Lefties With Guns Fare Poorly In El Paso County

“Redneck Revolt” activist Sherrie Smith (second from left).

Colorado Public Radio’s Dan Boyce reports on the arrest late last week of several described-as “Antifa” protesters, who participated in an armed protest in early August outside the home of one of the Colorado Springs police officers involved in the killing of De’Von Bailey:

“What may have begun as a peaceful protest quickly escalated into riotous and illegal behavior,” according to a statement sent out by Colorado Springs police.

Both Sherrie Smith, a 36-year-old resident of Fountain, Colo., and 33-year-old Lloyd Porche of Denver were charged with multiple felonies connected to carrying and allegedly threatening people with assault-style rifles. Charles Johnson, a 20-year-old Colorado Springs resident, has been charged with attempted robbery of a cell phone. Officials have charged all three with inciting or engaging in a riot and other misdemeanors.

On Aug. 3, scores of protesters, many with signs supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, marched to the home of CSPD Sgt. Alan Van’t Land, one of the officers who shot Bailey. Van’t Land’s property was roped off with signs that said “no trespassing,” and the officer did not appear to be home at the time of the protest.

As readers know very well after a summer of tense protests across the state and nation, it’s legal in most places in Colorado outside the City and County of Denver to openly carry firearms. It is not legal, however, to point those weapons at any other person or property, or to intimidate someone with a weapon into believing their life is at risk. Allegedly that is what happened in the Pulpit Rock neighborhood of north Colorado Springs on August 3rd, specifically that “Antifa activist” Sherrie Smith pointed her rifle at an occupied vehicle. One other person was similarly charged with felony menacing, and a third man was charged with trying to snatch someone’s cell phone. All three face rioting charges, which CSPD in their release identify as felonies while Colorado Public Radio calls them misdemeanors in the story above.

Back in 2017, we took note of a Colorado Springs Independent story profiling “Redneck Revolt” members in Colorado Springs, including an interview with the same Sherrie Smith who was arrested Thursday. In that story, Smith explained that her group doesn’t adopt the same tactics as “Antifa,” and that she isn’t “not looking for confrontation like they are.” Based on events, between 2017 and last month Smith’s view on confrontation evolved–but there’s still a lot we don’t know about what specifically transpired. With that said, our comments in 2017 appear to have been borne out by these 2020 events:

If you agree that heavily armed right-wing protesters are not what you’d call an indicator of healthy political discourse, we’d say that logical consistency in this regard is called for on the left as well. The argument that protesters against the far right and racist groups require armed protection beyond what the police provides, as tempting as that may be after incidents like Charlottesville, only makes violent confrontation more likely.

This is where we might otherwise be prepared to end–but unfortunately, despite the possibility that charges were entirely earned by the alleged perpetrators in this case, we can’t ignore so many other cases over the summer where violence against lefty activists was either outright ignored or questionably investigated by police. CSPD officers responding to a protest outside the home of a fellow CSPD officer showed a…punctiliousness for strict enforcement we didn’t see in Teller County a month before.

Either way, this incident reaffirms the rule: when guns are not present, they’re not a problem. It’s our hope that all misconduct involving guns is treated by law enforcement the same way, no matter the politics of the individual holding the gun.

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Have Some Pride, Dan Caplis

Dan Caplis, possibly via Glamour Shots.

Dan Caplis is a conservative talk radio host in Denver who desperately wants to be a candidate for statewide office. The key word in that sentence is “desperately.”

During his KHOW radio show on Thursday, Caplis made it known that he is absolutely considering running against Gov. Jared Polis in 2022, which is an embarrassing statement if you are at all familiar with Caplis’ long flirtation with politics. Caplis made this declaration in response to a question from a caller identified as “Karen from Greeley” about whether he is looking at the 2022 Governor’s race:

“Of course I’m considering it. I don’t know how anybody right now — anybody alive in this state — could not be thinking about what they need to do to make sure this guy doesn’t get a second term. That doesn’t mean I’m going to do it. I’m a long, long way from deciding to do it. But of course I’m considering it.”

At the end of the call, Caplis reiterated what he just said in case you weren’t paying attention:

“It’s a long way from here to there, but the question is, are you considering it? Of course. How could you not right now?”

This discussion followed a long tirade from Caplis calling Polis “the wimpiest governor in Colorado history,” mostly because Polis did not insist that high school football is played this fall (seriously, that’s not an exaggeration on our part). Here are some other things that Caplis said about Polis on Thursday:

“He blew this thing in the beginning. Colorado got wiped out by COVID. Now, Polis is trying to pretend like, well, wait a second, it’s all about the fewest number of COVID cases possible. No, that’s a phony goal. That’s a phony standard. That’s not what it’s about.”…

…“Guess what? These kids don’t get to play now because Polis has this phony goal of fewest cases.”…

…“Colorado essentially — and I’m not saying this in a pure scientific sense, but in a practical sense — Colorado got wiped out under Polis on such a large scale early on, because Polis invited in from all over America’s ‘Wuhans,’ tens of thousands of people with COVID.”…

…“Colorado got so wiped out early that there weren’t as many susceptible hosts left later.”

To recap, the reason Colorado is not a COVID-19 hotspot today is because everybody died in the spring when Jared Polis intentionally invited infected people to travel to Colorado. This absolutely checks out [insert eyeroll].

