Colorado’s Newest GOP Lawmaker Loves Him Some Cosplay

UPDATE: It’s worth noting that President Trump retweeted the image at right to his many followers this morning. As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN:

Unless you are deeply obtuse, you get the point: Donald Trump is suggesting — to his nearly 71 million followers — that the two top Democrats in Congress are in league somehow with the Iranian regime. Presumably, Trump believes that to be the case because both Pelosi and Schumer have pushed for the administration to offer more detailed information about the supposed “imminent” threat posed by Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani which led to the US military’s killing of him by drone strike earlier this month.

There’s actually one thing wrong with that sentence above. I wrote “Trump believes” that Schumer and Pelosi are in league with the Iranians. That’s almost certainly wrong. What Trump believes is that sharing a doctored image of these two Democrats he will throw red meat to his base, who will eat it up. That it will play into his base’s twin dislikes (or at a minimum distrusts) of a) congressional Democrats and b) Muslims. (Remember that Trump ran openly in 2016 on the idea that Muslims were a violent people who hated America — and that he was the only politician willing to tell the truth about the threat they posed.)

As Greg Sargent notes for The Washington Post, the White House also weighed in on Trump’s Tweet:

After President Trump retweeted a doctored image of Democratic leaders dressed in Islamic garb, the White House offered a curious justification: Trump retweeted that image to send the message that Democrats are on the side of terrorists.

This was apparently intended as a defense.

Which would appear to mean the White House’s official message is now that depictions of Democrats in Muslim garb denote Democratic support for terrorists.

With this in mind, the pictures of Republican Rep. Richard Holtorf (below) will really bake Trump’s noodle.

—–

A photo from origins unknown was forwarded to us, apparently depicting newly-appointed GOP Rep. Richard Holtorf of rural House District 64 in what can be best described as…well, culturally appropriative clothing–photos that were reportedly deleted or hidden from public view recently on Holtorf’s Facebook page:

Now before anyone gets carried away, we’re inclined to give Rep. Holtorf the benefit of the doubt that he is not some kind of closet Muslim “Manchurian candidate” working his way up the ladder of American politics to carry out his sinister sultanic deed. With that said, we’re obliged to recall that when a photo surfaced of former President Barack Obama similarly wearing Islamic-world clothes for a wedding years before his political career began, it instantly became part of the apocryphal body of “evidence” that Obama was a Trojan horse for Mecca.

We’ll leave it to Rep. Holtorf to explain this interesting bit of khaffiyeh cosplay, which we suspect was not meant to offend although it’s always better to be sensitive as a white dude to matters of cultural appropriation (here’s looking at you, Justin Trudeau). And of course, we can’t be held responsible for any misunderstandings with fellow Republicans.

Like President Obama, right? Or maybe there’s, you know, a difference.

20 Shares

George Conway’s Lincoln Project Rips Cory Gardner


The Lincoln Project, a group of dissenting high-profile Republicans led by attorney George Conway along with longtime GOP strategists Rick Wilson and Steve Schmidt, fired off its first volley against a fellow Republican–with blistering minute-plus video spot slamming Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado for “putting Trump ahead of Colorado every time.”

Last month the Lincoln Project’s principals laid out their red-on-red mission in a New York Times op-ed:

Over these next 11 months, our efforts will be dedicated to defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box and to elect those patriots who will hold the line. We do not undertake this task lightly, nor from ideological preference. We have been, and remain, broadly conservative (or classically liberal) in our politics and outlooks. Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain, but our shared fidelity to the Constitution dictates a common effort.

The 2020 general election, by every indication, will be about persuasion, with turnout expected to be at record highs. Our efforts are aimed at persuading enough disaffected conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in swing states and districts to help ensure a victory in the Electoral College, and congressional majorities that don’t enable or abet Mr. Trump’s violations of the Constitution, even if that means Democratic control of the Senate and an expanded Democratic majority in the House…

[Trump] has neither the moral compass nor the temperament to serve. His vision is limited to what immediately faces him — the problems and risks he chronically brings upon himself and for which others, from countless contractors and companies to the American people, ultimately bear the heaviest burden.

But this president’s actions are possible only with the craven acquiescence of congressional Republicans. They have done no less than abdicate their Article I responsibilities.

Today, Conway said of Sen. Gardner in particular:

When he ran for the Senate six years ago, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) promised that “when my party is wrong, I’ll say it.” Now Gardner is so scared of Donald Trump, he won’t even say it’s wrong for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival.

If Sen. Cory Gardner can’t do his job, and can’t comply with his oath of office by considering the impeachment charges against Trump on their merits, then he should go.

We haven’t heard the size of the ad buy for this compelling spot, but we expect it to be widely circulated even without much money behind it. This is a message aimed directly at Trump-averse unaffiliated voters who joined with Democrats in 2018 to punish Colorado Republicans at all levels in a clear referendum against the President.

With Gardner fighting a rear guard action to keep the Republican base behind him by backing Trump at great cost to his own credibility, Colorado’s majority anti-Trump coalition has no incentive to split their ticket.

780 Shares

Monday Open Thread

“Wisdom stands at the turn in the road and calls upon us publicly, but we consider it false and despise its adherents.”

