Galindo Recall Organizers Admit It’s Not About Oil and Gas

Rep. Rochelle Galindo (D-Greeley).

Another must-read story from the Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy this weekend digs into the central question around the nascent recall campaign against freshman Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley–why is this happening? Is it because Rep. Galindo is a “homosexual pervert” trying to indoctrinate the children like Pastor Steve Grant, one of the original organizers of the recall campaign says? Or it it the oil and gas local control bill now awaiting Gov. Jared Polis’ signature?

Treasurer Dave Young, who preceded Rep. Galindo in HD-50, doesn’t get it–unless the answer is as simple as it seems:

A Tribune review of Young’s votes from the 2013 legislative session reveal Young’s support for limits on high-capacity magazines and for background checks for gun sales between private parties. It revealed a “yes” vote on a controversial renewable energy mandate for rural electric cooperatives that served as another basis for the failed 51st State initiative that year.

And it revealed “yes” votes on bills that increased oil and gas spill reporting requirements, monitoring requirements, increased fines for oil and gas violations and sought to change the mission and makeup of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, including forcing the commission to prioritize health and safety…

“In many, many ways, the votes I’ve taken and the policy stances I’ve had are pretty much the same (as Galindo),” Young said. “The question is, ‘Why her and not me?’ What is it about her that they’re really attacking here? I think that raises some pretty serious questions.” [Pols emphasis]

What’s the difference, asks Treasurer Dave Young? And when you look at Young’s record in the House, including plenty of votes that should by the reasoning applied to Rep. Galindo have provoked the same degree of anger against Young, it just doesn’t make sense. This includes votes in 2013, the last year recall elections were attempted and (not coincidentally) the last time Democrats were in full control of the legislature. What’s the difference, other than Rep. Young is a straight white guy and Rep. Galindo is not?

The response to this very reasonable question, not from the previously identified haters like Pastor Grant but from the “mainstream” Weld County Republicans who are trying to convince you this is not a campaign of wedge issue haters, more or less confirms Young’s suspicion.

Former Weld County GOP Chairwoman Stacey Kjeldgaard, who is leading the recall effort, in a phone interview Sunday went further when it comes to oil and gas — and the potential negative economic impact of SB 181 — being the reason for the recall.

“That’s our big thing; that’s our only thing,” Kjeldgaard said.

But then there’s this: When asked whether she would be working to recall Galindo if she had voted “no” on SB 181, Kjeldgaard said, “Absolutely.” [Pols emphasis]

Full stop. If the “negative impact” of Senate Bill 19-181 is the “only thing” driving the recall of Rep. Galindo, why would they recall her regardless of her vote on Senate Bill 19-181?

After blowing this extremely important question, Stacey Kjeldgaard threw out some empty platitudes about how Rep. Young “had connections to the community”–as if Galindo didn’t grow up in Greeley, or serve on the City Council before running for the legislature. But it doesn’t matter–by admitting that the “only thing” allegedly pertinent to recalling Rep. Galindo wouldn’t have affected their decision even if Galindo had voted against the bill, they’ve conceded the reality of the situation.

Just like Ken Buck comparing gay people to Nazis, sometimes you just have to take people at their word.

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GOP Chairman Buck Defends Comparing Gays To Nazis

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

Readers were shocked this past week by an exchange in the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Tuesday between Rep. Ken Buck, newly elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, and a woman who had experienced discrimination as an LGBT woman seeking pediatric care for her children:

Rep. Ken Buck: Um, is it your position that, uh a uh orthodox Jewish doctor should be required to work with a uh–an orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a–um, a Nazi, uh patient?

The clear suggestion here is that a doctor who doesn’t like gay people would be just as justified in refusing treatment to a gay family as a Jewish person who had ancestors killed in the Holocaust would be justified in refusing to treat a Nazi. Needless to say, this comparison is extremely offensive to both gay and, by cheapening the pertinent history to crassly make Buck’s point, Jewish people.

Yesterday, 9NEWS’ Marshall Zelinger broadcast an interview with Rep. Buck in which he’s asked about this ghastly comparison–and Buck launched into a defense of his words that demonstrates he meant exactly what he said:

“My point was, and it’s similar to the (Masterpiece Cakeshop) baker case in Jefferson County. We’re getting to the point where we’re forcing people to conduct business that they may not want to conduct. We have to be very careful, it’s not a line we haven’t crossed in the past, we’ve certainly crossed that line with African-Americans in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, and it was very appropriate not to have segregated lunch counters, not to have segregated buses, but we keep finding more and more groups that we are putting into a category of forcing people to conduct business with,” said Buck.

What Buck is trying to say here is that he doesn’t think LGBT people should be a protected class of people under discrimination law, as they would be under the legislation under debate and are in Buck’s home state of Colorado as well as 20 other states. That’s consistent with the ballot measure Amendment 2 passed by Colorado in 1992 and later found unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Buck’s brazen contempt for the law in the state he represents in Congress invites its own criticism.

But more importantly, what Buck’s “clarification” doesn’t contain is any reasonable justification for comparing gay people to Nazis. The underlying assumptions necessary to make this a valid comparison are simply unworkable for anyone who doesn’t virulently hate LGBT people. It seems fundamentally absurd to even have to write this, but the Nazis were directly responsible for the deaths of six million Jewish people, and started a war that killed 50 million people globally. To compare that abominable history to LGBT Americans who want health care without being victims of discrimination is…

It’s sick, folks. And treating this as a defensible viewpoint for a member of Congress from the state of Colorado, not to mention the chairman of the state party, is totally unacceptable. We honestly do believe that in previous years, before Donald Trump desensitized the nation from outrage, Buck would have been compelled to apologize for these comments–not double down on them on prime time TV. But if it isn’t clear from this episode how deep the moral rot in today’s Republican Party runs, erupting to the surface in the hate-rooted recall campaigns against Rep. Rochelle Galindo and Gov. Jared Polis, here may be all the proof you’ll ever need.

Ordinarily one would call on the Colorado Republican Party to stand up against these kinds of outrages, like when Ryan Call called out Vicki Marble for blaming African American health problems on eating too much chicken–but that’s obviously a problem in this case! In the end, despite all the protestations to the contrary, history may be forced to conclude that the unconcealed hatred common in Buck’s horrific analogy and the stated motivations of recall organizers reflects who Colorado Republicans really are.

