Wisconsin Republicans Blow Off Police Reform

Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, left, and Assembly Speaker Robin Vos did not need microphones today.

Last week, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers called a special legislative session so that state lawmakers could get together and discuss potential law enforcement reforms in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, WI.

As The Cap Times of Madison reports, lawmakers did indeed convene today…for less than a minute:

As Democrats urged action on legislation to tweak policing practices in Wisconsin, the special session seeking to do just that was gaveled in and adjourned within seconds in both chambers Monday afternoon.

While the session was recessed until Thursday, there’s no indication the Republican-led Legislature is planning to take up the package of nine bills Gov. Tony Evers and fellow Democrats are seeking anytime soon.

One top Assembly Republican charged with heading up a task force to tackle those issues indicated action likely wouldn’t come until next session, while he looks to use the next few weeks and months to shore up a slate of bills for consideration.

Republicans in control of the Wisconsin legislature gaveled in a “special session,” as required by law, and then immediately adjourned said legislative session. In other words, they aren’t going to even DISCUSS potential reforms until at least 2021.

Wisconsin Republicans did the same thing last November after Evers called for a special session on gun safety.

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Military Times Poll: Trump Has Lost The Troops

Military Times’ Leo Shane III reports that President Donald Trump is shattering yet another time-honored convention, and this is one Republicans might not appreciate as much: the once predictable support of active-duty servicemen for conservative Republican candidates:

The latest Military Times poll shows a continued decline in active-duty service members’ views of President Donald Trump and a slight but significant preference for former Vice President Joe Biden in the upcoming November election among troops surveyed…

But the Military Times Polls, surveying active-duty troops in partnership with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University, have seen a steady drop in troops’ opinion of the commander in chief since his election four years ago.

In the latest results — based on 1,018 active-duty troops surveyed in late July and early August — nearly half of respondents (49.9 percent) had an unfavorable view of the president, compared to about 38 percent who had a favorable view.

In a head-to-head matchup Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden leads Trump 43-37%, which is “close” in a similar way that Diane Mitsch Bush narrowly ahead of Lauren Boebert in the CD-3 race is close. The numbers reflect a very significant underlying shift from previous election cycles just for the Democrat to get to parity, and indicates a constituency that was previously not winnable by Democrats has been put in play. Locally, this could also help Democrats downballot in military-heavy areas of the state like Colorado Springs.

Although military votes historically trend conservative, it would seem that minimum standards still apply.

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Mitsch Bush Earns “Red to Blue” Status

Diane Mitsch Bush

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush has been elevated by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to its “Red to Blue” list:

Diane Mitsch Bush, the Democratic nominee in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, has been added to the House Democrats’ program for top-tier challengers vying to flip competitive, Republican-held districts.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee announced Monday that Mitsch Bush earned a spot in its “Red to Blue” candidate support program by demonstrating strength in fundraising, grassroots engagement, organization and local support…

…Just 34 candidates have been named to the national program this cycle by House Democrats, who picked up 43 seats in the last election and are mostly playing defense in November.

As we’ve noted in the past, the “Red to Blue” program is more than just an atta-boy (or atta-girl, as the case may be) — it serves as a kind of certification to Democratic donors that a candidate has a legitimate chance of flipping a Republican-held district. Recent polling data indicates that CO-3 is shaping up to be a neck-and-neck battle.

Mitsch Bush was the Democratic nominee in CO-3 in 2018, eventually losing to incumbent Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez). Her campaign did NOT earn “Red to Blue” status in 2018, however — only Jason Crow carried that badge in Colorado —  so her addition to the list in 2020 signifies that national Democrats indeed consider CO-3 to be one of the top pickup opportunities in the country.

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Gardner Retweets Endorsement Of Racist Ex-Rep. Jim Welker

If you know the name Jim Welker and his history in Colorado Republican politics, our compliments–you’re among a select group of people. And it’s not an accident that you haven’t heard of him if you haven’t, since former Rep. Jim Welker of Loveland back in 2006 helped wreck the Republican brand in this state ahead of an electoral shellacking that helped set the tone of Democratic dominance in state politics for the next going-on fifteen years. Generally speaking, local Republicans don’t like to talk about him. The Denver Post reported on Welker’s decision not to run again in 2006, a decision “encouraged” by the GOP leadership of the era:

Welker has had a colorful run of it, and he said in an interview that powerful forces in the party, including Gov. Bill Owens, had asked him to step aside…

The representative, in office only three years, recently apologized on the House floor for an e-mail he forwarded to constituents and legislators that critics called racist. The e-mail contained negative characterizations of black victims of Hurricane Katrina made by a conservative black minister.

Welker created controversy last year by saying that if state law were changed to allow homosexuals to marry, it could lead to people marrying their pets.

In 2006, Welker’s racist and homophobic embarrassments were too much for Republicans, who feared–correctly as it turned out–that Welker’s out of the mainstream views would do further harm to the party’s already backward image well outside Welker’s district. GOP Gov. Bill Owens wielded enough influence to force his party to disown one of its own–a skill Colorado Republicans had lost by just a few years later, when Sen. Vicki Marble, Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, and a host of similarly freakish lawmakers made offenses like Rep. Welker’s routine occurrences.