–Khalil Gibran

0 Shares

Thousands March In Denver To Take Away Abortion Rights

Colorado Public Radio’s Hayley Sanchez reports from the Colorado Capitol yesterday, where thousands of newly-energized religious conservative voters turned out to support ending abortion rights in Colorado–and freely acknowledging that a 22-week abortion ban headed for the ballot this year is a step toward their goal of completely banning abortion:

Thousands of abortion opponents rallied outside the Colorado state Capitol on Saturday afternoon for the “2020 Celebrate Life Rally.”

The gathering is an annual event, but this year it had a new focus — speakers and attendees repeatedly touted Initiative 120, which would ban on abortions in Colorado after 22 weeks of pregnancy. Initiative supporters must turn in 124,632 valid signatures by March 4 in order to qualify for the November ballot.

“We are not going to rest because what started in Colorado will end in Colorado,” said David Bereit, co-founder of 40 Days For Life, a Christian non-profit that campaigns against abortion. “Colorado has tried other ballot initiatives on the pro-life side in the past that have failed. This is the one that a large majority of people agree upon.”

By all accounts the crowd yesterday at the state capitol dwarfed a protest last Wednesday attended by “anti-vaxx” activists and a color-coded range of other fringe issues, cheered on by House Republican leadership. Boosted by reported heavy promotion at area churches, yesterday’s March for Life was probably the largest protest event organized by conservatives in Colorado at least since the “Tea Party” protests of 2009. It’s widely expected that Initiative 120 will qualify for the ballot, largely on the strength of petitions circulated on church property during worship services.

This large protest march takes place against the backdrop of rapidly eroding abortion rights nationwide, and an anti-abortion movement in direct pursuit of the repeal of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision guaranteeing abortion rights–and with a court now tilted to the right for a generation, their chances are better than ever. Colorado, on the other hand, has routinely rejected abortion ban ballot measures by overwhelmingly numbers in previous elections, clearly demonstrating majority support for safe and legal abortion.

The truth is that abortions later in pregnancy are almost always the result of severe complications and developmental problems that only become apparent later. This reality is a potent counterargument to the 22-week abortion ban in polling, and it changes undecided voters’ minds once properly explained. And once Colorado voters realize that this arbitrary, unscientific limit on abortion rights is meant to lead directly to the next step of banning all abortion, it’s likely they will reject this measure at the polls by a large margin.

With that said, it’s a good bet the religious right in Colorado is going to try harder this year than ever before. Because they realize, as supporters of abortion rights already understand, that the worst-case scenario is only one election away. If there ever was room for complacency on the left with this defining civil rights issue, there isn’t now.

482 Shares

Weekend Open Thread

“Only a small rich fringe hates Social Security for disincentivizing 80-year-olds from seeking full-time employment.”

–Alex Pareene

0 Shares

Marianne Williamson WAS Still Running for President

Apparently Marianne Williamson was pursuing the Democratic Presidential nomination as recently as yesterday. But not anymore.

From CNBC:

Williamson, who consistently polled near the bottom of the pack of Democrats vying to defeat President Donald Trump, said she stayed in the race “to take advantage of every possible opportunity to share our message.”

“With caucuses and primaries now about to begin, however, we will not be able to garner enough votes in the election to elevate our conversation any more than it is now,” she said. “The primaries might be tightly contested among the top contenders, and I don’t want to get in the way of a progressive candidate winning any of them.”

“As of today, therefore, I’m suspending my campaign,” Williamson said.

Williamson wrote on Twitter shortly after her announcement that “A politics of conscience is still yet possible. And yes….love will prevail.”

Peace out!

 

0 Shares

Cory Gardner Praises Dear Leader’s Glorious Targeted Killing

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner.

9NEWS reports, Sen. Cory Gardner is not just backing President Donald Trump’s recent aggressive actions in the Middle East–while fellow Republican Senators denounce the administration’s arrogance in consultation with Congress as “insane” and “demeaning”–he’s laying it on thick:

“The president made the right call at the right time to neutralize the threat and to save American lives. Imagine having done nothing, having done nothing and allowing the attacks to proceed,” Gardner said. “At yesterday’s classified briefing, General Milley and our national security personnel made it clear — the death of General Soleimani saved lives.”

The briefing Gardner referred to was a classified briefing on the airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, held by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley and other high ranking security officials on Wednesday.

“I commend the administration for taking decisive action last week in Baghdad against Tehran-backed terrorists planning an imminent attack on American targets. The administration’s action, with regard to Qassem Soleimani, was not only decisive, but necessary and legal under longstanding presidential authority to protect American lives from imminent attack,” Gardner said.

As we noted yesterday, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah was incensed by the high-handed treatment of U.S. Senators by administration officials in an earlier briefing, where it was suggested that even questioning the President’s war powers would be seen by the administration as “emboldening the enemy.” As a result, a deeply offended Sen. Lee and fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul say they will vote in favor of a resolution passed by the House to limit the President’s authority to strike Iran. As for proving that the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was a defensive action in response to an “imminent” attack, as Vox reports:

“The president has not supplied convincing evidence that his strike stopped an imminent attack on US forces. Nothing we’ve seen has changed my mind,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), who has proposed a bill to withhold funding for an Iran war unless Trump seeks congressional authorization, said on the Senate floor after the briefing.

Paul referenced claims by O’Brien, Trump’s top national security aide in the White House, who has said the 2002 authorization for war with Iraq supported the legal rationale for killing Soleimani — an Iranian — in Baghdad. “That is absurd, that is an insult,” he said.