Via KHOW radio (9/10/20)

Dan Caplis is no rocket surgeon, but could he really be a candidate for higher office? Probably not.

Caplis has rarely failed to float his name for statewide office; he was perhaps the most quiet about his political hopes in 2012, when there was no race for Governor or U.S. Senate in Colorado.

Caplis really wanted to be the Republican Senate candidate in 2008. Ahead of the 2010 election cycle, Caplis sent up trial balloons for both Governor and U.S. Senate. He talked about running for Governor in 2014, and again for U.S. Senate in 2016. In fact, Caplis said he was “very serious” about mounting a campaign in 2016, although as he told Jason Salzman, “It would hard to be a lot more serious than we were about it before.” When he says, “before,” does Caplis mean 2008, 2010, or 2014? It’s impossible to know.

In 2018, Caplis talked openly about his political dreams, telling Westword: “I’ve wanted to run for office for a long time. It’s very front-burner, and that flame is burning hotter than ever.” 

Near as we can tell, Caplis first started obsessing about being a candidate in 2007, using his radio show to continually suggest that he might run for U.S. Senate the following year. Caplis even started making the early rounds at Republican events, but to say he failed to pick up traction would be overly generous. As The Colorado Independent reported in April 2007, a Caplis campaign was really only on the mind of one person:

“I don’t know any Republicans who are taking that seriously,” says Lynne Cottrell, a former Arapahoe County GOP chair and longtime Republican activist who knows Caplis personally. “I don’t know anyone who is supporting him. Dan’s a good guy, but I don’t know where [the media] is getting this idea that he is a potential candidate.”

Attorney John Zakhem, a well-known GOP insider, is equally blunt when asked if he knows of any Republicans who are taking Caplis seriously as a candidate.  “Nobody [is talking about him],” he says. “He’s not on the radar for me or any other Republicans that I know of.”

Adds another Republican insider who wished to remain nameless speaking about the U.S. senate race: “Caplis? No. There isn’t anybody who is thinking about Dan Caplis as a potential candidate.” [Pols emphasis]

Caplis did not respond to repeated attempts for comment, so it’s hard to say whether he is seriously thinking about running for the U.S. senate or if floating his name is just a publicity stunt.

If this is all some long, drawn-out publicity stunt, Caplis at least deserves some credit for maintaining the ruse for so many years. 

If this is not a publicity stunt…that’s almost too sad to contemplate. Let’s just call it a publicity stunt and move along.

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Cory Gardner is Hiding Under a Desk Somewhere

Donald Trump, Cory Gardner in Colorado Springs on February 20th.

FRIDAY UPDATE: CNN’s Manu Raju updates with comment from Sen. Cory Gardner on this very issue on a “tele-town hall” last night:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who has perhaps the toughest reelection race of any Republican member, was asked in a telephone town hall on Thursday evening whether it was “appropriate” for Trump to “lie to the American public” by publicly downplaying the threat of coronavirus in comparing it to the flu, while knowing that it is more dangerous.

Gardner did not directly answer the question, responding that he “certainly” takes the pandemic seriously and that he worked with Democratic Gov. Jared Polis to obtain tests and masks, according to a recording of the event obtained by CNN.

Instead of addressing the President’s comments, he accused the media and Democrats for not taking the pandemic seriously enough back then. He said that “unfortunately” the first question CNN asked him after he left a coronavirus briefing in January was about Trump’s impeachment during the trial. And he criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for inviting people to Chinatown in San Francisco in February.

In his preferred scripted forum of a “tele-townhall” where staff controls every mic and any follow-up question that is permitted, Gardner appears to have forgotten all about the rally attended by thousands starring himself and Donald Trump on February 20th in Colorado Springs–an event that belies every claim by Gardner that he was “taking the virus seriously” at this critical time. To pivot to Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Chinatown days later without even acknowledging his own folly is so perfectly hypocritical…

It could only come from Cory Gardner. It’s simply ridiculous.

—–

Manu Raju of CNN is working the halls at the U.S. Capitol building trying to get Republicans to comment on President Trump’s OWN WORDS that he always understood the full dangers of the coronavirus pandemic but intentionally downplayed the threat and undersold safety precautions. As you might expect, Raju is getting a lot of blank looks in response.

We don’t know of Raju is still lurking in a hallway somewhere, but it’s fun to think about what Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) might be doing at the moment.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (September 11)

There are 53 days until Election Day. 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

► Both President Trump and his 2020 opponent, Democrat Joe Biden, are visiting Shanksville, PA today to commemorate the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The Washington Post looks back at what each candidate was doing on that fateful Tuesday:

Joe Biden was on an Amtrak train on Sept. 11, 2001, when his wife called to tell him about the attacks on the World Trade Center, and when he reached Washington, he grew frustrated that he couldn’t get to the Senate floor for a speech because the U.S. Capitol had been evacuated.

Biden nonetheless found ways to make his point — that institutions like Congress and NATO are bulwarks against such assaults on democracy. “I refuse to be part of letting these bastards win,” Biden said that day.

Hundreds of miles to the north — and four miles from Ground Zero — Donald Trump was sitting in a tower bearing his name, watching CNBC and preparing to call a local TV station to offer his own commentary, including a lament that the stock market was forced to close.

Given the coronavirus pandemic and the racial justice protests, Ishaan Tharoor of The Washington Post wonders if the “9/11 era” is now over.

