Lauren Boebert And The Limits Of “Fair Game”

Rep. Lauren Boebert (center), posing with assault weapons in an undated publicity photo.

Since upstart Republican congressional candidate Lauren Boebert shocked the Colorado Republican political world and then the nation by ousting a five-term incumbent in the GOP primary and holding on to the safe-ish GOP seat against an underpowered Democratic opponent in the general election, the growing controversy her fringe politics and sketchy personal background have caused has resulted in a tremendous amount of negative attention.

Boebert’s Twitter following has swelled beyond 400,000, put in perspective with the total population of her district of about 750,000, and she eagerly cultivated this newfound celebrity status in the lead-up to the disastrous January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol carried out by those who believed like Boebert without evidence that the 2020 election was stolen. Since January 6th, Boebert’s bombastic support for overturning the election has become a serious threat to her ongoing political career, with allegations that either by negligence or deliberate action Boebert undermined security at the U.S. Capitol before and during the riot.

Some of the allegations which have circulated since January 6th against Boebert were quickly debunked, including a 2019 photo of Boebert from Colorado misrepresented as having been taken just before the riots, and a photo of a woman trying to organize insurrectionists with a bullhorn mistaken for Boebert’s mother. Other allegations like that from Rep. Steve Cohen, who said he saw Boebert with a “large group” under the Capitol on a tour, we did post here because the accuser has a presumption of credibility. There is an investigation underway to determine what involvement if any members of Congress may have had in the riots we hope will sort it all out.

Into this acrimonious swirl of events steps the Denver Post editorial board, who inveighed yesterday morning just ahead of Joe Biden’s inauguration that the attacks on Boebert are getting out of hand:

The fact that U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert is getting a taste of her own medicine – unsubstantiated claims spreading like wildfire on social media – does not make it right.

Nor can we sit idly by without condemning the blatantly sexist and elitist attacks being lobbed at one of Colorado’s elected officials. It’s disgusting to circulate sexualized photos of Boebert under the guise of political scrutiny. It’s unprofessional to call her a “bimbo” or use other terms reserved only for women with power. And referencing her education in a demeaning manner will only alienate the millions of Americans who also have not gone to college or graduated from high school…

Boebert’s past, while reported by The Post extensively as part of the scrutiny news reporters shine on every candidate for public office, should not be used as a trope or to fuel derision. Colorado voters knew Boebert had a criminal record and that she obtained a GED when they cast their ballot for her. It’s not as though any of this is a surprise to those who entrusted her to public office, against our express advice in an editorial endorsing Boebert’s November opponent.

We’ll start by saying that the sentiment expressed here is not wholly wrong, but there are important issues being conflated in a way that isn’t fair to Boebert’s critics. Yes, it’s wrong to smear Boebert with openly sexist slurs like “bimbo.” And it’s very important to scrutinize allegations before publishing them as we’ve tried to do in each above case. But Boebert’s lack of education, obtaining her GED literally months before winning the GOP primary, is perfectly fair to point out–especially in the context of the fundamental lack of understanding Boebert regularly displays about how American government works. It is not “demeaning” to anyone but Lauren Boebert to suggest that she is not educationally qualified to serve in Congress, and the only way that would change is if someone else ran for Congress with a similarly profound lack of qualifications. And then the argument would apply to them too.

That’s not “elitism.” It’s honesty.

As for the “sexualized photos” of Boebert’s critics are supposedly “circulating?” We’ve faced some criticism from readers for using photos of Boebert posing with her guns like the one you can see above. This is an undated but clearly staged publicity shot for Boebert’s restaurant, and we’ve never seen any indication that Boebert is embarrassed by or regretful of these photos. There’s not a single such photo of Boebert we’ve seen that does not appear to intended for public release.

And that means it’s silly to use them in a ploy for sympathy. Boebert knows exactly what she’s doing, just like everyone who uses these photos does. They get traffic. Those images are part of Boebert’s rise as much as any other factor, and to deny that is Pollyannish.