And according to a Democratic Senate aide, the briefers didn’t touch on anything that would provide evidence of an “imminent” attack. [Pols emphasis] “There was no way they could know for sure,” the aide said after speaking with their boss on what happened inside the room. “There was nothing specific they could point to.”

No problem for Sen. Gardner, who seems to have heard only what the White House wanted him to hear and not a word more. Gardner has learned in the last three years to talk his way around even the worst foreign policy mistakes by Trump, and follow the proselytized MAGA base’s lead in effusively praising the President no matter how poorly that praise may age–like when Gardner praised Trump for holding a summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and then watched helplessly as Trump’s engagement with North Korea devolved into the usual insults and renewed missile tests.

The moral of the story? If you want honesty, you won’t get it from Gardner–even when fellow Republicans are no longer restrained.

364 Shares

Get More Smarter on Friday (January 10)

The First Son-in-Law is 38 years old today. It’s time to 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The House of Representatives voted on Thursday to limit President Trump’s ability to take unilateral military action without Congressional approval. As CNN reports:

The vote was 224-194. Republican Reps. Matt Gaetz of Florida, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Francis Rooney of Florida crossed party lines to vote in favor while Democratic Reps. Max Rose of New York, Ben McAdams of Utah, Anthony Brindisi of New York, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Josh Gottheimer of New Jersey, Kendra Horn of Oklahoma and Stephanie Murphy of Florida voted against the resolution.

Now that the resolution has passed the House it will next go to the Senate.

Freshman Democratic Rep. Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, a former CIA analyst and senior Defense Department official, is the sponsor of the resolution, which calls on the President “to terminate the use of United States Armed Forces to engage in hostilities in or against Iran” unless Congress declares war or enacts “specific statutory authorization” for the use of armed forces.

You read that correctly — Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz voted IN FAVOR of the resolution.

Of course, the Senate is where all good things go to die; it is unlikely that Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell will even entertain a vote on the matter if he can avoid it. Some Republican Senators have expressed support for a “War Powers Resolution” after a disastrous White House briefing on Iran earlier this week.

Meanwhile, President Trump may have decided to kill Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani to perhaps appease Republican Senators whose support he needs in a coming impeachment trial.

 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says her chamber may send impeachment documents over to the U.S. Senate as soon as next week. From the New York Times:

In a letter to colleagues Friday morning, the speaker moved to end a weekslong impasse over the impeachment process that had left the president’s fate in limbo. She did not announce the members of the team she will ask to manage the case, but said the House should be ready to vote to appoint them sometime next week.

“I have asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler to be prepared to bring to the floor next week a resolution to appoint managers and transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate,” Ms. Pelosi wrote after lawmakers departed the Capitol for the weekend. “I will be consulting with you at our Tuesday House Democratic Caucus meeting on how we proceed further.”

Once the House votes and the articles are transmitted, the Senate’s proceeding, only the third impeachment trial of a sitting president in American history, will begin promptly — as soon as Wednesday based on Ms. Pelosi’s timeline.

 

► If you thought that Republican lawmakers in Colorado might be more reluctant to embrace their lunatic right-wing base after last year’s string of recall failures…well, we know you probably didn’t think that. The GOP still loves itself some lunatics.

Meanwhile, Colorado Republicans made it very clear during Thursday’s “State of the State” address that they have zero fucks to give about immigrants or refugees in Colorado.

For more on Gov. Polis’ “State of the State” speech, check this recap from The Denver Post or this annotated version of the entire speech via The Colorado Sun.

 

► Don’t miss the first 2020 episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an in-depth interview with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

0 Shares

The Get More Smarter Podcast: More Smarter Legislating


In the first 2020 episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, we kick off the Colorado legislative session from the State Capitol with House Majority Leader Alec Garnett. We also discuss Iran and impeachment (and how Sen. Cory Gardner is screwed on both), and Rep. Garnett faces off against Ian Silverii in the world’s best worst game, “Duke or Donald.” 

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

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

0 Shares

Colorado May Stand with Immigrants, But Republicans Do Not

Republican lawmakers remain seated after Gov. Jared Polis says that Colorado supports immigrants and refugees.

Governor Jared Polis (D-Boulder) today delivered his second “State of the State” address to an audience of Colorado lawmakers and elected officials.

Polis’ speech focused largely on health care issues and providing financial relief for Colorado families dealing with the high cost of health coverage and prescription drugs. Most of today’s “State of the State” remarks received bipartisan applause, but Republican legislators were noticeably stingy with recognition when Polis briefly touched on the importance of supporting immigrant and refugee families in Colorado. Said Polis:

…In the face of unprecedented hostility from this White House toward our immigrant communities, we can say loudly and proudly that in Colorado, we stand with DREAMers and with refugees.

Most of the room stood and applauded after this line, but as you can see from the video below, Republicans quietly sat on their hands instead. It was not a good look…

10 Shares

House GOP Leadership Welcomes Fringe, Fascists To Capitol

Yesterday’s Opening Day rally at the Colorado legislature featured a motley crew of color-coded far-right activists (we are not making up the color-coded thing), sounding off on a range of issues from opposition to childhood vaccination to the state’s new “red flag” law to protect the public from preventable gun violence–and a range of more bizarre issues in between like conspiracy theories about 5G cell phone service. Also in attendance were members of the Proud Boys, a neo-fascist “pro-Western civilization” group regularly involved in political street violence.