 

As The Denver Post reports, Colorado is doing a better job than the federal government of preventing fraudulent benefit claims:

More than three out of four claims made for unemployment assistance under a program for self-employed workers and independent contractors since July 18 were fraudulent, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said Thursday.

“We have prevented $750 million to $1 billion in improper unemployment insurance payments going out the door,” said Cher Haavind, the department’s deputy director during a press call Thursday morning. About $40 million in federal money, however, may have gotten into the hands of criminals.

Revisions to initial claims under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program for the weeks of July 18 to Aug. 22 showed that of the 62,498 initial claims approved, only 14,292 were deemed legitimate, the department said. And in the two weeks since Aug. 22, the department estimates it has been hit with 40,000 to 50,000 fraudulent PUA claims.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance was set up under the CARES Act to help individuals who didn’t pay premiums for unemployment insurance but suffered a loss of income due to the outbreak.

As Colorado Public Radio reports, Colorado will soon begin paying out a temporary — and partial — extension of unemployment benefits related to an executive order from President Trump.

 

As POLITICO reports, Democrats are out to a big lead in early voting across the country:

Democrats are amassing an enormous lead in early voting, alarming Republicans who worry they’ll need to orchestrate a huge Election Day turnout during a deadly coronavirus outbreak to answer the surge.

The Democratic dominance spreads across an array of battleground states, according to absentee ballot request data compiled by state election authorities and analyzed by Democratic and Republican data experts. In North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Democrats have a roughly three-to-one advantage over Republicans in absentee ballot requests. In Florida — a must-win for President Donald Trump — the Democratic lead stands at more than 700,000 ballot requests, while the party also leads in New Hampshire, Ohio and Iowa.

Even more concerning for Republicans, Democrats who didn’t vote in 2016 are requesting 2020 ballots at higher rates than their GOP counterparts. The most striking example is Pennsylvania, where nearly 175,000 Democrats who sat out the last race have requested ballots, more than double the number of Republicans, according to an analysis of voter rolls by the Democratic firm TargetSmart.

Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea for President Trump to spend so much time and effort casting doubts about mail ballots.

As The New York Times reports, wildfires in the Western United States are getting perilously close to large population centers:

The wildfire crisis on the West Coast grew to a staggering scale on Friday, as huge fires merged and bore down on towns and suburbs, state leaders pleaded for firefighting help, and tens of thousands of people were told to evacuate.

Oregon, Washington State and California are enduring a wildfire season of historic proportions, with the firefighting effort compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and misinformation online. At least 15 people have died in the fires, with more expected as teams search through burned homes.

The fires have consumed more than three million acres in California, almost a million acres in Oregon and destroyed entire towns in Washington. The blazes have torn through idyllic mountain towns, reduced subdivisions to beams and embers, and spewed foul smoke-filled air across a region that is home to millions of people.

The Mayor of Portland has declared a state of emergency as a wildfire approaches the city’s suburbs.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Everything Trump Touches Turns To Fail

UPDATE: The Daily Beast vouches for its authenticity:

The unintentionally hilarious Facebook advert falsely claimed that the president “has achieved PEACE in the MIDDLE EAST,” and attached a graphic of a grinning Trump with the caption: “President Trump was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize.” The ad was confirmed as authentic by The Daily Beast. (Trump himself misspelled it in April in a tweet attacking journalists covering his Russia investigation.) Even if it was spelled correctly, the nomination is barely worth celebrating. As has been widely noted, anyone can be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and hundreds of people get put forward every year…

—–

No additional commentary needed, spot the problem yourself:

It’s like he’s being sabotaged, folks. Please don’t start that rumor though, because he’s not.

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Boebert Gets Complete and Total Endorsement Curse

President Trump is using his Twitter machine to talk about Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, the GOP nominee for Congress in CO-3.

Hmm…why does this seem familiar?

Oh, right: Republican Rep. Scott Tipton, who was defeated by Boebert in the June 30 Primary, also had Trump’s “Complete and Total Endorsement!”


Maybe you don’t believe in “curses” or other enchantments, but Boebert definitely does! Q-D’oh!

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Talibangelical Rages As Faith Community Rejects Abortion Ban

Jeff Hunt of the Centennial Institute.

As the Colorado Times Recorder’s Madeleine Schmidt reports:

A multi-denominational coalition of faith leaders in Colorado is taking a stand against Proposition 115, a ballot measure that would ban later abortion care in Colorado.

Spearheaded by the faith-based advocacy organization the Interfaith Alliance, over 130 faith leaders penned an opposition letter this week calling the measure a “one-size-fits-all mandate” that “does not account for the medical advice of doctors nor for the autonomy of the woman to make a deeply personal decision regarding her body and her health.”

…The group also acknowledged that religious leaders have been some of the most vocal supporters of anti-abortion laws in the United States, and criticized their use of religion to take away the rights of others.

“The religious right does not have a monopoly on religious views on this issue,” [Rabbi Joseph] Black said. [Pols emphasis]

That a large coalition of religious leaders and organizations has come out in opposition to Proposition 115, a measure to ban abortions later in pregnancy in Colorado, has thoroughly hacked off Jeff Hunt, director of Colorado Christian University’s political arm the Centennial Institute and one of the state’s leading religious right figures. And you wouldn’t like Jeff Hunt when he’s angry:

Mostly because he calls you nasty names like “evil” if you disagree with him on a policy issue. With respect to Proposition 115, which abortion opponents like Hunt readily acknowledge is meant only to be a stepping stone toward the goal of a total ban on abortion, there’s no middle ground for guys like Hunt. And like any hard-line extremist, anything less than total compliance with Hunt’s moral agenda means you are in the service of, well, evil.

