Jeffco Republicans Refuse to Do Thing Nobody Needs Them to Do

As Erik Maulbetsch reports for The Colorado Times Recorder, the Jefferson County Republican Party is mad as hell and they’re not going to pretend to be doing nothing anymore. Instead, they are going to pretend to do something that doesn’t mean anything. So there!

From The Times Recorder:

The Jefferson County Republican Party announced on Facebook today that it “refused to certify the election results.” Election certification is the responsibility of the canvass board and the County Clerk, not political parties.

Reached for comment, Jefferson County Clerk spokesperson Kara Rowland explained that the county’s election results are already certified…

…Colorado Secretary of State spokesperson Betsy Hart confirmed this.

Oh yeah? Well, then, the Jefferson County Republican Party is going to refuse to certify every election this century! Not only that, they’re thinking about refusing to certify future elections!

2020 Election Results in Jefferson County, Colorado. Not exactly a photo finish.

And what is the Jeffco GOP’s particular beef with 2020?

While the Jeffco GOP says it is not alleging fraud, it is basing its demands for “an audit” on unfounded conspiracy theories about the voting machine software company, Dominion Voting, which is used by Jeffco (and nearly every other county in Colorado).

It’s unclear from the public statements and the party’s so-called “Minority Report” if the Jeffco executive committee understands the county election process. Chair Denise Mund did not return a request for comment. [Pols emphasis]

With regards to the Jeffco GOP’s audit request, Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder George Stern explains that it’s already happened.

Oh…so you already did the audit thing…that we are demanding. Okay, well, it’s a good thing we demanded it!

We’ll leave it to you, dear readers, to suggest other potential actions that the Jefferson County Republican Party can take that will serve absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

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SPOILER ALERT: Joe Biden Won the Election

UPDATE: As CNN reports, it just…might…really…be finally over:

The General Services Administration has informed President-elect Joe Biden that the Trump administration is ready to begin the formal transition process, according to a letter from Administrator Emily Murphy sent Monday afternoon and obtained by CNN.

The letter is the first step the administration has taken to acknowledge President Donald Trump’s defeat, more than two weeks after Biden was declared the winner in the election.

This may be as close as Donald Trump is going to get to conceding the 2020 election, but we’ll take anything that brings an end to this madness.

—–

Yeah, it’s still true

As The New York Times reports, another effort by President Trump to get the 2020 election results overturned in his favor has failed. Michigan, you are excused:

Michigan’s statewide electoral board approved its presidential vote tally on Monday, resisting pressure from President Trump to delay the process and paving the way for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. to receive the state’s 16 electoral votes.

The Michigan vote was one of the biggest setbacks yet for Mr. Trump, who had directly intervened in the state’s electoral process to voice support for Republican officials who had made false claims about the integrity of the vote, and invited Michigan G.O.P. legislative leaders to the White House on Friday. Those leaders said afterward that they would allow the normal certification process to play out.

After reviewing the State Bureau of Elections’ report, which showed Mr. Biden winning the state by 154,000 votes over Mr. Trump, the Michigan board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans, voted 3 to 0 with one abstention to certify the results. Norm Shinkle, one of the Republican members of the board, abstained.

Norm Shinkle, thy name shall forever be entwined with the definition of courage. As in, “Unlike Norm Shinkle, the protagonist displayed great bravery.”

Anyway, Democrat Joe Biden is the President-elect, and that’s not going to change — no matter how many times they recount the ballots in Georgia.

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Boebert Asks for Permission to Continue Shtick in Congress

Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert

Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was elected earlier this month in CO-03 with a fairly simple strategy. She apparently sees no reason to alter that approach now that she is Congresswoman-elect Q*Bert.

As The Associated Press reports, Boebert has asked permission to bring her sidearm to the U.S. Capitol on a daily basis:

Boebert asked Capitol Police officials about carrying her weapon when she and other House freshmen taking office in January were in town recently for orientation programs, according to two congressional officials. Both people — a Democrat and a Republican — spoke on condition of anonymity to describe her request…

…A 1967 regulation says no federal or District of Columbia laws restricting firearms “shall prohibit any Member of Congress from maintaining firearms within the confines of his office” or “from transporting within Capitol grounds firearms unloaded and securely wrapped.”

Lawmakers may not bring weapons into the House chamber and other nearby areas, the regulations say, according to a letter Rep. Jared Huffman, D-Calif., wrote in 2018. Aides can carry lawmakers’ weapons for them on the Capitol complex, he wrote.

Boebert won in 2020 by virtue of being a Trump-loving Republican in a Republican-friendly Congressional district, but to get there she had to first knock off a fairly un-interesting incumbent in Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez). Boebert upset Tipton largely because of a shtick that she had been honing for years: She was the plucky young mom who wrapped herself in an American flag and carried a gun on her hip everywhere she went. Boebert painted a simple caricature of herself and rode that puppy through a Republican Primary and the General Election in November.

