The Race for CO-08 is Getting, Uh, Great?

Jan Kulmann

Colorado will gain a new Congressional seat in 2022. There is no shortage of interested candidates.

Thornton Mayor Jan Kulmann became the fourth Republican to file paperwork for a CO-08 bid today, joining State Sen. Barbara Kirkmeyer, Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine, and purple-haired lady Jewels Gray as official candidates in Colorado’s newest congressional district. State Senator Kevin Priola is still believed to be interested in running for the new Northern Colorado seat as well, though he might want to speed up his timeline considering that the Republican Primary is only about 6 months away.

Kulmann, whose first name is Janifer, is an interesting name for this race given her close ties to the oil and gas industry (she has worked for both Noble Energy and Whiting Petroleum, two of the bigger O&G companies with Colorado ties). An anti-fracking group tried and failed to recall Kulmann in 2016 when she served on the Thornton City Council, alleging that she had neglected to fully disclose her O&G connections to voters; she was elected Mayor of Thornton in 2019. Kulmann is trying to position herself as an “outsider” candidate in the crowded Republican Primary field, which is an interesting card to play considering the strong grip that right-wing “insiders” currently hold on the Colorado GOP.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, State Rep. Yadira Caraveo and Adams County Commissioner Charles “Chaz” Tedesco are locked in a tight battle. Caraveo was the first candidate out of the blocks when she announced her intentions in August, picking up a number of early high-profile endorsements. Tedesco countered on Monday with his own endorsement announcement — a group that includes former State Rep. Joe Salazar and former State House Speaker Andrew Romanoff.

It’s no surprise that a new congressional seat is attracting lots of attention from ambitious politicians, although things had been fairly quiet until recently. Buckle up for a six-month sprint to the June Primary Election.

Dr. Oz Prescribes Team Gardner for Senate Bid

You’re a doctor? And you want my recommendation?

We’ve been meaning to take note of an interesting bit of Republican consultant recycling taking place in Pennsylvania in the 2022 election cycle.

As you may have seen, Mehmet Oz, better known as celebrity television physician “Dr. Oz,” is seeking the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania next year (a state in which he may or may not actually live). The campaign team assembled by “Dr. Oz” will be familiar to Colorado political observers, as POLITICO reports:

Casey Contres, a Pennsylvania native who served as chief of staff for Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) and campaign manager for former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), is running Oz’s campaign.

Chris Hansen, former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is consulting for the campaign, along with strategists Jon Lerner and Larry Weitzner.

Casey Contres and Chris Hansen were longtime aides and confidants to Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who was thoroughly pummeled in his 2020 re-election bid by Democrat John Hickenlooper. That Gardner nearly lost by double digits as an incumbent Senator apparently does not concern Dr. Oz.

We’re not sure we’d want to follow Gardner’s example. But then, we aren’t doctors.

Two-Face Heidi Panders to Election Conspiracy Theorists

Heidi Ganahl

Republican Hiedi Heidi Ganahl got off to a rough start when she launched her campaign for governor in September, repeatedly stumbling over the very simple question of whether or not the 2020 Presidential election was legitimate. Ganahl has since tried different variations of an answer to questions about the “Big Lie,” recently seeming to settle on a response in which she says that Colorado’s election was probably okay but that she still has questions about other states.

Ganahl is struggling with what should be a very simple question because she doesn’t want to alienate right-wing supporters who actually do believe that the 2020 election was illegitimate. During a campaign event just before Thanksgiving, Ganahl made headlines for again suggesting that the 2020 election was fraudulent and then telling right-wing supporters that she was totally on their side (“Y’all, I care about everything that you care about”) but that she would be presenting a different face in television ads and media appearances in order to try to win over Unaffiliated voters in Colorado.

The story of Ganahl’s Nov. 18 campaign event in Durango is still being told, however. As Quentin Young reports for Colorado Newsline today:

….during a recent event with supporters [Ganahl] endorsed the work of a Colorado-based conspiracy group that rejects the results of the 2020 election, according to a recording of her comments obtained by Newsline.

The event, a meet-and-greet in Durango, occurred on Nov. 18.

At one point she discussed elections and ways they purportedly might be compromised by “bad actors.” Then she mentioned the election conspiracy group U.S. Election Integrity Plan, referring to it by its abbreviation: “USIE, IE , EIP — I always mess up the acronym — there are a lot of great people working on this issue that would love to have you volunteer, get involved, and they are just doing great things.” 

She adds that she would be happy to share the group’s contact information. [Pols emphasis]

USEIP was founded by Colorado election deniers and reportedly deploys teams of volunteers to neighborhoods throughout the state to conduct “voter verification” canvassing, an effort to collect evidence of alleged election fraud. The group has close ties to Tina Peters, the clerk and recorder of Mesa County whom a court barred from overseeing last month’s election due to her alleged role in subverting election security in her own office.

You can’t be a vocal supporter of USEIP and the so-called “Election Integrity Project” but ALSO say that you think the 2020 election was probably fine. That’s like wearing a fur coat to a PETA meeting.

“It would be good to know, as the woman who wants to run our state, what she actually believes. Not just, ‘well, I’ll tell these people this thing and I’ll tell these people this [other] thing, and y’all can sort it out.”