Proposition 115 supporters like to say that even abortion proponents should be “okay” with limiting the procedure at some arbitrary but late-sounding point in pregnancy. But the reality is that abortions later in pregnancy are almost always the result of serious medical complications, not some flippant choice. These are in fact some of the most agonizing medical choices anyone might be forced to make, and the only person qualified to be part of that decision other than the patient is their doctor.

If you believe that abortion is “evil” no matter what, like Jeff Hunt, and believe further that your view on the issue should be imposed on every woman in Colorado, then Hunt’s vitriol against fellow people of faith over Proposition 115 makes some sense. But we don’t think a majority of Colorado voters will agree either that these people are “evil,” or that Jeff Hunt speaks for a majority of faith-based voters.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (September 10)

This is one of those days where it feels like we’re drinking from a news firehose. So, let’s make sure you’re caught up and so you can 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 AND VOTING 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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:
GoVoteColorado.com

 

Over the years, political candidates in Colorado have produced television ads of varying degrees of quality and usefulness. Some of these ads are so terrible that you remember them years later. This new spot from Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) has joined what we like to call the “Pantheon of Dumbassery,” alongside all-time awful commercials from the likes of Bob Beauprez and Walker Stapleton.

 

► The U.S. Senate voted today on a doomed half-assed coronavirus relief bill introduced by Senate Republicans earlier in the week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is spinning a losing vote as a political victory because he was able to get most of his caucus to support a pointless endeavor. As Roll Call reports, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is not impressed:

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer in his rebuttal reiterated his attack on the bill as “emaciated.” It lacks, among other things, housing assistance, nutrition assistance, aid to state and local governments and funding to build out broadband connections that Democrats insist on, he said.

“It is one of the most cynical moves I’ve seen, a fairly transparent attempt to show that the Republicans are doing something, when in fact they want to do nothing,” Schumer said.

House Democrats passed a $3.4 trillion package in May, but have since offered to meet the Senate GOP roughly halfway at $2.2 trillion.

That last part is particularly important. The House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, and the Senate has been sitting on their thumbs ever since. But today Senate Republicans finally figured out that they should at least vote on something, so they did. Now they’re planning a parade for themselves. As The Huffington Post reports, don’t expect any more help from Congress anytime soon.

Via Vox.com (9/10/20)

 

It didn’t take long for Joe Biden’s campaign to produce an ad featuring President Trump’s own damning words about the coronavirus pandemic, in which Trump admits to lying to Americans about the severity of the problem:

The White House is absolutely flipping out trying to figure out how to spin this away for Trump.

 

As The Colorado Springs Independent reports, a much-maligned TV spot from Sen. Cory Gardner is getting more negative attention because of the embarrassingly-amateur effort that went behind creating a fake environmental group to give Gardner some credibility.

 

You won’t be surprised to learn that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell sees his job as less of a public service and more of a Republican Party service. As CNN reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was on a mission. It was late February, and two vulnerable Republican senators facing voters this fall were pushing a bill that had generated opposition from conservatives but was important to their states — and their own reelections.

So on the morning of February 27, as Washington was coming to grips with the coronavirus, McConnell took Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana to the White House where they made the case to Trump to get behind a public lands bill. Trump quickly got in line, and quipped to his budget chief, Russell Vought:

“Sorry, Russ,” according to sources familiar with the episode.

Four months later, McConnell set aside precious floor time and scheduled votes on the bill even though it was not on the radar for much of Washington, paving the way for its passage — and for Gardner and Daines to cut campaign ads touting the achievement.

“Not only was it the right thing to do from a good government point of view, but sure — it ought to help Cory and Steve, they did a lot of work on it,” McConnell told CNN this week.

In other words, the big public lands bill that Gardner loves to tout was not because of the Yuma Republican’s persistent work…but because he is in danger of losing his re-election bid in 2020. If you like your politics to be purely transactional, this should be right up your alley.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who moonlights as the State Republican Party Chairman (or vice versa), is running a new fundraising ad that touts his support for NOT wearing a mask AND shooting a gun.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Ken Buck, COVIDiot To His Last Maskless Breath

Colorado GOP chairman/Rep. Ken Buck released an extended-length fundraising video for online consumption yesterday, and there’s no need to expound too much on the 2 minutes and 40 some-odd seconds in which Buck drones on predictably about his love for freedom and hatred of bad Washington, D.C. “others” (allegedly) in both parties–but we wanted to make sure readers see this particular nine seconds, which is, if you’ll allow us to be honest, all you need to see:

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

That’s Rep. Buck with Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, and it goes like this:

BUCK: Sheriff, we need a mask around here?
REAMS: Not here.
BUCK: Why not?
REAMS: ‘Cause it’s America. It’s a free country.
BUCK: God bless America.
REAMS: Let’s go shoot.