Want to prove us wrong? For God’s sake, somebody condemn this madness.

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Neville Clan: Still Recall Central

There’s been some confusion in the last few days as recall efforts against freshman Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley have received publicity over two groups working on the effort: with a few wealthy Weld County landowners pledging big bucks for the campaign and the Recall Colorado organization led by House Minority Leader Patrick Neville working with local pastor Steve Grant firing up hater grassroots opposition.

In an interview Wednesday on AM600 talk radio, Joe Neville of Rearden Strategic tried to sort out the current state of play, while still portraying themselves in a management role over the effort:

LAKEY: Now, the House District 50 – there was a different gentleman who – I guess – pulled the [recall] petitions. Not all of these recalls are connected. I mean, everybody is kind of teaming up where possible, but it’s not all coming from, like, one central organization. And House District 50 fits that description, does it not? It’s put on by some local folks, that they are pulling the petitions and hoping to team a bunch of people together. But not everything flows through Joe Neville.

NEVILLE: That’s correct. That’s absolutely correct. What our goal is with ‘recallcolorado[.com], is we’re working to help out the grassroots. So, we have run recalls before, we have the ability to raise resources, and we’ll put volunteers out there. But these recalls – it’s the people’s district. And they sense, too – because the legislators work for the people, and so the people, they’re the ones who are putting these recalls together, the citizens in these districts. And we’re just there to help support them and get them the resources they need, to help them with getting ballot signatures and get this on the ballot – get the recalls on the ballot. And then when it comes time for the election, we’ll be there to help with that part, too. But really, it’s helping them be effective and give them the best chance possible to make sure the recall is successful.

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).

From there the conversation turned more specifically to Pastor Grant, who the Nevilles originally connected with to organize the HD-50 recall after he vowed to bring down his “homosexual pervert” representative:

NEVILLE: And, you know, we need to stand up, not only to the press, but the fact of the matter is, you know, whether it was with Trump or [what] we’ve seen just over the past few months, people aren’t going to put up with it anymore and they’re going to start focusing on holding these politicians accountable. And that’s what we’re doing with the recalls. And you know, the guy that stood up – the pastor that stood up, good for him! Good for all these people that are involved in this, because it’s not just one issue. It’s several issues that are affecting these people in this district, and they have a right to hold their politicians accountable. [Pols emphasis]

LAKEY: Yeah. The [recall] petitions are not approved yet. Where are we at in that process? Because I know my listeners are chomping at the bit, and the people all across Colorado are chomping at the bit, to get their hands on a petition. The Galindo petition, particularly – it’s in the approval process? Is that what we say?

NEVILLE: Yep, it’s in the approval process. There are several different stakeholders. I mean, this was such a polarizing effort that several people had started entering petitions. So we had to put – you know, pause it, bring everybody to the table, try to figure out what petition we’re going to move forward, because the last thing we want is multiple petitions out there, splitting up the effort. We’ve come to that conclusion, I believe. [Pols emphasis] And within the next few days we should have a final one turned in and approved. And so I’m guessing within the week, here, is when things should start moving forward. And we’ll definitely be reaching out to everybody that signs up at recallcolorado.com and telling them where to go and pushing them to the main center of the first — what looks like it’s going to be the first recall in Colorado this year.

To whatever extent there is an attempt to put daylight between less-savory organizers of this recall effort and the money men funding the petition campaign, consider it scrambled! After the jump, we’ve reprinted for posterity the original March 26 press release from the Nevilles praising Pastor Grant and celebrating his participation in the Galindo recall. It looks like, barring a specific indication to the contrary, the House Minority Leader and his family business are going to be the glue that sticks all the disparate –and unpleasant–pieces of this operation together.

(more…)

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In Your Face: GOP Asks “Dr. Chaps” To Deliver Morning Prayer

The subject of considerable outrage in the Colorado House this morning is the request by an as-yet unknown Republican House member for former Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt of Colorado Springs to deliver the morning prayer ahead of the day’s floor work:

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of the issues with Rep.-cum-Rev. Klingenschmitt, who gained nationwide infamy ahead of and during his single term in the Colorado House of Representatives for his virulently anti-LGBT remarks both in his official capacity as well as on his Youtube “video ministry” taped programs. Klingenschmitt once claimed that a grisly attack on a pregnant woman in Longmont was “a curse of God upon America” for allowing abortion. He said that LGBT people “want to rule you” and that that gay Scoutmasters should prefer to be “drowned in the sea” than face God’s wrath.

At a moment when Republicans are facing hard questions about the avowedly hateful people working to recall Gov. Jared Polis and more recently Rep. Rochelle Galindo of Greeley–notably House Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s alliance with Pastor Steve Grant, who has vowed to recall what he called his “homosexual pervert” representative–bringing in a figure as uniquely polarizing as “Dr. Chaps” to stare down the House in his clergy robes and expect to be joined in prayer cannot possibly be an accident.

This was a very intentional provocation. The ugly message was loud and clear.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (April 5)

Today is “Opening Day” for the Colorado Rockies; have fun parking downtown this afternoon. It’s time “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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Remember when President Trump asserted that he was “totally exonerated” after Attorney General William Barr issued a summary of the Mueller report? That talking point is not aging well.

As the Washington Post reports:

Revelations that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s still-confidential report may contain damaging information about President Trump ignited a fresh round of political fighting on Thursday, ushering in a new phase of the nearly two-year-old battle over the Russia probe.

Members of Mueller’s team have told associates they are frustrated with the limited information that Attorney General William P. Barr has provided about their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump sought to obstruct justice, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

While Barr concluded the special counsel’s evidence was not sufficient to prove that the president obstructed justice, some of Mueller’s investigators have said their findings on obstruction were alarming and significant, one person with knowledge of their thinking said.

Some on the special counsel’s team were also frustrated that summaries they had prepared for different sections of the report — with the view that they could be made public fairly quickly — were not released by Barr, two people familiar with the matter said.

The truth shall set you free, as the saying goes…though it may yet have the opposite effect for many in Trumpland. Attorney General William Barr appears to be well on his way to getting tossed under the ol’ bus.

 

► Colorado lawmakers have reached an agreement on transportation funding, though as the Denver Post reports, the details are murky:

Colorado’s Republican and Democratic lawmakers reached a second and potentially final deal to spend $300 million more on transportation in the next budget year, but the big question still left to answer is what gets cut to pay for it.