There was not more to Boebert than this character that she created, but it was enough in 2020. Voters didn’t seem to mind that Boebert refused to debate Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush. They didn’t mind that she had no relevant experience and no real policy positions and, as a result, generally avoided media outlets not related to Fox News or Breitbart. When Boebert did talk to media outlets that were not reliably-right wing, she usually made an ass of herself. Voters in CO-03 didn’t even seem to mind that Boebert was not exactly an upstanding citizen of the district.

Keeping Boebert out of debates and away from reporters was part of the campaign strategy, and it seems that letting others speak on her behalf will be a continuing theme in Congress. The AP tried to talk to Boebert about her desire to carry a gun around Washington D.C., but were rebuffed:

Aides to Boebert, who Trump endorsed as “a fighter” who will “never bow down to the establishment in Congress,” did not make her available for an interview.

“This was a private discussion and inquiry about what the rules are, and as a result the Congresswoman-Elect won’t be going on the record,” Boebert aide Laura Carno said in an email last week.

We wouldn’t want Boebert talking to reporters, either, but it seems untenable that staff could shoo away the media and lean only on pre-approved statements for the next two years. But it worked during the election, and that seems to be the plan going forward: Give Boebert her prop gun and make sure she doesn’t have to speak for herself.

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Colorado’s Last GOP Governor Finally Tells Trump It’s Over

Former Gov. Bill Owens (R).

9NEWS’ Dacia Johnson reports, former GOP Gov. Bill Owens checks in somewhere in the middle of the pack of Republican officials and alumni breaking the news to President Donald Trump that his dead-ender quest to overturn the unambiguous result of the 2020 election is over:

A former Colorado Republican governor is asking President Donald Trump to “respect the will of the voters,” using his own election as an example.

Bill Owens was the governor of Colorado from 1999-2007 and on Facebook said, “in 1998 I was the first Republican to be elected Governor of the State of Colorado in 24 years … I won that 1998 race by 8,297 votes out of 1.3 million cast.”

But in his Facebook post yesterday, Gov. Owens says it’s time for Trump to hang up his spurs:

For the good of the country and our democracy President Trump needs to respect the will of the voters, accede to the wishes of the electorate, and help prepare the way for the 46th President of the United States, Joe Biden. And—no matter our own personal political views—we should, as Americans, do the same.

Of course it’s a welcome sign to see some Republicans starting to abandon Donald Trump as he continues his equal parts damaging and pathetic temper tantrum over losing the 2020 presidential election by in excess of six million votes and counting, and an Electoral College margin equal to what Trump himself called a “landslide” four years ago. The problem is that this accelerating withdrawal of support from Trump is at least two weeks too late, and is coming only after it’s become clear that a majority of the Republican base has internalized a fictional narrative that the election was stolen.

That’s why, instead of expressing gratitude for Bill Owens “breaking ranks” three weeks after the election, and Chris Christie doing the same yesterday, and every Republican about to join them in the coming days, we’re obliged to ask: why wasn’t it three days? By letting this shameful, baseless second-guessing of American democracy go on as long as it has, tremendous harm has already been done. Millions of Americans now think democracy failed, when it in fact succeeded in its most difficult test since the Civil War.

More was needed. More is needed. And no gratitude is in order for so belatedly speaking up.

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Dudley Brown Helps Spring Accused Killer Kyle Rittenhouse

Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

AP reports via the Denver Post that Kyle Rittenhouse, a minor accused of killing two people after crossing from his native Illinois into the state of Wisconsin with an assault rifle during riots over police violence in Kenosha last August, is out on bail:

A 17-year-old from Illinois who is charged with killing two people during a protest in Wisconsin and whose case has become a rallying cry for some conservatives posted $2 million bail Friday and was released from custody.

Kyle Rittenhouse is accused of fatally shooting Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber and wounding Gaige Grosskreutz during a demonstration Aug. 25 that followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha. He posted bond through his attorney at about 2 p.m., Kenosha County Sheriff’s Sgt. David Wright said…

His case has taken on political overtones. Supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement have painted Rittenhouse as a trigger-happy white supremacist. Conservatives upset over property destruction during recent protests have portrayed him as a patriot exercising his right to bear arms during unrest. A legal defense fund for him has attracted millions of dollars in donations, and his mother got a standing ovation from women at a Waukesha County GOP function in September.

Right after Rittenhouse’s arrest in August, Colorado’s foremost gun rights activist Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners announced he was raising funds for Rittenhouse’s legal defense. We don’t know how much of the $2 million bail posted was Dudley’s money, but by September Brown’s National Foundation for Gun Rights (as he calls his fundraising operations outside Colorado) said they had amassed $50,000 on Rittenhouse’s behalf.

Rittenhouse’s case has become a cause celebre for the right wing owing to his tender age and the supposed urgency of his need to cross state lines with an assault rifle and kill people during the Kenosha riots. But the reality is that Rittenhouse’s presence on the streets of Kenosha with his assault rifle was a crime all by itself. The idea that Rittenhouse was somehow justified in traveling out of state into a riot zone with an assault rifle he could not even legally carry is simply ridiculous. As a test case for gun rights, this case is terrible for the gun lobby, but once the movement seized on Rittenhouse as a sympathetic figure these facts were lost in the din.

