Government Shutdown Talk Has GOP Caucus Boiling

When House Speaker Kevin McCarthy says, “Say hello to my little friend,” he’s not talking about Lauren Boebert.

House Republicans left town on Thursday after a week filled with talk of impeachment investigations into President Biden; battles over budget deals; and increasing chatter about a challenge for the gavel of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

As The Washington Post explained on Thursday, McCarthy is definitely feeling the heat:

House lawmakers left town Thursday after a dramatic three-day workweek that saw them launch a divisive impeachment inquiry and calls for the removal of Speaker Kevin McCarthy from his position, as they made little movement toward averting a government shutdown.

Republicans also weren’t able to move forward a traditionally noncontroversial defense spending bill, stymied by deep divisions in the party despite a shared goal of approving 12 individual appropriations bills.

The chaotic week brought into sharp focus the deepening divide in McCarthy’s fractious conference. With a dwindling timeline to keep the government open beyond Sept. 30, McCarthy (R-Calif.) had hoped to gather support for a short-term funding solution that would allow Republicans more time to pass long-term funding bills. But hard-right lawmakers, angry over what they say is a lack of information on top-line budget numbers, blocked a procedural vote that halted any movement on appropriations bills.

Earlier in the week, the House “Freedom Caucus” held a press conference in which they demanded significant spending cuts — beyond what a bipartisan group of lawmakers agreed to in May in order to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a catastrophic government debt default. Hardliners in the GOP caucus are putting McCarthy in an impossible position, threatening to withhold their support for a continuing resolution to fund the government unless McCarthy makes good on some vague promises that the “Freedom Caucus” claims he made back in January.

There have been increasing threats over a potential “motion to vacate the chair,” in which Republicans might try to oust McCarthy as Speaker if he doesn’t do what the hardliners demand. On Thursday, the rumormongering and backbiting finally caused McCarthy to snap:

Frustrations came to head in an explosive Thursday morning meeting, where McCarthy challenged his detractors to move or file “a f—ing motion” to remove him from his seat, according to several lawmakers and aides.

“You guys think I’m scared of a motion to vacate. Go f—ing ahead and do it. I’m not scared,” McCarthy told the House GOP conference in the closed-door meeting, according to a lawmaker in attendance who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private remarks. A motion to vacate would kick off the process that could remove McCarthy from the speakership. [Pols emphasis]

As CNN reports, Florida Congressman Matt Gaetzwho will be in Colorado next Saturday for the La Plata County Republican Party’s “Lincoln Dinner” — has been one of the loudest voices threatening an attempt to oust McCarthy and fired back on Thursday with his own expletives.

“How about just move the f***ing spending bills?” 

— Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz in response to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (CNN, 9/14/23)


Um, excuse me…I think you’re all being unreasonable…

While Gaetz is obviously not one of the GOP voices calling for compromise, you’ll probably be surprised to find out who is on that list. Apparently Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn is awake and speaking out.

While it’s unclear if anybody actually listens to Lamborn, the longtime Republican from CO-05 provided his perspective in an interview with Fox 31 News:

Congress has until the end of September to pass a funding measure in order to avoid a government shutdown. U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn called it “a 50-50 proposition.”

“Those that think they’re going to get something out of it (a shutdown), they’re going to be sadly mistaken,” the Republican said this week on “Colorado Point of View.”..

Lamborn is Colorado’s only Republican lawmaker on Capitol Hill who is not a part of the House Freedom Caucus. He said it’s been difficult to negotiate, though, because “people keep moving the goalpost on you as you try to march down the field.”

Lamborn said despite the House Freedom Caucus saying they don’t want a government shutdown, the group will “achieve the things they say they don’t want because they’re not being very reasonable.” [Pols emphasis]

It would be bad for the country and the economy as a whole if there were a federal government shutdown. History also makes it clear that the party in power in the House — in this case Republicans — will take the blame for any disruption in government funding of services. Speaking to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell earlier this week, Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck didn’t mince words in preparing for political disaster:

“They clearly hurt Republicans more than Democrats,” said Buck. “We will be blamed . We are in charge in the House, so if there is blame, it’s going to come our way, and it’s going to come our way right before a Presidential Election year.”

The House “Freedom Caucus” isn’t backing down from their demands and may escalate things if one of the group’s members calls for a motion to vacate the chair and replace McCarthy. It’s a no-win situation that Republicans have forced upon themselves — a situation that is only going to get worse as both sides dig in deeper.

Smaller Government Strategy is Drowning in its Own Bathtub

Americans don’t want their government in here.

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 Buck said 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.

Boebert Once Again Substitutes Tweeting For Governing

As Ernest Luning reports 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.

Dave Williams Keeps Doing (Not) His Job

No, not that way, Dave. Hey, Dave! Come back.

The Colorado Republican Party has a very specific list of responsibilities for the State Republican Party Chairman, which include things like making a budget and hiring staff members. The bylaws of the State Republican Central Committee don’t explicitly include that the GOP Chair’s primary job is to help Republican candidates win elections, but this is something that is more or less implied.

(Of course, it is also implied that the REPUBLICAN Party Chairperson should be working for the REPUBLICAN Party, instead of, say, the Libertarian Party, but we digress…) 

Dave Williams has been serving as the head of the State GOP for about six months now, and most of his time has been spent on projects neither implicitly nor explicitly related to his actual job. As we have chronicled in this space, Williams spends much of his time attacking other Republicans; making excuses for why the State Party has no money; and fundraising to pay a soon-to-be disbarred John Eastman for directing a lawsuit that is almost certainly doomed to fail.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised, then, that Williams has wandered off in yet another direction unrelated to his job as GOP Chair. Williams recently emerged as the Registered Agent for a new effort to pass a ballot measure banning gender reassignment surgeries for minors in Colorado:

Sure, do THIS in 2024.

The (ahem) “Let Kids be Kids” campaign seems to be a response to Senate Bill 188, which was approved by the Colorado legislature last Spring and signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis. Called the “Protections for Accessing Reproductive Health Care Act,” SB-188 protects access to reproductive health care and gender-affirming medical care. As Serena Sonoma wrote for GLAAD in April:

Advocates and lawmakers celebrated in April after Gov. Jared Polis signed legislation protecting health care access for LGBTQ youth in Colorado.

Meredith Gleitz, Policy Manager at One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization dedicated to advancing equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Coloradans and their families, called the measure “critical” for transgender people to be able to fairly access what is often lifesaving health care.

“Research shows that gender-affirming care improves mental health and overall well-being for transgender people, and is recognized and endorsed by 29 leading medical organizations. In spite of its medical necessity and health benefits, access to gender-affirming care is being politically targeted, to the detriment of providers and patients – and attacks are intensifying,” she said.

“Colorado needs shield legislation to protect patients and providers from interstate political attacks and to prevent further obstacles to accessing critical health care.”

Dave Williams

Across the country, 19 states have now passed laws banning gender-affirming care to some degree; according to the Human Rights Campaign, more than 1 in 3 transgender young people live in one of these states.

Initiatives like Williams’ proposal also help contribute to a rise in hate crimes targeting LGBTQ individuals. According to federal law enforcement statistics, 1 in 5 hate crimes now involve LGBTQ Americans.