The problem in this case is that although you might not remember Jim Welker, Sen. Cory Gardner most certainly does–having served with Welker after Gardner’s appointment to the Colorado House in 2005. Gardner was there when Jim Welker’s career was short-circuited in May of 2006. Not surprisingly, we couldn’t readily find any quotes from Gardner about Welker, but there’s no way Gardner can claim ignorance of him.

Either Gardner’s staff needs a remedial history class in Colorado politics, or Cory Gardner really is fine with rehabilitating a racist the Colorado GOP put out to pasture almost fifteen years ago. Maybe not as big a lift as Gardner walking back “I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women,” but it’s the same procedure.

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Caption This Photo: Buck ‘Em All

Via the Colorado GOP, from state party chairman Rep. Ken Buck and CD-3 GOP nominee Lauren “Q*bert” Boebert’s tour of the Western Slope yesterday:

Check out the extremely professional T-shirt Chairman Buck is wearing:

From our examination of the released photos, Buck’s shirt may have expressed a desire to “kill ’em all” and “let God sort ’em out,” but Boebert is the only one who showed up, you know, equipped to actually kill. We feel as though on balance that’s a good thing. If Buck was also packing the means to “kill ’em all,” from what we can see it was kept safely concealed in his pants (no jokes please).

Make no mistake, there are voters this message appeals to. It’s just hopefully…not you.

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Holy Shit

Cory Gardner and Dudley Brown, whose gun rights groups have long supported Gardner’s campaigns

We don’t have to tell you that 2020 has been a very strange year filled with very odd news stories. It’s hard to get surprised by anything anymore, but sometimes it still happens. Like today, for example.

As Justin Wingerter reports for The Denver Post, the Loveland-based National Foundation for Gun Rights (which is associated with the National Association for Gun Rights, or NAGR) announced on Friday that it is raising money for the legal defense of 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who has been charged with murder after killing two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin during this week’s protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake:

Rittenhouse, an admirer of law enforcement and President Donald Trump, is seen as a dangerous vigilante by many but has the support of some prominent figures on the political right who believe he was acting in self-defense.

Dudley Brown, executive director of the National Foundation for Gun Rights, says Rittenhouse was peacefully defending himself and businesses when he was attacked by “Antifa thugs.”

Kyle Rittenhouse in Kenosha, WI on Tuesday

“Kyle was doing his best to protect business owners from losing their entire livelihoods when criminal actors instigated violence against him. Unfortunately for them, Kyle was armed with an AR-15 and their rocks, skateboards and handguns stood no chance against his well-placed shots,” Brown said Friday. [Pols emphasis]

Brown was formerly the executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. RMGO and the National Association for Gun Rights were founded on the premise that the National Rifle Association is too liberal and compromising.

“It’s a sad day in America when anti-gun prosecutors want to throw a young man in jail for defending himself against violent attackers,” Brown said. “When we say the Second Amendment is for lawful self-defense, we mean it. Maybe next time rioting thugs will think twice about squaring off against a patriot carrying an AR-15.” [Pols emphasis]

Those vile comments are from the very same Dudley Brown who readers will recognize as the former Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) in Colorado. Brown recently stepped down as the head of RMGO after a round of stinging defeats in the June Republican Primary in Colorado, but he remains the frontman for NAGR, which has designs on becoming the new National Rifle Association (NRA). Brown has deep connections to many Colorado Republicans, including House Minority Leader Pat Neville and Sen. Cory Gardner (NAGR and RMGO donated at least $6,000 to Gardner’s 2014 Senate campaign).

Screenshot from Cory Gardner’s official Congressional website in 2014

Brown’s praise of Rittenhouse ignores some critical context here — namely that the alleged shooter traveled from his home in Illinois to Kenosha for the express purpose of getting into an altercation with Black Lives Matter protestors. Rittenhouse has been arrested and charged with killing two people and shooting a third; a judge today delayed an extradition hearing to allow him more time to secure legal counsel (though right-wing legal activists are scrambling to his defense).

As CNN reports, details of the criminal complaint against Rittenhouse portray a young man who is going to have difficulty convincing a jury that this was all in self-defense:

About 11:45 p.m. Tuesday — hours after the 8 p.m. curfew — Rittenhouse was walking down the streets near the car dealership holding what investigators later determined to be “a Smith & Wesson AR-15 style .223 rifle,” the criminal complaint says.

Social media accounts believed to belong to him portray a young White man with an affinity for guns who supports “Blue Lives Matter” and President Donald Trump. A video posted on a Snapchat account believed to belong to him placed him at the scene of protests Tuesday night. The clips show a few seconds of the point of view of someone carrying a long rifle and police announcements can be heard over loudspeakers.

At those demonstrations, the complaint states, Rittenhouse clashed with people gathered near the car dealership for reasons not specified. Rosenbaum was unarmed and threw an object that appeared to be a plastic bag at him and missed, according to the complaint.

Rosenbaum and the suspect moved across the parking lot and appeared to be in close proximity when loud bangs suddenly rang out and Rosenbaum fell to the ground, according to the complaint.

As Rosenbaum lay on the ground, the suspect made a call on his cellphone and said, “I just killed somebody” as he ran away, the complaint alleges. His friend received a call from him at 11:46 p.m. saying that he shot someone, an investigator says in the complaint. [Pols emphasis]

This is a tragic story for so many reasons. The fact that Brown and NAGR would exploit the situation for fundraising purposes is positively evil.