There’s a lot we could say here, for example a reminder of how severely Weld County in particular was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic’s initial wave in March and April. In a normal world, this kind of contempt for suffering in a disaster like the ongoing global pandemic would be political suicide–but in Donald Trump’s Republican Party, which comprises a healthy plurality of the electorate in Colorado’s CD-4, even areas that have suffered greatly like Weld County are more likely to reward this behavior than punish it at the polls.

Buck’s second job as chair of the statewide Republican Party, however, makes him a liability to every candidate running in Colorado with an (R) after their name. Every Republican in this state needs to decide if this speaks for them–and if they don’t want it to, they’d better say something right away.

When 50,000 Americans were dead of COVID in late April and the virus was tearing through Weld County, Buck’s cavalier opposition to basic steps like mask wearing was unacceptable.

With almost 200,000 dead today, it’s just…sick.

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Cory Gardner Enters the Pantheon of Dumbassery

When Republican Cory Gardner was running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in 2014, his campaign came up with a couple of memorable — if completely disingenuous — television ads that presented the two-term Congressman as a cherubic ball of bipartisan ambition.

Gardner’s 2020 Senate re-election ads have been what we would charitably describe as “not as good,” and that includes his latest spot titled “Only One.” This ad is SO BAD, in fact, that it earns itself a place in the Colorado Pols Pantheon of Dumbassery, alongside Bob Beauprez’s horse’s ass (2006) and Walker Stapleton’s trash can (2018). When you put an ad on the air that makes the exact opposite point that you meant to establish, then you have earned your membership in this dubious club. For example, Beauprez’s infamous “horse’s ass” ad was intended to be a funny bit about how politicians deal with a lot of crap; instead, the lasting image was “Beauprez = horse’s ass.” Stapleton’s trash can ad tried to make a similar argument but failed for the same reason — the lasting impression you got from that spot was “Stapleton = trash.”

This new Gardner television spot, which you can see below, repeats the same attacks Gardner has been pushing for months regarding “ethics problems” for Gov. John Hickenlooper. But it is so poorly produced that it ends up looking like Gardner owns a Maserati sports car (maybe he does, but that’s probably not something you’d want to advertise to voters).

One of the cardinal rules of greenlighting a political ad is that you should watch it once with the sound off and once with only the sound playing; the idea is to help you catch something that might be out of place with your preferred message. Try it yourself — watch this ad without sound and you’ll see what we mean:
 


 

We understand what Gardner’s campaign is trying to do here, but they got too cute and it backfired. Gardner is supposed to be “cleaning the dirt” off of Hickenlooper’s fancy car, but the images are completely illogical for most people. No sane person washes someone else’s car by hand. Even at a quick glance, you immediately assume that this is Gardner’s car because you’ve seen this visual — rich white guy washing his expensive car — a thousand times in your life. Maybe the plan for Gardner’s next ad is to show the candidate drinking $1,000 bottles of champagne.

This blunder of an ad continues a troubling trend for Gardner’s campaign in 2020. Gardner’s first big TV spot of the cycle debuted in June and was immediately ridiculed by politicos on both sides of the aisle. This ad, titled “Delight” (?) by the Gardner campaign, showed Gardner pretending to be a psychiatrist listening to a television running clips of Hickenlooper saying he might not enjoy being a Senator. You probably just remember it for the balls of tissue tossed all over the place.

Cory Gardner’s “Kleenex Ad”

Last month the Gardner campaign rolled out a new spot titled “Beer,” in which Gardner inexplicably reminds voters that Hickenlooper is a former brewpub owner. The message is perfectly on-brand…for Hickenlooper. As we wrote in this space last month:

It’s a pretty solid rule of thumb that if you are talking about one of your opponent’s strengths — in this case, Hickenlooper’s long-spun tale as a brewmaster — then you are most definitely not winning.

And Gardner is most definitely not winning this race. Two recent polls show Hickenlooper maintaining a 9-point lead over Gardner, a consistent lead due in no small part to the fact that the Yuma Republican keeps pounding away on the same ineffective narrative over and over and over again.

As the saying goes (more or less), you can’t shine a turd. You can, however, shine a Maserati. Welcome to the Pantheon of Dumbassery, Cory.

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Trump Knowingly Lied to Americans About COVID for Months

The President of the United States of America knew the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic…and lied about it.

Indefatigable journalist Bob Woodward (yes, THAT Bob Woodward) is reporting ahead of the release of a new book that President Trump knew full well — from day one — about the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic BUT INTENTIONALLY DOWNPLAYED THE THREAT TO AMERICANS.

As The Washington Post explains (we’re excerpting a bit more than we would normally because of the gravity of this news):

President Trump’s head popped up during his top-secret intelligence briefing in the Oval Office on Jan. 28 when the discussion turned to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

“This will be the biggest national security threat you face in your presidency,” national security adviser Robert O’Brien told Trump, according to a new book by Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward. “This is going to be the roughest thing you face.”

“It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu. This is deadly stuff.”

— President Trump on February 7, 2020

Matthew Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser, agreed. He told the president that after reaching contacts in China, it was evident that the world faced a health emergency on par with the flu pandemic of 1918, which killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide.

Ten days later, Trump called Woodward and revealed that he thought the situation was far more dire than what he had been saying publicly.

“You just breathe the air and that’s how it’s passed,” Trump said in a Feb. 7 call. “And so that’s a very tricky one. That’s a very delicate one. It’s also more deadly than even your strenuous flu.”