     — Kyle Clark, 9News anchor (Nov. 29, 2021)

This sort of double-talk is a Ganahl specialty. Back in October, Ganahl refused to say whether she still had confidence in State Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown after it was revealed that KBB had been in charge of a militia group in Colorado before she was elected to head up the State GOP. Brown led the extremist group FEC United, an organization founded by election conspiracy zealot Joe Oltmanna man who was literally in the room with Trump supporters (including John Eastman) who were plotting to overturn the 2020 election ahead of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

The more that Two-Face Heidi does this silly dance, the more damage she does to whatever credibility she might have left. When you try to be all things to all people, you usually end up being nothing to everybody.

“Decisive Action” Coming Against Boebert, Says Rep. Omar

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

The Washington Post’s Amy Wang updates on the continuing fallout from freshman GOP rhetorical arsonist Rep. Lauren Boebert’s implication that fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar could be a suicide bomber, which included an apparently fictional story suggesting that U.S. Capitol Police themselves view Rep. Omar as a security risk–outrageous enough to force an almost unheard-of apology from Boebert, subsequently retracted as Boebert reverted to vituperative form a few days later:

“I’ve had a conversation with the speaker, and I’m very confident that she will take decisive action next week,” Omar said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” It is unclear what Pelosi’s “decisive action” would include. Omar said that Boebert should be stripped of her committee assignments and that House leaders should rebuke her to send a “clear and decisive” message.

“I think it’s important for us to say this kind of language, this kind of hate cannot be condoned by the House of Representatives,” Omar said. “If the Republicans are not going to be adults and condemn this … we are going to do that.”

…Omar also called House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) “a liar and a coward” for not condemning Boebert’s language or punishing her. On Friday, McCarthy said Boebert had already apologized publicly and personally, not mentioning her subsequent public statements renewing her attacks on Omar.

On Friday, as Fox News reports, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced that Boebert’s apology was completely satisfactory even after being rescinded:

“Lauren Boebert, as I called her when it came forward, we talked. She apologized publicly. She apologized personally,” McCarthy also said, regarding Boebert’s comments about Omar. “In disagreements and something goes astray, you apologize for it – exactly what Lauren Boebert did.”

Besides,

“Did anyone on [Democrats’] side of the aisle talk about when Omar said the only reason I support Israel is about the Benjamins?” McCarthy said Friday. “I never got an apology or a phone call.”

In case no one remembers what politics were like just a few years ago, let’s be clear that there is a massive difference between suggesting a politician takes a position out of financial interests and suggesting a politician wants to kill you. It’s not the first time we’ve been gobsmacked simply by the need to point out something so patently obvious as this, but here we are again. McCarthy’s denial and absurd whataboutism broadcast clearly his total abandonment of leadership responsibility. None of this should come as a surprise after ex-President Donald Trump himself waded into the spat to gratuitously insult Rep. Omar in an obvious ploy to draw fire away from Boebert. For McCarthy, it looks to have been enough.

McCarthy’s refusal to take responsibility for his caucus obliges Democrats to take action against Boebert, up to possible censure and/or loss of committee seats. Removing Rep. Boebert from her seat on the House Natural Resources Committee would be a major blow to her standing with constituents in CD-3, providing an opening for Democrats and potentially a Republican primary challenger to argue she is no longer worth the trouble. The standard for punishing Boebert compared to the similar recent examples of Reps. Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene is consistent in that they have all in their way brought the specter of violence to the U.S. House. It’s a dishonor to their colleagues, their party, and the institution of Congress.

If the roles were reversed, and we mean legitimately reversed not McCarthy’s false equivalence, Republicans would demand nothing less.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Dec. 6)

Happy Day of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technologies of Azerbaijan. Please celebrate responsibly. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The Associated Press takes a deep dive into the madness of the modern Republican Party:

The path to power for Republicans in Congress is now rooted in the capacity to generate outrage. The alarming language, and the fundraising haul it increasingly produces, is another example of how Donald Trump, the former president, has left his mark on politics, changing the way Republicans rise to influence and authority.

Success in Congress, once measured by bills passed and constituents reached, is now gauged in many ways by the ability to attract attention, even if it is negative as the GOP looks to reclaim a House majority next year by firing up Trump’s most ardent supporters.

That has helped elevate a group of far-right lawmakers — including Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Paul Gosar of Arizona — whose inflammatory comments once would have made them pariahs.

Rather than face punishment for personal attacks that violate longstanding norms of Congress, they’ve been celebrated by conservatives, who have showered Boebert and Greene with campaign cash.

“We are not the fringe. We are the base of the party,” Greene, who has previously endorsed calls to assassinate prominent Democrats, said last week on a podcast hosted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon.

It’s not hard to find local examples of this Republican indifference to horribleness. Krista Kafer basically shrugs off Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s anti-Muslim rhetoric in her latest column for The Denver Post.

Elsewhere, Colorado “conservative” leaders have been taking to right-wing radio shows to say that Democratic politicians should literally be hanged.

 

Governor Jared Polis is taking aim at COVID-19 misinformation campaigns, as The Denver Post reports:

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday lamented that “misinformation and targeted lies” are creating resistance to vaccine science and killing Coloradans.

Polis was presenting to the legislative Joint Budget Committee about state spending in the 2022-23 fiscal year. He prefaced his budget proposal with a commentary on COVID-19.

“(O)ur hospitals are now filled, largely with unvaccinated Coloradans, many of whom are victims of misinformation campaigns and targeted lies that are being spread about the lifesaving vaccine,” he said.