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“I’m A Trumpster Minorities Tour” Bus–NOT A Parody

We did an honest-to-Pete spit take when we saw this photo a short while ago from Westword’s Conor McCormick-Cavanagh:

That’s right, folks–there is apparently a bus rolling through Denver today for something called the “I’m a Trumpster 2020 Minorities Tour,” featuring a couple of gentlemen of color who we’ve never personally heard of, but it’s possible you might have–and what could be the worst campaign website of the last decade:

We’ve done a bit of research to be sure, and despite the on-its-face offensiveness of a “Trumpster Minorities Tour” and extremely low quality overall production value, as it turns out this is not a parody meant to drive voters into the arms of Joe Biden–even though that’s the most likely net effect. We know it’s hard to believe, but a reporter named Riley Bunch of the Valdosta, Georgia Daily Times reported last November that the primary purpose of this campaign is to sell clothing bearing the “I’m a Trumpster” logo:

Black voters filled the lobby of the Georgia World Congress center on Friday for Trump’s launch of his “Black Voices for Trump” initiative looking to woo black support ahead of the 2020 election. While the event was held in Georgia, people from all over the country made their way to watch what Trump’s senior adviser Katrina Pierson told the crowd was “another historic moment.”

Reggie Carr and Johnny Thomas are “Trumpsters.” The Atlanta duo created their own clothing line that reads: “I am a Trumpster” and sported it at the black voters event. [Pols emphasis] Carr said that he doesn’t want to be a part of the “silent majority” anymore.

“Our goal is to help bring light to minorities and get them on the bandwagon,” he said. “(Trump) loves America and he loves Americans.”

Then in April, Joey Bunch of the Colorado Springs Gazette gave them some more friendly coverage:

Stay-at-home order or not, fans of the first lady plan to gather in Parker Saturday night to wish her a happy 50th birthday on Sunday.

Gov. Jared Polis’ stay-at-home order, which carries the force of law, expires Sunday. The order limits gatherings to 10 or fewer people. Once the legal order expires Sunday, what the governor called safer-at-home guidelines continue to call for groups to be of 10 people or fewer.

The idea is to film a message to Melania Trump as part of a birthday video being put on by Reggie Carr and Johnny Thomas, the founders of the advocacy organization I’m a Trumpster.

If you’d like to learn more about the “I’m A Trumpster Minorities Tour,” you can listen to this interview of the principal figures with local right-wing podcast host Kim Monson of the Americhicks–who as every listener to local right-wing AM radio and not-ready-for-primetime podcasts knows are the go-to source for all things…uh, minority related.

Seriously folks, not a parody. We’re still having trouble accepting it.

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A Few Local Republicans With Nothing To Fear Turn On Trump

Not an officially sanctioned viewpoint.

As the Aurora Sentinel’s Grant Stringer reports:

A former Aurora city lawmaker joined a coterie of ex-Republicans Thursday urging conservatives to ditch President Donald Trump and instead vote for Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris in November.

Former Aurora city Councilmember Barbara Cleland and former Arapahoe County Commissioner John Brackney — both longtime Republicans before Trump captured the party in 2016 —called for change with other metro-area former Republicans in a news conference organized by the Colorado Democratic Party…

Cleland, Brackney and others described how they’d left the Republican party because of Trump’s leadership style and policies on immigration, the novel coronavirus pandemic and climate change. They said it’s critically important that voters remove Trump from the Oval Office in the Nov. 3 General Election.

Although the Colorado Republicans who came out yesterday to swear off Donald Trump were municipal and county-level elected officials without much upward mobility left in their careers, don’t underestimate the amount of personal courage it required for any of these people to go on record in the current climate of enforced totalitarian loyalty over Trump’s Republican Party. You can bet, unfortunately, that any social media exposure these folks have will be swamped with irate “RINO hunters” demanding they all immediately leave the party, leave the country, or…you know, worse. And what’s said publicly is often nothing compared to what some people are willing to say in email–we’d probably just not check it for a few weeks.

The one word of comfort we can offer such brave and longsuffering individuals is that if the polls are accurate, on November 4th whatever the Republican Party becomes next is going to need them.

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There is No Plan, and That is the Plan

So, this really happened.

The Republican National Qonvention finally wrapped up a bizarre week on Thursday evening with the actual President of the United States accepting his party’s nomination for a second term from the South Lawn of the White House. In a rambling, hour-long listing of grievances speech, President Trump described a utopian America in which everything is totally fantastic and nobody has any problems whatsoever.

As Dana Milbank explains for The Washington Post:

He declared himself “proud of the extraordinary progress . . . and brimming with confidence in the bright future.” He said he accepted the nomination “full of gratitude and boundless optimism.” He spoke of “new heights of national achievement,” a “new spirit of unity.”

“I say very modestly that I have done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln,” he declared. He proclaimed that “the wall will soon be complete” along the Mexican border. Factories are booming! Workers are happy! “This towering American spirit,” he said, has “lifted us to the summit of human endeavor.” He boasted of creating 9 million jobs since the pandemic struck, leaving out the fact that he lost 22 million.

Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention. And Trump presented the mother of all fabrications Thursday night on the South Lawn of the White House. With the Truman Balcony as his backdrop and a massive convention stage erected outside the People’s House, he made only passing references to the pandemic that has disrupted our lives.