Here’s how 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark summarized the contrast between “the Republicans inside the building” and “the Republicans outside.”

We got a glimpse today of the difficult position that the minority Republicans are in when you compare their stated legislative priorities to what their supporters rally for on the capitol steps.

Republicans inside called for transportation funding.
Republicans outside carried anti-vaxxer signs.
Republican inside linked teacher performance with bonuses.
Republicans outside linked former President Obama and Hitler.
Republicans inside included a call for bipartisanship.
Republicans outside included the Proud Boys, recently featured in a 9 Wants To Know investigation on hate in our state.

So that is the trouble that looms ahead for the Republicans inside the state capitol. They have to answer to the Republicans outside.

The only thing we’re obliged to add is the photo collage at the top, courtesy the Colorado Times Recorder, which closes the loop in this discussion of the Republicans “inside the capitol” versus the right-wing protesters who turned out in force outside to vent their particular flavor of misguided rage. The protesters outside the capitol yesterday were eventually joined by a large contingent of elected Republican lawmakers–including House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, Rep. Dave Williams, Rep. Lori Saine “In The Membrane,” Rep. Susan Beckman, and a number of others.

That’s critical to understand. The Republicans inside the capitol went outside.

Once that happened, it was no longer possible–or necessary–to tell the “inside” and “outside” Republicans apart.

300 Shares

Republican Senators Furious Over “Demeaning” Iran Briefing

THURSDAY UPDATE #2: Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) expanded on his comments in an interview with National Public Radio. Greg Sargent of The Washington Post singles out one of the more distressing pieces of that interview: Trump administration officials wouldn’t acknowledge a single hypothetical scenario in which they would consult Congress prior to taking significant military action.

As Sargent writes for the Post:

Our system is now functionally that one person makes these extraordinarily consequential decisions. Plainly, the person in question is not fit to do so.

Indeed, in this case, you’d think the starkness of the situation would get Congress — or, more precisely, congressional Republicans, since virtually all Democrats will do the right thing this time — to reassert its authority…

…Trump has threatened war crimes, has boasted about the size of his missiles and just ordered an assassination of a senior military leader in a sovereign country without alerting Congress or seeking its approval, based on intelligence that is dubious at best and on rationales that have fallen apart.

But Trump’s tweet calling on “all House Republicans” to vote against the new war powers measure now means that being loyal to Trump is synonymous with giving him unconstrained warmaking authority, despite all the madness we’ve seen. And so it shall be.

—–

THURSDAY UPDATE: Um, what?

Vice President Mike Pence said today the White House didn’t actually tell Congress any significant information about the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani. From The Washington Post:

Appearing on the “Today” show, Pence said the Trump administration actually did not share some of the most important information, because of its sensitivity…

…So to recap: The White House is now saying the information provided to lawmakers indeed might not have been as compelling as it could have been, but that Congress and the American people just need to trust that it’s there.

As The Post’s Shane Harris noted, that’s difficult to swallow. Even if an administration doesn’t share all the information widely with Congress for fear of leaks, it generally shares highly classified information with a smaller group of high-ranking lawmakers who are experienced in intelligence matters.

If the goal of the White House is to make supporters like Sen. Cory Gardner look like complete idiots…it’s working.

Remember that this Tweet came after Gardner had already praised the earlier briefing.
—–

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee unloads on Trump administration officials today after a “demeaning” briefing on military action in Iran in which they were told not to question White House decisions.

Today may have been a singularly important moment for America during the Trump administration — the day that unquestioning support from Republican Senators finally started to crack. As The Hill newspaper reports:

GOP Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) ripped the administration over a closed-door briefing on Iran on Wednesday, announcing they will now support a resolution reining in President Trump‘s military powers. 

Lee, speaking to reporters after a roughly hourlong closed-door meeting with administration officials, characterized it as “the worst briefing I’ve seen, at least on a military issue.”…

…Lee said the officials warned that Congress would “embolden” Iran if lawmakers debated Trump’s war powers.

“I find this insulting and demeaning … to the office that each of the 100 senators in this building happens to hold. I find it insulting and demeaning to the Constitution of the United States,” Lee said.

Both Senators Paul and Lee made it clear that they would now be supporting the War Powers resolution sponsored by Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia, which would limit the President’s ability to use military force in Iran. Senator Lee noted that he had been undecided on this decision until today’s briefing.

It’s difficult to get a full sense of the fury emanating from Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee unless you listen to his remarks in full. Take a look:

Here’s just a brief snippet of Lee’s rant in front of members of the media this afternoon:

“It is not acceptable for officials within the Executive Branch of government — I don’t care if they’re with the CIA, with the Department of Defense, or otherwise — to come in and tell us that we can’t debate and discuss the appropriateness of military intervention against Iran. It’s un-American. It’s unconstitutional. And it’s wrong.” [Pols emphasis]

From what Lee and Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul are saying, today’s Iran briefing seemed to be largely about Trump administration officials telling U.S. Senators to just shut up and accept whatever foreign policy decisions are being made by the White House. Obviously, this was not well received by independent-minded Senators.

