You’ve Just Lost an Election; What Are You Going to do Now?

As The Colorado Sun reports via its Unaffiliated newsletter, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) already has some post-election plans:

Ten days after the election Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is hosting a fundraiser at Disney World for his Project West PAC, according to his campaign. It’s an annual event.

It’s nice that Gardner can take his family on a Disney World vacation on somebody else’s dime, but this doesn’t seem like it has the makings of a particularly successful event.

In general, we’re not sure we’d want to go to Florida itself anytime soon with the way COVID-19 cases are spiking — let alone rubbing shoulder to shoulder with a bunch of people at a theme park to wait in line for “Splash COVID in Your Mouth Mountain.” And are there a lot of people who want to go to Disney World to write a check to a PAC controlled by a guy who lost a high-profile Senate race a week earlier?

If you just feel like lighting some money on fire, there are plenty of other bumbling organizations that will take your check.

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Recall Polis Campaign “Clarifies” They’re Flopping Like Fishes

When we last checked in with the Recall Polis 2020 campaign back at the beginning of October, we were somewhat surprised to discover that they claimed at that time to have obtained over 200,000 petition signatures on their 60-day quest ending November 13th to gather 631,000 valid Colorado voter signatures to place a recall question against Gov. Jared Polis on a future special election ballot:

This was peculiar to us since there is absolutely no evidence to suggest a petition campaign on this scale is occurring anywhere in the state, including on the “Dethrone Polis 2020” website where a smattering of events that signers can seek out a petition to sign can be found. There’s no sign of even the level of activity involved in the 2019 Polis recall attempt, which ended in failure with an (unverified) fraction of the needed number of signatures collected.

Sometime after our original post on this questionable claim from the Recall Polis 2020 campaign, the graphic you see above was removed entirely from the site. For us this was a good indicator that we weren’t the only ones raising questions–and sure enough, the most recent version features some important changes:

With just over two weeks left in this petition drive the progress bar is only up to 55%, which isn’t a good sign even if they’re counting actual received signatures. But apparently, we’re not counting “petition signatures” any more at all–this graphic now purports to show the number of “petitions in circulation.” We assume that means they have distributed enough blank petition forms to, you know, hold that many signatures.

In short, the “Dethrone Polis” campaign is 15 days from their 60-day deadline to collect an unprecedented 631,000 signatures plus reasonable padding to cover ineligible signers, and their only claim to success is that they’ve “circulated” 55% of the petition forms.

It’s a joke, folks. Next Friday the 13th, this is going to end in another embarrassing heap of empty boxes. Until then, Democrats can only be grateful for the energy diverted to this fool’s errand instead of Tuesday’s elections.

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We’ve Reached The Amnesia Stage Of 2020

UPDATE: The video is cringeworthy:

—–

GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler, Cory Gardner.

CNN reports…just wow:

Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia said Wednesday she is “not familiar” with President Donald Trump’s widely reported comments boasting about sexually assaulting women that came to light during the 2016 campaign.

Loeffler, who is in a tight Senate race, has campaigned on her alliance with Trump, touting that she has voted with the President 100% of the time.

Loeffler told CNN on Wednesday that there are “no” issues in which she disagrees with the President. When Doug Richards, a reporter for NBC’s Atlanta affiliated television station, asked if she disagreed with Trump’s comments about sexually assaulting women, Loeffler sidestepped the question, saying she agreed with Trump’s approach “since Day One to put America First.”

When Richards pressed, Loeffler asked what the reporter was referencing. Richards said Trump’s statements about “personally sexually assaulting women.”

Loeffler responded, “I’m not familiar with that.” [Pols emphasis]

If Sen. Kelly Loeffler needs a refresher, she could read fellow Sen. Cory Gardner’s statement (temporarily) renouncing his support for Donald Trump in October of 2016 over the very same Access Hollywood recordings of Trump bragging about sexual assault:

Millions of Americans are set to choose between two people to lead this nation,. One candidate is a danger to our constitution, freedoms and security, and would sell our national security to the highest bidder and finalize the destruction of the rule of law. The other – a candidate whose flaws are beyond mere moral shortcomings and who shows a disgust for American character and a disdain for dignity unbecoming of the Presidency. I cannot and will not support someone who brags about degrading and assaulting women.

I am committed to defeating Hillary Clinton. The only way this is now possible is with a new nominee that reflects the values of our country and our party. I will not vote for Donald Trump. If Donald Trump wishes to defeat Hillary Clinton, he should do the only thing that will allow us to do so – step aside, and allow Mike Pence to be the Republican Party’s nominee. If he fails to do so, I will not vote for Hillary Clinton but will instead write-in my vote for Mike Pence.