There are no doubt plenty of right-wing Republicans in Colorado who would agree with a proposal to ban gender-affirming care for young people. However, polling shows that attempts to restrict LGBTQ health care options are absolutely NOT popular with a majority of voters nationwide. It’s a pretty fair guess that these numbers are even more lopsided in an increasingly-blue state like Colorado.

Regardless of anyone’s opinion on this issue, it’s not a great use of time for Dave Williams to be adding yet another thing to his plate that has nothing to do with his job as GOP Chairman. Every minute that Williams spends attacking LGBTQ Coloradans is another minute he is NOT spending on helping Republican candidates win elections in 2024.

On the other hand, perhaps winning elections is just no longer a priority for the Colorado Republican Party.

BREAKING: Suck It Tuberville, Colorado Keeps Space Command

UPDATE #2: Never forget how Colorado GOP chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams bet against Colorado and lost, dragging the state party’s brand down with him:

This will be an interesting follow-up.


UPDATE: Nicely done, Rep. Brittany Pettersen:


Colorado Springs Gazette trying unsuccessfully to save Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020 by suggesting “a vote for Gardner is a vote for Space Command.”

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports, with help from the AP–one of ex-President Donald Trump’s final acts of political treachery against Colorado, a state that consistently jilted Trump and was delighted to see him go, has been undone by his duly elected successor:

The AP reported Monday afternoon that the Biden Administration decided to overturn former President Donald Trump’s decision to move the headquarters to Alabama. CPR News confirmed the decision with a source familiar with the matter.

The announcement brings an end to months of speculation over whether the new command would remain in Colorado or move to Alabama.

It was a vindication to Colorado’s congressional delegation, who worked publicly and behind the scenes for the last two years to get the Biden administration to reconsider the basing decision made in the last weeks of the Trump administration. That effort included requesting investigations from two offices, the Government Accountability Office and the Department of Defense’s Inspector General.

Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Senators, who had to play hardball to get the administration’s attention, are ebullient in victory:

We haven’t yet heard from the Republican representing the Colorado Springs area where Space Command is located, Rep. Doug Lamborn, but the last-minute decision to move Space Command to Alabama as a reward for the loyalty of Alabama Republicans in Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election was unjust enough to get even Colorado’s least inspiring backbencher off his duff to resist. Lamborn basically has no choice now but to thank the Biden administration for saving thousands of jobs in his district, which we hope Lamborn manages to get through without some embarrassing partisan begrudgment.

It’s possible we’ll hear from GOP Sen. Cory Gardner about this decision as well, much like Gardner tried to glom on to the FDA’s recent decision to allow over-the-counter sales of an oral contraceptive for credit he didn’t deserve. The problem is, we got into this predicament over Space Command because Trump as policy doesn’t reward losers like Cory Gardner.

All told, it’s probably better for Republicans to let Hickenlooper and Bennet have this one.

No matter how you look at it, for Colorado this was not the GOP’s finest hour.

One of These Things is Not Like the Other

Doug and Jean Lamborn

Today in The Colorado Sun, Sandra Fish reports on a practice that is fairly common among Members of Congress and their staff:

Nine of Colorado’s 10 members of Congress have paid at least one of their official office staffers with campaign funds this year, according to a Colorado Sun analysis of Federal Elections Commission filings for fundraising and spending through June 30.

And a 10th — U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn — used campaign dollars to pay a firm registered to his wife.

It’s not unusual — or illegal — for members of Congress to pay their congressional staffers with campaign dollars for campaign tasks. In fact, many staffers perform campaign duties without pay, Insider reported last year, including digital work and accompanying their bosses to events.

“It’s totally legal for staff at a congressional office to work on political campaigns,” said Delaney Marsco, senior legal counsel for ethics at the Campaign Legal Center. “They’re not bound by similar restrictions that executive branch employees would be bound by with the Hatch Act,” which prohibits them from political involvement. [Pols emphasis]

Members of Congress using staffers for campaign duties, and paying them accordingly, is a pretty standard practice; after all, these staffers are already vetted and are more than familiar with the candidate and the issues, so it makes plenty of sense to employ them for campaign-side purposes. The bigger issue is normally whether or not official staff get paid at all for doing other work outside of their official duties.

In fact, the only member of Colorado’s congressional delegation who has not recently paid an official staffer with campaign funds in order to do non-official work is Colorado Springs Rep. Doug Lamborn. Some of this is because Lamborn doesn’t really do anything beyond the bare minimum required of a Member of Congress, but what Lamborn is doing with some of his campaign funds is much more unethical:

Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, has paid Triple Star Services, a company registered to his wife, Jean, more than $19,000 in 2023 for campaign consulting. Lamborn has paid his wife or her business out of his campaign account consistently during his 16 years in Congress. 

Lamborn to Lamborn expenses — just in the last couple of election cycles

According to Open Secrets, “Triple Star Services” (otherwise known as “Jean Lamborn”) has been well taken care of over the years. Lamborn has been paying his wife for “bookkeeping services” since he was first elected in 2006. As the Investigative Research Center reported in 2020:

Since 2015, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado) has paid Triple Star Services LLC, a bookkeeping firm run by his wife, Jean Lamborn, more than $130,000 from his campaign account. Prior to the formation of the LLC, public records show that payments were made directly to Mrs. Lamborn…

In 2013, the Lamborn campaign responded to an inquiry from USA Today about paying his spouse from campaign coffers. A spokeswoman told the newspaper, “Congressman Lamborn and his wife would much prefer to hire this out to someone else but haven’t found the right person for the job.” Seven years later — in August of 2020 — The Colorado Sun asked for comment on the continued arrangement. The campaign reportedly refused to comment. [Pols emphasis]

According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records Triple Star Services LLC, has performed “campaign management,” “strategic consulting,” “bookkeeping,” “data management,”  “office management” and “accounting” services for Congressman Lamborn’s political operation.

“Congressman Lamborn and his wife would much prefer to hire this out to someone else but haven’t found the right person for the job.”

   — Lamborn spokesperson Catherine Mortensen responding to USA Today in 2013

That quote is just marvelous. Who else in the entire United States could POSSIBLY do this kind of bookkeeping work other than Jean Lamborn?

None of this is particularly new; we’ve taken note of this family arrangement on previous occasions. In recent years, the Lamborns have even started ordering official staffers to run their own personal errands.

What Rep. Lamborn is doing is similar to an arrangement that former Congressman Scott McInnis had with his wife for many years, though McInnis took the practice to another level by continuing to pay his wife for bookkeeping services even after he had retired from Congress.

Doug Lamborn is an unkillable political zombie for reasons that nobody can really explain, so it’s unlikely that more news about the Lamborn slush fund will hurt his re-election chances in 2024. We just wanted to take a moment to unbury the lede from today’s Colorado Sun story; what Lamborn is doing with his campaign account is absolutely NOT the same as what the other members of Colorado’s delegation are doing with their accounts.

When They Start Losing Colorado Springs… (feat. Spencer Soicher)

Spencer Soicher, political reporter for KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, what are all these MAGA Republicans doing funding my centrist organization? Our 8th favorite member of Congress from Colorado is (still) more concerned with what Twitter thinks than doing anything constructive for her district; and the ethically compromised United States Supreme Court wraps up this term by doing some surprisingly good things on elections and gerrymandering…right before essentially ending Affirmative Action in colleges as we know it.

