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► Happy inauguration day! Governor Jared Polis and Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera were sworn-in for their second term in office this morning. Click here for more.
► The opening day of Colorado’s legislative session on Monday clarified how Republicans plan to deal with their new micro-minorities: By doing the same shit that got them in the voters’ doghouse in the first place. The complete lack of self-awareness from Republicans — including freshman Rep. Ken DeGraaf — is actually pretty remarkable:
As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, Monday was not a good start for Republicans:
“A little blip.”
That’s what House Minority Leader Mike Lynch, R-Wellington, called the disruption Monday by the GOP superminority in the House during the launch of the legislative session. The “blip” was caused by new Republican state Reps. Scott Bottoms and Ken DeGraaf , both of Colorado Springs. DeGraaf nominated Bottoms for speaker (who seconded his own nomination) to protest Democrats’ support for abortion access and gun control measures.
It’s traditional for the House speaker vote in Colorado to be unanimous, [Pols emphasis] and since Democrats are in control of the chamber that means they chose the leader — Julie McCluskie. Bottoms’ nomination failed (he picked up eight GOP votes) and McCluskie was sworn in with bipartisan support. McCluskie’s nomination, in fact, was seconded by Lynch…
…Here’s the question that may define the 2023 legislative session in the House: Democrats have signaled they are willing to bring Republicans into the conversation. But are Republicans willing to work with Democrats? Eight members of the House GOP caucus signaled “no” on Monday.
The takeaway: Democrats don’t have to work with the GOP to get their agenda passed this year. And Bottoms and DeGraaf on Monday gave them another reason not to bother. [Pols emphasis]
House Republicans haven’t quite hit rock-Bottoms yet, but they’re on the wrong track.
The Denver Post has a gallery of photos from opening day.
► As Marshall Zelinger reports for 9News, Democrats in the state legislature are planning to do more about gun safety. Nick Coltrain of The Denver Post notes that Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) is gearing up for a fight with its rapidly-waning influence. Public opinion is definitely on the side of Democrats:
According to a poll commissioned by Giffords and conducted by the highly regarded Global Strategy Group, 73% of voters this November considered gun violence an important factor in their decision. And of the 78% that cited crime more broadly as an important factor, two-thirds said shootings and mass shootings were among their more specific concerns — outstripping crimes like burglary, carjackings, and retail theft.
“Nationally, we’ve seen a huge shift in the politics of the issue,” Giffords Executive Director Peter Ambler said. “It’s gone from having this sort of third-rail reputation to being something that has significant bipartisan appeal. Colorado has been at the epicenter of that transformation.”
Republican Rep. Ron Weinberg of Loveland is inadvertently strengthening these arguments with his own idiotic decisions.
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► Perhaps some words and phrases have a different meaning for Rep. Lauren Boebert than they do for the rest of us. How else can you explain this story from the Colorado Times Recorder?
After the election of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a process widely seen as an embarrassment, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) told KOA radio host Ross Kaminsky [on Tuesday], “Like I said, this was the most productive week I’ve seen in Congress.”
Boebert made a similar comment on Twitter [Monday], adding there that it was not only the most productive but also the most “functioning assembly of the House of Representatives” that she’s seen since her arrival in Congress.
After 15 votes, House Republicans overcame the opposition of about 20 of their colleagues and elected McCarthy speaker of the House. The votes featured shouting, finger-pointing, hostile posturing, and other late-night drama.
Asked by Kaminsky if “we’re going to see a slightly different Lauren Boebert not in principle but in rhetoric.”
“I think you saw that this week,” she replied. “I had plenty of time to say many things about many people. There was a lot of self-control this week. It wasn’t about personal attacks ever.” [Pols emphasis]
In the same story, Colorado Times Recorder points to comments made by Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley:
“So I think that we are a much stronger party now than we were, and I think we are on the right track,” Buck told KNUS’ Jimmy Sengenberger, adding, “The Democrats are sheep and we’re not.”
We’re not sheep — YOU’RE the sheep!