Of course, some Republicans are still not willing to question the Trump administration. Here’s Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) unashamedly parroting talking points from the very same briefing that incensed his colleagues:


In a 2014 campaign ad, Gardner infamously looked into the camera lens and claimed, “when my party is wrong, I’ll say it.”

But when it came time to “say it,” Gardner was nowhere to be found — despite Republican colleagues giving him all the cover in the world to pretend to challenge President Trump.

For Colorado voters in 2020, what Gardner didn’t say today says plenty.

40 Shares

Live Today: Mayor Pete And Brother Jeff

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, who most readers know better as the electrifying young Democratic presidential candidate currently posting unexpectedly strong poll numbers in early primary states, is in Denver today for a pair of fundraising events–but you can catch him gratis this afternoon on Facebook Live for an informal interview with local community organizer Jeff Fard.

Buttigieg’s rise in the polls in New Hampshire and Iowa has been offset by a persistent deficiency in support from voters of color, and Buttigieg has been working hard in recent weeks to win over this crucial Democratic primary voting bloc–or if not win them over as a first choice, at least ingratiate himself enough to pull together a majority coalition in the event Buttigieg’s early strength proves more than a flash in the proverbial pan.

It should be noted also that the somewhat imposing image above is a standard for Fard’s podcast guests, not designed by Buttigieg’s campaign. That may or may not prevent it from becoming a bit of, you know, a meme.

1 Shares

Rep. Dave Williams, Facing Primary, Goes Hard “Anti-Vaxxer”

Rep. Dave Williams (R), with Congressman Steve King (R-IA).

We wanted to take note of a primary challenge reportedly brewing in Colorado House District 15, the infamously nut-tolerant Colorado Springs safe GOP seat once held by Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt and currently in the possession of Rep. Dave Williams. Williams, who trades on a charming amalgam of Latino heritage and virulent anti-immigrant demagoguery, has always had a less than firm grip on this seat on account of being generally an unpleasant individual–and now, GOP challenger Missy Ward is taking on Williams in a red-on-RMGO proxy war:

It took less than three days after filing to run for State House Representative of HD 15 for the threats from RMGO and their puppets to begin.

An elected official called to tell me that RMGO, Joe Neville and Jon Hotaling are already working their bully tactics against me.

This is exactly what I expected from this group of radical, women hating, abusers.

They SHOULD be threatened by a smart, independent woman and domestic abuse survivor like myself that refuses to be their pawn.

Today, Williams’ supporters were found spreading this message to attendees at the conservative protest rally outside the state capitol:

To the overwhelming majority of Americans who support vaccination and think the law should be much tougher in terms of requiring school-age kids to get their shots, being labeled “pro-vaxx” would be rightly considered a compliment. But it’s crucial to remember that in a GOP primary in a safe GOP seat, the sensibility of the majority counts for basically nothing. Rep. Williams has clearly determined that becoming the face of “anti-vaxxer” politics in Colorado is his ticket to political survival.

And as bad as that may be for the Republican brand outside those super-safe districts, he could be right.

40 Shares

Crazies Of All Stripes Get Ready For Legislature’s Opening Day

WEDNESDAY UPDATE #2: It’s not a party until the Proud Boys show up with their boots on:

Now that elevates the discourse.

—–

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: Via the Colorado Times Recorder, the Colorado Freedom Force Opening Day rally has begun at the state capitol with an estimated 200 protesters sounding off their color-coded conspiracies:

Stay sanitary out there.

—–

With the second regular session of the 72nd Colorado General Assembly kicking off tomorrow, the noisier segments of the local fringe-right are set to make their presence cringeworthily known! First up is another protest hosted by the always-entertaining Americhicks, featuring a cross-section of right wing activists spanning issues from guns to abortion to vaccine conspiracy theories.

There’s even a handy color code to help outsiders sort the freaks out:

Wait, there’s a conspiracy theory for 5G cell service? Yes, gentle readers–there is.

From there, the freakshow heads indoors for a “town hall meeting” with GOP Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs. Williams is apparently the House sponsor this year of something he calls the “Vaccine Consumer Protection Bill.” While school districts and local governments around the country are tightening their vaccination requirements in response to outbreaks of preventable diseases, Williams and the GOP “anti-vaxx caucus” want to go the other way:

For your health and convenience, hand sanitizer is conveniently located throughout the building.

Day 1 of 120, folks. We do not foresee it becoming any less kooky.

135 Shares

BREAKING: Iran Launches Missile Attack Against U.S. Base in Iraq

WEDNESDAY UPDATE: As CNN reports, there have been no reported American casualties from last night’s missile attack by Iran on American bases in Iraq–and it appears that may have been design, with the Iranians trying to de-escalate the situation while still appearing tough:

Wednesday morning’s missile strikes against al-Asad airbase and Erbil airport — both of which play host to US troops — were clearly not an act designed to kill the most Americans possible…

The missile attacks don’t make sense if Tehran’s goal was to really hurt US troops in large numbers — as some had been pledging to do.

They do make sense, however, as the execution of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s order to strike back openly, military-to-military, in response to the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.

Or, maybe Iranian missiles are just crappy. Either way, it’s being interpreted as restraint.

—–

As NBC News reports:

A U.S. military air base in Iraq’s Al Anbar province was hit by more than two dozen ballistic missiles from Iran on Wednesday local time, according to the Department of Defense.