But first…Spencer Soicher, weekend anchor and political reporter for KRDO in Colorado Springs joins us to chat about politics down there off I-25; sports versus political newscasting; and what on earth is going on with El Paso County Republicans (and the rest of the Colorado GOP in general).

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

SubscribeApple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Dave Williams’ War on Lamborn Doing Nonpartisan Damage

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

As we first reported last week, Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams has ramped up attacks in his official capacity as party chairman on Williams’ 2022 CD-5 primary opponent, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs. Before and especially after Lamborn’s vote for the debt ceiling compromise bill brokered between GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the White House last week, Williams slammed Lamborn in email blasts from the state party as a “say anything” politician and vowed to hold Lamborn “accountable” at some unspecified point in the future.

Today, Williams took another contrarian step in his friendly-fire campaign against Lamborn, and as The Hill reports, this one could land Williams in bipartisan hot water:

The Colorado Republican Party is urging President Biden not to take abortion access into consideration if he decides to base the Space Command headquarters in Colorado Springs — a move that would reverse former President Trump’s selection of Huntsville, Ala., as the prime location.

Instead, Colorado GOP Chairman Dave Williams wrote in a letter shared with The Hill, Biden should make that decision based on merit…

“As a political organization that is unwavering in its support for the pro-life movement, the Colorado Republican Party, and its leaders, implore you to ensure that the decision to keep Space Command in Colorado Springs be made solely on merit, rather than being entangled with the issue of abortion access,” Williams wrote.

On Twitter publicizing the story this morning, the state party went even further, stating flat-out “the Colorado GOP would rather have Space Command stay in Alabama.”

Colorado GOP chairman Dave Williams.

The awarding of the U.S. Space Command’s permanent headquarters to Alabama in the final days of the Trump administration is considered basically everywhere outside the state of Alabama to be a political reward to that state’s Republican lawmakers for abetting Donald Trump’s attempts to steal the 2020 presidential election. Rep. Doug Lamborn, whose loyalty first and foremost is to the military-industrial economic driver of his district, broke with Trump to fight alongside Colorado’s Democratic majority delegation to keep Space Command and the jobs it brings in Colorado Springs. Abortion laws of course have nothing to do with Lamborn’s support for keeping Space Command in Colorado. For Lamborn, it’s about representing his district.

In short, in order to spite Doug Lamborn and pander to Donald Trump, the Colorado GOP just come out in favor of costing Colorado Springs a thousand jobs and billions of dollars. While GOP chairman Williams is no doubt enjoying his campaign against Lamborn under the official aegis of the party, we can’t see how this is going to help with the party’s increasingly dire financial situation. In terms of helping Williams in a future primary rematch against Lamborn, it’s tough to see how killing jobs in CD-5 fits into that strategy either.

Between running the Colorado GOP into the ground financially and spending the bulk of his time attacking fellow Republicans, Dave Williams is doing more to damage the party’s already bleak prospects than any Democrat possibly could.

Vendetta: GOP Chairman Broadsides 2022 Primary Opponent

SATURDAY UPDATE: The press takes note of GOP chairman Dave Williams’ assault on his 2022 primary opponent:


Ex-President Donald Trump with Colorado GOP chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams (R).

We took note earlier this week of an email blast from Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams, heaping praise on hard-right Reps. Ken Buck and Lauren Boebert for their opposition to the debt ceiling increase compromise brokered between the White House and GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy while calling on party faithful to “encourage” Rep. Doug Lamborn to vote against the deal.

This morning, after the legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, Williams began by thanking Reps. Buck and Boebert for standing strong against their GOP House Speaker:

The Colorado Republican Party thanks Congressman Ken Buck and Congresswoman Lauren Boebert for forcefully and publicly opposing this debt scheme that the Washington establishment and special interest insiders forced on us.

The thanks to Rep. Boebert come despite her having missed the vote against the compromise she trashed from the outset, for which Boebert has become the butt of nationwide jokes instead of a champion of the resistance. From there, though, much like the missive earlier this week but with far more vitriol now that the deed is done, Dave Williams proceeded to slam his 2022 Republican CD-5 primary opponent Rep. Doug Lamborn in terms that suggest the 2024 primary has already begun:

Deceptively, Congressman Doug Lamborn broke his word and voted to increase our debt while helping Joe Biden continue to fleece American taxpayers…

Colorado Republicans are fed up with say-anything politicians like Doug Lamborn who say one thing to gain power but then do the opposite when they think no one is paying attention. [Pols emphasis]

Our national debt has increased exponentially and we need Republicans in Congress who will actually fight back against this crisis and stop the madness instead of paying lip service.

As readers know, the Colorado Republican Party is currently beset by a major fundraising deficit, which has prevented the party from even meeting its payroll expenses for salaried staff–including Williams personally, who subsidized his personal income as a “legislative aide” despite almost never being present at the state capitol during this year’s session.

Apparently, Williams has determined that the best way forward for the Colorado GOP is to eat their own! In all our years covering Colorado politics, we’ve never seen a sitting Republican Party chairman openly attack one of their own members of Congress, certainly not with this kind of red-meat ferocity. We don’t think we’ve been confronted with exactly the same circumstances as Dave Williams has created as a high-profile primary loser who comes back to win the post of party chairman, but now it’s clear how Williams intends to manage that conflict of interest. He’s not even going to try.

The Colorado Republican Party is now the vehicle for Dave Williams’ personal political aspirations. It’s a vehicle without tires or gasoline, but a vehicle nonetheless.

GOP Chairman Uses Debt Ceiling To Sideswipe Former Opponent

Colorado GOP chairman Dave Williams.

An email we were forwarded by Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave Williams yesterday assails the debt ceiling agreement reached over the holiday weekend between the White House and GOP House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and lavishes praise upon Colorado’s two farthest-right Republicans in Congress, Reps. Lauren Boebert and Ken Buck, who have vowed to vote against the deal later today:

To be frank, this is not why the American people elected Republicans into the majority, and it’s another reason why hard-working taxpayers are losing faith in the leaders of our party.

Republican leaders should be keeping their word to rein in out-of-control spending and the increase in big-government from Joe Biden and his lapdog Democrats…

Congressman Buck stated he is, “appalled by the debt ceiling surrender.” He went on to say “the bottom line is that the U.S. will have $35 trillion of debt in January, 2025. That is completely unacceptable.”

Congresswoman Boebert was just as adamant in her opposition. She said, “Our base didn’t volunteer, door knock and fight so hard to get us the majority for this kind of compromise deal with Joe Biden. Our voters deserve better than this. We work for them. You can count me as a NO on this deal. We can do better.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

As one of Colorado’s most vituperative conservative hardliners possessing no sense of loyalty to the party apparatus he now presides over, we can’t say it’s unexpected for Chairman Williams to be slamming the agreement reached by the nation’s highest-ranking Republican elected official. Normally, a state party chair considers it an obligation to put the party’s best foot forward, not complain in public that “taxpayers are losing faith in the leaders of our party.” Keeping up party morale just doesn’t seem to be Dave Williams’ priority.

