Two freshman Republican lawmakers from Colorado Springs have emerged as the face of the GOP in the State House of Representatives in 2023. State Reps. Ken “Skin”DeGraaf and Scott “There Is No” Bottoms regularly monopolize the microphone in both committee hearings and floor speeches; together they carry the torch for the never-ending combination of victimhood and absurd grievance that has become a central tenet of far-right conservatism.
DeGraaf and Bottoms are part of the latest round of elected officials who have pledged fealty to the MAGA movement and all of its silly complaints. They ignore common sense in favor of manufactured angst and refuse to change course no matter how unsuccessful they are in electoral politics (DeGraaf and Bottoms are both strong supporters, for example, of El Paso County Republican Chairwoman Vickie Tonkins). They promote legislative attempts to restrict abortion rights — a proven way to lose votes in Colorado — and happily recycle idiotic policy proposals that they may not even fully understand.
Thus it was no real surprise on Monday when Bottoms strode to the well on the House Floor for a three-minute rant in support of gas stoves. We caught the Bottoms speech on Monday, but 9News reported on it before we had a chance to get there ourselves:
Bottoms was speaking in a tongue-in-cheek manner (at least we think he was being sarcastic; his delivery and cadence never change, so it’s really hard to tell) about an amendment to HB23-1134 “Require Electric Options in Home Warranties.” The legislation, which is supported by both environmental groups and Xcel Energy, would require home warranty contracts to cover electric stoves and gas stoves.
This is an important issue for Coloradans who are concerned about the very real health risks associated with using gas stoves. Natural gas-powered stoves produce harmful pollutants and particulates that significantly increase the risk of children contracting respiratory diseases such as asthma.
This is an important issue for Rep. Bottoms because it allows him to take part in a new GOP front on the culture war based on the idea that the government is coming to take your gas stove (NOPE!) This nonsense conspiracy theory is related to news in January that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission was concerned about the demonstrated health impacts of gas stoves and considering requiring Americans to switch to electric stoves. Republicans jumped to defend gas stoves as a beacon of freedom — and also a defense of the natural gas industry in general. Things got so dumb that Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm had to publicly promise that the federal government is NOT considering a national ban on gas stoves.
This is how Bottoms ended up saying the same basic thing over and over and over for three minutes on Monday. Bottoms also promoted a ham-handed argument about the difference between the words “equality” and “equity” as part of his bizarre metaphor of some sort of “race” between gas and electric stoves. Here’s the full speech (all emphasis is ours):
SCOTT BOTTOMS: I believe strongly in free markets and I believe strongly in equality. I’m not a huge fan of equity, but when it comes to stoves, I’m a huge fan of equity.
I believe that all stoves should have the right to end at the finish line at the exact same moment. Gas stoves should be allowed to have all of the opportunities that electric stoves have…
..If we see a gas stove dropping off because of legislation, we need to encourage that stove to move forward so that he can arrive at that exact same moment when the electric stove arrives. When the electric stove is being propelled forward by legislation that is going to give extra opportunity, extra money – and I believe, a lack of equity in relationship to the gas stove – I believe that the electric stove should be pulled back and allowed for the gas stove to move forward.
It doesn’t make sense to put in language that would allow for an insurance company to provide for any kind of extra support or extra finances or any kind of insurance policy for an electric stove that we don’t do the exact same thing for the gas stove.
When my wife and I move into a house, immediately the very first thing that we do is we look to make sure that there is a gas line, because we refuse to use an electric stove.
Now, I don’t do the cooking, but my wife does, and so I support her stance on gas stoves, and this insurance concept should also support her stance on gas stoves because she is not going to use an electric stove. So, now we have to have that ability for that gas stove to be, maybe not a lot, maybe not overwhelmingly, but we need to give it a little bit of a nudge toward that finish line in equity with that electric stove.
Now, if you like electric stoves, nobody is picking on your choice of electric stoves. I support your ability to have electric stoves, and I even support the idea of an insurance company somehow helping you replace a gas stove with an electric stove…
…I strongly support this amendment because it just levels the playing field and brings us all to the finish line at the exact same moment. So I strongly believe in equity for gas stoves and electric stoves. Not just equality – which is a moral concept – but equity. But ONLY for electric and gas stoves do I support equity. And so I support this amendment.
In addition to being repetitive, Bottoms makes sure to point out that HIS WIFE DOES THE COOKING in his house; because there is never a bad time to shoehorn some “traditional family values” into your speechifying.
We’re now more than a month into the 2023 Colorado legislative session. It’s safe to say that Republicans have no intention whatsoever of trying to appeal to anyone other than the members of their own right-wing base. Republicans hold just 19 of 65 seats in the House of Representatives, an historic low-water mark that they almost seem hell-bent on trying to reduce even further in 2024.
"Now, I don’t do the cooking, but my wife does" is a winner.
What pastor Scott forgot to point out was that pillar of fire that led god’s chosen people through the desert by night, for forty years, all the way into the promised land ?? Well, obviously, god’s holy super natural gas!! (And, definitely not some wokish Greta Thunberg socialist LED!)
(Oh, and that cloud by day? Clearly a scriptural reference to divine rolling coal. But that’s a story for another day’s legislative amendments.)
I’m gonna’ guess that pastor Bottom’s kids learned at an early age not to ask dad to help with their homework? (Either that, or they wound up becoming Assembly of God preachers, too.)
Bimbo and the State House gruesome twosome are going to be the final death blow to the CO GOP.