But let’s face it–Gardner’s “not familiar” with this statement either.

At least not until next Wednesday, when we expect it will be front of mind rather painfully.

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Gee Thanks, Cory: So Much For COVID Tests At 7-Eleven

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

The Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette is very excited to report:

The White House sent 50,000 additional COVID-19 tests to Colorado in the past week to support increased testing needs resulting from recent wildfires.

The tests are BinaxNOW rapid point-of-care tests, providing results in 15 minutes…

On Oct. 21, 25,000 tests were sent for additional testing and to replace any effected tests from the wildfires. The state requested another 25,000 tests on Saturday that were sent immediately.

Sen. Cory Gardner is, as you can imagine, ebullient:

President Donald Trump’s most recent messaging on the COVID-19 pandemic is that the United States, the scene of more illness and death than any other nation on Earth, was “successful” in confronting the pandemic compared to worst-case early estimates that millions of Americans could die. Similarly, if you compare Cory Gardner’s excitement about these 50,000 tests for emergency personnel and evacuees to what Gardner said all the way back in April, which feels like an eternity ago, about what he wanted to see in terms of COVID testing:

“Testing absolutely is key here,” Mr. Gardner said on “Fox & Friends.” “I’d like to see testing so ubiquitous going forward that you can go buy your Big Gulp at 7-Eleven, and you can get your COVID-19 test at the same time.” [Pols emphasis]

This is where it dawns on the reader that in both cases, the goalposts have been moved to the point of Orwellian absurdity. 227,000 Americans are dead from the virus Donald Trump promised would go away with warm weather when cases were in the dozens–and we are still very, very far from getting a COVID-19 test at 7-Eleven. This “success” in obtaining 50,000 tests is occurring against the backdrop of inestimably greater failure.

All these months later, it’s remarkable–and tragic–how little has changed.

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Please Keep Lauren Boebert Away From First Responders

Forwarded to us from the CD-3 campaign trail in Pueblo. Can you spot the problem?

Safe to say, if there’s any place we would least prefer to see willful “superspreaders” like the maskless anti-vaxxer Republican congressional candidate you can see above, it’s anywhere near Pueblo firefighters.

Hard to imagine that Pueblo voters would disagree.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (October 28)

[We’re just going to keep this here]: STOP! If you still have a mail ballot at home, DO NOT DROP IT IN THE MAIL. We are close enough to Election Day that you now need to take your completed ballot to a local collection box; visit GoVoteColorado.com for more information. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

As The Denver Post reports, the COVID-19 outbreak is getting worse in the Denver Metro area:

Denver moved to Colorado’s second-highest level of COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, forcing most businesses to operate at a quarter of their capacity in an effort to curb the virus’ spread and avoid overwhelming hospitals.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock announced the state health department had asked the city to tighten its restrictions after weeks of climbing coronavirus cases and rising hospitalizations.

Denver Public Schools followed with plans to send many of the district’s elementary students — who just had returned to their classrooms — back to remote learning.

“I don’t believe this is Denver’s failing,” Hancock said, blaming the virus’s resurgence on the lack of a national strategy to contain COVID-19. “It is, rather, a failing by those who still refuse to believe in science, and those who do not take it seriously.”

Adams and Arapahoe counties are also moving to more restrictive measures in an effort to reduce the number of positive cases.

As The New York Times reports, European counties such as France and Germany are moving toward lockdown status because COVID-19 cases are out of control.

Meanwhile, as CNN reports:

Via CNN (10/28/20)

And then there’s this gem from The Huffington Post:

Via The Huffington Post (10/28/20)

 

Ask yourself this question: Would you wait outside for hours — at night — in freezing cold temperatures to listen to anyone speak? Right…now go ahead and argue that Trumpism is NOT a cult. As NBC News reports:

Hundreds of President Donald Trump supporters were left in the freezing cold for hours after a rally at an airfield in Omaha, Nebraska, on Tuesday night, with some walking around three miles to waiting buses and others being taken away in ambulances.

Many of those at the rally at the Eppley Airfield faced hours in long lines to get in and clogged parking lots and busy crowds to get out, hours after his Air Force One departed around 9 p.m. Crowds cleared about 12:30 a.m.