But then, Williams took the intraparty intrigue to the next level:

Just so you know, we have yet to hear anything from Congressman Doug Lamborn on how he plans to vote on this compromised debt ceiling deal from Speaker McCarthy and Joe Biden. [Pols emphasis]

The Colorado Republican Party asks that Congressman Lamborn shows a unified front with Ken Buck and Lauren Boebert by voting NO on this deal that grows America’s unsustainable debt.

The Colorado Republican Party also asks that you contact Congressman Doug Lamborn and encourage him to vote NO and not cave to the Washington establishment or special interest insiders.

Making our way to the end, we realized that the whole purpose of this email blast from the Colorado Republican Party was to criticize Dave Williams’ 2022 CD-5 GOP primary opponent, longtime incumbent seat warmer Rep. Doug Lamborn. Lamborn is reportedly still deliberating how he intends to vote later today, but having his phone lines flooded with angry callers routed to him by Dave Williams could have the opposite of the intended effect. However the vote plays out, Williams is certain to face pointed questions about using the state party’s resources to attack Williams’ once and perhaps future political opponent.

If the Colorado GOP no longer exists to support Republicans, what exactly do they do anymore?

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 12)

Happy Birthday to David Letterman. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.




The abortion pill mifepristone will remain available — for now — to women in Colorado. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

The abortion drug mifepristone will remain available in Colorado and many other states, according to state Attorney General Phil Weiser.

A pair of conflicting rulings created uncertainty about the drug’s approval status with the Food and Drug Administration, but neither will immediately impact access in Colorado and many other states.

In Washington, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rice, ruled last week that the FDA cannot alter access to the drug while a lawsuit against the agency, brought by a coalition of 17 state governments and the District of Columbia, moves forward. The coalition of attorneys general, which includes Weiser, wanted to force the FDA to lift regulations that they said restrict access to mifepristone.

Rice’s decision means mifepristone will be accessible in states that are party to that suit, even if an appeals court upholds a decision by U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, a federal judge in Texas, to invalidate the drug’s FDA approval.

Kacsmaryk’s ruling has been widely panned, both for legal reasons and because of the curious amount of partisan language included in the decision.


Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) represents a district (CO-03) that should be safe for a Republican (Donald Trump carried CO-03 by 9 points in 2020). But Boebert’s constituents have bored of her social media addiction and her persistent yelling at Democrats while she accomplishes nothing for her district…which is how she ends up beginning the 2024 election cycle in a dead heat with Democrat Adam Frisch.

Colorado Newsline has more on the “Mountaineer” poll from ProgressNow Colorado and Global Strategy Group. Boebert, meanwhile, remains clueless about the downsides of her right-wing angertainment celebrity; bringing Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz to Colorado for a fundraising event isn’t going to help.


As The Washington Post explains, there are signs that inflation is finally on the wane in the United States:

New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Wednesday showed that prices rose 5 percent in the year ending in March, the smallest 12-month increase since May 2021, and down from the 6 percent rate notched in February. Compared to February prices, March prices rose 0.1 percent, driven by steep rent costs. The data seemed to cement expectations that the Federal Reserve will soon pause its 14-month long campaign to raise interest rates.

But economists emphasized the need to stay cautious and not to treat all sources of inflation as equal.


Republican State Rep. Richard Holtorf — never one to shy away from making racist and tone-deaf statements — was at it again on Tuesday. As Kyle Clark reports for 9News, Holtorf compared disabled people to folks who get hurt participating in the annual “Running of the Bulls” in Pamplona, Spain.



The Colorado Sun reports on changes to legislation making it easier to sue firearm manufacturers:

Major sections of a Democratic measure making it easier to sue the firearm industry in Colorado were removed from the bill last week in an early-morning committee meeting at the behest of Gov. Jared Polis.

Rules intended to further require gun sellers to block children and criminals from obtaining weapons were stripped from the legislation, as was a provision forcing the industry to take steps to prevent people intent on harming themselves or others from buying weapons. Instead, the bill would govern the industry under the same laws that apply to all other businesses in the state.

The amendments to Senate Bill 168, part of a package of gun bills brought by Democrats this year, were made by an ad hoc panel of three senators and three representatives, called a conference committee, that was created to reconcile amendments made in the House and Senate to the measure. But instead, the legislation was changed in a more significant way, including to remove a section requiring the gun industry to adhere to a so-called code of conduct specific to firearms sellers and manufacturers.

Three more gun safety related bills are on their way to the desk of Gov. Polis: 1) Raising the minimum age for gun purchases; 2) Expanding Colorado’s red-flag laws; and 3) Creating a three-day waiting period for gun purchases.


Click below to keep learning things…



Get More Smarter on Friday (March 24)

Welcome to Spring; enjoy the allergies! Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.




If you are a registered voter in Denver but have not yet cast your ballot ahead of the April 4th election — headlined by the first open race for Denver Mayor in 12 years — then welcome to the club! Less than 5% of Denver voters have cast a ballot as of today.

Recent shootings at East High School in Denver may help voters make a decision among the 16 candidates running for Mayor.


Former President Donald Trump won’t likely be indicted for hush money payments to a porn star until at least next week. In the meantime, Trump is handling the wait with his typical subtlety and grace:


As The Denver Post reports, students from several local high schools visited the State Capitol on Thursday to plead with lawmakers to take more action on gun safety:

Hundreds of students from at least five Denver high schools, reeling from another school shooting, filled lawmakers’ offices and surrounded them in the hallways of the Capitol on Thursday to demand safer schools.

The rally was in response to the second shooting at East High School in as many weeks, but violence at any school affects every school, students said. They chanted slogans like “protect schools, not guns” from the Capitol steps.

“This should have stopped with Luis,” Jasmine Brown, a junior at West High School, said. “This should have stopped with Columbine.”

Luis Garcia, a junior and varsity soccer player at East High School, was shot last month while sitting in his car outside of school. He died of his injuries.

The response from Republican lawmakers was…not good:

In a series of Tweets today, Colorado House Republicans cast the blame for shootings at East High School squarely on the Denver School Board.

As Westword reports, the Denver School Board completed quite the flip on its policy of armed police officers in public schools. Following the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, the school board pulled armed police out of schools over concerns about officers potentially targeting minority students for extra scrutiny.


 Governor Jared Polis unveiled a sweeping new affordable housing proposal that supporters say will also have huge benefits for the environment.


Click below to keep learning things…



Caption These Photos: Republican Springtime Fashion

In Rep. Doug Lamborn’s case, it’s neither a spring thing nor gilets jaunes protestwear, just safety first touring the aerospace department at Purdue University last Friday:

At least Lamborn didn’t make like Mike Pence and lay hands on the panel labeled “DO NOT TOUCH.” In fact, it looks like Lamborn kept his hands in his pockets the whole time.

Around anything expensive, breakable, or explodable, that’s the best policy for Lamborn.

Yellow is a fine color for safety vests, but the ensemble Rep. Ryan Armagost is rocking on the first full day of spring in the Colorado House (below) is nothing short of exceptional. To be clear we don’t mean “exceptional” in a good way, but rather in the deeply frightening to children sense:

We’re sorry to say that the garish yellow three-piece suit worn by an unsmiling man who looks like he’s announcing the start of a blood feud against someone in the room he is staring at, complete with not just one but two AR-15 lapel pins, did not elicit the happy springtime feels Rep. Armagost was hoping for from colleagues and onlookers. He looks more like the Easter Bunny’s hitman.