“Unfortunately it’s that misinformation that’s making these unprotected Coloradans fall victim and get very ill and in some cases die from the virus, as well as making them into vessels for new mutations, like omicron. Not only does this misinformation pose a danger to our public health, but with every new mutation the economy here and across the world is impacted.”

 

 The Senate is pushing to complete a vote on President Biden’s Build Back Better Act before Christmas, as The Washington Post reports:

Senate Democrats are aiming to vote and approve a roughly $2 trillion package to overhaul the nation’s health care, education, climate, immigration and tax laws before Christmas, hoping to muscle through a jam-packed schedule to deliver the remaining piece of President Biden’s economic agenda.

Writing to lawmakers on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) affirmed the aggressive timeline, warning that there are “more long days and nights, and potentially weekends,” ahead of the chamber in order for it to finish a fuller array of legislative legwork before the end of the year.

The $2 trillion proposal, known as the Build Back Better Act, aims to expand Medicare coverage, invest new sums to combat climate change, authorize universal prekindergarten and provide new aid to low-income families, all financed through tax hikes targeting rich Americans and corporations. House Democrats adopted the bill in November, teeing it up for the Senate, where party lawmakers at times have been divided over its size and scope.

 

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado is on track for record employment growth in 2022.

 
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The GMS Podcast: Boebert Finds a New Low (ft. Sara Loflin)

Sara Loflin, Executive Director at ProgressNow Colorado

This week in episode 93 of the Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the persistent problems for Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl; a new low for Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle); and more weirdness from Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters.

Later, we talk with Sara Loflin, the new Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado, about her perspective on Ganahl — and the idea that Colorado should elect a woman as Governor — as well as her thoughts on Boebert’s awfulness and her vision for leading ProgressNow Colorado into 2022.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Monday Open Thread

“The trouble with us in America isn’t that the poetry of life has turned to prose, but that it has turned to advertising copy.”

–Louis Kronenberger

‘Stretch that rope’: Colorado conservative leader suggests Gov. Polis should be hanged

A prominent right-wing activist with ties to many Colorado Republicans on Friday called for the mass executions of politicians he said were “traitors” to the country, including Gov. Jared Polis and many U.S. senators.

Joe Oltmann, founder and president of the activist group FEC United and host of the “Conservative Daily” podcast, made a series of comments about the hanging of political opponents on his show throughout the week.

On Friday, Oltmann listened as his co-host, Max McGuire, read aloud the names of the 19 Senate Republicans who this week voted with Democrats to approve an 11-week stopgap spending bill, amid far-right demands to force a government shutdown over federal vaccine mandates for employers.

“There’s your list of 19 traitors to the American people, along with all the other traitors to the American people,” Oltmann said in response. “I want people to go out there and get some wood. The gallows are getting wider and longer. We should be able to build gallows all the way from Washington, D.C., to California.”

“We just have a line of executions of traitors through the United States of America,” Oltmann continued. “If you guys don’t think that’s funny — I think it’s kind of funny, actually.”

“This talk makes me incredibly nervous,” replied McGuire.

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Weekend Open Thread

“Americans are apt to be unduly interested in discovering what average opinion believes average opinion to be.”

–John Maynard Keynes

John Eastman Pleads The Fifth

Former University of Colorado “Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy” John Eastman speaking in Washington D.C. January 6th, 2021.

As Politico’s Kyle Cheney reports, former University of Colorado Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy John Eastman, who while serving in that role also served as the chief architect of the last-ditch plans by Donald Trump to overturn the results of the 2020 elections on January 6th, has invoked his constitutional protection against self-incrimination to justify his refusal to provide answers to questions posed by the Select Committee investigating the violent January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol:

John Eastman, the attorney who helped former President Donald Trump pressure then-Vice President Mike Pence to overturn the 2020 election, has asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination, according to a letter he delivered to the Jan. 6 committee explaining his decision not to testify.

“Dr. Eastman hereby asserts his Fifth Amendment right not to be a witness against himself in response to your subpoena,” his attorney, Charles Burnham, wrote in a letter to Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) dated Dec. 1.

“Members of this very Committee have openly spoken of making criminal referrals to the Department of Justice and described the Committee’s work in terms of determining “guilt or innocence,” Burnham continues. “Dr. Eastman has a more than reasonable fear that any statements he makes pursuant to this subpoena will be used in an attempt to mount a criminal investigation against him.”

Since it’s come out definitively that Eastman was a principal agent in the plot to overturn the 2020 elections, Eastman has had very different things to say about the plan he wrote and Vice President Mike Pence thankfully refused to carry out depending on the audience. Speaking to the National Review, Eastman conceded that the plan he wrote for the President would never have worked, saying “anybody who thinks that that’s a viable strategy is crazy.” But to a Democratic tracker he thought was a fellow Trump supporter, Eastman blamed Pence for not taking his advice, which he agreed was “totally solid.”

That’s just one of a number of contradictions and unanswered questions we had hoped to get sorted out with Eastman’s testimony before the January 6th Select Committee. The committee now has the option to accept or reject Eastman’s invoking of the Fifth Amendment, and could at the least compel Eastman to appear and invoke the Fifth in person for each individual question (see comment below).

Heidi Ganahl.