This new deal struck Thursday afternoon is $36 million less than the amount agreed to in the Senate last week. The House got approval from their counterparts before announcing this compromise, which directs the six members of the Joint Budget Committee to find $70 million for the Department of Transportation in the $30.5 billion state budget.

“We are giving permission for your JBC members to go into conference committee and dig through the couch cushions a little harder,” Rep. Daneya Esgar, D-Pueblo, told her fellow Democrats during a meeting to explain the agreement.

This can serve as your regular reminder that TABOR is awful.

 

► Elections matter. Leadership matters.

Consider the rollout on Thursday of a plan from Gov. Jared Polis to reduce health care costs in Colorado. The “Roadmap to Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care” includes several pieces of legislation that have bipartisan support. Most of these bills could have been passed and implemented in prior years, but Senate Republicans had no interest in governing with their one-seat majority. This is why Colorado voters overwhelmingly elected Democrats in 2018.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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Hick Plays To a Core Strength: Guns

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D).

AP reports via Colorado Public Radio from the early 2020 campaign trail in South Carolina, where former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is touring the state highlighting one of his strongest progressive issues: reducing gun violence.

During a campaign trip to South Carolina, Democratic presidential candidate John Hickenlooper is meeting with church members who survived a racist massacre in 2015.

The former Colorado governor is scheduled to have dinner and a roundtable discussion Saturday with survivors of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME, Hickenlooper’s campaign announced this week. Nine black parishioners were slain as they prayed during Bible study at the church. The shooter, a white man who said he hoped that the killings would start a race war, is on federal death row…

Hickenlooper is known as a staunch advocate for gun control legislation. Following the 2012 Aurora theater shooting, the then-governor called for and signed bills requiring universal background checks and limiting magazine capacity to 15 rounds.

Although every Democratic candidate who travels to the early primary state of South Carolina pays their respects to the victims of the church shooting in Charleston carried out by an avowed white supremacist assailant, Hickenlooper’s bonafides on gun violence legislation are stronger than most of the Democratic field. Hickenlooper hasn’t been gaffe-free on guns since signing 2013’s landmark reforms into law, but simply weathering the test of time after six years has made Colorado’s gun laws a hard-won model for reform as the issue has steadily shifted away from the gun lobby.

And it’s a useful reminder that even as the debate over guns rages out of control once again in Colorado, the relatively modest measures Colorado has passed into law, and is soon to again with the expected signing of the Extreme Risk Protection Orders bill, enjoy very broad public support in nationwide polling on the issue–even in Texas. Whether or not this breaks Hickenlooper out of the depths of the pack of the presidential primary is less important than noting, as gets lost in the din locally, that this is an issue that politically plays very well.

Sorry Dudley Brown, the numbers don’t lie.

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Polis Health Care Plan Shows Why Elections Matter

“Roadmap to Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care” rollout on Thursday

Governor Jared Polis rolled out a detailed plan on Thursday morning for reducing health care costs in Colorado called the “Roadmap to Saving Coloradans Money on Health Care.”

In an event at Denver Health Medical Center, Polis outlined a proposal that includes several pieces of legislation currently making their way through the State Capitol. As KOAA News reports:

Polis already signed a hospital transparency bill into law last week.  That law requires hospitals to report their annual spending and expenditures as part of an effort to lower health care prices.

There are already bills going through the legislature to import prescription drugs from Canada and introduce a reinsurance pool designed to lower premiums for private insurers.

In addition to short-term solutions, Polis also mentioned plans to incentivize preventative care, introduce healthy options to children at schools, improve immunization rates and introduce a separate plan to address behavioral health.

Here’s more detail from a press release:

“Health care costs too much,” said Governor Jared Polis. “No Coloradan should have to go without care because they can’t afford it. This roadmap will be our guide to saving people money on healthcare and ensuring better access to affordable care for everyone in our state.”

Colorado has taken significant steps to increase access to health care and insurance coverage during the past decade. As a result, today only 6.5 percent of Coloradans don’t have health insurance compared to 15.8 percent in 2013. Despite this improvement, the cost of care has been increasing at an alarming rate, especially in rural areas and mountain communities.

All of the central legislative efforts outlined in Polis’ health care proposal have bipartisan support. In other words, these are all bills that could have been shepherded through the legislative process at any point in the last several years.

The reason you aren’t already saving more money on health care costs is because that would have required Senate Republicans to do something other than obstructing Democratic bills and obfuscating about sexual harassment with their one-seat majority in 2017 and 2018. Republicans such as former Senate President Kevin Grantham liked to say that they served as a “check” on Democratic control; in reality, they were an obstacle to reasonable discussions about all sorts of common-sense legislative approaches.

There is absolutely no way that these health care savings efforts would have been produced without Colorado voters giving Democrats both a majority and a mandate in November 2018. The right leadership matters. Elections matter.

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“Total Exoneration” Looks Less Exonerating By The Day

TOTAL EXONERATION. Got it?

The New York Times reports that the celebration by Republicans following the release of a letter from Attorney General William Barr on the now-completed investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election may have been more than a little premature:

Some of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have told associates that Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations.

At stake in the dispute — the first evidence of tension between Mr. Barr and the special counsel’s office — is who shapes the public’s initial understanding of one of the most consequential government investigations in American history. Some members of Mr. Mueller’s team are concerned that, because Mr. Barr created the first narrative of the special counsel’s findings, Americans’ views will have hardened before the investigation’s conclusions become public…

A debate over how the special counsel’s conclusions are represented has played out in public as well as in recent weeks, with Democrats in Congress accusing Mr. Barr of intervening to color the outcome of the investigation in the president’s favor.

In his letter to Congress outlining the report’s chief conclusions, Mr. Barr said that Mr. Mueller found no conspiracy between Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia’s 2016 election interference. While Mr. Mueller made no decision on his other main question, whether the president illegally obstructed the inquiry, he explicitly stopped short of exonerating Mr. Trump.

As time passes since Mueller handed off his investigation’s finding to Attorney General Barr, a Trump ally widely believed to have been chosen for the job because of his expansive view of presidential powers and limited oversight of those powers, the initial jubilation on the part of Trump loyalists has given way to nervous deflection. Trump’s declaration that the outcome represents “total exoneration” was not even supported by the extremely limited content of Barr’s letter, which in one of its few verbatim citations of Mueller’s own words makes clear that Trump was not exonerated.