(Quick aside: Is there a more perfect Trumpian line than this? “I say very modestly that I have done more for the African American community than any president since Abraham Lincoln.”)

Clap louder!

It should be no surprise that Trump would ignore his failures while lying about his achievements; putting mustard on a turd and calling it a hot dog is a core tenet of Trumpism. Frank Bruni of The New York Times was equally mystified by Trump’s speech on Thursday evening. But it should not be lost in the disgusting pomp of a political speech from the White House that Trump doesn’t have the slightest idea of what he would do if elected to a second term.

Don’t take our word for it. This is not punditry spin. These are Trump’s actual words from Thursday:

In a new term as President, we will again build the greatest economy in history — quickly returning to full employment, soaring incomes, and RECORD prosperity! We will DEFEND AMERICA against all threats, and protect America against all dangers. We will LEAD AMERICA into new frontiers of ambition and discovery, and we will reach for new heights of national achievement. We will rekindle new faith in our values, new pride in our history, and a new spirit of unity that can ONLY be realized through love for our country.

Neat. So, how, exactly, are we going to do this? As Chris Cillizza points out via CNN, Trump has repeatedly been asked about what a second term would look like. In response, he has repeatedly said…a bunch of words.

Via CNN (8/28/20)

Here’s what Trump told The New York Times about a second term:

“But so I think, I think it would be, I think it would be very, very, I think we’d have a very, very solid, we would continue what we’re doing, we’d solidify what we’ve done, and we have other things on our plate that we want to get done.” [Pols emphasis]

Here’s what Trump told Sean Hannity of Fox News about a second term:

“One of the things that will be really great — the word experience is still good, I always say talent is more important than experience, I’ve always said that — but the word experience is a very important word, a very important meaning.

“I never did this before, never slept over in Washington. I was in Washington maybe 17 times and all of a sudden I’m the President of the United States, you know the story, riding down Pennsylvania Avenue with our first lady and I say this is great but I didn’t know very many people in Washington, it wasn’t my thing. I was from Manhattan, from New York, and now I know everybody. And I have great people in the administration. You make some mistakes, like an idiot like Bolton, you don’t have to drop bombs on everybody.”

And here’s Trump’s response on a second term question when asked by Sinclair Broadcasting:

“We’re going to make America great again. We’ve rebuilt the military, we have a ways to go. We’ve done things for the vets like nobody’s ever seen. We can do even more — we did choice, as you know, we did accountability. What we’ve done nobody’s been able to do. But we have more to do…

“…At the end of our first term, it’s going to be great, it would have been phenomenal. We got hit with the plague. At the end of the second term, it’s going to be at a level that nobody will have ever seen a country. We’re doing it, whether it’s trade, whether it’s military — all made in the USA, so important. Made in the USA. … We’ve got to bring back our manufacturing and I brought it back very big, but we have to make our own pharmaceutical products, our own drugs, prescription drugs.”

“We did choice…we did accountability.” We did illumination! We did elbow macaroni! 

The point here isn’t to ridicule Donald Trump — he does a perfectly fine job of that all on his own. What is important is to understand that Trump absolutely does not have any sort of vision for what he might even attempt to accomplish with four more years in the White House. Heck, it is written in the bylaws of the Republican Party that they have NO PLATFORM for 2020.

If you think Trump deserves another term as President, then it is perfectly within your rights to cast your vote for Dear Leader this fall. Just understand that you are voting for a President who all but admits that he has no idea what he might do if he is still President in January.

Re-elect Republicans so that they can be…um…re-elected? Sure, let’s go with that.

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Circling The Drain: Gardner Invokes Secession Farce Against Hick

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

As the Republican National Convention got going this week, as readers know, Sen. Cory Gardner wasn’t in attendance–but in a remote interview with CBS4’s Shaun Boyd on Monday from his home in Yuma, Gardner still had plenty to say:

“I’ve never spoken at a convention before and I don’t think anybody would want to listen to a boring speech by me,” he answered. “I love to do this, to be in Colorado to go across the state. Today alone I was in four different counties talking to people across Colorado. I’ll continue to do that.”

[Boyd] asked for his thoughts about the couple from St. Louis who stood outside their home with guns as protesters marched by. They called those protesters Marxist liberals and were part of a theme that the Democrats would ruin suburban America.

“What do you say to those who feel like President Trump is pitting white suburbs against Black Lives Matter for votes?” Boyd inquired.

“I don’t think it’s right to pit anyone against anyone,” Gardner said…

For the most part, Gardner was careful to sidestep the opportunities he had to say something noteworthy in either direction, despite his ability to fill long stretches with empty platitudes. But when it came to that “silent majority” President Donald Trump says will deliver for Republicans on Election Day, Gardner called us back to one of the wackiest moments in the last decade of Colorado politics:

“I think a lot of the silent majority that people may talk about is off the I-25 corridor,” he said. “It’s the Eastern Plains, it’s the Western Slope. It’s 20 percent of the counties in Colorado who tried to secede [Pols emphasis] under John Hickenlooper because he called rural Coloradans ‘backwards’ and they just needed to get rid of some of their beliefs so they would fit in with the people of Colorado. I think they are people who feel like they’ve been forgotten.”