Take over, gentle readers. They’re here for your viewing pleasure.

Debate Diary: The Wacky Race for State Republican Party Chair

A free-ranging debate between six candidates for Colorado Republican Party chair last Saturday was sponsored by the Republican Women of Weld County, a group that does a pretty good job of wrangling Republican candidates for all sorts of different candidate forums. The moderators were Jesse Paul of The Colorado Sun and Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman. 

The venue was Ben’s Brick Oven Pizza in Hudson, Colorado, where about two dozen old white people gathered to hear the six candidates for State Republican Party Chair lay out whatever it is that they think can prevent the no-longer-slow death of the Colorado GOP following a 2022 election beatdown of epic proportions.

The candidates are:

♦ Erik Aadland, who ran for U.S. Senate on a platform of election denial in 2022 before switching horses to CO-07, where he was thoroughly dismantled by Democrat Brittany Pettersen.

♦ Casper Stockham, who ran for State GOP Chair in 2021 and lost. Stockham has also run (and failed to win) races in CO-01, CO-06, and CO-07 in recent years. Statistically-speaking, this might be Stockham’s year if only because you’d think he’d have to win something eventually. 

♦ Aaron Wood, who is fairly new to organized politics but is certain that everyone else, especially outgoing party chair Kristi Burton Brown, is doing it wrong.

♦ Tina Peters, the former Mesa County Clerk and Recorder who is a betting favorite to be in prison before the end of this year for a long list of alleged crimes related to breaking into her own election computers in an attempt to find the little ballot-eating smurfs that live inside the server. 

♦ Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Willams, the far-right “edgelord” former State Representative from Colorado Springs who got his butt kicked by America’s least charismatic Rep. Doug Lamborn in a Republican primary for Congress last summer.

♦ Kevin Lundberg, a former State Representative and State Senator who has won more races himself than the rest of this field combined. Unfortunately for fans of sanity, Lundberg was a right-wing lunatic years before it was popular to be a right-wing lunatic–so it’s not like he’s bringing a different perspective to the race.

Let’s start with the obvious: there are no winners in this pack. As former State Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams observed recently, “every one of these six candidates would drive the party into deeper oblivion with their conspiratorial, exclusionary and politically naïve agendas that are already repelling a rapidly changing Colorado electorate.”

As you’ll discover, every one of the candidates who participated in this debate proved Wadhams right.

Let’s get to it. Anything not included in direct quotes is paraphrased in the interest of time.


Neguse, Crow Top List of Most Effective Members of Congress

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

We wrote last week about answering one of the bigger questions from the 2022 election cycle: Are Democrats in Colorado really a lot better than Republicans when it comes to both governing and campaigning, or are Republicans just THAT BAD? The answer, as we discussed, is simple: “Yes.”

Colorado Public Radio reports on another proof point in this regard:

Out of 435 U.S. House members, Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse came in top of the class for the 117th congress, at least when it came to getting bills signed into law, according to the website

The Boulder Democrat had 13 bills passed into law, either as stand-alone legislation or incorporated into larger packages, a record he said is reflective of a Colorado ethos of “rolling up our sleeves, finding ways to build bridges and work with people who might have a different worldview than your own to get things done.”

Neguse added he’s made it a priority to deliver results for the communities he represents, “so that means to me finding ways to get bills across the finish line, onto the president’s desk, [and] to pass laws that ultimately are going to have an impact on people’s lives here at home.”

Colorado Democrats are working hard on governing. Colorado Republicans are…doing other things. Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) was responsible for the most success in enacting legislation, but Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) was not far behind.

Here’s how Colorado’s Congressional delegation stacked up in the 117th Congress (2021-22) in terms of “legislation enacted” via

Legislation signed into law by sponsor for 117th Congress (2021-22).


There are a lot of other interesting numbers in the analysis…


Missed Votes

This is a good marker of the degree in which a Member of Congress is living up to the bare minimum of their job responsibilities. Colorado Republicans missed the majority of votes among the state’s Congressional delegation, topped by Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley); Buck ranked #29 for the largest percentage of votes missed in the 117th Congress (5.5%). Congressperson Lauren Boebert (R-ifle) ranked #102 (2.4%), and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) checked in at #126 (2.0%).

None of the Democratic members of Colorado’s delegation missed even 1% of the total votes in the 117th Congress. Neguse led the way on that metric by missing just 0.1% of all votes.


Bills Introduced

Rep. Lauren Boebert is (probably) #1 in Tweets and near the top in Angertainment, but otherwise proved fairly useless in the last Congress.

Both Neguse (#3, 99 bills) and Crow (#24, 54 bills) ranked in the top quarter of all Members of Congress in terms of number of bills introduced. Boebert checked in at #62 with 41 bills introduced, many of which were silly resolutions attacking President Biden for one thing or another.

The rest of Colorado’s delegation rounds out thusly: Buck (#194, 25 bills); Rep. Ed Perlmutter (274, 18 bills); Rep. Diana DeGette (#303, 16 bills); and at his typical position in the rear, Lamborn (#350, 12 bills).


Bills Passed Out of Commitee

Neguse leads the way here (#5, 20 bills), followed by Crow (#23, 11 bills); Perlmutter (#75, 6 bills); and Lamborn (#93, 5 bills). DeGette and Buck tied at #183, with 3 bills each making it out of committee. Boebert tied for #379 by failing to see a single piece of legislation advance out of a committee hearing. 


Click here to check out the complete report card for the 117th Congress.

Doug Lamborn Just Makes Stuff Up, “Prime Directive” Edition

We nearly missed this arrow of flaming untruth from GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs on Friday afternoon, responding negatively to a new policy from the Department of Defense assisting service members stationed in anti-abortion states with obtaining care:

While nobody ever accused Rep. Lamborn of being a compelling advocate for or against any policy, there are a few problems with this statement worth pointing out. First and foremost, it is not now nor has it ever been the American military’s job to stop people from getting abortions, and we’re pretty sure that’s not a country we ever want to live in if it were. Second,

The “Prime Directive” is science fiction. There are either no Trekkers on Lamborn’s staff to tell him, or there is one who doesn’t know when sci-fi references are inappropriate.

Finally, as Rep. Lamborn knows, access to abortion is not a problem for his thousands of military constituents, even in conservative El Paso County, due to the state of Colorado’s robust legal protections for abortion rights. Members of the military generally do not get to pick where they are assigned, so members who grew up with rights enjoyed in one state may find themselves deprived of those rights through no fault of their own. That’s why the DoD’s policy to help service members in anti-choice states obtain care is even more necessary in a post-Roe world.

By the 23rd Century, the issue of abortion rights will (hopefully) be settled for good.

Podcast: Please Stop Yelling at the SOTU (feat. Christy Powell)

It’s her.

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, the State of our Union is….WEIRD. Ian Silverii back from the worst seats in the House Gallery because Jason Bane wasn’t invited.

Later, the great Christy Powell joins us with a new game where we try and explain the inexplicable, for prizes (metaphorical ones). Overtly racist pro-claymore mine lobby Rocky Mountain Gun Owners flies its overtly-racist flag. There is still no bottom with Representative Scott Bottoms. And our 8th favorite member of Congress from Colorado, Lauren Boebert, has some loud thoughts about WHO TURNED OFF MY TWITTER MACHINE???