So what happens next? Well, as AP reports, there is real concern that Rittenhouse will jump bail given the seriousness of the charges he faces–and unfortunately, there is in all likelihood a large network of “law abiding gun owners” happy to assist such a flight from justice. The bail money raised in that event would be disposable, of course, but we suspect most of the donors won’t object.

For the sake of the families of the people Kyle Rittenhouse killed, we hope that doesn’t happen.

If it does, it will easily rank among Dudley Brown’s worst offenses–and that is no small statement.

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GOP State Rep: Spread COVID This Thanksgiving For Freedom

As readers know, Gov. Jared Polis and public health officials across the state and nation are begging Americans to avoid multi-household gatherings this Thanksgiving as the COVID-19 pandemic rages unchecked and hospitals fill to capacity much, much too early in the season.

But Republican Rep. Mark Baisley of Douglas County, who you might remember from his embarrassing misinformation about “altered death certificates” in the spring that helped fellow COVIDiots deny the severity of the pandemic, has his own message for HD-39 constituents: Americans have the God-given right to be stupid.

COVID-19 public health compliance officer.

Rep. Baisley perfectly sums up the problem with the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic in just these few paragraphs without realizing it. Yes, Americans have rights to freedom of assembly, and religious freedom. But Gov. Polis is not urging Coloradans to avoid mingling households over Thanksgiving in order to trample their freedoms. It’s about saving lives from a deadly disease that is spreading out of control. Just because one has a right to do a thing does not make it smart to do it wherever and whenever, and if a global pandemic that has killed 250,000 fellow Americans isn’t enough to convince someone to be serious about the safety of themselves and their families, we have no idea what could.

The true penalty for not following the direction of public health experts, like Gov. Polis says invoking the Grim Reaper, will not be administered by the state. Extended families who spread COVID-19 among themselves this Thanksgiving will pay a greater price than anything Polis could possibly do to them for disregarding public health orders. It is not unreasonable to predict that some number of people in HD-39 who agree with their state representative and turn Thanksgiving into a political grandstand against Jared Polis at the cost of common sense will die.

In short, one may be able to argue eloquently in favor of the right to assemble in front of an oncoming train, but respecting that crossing signal makes a lot more sense. Though it’s long been said that “the Constitution is not a suicide pact,” it was perhaps never more true than at this moment.

Here’s a concept: keep your family safe because you want to. Let that moral obligation transcend piffling partisanship.

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Friday Open Thread

“The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.”

–Bertrand Russell

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Jenna Ellis: From “Never Trumper” To Trump Coup Plotter

Today, former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and leading Donald Trump campaign attorney Jenna Ellis hosted a press conference detailing what Trump billed earlier today is his “very clear an viable path to victory.” Giuliani has a simpler way of describing it:

Trump attorney Jenna Ellis.

But despite the bombastic headline, not even Fox News was persuaded any such thing is likely to happen based on the information presented:

President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani on Thursday aggressively made the case for the Trump campaign’s legal challenge of the 2020 election results, alleging in a firery [sic-Pols] news conference that there was a “centralized” plan to carry out voter fraud around the country.

This is a different approach than the campaign has recently taken in court, where they have primarily focused on the validity of ballots and counts without asserting fraud. While Giuliani did not present any direct evidence of a massive fraud scheme, [Pols emphasis] Giuliani asserted that this is the “logical conclusion” reached as a result of incidents he said took place in several states…

Trump campaign legal adviser Jenna Ellis explained the lack of new evidence at the news conference [Pols emphasis] to support their allegations by saying this was merely an “opening statement,” and that more evidence would be forthcoming in court.

Here’s Jenna Ellis, tearing into the media for failing to give claims of election fraud that no responsible observer or court has found legitimate their due:

ELLIS: The facts matter, the truth matters, and if you are fair reporters you will cover that fairly and appropriately and you will allow coverage of our media team here. And our legal team. That is absolutely shocking that all you cover are around the margins, and I’ve seen all of you taking pictures right now. And I can anticipate what your headlines are going to be. If you are not willing to talk about the evidence that has been presented, then that is absolutely unacceptable for journalistic standards. This is an opening statement, this is something where we have told you what the evidence will show, and we have given you a brief description. That happens in a courtroom all the time, where that’s not the fact-finding process, that is just an overview. That is what we have given you today because the American people deserve to know what we have uncovered in the last couple of weeks. Remember, this is such a short time frame. And this is an elite strike force team that is working on behalf of the President and the campaign to make sure that our constitution is protected. We are a nation of rules. Not a nation of rulers…

No doubt Rudy Giuliani feels gratified being called a member of Trump’s “elite strike force team,” but there’s no more “there” there today in Trump’s fruitless attempts to legally challenge the results of the 2020 elections than there was yesterday. Although Trump’s legal team insists this is all intended to result in the election actually being overturned and awarded to Trump, there is nothing to suggest a coherent strategy to do that is even being attempted–and if it is, it’s failing in court as fast as the half-baked challenges can be filed.