Once again, the reason Eastman is a subject in Colorado politics is the University of Colorado’s decision to hire Eastman as the school’s Visiting Scholar in Conservative Thought and Policy for the 2020-21 academic year. Eastman was on the payroll of Colorado’s flagship university during the same period he wrote the plan to overturn the 2020 elections, and the (current) Republican frontrunner in the 2022 governor’s race Heidi Ganahl lauded Eastman as “fantastic” in December–even after he authored a widely-condemned article questioning Kamala Harris’ citizenship qualifications to serve as vice president.

These days, Ganahl doesn’t want to talk about Eastman. But as long as John Eastman is getting more press than Heidi Ganahl, which he has been for months while Ganahl’s campaign launch sputtered, Ganahl’s refusal to answer press questions about the man on whom she once lavished effusive praise sticks out like Uma Thurman’s giant thumbs in Even Cowgirls Get The Blues. At the same time, Ganahl’s in-private assurances to the right-wing base that “I care about everything that you care about” create the distinct impression that Ganahl is not being honest with one of these two audiences.

We therefore expect the “divisive questions” will not let up.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Dec. 3)

December 3 has generally not been that interesting of a day in modern history. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

As The Washington Post reports, some Congressional Democrats are pushing for action to be taken against Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert for her anti-Muslim comments in recent weeks:

Five House Democratic caucus chairs, along with 36 other members of the Progressive Caucus, are calling for Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) to be stripped of her committee assignments, citing her repeated “anti-Muslim” attacks against Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.).

“There must be consequences for vicious workplace harassment and abuse that creates an environment so unsafe for colleagues and staff that it invites death threats against them,” the Democratic chairs wrote in a letter, alluding to threats Omar has received after the attacks by Boebert.

“There must be consequences when Members of Congress demonize an entire religion and promote hate from their positions of public trust,” they wrote.

The letter — signed by Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), Congressional Black Caucus Chair Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus Chair Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus Chair David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chair Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) — also criticized House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), saying he has not properly disciplined Boebert for her attacks.

Congressional Republican leaders, meanwhile, are much more concerned about internal caucus relationships than racist comments from members. From a separate story in The Washington Post:

House Republicans have decried the public feuding this week among a small group of GOP lawmakers as detrimental to the party’s ability to win back the House in the 2022 midterm elections because it distracts from their attacks on Democrats’ agenda.

But little has been said publicly by party leaders or rank-and-file members about whether they find the source of this feuding problematic: Islamophobic attacks by some Republicans against a Democratic congresswoman who is Muslim.

The party’s focus on the political ramifications of the infighting rather than the substance of the disagreement has led civil rights groups and Democrats to charge that Republicans are embracing, or at least enabling, bigotry.

“The GOP has made it very clear that they are not condemning this bigotry, this violent rhetoric, and in fact they are allowing this to become the political foundation to raise more money and to get more clout — and if there is any remaining traditional moral leadership within the GOP, I’m asking where it is,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

As The Denver Post reports, some Republican supporters of Boebert are falling back on the trope that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity.”

 

Meanwhile, Boebert is facing a different problem that has serious legal implications. As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman:

A comedy writer and documentary filmmaker is asking federal and state authorities to investigate U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, accusing the Silt Republican of abusing her position to squelch a political critic.

In letters delivered in late October to the acting U.S. attorney for Colorado and Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, Toby Morton, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, resident, said he wants them to determine whether Boebert improperly used a congressional staffer and the assistance of law enforcement officials in an attempt to shut down a satirical website he maintains and discourage him from producing a film about the freshman lawmaker…

…Morton’s complaints focus on what he described as a threatening email allegedly sent to him in May by Boebert’s press secretary and an encounter in July between Boebert and Morton’s cameraman outside Shooters Grill, the restaurant she owns in Rifle, that culminated in a social media account linked to Boebert posting an image of the cameraman’s license plate and name.

A Boebert spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Richard Painter, the chief White House ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush and one of Morton’s lawyers, told Colorado Politics that he was alarmed by Morton’s allegations suggesting potential abuse of police power.

 

 The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been detected in Colorado. As Colorado Public Radio notes, experts still aren’t clear on risks of Omicron compared to other variants.

 

Republican Matt Knoedler, a former Colorado lawmaker, discussed the nonsense idea that Democrats are “rigging” elections with John Eastman, the former visiting professor at CU who advised former President Trump on legal strategies for stealing the 2020 election.

Eastman, meanwhile, has asserted his right to avoid self-incrimination by invoking the Fifth Amendment in response to a Congressional subpoena.

 

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Who Wants To Tell Him? Casper Stockham Edition

Here is perennial Republican placeholder congressional candidate Casper Stockham, the Republican nominee in Colorado’s 7th and 1st Districts between 2016 and the present day, with some thoughts about you getting the COVID-19 vaccine–which if you haven’t yet, by the way, please do, and get boosted, and wear your mask, etc. despite Stockham’s misinformation:

We know what Stockham is trying to say–it’s bad advice coming from a lot of Republicans these days–which is don’t worry about getting the COVID vaccine, because of all the other things you can do to treat COVID once you catch it like…

If you’re wincing in pain right now over this singularly mangled discombobulation of the words “monoclonal antibodies,” that’s good because it means there is still hope for you. Because we of course do not treat viral infections with antibiotics, and “monicronal” is simply not a word that either exists or has any reason to exist. Stockham went beyond a mere typographical error to expose the deep void of ignorance that lies beneath.

If you didn’t learn your lesson in 2020, don’t take medical advice from these people.