With that uncomfortable reality becoming clearer with each passing news cycle, if the plan was to allow enough time between Barr’s letter and the full report’s release to deflate public interest, at this point the delay is more likely to have the opposite effect. Especially if the sum of the full report’s conclusions make what’s been released so far look like a cover-up, which this latest story suggests may be the case, it’s only going to increase public outrage when the truth comes out.

And for all we know, something game-changing could well be in the offing.

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Good Luck, Speedy Recovery To Sen. Michael Bennet

Sen. Michael Bennet (D).

Mike Littwin of the Colorado Independent broke significant news yesterday that Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, a likely entry into the 2020 race for the Democratic presidential nomination will undergo surgery for prostate cancer prior to making a final decision:

Just as he had finally become comfortable with his decision to run, he went to get a physical and received very discomfiting news from his doctor — he has prostate cancer.

His PSA was high. The biopsy showed malignancy. The doctors recommended that, at his age, surgery was the best course of action. His family agreed. The risk, he was told, was low. John Kerry had survived, cancer free, the same surgery in 2003 and two weeks later was back on the campaign trail, on his way to winning the Democratic nomination. And so …

And so, now Bennet is still committed to running for president if — and it’s an important if, but an if that Bennet says he’s at peace with — he will be cancer free. The surgery to remove the prostate gland is scheduled for soon after the congressional spring recess, which begins on April 11.

When I asked Bennet how he was taking all this — the cancer, not the presidential bid — he said he was OK. “I’m too busy to really sit back and think about it,” he said, “and that’s probably the best thing.”

The odds are good that Sen. Bennet’s treatment will be successful, but it’s a responsible choice to be certain before undertaking something as strenuous as a presidential campaign. We’ll add our best wishes to the bipartisan outpouring of goodwill since yesterday evening when the story broke.

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Oil and Gas Reform Bill Clears Final Hurdle, Now Awaits Governor’s Signature

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg

One of the most heavily-discussed bills in Colorado completed its journey through the state legislature on Wednesday. Senate Bill 181 was given final approval by the State Senate — including all amendments added by the State House — and now moves to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis, who is expected to sign the legislation within the coming days.

Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, one of the prime sponsors of SB-181, announced the bill’s success in an email message earlier today:

SB181 marks the most sweeping and comprehensive reforms to oil and gas laws our state has seen in over 60 years! Health and safety will finally be the top priority in the regulation of oil and gas. Local governments will finally be able to have a voice in what is happening in their communities.

Here’s a quick summary of what the bill accomplishes:

♦ Puts health and safety first by clarifying the mission of the regulator, the COGCC, is to regulate (not foster) the oil and gas industry.

♦ Empowers local governments to have decision-making authority over the siting of oil & gas activities in their community and allows local regulations to be stronger than state requirements.

♦ Strengthens protections for wildlife, dramatically increases air quality and emissions standards, and addresses & prevents abandoned orphan wells.

♦ Protects property owners from forced pooling by increasing the threshold of consent required before forcing other mineral interest owners.

♦ Enhances worker safety by raising safety and training standards.

♦ Reforms the COGCC by reducing industry representation and influence on the commission.

9News has more on the final passage of SB-181, which included more than 30 hours of public testimony.

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Does Cory Gardner Think “Windmills Cause Cancer” Too?

Sen. Cory Gardner (R), giving himself cancer in a 2014 campaign ad.

CNN reports on remarks from President Donald Trump at a Washington, D.C. fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee yesterday–in which Trump goes off on a tangent about the horrors of wind power that we have to think would make our allegedly pro-wind power Sen. Cory Gardner blush:

“Hillary wanted to put up wind,” said President Donald Trump at a fundraiser for Republicans in Washington Tuesday, kicking off an extended riff about the evils of windmills — wind turbines, more accurately — and the inadequacy of wind energy. It’s worth looking at in full since it’s clearly becoming part of his stump speech and feeds into his larger distrust of renewable energy and his mocking of climate change…

Among Trump’s false claims yesterday about wind turbines was the baseless assertion that “if you have a windmill anywhere near your house, congratulations, your house just went down 75% in value.” Nobody knows where Trump got that figure, which is 10% higher than he gave in another setting–but it doesn’t matter because neither number has any basis in reality.

From there, it only gets worse:

Trump: “And they say the noise causes cancer. You told me that one, OK.” (Then he made circles with his hands and a noise with his mouth.) “You know the thing makes so…”

It’s not clear who it was who told this to Trump, but there’s no evidence to back it up. There are frustrations with noise from wind turbines and those have led to reports of things like insomnia and dizziness among some people who live near wind turbines. Scientific studies have not identified any human health risk.

And if “noise causes cancer” isn’t enough for you, next came a statement that will come as a big surprise to thousands of Coloradans who work in the wind power industry:

Trump: “No, wind’s not so good and you have no idea how expensive it is to make those things. They’re all made in China and Germany, by the way, just in case you, we don’t make them here, essentially.” [Pols emphasis]

The wind industry has been on a tear. The fastest-growing occupation in the US in 2017 was wind turbine technician, although it’s still a small part of the economy, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More than 105,000 Americans are employed in the wind industry across all 50 states, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group…

Here in Colorado, four production plants owned by Vestas Wind Systems employ some 3,500 people from Windsor to Pueblo. Not all wind turbines installed in the U.S. are made in the U.S., and parts from across the world go into turbines that are made here–but either way it’s absolute nonsense to claim that turbines don’t provide American jobs.

Of course, the fact that Donald Trump tells lies is not exactly breaking news. The Washington Post released an analysis Monday showing that Trump has made a practically inconceivable 9,451 false claims in the last 800 days. But in the particular case of savaging the wind power industry, there should be someone in the GOP willing to stand up and call Trump out: Cory Gardner of Colorado, who made such a big deal of his support for wind energy on the campaign trail in 2014. Gardner’s recent cozying up to Trump ahead of their mutual bid for re-election in 2020 has included no serious attempt at reconciling Trump’s immoderate words with Gardner’s allegedly more reasonable positions on a wide range of issues, including renewable energy.

With all of this in mind, it’s time to ask the question: does Cory Gardner think wind turbines–in particular the “noise they make”–cause cancer? And if the answer is no, and we assume it is, the next question is this: what would Trump have to lie about to lose Gardner’s support? Trump’s treatment of women wasn’t enough, the North Korean debacle wasn’t enough–not even the national emergency Gardner was certain he opposed before it was ordered.