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Lamborn Settles Staff Lawsuit, But Ethics Troubles Not Over

UPDATE: Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog:

Allegations raised in the lawsuit remain under investigation by the House Committee on Ethics, which announced a year ago that it would review charges Lamborn misused official resources for personal purposes, including requiring congressional staffers to perform tasks for the Lamborn family and his campaign, and that he “solicited or accepted improper gifts from subordinates.” The lawsuit also alleged Lamborn let his son live rent-free in the basement of the U.S. Capitol…

“While plaintiff and defendant disagree strongly about the allegations and defenses made during the Lawsuit, the parties engaged in mediation with a Magistrate Judge and jointly agreed to accept the solution proposed by the mediator, to avoid the expense and burden of future litigation for all involved, including the public (taxpayers),” Sebastian said in a written statement…

A report released a year ago by the Office of Congressional Ethics recommended that the bipartisan House ethics committee investigate some of Pope’s allegations, following a determination that there was “substantial reason to believe” Lamborn and his wife had enlisted staff members to perform unofficial duties.


Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports on a settlement reached between Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and a staffer who alleged that Lamborn endangered the health of his staff by flouting COVID-19 guidances during the height of the pandemic–just one of the many personal indiscretions Lamborn is accused of, also using his staff for personal and family errands, and even allowing his son to sleep in a Capitol storage unit while staffed helped him get a job in Washington:

Brandon Pope claimed he was fired for complaining about Lamborn and the office’s unsafe approach to COVID-19 at a time when many other workplaces were allowing remote work, socially distancing and wearing masks…

“There has not been any admission of guilt or wrongdoing associated with this resolution,” said Cassandra Sebastian, Communications Director for Lamborn. “And Congressman Lamborn absolutely maintains that at all times, he and his office used best efforts to comply with all legal and ethical requirements.”

Confidentiality provisions preclude parties from revealing the details of the settlement, Sebastian added.

Confidentiality in an out-of-court settlement is nothing new, of course, but it’s politically bad enough that the case was not dismissed outright or otherwise resolved in a manner that fully vindicates Rep. Lamborn. This settlement does not. Brandon Pope’s lawsuit was well-founded enough to have resulted in a settlement. Most members of the voting public are legally savvy enough to understand what that means.

And even though this individual civil case against Lamborn has been settled with the parties enjoined from commenting, Pope’s allegations against Lamborn are the subject of an ongoing House Ethics Committee investigation that isn’t going away:

While the legal case has been settled, an ethics investigation into some of the allegations Pope made against Lamborn remains open. In his initial suit, Pope gave examples that he claimed showed Lamborn using office staff to conduct personal errands for his family, such as helping Lamborn’s son prep for job interviews, as well as run campaign errands.

It’s reasonable to suggest that dismissal of the civil case against Rep. Lamborn would have been a better outcome in terms of discouraging further scrutiny by the Ethics Committee than a confidential settlement. With the allegations made by Pope in no way refuted by the settlement, the Committee has an obligation now to fully investigate and if necessary sanction Lamborn for his behavior.

Every taxpayer paid for Lamborn’s alleged abuse of office, not just Lamborn’s staff.

The GMS Podcast: Have Republicans Reached the End of the End?

Christy Powell and Alan Franklin (he’s older now)

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, Ian Silverii is on vacation, so Jason Bane sits down with returning guests Christy Powell and Alan Franklin to take a closer look at the 2022 election in Colorado and what it portends for the future of this state.

We talk about how Republicans completely hosed themselves in 2022; whether or not the Colorado GOP is even salvageable; and what Democrats need to be careful about with their new super-duper majorities in Colorado. We also touch on some news about exporting QAnon and whether failed Georgia Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker was tanking all along.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Of Whores and Asswipes: The Colorado GOP Fractures Further

The Colorado Republican Party was already in the midst of a massive civil war even before the 2022 election inflicted unthinkable losses on the GOP. What has happened since has taken this internal conflict to an entirely new level. It’s like Infinity War, but in this case there are no heroes — only villains.

In case you missed it, Democrats won every statewide race last month by wide margins and added to supermajorities in the state legislature, where 69 of 100 total elected representatives now carry a ‘D’ next to their name. Democrat Adam Frisch even came within a few hundred votes of defeating Rep. Lauren Boebert in CO-03, a district that Donald Trump carried by 9 points in 2020. The Bluenami that swept through Colorado has resulted in some very grim assessments from longtime Republican fixtures. Soon-to-be former State Rep. Colin Larson of Jefferson County — who was in line to become House Minority Leader before he lost his own re-election bid to Democrat Tammy Storycalled the 2022 election an “extinction-level event” for the Republican Party in Colorado.

So, naturally, right-wing Republicans have decided that the only way forward is to lurch even further to the right. A group of very loud and very angry Republicans rallied on Wednesday outside a Boot Barn store in Greenwood Village to voice scream their frustrations with the Colorado Republican Party and embattled Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown (KBB).

Anil Mathai, ranting outside the Boot Barn on Wednesday.

The “whores” and “asswipes” comments came from Anil Mathai, a former Adams County GOP chairperson, who blamed unnamed political consultants for taking their money and leaving Republicans with no victories to celebrate.

“We have a Republican Party that is full of whores. They listened to the consultants, right? They keep telling you about messaging, right? They are liars — they have done something different. They have not held to the Republican platform, which is conservative. They’ve not held to the U.S. Constitution. And then you wonder why these asswipes can’t win a race.” [Pols emphasis]

This attack on Republican consultants is not without merit, of course, and activists are backing up their barking with official complaints. A Republican named Marcie Little filed a campaign finance complaint even before Election Day accusing a bunch of establishment Republicans of a multitude of misdeeds. The complaint specifically accuses Larson, Restore Colorado Leadership Fund (527), Restore Colorado Leadership Fund IEC, Frank McNulty, Square State Strategy Group, LLC, Daniel Cole, Cole Communications, and Victors Canvassing of various campaign finance violations [Marcie Little Complaint (PDF)].

But let’s get back to the Boot Barn, where Ernest Luning has more for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

“Our Republican Party leadership has failed us,” said Aaron Wood, an organizer of a press conference held across the street from state GOP headquarters in Greenwood Village. [Pols emphasis]

Wood, founder of the conservative Freedom Fathers group, and a dozen others took turns speaking from the bed of a pickup truck in the parking lot of a Western-wear retailer as roughly 100 supporters braved sub-freezing temperatures to hear their pleas to restore the state’s Republican Party to its conservative foundations.

Speaker after speaker at the press conference blasted state GOP chair Kristi Burton Brown, whose two-year term running the state party ends in March.

Through a spokesman, Burton Brown declined to comment. Earlier on Wednesday, she said she plans to announce by the end of December whether she’s seeking a second term as state chair.

Tina Peters is…inevitable.

[Burton Brown was also busy on Wednesday issuing a legally-dubious demand for Frisch to “withdraw” as a candidate from CO-03 in order to prevent a MANDATORY RECOUNT as prescribed by Colorado statute. Frisch has already conceded to Boebert, but rather than staying quiet and enjoying one of the GOP’s rare victories, KBB felt compelled to vomit out a bunch of nonsense.]