In the case of Jenna Ellis, who hails from Colorado, the motivations for this quixotic PR campaign masquerading as a legal strategy to overturn an American presidential election are more difficult to piece out. Ellis has her own record of highly controversial far-right views on social wedge issues, writing a blog post after the 2015 Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando titled “Orlando aftermath – Two wrongs do not make an LGBT Right” arguing that “just because we are all heartbroken…that 50 Americans lost their lives does not mean that America, conservatives, or Christians should become activists for homosexuality.”

Safe to say, Jenna Ellis is not a “kinder, gentler Republican.” But back in 2016 when Donald Trump was just beginning his takeover of the Republican Party, Ellis was something that might have become creditable had she stuck with it–a “Never Trumper.”

(more…)

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Nothing That a Little Revisionist History Won’t Fix, Eh?

Former House GOP Chief of Staff Jim Pfaff resigned before he could get pfired

The former Chief of Staff for the Republican House caucus issued a terse press release on Wednesday announcing his resignation. That Jim Pfaff felt he was important enough to send out a press release about his employment is a different topic altogether, but the content of Pfaff’s missive is another striking reminder that Colorado Republicans are stuck in a very bad place after a second straight drubbing at the polls.

First, let’s take a look at Pfaff’s weird multi-voice press release, which was issued directly from Pfaff himself from an @msn.com email address:

Today, Jim Pfaff, the former Chief of Staff for the House GOP Caucus under Rep. Patrick Neville, announced his reasons for leaving the House Republican Caucus. After numerous inquiries asking Jim Pfaff after people began to learn he had left the position of Chief of Staff, Mr. Pfaff decided to make a statement.

“I left my position as a Chief of Staff in Washington, DC to return home to Colorado for Pat Neville. Pat is a strong leader whom I was honored to serve. I was unlikely to continue on in my position without Rep. Neville at the helm of the Caucus. But I waited to see who would replace him as leader. That person was Hugh McKean a man whom I refuse to serve. Rep. McKean and others raised and spent about $3 million to take out Republicans in primaries in 2020 instead of focusing on General Election races which would have expanded our caucus. As it turned out, many good GOP candidates in winnable districts could not match Democrats in fundraising. That is the losing strategy which has been plaguing Republicans for a decade-and-a-half now. I decided I would not use my skills and expertise to support losing strategies.”

When Pfaff says that he issued this release “after numerous inquiries” about leaving the position of Chief of Staff, what he really means is that he fielded questions from somebody he met in the elevator and, later, one of his neighbors. Pfaff was one of former House Minority Leader Pat Neville’s top lieutenants, so when Neville announced in October that he wouldn’t seek re-election as Minority Leader, Pfaff was already updating his resume. New leaders almost always bring new staffers with them. If you didn’t suspect that Pfaff was on his way out, then you probably didn’t know that Neville wasn’t going to be Minority Leader anymore; if you didn’t know that, then you weren’t really paying attention to any of this anyway.

Now try it WITHOUT your heads in the sand.

It is the second paragraph of Pfaff’s release that is more instructive. You can skip past the first few sentences in which Pfaff rubs some extra shine on Neville’s rear-end. The key piece is when Pfaff denigrates Minority Leader-elect Hugh McKean as “a man whom I refuse to serve” because of these grievances:

Rep. McKean and others raised and spent about $3 million to take out Republicans in primaries in 2020 instead of focusing on General Election races which would have expanded our caucus. As it turned out, many good GOP candidates in winnable districts could not match Democrats in fundraising. That is the losing strategy which has been plaguing Republicans for a decade-and-a-half now. I decided I would not use my skills and expertise to support losing strategies. [Pols emphasis]

Okay, so, here’s the thing: Pfaff is complaining about a strategy THAT HE AND HIS FORMER BOSS EMPLOYED FOR YEARS. Neville and his friends at Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) always spent a good deal of time and money playing in nasty Republican Primary races — including in the June 2020 Primary. In fact, we pointed out in this space in July that the Neville Clan’s embarrassing Primary losses likely meant the end of Patrick Neville’s hold on the GOP caucus. Alex Burness of The Denver Post wrote something similar a few weeks later.

Pfaff’s complaints would be like President Trump bellyaching that another Republican elected official was being mean to people on Twitter. McKean and friends did the same things that Neville and Pfaff have done for years, only they did it better (not that there was a particularly high bar to clear).

Colorado Democrats won an historic majority in the State House of Representatives in 2018. Democrats maintained that 41-24 seat advantage in 2020 and picked up another seat in the State Senate. It didn’t help Republicans that there were so many nasty Primary battles last summer, but that’s not the reason they did so poorly in early November; the truth is that Republicans had bad candidates and ran bad campaigns, while Democrats did the exact opposite.

Interestingly enough, Pfaff’s revisionist history is actually not all that dissimilar from the approach that McKean appears to be taking in his new role. Last week, McKean declared that he doesn’t “believe for a second” that Colorado has become a blue state. As we wrote at the time, it doesn’t much matter whether McKean “believes” this or not. The numbers speak for themselves.

McKean’s statement and Pfaff’s vitriolic press release show that while Republicans may have rearranged a few positions on the boat after two bad election cycles, they’re still just rowing in circles.

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Senate GOP Spox Sells Slap Happy COVIDiot Face Masks

Trolling the interwebs today, we ran across something that will make you laugh, or not, probably not, or maybe laugh just for a moment before you get angry relative to your personal experience with the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic:

“The Governor Made Me Wear This Mask!” Are you not amused?