“This is deadly stuff,” the president repeated for emphasis.

At that time, Trump was telling the nation that the virus was no worse than a seasonal flu, predicting it would soon disappear, and insisting that the U.S. government had it totally under control. It would be several weeks before he would publicly acknowledge that the virus was no ordinary flu and that it could be transmitted through the air.

Trump admitted to Woodward on March 19 that he deliberately minimized the danger. “I wanted to always play it down,” the president said. [Pols emphasis]

“I always wanted to play it down.”

— President Trump on March 19, 2020

Now, we know what you’re thinking: Trump is just going to deny he said any of this and we’re just going to go around in circles about it for months and months.

But there are tapes.

Go over to The Washington Post or CNN and listen to the audio yourself. There’s nothing to misinterpret. President Trump repeatedly says that he knew the coronavirus would lead to a deadly pandemic, but he downplayed it for months and discouraged social distancing measures (and mask wearing) because…well, apparently because he could.

There’s also a Colorado-specific angle to all of this. Trump told Woodward about the dangers of COVID-19 on February 7, 2020. Two weeks later, on February 20, Trump held a massive campaign rally in Colorado Springs.

Trump KNEW that it was dangerous for thousands of people to be congregating in one place to hear him speak. Trump KNEW how the coronavirus could spread if just one of the people in attendance were infected.

But he did it anyway.

This is your President, America.

 

Colorado Springs, CO (Feb. 20, 2020)

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Written Off: Mitch McConnell Stiffs Cory Gardner Again

Mitch McConnell, Cory Gardner.

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports on the “skinny” coronavirus relief package unveiled by the Republican U.S. Senate majority yesterday–which, after months of delays and promises from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Cory Gardner alike, contains much, much less relief than the American economy needs:

The bill, titled Delivering Immediate Relief to America’s Families, Schools and Small Businesses Act, includes $105 billion for education, $16 billion for testing and contract tracing, $20 billion for farm assistance, and $15 billion for child care. The bill would continue the paycheck protection program, which lapsed last month, and send unemployed workers a weekly federal unemployment benefit of $300 — down from the $600 people were receiving until August. It also includes the main priority for Senate Leader Mitch McConnell — liability protection for businesses, schools, and others, in case people get sick from visiting or working on their premises.

It’s about half the cost of the bill Republicans unveiled at the end of July, and trillions less than the House-passed HEROES Act…

First of all, if you want a bill to succeed, never refer to it as the “skinny” bill. As we learned in the Affordable Care Act repeal debate, “skinny bill” is a marketing kiss of death. In this case, two critically important public-facing pieces of stimulus funding, direct aid to states whose budgets have been crushed by the economic downturn and payments to individual Americans which have helped buoy all-important consumer spending in addition to keeping millions of Americans fed and housed, are missing. AP reported Monday that the “skinny” bill left vulnerable Republican Senators like Cory Gardner of Colorado high and dry at the worst possible moment:

McConnell had been a force for a deal but does not appear eager to force a vote that exposes division in his ranks.

Many Senate Republicans are also wary or opposed outright to another major chunk of debt-financed virus relief, even as GOP senators imperiled in the election like Susan Collins of Maine and Cory Gardner of Colorado plead for more. [Pols emphasis]

As CPR reported yesterday, Gardner is all done pleading, and on to shining McConnell’s turd:

GOP Sen. Cory Gardner is calling on his colleagues from both sides of the aisle to support the bill.

“We have an opportunity to support out-of-work Americans, help small businesses, and provide critical resources to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Gardner said in a statement. “This bill is desperately needed and we must work together to move our country forward.”

But Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet said instead of playing political games, McConnell should come to the negotiating table “in earnest and support American families through this crisis.” Bennet said that McConnell had months to negotiate this next relief package to address “the scale of the public health crisis” and help struggling Coloradans, instead of McConnell “put forward a half measure that’s coming months too late for working families.”

By putting up a bill much smaller than Republicans’ own proposal from the end of July, McConnell has clearly given in to the hard-liners in his caucus over the needs of vulnerable swing-state Senators. Cory Gardner in particular has banked heavily–pun intended–on supporting every kind of economic stimulus measure, well beyond most Republicans, including a second round of direct payments and the full extended unemployment benefits that so many Republicans (including Gardner in front of conservative audiences) have disparaged as a “disincentive to work.”

The fight is not over, of course, and since this proposal is an obvious non-starter with Democrats we’ll have to see what if anything comes out of the next round of face-to-face negotiations. At the very least, though, Gardner has once again demonstrated his own irrelevance in terms of influencing policy among his fellow Senate Republicans. At worst, at least for Gardner personally, it’s a sign that Senate Republican leadership simply doesn’t consider keeping Gardner’s promises to voters a priority.

Which is what you do when you’ve consigned a loser to his fate.

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ATTN GOP: You Are Not Running Against Bernie & Romanoff

The NRSC wanted Andrew Romanoff, but they did not get him.

During the Democratic presidential primary, Republicans from President Donald Trump on down made no effort to conceal their desire to run against Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 general elections–the theory, possibly with merit as Democrats will debate among themselves for evermore, being that Sanders’ hard-left platform would frighten American voters who were disgusted by Trump but not interested in radical change.