In short, right-wing Republicans in Colorado have convinced themselves that the best way to win back voters in our state is to nominate candidates who are MORE extreme than the lot that got pummeled in November. This is sort of like trying to put out a fire by covering it with matches, but it’s also difficult to completely dismiss the idea considering just how poorly Republicans performed in 2022.

The first step for the right-wing base is finding a new leader. While KBB has apparently not yet decided whether she will seek re-election as State Party Chair in 2023 — and we have no idea how she could possibly make an argument for another term — our “Infinity War” theme continues with news that Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters is interested in the job because she believes that Colorado is actually a “red state” (recent election results from 2022, 2020, 2018, and 2016 notwithstanding).

“We are not a blue state. We’re not even a purple state. We are a red state.”

     — Political Supervillain Tina Peters


As Luning reports:

A potential candidate for the party position blamed Burton Brown for Republican losses in the November election.

“Our country’s being taken away from us,” said Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, who provided the pickup truck the speakers used as a podium. “It starts with the treachery of the GOP in our state. You know, there’s these speakers that are going to talk about the infractions of Kristi Burton Brown, the inactivity of Kristi Burton Brown, to stand up and inform the chairs in every county on how to come against the election fraud.” …

Peters told Colorado Politics after she addressed the crowd that she’s open to running for state party chair.

“If the people ask me to, and if it’s the right thing, then I will do it,” she said. “But it has to come from the people.” [Pols emphasis]

Outgoing State Rep. Dave Williams — who lost a 2022 Primary Election in CO-05 to incumbent Doug Lamborn — is also considering a bid for State Party Chair. Former congressional candidate Erik Aadland is thinking about it as well, since he knows so much about how to win an election and all. But if Peters runs, she’s the odds-on favorite to win; the people who gave her topline on the SOS Primary ballot following last Spring’s Republican State Assembly are the same group of people who are going to show up to cast a vote for Party Chair.



“Peace Out!”

Peters has probably already decided to run for Chair; what she told Luning is basically the same thing she said before announcing her bid for Secretary of State in February. But she’s also going to be busy next year when her election tampering case goes to trial; coincidentally on Wednesday, news came out that a second former Peters employee named Sandra Brown has made a deal with prosecutors to testify against her old boss. It seems ridiculous that Peters might be running the Colorado Republican Party from a prison cell in 2024…but again, can things really get worse than they were in 2022?

If you’re waiting for some adults to get involved and prevent right-wing activists from blowing up what was already a box full of ashes, you had better get comfortable. Republican State Sen. Bob Rankin of Carbondale announced today that he is resigning from the State Senate as of January 10th. Rankin and former Republican State Sen. Kevin Priola were possibly the last remaining rationale actors in the upper chamber of the state legislature. Rankin is bouncing out entirely, while Priola decided to change parties and become a Democrat. If Rankin and Priola don’t even want to be Republican lawmakers, what sane person would want to be the State GOP chairperson for the next two years?

Colorado Republicans might have been able to prevent this timeline from becoming reality if they had clearly and forcibly rejected Trump and MAGA-ism after the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection. Instead, they allowed someone like KBB to ride her support for election deniers all the way to becoming Chair of the State Republican Party. If you’re shocked that right-wing Republicans are now saying that KBB “hates America,” then you really haven’t been paying attention.

Once you give the inmates the keys to the asylum, you can’t very well expect them to lock up.

Podcast: The Blue Wave Cometh (feat. Andrew Baumann)

Andrew Baumann

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk once again with Andrew Baumann, senior vice president of research at Global Strategy Group and the lead pollster for the quarterly “Rocky Mountaineer” poll in Colorado. Baumann explains why the latest poll numbers here look so darn good for Democrats and whether any of that could change in the final weeks of the 2022 election.

We also update you on the latest news from the election season, including a conversation on (some) of the 11 statewide ballot measures in Colorado; we discuss how much longer the Colorado Springs Gazette will be taken seriously given its absurd editorial department; and we offer an important tip for all potential candidates for future office.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Death, Taxes, and Doug Lamborn Sponsoring Stupid Bills

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is dumb mad as hell, and he’s not going to take it anymore!

There are a few things in life that you can always count on — and Congressman Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs sponsoring pointless legislation is right at the top of that list.

While Lamborn may not really even use the Internet, he is very attuned to the manufactured concerns of right-wingers everywhere. Lamborn’s congressional office sent out this press release today:

Today, Congressman Lamborn joined House Republican Conference Vice Chairman Mike Johnson in introducing legislation to prohibit federal, state, local governments, and private organizations from using federal tax dollars to expose children under 10 to sexually explicit material.

“I am appalled at the far-left’s crusade to indoctrinate young, innocent children with their ‘woke’ agenda,” said Congressman Lamborn. “This legislation will stop taxpayer dollars from funding programs exposing children under 10 to radical, confusing, sexually-oriented material. I thank Vice Chairman Johnson for his leadership on this critical issue and will continue fighting against dangerous ideologies that harm our youth.”

The “Stop Sexualization of Children Act of 2022” seeks to put an immediate stop to a thing that doesn’t appear to be much of a problem. The bill “prohibits the use of federal funds to develop, implement, facilitate, or fund any sexually-oriented program, event, or literature for children under the age of 10.” And our personal favorite: “The bill prohibits federal funds from being used to host or promote events where adults dance salaciously or strip for children.”

It’s nice that Lamborn has taken a break from trying to prosecute Big Bird, but this legislation is definitely the result of people in Congress who don’t have enough real work in their inbox. According to Lamborn’s press release, there are two whole examples of this problem:

Planned Parenthood, for example, is encouraging legislatures and school boards around the country to implement sexual education curricula that teaches radical gender theory to children under 10. Children should be learning about reading, writing, and mathematics, not radical gender theory.

That’s pretty weak. Here’s the other one, which is at least a tad more specific:

Federal grants from the Department of Health and Human Services were recently used to fund an event in Alaska where a drag queen performed for children. The Department of Defense is funding drag shows for families on military bases, and incorporating radical gender ideology into curricula at DOD schools. HHS and DOD funding should be used to keep our country healthy and safe, not to stage burlesque shows for children.

This is how communism starts, or something.

“The Department of Defense is funding drag shows for families on military bases.” The only mention of this that we could find outside of Fox News or OANN comes from this story in May via The Los Angeles Blade:

A drag queen story scheduled to be held at the library in honor of Pride month at Ramstein Air Base was abruptly cancelled by the command staff of the 86th Airlift Wing on Thursday.

According to Stars & Stripes, the 86th Air Wing’s public affairs sent a statement to a radical-right anti-LGBTQ+ news outlet in Canada, The Post Millennial, which had requested comment to its article about the event and also accused the Air Force of pushing a more “woke” agenda among servicemen…

…The Post Millennial’s story framed its reporting using hard-line right terms and descriptions of the LGBTQ+ community; “Drag Queen Story Hour has become a phenomenon in recent years, with men dressing up in clownish, garish costumes of women to read to children- Many drag queens have sexualized names, like Penny Tration.”

This all seems very silly, but perhaps this is why Lamborn is the political version of an unkillable zombie who is able to defeat all challengers in his right-wing district despite rarely running much of a campaign.