There must be something Gardner cares about enough stand up to Trump, but this once again isn’t it.

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The “Very Fine People” Who Want To Recall Rochelle Galindo

THURSDAY UPDATE: Colorado Public Radio reports that petitions to recall Rep. Rochelle Galindo have been approved for circulation–but it’s unknown which organization the approved circulators are affiliated with.

—–

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock).

The Greeley Tribune’s Tyler Silvy reports on efforts getting underway to recall House District 50 Rep. Rochelle Galindo–efforts that loom deadly serious due to the amount of money at least hypothetically in play, and much like the nascent campaign to recall Gov. Jared Polis shocking for the audacious prejudice on display by some of its organizers:

A local group working to recall Rep. Rochelle Galindo, D-Greeley, hasn’t yet finalized its paperwork with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, but it’s already sitting on $325,000 in pledged campaign donations from a Weld County landowner and oil and gas companies.

Motivated by the low threshold required to initiate a recall of a House member–in the case of Rep. Galindo in HD-50, a mere 5,696 valid signatures–Republican donors are ready to spend big on a do-over of the 2018 election. To put that in a perspective that should sober every Colorado Democrat, $325,000 breaks down to just over $57 for every required signature to qualify a recall for the ballot. Basically, these guys could buy every petition signer a nice dinner. With drinks.

Therefore ignoring the threat this represents would be foolhardy in the extreme.

The problem, as Silvy continues in yet another excellent deep dive story that should spike traffic for the Greeley newspaper of record, is that the people who are actually ready to organize such a recall–led by House Minority Patrick Neville–are, to put it mildly, problematic.

Colorado Senate Minority Leader Patrick Neville’s brother Joe Neville, who runs the political action committee Values First Colorado, publicly announced his involvement in a separate Galindo recall this past week. Neville is from Castle Rock, and is working to recall other legislators around the state and followed a similar recall path in 2013.

Aligned with Rocky Mountain Gun Owners’ Dudley Brown and controversial Greeley Pastor Steven Grant, Neville’s group, at this point, has no buy-in from the local group.

Part of the reasoning could be Grant himself, who in a March 17 sermon titled Reclaiming America Part 2 and published on the website of his Destiny Christian Center church, calls Galindo a “homosexual pervert,” and vows to do anything in his power to remove her from office. [Pols emphasis]

Reached by phone, Pastor Steven Grant of Destiny Christian Center Church confirmed those sentiments about Rep. Galindo, elaborating that “she’s trying to insert her lifestyle into our lives.” Ernest Luning of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political site first reported on Grant’s sermon attacking Rep. Galindo late last week, but it was mostly inaccessible behind the Gazette’s paywall:

“My representative is a homosexual pervert, Rochelle Galindo, at the Colorado statehouse,” Grant says in the video.

“And I wrote her and said, ‘You campaigned as a moderate, and now you are legislating as an extremist, and I will do whatever it takes to get you removed from office.’ I just told her that, straight out. She needs to know before it happens.”

Grant says he told Galindo to vote against “this homosexual sex education bill,” legislation he maintains “literally removes words like ‘he’ and ‘she’ because it is offensive to those who are gender-fluid, whatever that is. I think they need their fluids changed.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s a fascinating predicament–on the one hand you’ve got rich Republicans with money to burn who would love to make trouble for Democrats after last year’s landslide election left them powerless. But the people actually working to put a recall on the ballot are themselves highly divisive figures, enough to toxify the entire effort in just a few short sentences (see above). Apparently that’s given some of the big donors pause–but with the Neville family publicly fronting the recalls before the Republican Party faithful last weekend at the party’s annual meeting, and Neville allied with the unapologetically bigoted Pastor Grant on the ground in Greeley, these are the ones bringing us all to the proverbial dance.

And as they say, you dance with the one who brought you.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (April 3)

Sign us up as investors in the first business to start delivering marijuana AND fast food at the same time. Now, 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Attorney General William Barr says that he will make a “redacted” version of the Mueller report available to lawmakers by mid-April. The House Judiciary Committee isn’t satisfied with that approach, as CNN reports:

The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved a subpoena to obtain the full confidential report from special counsel Robert Mueller, sending a warning to Attorney General William Barr not to redact Mueller’s report and setting the stage for a clash between Congress and the Trump administration.

Wednesday’s vote, which was divided along party lines, comes the day after an April 2 deadline House Democrats set for Barr to provide the full Mueller report to Congress. House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler now has the ability to issue a subpoena for Mueller’s unredacted report as well as the underlying evidence collected during the 22-month investigation into Trump’s team…

…”The big question is, do we get the entire report and the documentation? Or does he redact it so it’s meaningless?” Nadler told on CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday.

Colorado is represented on the House Judiciary Committee by Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette) and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley).

 

► So-called “red flag” gun safety legislation is through the state legislature and awaiting the signature of Gov. Jared Polis. The editorial board of the Pueblo Chieftain has a strong message for those who think they are doing their community a service if they refuse to enforce the new law:

Sheriffs and the deputies who work for them are supposed to be in the business of enforcing laws. That’s why it’s a little surreal to hear so many of them across Colorado vowing not to enforce the so-called “red flag” bill…

…The larger point here is that sheriffs shouldn’t be in the position of picking which laws they choose to enforce. That’s a slippery slope that, taken to its extreme, would lead to anarchy.

► The newly-elected Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party wasted no time in embarrassing the State GOP on Tuesday. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) made the wrong kind of headlines for his questioning during a hearing to amend the Equality Act when he asked a witness (who was testifying about her experience with discrimination after a same-sex marriage) if she thought requiring Christian doctors to treat gay patients was comparable to forcing Jewish doctors to treat Nazis. From Yahoo! News:

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo, posed an even more outlandish scenario to one of the witnesses, Jami Contreras, who faced discrimination in seeking medical care for her child because she is in a same-sex marriage.

“Is it your position,” Buck asked Contreras, “that an Orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a Nazi patient?”

Nazis are not a protected class, meaning that adherents of a political ideology — in this case, fascism — are not covered by the anti-discrimination statute of the Civil Rights Act. A seemingly confused Contreras answered by pointing out that she and her wife were raising their child according to “Christian values” and wanted only protection from prejudice.