In the Democratic primary in Colorado, a similar dynamic played out–Republicans single-mindedly worked to boost underdog Andrew Romanoff in his race against moderate John Hickenlooper, even complaining bitterly about Romanoff’s inability to compete as it became clear the primary would not result in an upset. Key to that strategy was the effort to demoralize base Democrats by highlighting Romanoff’s support for progressive policy goals like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal–both of which Hickenlooper vociferously opposed in his abortive presidential campaign.

How have Republicans adjusted their strategy now that Joe Biden has reeled Democrats back to the Great American Center and John Hickenlooper walloped Green New Dealin’ Andrew Romanoff in the Senate primary?

Apparently they’re just pretending the primary didn’t happen:

GARDNER: People are learning more about what Joe Biden wants to do. He wants to destroy 250,000 oil and gas jobs in Colorado, just like John Hickenlooper. He wants to increase taxes on all Coloradans just like John Hickenlooper. He wants massive regulations and Green New Deals, just like John Hickenlooper, so… [Pols emphasis]

That’s Sen. Cory Gardner on KHOW AM radio a few weeks ago, flat-out fictionalizing Hickenlooper’s position on the Green New Deal–in effect substituting Hickenlooper’s name in the script written for Romanoff. Hickenlooper’s conspicuous lack of support for this litmus test issue for Democratic presidential candidates was a major point of contention in the Senate primary. But it’s more than that: Hickenlooper’s moderation on energy development is such a major part of his brand that Gardner’s contention damages Gardner’s own credibility on a very basic level.

Hickenlooper, as everyone who knows even a little about the man can tell you, does not support the Green New Deal. Plenty of our readers wish Hickenlooper did, but he doesn’t. That’s not Hickenlooper’s position today, and it wasn’t Hick’s position ten years ago. Hickenlooper is also not the climate denier he was painted to be by the left during the primary, and Colorado Democrats who handed Hickenlooper the nomination by a wide margin know that too. But it’s Republicans who seem unable to accept that Bernie Sanders and Andrew Romanoff are not going to be on the ballot in November, and Cory Gardner in particular doesn’t know what to say now that his desired opponent lost the primary.

It’s not Cory Gardner’s only bad sign, but it’s a bad sign.

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Trump Campaign is Running on Fumes

Ruh-roh.

As The New York Times reported on Monday, the re-election campaign for President Trump has burned through whatever cash advantage it might have had over Democrat Joe Biden, whose campaign raised a staggering $364 million IN AUGUST ALONE. The Trump campaign has still not disclosed its fundraising numbers for August.

According to the Times, Trump’s campaign has somehow managed to burn through more than $800 million of the $1.1 billion it raised from the beginning of 2019 through July 2020. Trump replaced campaign manager Brad Parscale in July, elevating Bill Stepien to the top of the re-election pile, and it’s no stretch to suggest that Parscale’s budgeting troubles led to the change. As the Times explains:

Under Mr. Parscale, more than $350 million — almost half of the $800 million spent — went to fund-raising operations, as no expense was spared in finding new donors online. The campaign assembled a big and well-paid staff and housed the team at a cavernous, well-appointed office in the Virginia suburbs; outsize legal bills were treated as campaign costs; and more than $100 million was spent on a television advertising blitz before the party convention, the point when most of the electorate historically begins to pay close attention to the race.

Among the splashiest and perhaps most questionable purchases was a pair of Super Bowl ads the campaign reserved for $11 million, according to Advertising Analytics — more than it has spent on TV in some top battleground states. It was a vanity splurge that allowed Mr. Trump to match the billionaire Michael R. Bloomberg’s buy for the big game.

There was also a cascade of smaller choices that added up: The campaign hired a coterie of highly paid consultants (Mr. Trump’s former bodyguard and White House aide has been paid more than $500,000 by the R.N.C. since late 2017); spent $156,000 for planes to pull aerial banners in recent months; and paid nearly $110,000 to Yondr, a company that makes magnetic pouches used to store cellphones during fund-raisers so that donors could not secretly record Mr. Trump and leak his remarks.

The Times also reported that Parscale had his own car and driver, which is most definitely not a normal thing for a campaign manager.

We have this many monies.

President Trump spoke about his campaign’s finances on Tuesday, promising that he would self-fund his re-election campaign if necessary. Via POLITICO:

Trump denied Tuesday that his campaign was in dire financial straits but pledged he would contribute “whatever it takes” from his own personal fortune to ensure the success of his reelection effort.

“If I have to, I would,” Trump said of potentially donating to his campaign. “But we’re doing very well. We needed to spend more money up front because of the pandemic and the statements being made by Democrats, which were, again, disinformation.”

Bloomberg News reported today that Trump is considering self-funding his campaign to the tune of at least $100 million, though it’s unclear how plausible this might be for a man whose personal wealth is famously fungible.

Biden’s campaign has been outspending Trump by a better than 10-to-1 margin in recent weeks, including huge disparities in key battleground states such as Pennsylvania. The Trump campaign recently went dark (off the air) in Arizona, for example, and may not return to the airwaves in that state until October.

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Take Trump’s Advice? Jena Griswold Says She’ll Lock You Both Up

Donald Trump.

As the Denver Post’s David Migoya reports, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold responded with emphasis to last week’s suggestion by President Donald Trump that voters in North Carolina cast both mail and in-person ballots, meaning vote twice, which is in case you didn’t already know this is a crime everywhere including in Colorado:

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said Monday she would consider referring President Donald Trump for prosecution in cases where double-voting is suspected in the state.

