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August 16, 2013 03:12 PM UTC

Thou Doth Protest Too Much, Bernie Herpin

  • by: Colorado Pols

A joint press release today from Colorado Springs GOP usual suspects Jeff Crank and Laura Carno, the latter being the head of a group that helped fund the recall attempt against Senate President John Morse, announces a complaint against the ad you see above, claiming the ad makes "reckless and false" statements about SD-11 recall successor candidate Bernie Herpin. Excerpt:

Jeff Crank and Laura Carno, with legal analysis in hand, today have asked four Colorado Springs television stations to remove television commercials that contain “false and reckless statements”.  These ads have been produced and paid for by “We Can Do Better”.

The ads in question contain false statements against Republican Candidate for Senate District 11, Bernie Herpin, stating that he supports the Personhood Amendment, when in fact, he does not.

“I’ve fought untruthful ads run by candidates from both political parties for many years now but it’s been a long time since I’ve seen such an absolute lie in a political ad.  People have little faith in politicians because of untrue, dishonest ads like this one.  The law is fairly clear that you cannot “knowingly” broadcast a lie,” said Jeff Crank.   “The group that put out this ad knows that there is no evidence that Bernie Herpin supported the Personhood Amendment yet they tied him to another candidate who does.  They lied and they knew they lied.  Under the law, these ads must be taken off the air and I call on John Morse and Angela Giron to have the guts to condemn these untruthful, despicable, exploitative ads.”

Laura Carno said, “This is about integrity in the public square. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, who lie in order to win, should reconsider their careers.  Voters want elected officials who tell the truth, and that includes telling the truth during their campaigns.”

This is an interesting development, but we don't think it was wise to challenge this ad for several reasons. First and foremost, as we discussed earlier this week, Herpin answered a Pikes Peak Citizens for Life candidate questionnaire just this past April, where he proudly claims to be pro-life, and says that we "become persons" at the "single cell" stage of development. As we noted, that's almost exactly the language of the "Personhood" amendments from 2008 and 2010. 2008's Amendment 48 stated that "the terms 'person' or 'persons' shall include any human being from the moment of fertilization." In 2010, Amendment 62's language was that "the term 'person' shall apply to every human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being." The negative effects of the "Personhood" initiative as described in the ad above are not enumerated in the one-sentence language of the amendments, but would be the net effect of passage.

Secondly, Crank and Carno appear to jettison the other recall successor candidate, SD-3's George Rivera, by claiming this ad "tied" Herpin to "another candidate" who does support the "Personhood" initiatives. Angela Giron's SD-3 is a Democratic stronghold, where support for "Personhood" is likely to hurt even worse than it would in Morse's swing SD-11. But not only are Carno and Crank unconcerned about Rivera, they're actually triangulating off Rivera and his unabashed support for "Personhood" and banning abortion.

In short, you've got a dubious challenge to a claim that, even if it's flawed and we don't think it is, inevitably segues into a conversation about abortion that Bernie Herpin doesn't want to have. Once Herpin is forced to explain these candidate questionnaire responses, Crank and Carno's claim that this ad is "false and reckless" simply breaks down. And to "save" Herpin from an allegation that actually does have basis in fact, El Paso County Republicans are throwing the Pueblo Republican recall candidate under the wheels.

Bottom line: we think they are genuinely worried about this.


18 thoughts on “Thou Doth Protest Too Much, Bernie Herpin

  1. Not so quick.  Catholic doctrine teaches life begins at conception and many practicing catholics accept that belief.  But to have that believe does NOT mean that one also supports the "personhood" amendment.  I think that the offcial position of the catholic church in Colorado was not to endorse the personhood amendment.

    So Herpin may well have a legal point here.

        1. So quickly quoth our resident Republican apologist.  I think the point the Pols is bringing up David is that the ad and the outrage bring attention to Herpins position that he would rather not talk about.  Presumably at some point Herpin will have to clarify his positions on the Personhood amendment and either way the answer is going to be lame.  If he throws the Personhood amendment under the bus then he shows himself to be a devious liar and if he proudly supports it than he gets the extremist label slapped on him and the debate turns from guns to extremists.  It is a good ad because conservatives are now running for cover when their abortion positions are challenged.  Being anti-abortion is not an automatic winner anymore.