According to dispatches from Omaha Police department, recorded by radio communications platform, Broadcastify, at least 30 people including the elderly, an electric wheelchair user and a family with small children were among those requiring medical attention after hours of waiting in the cold at the rally at the Eppley Airfield.

As The Washington Post reports, Democrat Joe Biden maintains an advantage over President Trump in two key battleground states:

Former vice president Joe Biden continues to outpace President Trump in two crucial Midwest battlegrounds, currently holding a slight lead over the president in Michigan while showing a much more substantial advantage in Wisconsin, according to a pair of Washington Post-ABC News polls.

The surveys show Biden narrowly ahead of Trump among likely voters in Michigan by 51 percent to 44 percent, with Libertarian Party nominee Jo Jorgensen at 3 percent. In Wisconsin, likely voters favor Biden by 57 percent to 40 percent, with Jorgensen at 2 percent. Among all registered voters, Biden’s edge in Michigan is five points, while he leads by 17 points in Wisconsin.

Wait, what? Biden is up 17 POINTS in Wisconsin?

As Greg Sargent notes in a different story for The Washington Post, Trump is losing ground all across America AMONG WHITE VOTERS. As Colorado Public Radio reports, the Presidential campaigns in Colorado are largely targeting non-white voters in the final week before Election Day.

 

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

 

(more…)

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You’re Not Getting Another Stimulus Check Anytime Soon

As the Washington Post reports–having chosen the confirmation of another U.S. Supreme Court Justice over the public’s overwhelming preference of a second round of coronavirus economic relief, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate is getting out of Dodge:

Congress has left town until after the election without passing any new economic or health care relief measures even as the coronavirus pandemic surges and the economy sputters…

After days of bitterly partisan debate and a vote late Monday confirming Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, senators are headed back home to campaign for re-election. The House has been out of session for weeks, although House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have continued to negotiate around a new $2 trillion relief bill.

Their talks have shown scant evidence of progress, but neither Pelosi nor Mnuchin seems to want to be the one to say it’s over. Pelosi continues to insist she wants a deal before the election that would include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks, among other things. But at the same time, her rhetoric has shifted in recent days to emphasize the possibility of a bigger and better relief bill passing in future, with retroactive benefits — a scenario that would seem possible only under a Biden administration.

When Donald Trump threw the latter rounds of negotiations into a tailspin by (temporarily) calling off negotiations on a new stimulus bill until “after I win,” he promised to push through a bill after the election that met his desire to “go big,” even exceeding the requests of Democrats who fruitlessly negotiated with the White House over a few hundred billion. This statement left…unclear what might happen in the event Trump does not win re-election, and there’s no guarantee that Trump will keep his promise–or that the GOP majority lame duck Senate will have any more appetite to pass a stimulus adequate to the task than they were before the election.

The worst case scenario, which is no additional economic relief for Americans until January, even as the pandemic’s third wave wreaks havoc through the winter, is a very disturbing prospect. Back in May, Sen. Cory Gardner said it would be “unfathomable” for the Senate to adjourn without another stimulus bill. Economists have been warning for months that more relief is needed desperately, and if Trump and the Senate GOP decide to let Americans suffer until Joe Biden takes office out of political spite…

The awful truth is that is not “unfathomable.” Americans suffering needlessly this winter is now a likelihood.

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (October 27)

STOP! If you still have a mail ballot at home, DO NOT DROP IT IN THE MAIL. We are close enough to Election Day that you now need to take your completed ballot to a local collection box; visit GoVoteColorado.com for more information. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

► The Republican Senate finished ramming through their confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday evening. This is the same Republican Senate that hasn’t been able to move ahead on any sort of coronavirus stimulus bill since the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act in May, but they managed to confirm a SCOTUS nominee in a matter of weeks.

We probably don’t need to tell you that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was a ‘YES’ vote.

 

Voters continue to turn out in record numbers in Colorado and across the country. As The New York Times explains, this is not good news for Republicans:

A week before Election Day, more than 64 million Americans have already voted — and about half of them are in the dozen or so competitive states that will ultimately decide who wins the Electoral College.

Possibly even more significant, early votes in these battlegrounds account for more than half of those states’ total votes in 2016. Nationally, voters have already cast about 46 percent of the total vote counted in 2016, according to the United States Elections Project.

Via The New York Times

 

The campaigns for President Trump and Democrat Joe Biden, respectively, can telegraph much of their last week strategy based on travel plans. Biden was in Pennsylvania on Monday and will travel to Georgia today before a stop later this week in Iowa; he will also visit Tampa Bay, FL and Wisconsin before Election Day.

