Rep. Lauren Boebert’s campaign sent three emails to supporters last week expressing concern over polling that showed the second-term congresswoman trailing her potential 2024 Democratic opponent, former Aspen City Councilman Adam Frisch, by 2 percentage points…
“If we don’t turn things around quickly, we could lose this seat to the Democrats. I can’t believe I’m saying those words, but I need you to understand how dire this situation is. [Frisch’s] latest internal polls have him beating us by two points,” read an email sent by Boebert’s campaign on Aug. 29.
The email from Wednesday, Aug. 30, written by former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, stated that Boebert was being “pummeled” by Frisch.
“If the Election were held today … Lauren would lose,” the email read… [Pols emphasis]
And the bad news packaged like a bitter pill for Boebert’s diehard supporters doesn’t stop there:
All three emails added that Frisch is outraising the Boebert campaign. This year, Frisch has raised $4.4 million, the fourth largest amount raised by any of the more than 1,200 congressional candidates who have announced runs for 2024. Boebert, meanwhile, has raised $1.6 million, putting her in 30th place.
Relaying bad news to one’s supporters in order to build urgency is nothing new in campaign fundraising, but in Boebert’s case the situation is a little more problematic. Boebert is reacting to her opponent’s internal polling, but instead of discounting it as such or focusing on the results being a statistical tie, she’s conceded the whole frame of the race to Frisch by agreeing she would lose if the election were held today. Republican donors understand, or at least they should by now, that Boebert’s vulnerability is disproportionate to the district’s conservative lean. Boebert is being “pummeled” in a race that otherwise would not be as competitive, and the reason is Boebert.
This in turn explains Boebert’s lackluster fundraising since barely winning re-election by 546 votes last November. Boebert’s unsuccessful holdout struggle to deny Speaker Kevin McCarthy his gavel in January placed Boebert on the wrong side of the national GOP’s fundraising machine, and the result is clear enough that McCarthy doesn’t have to say a word.
Boebert is asking Republicans to throw good money after bad, and everybody knows it now.
If there’s anyone who didn’t, Boebert will explain it to them herself.
As Ernest Luningreports for the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog, most of Colorado’s congressional delegation representing both parties signed a letter to the Internal Revenue Service this week, asking as they did last year during a similar brief period of uncertainty to not treat refunds to taxpayers under Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights as federally taxable income:
All but one member of the state’s D.C. contingent signed on to a letter led by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse, both Democrats, asking IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel to “resolve the current ambiguity” over TABOR refunds in response to guidance released Wednesday by the agency.
State officials warned the IRS against changing its policy on TABOR refunds following the publication of a notice covering various state income tax refund scenarios, with some emphasizing that it is unclear whether Colorado’s unique situation is covered by the proposed rules.
The fresh controversy comes on the heels of a dust-up in February when the IRS initially told Colorado taxpayers to delay filing their 2022 income tax returns until the agency decided whether to tax refunds issued the previous summer by the state. Within days, the IRS announced there would be no change regarding TABOR refunds after the delegation unanimously called on the agency to stick with the policy in place for decades.
It’s better for this question to be resolved well before Colorado taxpayers approach their filing deadline, which was the cause of much temporary consternation last February–and we expect that the answer from the IRS will once again rule that TABOR tax refunds should not be subject to federal income tax. This letter requesting the IRS clarify its policy on Colorado’s unique tax refund mechanism was signed by every member of the delegation except one, and you already guessed who she is–Rep. Lauren Boebert.
Instead of signing the letter to the IRS with the rest of the delegation, Boebert put out this suspiciously-timed Tweet/X yesterday afternoon announcing her opposition to taxing TABOR refunds, the timing of which strongly suggests Boebert realized she had missed the boat and was attempting to glom on for credit on the fully-expected other side:
Apparently, doing “everything in my power” does not include signing a letter.
Similar to Boebert’s missed vote on the debt-ceiling compromise she had spent days previously railing against, we can’t explain why Boebert didn’t sign this no-brainer letter with the rest of the delegation, making it a unanimous call for the IRS to solve the problem. What we can say is that Boebert Tweeting her viewpoint on the matter is not a substitute for actually doing her job, which would have been to sign the letter with everybody else.
While it’s not likely to affect the outcome thanks to Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Joe Neguse mobilizing the rest of the delegation, it’s yet another case of Boebert substituting performative outbursts on social media for her duties as a congressional representative.
If the IRS does follow Boebert on Twitter, it’s probably not to get her advice.
This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii have a lot to discuss. Our 8th favorite member of Congress from Colorado is trailing her leading Democratic challenger by two points. Will she realize thatshe’s the problem? The Colorado Republican/Libertarian Party alliance is getting sadder and stupider, as we predicted, reinforcing the idea that instead of playing stupid games with less than 40% of the voting population of a state like Colorado, maybe the Grand Old Party should try to appeal to another 10% of voters if they’d like to win an election in the next decade? And we have a couple of great listener comments to pass along.
BUT FIRST, eight Republican hopefuls debated one another in Milwaukee for the chance to maybe get to be Donald Trump’s running mate, as long as they don’t piss him off too much. We break it down with our returning guest, Professor Seth Masket (aka SMOTUS) of the University of Denver, who has some new results of his county chair survey and some spicy takes on the debate.