So, for those of you who weren’t around in 2013, yes–technically there was what we guess you’d call…an attempt by 11 counties in Colorado to begin the process of seceding and forming their own state of “North Colorado.” But while it may be true that 11 Colorado counties do arithmetically total up to to 17% of the 64 total counties that make up the state–Gardner was rounding up, we guess–Gardner forgot to mention that those 11 counties make up a whopping 7% of the total population of Colorado.

When you’re through being underwhelmed by the tiny sliver of the state who even voted on secession, consider the results. Six out of the eleven counties voted no, including Weld County, the most populous and would-be host of the “capital city” of North Colorado, Greeley. Across all 11 counties, 55% of the total of just over 91,000 voters who participated in the Great North Colorado Secession Movement of 2013 voted no. Net support for secession in 2013: 40,757.

Folks, that’s not even a “silent majority” of Greeley.

This isn’t the only way we can show that the half-baked North Colorado secession movement was in no way representative of anything remotely close to a majority, silent or otherwise, of Colorado voters. The secession movement was driven by a range of issues from backlash against renewable energy mandates to gun control, and on every such issue it was the secessionists who were out of the mainstream. For a candidate trying to run to the center, invoking the crackpot secession movement of 2013 as anything other than a punchline is probably the dumbest move Gardner could make.

If this is how Cory Gardner really feels, he should run for Senator of North Colorado, after leading the campaign to secede! Unfortunately, we’re pretty sure he’d lose the primary.

P.S. Gardner never did say how he voted on the secession question.

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Does Character Matter? Boebert Hopes It Doesn’t

Lauren Boebert’s mug shot taken upon her arrest in February, 2017

Justin Wingerter of The Denver Post has more on a long list of criminal offenses and general disregard for law enforcement associated with CO-3 Republican candidate Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert:

Congressional candidate Lauren Boebert — who often espouses a pro-police, law-and-order message on the campaign trail — has been arrested and summonsed at least four times over the past decade, records show.

While the three arrests and one court-ordered summons were for petty crimes — and in one case all charges were dropped — Boebert’s record is unusually long for a congressional candidate. [Pols emphasis]

You could perhaps argue about the relative level of severity related to Boebert’s various troubles with the law, but there is one constant in all of these cases: Boebert doesn’t think she has any responsibility to follow the same laws as everyone else.

While she was being handcuffed for disorderly conduct, Boebert tried to twist away from police, according to deputies’ reports. She allegedly shouted that her arrest was unconstitutional, that “she had friends at Fox News and that the arrest would be national news.” It did not become national news.

Boebert was released from custody and told to appear in court that August but missed her court date because, as she told a judge, she forgot what day of the week it was. “I am now aware today is Friday,” she wrote on Aug. 28, 2015, hours after she was supposed to be in court.

The judge, Craig Henderson, rescheduled for later that year. But Boebert again was a no-show at a Nov. 20 hearing. In a handwritten note to the judge, she did not include a reason for her absence…

…Failing to appear for court also landed Boebert in jail a year later. As first reported by the Colorado Times Recorder, Boebert was charged with careless driving and operating an unsafe vehicle after rolling her truck into a Garfield County ditch in the summer of 2016. They were minor traffic charges, but Boebert skipped an October court date.

Voters in Colorado’s third congressional district — Republican or otherwise — have a similar moral quandary about Boebert as they have with President Trump. Either character matters…or it doesn’t. You can scrub away with “Supreme Court justices” and “abortion” until your skin bleeds, but it doesn’t change the truth about Trump’s various affairs and questionable humanity in general.

If character is important, then you aren’t voting for Trump in November, and you definitely aren’t voting for Boebert. If you can convince yourself that character doesn’t matter, well…we’re just glad we don’t have to look in your mirror every morning.

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Swallowing Camels, Straining Gnats: Jesus Is In The Tank

Jeff Hunt of the Centennial Institute.

Last night, CBS4 political reporter Shaun Boyd interviewed one of the leading figures in the Republican/Evangelical Christian alliance that has dominated Colorado Republican politics for decades with even more tenacity than the all-powerful gun lobby–Jeff Hunt, director of the Centennial Institute, the political machination arm of the extremely well-funded Colorado Christian University. If you didn’t know, CCU is also a recipient of taxpayer dollars under Colorado’s controversial higher ed funding system known as the College Opportunity Fund.

The subject? How the faithful will vote in 2020, and as you can imagine, Jeff Hunt was wearing his well-worn MAGA hat! The story’s headline, Colorado Conservative Leader Expects MORE Evangelicals To Vote For Trump And Pence In 2020, says it all:

Jeff Hunt is a leader in the social conservative movement in Colorado, the so-called “values voters” you might expect to reject a materialistic, three-times divorced president who is prone to profanity.

Hunt said many are willing to overlook the president’s “moral failings” to advance policies that protect the sanctity of life…

Eighty percent of Evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016. Recent polls show his approval rating with them has slipped some, but remains high. [Pols emphasis]

Hunt is hoping a ballot measure barring late term abortions in Colorado will help turn out Trump voters here. It could also help Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, who has very strong support among Christian conservatives.

One of the principal struggles for politically conservative Christians since 2016 has been supporting a President who, although he has undeniably advanced political causes they hold dear, has proven himself at tortuous length to be a completely amoral person whose religious convictions are an insulting grade of token at best. None of which troubles Jeff Hunt, who happily explains to Shaun Boyd that he’ll overlook all that stuff as long as Trump keeps delivering tax cuts and right-wing judges.