As for Trump, he’s traveling to Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Nevada.

 

The Aspen Daily News endorses Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush in an editorial that contains an absolutely STUNNING comment from Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert:

When asked if she condemned the administration’s policies that allowed for children to be separated from their parents — in the same week that the American Civil Liberties Union reported that the federal government has so far failed to locate the parents of 545 children victims of the “no tolerance” policy — Boebert replied that “when parents break the laws, sometimes things happen.”

She went on to liken a nearly 10% alleged failure to effectively track the parents of children separated at the border, even amid asylum requests, to her anecdotal experience following an arrest for an unpaid parking ticket.

“When I didn’t pay my $100 traffic ticket, I was separated from my kids for about an hour until I got it taken care of,” she said. [Pols emphasis]

We’d call this unbelievable, but we ARE talking about the same Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. As Alex Burness reports for The Denver Post, many Colorado conservatives think Boebert is the future of the party.

 

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

 

(more…)

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Boebert Compares Family Separation Policies to Traffic Ticket

“When I didn’t pay my $100 traffic ticket, I was separated from my kids for about an hour until I got it taken care of.” — Lauren Boebert

The Aspen Daily News followed a trend in CO-03 this week by endorsing Democrat Diane Mitsch Bush over Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert. Virtually every newspaper in the vast Western/Southern Colorado congressional district has backed Mitsch Bush instead of Boebert, and often for the same reasons: Boebert has absolutely no idea what she is talking about when it comes to policy issues.

Boebert has regularly refused to meet with newspaper editorial boards, including those of The Denver Post and The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, and for good reason: When you ask Boebert a question that she can’t answer with a talking point about “freedom,” what you get in response is absolute nonsense.

And sometimes, much, much worse. From The Aspen Daily News:

Our concerns with Boebert largely come back to her seemingly superficial understanding of issues and her quickness to parrot the same talking points coming from her party’s leadership — mainly, President Donald J. Trump. For instance, she spoke passionately about immigration reform, but when, as an aspiring representative of many resort communities on the Western Slope, she was asked about J-1 visas, she allowed that she wasn’t familiar with that particular visa type.

When asked if she condemned the administration’s policies that allowed for children to be separated from their parents — in the same week that the American Civil Liberties Union reported that the federal government has so far failed to locate the parents of 545 children victims of the “no tolerance” policy — Boebert replied that “when parents break the laws, sometimes things happen.”

She went on to liken a nearly 10% alleged failure to effectively track the parents of children separated at the border, even amid asylum requests, to her anecdotal experience following an arrest for an unpaid parking ticket.

“When I didn’t pay my $100 traffic ticket, I was separated from my kids for about an hour until I got it taken care of,” she said. [Pols emphasis]

Whaaaaaaa????

Boebert has a troubling history of just ignoring things like laws and court orders that she believes apply to everyone else, but she also apparently has no ability to differentiate between CHILDREN BEING RIPPED FROM THE ARMS OF THEIR PARENTS to going to court to deal with a misdemeanor offense.

This is more than just an asinine comment from an ill-prepared candidate. This is weird. Boebert’s perspective isn’t odd for a politician — it’s strange behavior from a human being.

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The Real Lesson of Amy Coney Barrett

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports and everyone in America knows, the last great fait accompli of Republican control in Washington, D.C. under President Donald Trump is now mission accomplished:

Colorado’s senators followed their parties’ lead when it came to voting Judge Amy Coney Barrett onto the Supreme Court Monday. Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet voted against her confirmation, while Republican Sen Cory Gardner voted for it.

She was confirmed along party lines 52-48, with no Democrats voting for her confirmation.

Bennet and Gardner both took to the Senate floor ahead of the vote, decrying the highly partisan process.

Gardner said Monday afternoon that, “if you can take the politics out of the place, she would probably have a unanimous vote. Unfortunately, the politicization of this nomination is going to prevent that.”

“Decrying the highly partisan process” that ended last night with the swearing in of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, over the express dying wish of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg that her replacement be appointed after a new president is sworn in in January, is a risible distortion of the history of Republican treachery regarding high court appointments going back to 2016, when the same Cory Gardner and Senate Republicans refused to grant President Barack Obama’s nominee to replace Antonin Scalia a hearing months before the presidential election to be held that year. Gardner’s excuse for acting differently in 2020 was simply that the Senate and White House are controlled by the same party. How can Gardner complain about a “partisan process” when partisanship is literally the only reason this is happening?