Throwback Thursday: Colorado GOP’s Last Gasp Of Conscience

State Rep. Lori Saine, State Sen. Vicki Marble.

As political reporter Eli Stokols, then working for Denver’s KDVR-TV covered the story that shocked the Colorado political world on August 21, 2013:

Democratic lawmakers couldn’t believe their ears as they listened to Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, deliver a long soliloquy explaining that more blacks and Hispanics live in poverty, in part, because of fried chicken.

The comments came during a meeting of the Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction Task Force Wednesday at the Capitol as lawmakers on the committee were presented with a number of statistics highlighting racial disparities in the poverty rate.

“When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it,” Marble said. “Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better BBQ and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I love it.”

Making sure this overportioned serving of old-school racism wasn’t just directed at African Americans, Republican Sen. Vicki Marble continued:

Marble went on to mention how Mexicans eat vegetables in Mexico but stop eating healthily when they immigrate to the United States.

The response to Sen. Marble’s now-infamous diatribe about the “problems in the black race” was an avalanche of criticism that almost ended Marble’s career. A key component of the accountability Marble faced in 2013, as readers will recall, was the swift and (at least for a few news cycles) strong condemnation of Marble’s remarks from then-chairman of the Colorado Republican Party Ryan Call:

“Sen. Marble’s careless comments do not reflect the views of Republicans,” Call said. “Since the time of Abraham Lincoln, the GOP has a proud history of standing up for minorities, and we are committed to fighting for policies that ensure every American has the opportunity to succeed.” [Pols emphasis]

The controversy that became known as “ChickenGate” didn’t end with bipartisan condemnation of Sen. Marble. Just a couple of weeks later, fellow far-right Republican freakazoid Rep. Lori Saine inserted herself into the scandal by ostentatiously bringing fried chicken to the next hearing of the same committee–then literally running through the Capitol to avoid questions from reporters about her so-called “silent protest.” Once again, GOP Chairman Ryan Call joined in the chorus of outrage:

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (center), with some well-armed friends outside Shooter’s Grill.

But Lori Saine never apologized, and Saine and Marble went on to be re-elected to their respective seats. Saine’s farcical second act to Marble’s original offense was a show of defiance not just against Marble’s Democratic critics but also GOP Chairman Ryan Call. Today, Weld County Commissioner Lori Saine is running for Congress in the new CD-8.

In 2021, as Rep. Lauren Boebert commits outrages that would have been unthinkable in 2013 on practically a daily basis and a faction of hard-right members of Congress including Boebert openly threaten their own Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, there’s no one in charge at the Colorado Republican Party even trying to walk Boebert’s madness back. Colorado Republican Party chair Kristi Burton Brown, herself compromised by ties to the far-right fringe, lacks the judgment to even see the problem–let alone the courage to call it out.

And as you may have heard, Ryan Call’s conscience did not prevent him from allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from Republican donors to a pro-Trump SuperPAC.

The moral of this story? There isn’t one. There hasn’t been in a long time. The refusal by Kevin McCarthy, Kristi Burton Brown, or any prominent Colorado Republican to stand up to Lauren Boebert while she runs roughshod over the most basic standards of decency shows how far the Republican Party has descended morally just in the past few years. The seeds of this moral decay were present long before Donald Trump, but Trump helped make such conduct the rule in the Republican Party instead of the exception.

It’s getting harder as time goes by to recall, but it was not always like this.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Dec. 2)

On this day in 1954, the U.S. Senate voted to censure Republican Sen. Joseph McCarthy for accusing pretty much everyone of being a communist. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

The U.S. Supreme Court appears likely to deal a significant blow to abortion rights after a hearing on Wednesday related to a case in Mississippi. Opponents of abortion rights in Colorado seem to be confident that the Supreme Court will act in the favor, but as The Denver Post reports, Colorado Democrats are prepared to take action in the upcoming legislative session:

Democratic state lawmakers want to ensure abortion access remains legal in Colorado even if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

On the day the Supreme Court heard arguments over a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, a group of state legislators signed a proclamation to uphold Coloradans’ rights to abortion. They plan to introduce a bill next year codifying abortion rights into state law.

“Coloradans have affirmed over and over again that politics has no place in private medical decisions that belong between a pregnant person, their family and their provider,” Rep. Meg Froelich, a Democrat from Englewood, said in a news release. “Four times we have rejected political attempts to ban abortion on the ballot. It’s time to stop playing defense and move Colorado beyond the bans.”

You can read more on Wednesday’s announcement at Colorado Newsline, Colorado Public Radio, and CBS4 Denver.

 

Congressional leaders say that they may have a deal that would avert a government shutdown. From The Washington Post:

House and Senate leaders on Thursday announced they had reached a deal on a bill to fund the government into mid-February, opening the door for lawmakers to narrowly avoid a shutdown entering this weekend.

The agreement on a new stopgap spending measure set the House on a path to vote before the end of the day, though swift action still seemed uncertain in the Senate, where some Republicans have threatened to grind the government to a halt as they protest President Biden’s vaccine and testing mandates.

Both chambers must pass identical bills by midnight on Friday to avert a shutdown. Lawmakers from both parties have warned that a failure to fund the government could be disruptive, especially at a time when the country is responding to a new, potentially more dangerous variant of the coronavirus.

“If there is a shutdown, it will be a Republican, anti-vaccine shutdown,” Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the chamber floor, touting the fact that the new funding deal carries broad bipartisan support.

