In response to contemporary political events both nationally and here in Colorado, Republican message operatives have started off the week…well, badly. We’ll take just a brief moment to correct two laughably inaccurate opinion pieces from the last 48 hours–the first being a column defending GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, penned by 2013 Colorado Senate recall spokesperson Jennifer Kerns:
They say numbers don’t lie.
Then neither does Donald Trump when it comes to illegal immigration.
While Donald Trump continues to make waves with his recent comments regarding illegal immigration, FBI crime statistics and other data reveal an interesting revelation: Donald Trump was right.
No doubt Donald Trump is looking for (and most likely paying for) defenders in the wake of his highly controversial remarks about Mexican immigrants during his campaign launch speech. But as our readers know well from the 2013 recalls and subsequent tall tales about marijuana “crack babies,” Jennifer Kerns is not really a devotee of, you know, accuracy.
As she amply demonstrates defending Trump:
According to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement report provided to Congress, just 1,000 illegal immigrant criminals tracked by ICE “had amassed nearly 88,000 convictions among them including 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, 303 kidnapping convictions, and 16,070 drunken- or drugged-driving convictions.”
Folks, this statement is factually ridiculous. The report Kerns links to in truth says that of some 36,000 undocumented immigrants released by ICE, 1,000 re-offended. The 88,000 figure was for the original offenses committed by this much larger group (and keep in mind that many convictions involve several offenses). The truth is, this is a much smaller rate of recidivism than that of the general American public–a study by the National Institutes of Justice found that among released prisoners in America, fully 67% of prisoners were re-arrested in three years, 56% of them within the first year. That’s rather worse than 1 in 36.
In short? Jennifer Kerns is absolutely, utterly full of shit. Either she misread the report she cited, or she didn’t care if she got her facts right. Judging from her previous work, we suspect the answer is both.
Our second example of conservatives screwing up their most basic facts comes from Advancing Colorado, a relatively new conservative front group operated by Koch-funded activist Jonathan “Stop Being Poor” Lockwood. From a press release yesterday, lamenting the Colorado Supreme Court’s refusal to take up a case challenging the 2009 FASTER road and bridge fees:
“The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to not review the case is disappointing,” said Advancing Colorado Executive Director Jonathan Lockwood. “This decision shows how important it is for us to defend the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, because without it we would have little to no protection from government using us as unlimited ATMs. The more that government seeks to exempt itself from TABOR, the more concerned Coloradans should be.”
In 2009, Gov. John Hickenlooper created the CBE through the “Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery Act” (FASTER)… [Pols emphasis]
Now, we could spend some time deconstructing Lockwood’s vacuous argument about how the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is the only thing stopping Big Bad Gubmint from turning you into an “unlimited ATM.” After all, that hasn’t happened in the states that don’t have TABOR, which if you haven’t heard is, well, all the other states. To be honest, we’re not sure what exactly Lockwood means by that at all.
But one thing we do know is this: John Hickenlooper wasn’t governor in 2009. And we feel like we can stop reading right there.
Bottom line: Colorado has emerged as a critically important swing state. Large amounts of money and human capital flow into our state every election cycle now as Colorado has become a competitive battleground at every level, from school boards to the presidential race. And we consider this overall to be a very good thing.
But please, please make sure the people you hire are not clueless.