Boyd has emerged as a go-to for Republicans in Colorado looking for favorable spin and damage control, lately with respect to Sen. Cory Gardner’s flagging re-election campaign in much the same way as she ran at times obvious cover for Rep. Mike Coffman on his way out the door in 2018. In this case, however, Boyd is pretty blunt about the President’s moral failings–and Hunt is equally blunt about how none of that matters to him. That bluntness is quite informative, especially when Hunt turns to this year’s abortion ban measure as a turnout driver for Republican candidates first and desired policy second. Based on how previous anti-abortion measures have fared at the polls in Colorado, Hunt’s judgment on this point is questionable. But Hunt has no qualms about admitting to the real game, which is to turn out religious right voters.

The moral of the story…well actually, there isn’t one. Morals have, at best, a casual relationship.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 27)

Happy Banana Lovers Day. Please keep that celebration to yourself, whatever it is. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

BECAUSE CORONAVIRUS…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► President Trump will accept the Republican nomination for President tonight in an address from (gag) the South Lawn of the White House. As POLITICO reports, Trump plans to blame Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden for pretty much anything that went wrong in the last 50 years:

“We have spent the last four years reversing the damage Joe Biden inflicted over the last 47 years. At the Democrat convention, you barely heard a word about their agenda. But that’s not because they don’t have one. It’s because their agenda is the most extreme set of proposals ever put forward by a major party nominee.”

While Republicans have spent this week going after Biden, the president’s aides contend that the media has filtered the convention and hasn’t adequately highlighted criticisms of Biden’s policies. Over the course of this week, additional policy attacks have been added to Trump’s speech.

This is the part where we remind you that the Republican Party quite literally DOES NOT HAVE A PLATFORM FOR 2020.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke on Wednesday evening and assured convention-watchers that everything is totally cool with the coronavirus.

 

As The New York Times reports, the director of the CDC is (sorta) backing off of controversial new coronavirus testing guidelines issued this week:

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has scaled back the agency’s recommendation advising some people not to get tested after exposure to the novel coronavirus, now saying “testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable Covid-19 patients.”

The statement by Dr. Robert R. Redfield was issued to some news outlets late Wednesday, and more broadly Thursday morning, after a storm of criticism over the new C.D.C. guidelines — involving potentially asymptomatic people — which were the product of the White House Coronavirus task force and not the C.D.C.’s own scientists. Dr. Redfield made the statement in an effort to clarify the new policy, an official said. However, the guidelines issued earlier this week remained on the C.D.C.’s website as of Thursday morning, and it appears unlikely that the agency will change them…

…The clarification is unusual. Public health experts say clear, consistent communications are essential to fighting an infectious disease outbreak, and Dr. Redfield’s comments may further confuse things.

 

Dear Leader Trump is fleecing American taxpayers, as The Washington Post reports:

Via The Washington Post (8/27/20)

 

Trump has now visited his own properties 270 times as president, according to a Washington Post tally — with another visit planned for Thursday, when he is scheduled to meet GOP donors at his Washington hotel.

Through these trips, Trump has brought the Trump Organization a stream of private revenue from federal agencies and GOP campaign groups. Federal spending records show that taxpayers have paid Trump’s businesses more than $900,000 since he took office. At least $570,000 came as a result of the president’s travel, according to a Post analysis.

Now, new federal spending documents obtained by The Post via a public-records lawsuit give more detail about how the Trump Organization charged the Secret Service — a kind of captive customer, required to follow Trump everywhere. In addition to the rentals at Mar-a-Lago, the documents show that the Trump Organization charged daily “resort fees” to Secret Service agents guarding Vice President Pence in Las Vegas and in another instance asked agents to pay a $1,300 “furniture removal charge” during a presidential visit to a Trump resort in Scotland.

 

Hurricane Laura came ashore in Louisiana on Wednesday as one of the strongest storms to hit the United States in recorded history. Fortunately, the storm is slowing significantly as it moves northward.

 

 It’s long past time to do something about army-playing militia members bringing assault rifles to protests in hopes of picking a fight.

 

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

 

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Big Press Day For Pat Neville’s Mask Lawsuit Cash Cow

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, columnist Michelle Malkin.

Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville announced his intention to file a lawsuit against Gov. Jared Polis’ statewide mask order over a month ago, and as the Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports, Neville intends to file this week after a month of we have no reason to assume was not very successful fundraising:

Colorado House GOP Minority Leader Patrick Neville and conservative activist Michelle Malkin are suing Gov. Jared Polis over the statewide mask order…

“Governor Polis’ Executive Orders have been devastating to the people of Colorado,” Neville said in a statement. “People have been ordered to stay at home; their right to travel has been trampled; their right to worship has been taken away; businesses have been shut down; and countless jobs have been lost. The Governor has overstepped his Constitutional powers. We have checks and balances and Governor Polis needs to follow them.”

KDVR:

“Let’s have a thorough, full debate through all the different people,” Neville said. “Let’s get citizen input. Let’s have that process go through. Right now it’s – Polis says so. King Polis says so.”

The governor issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

“We are free to be on the side of a deadly virus that has taken the lives of too many friends, parents, and loved ones, or on the side of Coloradans. I’m on the side of Coloradans.”