The real mistake here would be to spend any time trying to honestly reconcile Gardner’s words with his deeds. The confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett happened yesterday for the same reason Merrick Garland’s confirmation didn’t happen in 2016: Republicans had the power to do what they wanted in both cases. All of the stated justifications for taking opposite actions in response to the same circumstances are meaningless, even insulting to the nation’s collective intelligence. The only thing that matters, then and now, is power.

In 2014, it was in part reliance on the theory that Gardner’s ability to carry out his anti-abortion agenda would be self-limited by the deliberative nature of the Senate that justified the Denver Post’s backhanded endorsement of Gardner–going so far as to call worries about the threat Gardner posted to abortion rights a “tedious refrain.” Today, with abortion rights in mortal danger beyond even what Gardner’s opponents in 2014 could have predicted, the naivete of Gardner’s apologists in 2014 has been laid bare more completely than any Democratic ad campaign could possibly manage.

There is only one lesson from all of this, and it could not be more timely. Elections matter.

Whatever happens next, a generation of Colorado voters have seen enough to never be fooled again.

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Anti-Abortion Usual Suspects Saying The Quiet Part Out Loud

Limited polling released so far on Proposition 115, the ballot measure to criminalize abortions in Colorado performed later in pregnancy, is running closer than previous abortion ban ballot measures in Colorado–though still expected to be defeat, likely not by the 30-point margins that characterized previous failed attempts to impose a total ban on abortion in Colorado from the moment of conception known as the “Personhood” initiatives.

This year, you can give anti-abortion activists some credit for muddying the question of banning abortion access by proposing a ban on abortion “only” after 22 weeks. The imposition of a non-medical cutoff date for abortion care with no exceptions for rape or incest would of course be a major victory for abortion opponents in Colorado, in a state which has held off attempts to politically regulate a procedure the right to which is guaranteed (for now) by the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision.

The anti-abortion activists who put this new flavor of abortion ban on the ballot have of course not suddenly become converts to legal abortion under 22 weeks. Proposition 115’s proponents consider the measure to be an incremental step along the way to a total ban on abortion–and as the election approaches, it’s getting harder for backers to conceal this:

Denver Post columnist Krista Kafer took it a step further this weekend, calling an exception for rape or incest in Proposition 115 “unnecessary”:

Some opponents of Proposition 115 want unnecessary loopholes added to the proposal. Proposition 115 only impacts late-term abortion. Abortions of babies conceived by rape or incest are almost always conducted early in the pregnancy. There is no reason to wait until the child is viable…

As you can see, it’s very easy to lure Proposition 115 supporters out into the open and expose their broader opposition to abortion well beyond the scope of this ballot measure. The argument that an exemption to allow abortion in a case incest or sexual assault is a “second victimization” applies as much to an abortion performed before 22 weeks as after. And if you believe that abortion in cases of rape and incest is a “death penalty,” you’re very much in the minority of Americans.

In Kafer’s case, she tosses out her own presumptions about questions that in Colorado are strictly between a doctor and a patient. We’re not interested in debating with Kafer or anyone else exactly how many abortions due to cases of rape or incest occur or when, at what precise point in pregnancy fatal genetic defects may be detectable, or any other presumption she makes about these issues.

And why not? Because we’re not doctors or their patients, and those are the only people who should be making these decisions. As soon as the door opens to second-guessing doctors bound by professional ethics making medical decisions with their patients, which is what Proposition 115 is all about, the much greater restrictions Proposition 115’s supporters have in mind are ready to go–awaiting only the “momentum” Prop 115 would give them.

If you believe Proposition 115 supporters have any intention of stopping with Proposition 115, and reading between the lines of their own words is not enough, all you have to do is ask them. The honest ones will readily confess it’s merely the first chip at the edifice.

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Cory Gardner Says Republicans Have a Health Care Plan!

[SPOILER ALERT: There is no Republican health care plan]

President Trump’s somewhat-anticipated interview with “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl finally aired on Sunday night. This was the interview that Trump cut short last week when he got sad that Stahl was not going to just let him sit there and pretend that a secret laptop that formerly belonged to Hunter Biden was a real thing (last week, even longtime Republican strategist/pollster Frank Luntz proclaimed, “Nobody cares about Hunter Biden … why is [Trump] spending all his time on him?”).

But there was still a surprise ending to the “60 Minutes” interview that hadn’t already leaked out beforehand.