“It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Assad and Irbil,” the department said in a statement.

It is unclear whether there is any damage to Al-Assad air base or whether there are any casualties.

Iranian state TV described it as Tehran’s revenge operation over the killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, according to the Associated Press. NBC News has not confirmed the report.

Obviously we will update this post as more information becomes available.

1 Shares

Gardner Enables McConnell’s Impeachment Trial Sham

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Cory Gardner.

As Politico reports, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has the votes to plow ahead with rulemaking for a Senate impeachment trial that completely ignores the input of Democratic Senators calling for witness testimony as part of a trial:

McConnell said Tuesday hehas locked down sufficient backing in his 53-member caucus to pass a blueprint for the trial that leaves the question of seeking witnesses and documents until after opening arguments are made.

That framework would mirror the contours of President Bill Clinton’s trial and ignore Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s demands for witnesses and new evidence at the outset…

…McConnell’s strategy has key backing from the handful of Republican swing votes heading into the trial, though many senators, like Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), had hoped Schumer and McConnell could come to an agreement.

“We’ve gotten so snarled up with debate over witnesses that the two leaders haven’t been able to come to terms on this first phase so it looks like we’ll go forward with a Republican [package],” said Murkowski, who said she would support McConnell’s proposal.

So-called moderate Senators like Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski and Maine’s Susan Collins are the names most often mentioned today as reluctantly siding with McConnell’s power play, but as local reporters have figured out, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner should be on this same list.

As Colorado Pols readers well know, Gardner has been ducking and dodging for months on questions about President Trump’s impeachment. On Monday, The Denver Post and other reporters called Gardner out on his persistent obfuscation on the subject. Gardner, meanwhile, responded to new questions with a silly “But…Nancy Pelosi!” retort.

Key witnesses — such as former National Security Adviser John Bolton say they are willing to testify, and some Senate Republicans have paid lip service to the idea of allowing witnesses in a Senate trial (no doubt partly because they understand that the evidence against Trump is going to keep piling up either way). Gardner, however, isn’t even pretending that he will do anything other than whatever McConnell tells him to do.

Cory Gardner is completely in the tank for President Trump. Colorado reporters have figured that out, and their national counterparts won’t be far behind.

256 Shares

“Yosemite Samantha” Assails Tipton Over “Amnesty Bill”

Lauren Boebert.

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, upstart CD-3 Republican primary challenger Lauren Boebert broadsided GOP incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton over his recent vote with “Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and 224 other Democrats” in favor of a new farm worker visa program bill:

Rifle restaurant owner Lauren Boebert, who announced last month that she is challenging the four-term congressman in the June primary, said that when Tipton voted for the Farm Workers Modernization Act of 2019 last month, he was voting for a pathway to citizenship for “illegal farm workers and their families.”

That bill, which established a new certified agricultural worker status and revamped parts of the nation’s H-2A agricultural visa program, cleared the U.S. House on Dec. 11 on a 260-165 vote. Thirty three other House Republicans voted for the bill along with Tipton, the only GOP representative in Colorado’s congressional delegation to do so.

“It was certainly shocking that you voted alongside Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and 224 other Democrats to give amnesty to millions of illegal farm workers and their families,” Boebert wrote. “To then falsely claim, ‘This is NOT an amnesty bill” is a good indicator of why you should no longer be representing hardworking American citizens in Congress. How stupid do you believe voters are?”

Although it would be disingenuous for Democrats to directly criticize Rep. Tipton for voting with them and against an overwhelming majority of fellow Republicans, this vote could still be a big problem for Tipton in a Republican primary. There’s nothing that gets the blood of rock-ribbed conservative primary voters up like “caving” on immigration, and since President Donald Trump has made demonizing immigrants a central GOP campaign plank Tipton’s vote with Democrats on this bill is even more problematic–again, not in the general election, but Tipton has to get there first.

We said previously that Boebert’s best strategy is to seize the ideological momentum among hardcore GOP primary voters from Tipton, and successfully sell herself as a stronger conservative and more than just a novel personality. It still remains to be seen whether Boebert can compete down the stretch with Tipton’s well-oiled re-election machine, but savaging Tipton over this vote is strategically right on target.

Boebert says her objective is to become the “conservative AOC.” So far, so good.

1 Shares

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (January 7)

Merry Christmas, Russia! Please celebrate responsibly. It’s time to 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/visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show or The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Colorado legislature kicks off its 2020 session on Wednesday. Right-wing nutcases are descending on the State Capitol in preparation.

State Sen. Lois Court (D-Denver) will not be joining her colleagues in the Senate chambers. Court announced on Monday that she was resigning her seat after being diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease known as Guillain-Barré syndrome. From The Denver Post:

Court will step down Jan. 16, and her job will be filled by a Senate District 31 vacancy committee, the caucus said. Court’s seat is up for election this year, and she previously said she would not seek another term.

State Rep. Chris Hansen, D-Denver, declared in October that he’d run for the seat, but he says now that he’ll seek appointment to the seat via the vacancy committee. Another announced candidate for Court’s seat, Maria Orms, also plans to seek appointment via the committee. If Hansen is tabbed to replace Court in the Senate, another committee would have to meet to fill his House seat.

