This is State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, Colorado’s “gold standard” when it comes to the stereotypical, fast-talking, bullshitting politician. Stapleton has made such a caricature of himself over the last couple of years that it he hardly seems real. Surely, you think, nobody can truly be this transparently smarmy and exist as an actual human politician…or can he?
The State Treasurer doesn’t traditionally generally get a lot of press in Colorado, and Stapleton has been no exception to the norm. But when Stapleton’s name does end up in the news, the odds are pretty good that it’s because he did something stupid. Stapleton is good at stupid.
It seems that Stapleton is back to one of his favorite tricks — lying through his teeth to cover a dumb mistake — and this time he even managed to piss off the reliably-Republican Denver Post editorial page editor Vince Carroll, which is no small feat. Yesterday Carroll dedicated an entire column to Stapleton, who he says has “migrated into incoherence” in trying to pretend that he ever supported legislation that would have made some changes to PERA:
Stapleton knows he authored an April 28 letter to legislative leaders in which he said “the Treasurer’s office has identified an opportunity to refinance a portion of the State’s debt owed to the Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA) through the issuance of Pension Obligation Bonds (POBs)…
…He also knows he testified in favor of HB 1388 before the House Finance Committee on April 29 (and again later before Senate Finance), at which he carefully laid out risks but also confirmed that POBs are “one of many tools, if the proper guard rails are in place, that can be employed responsibly to address PERA’s unfunded liability.”…
…Our editorial page opposed HB 1388, but it is no disgrace to have been on the other side. And if some in your party get on your case about your stance, so what? You take the heat. You don’t distort your role to the point you sound like someone needing treatment for amnesia.
The entire column is worth a read, and it really makes you wonder (again) why anyone in the Republican Party might think that Stapleton could be a good candidate for Governor or U.S. Senate some day. Why would you make such an effort to lie about supporting a bill that few people understand? Why would you try to lie when you are already repeatedly on record taking a different position? Why???
Stapleton is pretty good at fundraising, largely because of his family connections (he’s directly related to the Bush family), but he’s otherwise a complete political dunce who frequently stumbles into obvious potholes. Stapleton was re-elected as State Treasurer in 2014, but it was an unexpectedly close race due entirely to his own idiocy; when an open records request revealed that Stapleton rarely bothered to show up at his office, he made ridiculous excuses and then wouldn’t stop talking about it.
We wrote after the November election that Stapleton’s panicky errors and laughable TV ads should remove his name from future discussion about higher office; since then, Stapleton has done nothing to prove us wrong. Democrats can only hope that Stapleton is someday the Republican nominee for Governor or Senate.