After Trump walked out of the interview, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany emerged with a big ‘ol book-like object that she hand-delivered to Stahl:

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains:

The oversized book that drastically under-delivers on its promised contents is, actually, a pretty apt metaphor for the entire Trump presidency…

…But like so much with Trump, the show and the pageantry belie the emptiness of the actual vessel. A big book filled with executive orders is not a comprehensive health care plan. Because there is no plan.

Undaunted by stupid things like facts and truth, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) picked up the baton from McEnany in an interview Monday morning on “The FOX News Rundown.” Behold this amazing baloney:

HOST: The Democrats are arguing [that] Republicans haven’t put forth a health care plan, as they’re trying to take down, effectively, Obamacare. If President Trump secures a second term, if the Affordable Care Act is struck down, whole or in part, we’ve heard discussions about a potential Republican health care plan before, but we haven’t heard a whole lot in terms of what that would look like. What can you tell us about the planning going on for that phase?

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)

GARDNER: Well, there’s two things that Republicans and Democrats both agree on. Number one, we’re always going to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Number two, both Republicans and Democrats want to replace the Affordable Care Act with something that works. The Democrat plan is Medicare for All, a public option that turns into Medicare for All. Basically eliminating the private insurance that 136-plus million Americans enjoy today that they receive through their employer. 

Republicans are focused on a patient-centered health care program that is based on decisions between patients and their doctor…the consumer and their doctor…the constituent and their doctor…not Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. And it is about risk pools and reinsurance. It is about liability reforms that delay…you know, it is said right now that unnecessary procedures account for nearly 25% of health care costs because they are driven by liability concerns. That’s part of the plan that we have to address. Things like association health plans, across state lines, telehealth. I helped the Governor of Colorado get a waiver for reinsurance through the Health and Human Services department to drive down the costs in Colorado. 

You know, our plan is there. They don’t agree with our plan because it doesn’t involve a government takeover. [Pols emphasis]

What’s in the box book?

Say what, now?

This is the point in the story where we would provide a link so that you could read for yourself the Republican health care plan that Democrats disagree on because it doesn’t involve a government takeover. But, we can’t, because THERE IS NO REPUBLICAN HEALTH CARE PLAN. You can Google “Republican health care plan,” and you’ll get a lot of results about Republicans and health care — but, alas, no actual “health care plan.”

In August, Gardner introduced a 117-word bill for protecting pre-existing medical conditions that fact checkers agree would not actually protect people with pre-existing medical conditions. Much like Gardner’s political career, this bill is going nowhere in the U.S. Senate, but at least it is an actual thing that does exist.

We have absolutely no idea what Gardner is talking about when he says “our plan is there.” We’d guess Gardner doesn’t know, either. Perhaps he watched Sunday’s episode of “60 Minutes” and got excited when he saw the giant book delivered to Lesley Stahl.

Cory Gardner has seemingly come full-circle six years after winding down his first U.S. Senate campaign. Back in October 2014, Gardner was insisting that there was no such thing as a federal “personhood” bill, which wasn’t true. With just one week left until Election Day in 2020, Gardner is pounding the table in support of a Republican health care bill that isn’t real.

In with one lie, and out with another.

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Mayor Mike Has COVID-19, And Trump Gave Up

Mayor Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).

As the Aurora Sentinel reports, get well wishes are in order for Mayor Mike Coffman of Aurora, and a close call for Gov. Jared Polis as the third wave of the very much ongoing COVID-19 pandemic grips the state:

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis was but now isn’t quarantining himself after learning that Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman tested positive for the coronavirus over a week after they appeared with other officials at a press conference, a spokesperson for the governor said Sunday.

Earlier Sunday, spokesperson Maria De Cambra said Polis would quarantine while waiting to hear from health officials investigating who else may have been exposed to the coronavirus about whether he should continue to isolate himself.

Sunday evening, spokesperson Conor Cahill said he was advised by state health officials there was no risk to Polis during the joint press conference.

“TCHD disease control investigators conducted an interview with Mayor Coffman this afternoon and have determined that there is no risk to Gov. Polis…Therefore, Gov. Polis and others at the that event with Mayor Coffman have been informed that they do need to quarantine as a result of this situation,” Cahill said in a statement in a statement.

Mayor Coffman’s symptoms didn’t last long, fortunately, but the renewed rapid growth of COVID-19 cases in Aurora and across the state forced the reimposition of stricter guidelines for gatherings this weekend, which should as of now consist only of 10 or fewer people in a maximum of two households. The latest modeling shows Colorado exceeding hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients on the present trajectory, and the testing positivity rate–over 9% in Adams County, which includes part of Aurora–is a very serious reversal of progress made over the summer.