Click here for the full exchange during Tuesday’s hearing.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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Wednesday Open Thread

“There is poison in the fang of the serpent, in the mouth of the fly and in the sting of a scorpion; but the wicked man is saturated with it.”

–Chanakya

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Rep. Ken Buck: Gays, Nazis, Same Difference

UPDATE #2: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark Tuesday evening:

—–

UPDATE: Yahoo! News:

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo, posed an even more outlandish scenario to one of the witnesses, Jami Contreras, who faced discrimination in seeking medical care for her child because she is in a same-sex marriage.

“Is it your position,” Buck asked Contreras, “that an Orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a Nazi patient?”

Nazis are not a protected class, meaning that adherents of a political ideology — in this case, fascism — are not covered by the anti-discrimination statute of the Civil Rights Act. A seemingly confused Contreras answered by pointing out that she and her wife were raising their child according to “Christian values” and wanted only protection from prejudice.

—–

Rep. Ken Buck (R).

We’re picking our jaws up off the floor after being sent the video clip you can see above featuring GOP Rep. Ken Buck, the newly-elected chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, questioning a witness testifying on behalf of HR5, the Equality Act–a bill introduced in the U.S. House to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to protect Americans from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in addition the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. Colorado already has discrimination protection enshrined in law for LGBT residents, but federal law has never been updated to match the protection that already exists here and in many states.

From Rep. Buck’s questioning of this witness, it’s pretty clear he doesn’t respect Colorado’s version of the law:

Chairman Jerry Nadler: Thank you gentlemen for yielding. The gentleman from Colorado, Mr. Buck?

Rep. Ken Buck: Thank you Mr. Chairman. Ms. Contreras, I want to ask you a quick question, you said in your testimony that, uh that you uh had chosen a doctor, and uh the doctor refused to work with you and another doctor came in and worked with you. Did you receive inferior medical care?

Witness: Uh, possibly. I don’t know, to be honest with you. So we didn’t do any research on that doctor, we didn’t have the opportunity to…

Rep. Ken Buck: Did you have any complaints about the medical care that you received from that doctor?

Witness: There were some things in that uh meeting that were less than what we were looking for and what we expected from a pediatrician, yes.

Rep. Ken Buck: Did you, is your daughter healthy now?

Witness: She was healthy at the time, luckily, yeah.

Rep. Ken Buck: Um, is it your position that, uh a uh orthodox Jewish doctor should be required to work with a uh–an orthodox Jewish doctor whose grandparent was killed in the Holocaust be required to work with a–um, a Nazi, uh patient? [Pols emphasis]

Witness: Um, well, here’s what I, here’s what I believe. I believe that the Religious Freedom Act, uh religious freedoms are a core American value, I think it’s very important, um, I think it’s important that you know that I was raised on Christian values, came from a Christian home. Me and my wife are raising our children on those same values, which is respect everyone, love thy neighbor, treat everyone equally, um, which is…

Rep. Ken Buck: Would you answer my question? Should that doctor be required to take that patient?

Witness: I think that there are some people here who could answer that a little bit better than I could but I think that everyone should be treated equally.

Rep. David Cicilline: Mr. Buck, if you will yield, I’m happy to answer that question.

Rep. Ken Buck: I will not yield, I will not yield.

Rep. David Cicilline: I don’t think Nazis are a protected class…

Rep. Ken Buck: I reclaim my time. I will not yield. Professor Coleman, I have a question for you.

Chairman Jerry Nadler: Gentleman doesn’t want an answer, doesn’t have to yield.

Rep. Ken Buck: Well, that’s a nice cheap shot from the chairman, I appreciate that. I didn’t know the chairman…

Chairman Jerry Nadler: It’s not a cheap shot, it’s a real shot. [Pols emphasis]

You’re reading that right, folks. Rep. Ken Buck just today in the U.S. House of Representatives attacked an LGBT witness testifying about discrimination she experienced trying to obtain medical care for her children by comparing her to a Nazi. There’s a lot we could say about this, from the very reasonable point by Rep. David Cicilline that Nazis are not a protected class of people subject to discrimination to responding at length to the sheer outrageousness of Buck likening this mother’s experience getting medical care for her children with a Nazi seeking treatment for themselves.

The more you try to rationalize this, the worse it gets.

Even in Rep. Buck’s Eastern Plains arch-conservative district, it’s very difficult to imagine a majority of residents standing behind this extremely offensive suggestion. You’ve got to be awfully deep-fried in your disdain for LGBT people to genuinely believe their children should be victimized in a medical setting as if their parents had committed a crime against humanity. At any other time in modern American history, we would think that these scurrilous remarks would be both national news and a career-ending disaster.

But in Trump’s America–and apparently in Buck’s Colorado Republican Party–it’s just another sad day.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 2)

At least you don’t have to worry about lame April Fool’s Day jokes for another year. 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 a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Trump administration may or may not have an actual plan for health care reform, but the answer to that question won’t be settled anytime soon. President Trump is heeding Republican worries about picking another health care reform fight ahead of the 2020 election cycle, as CNN reports:

President Donald Trump on Monday night backed away from his push for a vote on an Obamacare replacement until after the 2020 elections, bowing to the political reality that major health care legislation cannot pass in the current Congress.

Trump’s statements come a week after his administration announced that it now agreed with a judge’s ruling that the entire Affordable Care Act should be scrapped. The opinion was a dramatic reversal from the administration’s previous stance that only portions of the act could not be defended…

…”The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare. In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare. Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House. It will be truly great HealthCare that will work for America,” Trump declared in a series of tweets. “Also, Republicans will always support Pre-Existing Conditions. The Republican Party will be known as the Party of Great HealtCare. Meantime, the USA is doing better than ever & is respected again!”

Trump’s decision comes at a good time for White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who has been getting hammered by media outlets for nonsensical health care statements he made on the talk show circuit last weekend.

 

► Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) says that he opposes President Trump’s latest threats to close the U.S.-Mexico border. Of course, Gardner says a lot of stuff that he doesn’t mean, like his “opposition” to Trump’s “emergency declaration” for border wall money.

 

► The Associated Press reports on the advancement of some significant legislation at the State Capitol:

A House committee on Monday advanced a bill to ask Colorado voters if the state can retain excess tax revenue and a companion bill that would spend that revenue on roads and schools.