Colorado Senate GOP Minority spokesman Sage Naumann’s limited edition bumper stickers celebrating the GOP’s 2019 obstruction campaign were somewhat more funny than the disruptive antics of the Republican minority last year, but unfortunately we can’t say that about the pandemic which has now killed over 250,000 Americans. With Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert invoking deceased lawmakers as a reason for his cantankerous caucus to do the right thing in the upcoming special session devoted to COVID relief, this mask seems like an outrageous miscue.

Except it’s not. It’s just Republicans playing to their different audiences!

We’re not linking to the order page. If you’d like to sort these mixed messages out, or buy one of Sage’s masks so you can wear your COVIDiocy literally on your face while your friends and neighbors get sick and die, contact the Senate Minority Press Office.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (November 18)

Happy Proclamation Day of the Republic of Latvia. Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

► And then there was purple. As The Denver Post reports:

Colorado will impose tighter restrictions on 15 counties, including Denver and much of the metro area, by the end of the week in the state’s latest effort to curb the accelerating transmission of COVID-19 without ordering a lockdown, officials announced Tuesday.

The new public health restrictions in those counties encourage, but do not order, people to stay at home, while prohibiting all personal gatherings outside of an individual’s household, barring indoor dining at restaurants and moving last call for alcohol to 8 p.m.

Confusion about the new rules reigned for much of the afternoon Tuesday after Gov. Jared Polis announced at a news conference that “a number of counties” would be moving to Level Red on the state’s revamped, color-coded coronavirus dial — but then declined to identify which counties would be subjected to the more aggressive restrictions.

Level Red used to be the highest level on Colorado’s dial and would have triggered a stay-at-home order, but state officials have pushed back the threshold that counties need to qualify for a lockdown by adding an even higher status — Level Purple — that Polis said won’t be invoked unless hospitals are overflowing.

TL;DR: Most of the Metro area will likely be moved to Level Red at the end of the week, which is not as bad as Defcon Purple but is still a significant increase. 9News has more on what the Purple means.

Stay home if you can. Wear a mask if you can’t. And never forget: The coronavirus doesn’t care about your political leanings. As The Washington Post reports, more than 3 million Americans are now believed to be contagious with coronavirus.

Via CDPHE

 

Pfizer announced that its coronavirus vaccine appears to be 95% effective, and the company will seek regulatory approval “within days.” Earlier this week, Moderna revealed that one of its coronavirus vaccines appeared to be 95% effective.

Elsewhere, the FDA has authorized the first at-home coronavirus test — and it won’t require you to jab yourself in the brain with a long q-tip.

 

How bad are things going at the White House? As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, the Lame Duck-in-Chief is doing just about everything we feared he would do:

The end of Donald Trump’s time in the White House was always going to be ugly. Just how ugly is now coming into clearer focus.

The removal of Chris Krebs, the director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, on Tuesday night is the newest abomination of how a government and a president should work. While it’s impossible to say it’s the worst or most damaging thing Trump has done while in office — they all run together after a while — what can be said is that what the President did on Tuesday night runs directly counter to the healthy functioning of a democracy.

Why? Because Krebs was fired for telling the truth…

…If you are fine with Trump firing Krebs, what you are saying is that the truth is immaterial. That the whims of a leader trump facts. Down this road — and it’s not even that slippery of a slope — lies nothing good. And in fact, a lot of very scary things.

Krebs did his job by helping to keep our elections safe in 2020, but his failure to find fraud doomed him with a President who is desperate for someone credible to acknowledge that there is still a way that Trump could remain in office.

 

► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner will not be in the Senate much longer after getting pummeled at the polls earlier this month. You would think this would give Gardner some freedom to express actual opinions about important topics, but, alas, cowardice has kept a firm grip on the Yuma Republican.

 

► As we mentioned Tuesday, Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) will soon drop his second job as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. According to Conrad Swanson of The Denver Post, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler and the genius behind “Personhood,” Kristi Burton Brown are both potential candidates to succeed Buck as Chair. Ultimately, we’d expect that it will be Gessler who ends up as the next GOP Chair.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Cory Gardner’s Loyalty To Trump Extends Beyond Political Grave

After nearly two weeks of trying, a reporter finally got outgoing Sen. Cory Gardner to utter words in response to the terminal crisis of Donald Trump’s out-of-control presidency–Trump’s refusal to acknowledge the results of an election that no reasonable observer has found any reason to question the results of.

Free of the obligation to defend a unified Republican ticket in a state Republicans have been losing for 15 years and at an accelerated pace since Trump took office, did Gardner finally summon up the spine to admit the obvious, and call for the peaceful transfer of power he assured us would take place when Trump suggested delaying the election back in July?

Sorry to disappoint you, folks.