As Boebert’s novel bellicosity was catalyzed from asset to career-threatening liability in an instant during the Capitol insurrection, a defensive reaction to excesses among the blowback she has in general earned by her own actions was inevitable. But in our desire for civility, a quality defended nowhere more zealously than newspaper editorial boards, it’s a mistake to pull punches that very much need to be landed.

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  1. NOV GOP meltdown says:

    When you have to play the victim card a few weeks into your Congressional career, you’re clearly winning and owning the libs.

    Minimum standards are not elitist. They’re just minimum standards.

  2. Gilpin Guy says:

    Post is just trying to shore up their western slope sales.  Strictly a marketing gimmick kind of like clueless' life.

  3. Genghis says:

    lol@useless-ass Denver Post editorial board white-knighting QBert. Gilpin Guy's explanation seems as good as any, and much better than most.

  4. JohnInDenver says:

    It isn’t the format or extent of schooling which is objectionable (to me).  My most successful uncles, who rose to be a VP of an international firm and a CEO of a small national firm, both had a high school diploma and a brief “secretarial school” course.  Both were multi-lingual and played musical instruments well.

    And it’s only fair to point out some other politicians do not have anything beyond a high school diploma, either. “The CQ Member Profiles at the beginning of the 116th Congress indicate the following:  17 Members of the House have no educational degree beyond a high school diploma;” Some famous Republicans also did not have a high school diploma … for example,

    In 1858, when responding to a questionnaire sent to former members of Congress, Lincoln described his education as “defective.”

    But the outcome is objectionable:  She makes statements such as:

    Even though I now work in one of the most liberal cities in America, I refused to give up my rights, especially my Second Amendment rights, i will carry my firearm in DC and in Congress.

    That shows a great deal of confidence and NO awareness of what the Heller case majority opinion specifically said about DC gun control. “Nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

    • High Valley Lurker says:

      What is disturbing about Boebert is not her previous education, or lack their of. No, it is her obvious complete unwillingness to learn.

      How many months ago did she win the primary? You’d have thunk the statewide Republicans would have offered her a tutor at that point? Most people, upon realizing they now have a better than decent chance of going to Congress, would perhaps decide that learning some history and how the institution works is worth a little study.

      Hasn’t she had time for a full year of high-school civics since the primary? And that’s at school teacher pace. Sitting with a tutor or mentor would give much more education than that, even in the same 1 hour/5 days a week time.

      What is plain and obvious at this point is that she just refuses to learn. And I suspect a teacher probably wrote that on a 9th grade report card.

      • JeffcoDemo says:

        When I made a run for city council I attended over 100 public meetings with over 40 different boards, civic orgs, and charitjes, attended every city council meeting, sat down for1=1s with the city manager and most of his staff, same with half of the city council, ride alongs with the police and fire.

        People would ask me why I was working so hard and the honest answer was, I might win this thing and I don't want to

        make an ass out of myself.

         

    • High Valley Lurker says:

      Lincoln may have lacked high school, but he studied law by candlelight in a cabin. He wanted to learn.

      • High Valley Lurker says:

        Archive dot org has the text of the Lincoln – Douglas debates. Should we compare Lincoln’s debate performance to Q’bert? Oh, wait a minute, there is no text of a Boebert-Bush debate to compare with. Too bad, because since neither finished high school, should be a fair contest, right?

        I just started reading, but Lincoln soon moves to talking about slavery and the Declaration of Independence and ideas of Popular Sovereignty and the Constitution. No problem for Boebert. High-school stuff for her. I’m sure she’d come up with a response equal to whatever Douglas says if I keep reading, right?

      • JohnInDenver says:

        Yep…. One of my multi-lingual uncles got into the habit of choosing an international destination every other year or so, and learned or brushed up on the language of that location, pushing himself to be able to read, write and carry on a conversation in the local dominant language.  I think he considered himself "fluent enough" in 7 languages when he finally got so ill he couldn't / didn't want to travel anymore.

        It appears Boebert is working to become fluent in Hardright English.  I wonder who will be hired as the next Communication Director/language tutor?

  5. High Valley Lurker says:

    Is the Denver Post still owned by a Wall Street Hedge Fund?

    If yes, should I be surprised that a Wall Street Hedge Fund thinks attacks on Republicans are ‘out-of-hand’?