The House Finance Committee votes came after Democratic Speaker KC Becker argued the state should do all it can — especially at a time of sustained economic growth — to address Colorado’s chronically underfunded transportation and education needs…

…One bill would ask voters in November if the state can keep excess revenue that would otherwise be refunded under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. The other would allocate that excess revenue in equal parts to K-12 schools, higher education and transportation.

Even some of the most staunch defenders of TABOR are admitting that the spending restrictions need to be changed — and soon.

 

► So-called “red flag” gun safety legislation has officially made it through the state legislature and is now on its way to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis. From 9News:

The bill would allow the seizure of weapons from persons the court deems to pose a significant risk to themselves or others.

The 38-25 passing vote included two Democrats who voted against it: Rep. Bri Buentello (D-Pueblo) and Rep. Donald Valdez (D-La Jara)…

…Colorado Republicans defeated a similar bill last year, insisting it infringed on citizens’ Second Amendment rights. But Democrats won both statehouse chambers in November, and Polis called for a “red flag” law while campaigning last year.

It would allow family or law enforcement to seek a court order to have guns seized if they believe the owner is a threat. If approved, a subsequent court hearing would be held to determine whether to extend the seizure, up to 364 days.

Polis is expected to sign the legislation, which is overwhelmingly popular among most Colorado voters.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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Johnston Raises Big Bucks Against Gardner

Former Sen. Michael Johnston.

RealVail reports on the big fundraising numbers just reported by Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Michael Johnston, one of a growing pack of contenders itching to take on vulnerable GOP incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner next year:

Vail native and now Denver resident Mike Johnston, who says he’s not accepting any donations from political action committees, set a new record for of $1.8 million for the first quarter of 2019 as he seeks the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020.

The Johnston campaign claims that total, which must be fully reported in detail to the Federal Election Commission by April 15, is “the most ever raised in Colorado by a non-incumbent in their initial quarter.”

That’s a head-turning pile of money any way you slice it, and a strong indicator of the excitement among Democrats looking to flip this seat back to blue in a state that looks politically conducive to doing just that in 2020. One caveat we’ll note in the particular case of Johnston, whose out-of-state financial support from the corporate education reform crowd in previous races has been good for a splashy initial showing but then leveled off as the campaign progressed.

That means we’ll be watching for both sustained financial support as well as signs of bonafide local momentum to underpin Johnston’s big initial fundraising haul. With that said, Johnston has set the bar very high for this marquee 2020 race–and it needs to be, in order to start winnowing down what’s become an unwieldy pack of candidates.

But the real takeaway is the big, earnest money out there to take on Cory Gardner.

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Trump Pulls Rug From Under Gardner on Health Care

President Trump and Sen. Cory Gardner.

After the report on the investigation into the 2016 elections by Special Counsel Robert Mueller was given to the Justice Department, leading to a terse memo from Attorney General William Barr that has at least for the moment alleviated the immediate threat of impeachment of President Donald Trump over the still-unreleased report’s conclusions, Trump immediately started pushing hard on a fresh effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act–a program that has hung on tenaciously despite numerous attempts to repeal and a number of successful attempts to weaken President Barack Obama’s signature legislation.

Well, as CNN reports today, the President is abandoning this latest campaign as quickly as it began:

President Donald Trump on Monday night backed away from his push for a vote on an Obamacare replacement until after the 2020 elections, bowing to the political reality that major health care legislation cannot pass in the current Congress.

Trump’s statements come a week after his administration announced that it now agreed with a judge’s ruling that the entire Affordable Care Act should be scrapped. The opinion was a dramatic reversal from the administration’s previous stance that only portions of the act could not be defended…

“The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare. In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare. Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House. It will be truly great HealthCare that will work for America,” Trump declared in a series of tweets. “Also, Republicans will always support Pre-Existing Conditions. The Republican Party will be known as the Party of Great HealtCare. Meantime, the USA is doing better than ever & is respected again!”

Between now and the 2020 elections, there is a more-than-zero chance that the Affordable Care Act will be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. In that event, it would be crucial for a replacement plan to be quickly passed into law to avoid the loss of health coverage for some 20 million Americans–including hundreds of thousands in Colorado–who depend on the ACA today. By punting the issue until after the election, any such disruption would be overwhelmingly blamed on Republicans who have been trying to tear the law down from its inception. Indeed, the vote by the GOP majority in Congress to zero out the tax penalty for not obtaining insurance is central to the latest legal challenge against the law, arguing that without the “mandate” the ACA isn’t functional.

If the ACA is upheld after this latest challenge, its severely compromised present state still threatens to collapse the whole system–damage done incrementally through both neglect and purposeful actions like zeroing out the mandate and cutting off key subsidies to insurance companies. Action needs to be taken in good faith to shore up the ACA now, not dismantling it by the legislative equivalent of throwing spitwads. Over two years into the Trump presidency, it’s simply not enough to blame the previous administration for these ongoing challenges. The voters stopped buying that in 2018 with clear results.

Next to Trump himself, the Republican perhaps most imperiled by this turn of events on health care in the whole nation is Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado. A combination of timing and deliberate strategy has left Gardner much more exposed on this issue than other Republican Senators up for re-election in 2020. In 2010, Gardner’s campaign for Congress was basically a single-issue assault on the Affordable Care Act. In Congress, Gardner repeatedly leveled misleading attacks about “hundreds of thousands of Coloradans losing their coverage” even as the ACA drove the rate of uninsured in Colorado to historic lows.

And back in 2015, Cory Gardner promised that if “Obamacare” was overturned, Republicans would be ready:

The Republicans will have plan in place if the ruling is for the plaintiffs. Our plan will be ready to go. And this president then will have to decide whether he wants to stand with our plan to make sure that we have an answer for the American people, or if the wants to try to inflict pain on the American people. [Pols emphasis]

Today those words would apply perfectly, wouldn’t they? But Gardner can never use them. Over and over since Trump’s election in 2016, Gardner has expressed support for Republican replacements for the Affordable Care Act–replacements that either never got past the drafting stage or were voted down because of the “pain” they would “inflict” on the American people in the form of millions of Americans losing their coverage.

You know, the one thing Gardner said he didn’t want to happen. But he voted yes anyway.