The only thing we can say in response to this latest and perhaps final refusal by Sen. Gardner to keep the promise he made to voters in 2014, “when my party is wrong, I’ll say it,” is that it strongly indicates something more than political expedience at work in Gardner’s loyalty to Donald Trump. After Gardner called on Trump to pull out of the presidential race in October of 2016, Gardner’s swift about-face into one of Trump’s most indefatigable defenders ran directly counter to the preference of a majority of Colorado voters–even many Colorado Republicans, who had tried to make the state an example of Republican resistance to Trump by locking down for Ted Cruz at the 2016 GOP state assembly.

Cory Gardner had countless opportunities to meaningfully separate from Trump, plotting a careful course like neighboring Sens. Mitt Romney and Ben Sasse to exit the Trump era with their reputations intact in much redder states. Trump’s divisiveness created a bright white line between his supporters and the rest of the country, and Gardner stayed with his President even though that clearly meant aligning with a minority of Colorado voters. In setting the stage for Gardner’s widely anticipated defeat, there was a rush to make excuses for Gardner’s very deliberate choice to stay loyal to Trump over Colorado.

None of those excuses explain why Gardner is still covering for Trump now.

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Jared Polis Steps Up Because Mitch McConnell Won’t

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

As the Denver Post’s Alex Burness reports:

Colorado state lawmakers are preparing for Gov. Jared Polis to call a special session focused on COVID-19 relief.

Top Democratic officials in both chambers of the statehouse say they and the Democratic governor’s office have been in talks for weeks on a possible special session, and that the failure of Congress to pass a new federal stimulus package has added urgency to those talks of late…

The governor’s office, asked about the possibility of a special session, released this statement from Polis and Democratic legislative leaders: “Legislative leaders and the Governor’s office have been having productive conversations on how we can step up to help provide additional relief to Colorado businesses and hardworking families during these challenging times.”

This morning, Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette relayed more details on the relief package state lawmakers will take up in the special session expected to be announced by Gov. Jared Polis at a press conference this afternoon:

Polis already has proposed a $1.3 billion stimulus package for the 2021-22 fiscal year budget. That package contains $220 million in “shovel-ready public works and infrastructure projects,” mostly for the Department of Transportation and state parks improvements. Another $160 million would go toward broadband investments, including telehealth and education; $78 million for wildfire response; $106 million for small businesses — mostly direct aid grants to restaurants and bars, hit hard by capacity restrictions imposed by the state and local governments; and $168 million for the $375 payment for low-and middle-income earners who lost jobs due to the pandemic.

Another $200 million is included for “one-time stimulus legislative priorities.”

The stimulus headed to lawmakers for the special session is a subset of that $1.3 billion package, comprised of an additional $220 million in spending.

The key points of this economic relief bill are reportedly targeted at small businesses most in need of immediate assistance, including bars and restaurants. Also prioritized for help: Renters, child care assistance, and internet access for students being forced into remote learning by the virus’s resurgence. The increased urgency of the need for relief, after months of failure in Washington to make good on promises that helped seal outgoing Sen. Cory Gardner’s doom in the recent election, appears to be greasing the bipartisan skids in the Colorado General Assembly for passage. After all, the principal complaint earlier in the year from (mostly) Republican legislators is they didn’t have a role in appropriating some of the CARES Act’s targeted funds. They can’t say that in a special session.

We’ll be pleased to see this go off uneventfully, a sign that the state’s Republican minority is growing out of the past two years of pointless partisan “war footing” obstruction–or failing that, at least minimally listening to their struggling constituents.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (November 17)

Good news: There are only 45 days left in this miserable year. 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 

 

► Here’s your regular reminder that the coronavirus doesn’t give a shit about your politics. As NPR reports:

As hospitals in Iowa fill up with COVID-19 patients amid a major surge in cases in recent weeks, Gov. Kim Reynolds, who once dismissed coronavirus restrictions as “feel-good” measures, has abruptly reversed course, issuing the state’s first mask mandate.

Reynolds signed a proclamation requiring Iowans over the age of 2 to wear masks in indoor public spaces starting Tuesday.

“No one wants to do this. I don’t want to do this,” Reynolds, a Republican, said at a news conference Monday.

“If Iowans don’t buy into this, we’ll lose,” she said. “Businesses will close once again, more schools will be forced to go online, and our health care system will fail.”

Last week, Iowa hit a record-high of 5,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases in a single day. As The New York Times reports, Republican governors in a number of states are being forced to acknowledge reality:

For months, Republican governors resisted calls for mask mandates. But as they have watched hospitals in their states stretched to the breaking point in recent weeks — driving home the reality of the dangers posed by a virus allowed to spread unchecked — that is starting to change.

In Utah last week, Gary Herbert, the Republican governor, issued a mask mandate “until further notice” as hospitals across the state were nearing or at full capacity.

Gov. Doug Burgum of North Dakota ordered residents of the state on Friday to wear masks indoors and outdoors if they could not socially distance. North Dakota has the country’s highest rates of new daily cases and deaths per person, according to a New York Times database.

In West Virginia, Gov. Jim Justice ordered on Saturday that residents must wear masks in indoor public settings.

New COVID-related restrictions are happening across the country — including in conservative bastions like Colorado’s Mesa County. Colorado is expected to add a new level to its COVID-19 meter in an announcement today.