Elsewhere in pre-session preparation news, House Democrats announced new committee assignments and Republicans say they want to focus on transportation funding legislation. The Colorado Sun previews the session with a Top 10 list.

 

As CNBC reports, there is still much confusion about whether or not the United States has agreed to withdraw military forces from Iraq:

Iraq’s Prime Minister said that the U.S. military sent a letter regarding American troop withdrawal from the country, Reuters reported on Tuesday, further deepening confusion over plans for troops in the region.

It’s the latest in a messy string of events sparked by a U.S. airstrike that killed Iran’s top general.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi said that his country received an English and Arabic version of the letter but that they were not identical. Therefore, Iraq requested clarifications on U.S. plans.

The news comes on the heels of the Pentagon’s admission that the letter informing Iraq’s Defense Ministry that U.S.-led coalition troops would leave Iraq “was a mistake.”

This headline from New York Magazine sums up the entire mess nicely:

► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) continues to avoid talking about pretty much anything. We recapped the last three months in the world of #NoCommentCory. As Megan Verlee of Colorado Public Radio notes, reporters have caught on to Gardner’s persistent obfuscation.

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo says that Gardner’s silence on impeachment is precisely the reason journalists should keep asking him questions:

Take Cory Gardner. Is he going to come out for a real trial? Probably not. But he’s hiding in the background now because he wants to be able to present himself as independent-minded and moderate next November. It’s folly to give him that chance. Democrats should be focusing on him nonstop, making clear in Colorado and nationally that it really is all up to him. It’s not about some vague thing called Republicans or the Senate GOP caucus. It’s about him. He could change the equation himself, very quickly.

As Politico reports, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is preparing to move ahead on setting rules for an impeachment trial without the input of Senate Democrats.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

0 Shares

No Comment Cory: Three More Months of Silence

Invisible Cory GardnerIt’s been a few months since we last checked in with our running series, “No Comment Cory.” We probably should have updated this sooner, because there has been a whole lot of dodginess from Gardner lately.

The Denver Post, in fact, is so fed up with the invisibility routine from Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) that it devoted an entire story on Monday to his ducking and dodging:

Gardner’s silence dates back months. His public appearances, never numerous in 2019, were rarer still this fall. He has avoided conservative talk radio, once a political safe space, along with most news media. His office agreed to arrange an interview with The Denver Post in Washington, D.C., during the House impeachment process, but later said he was unavailable and instead emailed a statement criticizing that process.

Asked last week whether Gardner believes Trump cabinet members should testify during the trial and whether he agrees with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to work in “total coordination” with the White House, Gardner’s spokeswoman sent the same statement, answering neither question…

…The last time the senator spoke with a significant contingent of Colorado reporters was Oct. 10, when he made national headlines for refusing to say whether it’s inappropriate for an American president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival. Gardner declined to answer the question a dozen times that day.

That press gaggle on October 10th was absolutely BRUTAL for Gardner. It wasn’t because reporters asked gotcha questions — it was because Gardner just wouldn’t answer any questions. Sometimes Gardner dodges questions, or declines comment, or literally runs away. Sometimes he just goes completely silent on issues that were once of utmost importance to him.

As we’ve been documenting, it’s virtually impossible to get Colorado’s junior Senator to provide his opinion on anything…which is why we take the time to point out just how often Gardner and his office duck and run from reporters. We can’t be sure that this is a complete list of all of the times that Gardner (or his office) refused to comment about something important over the past three months, but we’ve done our best to keep track.

Let’s get to it. Unless otherwise noted, all emphasis below is ours.

 

October 18, 2019

Brandon Thompson of Fox 21 News in Colorado Springs experienced the Gardner silent treatment firsthand:

Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman wondered about Gardner’s plans to attend a big Trump fundraiser in New York City:

Spokespeople for Gardner’s campaign and the NRSC didn’t respond to a request for comment.

 

October 25, 2019

From 9News:

9NEWS again asked Gardner if he feels it’s appropriate for a president to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival. His team did not respond.

October 26, 2019

The Hill newspaper wondered about Gardner’s position on a prescription drug pricing bill that at one point had the support of President Trump:

Gardner’s office did not respond to a request for comment on whether he supports the bill.

Ditto for The Colorado Times-Recorder.

 

October 31, 2019

The Christian Science Monitor profiled a handful of Republican Senators on the issue of impeachment and President Trump’s troubles:

Mr. Gardner has refused to comment on impeachment before, as he puts it, all the facts are in. He’s also repeatedly declined to say whether or not he thought it was appropriate to ask a foreign government to investigate a political rival, even walking away from an interview to avoid the question earlier this month.

Still, he’s been a vocal critic of the House investigation, calling it a partisan exercise, and he quickly signed on to the resolution attacking the inquiry.

 

November 5, 2019

What say Sen. Gardner about President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate accord? Not much, finds the Colorado Springs Gazette.

 

November 7, 2019

The Colorado Independent was on-hand for a discussion about immigration policy featuring Gardner and Sen. Dick Durbin. A reporter tried to follow up after the event:

He declined to comment after the event when asked by The Colorado Independent whether he’d support the “American Dream and Promise Act,” a bill that passed the U.S. House in June. The legislation would offer protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children and others who are currently without permanent legal status.

He directed the question to his spokeswoman, who asked the Independent to follow up via email. She did not respond to an email requesting comment. 