We wish there was better news, but as readers know, “we’re not going to control the pandemic.” In 2016, Mike Coffman held on to his seat two years longer than he should have by saying of Donald Trump, “I don’t care for him much.” After losing his seat in Congress and now catching the virus Trump promised would go away by Easter, we imagine Coffman doesn’t care for Trump much more today, either.

But just like in 2018 and Cory Gardner today, Coffman will only say Trump’s name if you drag it out of him.

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Oh, Right, There’s Still an Election in CO-06

The #Crowmentum continues.

Two years ago, we were talking a lot in this space about #Crowmentum. The race for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District was looking better for Democrats in 2018 after a couple of near-misses (and “not-so-near” misses) in previous election cycles in which CO-06 was a top battleground in the state. Democrats were cautiously optimistic that first-time candidate Jason Crow could knock off longtime Republican politician Mike Coffman after some encouraging poll numbers and strong fundraising reports.

As it turned out, Crow didn’t just win — he annihilated Coffman by 11 points. Crow’s decisive victory was a surprisingly-strong repudiation of both Coffman and Trump, but there was still an outstanding question about how much CO-6 itself might have really changed. After all, this was a a district that had been represented by a Republican in every year since it was first created — including 5 terms from conservative firebrand Tom Tancredo.

That question will be answered definitively in a little more than one week, but it’s telling in itself that we are barely even discussing CO-06 in 2020. As Justin Wingerter writes for The Denver Post, the CO-06 battleground of the past decade is a much different place today:

For the first time in several election cycles, there has not been an influx of outside money into the 6th District this year. There has been no public polling and no debate. All is quiet in what was once a well-trodden political battleground…

…Crow has run only positive television ads — a common tactic among incumbents who expect to win easily — that have highlighted his work on health care, the environment and coronavirus relief. Over the summer, he took his volunteers off the campaign trail and put them to work sending 67,000 text messages with COVID-19 resources and information to 6th District residents.

So what happened in CO-06? A couple of things: 1) Crow’s margin of victory in 2018 diluted enthusiasm for a 2020 challenge, and 2) Crow had a very successful and high-profile first term in Congress.

We’ll start with the second point first. Crow proved in his freshman term in Congress to be a hard-working, accessible, and likable Representative whose voice was being heard in Washington D.C. For example, an Op-Ed signed by Crow and several other Members of Congress with military/national security backgrounds ultimately might have convinced House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move forward with impeachment hearings against President Trump. Crow was later selected as one of seven Democrats to serve as “impeachment managers” in Trump’s Senate trial. Whether you liked him or not, you couldn’t accuse Crow of not being fully engaged in the job.

House for House? Not so much.

But even before Crow proved himself in Congress, his 11-point victory over Coffman in 2018 complicated Republican thinking about 2020. If there was a Republican bench of up-and-comers in CO-06, nobody wanted to sit there anymore.

Thus, Republicans were left with former State GOP Chairman and “CEO” Steve House as their nominee — though only after House convinced professional candidate/grifter Casper Stockham to make a hopeless bid for CO-07 instead. House pushed ahead with a completely forgettable campaign that we — and everybody else — barely noticed, aside from his silly attempts at matching Crow’s military record by pretending that he had the support of people with the word “veteran” in their title.

As Wingerter notes in his story for the Post, House doesn’t appear to be giving himself much of a chance next week, either:

Win or lose, House plans to keep his campaign office on Colfax through the rest of the year. He has bought decks of Scrummy, a vocabulary game developed in Denver, and plans to host tournaments there for local kids after the election.

That sounds nice.

Colorado will likely gain an eighth congressional seat after the 2020 Census numbers are counted, which could significantly alter the makeup of CO-06 in 2022. Redistricting might make Republicans more enthusiastic about challenging Crow in two years — though by that point Crow will be an even stronger candidate than he is already.

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WATCH: Sen. Bennet Eviscerates Barrett Confirmation Process


Sen. Michael Bennet.

A powerful speech delivered yesterday by Sen. Michael Bennet, senior Senator from Colorado, tearing into his Republican colleagues for “stealing the authority of the Founders in an effort to conceal their reactionary project”–“to protect their power and call it freedom: freedom to enslave; freedom to segregate; freedom to pay workers less than they can live on; to work them to death; to fire them because of what they believe or whom they love; to redline our neighborhoods; poison our skies; defund our schools; and buy our elections.”