 

Governor Jared Polis will soon call a special legislative session for the purpose of allocating money for COVID relief efforts. As The Denver Post reports:

Top Democratic officials in both chambers of the statehouse say they and the Democratic governor’s office have been in talks for weeks on a possible special session, and that the failure of Congress to pass a new federal stimulus package has added urgency to those talks of late.

Polis is expected to announce the move as early as Tuesday.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, said a special session is “likely” at this point, “given the (COVID-19) surge and the impact it’s having not just on families, but small businesses.”

Housing, child care, and small business relief are among the topics expected to be included in a special legislative session.

 

Efforts to recall Gov. Jared Polis have failed, again, in predictable fashion. Marianne Goodland of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman has the sad details:

Via Colorado Politics (11/16/20)

The second effort to recall Gov. Jared Polis has had the same results as the first: None of the 631,266 valid signatures required to put a recall on the ballot were turned in by the deadline of Nov. 13, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

The second effort, begun Sept. 14, was launched by Lori Cutunilli of Summit County and Greg Merschel of Grand Junction, who was also involved with the 2019 effort.

 

► Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) will soon drop his second job as Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. In his place: Former Secretary of State Scott Gessler. If you are a Broncos fan, this is like debating between Vic Fangio and Vance Joseph as head coach. Or choosing a general manager between John Elway and…John Elway.

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

(more…)

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Bearing Witness To Recall Polis 2.0’s Sad Sputter

As promised when the so-called “Dethrone Polis 2020” campaign announced Friday that they would not be turning in the required 630,000+ valid voter signatures to qualify a recall question for a future special election ballot, here’s the “request” by a lawyer purporting to represent the campaign asking for a 90-day extension of the collection period, citing public gathering restrictions imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.

As the Colorado Sun reported Saturday, this is dumb on a couple of key levels:

The 60-day deadline for signature gathering is specified in the state Constitution. Any request for an extension would have to be granted by the courts, Betsy Hart, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jena Griswold, said in an email.

Although proponents of the failed abortion ban ballot measure Proposition 115 successfully petitioned the courts for a short extension to citing collection difficulties during the pandemic, that campaign had actually submitted signatures by the required deadline, something the Recall Polis campaign never even bothered to do. With no evidence that this campaign came even remotely close to their goal within the 60 days they had, granting them 90 more days would be silly and unfair.

Not to mention they have to ask a judge, not the Secretary of State. We’ll see if a court case is ever even filed–and if one is, we expect it to survive about as long as one of President Donald Trump’s election lawsuits.

With all of this in mind, the realization that the second in as many recall attempts against Colorado’s popular Democratic governor has failed miserably is not sitting well with the Facebook faithful–and they’re growing despondent over leaders’ silence:

And in the absence of hard information, some are getting a bit twitchy, Michigan-style:

Safe to say, these are not productive methods of coping with bad news.

The reality, much like the half-baked dispute over the presidential election, is that this second consecutive recall campaign against Gov. Jared Polis is all over. We are curious to know just how many signatures organizers claim to have obtained, but unless they actually turn them in for validation we have no reason to believe any number they give us. As we’ve said from the beginning, the logistics of an undertaking on the scale needed to gather more signatures than any campaign in the state’s history would have been visible. It never existed, it was never going to exist, and just like the 2019 recall it was the product of unserious actors who were never capable of succeeding.

Since the 2018 elections devastated a Colorado GOP already reeling from their steady erosion of power over the previous 14 years, the party from the highest levels has done nothing to change course–and the 2020 election proved it. Taking bad advice from bad consultants, Republicans instead dived into a series of recall campaigns against Gov. Polis and state lawmakers in 2019 that not only failed, but seriously damaged the credibility of Republicans from state party chairman Ken Buck on down. Buck’s personal embrace of recalls, and his vice-chair’s direct role in the ill-fated recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial made it impossible to extricate the party once the campaigns humiliatingly crashed and burned.

Although recalls were always intended for use in exigent cases of misconduct by elected officials, not opportunistic do-overs of fairly decided elections, the abuse of the process for political paybacks by a shrinking minority party in Colorado does appear to have damaged the credibility of Republicans involved. Former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, who audaciously played in the failed Sullivan recall after leading the House minority to its smallest size in decades, is as close to persona non grata as he’s ever been. The National Popular Vote legislation cited as justification for recalling Polis and state lawmakers was victorious in a statewide vote. The “red flag” law that had the gun lobby dreaming of a 2013 redux is working as intended.

If Republicans in Colorado ever want to win again, it is this endless state of contrived political crises that has to stop. The last decade of Republican politics has been about disregarding all rules, traditions, and even pretense of cross-aisle engagement, and waging endless, ad absurdum partisan warfare down to the very last mountainous molehill.

We can’t speak for everywhere in America, but the voters of Colorado are sick and tired of it.

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No Surprise: Lauren Boebert Fronts Colorado GOP MAGA Denial

The former and new face of the Colorado Republican Party.

AP via CBS4 Denver reports on Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert’s big weekend in Washington, D.C. at the Million MAGA March rally to celebrate in denial of President Donald Trump’s glorious victory resounding defeat at the polls almost two weeks ago:

Fervent supporters of President Donald Trump rallied in Washington on Saturday behind his spurious claim of a stolen election and swarmed his motorcade when he detoured for a drive-by on his way out of town…

Among those supporters was Colorado Congresswoman-elect Lauren Boebert. She called on more people running for office.