After the initial announcement from Neville back in July soon after the mask order was issued, we didn’t hear much about this until yesterday–not that anyone expected he wouldn’t follow through. We don’t how much money Neville raised over the last month to finance this lawsuit, but given the degree of generalized agitation on the far right for which masks have become a focal point, we’re not going to underestimate the possibility that it could be a lot. Since the funds appear to have been raised through Neville’s independent expenditure committee Take Back Colorado, we should find out eventually how much was raised during the period.

The announcement that nationally prominent right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin is joining the lawsuit as a co-plaintiff is sure to attract a lot more fringe attention to the effort. Malkin’s increasingly close association with the GOP House Minority Leader, even after Malkin was cancelled by mainstream conservatives once she became an unapologetic defender of Holocaust denial and openly white supremacist alt-right leaders, is of course not a good look for any Colorado Republican hoping to appeal to non-racist, mask mandate-supporting voters–who despite the disproportionate noise made by the COVIDiot fringe are in every poll the overwhelming majority. Also, the governor very clearly has the power to enact a mask order under Colorado law.

But again, in discussing the actual issue here, we’re missing the point. For the sputtering Neville political machine, it’s not even about Republicans winning anymore–2018 and the 2020 Republican primaries settled that question.

It’s about faking relevance, and keeping the funds rolling in.

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Doug Lamborn Sees the Future and Is Sad

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) posing with a big orange guy.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is finishing up his seventh term in the House of Representatives. He will almost certainly be re-elected for an eighth term in November. Because CO-5 has long been centered in the conservative city of Colorado Springs, winning a Republican Primary is pretty much the whole enchilada (just like winning a Democratic Primary in Denver virtually guarantees a General Election victory).

Lamborn earned his ticket to Washington D.C. with a narrow win in a 6-way Republican Primary in 2006. Because 15,126 Republican voters checked Lamborn’s box in August of that year, he gained the power of incumbency in a heavily-partisan district that won’t likely be rid of him until he decides to do something else (Lamborn’s predecessor, Joel Hefley, is the only other person to have held this seat in its history; he served 20 years in Congress before retiring).

The point of this history lesson is to explain the very low bar that Lamborn must clear every two years in order to remain in office, and to help you understand how a sitting Member of Congress could be responsible for authoring something as spectacularly stupid as the Op-Ed you’re about to see. If you were ever able to hold a contest to identify the dimmest bulb in Congress, Lamborn would be a strong betting favorite; just a few months ago, for example, Lamborn declared that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pushing for another coronavirus stimulus package because she secretly wanted to secure the release from prison of the infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Now that you’re all caught up with that bit of history, we can comfortably look ahead to the future. According to Lamborn (or, more likely, someone on Lamborn’s staff who can spell big words), the United States of America will be a smoldering ruin if Democrat Joe Biden is elected President in November. The ultra right-wing newspaper The Washington Examiner published a very gloomy Op-Ed signed by Lamborn that predicts all of the terrible things that will happen in the first year of a Biden administration.

As a public service, we decided to break down Lamborn’s argument point-by-point so that Colorado Pols readers can fully understand the dark ages ahead. If you’ve been anxious to read an unabashedly racist, sexist, factually-inaccurate and fear-mongering editorial from a sitting Member of Congress, then (WHOO, BOY!) you came to the right place!

Let’s get to it…

 

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Sen. Michael Bennet: William Perry Pendley’s Gotta Go

Acting BLM Director William Perry Pendley.

Chase Woodruff reports for Colorado Newsline, who we hope you’ve included in your daily news browsing:

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and all 47 of his Democratic colleagues in the U.S. Senate are urging the removal of William Perry Pendley from his leadership post at the Bureau of Land Management, following the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the conservative firebrand’s formal nomination to lead the public-lands agency.

A former head of the Lakewood-based Mountain States Legal Foundation, Pendley has led the BLM since being tapped by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a Colorado native and former oil lobbyist, to a senior role at the agency in July 2019. Pendley remains in charge despite the withdrawal of his nomination; while he has not been officially designated as the BLM’s acting director, he has been assigned leadership powers in his role as its deputy director of policy and programs — a tactic that has drawn criticism from congressional Democrats and lawsuits from environmental groups.

In an Aug. 20 letter to Bernhardt, Bennet and his fellow Senate Democrats called on the Interior Secretary to remove Pendley, who has come under fire for a range of controversial views, including his past support for the privatization of public lands, climate change denial and comments comparing undocumented immigrants to cancer.

The withdrawal of acting Bureau of Land Management director William Perry Pendley’s nomination to be confirmed formally by the U.S. Senate, in any rational universe, should have meant the immediate end of Pendley’s acting directorship. That Pendley continues to serve after his nomination was pulled is not a victory for Senate oversight–the Senate’s oversight is being thwarted every day he continues to serve.

Even Sen. Cory Gardner claimed he would have “tough questions” for Pendley in the confirmation hearings about Pendley’s career-long support for liquidating public lands–just the tip of the iceberg of Pendley’s unpalatable record on a wide range of issues. Shouldn’t Gardner be just as angry as Sen. Michael Bennet, now that he doesn’t get to ask those questions but Pendley continues to direct policy at the BLM?

Per usual, Cory Gardner’s inaction speaks louder than his words.