 

Supporters of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters and right-wing activist Sherronna Bishop held a rally of some sort in Grand Junction to air the same old grievances about how they should have a right to break the law. As Charles Ashby explains for The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel:

A rally in support of embattled Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters on Wednesday was more about bashing the media and government institutions, with speakers saying the American public isn’t being told the truth and their leaders are helping to destroy the nation.

But while the event was a peaceful one, many of the speakers repeated numerous falsehoods, such as the claim that the U.S. Constitution made sheriffs the ultimate authority in their counties.

The word “sheriff” doesn’t appear anywhere in the Constitution.

Those speakers, which included Peters, also repeated claims that they have proof of election fraud, but repeated the same debunked evidence, such as that 29,000 election files were deleted during a computer upgrade of election machines.

The Colorado Times Recorder has more on Wednesday’s nonsense. 

 

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Pelosi: If McCarthy Won’t Deal With Boebert, Dems Will

As ABC News’ Mariam Khan reports, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi does not appear to be interested in allowing freshman Colorado GOP Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s outlandish attacks and retracted apology to fellow Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota to slip down the memory hole–despite fellow Republicans’ increasingly strained refusal to comment:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert’s faith-based attacks on Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, who is Muslim, are “indecent” and “dangerous” and suggested it is a publicity ploy.

“To see a member of Congress attacking another member is not a good thing. Right? Under any circumstance. Whether it’s ethnic, generational, gender, or gender ID, whatever. But to see the supposed people of faith denouncing other people’s faith…it’s indecent. It’s indecent,” Pelosi said to House Democrats during a closed-door meeting, according to a source familiar with her remarks.

“So, this is hard because these people are doing it for the publicity. There’s a judgment that has to be made about how we contribute to their fundraising and their publicity on how obnoxious and disgusting they can be. But I do think it has to be clear that there is no place for that,” Pelosi said.

“These people do not respect the House that they serve in. We have to make sure that the public understands that we do,” Pelosi said. [Pols emphasis]

In contrast to the handling of fellow embarrassments Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, the initial response from House Democratic leadership was a call for Republican Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to take unilateral action against Boebert–the theory being that Boebert’s behavior was so bad that attempting to defend it would be self-injurious for fellow Republicans. McCarthy initially seemed to understand the need to take action, having arranged the call that took place Monday between Boebert and Omar that ended in further acrimony after Boebert turned the chance to apologize into another airing of talk-radio grievances. Since that attempt at diplomacy blew up in McCarthy’s face he’s been completely silent on the matter.

Democrats do have the power to take action against Boebert in the same manner as MTG and Gosar. Giving McCarthy a chance to act in this clear case of misconduct is not weakness, but rather a chance for Republicans to demonstrate that decency in the most basic sense has not become a question of partisanship.

If McCarthy does not take it, a full House vote to free up Boebert’s schedule is in order.

Ex-Senator Cheers Increasingly Dangerous Mesa County Fringe

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters with Western Slope right-wing activist Cory Anderson.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports today, the criminal investigation into Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and several associates for wire fraud after a breach of election system security that resulted in the leak of proprietary data to far-right conspiracy theorists continues following FBI search warrants executed last month. While we await the results of that investigation, the uneasy calm in Mesa County has been punctuated by further escalation of the rhetoric employed by Peters’ defenders.

It’s getting close enough to overt threats of violence that Mesa County’s all-GOP Board of Commissioners is “beefing up” security at county offices:

As a result of threats uttered in a recent Zoom meeting between several of them, including Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and Garfield County resident Sherronna Bishop, the county is in the process of beefing up its security just in case.

Some of the conspiracy theorists who where on the call said that if the government doesn’t back off on its “tyrannical” approach to investigating Peters, Bishop and others allegedly involved in breaches of election security protocols, violence may ensue.

“I have no desire whatsoever for violence, but I promise you the people in the country are not going to go down,” [Pols emphasis] said retired Air Force Col. Shawn Smith, who has been working with Bishop, Peters and others in pointing out alleged voter fraud, to which they continue to offer no solid evidence.

“They’ll either recognize their limits under the law and this will be walked back, or it’s going to get very dangerous, and it’s going to be dangerous all around,” Smith added. “I hope it doesn’t come to that, but if they think this is going to end in surrender from the people, they’re all wrong about that.”

Sherronna Bishop, Lauren Boebert’s former campaign manager who expressed heartbreak late last month when Boebert gave the investigation into Peters a carefully-worded thumbs up, is strongly giving off that B-movie last stand vibe:

“We will come to our senses and defend our constitutional republic, or we will go down fighting against a communist regime,” Bishop added. “But I definitely will not live on my knees and I know none of you will either and I will never be intimidated no matter what Gestapo tactics they are using.”

In response to this increasingly bellicose rhetoric, which can only be expected to get worse if and when criminal charges are brought against Peters and her co-conspirators, the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office has been working with the Board of Commissioners to improve security. Those efforts may get stress tested today by a “Truth and Justice Rally” at the county courthouse. This rally could become a bit awkward for the county sheriff’s office, since as Ashby reports, Peters’ supporters intend to ask the Mesa County Sheriff to arrest District Attorney Dan Rubenstein as one of their boxes checked off before starting the revolution.

