Attention Journalists: Mike Coffman is NOT a “Moderate”

endangeredcoffmanUPDATE: Jason Salzman weighs in with a similar conclusion.​

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Somebody help out Tim Alberta at National Journal, please:

Heritage Action, an influential group that works closely with the Republican Study Committee and its conservative members, wrote a letter Thursday to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., urging them not to bring two bills to the floor…

But the notion that House Republicans should steer clear of any potentially discordant votes did not sit well with some lawmakers.

“This is the House of Representatives,” said Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona, a conservative RSC member who said he normally supports Heritage Action’s efforts. “We need to step up and do our work.”

At the opposite end of the GOP’s ideological spectrum, Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., a moderate who sometimes refers to himself as an independent, [Pols emphasis] scoffed at the suggestion…

Okay, obviously, full stop. We don't claim to know who Tim Alberta is, whether he's been a political reporter for decades, just graduated from college or what. We could find out, of course, but we frankly aren't going to bother. What we will do is say again, as succinctly as we can, that Rep. Mike Coffman is no "moderate"–and that this reporter is facilitating an underway wholesale reinvention that Coffman is trying desperately to pull off without too much scrutiny. Little aside references like this one slowly aggregate into a body of such references, and presto!

The guy who only last year told fellow Republicans that President Barack Obama "is not an American," who co-sponsored Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" bill, H.R.3 in 2011, who tried to restrict the delivery of bilingual ballots to U.S. citizens, who called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme," and who served as loony-right Rick Perry's campaign chair in Colorado is now a "moderate who sometimes refers to himself as an independent."

It's painfully obvious to everyone who knows the history here that Coffman's breakneck-speed reinvention from hard-right to "moderate" is happening to facilitate his continued survival in a district that is no longer overwhelmingly conservative, as his seat was prior to the 2010 redistricting cycle in Colorado–the extremist Rep. Tom Tancredo's former district, in fact. The only question is whether or not he will be allowed by the media to get away with it.

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  1. ohwilleke says:

    On a left-right scale there is no doubt Coffman is a solid conservative – probably in the moderate side to the middle of the GOP Congressional caucus nationally.

    In the era when moderate Republicans still existed, he would never have been confused with one.  But, he is, for want of a better word a "civilized" conservative.

    Compared to other notable Republican politicians past and present, however, he is somewhat more moderate (or at least is less loony) than his predecessor Tom Tancredo, than his delegation colleague Lamborn, or than his party's most recent nominee for Governor (remember Dan Maes?) and probably a hair more moderate than former U.S. Senate candiate Ken Buck. While he was nothing to write home about as Colorado Secretary of State (as Nancy Cronk rightly notes), compared to Scott Gessler he was both more competent and more ethical.  He is more ethical than Ben Nighthorse-Campbell (a genuine moderate) and less flaky than former U.S. Congress candidate Ryan Frazier.

    The other things that contribue to his moderate image are that he has not joined a number of highly inflammatory and loony right legislative and PR efforts that he could have given the very safe district he had at the time (e.g. he has largely managed to avoid blame the victim rhetoric on sexual assault issues and has refrained from ads that call even in mock form for violence against his political opponents) and in general has been more of a work horse than a show horse as Congressmen go.  He has not burned bridges with others in his own party, and not obliviously introduced legislation that harms no one other than his own constitutents (a la Tancredo's First Data excise tax proposal) and now and again joins a bipartisan legislative measure.

    These factors and the powers of incumbency has allowed him to win statewide office and a newly redististricted much more competitive district than the old CD 6, which many other Republicans woudn't have been able to win due to foot in mouth disease.

  2. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    The GOP has succeeded so well over the past couple of decades in moving the definition of moderate ever farther to the right that unless you yourself have been widely quoted making comments such as that women have magical natural birth control  defenses against rapist sperm but only if they aren't enjoying the experience, you get to be a moderate.  Comments such as Obama not really being an American don't count unless they get played over and over and talked about as much and over as long a time period in the national media as Akins' comments were. 

    For anyone paying attention, of course, characterizing Coffman as a moderate is laughable and Romanoff, who certainly looks to be the Dem who will be running against him, will have to spend very big bicks to keep Coffman's far right record and extremist comments before the public.  Lots of TV and radio ads will be required. This is where some of that that impure PAC money would come in handy. PAC ads, which don't come from the candidate and don't  include a candidate approving the message, can go as far as they dare in smacking an opponent without touching the dignity of the candidate they are supporting  to the degree the candidate approved ads do. 

    Coffman absolutely cannot be left free to portray himself as moderate enough for the new CD6 and, as evidenced by crap like this,  that will be ridiculously easy for him to do  without lots of expensive push back. From the beginning, he has been perceived as a sensible moderate type R here in CD6 by the the low info majority of voters and perceptions are hard to change since most voters don't pay much attention to politics and facty things like voting records.

    Until Romanoff manages to change it with lots of high profile repetition, the low info majority who know anything about him simply know he's served his country in the military and aren't aware of anything particularly crazy. So, yep, that makes him moderate enough.

  3. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    In today's Republican Party, you're considered a "moderate" if you apologize after calling our President a non-American.

  4. No-one called Coffman "moderate" even back when he was in the state legislature. The best he ever got was being called "ethical" or "principled".

    As the Guvs note, he's got plenty of ultra-conservative creds to his name – he's just a bit more "gentlemanly" about his conservativeness than some of the current crop of GOP officials.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      That's all it takes. If you aren't full out insane, you're moderate. If you're a true centrist, you're a lefty and if you're a little left of center, you're the anti-Christ or Stalin or Hitler, take you're pick.

      Coffman is extremely conservative and by throwing in with the Obama is un-American and maybe illegitimate crowd, then sort of apologizing, then sort of un-apologizing, he no longer has any credibility as a politician of integrity or principle, regardless of position on the left/right scale.

  5. Ray SpringfieldRay Springfield says:

    Coffman will be well funded, and an incumbent in an off year election. He has weknesses.I'm not in cheerleader mode so I'll just say that I expect a very close race. AR should reach out to Bennet supporters from the 2010 primary. Nancy Cronk is holding a fundraiser for him. He'll need all the Dems he can get.  

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

       Of course this doesn't mean much beyond my circle but I personally don't know any fellow CD 6 Bennet supporters from that election who are so pissy that they wouldn't support Andrew in a bid to unseat Coffman.  Concerned about the whole I won't touch impure money thing, yeah, but very much wanting our first CD6 Dem victory and to rid ourselves of Coffman.  As a group, we never were as anti-Romanoff as so many Romanoff supporters were virulently anti-Bennet. 

  6. hawkeye says:

    Coffman v Romanoff for CD-6 … turnout will determine the winner.  An above average turnout will favor Romanoff, as he will get the vast majority of low information, government dependent voters.

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      either explain why Romanoff gets the "low information voter" rather than Coffman or go back to your corner with Moncrief

      • BlueCatBlueCat says:

        He means…ummm…"urban", all of whom are "takers".  Apparently there's no such thing as middle class or affluent responsible Dems and especially there's no such thing as middle class or affluent responsible …you know…those other people.This no such thing category would include the majority of  Asian Americans, Latino Americans, even Jewish Americans (and aren't we all supposed to be rich?) and African Americans, of course.  

        Apparently most of us just think we exist as middle class and sometimes even affluent contributing members of society. If we really existed as such we'd vote R, of course. Oh and the majority of young voters and the majority of women must be "takers" or not exist either or they would all be voting R as well.

        But, just maybe, we do exist. Maybe there isn't any Sleeping Giant. Maybe there's a growing giant that righties aren't able, or willing, to see.

         

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