In the latest salvo against Trump and his call for voters to test the integrity of election systems by casting both mail-in and in-person ballots, Griswold tweeted that her office is serious about combating voter fraud…

“It’s important to underline to the president and the U.S. attorney general and anyone who is confused that it’s illegal to double vote,” Griswold told The Denver Post in an interview Monday. “We have safeguards in place, including signature verification, laws on ballot collection, and checking the participation in other states. If the president is causing people to vote twice, he could be partially to blame and we’ll explore the options if it happens.”

As we all learned again exhaustively during the impeachment proceedings, a sitting President can’t be criminally prosecuted, but assuming Trump becomes a private citizen in January it’s certainly possible that Trump could find himself criminally liable for this and any number of other misdeeds–as Rep. Ken Buck sussed out himself in questioning special prosecutor Robert Mueller. It’s fair to note that objectively speaking, encouraging voters to commit election fraud could find itself down the list of prosecutable offenses.

Republicans like Sen. Cory Gardner commonly downplay Trump’s rhetorical outrages by claiming it doesn’t matter, and Trump “blowing off steam” doesn’t do any real-world harm. This becomes a more difficult pretense to maintain when the President instructs his supporters in detail to commit felonies, and reminds us as he did after he told “his people” to “slow the testing down” that he never makes jokes.

Here’s another fair warning: don’t try it, at least not on Jena Griswold’s watch.

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White House: Obama Didn’t Time Travel America A Vaccine

No setup of Donald Trump’s sacrificial media lamb Kayleigh McEnany is needed this time, just watch:

MCENANY: …tore through bureaucratic barriers so we can get a safe, effective, and timely vaccine, and once again compare that to Obama/Biden where they promised a vaccine, they vastly underperformed…

It’s what George Orwell would write today, except much dumber.

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Tuesday Open Thread

“What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.”

–Bertrand Russell

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“Q*Bert’s” Aspen Fundraiser Busted For Willful COVIDiocy

GOP CD-3 candidate Lauren Boebert, pork sliders.

As the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent reported Friday, a recent fundraiser in Pitkin County for Republican CD-3 train wreck nominee Lauren Boebert did not obey the county’s required pandemic safety protocols, even though Boebert’s campaign had agreed to them in advance of the event:

Prior to the Aug. 31 event at a home off Cemetery Lane in the Aspen area, the public health department worked with the Lauren Boebert for Congress campaign to develop a safety plan because the event was for between 11 and 50 people, said Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, formal gatherings of up to 50 people must file a safety plan with the public health department beforehand that addresses protocols to reduce Covid virus transmission. That plan, which included the wearing of facemasks and social distancing protocols, was approved by the county, Peacock said.

However, after the event, a more than 8-minute clip of Boebert’s speech to supporters gathered inside the home was posted on an Aspen resident’s Facebook page and came to the attention of county public health officials. The clip showed that no one in attendance, including Boebert, was wearing a facemask or practicing social distancing, Peacock said.

“(The video showed) elements of the plan clearly weren’t followed,” he said.

It’s not a surprise that Boebert’s campaign viewed the COVID safety plan for their fundraising event as a formality to be dispensed with as soon as the party faithful arrived. In the current climate of Republican political resistance to what should be uncontroversial public health measures, it would have been uncool for anyone to put a mask on in that space–just like it was at Bandimere Speedway at last week’s “COVID Chaos” rally. Peer-pressured groupthink against common sense itself is creating innumerable such unsafe environments across the country every day. Although we haven’t seen a study of this specific question yet, we think it’s reasonable to assert that not just ignorance, but willful contempt for best practices like Boebert showed at this event is a major reason why the United States leads the world in deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic.

And yes, for anyone who has followed the quixotic rise of Lauren Boebert, after her brushoff of the Garfield County health department when her unlicensed service of tainted pork sliders sickened dozens of people at a 2017 Rifle rodeo, there’s definitely nothing out of character with this development. Be it keeping her donors (like her diners) safe from COVID, or keeping her pork cold until it’s time to heat it all the way up to the required 145 degrees, Lauren Boebert’s not playing by “government bureaucrat” rules.

Disregard for public health rules Boebert’s campaign had agreed to follow doesn’t make Boebert look edgy or rebellious. It’s dangerous, unprofessional, and stupid–and despite the carping of a noisy few, the vast majority of Americans are not on Boebert’s side. It would have been far better for Boebert’s increasingly sketchy image to simply follow the rules she agreed to follow than to inflict this kind of terrible press upon yourself by willful noncompliance. If you can’t manage that, just host a Zoom call.

The only winner in all of this, of course, is the coronavirus. But Lauren Boebert seems determined, in every way she can, to test the hell out of this district’s Republican loyalties.

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Diane Mitsch Bush and Alexis King Get More Smarter

Diane Mitsch Bush (left) and Alexis King

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, we have two great guests: Diane Mitsch Bush, Democratic candidate for Congress in CO-3, and Alexis King, Democratic candidate for District Attorney in Jefferson and Gilpin Counties. Make sure not to miss Mitsch Bush’s record-setting performance on our QAnon-based game, QDonkulous!

Your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii also talk about Ken Buck’s fashion choices; Dudley Brown’s life choices; and another of many bad choices in general for Cory Gardner.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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