“Let’s take all of that energy and convert it into getting Patriots across this country to step up and run for office. We need more people who aren’t the entrenched political class to step up & come to DC! That’s the only way it changes,” Boebert stated on social media.

This is, we’re sorry to say, a bit of a whitewash of what Rep. Boebert actually told the MAGA faithful at Saturday’s rally, which was captured on video for posterity:

 

BOEBERT: That’s why we are here today. To stand for the constitution! To stand for freedom! To stand for President Donald J. Trump and the American Dream! God bless you all, thank you all so much for being out here today, for standing with President Trump as he has helped so many people like me in their races. How he has helped so many people like you and keeping the American Dream alive. This is about our children, and our children’s children and generations to come!

Boebert described her brief address to the Million MAGA March (actual population in the low tens of thousands by most estimates) as an “impromptu speech,” but you can see in this thirty seconds of video a bit of the stump energy that put Boebert ahead of her somnolent predecessor Rep. Scott Tipton in her safe GOP district. The words coming out of Boebert’s mouth may be disconnected from reality, but her impassioned delivery–as long as there are no follow-up questions–is undeniably pretty good. Other high-profile speakers at Saturday’s rally included fellow Rep.-elect and “QAnon” dabbler Marjorie Taylor Greene, and Alex Jones, the thoroughly discredited conspiracy theorist now enjoying a resurgence in the Trump disinformation bubble.

By comparison, Boebert’s soon-to-be colleagues in Colorado’s GOP congressional delegation have been mostly silent in recent days on the question of Trump’s defeat–after sending obligatory “count every legal vote” Tweets, Reps. Ken Buck and even frothing MAGA-hat Doug Lamborn have stayed out of the fray. As for defeated Sen. Cory Gardner? The last thing anyone expects from him is to show leadership now.

Into this vacuum now steps Rep.-elect Boebert, a fresh face but with no policy depth and no real agenda other than leading worship services for the guy who is about to not be President. While this all feels heady in the present Trump-imposed unreality insisting an election that is over somehow is not over, reality is going to crash this party inevitably. The reckoning of Trump’s fiction with Joe Biden having actually won the election is coming, and it’s an open, troubling question how Trump’s radicalized and heavily armed base (see: Lauren Boebert) is going to react to that eventuality.

How is this going to end? Most Colorado Republicans are at least hedging their bets. But not Lauren Boebert. She’s cast her lot, and she’s the face of the party by default now.

It’s going to be a hard fall from the nest, folks.

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COVID-19 Finally Comes For Mesa County

Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis.

As the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports:

Another two COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized in Mesa County for a total of 36 county residents…

Positive COVID-19 tests jumped another 183 cases, according to the county health department. In the past two weeks alone, Mesa County has recorded 1,594 positive cases. That figure accounts for more than half of the county’s total positive case count since the pandemic began, 3,097.

Mesa County’s two-week positivity rate, a key indicator health officials use for tracking the prevalence in an area, was recorded at 10.28%.

This weekend, new restrictions went into effect in Mesa County as officials struggle with the surge of cases and a long, dark winter has not yet even begun:

As COVID-19 cases surge, the Mesa County Board of Public Health has approved a new Public Health Order to exert all efforts to keep businesses operating, students in classrooms, and avoid closures. Indoor events, outdoor events, and public gatherings are not allowed, and restaurants and bars that serve food may not offer live music or other live performances.

“We urge residents not to ignore our responsibility as individuals and as a community to keep our families, friends, and employees healthy and our economy running,” said Scott McInnis, Chairman of the Board of Mesa County Commissioners.

The new orders this weekend significantly increase restrictions over two weeks ago, when public gatherings were subject to capacity limits instead of being completely banned.

As readers know, the current surge in positive COVID-19 cases in Mesa County comes after the area’s Republican political leadership spent the spring and summer resisting public health measures to combat the spread of the virus. Mesa County was specifically cited by Colorado Senate Republican leaders in their angry letter to Gov. Jared Polis back in March as an example of “overreach.”

Is Mesa County the only place in Colorado with elected leaders who should be eating their words about COVID-19 today? Of course not. The politicization of what should never have been a political issue has resulted in elected leaders from the President on down making decisions completely at odds with their responsibility to protect the public. In turn, the public treats the pandemic seriously based on their own political affiliation instead of what’s needed to remain safe. The political divide over responding to the pandemic has severely compromised the effectiveness of prevention efforts, in addition to forcing well-intentioned leaders like Gov. Polis to make unscientific concessions–and even hesitate to act in the pandemic’s successive waves.

From the White House to the Colorado Senate to the Mesa County Board of Commissioners, the emerging hard reality is that we could have beat this pandemic if it hadn’t become a political football in the spring. We could have controlled the spread before it became uncontrollable, and shortened the pain of restrictions that must now go on indefinitely until a vaccine becomes available.

But we did not, and now the price will be paid without political distinction.

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