  6. High Valley Lurker says:

    Sorry, didn’t play the circus music. My inner DJ went for Jimi Hendrix, and “Hey Joe, Where u goin with that Gun in your hand?”

  7. kwtree says:

    Yes, some of the critique of Boebert is unfair. She tweeted something along these lines: “ Just once, instead of introducing me as a conspiracy Q believing nut, could they  mention that I’m the youngest person, the first woman, and the first mom to be elected from CD3?” That was paraphrased, and I can’t find the exact quote now, but she did have a point. I’ve also heard from female friends in CD3 that they relate to the GED, the early unwed motherhood, the petty criminal record, and are uncomfortable with attacks on Boebert for these things. 
     

    I think I was the first person to bring up Boebert’s lack of college education. I still think her lack of education and experience disqualifies her from Congress. If one has to know the full Constitution ( not just first 2 amendments) plus basic civics and history to become an American  citizen, why would we not demand that minimum from a representative in Congress? If a cop, a soldier, a teacher, an electrician need a high school diploma plus post sec Ed, why wouldn’t a Congressperson? 
     

    Her “criminal past”, I don’t really care about. Half of it is “ poor people” stuff I’d be sympathetic towards, having experienced them myself or via family : evictions, court judgments, minor traffic infractions, failure to appear. 

    What really bugs me is her selfish disregard for public health and safety- serving contaminated pork, not complying with Covid precautions in her business, insisting on wearing a gun at her workplace when her colleagues have told her that they don’t feel safe with it. 

    That, and being so fundamentally dishonest, and willfully ignorant. The reason she’s called a conspiracy nut is because she keeps on peddling disproven conspiracies. She is supposed to rep her whole district. Tipton at least sponsored some  token water law that helped his district, and tried to pretend that he cared about immigration. Boebert can’t be bothered to represent the 48% who didn’t vote for her.

    I’ve never seen any sympathy from Boebert for Marissa Alexander, the Florida black woman who was sentenced to 20 years for firing a warning shot at an abuser.  Of course, no condemnation from Boebert of George Zimmerman, who shot young Trayvon Martin for Walking While Black. 

    On the Post’s claim that she’s being treated in a sexist manner- there is some of that I’ve seen, on here but mostly on Twitter. She does flaunt her looks, is photogenic and uses that to appeal to the hot chick with a gun fantasy. I find that understandable, too. Most women learn to weaponize, or at least leverage, our looks. 
     

    I doubt that Boebert would ever make a feminist critique of public reactions to her persona- she is emphatically no feminist, mocked the “gender program” that was budgeted to help domestic violence victims in Pakistan, is anti-abortion, against equal wages or even a minimum wage hike. It’s all about pulling oneself up by one’s own bra straps- no sisterhood, no social movement necessary for her.

    She doesn’t stand up for women- She stood up for her future husband Jayson, saying that he did not drunkenly flash his dick at young women in a bowling alley, even with three eyewitnesses that he did.

    Then there’s that whole traitor thing- aiding and abetting a violent mob who wanted to overturn an election and harm legislators. That’s going to bite her in the backside eventually.

    So yeah- no dumb broad or bimbo jokes, please, no slut shaming, etc. Lauren Boebert has plenty of other disqualifications for political office…and reasons to disrespect and mistrust her. 

     

  8. MartinMark says:

    Apparently the Post hasn’t read her Twitter feed.  It’s an endless chain of aggression, ad hominem, whining, accusations of corruption, and, today, a swipe at President Biden that is downright ageist.

    Oh, amidst the slander and rage,  something praising Jesus.

  9. MartinMark says:

    As far as sexism, perhaps the post didn't see her infamous blue dress ad.  She was perfectly willing to leverage her assets then.  Which is fine.  But cut the concern-trolling now; she put herself in play.

  10. MartinMark says:

    Today she tweeted that she works for the people of Pueblo, not Paris.

    It would be nice if she actually did represent Pueblo, because the Democratic candidate beat her in Pueblo.

    (Just like she lost her home town and home county, it took monumental gerrymandering to get her in).

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