Ex-Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

We of course fervently hope that none of this threatened violence actually takes place. We’re obliged to note, however, Peters’ misguided cause has now gained the support of former Colorado Sen. Kevin Lundberg, the highest-ranking Colorado Republican yet to validate this alleged criminal conspiracy:

Former state Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a Loveland Republican known for his far-right beliefs who also was on the call, told participants they are not alone in their efforts.

“This sort of thing is happening in a lot of states,” he said. “It ought to be happening in all 50. Keep on pressing forward and recognize that this is a momentum that’s building across this nation.”

Where does it end? Most likely in court, where all of this unfounded nonsense evaporates upon arrival like that teensy bit of snow Denver got a week ago. Unfortunately, the “reality-based community” that you and we and the courts all live in is now not just untrustworthy to the “dead-enders” who will not accept that Donald Trump lost the election, but their sworn enemy.

The question is how bad it gets before the end we can all see coming.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Dec. 1)

Yeah, we know there isn’t much snow right now in Colorado; we’re trying to suggest it into existence. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

All eyes are on the U.S. Supreme Court as the nation’s top judges debate, potentially, the fate of legal abortion in the United States. From The New York Times:

The Supreme Court seemed poised on Wednesday to uphold a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, based on sometimes tense and heated questioning at a momentous argument in the most important abortion case in decades.

Such a ruling would be flatly at odds with what the court has said was the central holding of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established a constitutional right to abortion and prohibited states from banning the procedure before fetal viability, or around 23 weeks.

But the court’s six-member conservative majority seemed divided about whether to stop at 15 weeks, for now at least, or whether to overrule Roe entirely, allowing states to ban abortions at any time or entirely.

Elections matter.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) has become a YUGE story nationwide. Consistent with her brand, however, Boebert is making headlines for the wrong reasons.

Boebert continues to generate news coverage for her disgusting comments suggesting that Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar is a terrorist/suicide bomber. The Denver Post editorial board felt compelled to apologize for Boebert’s behavior, while former President Donald Trump decided to see if he could say things about Omar that were even WORSE.

Boebert inspired TWO separate columns from Chris Cillizza of CNN, one on Tuesday and another on Wednesday. Today, Cillizza ultimately comes to a conclusion that we’ve discussed for years in this space:

As ugly and unsavory as Boebert’s actions are, they do provide insight into just how radically the mission of serving in Congress has changed — particularly for those, like Boebert, who have come into politics in the age of Donald Trump…

…Gone is the idea that politics is about making the country (and its people) better through compromise. Or even that passing any sort of legislation — or sponsoring any — matters at all.

In its place is politics as performance. Running for office and being in office are about promoting your personal #brand (barf). The best way to show “effectiveness” is not in bills passed but in appearances on Fox News…

…The unfortunate thing for our politics is that there are a whole lot of Republican politicians like Boebert in the pipeline. She’s the rule, not the exception, in the modern Republican party.

Performative Obstruction. That’s what this is. That’s what it has always been with Boebert. Whether or not she actually believes the crap that comes out of her mouth is secondary to the overall goal of just being the center of the discussion. Boebert also doesn’t seem to care that her persistent lies about Rep. Omar might literally be life-threatening accusations.

Republicans aren’t universally thrilled with Boebert, either. Here’s former Republican State Representative Cole Wist:

 

Congressional Republicans, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, are doing NOTHING in response to Boebert’s hateful rhetoric. McCarthy is instead trying to prevent GOP caucus members from tearing each other apart over Boebert’s horribleness.

Elsewhere, Robin Givhan of The Washington Post weighs in on The exhausting, soul-sapping meanness of Lauren Boebert.

Dana Milbank of The Washington Post writes that Boebert “is what George W. Bush called ‘the worst of humankind.'”

 

 As Jason Salzman writes for The Colorado Times Recorder, Boebert is throwing everything she can imagine at Rep. Omar — including completely unsupported claims that Omar denigrated Jews when she moved into her congressional office.

 

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Polis/Griswold Recall Update: A Whole Lot of Sad

We’ve been doing our best to keep an eye on the latest efforts by right-wing grifters to “recall” Gov. Jared Polis and/or Secretary of State Jena Griswold. When last we checked — on August 31 — “lead organizer” Lori Cutunilli was promising the Facebook faithful that recall petitions were just a few weeks away from circulation!

However, Recallpalooza seemed to be gasping for air by the time California Gov. Gavin Newsom easily turned back an attempt to oust him from office in September. According to the latest campaign finance report for the “Recall Polis – Griswold 2021” committee, momentum remains elusive:

 

You’re reading that correctly. The recall committee raised $12 in the last month — all of which came from Cutunilli herself. Things are so bad, in fact, that they would need to raise $1,307 just to be able to report that they have no money.

The grift may be strong among Colorado Republicans, but it is apparently not without end.

Trump Defends Boebert The Only Way He Knows How

Lauren Boebert and HWSNBN.

Yesterday, a call brokered by Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy between Reps. Lauren Boebert and Ilhan Omar, ostensibly for Boebert to apologize directly to Omar for suggesting on video that Omar is a terrorist threat–smearing Omar and by extension a group of Democratic lawmakers who both do and do not happen to be Muslim as the “Jihad Squad”–broke down into further acrimony as Boebert demanded a laundry-list apology from Rep. Omar–prompting Omar to hang up the phone in disgust.

This morning, the Denver Post editorial board apologized the right way on behalf of all of Colorado:

Boebert is intentionally using her platform to peddle a gross and false narrative about Muslim Americans. We cannot fathom what evil intent drives this behavior, but after first apologizing, Boebert now has made matters worse….