          1. I agree on that point. But dwyer does bring up a response that could give Herpin an out with a lot of people. Keep in mind Governor Ritter also believes that life starts with conception and yet he was supported by most pro choice voters.

            The question to push Herpin on is not what his personal views are, but what he thinks the law should be. FWIW, I think he will be between a rock and a hard spot on that question.

            1. And that, the rock and the hard place, is the obvious point, not whether or not it's possible to accept Catholic doctrine without supporting a personhood amendment. 

    1. So the question is, how would he vote on abortion, contraception, etc. issues in the legislature. Saying, as he has, that he is "pro-life" but will talk with and listen to everyone does not answer the question of how he will vote. That is absolutely a relevant question for voters to ask and for Bernie to answer.

    2. Not factual.  Not related.

      TCC is a church, and as such is not running for office.  They are also a political entity, and don't choose to alienate 70% of the state' s voters.  Its leaders are wise enough to know that pleading doctrine in church is different from imposing that doctrine outside of church by way of changing the state's laws.

      Herpin was asked this on a candidate questionnaire, which by its nature outlines the policies one favors as an elected official.

      Apples, Oranges, and dwyer's stupid missing the point.

      1. No, DP, the questionnaire did NOT ask if the candidate supports legislation to outlaw abortion, restrict it, or restrict access to contraception.  If the questionnaire did ask such questions, then produce Herpin's answers. I don't think you can.  Asking those questions would be legtimate.  The issues described in the article is legal: Can a candidate self-identify as "pro-life" without automatically being identified as supporting LEGISLATION, such as restrictions on reproduction choice?  Can a political commercial charge that a candidate supports legislation restricting reproductive choice based on a candidate's responses about his/her personal beliefs?  If not, then does such a commercial violate Colorado's law's about knowlingly making false statements about a candidate?

        The greater issue is, of course, is Colorado's law constitutional?  I don't think it is because of the phrase "knowingly."  I am not a lawyer and would welcome a legal opinion on this.  I don't think the recall supporters (Crank, et. al.) are going to pursue this legally.  They did not seek a court injunction against the commercial. but rather attempted to intimate the TV stations….who, of course, already had accepted funds to run the commercial.  

        Catholics are urged all the time to vote for candidates (not specifically identified) who are "pro-life."  I am not up on the latest from the TCC, but I don't think that they urge catholics to vote ONLY for those candidates who vote "pro-life."  This is and has been a debatable issue with catholic democratic circles for eons…

        To conclude, the issue with the commercial is a legal one, IMHO.



  2. Good post, Guvs. I think they know Rivera isn't going to win, and they're happy to triangulate off him. And agreed, they're worried about the Ken Buck curse finding Herpin.

  3. Personally, I find the irony of our Republican friends in Colorado Springs hyperventilating over "Politicians…who lie in order to win" just a little too delicious, particularly in this case.

  4. @bullshit!

    Finding a factual statement "idiotic" is a hallmark of the "group think" mentality that will sink the democratics.  Perhaps you are the one that has that as a goal, not me.

      1. @bullshit – You are the mirror image of the tea party idiots. Yes you've drunk a different flavor of Kool-Aid than they have, but you are every bit as much a close minded, intellectually vapid, echo chamber as those you detest on the right.

        On a positive note, the party does need mindless drones as that unquestioning support for all candidates and all policies provides a solid base of support to the party.

        But please keep in mind that having an open mind does not make one a concern troll or an apologist, it just means the individual thinks for themself.

        1. Oh, please. You're going to get a nosebleed if you don't come down off that high horse. I agree that dwyer is not likely a Republican concern troll, more of a very tiresome Cassandra. If all of dwyer's dire predictions had come true, there wouldn't be anyone but Rush endorsed candidates anywhere to be found from the White House on down going back to the 2008 elections.

          1. Cassandra nails it. In and of his/her/itself likely valuable somehow. Definitely not a troll. My problem: most of the time I can't tell what his (or bullshit's) point is supposed to be. It's probably just me.

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