Cory Gardner didn’t have to make opposing the ACA the centerpiece of his career in federal office. He didn’t have to lie about Coloradans losing their coverage in 2013. He didn’t have to promise a Republican replacement that would protect Coloradans as well as the ACA has, then vote for legislation that would actually strip Coloradans of their coverage the way Gardner falsely claimed the ACA had done. All of these were deliberate political choices made by a politician who calculated that he could win elections this way.

As of now, Gardner has nothing to show for it. Only hard questions he can’t answer truthfully.

And eight wasted years.

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No Fooling: Colorado Republicans Descend Deeper Into the Void

Ken Buck and Steve House

On Saturday, Colorado Republicans selected Rep. Ken Buck to serve as State Party Chairman for the 2020 election cycle. Since Buck is not inclined to give up his day job as a Member of Congress, this means that former GOP Party Chair Steve House will oversee the day-to-day operations of the State Republican Party. This is not an April Fool’s joke.

We’ll get back to House in a moment, but first, a recap: Buck won a narrow victory over State Rep. Susan Beckman on Saturday after four rounds of balloting and a late change from Sherrie Gibson. After failing to generate much interest from Republican voters on the first three ballots, Gibson dropped out of the race for State Chair and endorsed Buck, which was enough to propel the Greeley Congressman to a 51.3% to 47.7% victory over Beckman.

These two paragraphs from John Frank of the Colorado Sun sum up both Buck’s election and the weird state of the Colorado GOP in 2019:

The third top candidate, Sherrie Gibson, the African American former party vice-chairwoman, emphasized the party’s need to diversify, saying the GOP “is not a party of just old men.”

Moments later, she endorsed Buck, 60, saying he’s the best for the job. [Pols emphasis]

In his acceptance speech on Saturday, Buck voiced strong support for President Trump and spewed out a number of highly-partisan statements. As Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) stood behind him, Buck enthusiastically talked up recall efforts in Colorado; cast the 2020 election as a battle between “freedom-loving Republicans versus socialist, corrupt Democrats”; suggested that Hillary Clinton, and not Donald Trump, “colluded” with Russians in 2016; and was defiant about so-called “red flag” gun safety legislation that has widespread support among Colorado voters.

There are those within the Colorado Republican Party who seem to understand that they should make changes in order to better compete with Democrats in 2020, but as Buck demonstrated on Saturday, right-wing rhetoric and Trump love still rule the day for the State GOP. As Justin Wingerter writes for the Denver Post:

Buck will find himself between a Colorado Republican base that strongly backs Trump and moderate Republicans who are uneasy with the bombastic president. But Saturday’s gathering of party officials was loudly supportive of Trump and bitterly critical of any Republicans who say otherwise.

Yet as Ryan Winger of Republican-aligned polling outfit Magellan Strategies explained in February, this blind loyalty to Trump doesn’t fit well in Colorado:

When Republicans say the problem is our guys weren’t enough like Trump, there’s a complete disconnect there between what they’re thinking and what other voters in Colorado are thinking.

This leads us back to House, who was savaged by Trump supporters in 2016 after the State GOP’s anti-Trump sentiments were laid bare.

 

 

Buck’s decision to install House as his right-hand man is a strange move indeed — though not strange enough to deter Republicans with apparently-short memories from going right back to the same well. Republicans seem to have forgotten about how desperate they were to get rid of House ahead of the 2016 election cycle. Efforts to oust House as Party Chairman began literally on the same day that House was elected in 2015 — and several months before the long, strange Coffmangate saga that ultimately turned Colorado Republicans into a national laughingstock.

Consider this 2017 story from John Frank, then of the Denver Post, about House’s decision not to seek another term as Party Chairman:

House served a tumultuous two years as the party’s leader after his historic ouster of the incumbent chairman in 2015 with the backing of the more conservative members of his party.

Months into his term, House faced an unsuccessful coup attempt led by Attorney General Cynthia Coffman that involved accusations of extramarital affairs and threats. And he came under fire in the 2016 election for his perceived bias against Donald Trump, drawing numerous death threats.

Two years later, Republicans are back in the same place — only with significantly more electoral ground to make up after huge Democratic gains in 2018.

Colorado Republicans probably needed to make significant changes in order to be more successful in 2020, but in the end, few in the GOP seemed to be interested in such a move. They’d rather someone like Buck just tell them what he thinks they want to hear.

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Big Oil’s a Great Neighbor–Just Ask New Orleans

Former Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

AP reports via the Colorado Springs Gazette on a lawsuit filed by the city of New Orleans, Louisiana against several oil companies alleging massive damage to wetlands that used to protect the city from flooding and hurricanes:

Mayor LaToya Cantrell on Friday announced the lawsuit, which alleges that pipeline work has caused massive damage to Louisiana’s wetlands and “threatened the safety of our people.”

Cantrell’s statement cites analyses from Tulane, Louisiana State University and the Rand Corporation, saying coastal land loss could cost the state more than $133 billion in lost capital.

“New Orleans has been harmed. … The land that’s been lost was a protective barrier defending us from hurricanes and floods. If the current trend holds, New Orleans will be a literal coastal city within the next fifty years,” she said.

It’s a newsworthy development but how does this affect Colorado, you ask?

Whiting Oil and Gas Corporation, a subsidiary of Whiting Petroleum Corporation, and Aspect Energy LLC, both based in Denver, also are among the firms named in the suit.

Both Whiting and Aspect Energy are local energy firms with deep political connections to Colorado. Whiting Petroleum’s Vice President of Corporate and Government Relations is none other than former Colorado Senate President Bill Cadman, who also ran GOP Senate “independent expenditure” campaign through his public relations company a la the Neville family’s Rearden Strategic and the 2018 House IE effort. In his position as VP of Corporate and Government Relations, we expect Cadman is intimately involved in the company’s dispute with New Orleans–and not on the side of New Orleans.

But don’t worry, Colorado! Coastal Louisiana might have been devastated over the course of decades by the oil and gas industry’s irresponsible development and at-best half-hearted remediation, but apart from the occasional house blowing up in Colorado…wait, never mind, that’s not a persuasive argument! Scratch that. We are a mile above sea level, which admittedly makes coastal flooding less likely. So, there’s that. We still get floods though, in the same places that oil companies drill

On second thought, maybe Coloradans should be paying attention? Louisiana’s experience with oil and gas development is more relevant to the present debate than the industry’s surrogates in Colorado will ever admit.

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