“Californian Of The Year”–Caldara Slams Kevin Priola

State Sen. Kevin Priola (R-Adams County)

In an email blast yesterday evening, old-school conservative carnival barker Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute announced the third finalist for the organization’s annual “Californian of the Year” award–given tongue-in-cheek to the politician who did the most in the previous year to “Californicate” the Centennial State.

Once again up for Caldara’s booby prize? Republican state Sen. Kevin Priola, one of just a few Colorado Republicans these days who could be considered on paper a viable candidate for higher office:

The Californian of the Year is the man, woman, non-binary, or gender-fluid person who has done the most to turn our once liberty-loving state of Colorado into the command and control, over-taxed, over-regulated, over-dependent, hypersensitive, politically correct, buzz-kill state of California.

Senator Priola answers the age-old question—can a Republican also be a communist? Priola proves the answer is a resounding YES!

The Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT) rated Kevin the lowest amongst of his Republican colleagues. This is an especially impressive achievement since he is a signer of the CUT pledge to uphold the spirit and letter of our Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) AND to oppose any new net tax increases.

So Kevin had to go above and beyond to urinate on that pledge (and the taxpayers) by voting in favor of tax increases, now called fees—without asking for voter consent—on gasoline, delivery service, and about, oh, roughly $800 million of stuff…

First, let’s take a moment to acknowledge what a classy gentleman Jon Caldara is! Because we generally ignore Caldara and his loser ilk, we rarely get the chance to say so these days.

Caldara has called out Sen. Priola in previous years for his occasional willingness to show the reason enough Republicans used to show to get the vital work of running the state done in a bipartisan manner. Priola’s strong social conservatism, a product of his Catholic faith, apparently doesn’t matter to Caldara if you’re unwilling to support the much more important goal of drowning government in the bathtub.

At the same time, Caldara has a huge interest in the Republican primary field for the newly-created Eighth Congressional District, where Priola is getting the most mentions these days as a potential contender. In a primary contest between Priola and fellow Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, for example, the preference of the party’s fiscal conservative wing is crystal clear–and it’s anybody but Priola:

This is why “soft red” Republicans like Kevin Priola, who have tried to carve out a niche in the Republican coalition counter to the party’s prevalent political trends in recent years, are going to have so much trouble surviving in the electoral climate we expect in 2022. A candidate running on a platform that spites their traditional base is at an inherent disadvantage running against opponents who enjoy base support. As competitive as Republican strategists think Priola could be if he survived a GOP primary, the fact remains that Priola can’t win in this highly competitive district without the Republican base solidly behind him.

And that is not going to happen. Five years ago, maybe. But this isn’t the same Republican Party.

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. skeptical citizen says:

    Sounds like Priola may be just a good, old RINO. Or not.

  2. Duke Cox says:

    It will be interesting to hear CHBs' take on this. I believe him to be a Priola supporter. 

    What do you think, CHB?

    • MichaelBowman says:

      The Independence Institute increasingly looks like an organization that operates independently from any rational construct of how a global economic power might sustain itself.  Living in a family that have almost exclusively morphed from Eisenhower Republicans to MAGA, I struggle with how this movement is gutting the good sense most of them once had.  The cognitive dissonance, the mocking of once-common attributes of empathy, vision, and arithmetic.

      Priola seems to be a good guy but I won’t have a pony in any of his potential match-ups.  What he does seem to embody, the best of what once passed for conservative politics, is a present-day poison to the MAGAt crowd. 

      The Caldera crowd seems to have little interest in conserving our environment, a ready work force to meet the challenges, and opportunities of a global marketplace. Little interest in a construct that buoys the greatest economic engine the world has ever known: the American middle class, with disposable income and upward mobility.  From a rural Colorado perspective we built the capacity to be part of the breadbasket of the world with democratic socialism: our rural electrics, cooperative telephone associations, rural ag cooperatives, etc.  Had we been dependent on a Caldara-like in those days we might have become the Buffalo Commons while waiting for the invisible fist of Adam Smith to make it’s appearance. 

      Best of luck to him in his endeavors.  He seems like a decent man. 

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Ask and you shall receive……..

      In this instance, Jon Caldara is a pompous ass. End of discussion.

      • Voyageur says:

        Undoubtedly, CHB.  But can you  think of an example when he was not a pompous ass?

        • Conserv. Head Banger says:

          Many times.