Rep. Ilhan Omar deserved nothing short of a full apology. Instead, Boebert used the phone call as a publicity stunt and further insulted Omar. Boebert is clearly incapable of remorse or reflection, so as her fellow Coloradans — a beautiful place of tolerance and respect, diversity and freedom — we will help her.

We apologize to the Congresswoman and to the Muslim community for Boebert’s insensitive remarks. Such remarks, no matter how innocently intended, have no place in American discourse. Boebert should not have fabricated an encounter with the Congresswoman and she most certainly should not have suggested she or any Muslim should be suspected of terrorism based on their religion.

For those who thought Boebert had finally been forced to back down after innumerable occasions in which an apology was not just in order but the very least Boebert could do, yesterday’s antics proved once again that she is incapable of acting like a well-adjusted adult–even when it’s in Boebert’s compelling self-interest to do so. As of this morning, the onus was squarely on House Minority Leader McCarthy to take further disciplinary action after Boebert essentially burned his trust as well.

But then, a little after 11:00AM, Boebert’s real boss decided to get in the ring:

For the ex-President, it’s the perfect grenade to throw into this already volatile situation–doubling down on some of the most offensive (and factually false) slurs from Boebert about Rep. Omar in order to deflect anger at Boebert from House Republican colleagues. After all, lots of Republicans would like to make the former President Speaker of the House if Republicans win the chamber back in the 2022 midterms, which we assume means they’re comfortable with his standard of conduct.

If the courage we held out enough hope to imagine last weekend among Republicans to finally stand up to Boebert dissipates now that the Offender-in-Chief has waded in to normalize Boebert’s slurs against Rep. Omar, you’ll know their time-honored strategy has worked once again. In addition to a loyal supporter, Boebert has been a faithful student of the ex-President’s strategy of fresh daily outrages to confound and overwhelm her critics.

As always, this is another chance for McCarthy (or any Republicans with a conscience left ) to prove us wrong.

But we at this point have no reason to expect it. The lowest common denominator is in charge now.

Hot Mic Damnation: Heidi Ganahl Winks, Nods To “Divisive” Fringe

UPDATE: Longtime Colorado election official with bipartisan street cred Amber McReynolds deplores Heidi Ganahl trucking with the vote fraud fringe:

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Heidi Ganahl.

Since launching her campaign for governor in September, CU Regent Heidi Ganahl has been hammered from both sides of the aisle for her inability to answer what she calls “divisive questions” about whether Joe Biden was the rightful winner of the 2020 elections. Because this is the most salient political question in American politics today, and also because it’s human nature to demand answers about the subjects public figures least want to discuss, Ganahl’s refusal to go off script and provide a satisfactory answer to what should be a very simple question exploded into a crippling liability as she rolled out her campaign.

Last night, 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger released an audio recording of Ganahl speaking to an audience of Republican faithful in Durango on November 18th. This audio-only recording captures Ganahl telling Republicans that the way to deal with supposed election fraud, which Ganahl in no way disputes is a thing, is to win by “such a red tsunami that there’s no question” of the results–like Donald Trump did, Ganahl says, presumably in 2016 when Trump “won by such a big margin, that there was no way that they could make it — fix, fix it, right?”

Riiiiight. That’s a pretty strong if still implicit embrace of the “Big Lie.” But then, Ganahl goes even further to assure the party faithful that she’s on board with…well, everything they’re on board with, which is an awfully broad sweeping statement:

In Ganahl’s answers from September, she mentioned kids, crime and cost of living.

In the tracker audio provided to Next with Kyle Clark from the Nov. 18 event, Ganahl explained that those are her talking points to win over unaffiliated voters. [Pols emphasis]

“So, you’re going to see me talk about things that the unaffiliated voter cares about, and you might be like, ‘Heidi, get feistier, talk about different, you know, things that we care about.’ Y’all, I care about everything that you care about. [Pols emphasis] You hear me talking here, right now. But in the media and on my ads, [Pols emphasis] I’m going to talk about crime and kids and the cost of living because that’s what’s going to win us the 7% of unaffiliated voters. We’ve got to be so disciplined about that. So disciplined,” Ganahl said at the Durango Meet and Greet on Nov. 18.

Back in 2012, longtime readers will recall, Republican presidential loser Mitt Romney came under intense criticism after a video leaked of Romney speaking to campaign donors about the “the 5 to 6 or 7 percent that we have to bring onto our side,” essentially writing off the 47% of the electorate on either side as predictably for or against him. Here is Heidi Ganahl saying basically the same thing, but this time in order to assure a far-right audience she cares about “everything that you care about.” Given that at least some of the people in that room statistically believe Democrats drink the blood of children and JFK, Jr. is about to magically reappear, that is not a blanket statement we would feel comfortable making.

Ganahl’s much-too-frank acknowledgment of a fundamentally duplicitous campaign message is another major disaster for her struggling campaign, as it was for Mitt Romney when his campaign manager cracked about “shaking the Etch-a-Sketch” to reset from a Republican primary to a general election message. Instead of moving past these “divisive questions,” Ganahl has just ensured they will remain front and center after embracing the far-right fringe when Ganahl thought it was safe to do so. This is audio Ganahl will dearly wish as time goes on had never been made public.

Like Mitt Romney discovered in 2012, two-facedness is how you lose the trust of all sides.