Walker Stapleton Rides The Term Limits Pony: Please Clap!

TUESDAY UPDATE: GOP-aligned advocacy group Compass Colorado spills the beans in an email update today:

Our Colorado State Treasurer, Walker Stapleton, is now the voice behind a new ad campaign promoting term limits. The ads will run across the state. Considering that Treasurer Stapleton is a likely gubernatorial candidate, the campaign will help boost his name ID across the state. [Pols emphasis]

Which is the whole point of course, but you’re not supposed to say so.


Regular readers are no doubt aware of the ad that’s been planted at the top of our site more or less continuously for a number of days now, advertising a rally on March 9th at the state capitol for usual-suspect conservative message group U.S. Term Limits:

About a week into the ad campaign promoting this “grassroots” rally, the art switched to a new theme: join Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton at the term limits rally, which is still paid for by U.S. Term Limits:

So, for starters, we can dispense with the notion that U.S. Term Limits exists to propose any kind of workable limit on the terms of members of Congress. Such a major change to the legislative branch would require a constitutional amendment, either through ratification by two-thirds of the states or by a “convention of states”–the latter being the official position of U.S. Term Limits, though it has never actually been used in American history. USTL claims further that their convention would be restricted to their pet cause, but there’s no legal way they could actually guarantee that.

Meaning the whole exercise is silliness, based on the one overriding fact that term limits poll well with (no nice way to say this) low-information voters. In states like Colorado where we have term limits in our own General Assembly, the effects of the policy are overwhelmingly negative–creating a climate in which lobbyists and political pressure groups have more experience running the government than lawmakers themselves.

Some of our longtime readers will remember a previous ad campaign from U.S. Term Limits, a large buy in support of U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer in 2008. Their “Thanks, Bob” ad (which said nothing about term limits) was parodied and laughed at generally in a race Schaffer went on to badly lose, as well as provoking an FEC complaint. But it was a good lesson in the true purpose of the organization–which is to support favored Republican candidates of Howard Rich, a New York real estate developer and member of the board of the much larger right-wing advocacy group the Club for Growth.

With protests related to government…you know, stuff (better for Walker Stapleton to keep that as vague as possible) raging throughout the land, we can understand why this “grasstops” organization run by and for well-heeled Republicans is trying to insert itself in the action. Once the organization’s true motives are unpacked, though, it’s pretty easy to understand that this is a cynical campaign vehicle–funded by a New York billionaire to support George and Jeb Bush’s cousin’s political ambitions.

And that could dry up the grassroots enthusiasm.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Tom says:

    Convenient that a statewide elected official with ambitions for higher office, but who has little name recognition, would be the one agitating to clear the field of longtime incumbents. 


    Did he not think through how self-serving his involvement would look? Or is he right in thinking his base focus on a generic 'government bad' message? 


  2. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Walker Stapleton carries enough baggage for three candidates on his (presumed) run for Governor.

    There is

    *his DUI / hit and run charge in 2010,

    *his spotty attendance on the job,

    *his gold buggery (meanwhile accepting thousands from gold and mineral interests),

    *his funding from scandal-ridden Cerberus Capital, Bain Capital, and the like

    *his great grandfather Ben Stapleton's Klan affiliation while he was a five-term Denver Mayor,

    *his affiliation with the Bush Crime Family with all of its banking scandals

    So it isn't too surprising that Walker chooses to promote a politically popular idea such as term limits for Congressmembers. However, the USTL may itself be another path to scandal; a cursory look at Open Secrets shows that "Term Limits America", this "largest grassroots organization in the US",  seems to collect money, but don't distribute it. In 2016, with $234K cash on hand and $65K contributions, USTL spent (drumroll) $5000.

    Perhaps Walker needs to find another pony to ride.


  3. gaf says:

    So his number one priority as a (probable) candidate for Governor of Colorado, which already has term limits on state offices, is to advocate for term limits for congressional offices. Priorities.

  4. notaskinnycooknotaskinnycook says:

    It's never gonna happen. Why on earth would Congresscritters vote themselves out of their jobs? And I'm not sure they've been such a swell idea here. Lack of institutional memory combined with a lack of responsibility to constituents has helped to create some pretty tangled problems here.

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      I agree that it ain't gonna happen. File it under the category of "swell ideas that poll well and are safe to promote because one would never be accountable to make them work". Trump knows this with his term limits plan. No way in hell would a Mitch McConnell or an Orrin Hatch vote to lessen his influence. More's the pity.

      But for Walker Stapleton, with a definite lack of charisma, family and personal history of corruption and criminal behavior, little name recognition, and only the R by his name as an electoral asset, as Pols says, this is a comfy pony to ride around the park, possibly positioning him for a governor’s or Comgressional run.

  5. JohnInDenver says:

    Anyone want to guess how many people will show up at 11 on a Thursday in March for a Term Limits demonstration?

    Anyone want to speculate why a State Treasurer (or a candidate for Governor) would support a legal limit on federal legislators? Of all the possible issues to grab, THIS is the best use of his time and effort?

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      I'll bite….if it was our side mobilizing for a progressive cause using social media, we'd have a couple of hundred there on a weekday at 11 am. Since it's their side using a phone list, and probably sending paid actors, maybe 50 people will show.

      USTL   says that “Term Limits is known as the largest grassroots movement in American history, and US Term Limits (USTL) was, and still is, the leader of that movement”. So I guess we'll prepare to be astounded by their bigliness on 3/9/17.

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