          Some years ago, I had a discussion with Jon about climbing Aconcagua, which I've attempted three times but never summited due to weather. The man can be reasonable.

          • Voyageur says:

            seriously, I Actually respected his work on the RTD board.  He showed me some serious alternatives to light rail — buses that run on training wheel type things in special lanes for instance  and can then run on normal streets.

            The problem with light rail is that it is 3 trips: home to station, by car or bus.  Station to station by train.  Then station to office by bus.

            The training wheel bus can do all three:  From your nearest bus stop to the mHOV lane, then off again to your office park.  It saves two waits per commute.

            Alas, it never got serious consideration.

            As chairman, the also called a vote to censure Jack McCroskey to repeated harassment of staff (I read an inch thick file mod complaints.). He did that despite the fact that McCroskey was a vital ally on the anti-light rail faction.  But he put his duty above his politics — something this old West Point guy greatly respects.

            I actually consider Jon a friend.  You'd have to ask him if the reverse is true.  But he is a man of high intelligence, personal honor and a great if somewhat twisted sense of humor.

  3. Genghis says:

    Jon Caldara might feel better about himself and be less of a knob if he got himself a real job and started contributing something worthwhile to society, but that ship done sailed. That sweet, sweet wingnut welfare cash is just too good.

    At the very least, a Priola candidacy in the new district would be useful in assessing just how far down the shithole the GOP has gone.


  4. ParkHill says:

    Libertarianism is an anti-Christian cult. Whatever anarchist roots it once had, today Libertarians are Billionaire suck-ups. The goal is oligarchy, which of course ALWAYS devolves into kleptocracy.

    The Catholic Church has a strong social-justice side, as well as an un-reasoning anti-abortion side. But, it is also not really a pro-democracy religion; I’m not sure it has truly gotten past feudalism. It is a bit odd that the US Catholic bishops are so enthralled by the Republican Party. Maybe something to do with the way autocracy is seen as means of instituting Christian rule over society, like xxObanxx Orban is doing in Hungary.

    The Church is by definition very hierarchical; revelations from the pope can change doctrine. In the 19th Century, a fetus could be aborted without problem until “quickening”, showing us that doctrine is mutable.

  5. NOV GOP meltdown says:

    I remember Caldara threatening to sue BVSD last year because he has a child with downs syndrome who was not doing well with a virtual learning environment. Keep the government out of my business, well unless its for me or my family. Fucking hypocrite. 

    • unnamed says:

      You would think having a child with Downs Syndrome would have helped him gain some empathy.  Knowing that it hasn't makes me respect him even less.

      • notaskinnycook says:

        You’d think having a Downs kid AND losing another to cancer would impart some empathy, but people like that are impenetrable. Wingnut politics uber alles.  

        • Voyageur says:

          Tragedy can change people, and often for the worse, Cookie.  I mentioned Caldera having to censure Jack McCroskey for harassing staff.

          When I first met Jack, he was my state representative — and one of the gentleist, kindest, people I knew.

          In subsequent years, his son committed suicide.  Then his best friend and alter ego, Jim James , was brutally tortured and murdered.  There may have been other blows I didn’t know about — life is cruel at our age.

          Jack changed, and not for the better, picking on powerless, women staffers. (Though not sexually, let me specify.)

          Then he died.

          I enjoy Jon’s raucus humor and c omany.  Politically, he would make Ming the Merciless blush. Empathy ain’t there for groups for sure, but I suspect he’s a loyal friend at the personal level.

          People are a puzzle.  I much prefer my dogs!

          You, howver, are simply a treasure trove of wisdom, emphathy, diplomacy and, when necessay, courage.

          How do we clone you?

    • Genghis says:

      I'm pretty sure he did more than just threaten, NOV. He actually filed suit, claiming the district violated the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act by requiring online classes.

      How a mighty Galtian demigod like Caldara allowed filthy statists to educate his son in the first place is anyone's guess.

  6. JohnInDenver says:

    Is there any way a non-Republican can urge continued and escalating argument between the "never tax or spend more" and the "we need to invest" forces within the Republican party?  

    Asking for a friend.

  7. RepealAndReplace says:

    I’m worried if the nominee ends up being Kirkmeyer. She isn’t as loopy as Lori Saine or Vicky Marbles but almost as right wing. She could slide in as a sane right winger.

    Better to run a nut case or Priola. The nut case will drive unaffiliateds to Caraveo while Priola will cause the lunatics to stay home.

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