Buck should be thankful that Boebert exists; otherwise he would easily hold the title of #1 schmuck in Colorado’s congressional delegation.
► We definitely did NOT see this one coming:
Skaggs “retired” from Congress in 1999 and was succeeded by Mark Udall. He has an impressive resume, for sure, but he’s also a little on the older side — when he was first elected to Congress in 1986, he succeeded Tim Wirth.
There is a vacancy in HD-12 because of the resignation of Democratic Rep. Tracey Bernett, who faces several charges related to allegedly lying about her residency after redistricting.
► Check out these video comparisons from The Washington Post of the Jan. 6 insurrection and the recent violent protests in Brazil. This is not a coincidence — many allies of former President Donald Trump helped advise and stoke the riots in Brazil. Former White House adviser Steve Bannon is actually very proud of this.
► Colorado Public Radio profiles some of the new lawmakers at the State Capitol.
► Perry Will…uh, will replace Republican Sen. Bob Rankin in SD-8 after winning a Republican vacancy committee. His facial hair game is strong:
► The City of Denver is limiting how long it will house migrants in the area after an influx of people — many from Venezuela — flooded into the city at the end of December.
► Fox 31 News is running a bunch of stories about fees for grocery bags, because of course they are.
► Former State Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs, who lost a Republican Primary for Congress in 2022 to Doug Lamborn, is still hanging around the State Capitol as a legislative aide to Rep. Brandi Bradley.
Yes, that’s weird.
► California Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter is launching a campaign for U.S. Senate in 2024. Longtime Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who is mostly dead, has not yet officially announced her intentions regarding another term in the Senate.
► Jamelle Bouie of The New York Times looks at one of the more important deals made by Kevin McCarthy to secure his position as House Speaker:
…less remarked on but still significant is McCarthy’s pledge to force major budget cuts using the debt ceiling as leverage with the Biden administration. McCarthy has also agreed to pursue a resolution committing the federal government to a balanced budget within the decade, which could not be done without major cuts to Social Security, Medicare and a lot of what’s left of the American welfare state.
None of this comes as a shock or a surprise. Conservative opposition to social insurance goes back to the New Deal itself, with figures like the previous president Herbert Hoover denouncing Franklin Roosevelt’s policies as “socialism” that would place the nation on a “march to Moscow.” And of course, successive Republican Congresses have, since the 2010 Tea Party wave, tried to pass or force gigantic cuts to federal social spending, with the debt ceiling as their preferred hostage.
This juxtaposition of extreme opposition to social insurance with contempt for constitutional democracy and the rule of law helps illuminate the tight connection between these two strands of contemporary Republican thought. Many of the Republican radicals who seized control of the House last week also voted to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, and they have been vocal apologists for the Jan. 6 insurrectionists.
► Controversy over racist videos from Aurora City Council Member Steve Sundberg isn’t going away…nor should it.
Say What, Now?
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy announced his new bogeyman, and it’s a lot like the old bogeyman:
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Congressional Republicans seem hell-bent on attacking the Justice Department. As POLITICO reports, this probably won’t end well for them.
► In Kevin McCarthy’s Republican caucus, it pays to have been an election denier.
► Republican candidates in Colorado were taken to the cleaners in 2022 — by their own consultants.
► Did we mention that Congressman Ken Buck is a putz? We did? Well, here’s another reminder anyway.
The best part of today’s opening day in the Colorado legislature might just be this fantastic mullet/mustache combination from House Reading Clerk George Schiebel. Well played, sir. #copolitics #coleg #cogov pic.twitter.com/oLTwWg6WmP
— Colorado Pols (@coloradopols) January 9, 2023
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Loved the 'rock bottoms' sentence. Great writing with just the right touch of snark.
I saw that picture of George Schiebel, and all I can say is the 80s called. They want their mullet, moustache, shirt, and suit back.
Leave poor George alone. At least he has a face that pulls it off well.
What shocked me the most is that I am old enough to be his grandfather.
I'll just be over here in my rocking chair ….
I usually just skim these posts but I read through this one and now I DO feel more smerterer! Thanks!