 

November 13, 2019

Does Sen. Gardner think it is appropriate for the President of the United States to enlist a foreign government for help in an election? Westword tried (again) and failed (again):

It remains unclear what additional information Tiegen and other Republicans — including Senator Cory Gardner, who has refused to comment on Trump’s conduct toward Ukraine until he gets “all the facts” — expect to be revealed…

Gardner’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

 

November 21, 2019

Gardner won’t even talk to the sycophants on right-wing radio in Colorado:

KNUS 710-AM’s Steffan Tubbs explained to his listeners Wednesday that he texted Gardner’s press office Tuesday morning to request an interview with Gardner on Thursday or Friday to discuss the “impeachment inquiry, campaign, and Thanksgiving plans.”

Tubbs sent his text again to Gardner’s office Wednesday morning and got a response saying, “Hey Steffan, taking a look at schedule and will circle back.”

Gardner’s office eventually texted Tubbs, “Unfortunately at this point the schedule is packed Thursday and Friday at that time. Sorry about that, and thanks for the invitation!”

Tubbs read Gardner’s response on air and then played audio of cricket noises.

 

December 5, 2019

After a new TV ad began airing that was critical of Gardner’s policy history on abortion and women’s health matters, reporters had questions.

From The Hill newspaper:

An ad airing in Colorado argues that Gardner doesn’t “care about women’s health.” We reached out to the Tillis, McSally and Gardner campaigns for comment, but only heard back from McSally. 

Not even Fox News could get a response from Gardner:

Representatives for Tillis and Gardner did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.

 

December 6, 2019

Gardner appeared at an event with Armed Services Committee Chair Jim Inhofe and was asked a few questions afterward by the Colorado Springs Gazette:

Gardner sat to the right of Inhofe during these remarks, and did not address them during the meeting. When asked afterward whether he agreed that the military is used to advance social goals, Gardner responded, “I’m not sure what he is referring to, so you’d have to ask him.”

 

December 10, 2019

The Colorado Springs Gazette sought comment from Gardner after Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) joined the chorus of Democrats calling for the resignation of White House adviser Stephen Miller on account of the fact that he is ridiculously racist.

An e-mail sent to the office of U.S. Cory Gardner was not returned, asking if he had an opinion on Miller’s employment or his ideology as characterized by the Democratic senators.

December 11, 2019

The Colorado Sun wondered if Gardner might ever remove his nose from the derriere of the President:

Gardner is mostly mum on how and why his stance on the president has evolved over the past three-plus years, but political math provides important context as to why he may not have a choice, politically speaking, when it comes to his support for Trump…

In a recent interview, Gardner declined to answer questions about his views on Trump and instead attacked Democrats.

 

December 14, 2019

In mid-December, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raised plenty of eyebrows when he said that he would be working closely with the frigging White House on a potential Senate impeachment trial. The Washington Post had some questions:

When asked to react to McConnell’s plans to take his cues from the White House counsel, spokespeople for GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Martha McSally (Ariz.) and Mitt Romney (Utah) never responded.

December 17, 2019

Is it appropriate for the President of the United States to enlist a foreign government for help in an election? The Washington Post tries again:

The Colorado Democratic Party, for instance, has counted 19 times that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) has declined to directly answer whether it was appropriate for Trump to ask the president of Ukraine to look into former vice president Joe Biden’s role in the country.

“Republican Senators have shown they don’t have the courage or independence to stand up to the White House, and this is another example of their failure,” Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said in a statement, echoing the very argument Republicans are making about House Democrats and their leaders.

Wait for it…

A spokesman for Gardner did not respond to a request for comment.

Laura Litvan of Bloomberg News has a similar experience:

 

December 20, 2019

How about President Trump’s border wall money grab taking funds away from military projects in Colorado? The Wall Street Journal asked…and got nothing.

 

December 22, 2019

The National Journal got THISCLOSE to getting Sen. Gardner to explain his position on a bill meant to lower prescription drug prices:

“We’ve got to do something to drive down prices; I hope that we can do something that has full bipartisan support,” Gardner said earlier this month when asked by National Journal if the bill should be placed on the floor for a vote. He added at the time that he had not had a chance to read the most recent version of the legislation, and he declined to say if he supported the bill.

 

December 25, 2019

All the New York Daily News wanted for Christmas was a comment from Gardner after Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski was critical of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for publicly declaring that he would work directly with the White House on impeachment issues.

Spokespeople for Romney, Gardner and Collins did not return requests for comment on Wednesday.

 

December 26, 2019

Colorado Public Radio wondered why the U.S. Senate doesn’t ever seem to pass any legislation:

Gardner didn’t give an opinion on the pace of legislation when asked.

Joey Bunch of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman is never shy about praising Gardner for any reason, but he couldn’t get a comment for his column:

Gardner has been mum about impeachment, and his campaign did not immediately reply to a request for a comment from Colorado Politics about the new billboard Thursday.

This blog will be updated if Gardner weighs in.

Spoiler alert: It wasn’t.

 

And, finally, we have arrived back at the present day:

January 6, 2020

What does Gardner think about news that former National Security Adviser John Bolton is willing to testify in an impeachment trial? Squirrel!

 

We don’t pretend to understand the political or strategic calculations behind Gardner’s consistent dodginess, but there’s simply no denying that inaccessibility is the Gardner brand.

 

 

55 Shares