Just wait until he finds out about the “furries” invading Colorado schools.

Newspaper Endorsement Roundup for 2022

Sen. Michael Bennet is endorsed by every major newspaper making a decision in Colorado.

Several Colorado newspapers have decided against making endorsements in political races in 2022, including The Pueblo Chieftain, The Ft. Collins Coloradoan, and The Greeley Tribune.

The Colorado Springs Gazette, meanwhile, has turned its candidate endorsement process into a ridiculous partisan pit of repetitive Republican talking points. The Gazette has completely given up on even pretending to be nonpartisan by endorsing only Republican candidates — even those, such as GOP gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl — for whom it is virtually impossible to make a coherent argument of support.

The good news is that there are still a handful of Colorado newspapers that are making thoughtful, considered endorsements of candidates in 2022. We rounded up the endorsements in some of Colorado’s top-tier races that are available as of this writing, including some notable lines. Included in our list below are The Denver Post, The Durango Herald, The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and The Aurora Sentinel.

Two statewide candidates — Sen. Michael Bennet and Attorney General Phil Weiser — picked up endorsements from all four newspapers. Governor Jared Polis will undoubtedly join that list once The Denver Post makes its endorsement.

Also noteworthy: Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert failed to receive a single endorsement other than the rubber-stamp backing of The Colorado Springs Gazette. The two most important newspapers in CO-03 both backed Democratic challenger Adam Frisch instead of Boebert.



New Episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii update the progress of every key race in Colorado now that we’ve passed the 50 day mark until Election Day.

We also talk about the latest embarrassing antics of Republican Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Ken Buck — including wontons! — and give an attaboy to local media for taking time to do some important election narrative fact-checking.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at Or send emails to or

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Boebert Pens Angry Letter to Biden on CORE Act

Lauren Boebert drafting her letter to President Biden.

As Kimberly Nicoletti reports for The Aspen Times, supporters of the long effort to pass the CORE Act, which would designate new national monuments and federal lands, are hoping a final decision is just around the corner:

Colorado ski towns could have a national monument right in their backyards, relatively speaking, and supporters hope it happens this fall.

On Saturday, Vet Voice Foundation, community leaders, elected officials, and 10th Mountain veterans — including a 100-year-old 10th Mountain veteran — will gather with the public at the Colorado Snowsports Museum for a rally to support the proposed Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument…

CORE is a 10-year citizens’ campaign that has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives five times but stalled in the Senate. It would safeguard areas including the Thompson Divide, the San Juan Mountains, the Continental Divide and Camp Hale, and the Curecanti National Recreation Area. [Pols emphasis]

CORE Act champions, including Sens. Bennet and Hickenlooper, Rep. Neguse and Gov. Polis, are urging the Biden administration to designate the Camp Hale-Continental Divide region a national monument through executive action.

As readers of Colorado Pols probably know, the CORE Act is something that has wide support across Colorado but has been regularly opposed by some Republicans doing the bidding of the extraction and logging industries. Republicans often pretend that their opposition is because of other interests — including a tortured attempt to claim that the CORE Act would increase wildfires — but those arguments are specious at best.

Speaking of “specious,” Colorado Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert recently drafted a letter to President Biden signed by fellow Colorado Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn (as well as non-Colorado lunatics such as Reps. Louis Gohmert, Andy Biggs, and Paul Gosar) asking Biden to oppose the CORE Act. The idiocy of this letter is instructive for understanding the lack of legitimate arguments against protecting more than 400,000 acres of public land in Colorado for recreational use. You can read the full letter here (Boebert-AntiquitiesAct-PDF); we’ve broken down the main arguments below.

Mr. Biden,

We write with grave concern regarding new efforts to unilaterally impose severe land-use restrictions on the people of Colorado and across the American West. For years, partisan big-city Democrats – with the full backing and support of the far-Left green energy cartel – have attempted to implement massive new land grabs through the so-called Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. The CORE Act land grab seeks to impose increased land restrictions on nearly 400,000 acres, 73,000 acres of which would be designated as new wilderness and close numerous forms of outdoor recreation and multiple-use, exacerbating wildfires in the process.

Boebert can’t even bother to address Biden as “President,” but that’s pretty standard childishness from the representative of the third congressional district. The first paragraph is filled with MAGA jargon such as “big-city Democrats” and “far-Left green energy cartel,” and it concludes by claiming that the CORE Act would “exacerbate wildfires.” We’re not sure how the logic works here, but presumably Boebert is concerned that private industry won’t be allowed to rake the forests if the CORE Act is implemented.

This is a good point to stop and remind readers that both Boebert and Buck were among a minority in Congress who just this month voted AGAINST the Wildfire Recovery Act for reasons neither person has bothered to explain.

Boebert’s letter warns that “without local buy-in, any designation of land under the Antiquities Act will be subject to considerable controversy, as well as never-ending litigation.” What the letter does not mention is that there is, in fact, substantial “local buy-in” for the CORE Act.

A small sample of local support for the CORE Act that this letter conveniently ignores.

This is where things get particularly ridiculous. The letter lists 59 “stakeholders” that have formally objected to the CORE Act. Before we get into that list, remember that the CORE Act only deals with public lands in Colorado.

There are a handful of national organizations included in her letter among 59 opposition “stakeholders,” such as the American Energy Alliance; the Independent Petroleum Association of America; Industrial Miners Association; and groups called “Protect Americans Now” and “Less Government.” There are also a number of corporations, such as Encore Energy; Prime Fuels Corp.; and Sabre Gold.

Colorado Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck, and Doug Lamborn oppose the CORE Act.

The “stakeholders” list also includes four organizations from Arizona; four organizations based in New Mexico; and even one that is from California (California Farm Bureau). How this is relevant is not a question we can answer, though it would be fun to ask Boebert why she thinks California should be involved in decisions that affect Colorado.

There are a handful of groups on Boebert’s list that are actually located in Colorado, among them the Colorado Livestock Association and the Colorado Wool Growers Association. Opposition is also listed as coming from Colorado counties such as Archuleta; Cheyenne; “Freemont” [sic]; Dolores; Mesa; Mineral; and Montezuma. Not mentioned, of course, is the pesky fact that the CORE Act would not designate any new protected land in any of these counties.

Boebert’s letter concludes with these dire warnings:

While Camp Hale and our servicemembers that were stationed there made important contributions to World War II, we don’t support the efforts of extremist environmentalists who are seeking to hijack this historic place to create a new land designation – a designation that literally does not exist – to prohibit timber harvesting and mining on nearly 30,000 acres of land.

A second request made by our colleagues would permanently withdraw 200,000 acres of land in the Thompson Divide – an area blessed with an abundance of natural gas deposits – from energy exploration. Notwithstanding the fact that natural gas prices have surged to a 14-year high, this request is a solution in search of a problem since the area of controversy has already been administratively withdrawn. [Pols emphasis]

Um, okay.

The CORE Act unites and improves four previously introduced bills: the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness, and Camp Hale Legacy Act; the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act; the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act; and the Curecanti National Recreation Area Boundary Establishment Act.

The Antiquities Act grants the President power to determine how much land to protect under historic or scientific interest. Despite protests from Boebert, Buck, Lamborn and friends, President Biden could take executive action to finally make the CORE Act a reality at any time.