Please Stop Calling This Guy Credible, Dave Kopel Edition

A clip we were forwarded from last Friday’s episode of Colorado Inside Out:

This will destroy Weld County. It will wipe out their tax revenues and wouldn’t surprise me if they start another secession movement, uh over this because that’s it’s no longer an economically viable county, uh with what’s going to be done with it. And for their own survival, uh would be better off uh joining Northeast Colorado and uh then in Nebraska or Wyoming. [Pols emphasis]

That’s Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute, calling with a straight face for Weld County to secede from Colorado in the event that Senate Bill 19-181 passes–legislation to increase local control of oil and gas development decisionmaking. We can start by fairly easily debunking the baseless claim that this legislation “would destroy Weld County,” since by definition a bill increasing local control over oil and gas drilling would give pro-energy areas of the state like Weld County the power to “drill baby drill” if they chose to. It’s not at all like, for example Amendment 74, which would have upended any sense of local control over oil and gas and every other zoning decision.

This is a nice way of saying that Dave Kopel’s statement above is completely ridiculous.

Let’s talk about that.

The Independence Institute is one of the more storied conservative advocacy groups in Colorado, a “stink tank” originally founded in the early 1980s by Tom Tancredo backed by New Right funders including the Coors family to provide an argumentative underpinning for the Republican politics that eventually reached their peak of control in this state during the 2002 elections. A combination of pseudo-intellectual white paper outreach to friendly lawmakers and political antics mostly carried out by their shock-jock longtime executive director Jon Caldara, the Independence Institute’s year-round agenda and well-paid ranks of staff have remained a force in Colorado politics even though the wins in the past decade have become few and far between.

Although Jon Caldara has willingly–some would say happily–sacrificed personal credibility to become the state’s pre-eminent conservative prankster, Kopel and the so-called “research” department of the Independence Institute are supposed to be a little more serious in their approach. That means Kopel isn’t personally out there trying to break election law or using children with disabilities as political props.

But when Kopel calls a good idea the biggest political joke of the last decade in Colorado, which dismally failed including in Weld County the last time they tried it, we feel like it’s okay to stop calling him serious.

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    If Weld County becomes part of Wyoming then that state's stiff severance taxes will apply.  Colorado, as Duke can tell you, taxes oil and gas at a much lower rate.

    I will concede that Wyoming women are outstanding, but a true Colorado cowgirl can match them smile for smile.

  2. gertie97 says:

    Who gave the Independence Institute any credibility to start with?

  3. Diogenesdemar says:

    Lemme’ see . . . 

    . . . is it because the WeCo locos who would want to succeed can’t be trusted with the local control of their oil siting regulations, Dave???

    II Kopel is such a flaking Caldara . . . 

    PS. I wouldn’t even wish these ijuts on Nebraska!

  4. ParkHill says:

    Libertarians are not Conservative, are they? 

    Don't they advocate for Savage Capitalism with no government regulations? Racial discrimination in business is okay because business deals and contracts are freely entered into, and a business owner is within his rights to refuse service. Property ownership, of course is absolute, and taxes are illegal. Guns, I missed guns, sort of a Wild-West meets post-apocalyptic Australia.

    That makes them Radical, not Conservative.

  5. dlof says:

    I nominate myself for Supreme Leader of the Sovereign Republic of Dumbfuckistan.  Free the people of Weld County from the tyrannical yoke of the Godless liberals, and return us to the tyrannical yoke of Anadarko.

  6. JohnInDenver says:

    Beyond the practicalities of secession … little things like getting approval of their own citizens, the remainder of Colorado, whichever state they would be joining, and the Federal Government …

    Beyond the pragmatics of Wyoming or Nebraska or a standalone new state being able to maintain services. I don't know if anyone has yet done the analysis … but in 2013, the 11 counties' balance with the state was suggested to amount to a " Bottom line: Colorado spends between about $60 million and $120 million or more a year in the 11 counties than the revenue it receives." Also don't know how anyone would figure the capital investment in UNC.


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