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Cory Gardner Has Nothing Left to Say

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is up with a new re-election ad today that probably won’t do much to alter his seemingly-inevitable path to defeat at the hands of former Gov. John Hickenloooper.

Gardner’s latest TV spot, which you can view below, continues on his 2020 theme of commercials that are, frankly, pretty dumb. In this ad, Gardner reminds voters (for some inexplicable reason) that Hickenlooper is a former brew pub owner. The implication is that Hickenlooper is the kind of candidate that you could “have a beer with,” which is not usually something that you want to say about your opponent. But Gardner also makes sure to tell voters that he, too, enjoys beer. Neat!

Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would be proud.

 

We’re not exaggerating — this is really how Gardner’s new ad begins.

“Let’s get down to some real differences between me, and John Hickenlooper,” says Gardner. “First, Hickenlooper owns a brewery. And me? I just like beer.”

Uh, okay.

Cory Gardner with his true beverage of choice.

At least Gardner doesn’t go so far as to point out how Hickenlooper’s brew-pub developments have been a big success in cites like Colorado Springs (Gardner’s ad was shot at Bourbon Brothers Tavern in Colorado Springs).

After Gardner reaches for his glass of beer, the ad then cuts to a few shots of Hickenlooper previously claiming that he wouldn’t really like to be a U.S. Senator. Gardner’s campaign is convinced that this is a winning message, nevermind that IT DIDN’T WORK when they tried it back in June. But that was, like, two whole months ago, amiright?

This vapid advertisement might also be an effort to get ahead of negative ads that are surely coming to a television near you at some point: Highlighting Gardner’s attendance at a $1,000-per-bottle Krug champagne soiree in Palm Beach, Florida back in February.

But, but, Cory likes (light) beer!

Whatever the reasons behind this ad, history suggests that Gardner is now firmly on the road to defeat in November. We’re reminded of this (RIP) Rocky Mountain News column from Mike Littwin during the final days of the 2003 Denver Mayoral race:

You can see Don Mares’ problem.

You can see it, in fact, all weekend if you turn on your TV and watch Mares’ belated entry into the world of political humor.

In Mares’ final campaign ad, he’s the one sliding the mug of badly drawn beer across the bar. “I don’t know much about beer,” he is saying, as the mug crashes, off camera, to the floor…

…And yet, in the end, what the ad mainly accomplishes is to reinforce the Hickenlooper phenomenon.

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

This is the sort of ad that you make when you are teetering on the edges of a double-digit loss and you simply have nothing left to say to argue your case for re-election.

This is quintessentially Cory Gardner.

 

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Hickenlooper: 51%, Gardner: 42%

As Jon Murray reports for The Denver Post:

These are pretty consistent numbers for Hickenlooper that track with what we’ve been hearing on the race. A previous poll announced just after the Primary Election on July 1 showed Hickenlooper with a 51-40 margin over Gardner. The National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and Gardner’s campaign have been on a heavy anti-Hickenlooper ad blitz ever since, and it appears they have barely been able to dent Hickenlooper’s previous lead.

If the PPP/GiffordsCourage poll cited above is accurate, that 7% undecided number should be freaking out Team Gardner; it essentially means that Gardner would need to run the table with undecided voters in order to even get close to Hickenlooper by November 3. The NRSC no doubt sees similar internal numbers, which would logically mean that Gardner will continue to be left off the list of endangered Senate Republicans getting big help from national Republican groups.

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Ammon Bundy And COVIDiot Friends Mob Idaho Legislature

Maskless protesters pack Idaho House gallery after smashing a door to get in.

AP reporting from oh-boisterous Boise!

Angry, maskless spectators forced themselves into the Idaho House special session on the coronavirus pandemic Monday, shattering a glass door, rushing into the gallery that had limited seating because of the virus and forcing lawmakers to ask for calm in a crowd that included a man carrying an assault-style weapon…

People not let into the House gallery over social distancing requirements began chanting and banging on the glass doors. Witnesses said the crowd appeared to surge forward and the glass broke, and some people rushed in to fill the gallery.

“This is our house,” said Allen Clark of Meridian, who was among those who got in. “We own this house. We pay taxes. We’re citizens of Idaho. Why can’t we be allowed in a public meeting?”

Ammon Bundy (center).

As the Idaho Press reports, none other than Ammon Bundy, made famous during the armed occupation of Oregon’s Malheur Wildlife Refuge in January, 2016, showed up for the door-smashing gun-toting jamboree. Who the hell needs Antifa?

Ammon Bundy accused lawmakers of “the mindset of a nanny state, where the people are considered incapable … without government institutions or their agencies.” He called that “offending and demeaning to all Idahoans, saying, “The Idaho people are more than capable of keeping themselves safe. They are more than capable of driving the greatest economy that any state has enjoyed. … We the people are tired. We are tired of government force, and we will only take it for so long. I recommend you act wisely, because we will not live in fear. Thank you.”

Susan Proster of Boise said, “I strongly urge you to listen and take heed to what we the people are trying to express to you. We are your voices. We need to you to represent us. I urge you to vote ‘no’ on these bills. … The only immunity we are interested in is herd immunity. Stop the madness, it’s the flu. Thank you.” [Pols emphasis]

Thus proving a rule we’ve found credible: anything bad happening in the world…is worse in Idaho.

It’s true. And it’s a shame, because Idaho is pretty in spots.

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