Strong words (read the full text here) befitting perilous times:

Judge Barrett’s confirmation will cement a 6-3 majority on the Court that will allow the powerful to do what they want, while standing against the American people’s efforts to protect one another, to support one another, and to invest in each other through our democracy.

That is where we are. That is where we are. And as dispiriting as this moment may be, we have been here before as a country.

We are not the first generation of Americans to face a Senate or a Supreme Court that will stand with the powerful against the people. We are not the first citizens to run into a wall of obstruction as we work to make this country more democratic, more fair, and more free.

We have to learn from the examples of those who came before us. Those who answered slavery with emancipation and Reconstruction; a Gilded Age with a Progressive Era; a Great Depression with a New Deal; Jim Crow with Civil Rights.

As it was for them, so it is for us to meet the challenges of our time. And unlike the forces that have brought us to this low point, we have a much harder job, because we have a far greater purpose.

Theirs has been to grind our democracy into rubble. Ours is to build a strong foundation for the American people and the next generation.

The final vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett remains scheduled for today, and President Donald Trump reportedly intends to swear her in tonight. That inevitability is acknowledged by Bennet in his speech opposing Barrett’s confirmation, along with what comes next:

They’re not going to stop. They have spent decades, and billions in dark money, exercising their power to entrench their power. They will not abandon this project in a single election. And we’re going to have to overcome that, just as we’ll have to overcome this Supreme Court.

It won’t be easy. It won’t be easy, but anyone who’s studied the history of our country, our democracy, knows how hard it is to make progress. It’s never easy.

Sen. Bennet is correct, the damage done in four and a half years of Republican Supreme Court treachery will take more than one election to undo–but a week from tomorrow is when the journey back from this nadir begins.

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“We’re Not Going To Control The Pandemic”

MONDAY UPDATE: The Washington Post gives it to you straight:

Via The Washington Post (10/25/20)

—–

UPDATE: Remember this joke?

“My 8-year-old son came to me and said, ‘Dad, I know when the pandemic ends.’ And I said, ‘You do?’ He says, ‘Yes, the day after the election.’ Now, he picked that up somewhere or heard that somewhere, or maybe mom and dad were talking too much around him,” [Sen. Cory] Gardner told a laughing crowd.

It’s less funny today.

—–

If you watched CNN’s State of the Union this morning, you’re still picking your jaw up off the floor:

 

It might be time to consult this book.

This is White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, yelling at telling America this morning that the Trump administration is giving up on containing the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed over 220,000 Americans, more than any other nation, consumed the year 2020 economically and socially, and forever changed the lives of everyone living through it (that’s you, and us, everybody on the planet).

MEADOWS: Your website is talking about, well now we think the spread is coming from small social groups and family groups. First it was large groups. Now it’s small groups…

TAPPER: It’s coming from all sorts of places, it’s coming from all sorts of places because the pandemic’s out of control.

MEADOWS: Now, well, that’s exactly, that’s exactly the point. So, here’s what we have to do. We’re not going to control the pandemic, [Pols emphasis] we are gonna control the fact that we uh, get vaccines, therapeutics, and other mitigations…

TAPPER: Why aren’t we going to get control of the pandemic?

MEADOWS: Because it is a contagious virus just like the flu…

It is a legitimate struggle to find the appropriate words to encapsulate what this means. You can anticipate an admission of defeat like this, you can understand how we got to such an unthinkable moment in history through hopelessly incompetent and even willfully counterproductive management of the global emergency by America’s Republican elected leaders–creating a partisan divide over public health that has directly resulted in the deaths of untold thousands of Americans. But when it hits you that the President of the United States has now publicly conceded after all the sacrifices Americans have made this year that the virus will win, that thousands more Americans will die who would have been saved had they lived in so many other nations that took this threat seriously…

Nine days from the election, a more painful lesson on the importance of making the right choice seems impossible.

It’s truly a life or death election now.

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Centrist Redemption: Megan Schrader Disowns Cory Gardner

Donald Trump and Cory Gardner in Colorado Springs, February 20, 2020.

On October 9th, the Denver Post’s editorial board issued an endorsement of John Hickenlooper in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race that acknowledged in part the errors made by the board six years before with their deeply controversial endorsement of Cory Gardner’s election to the U.S. Senate. Yesterday, the editor of the Post’s opinion section Megan Schrader added her personal view of Gardner’s betrayal of the Post’s confidence in a blistering must-read column under her own name–we can’t cut and paste the whole thing, of course, and you’ll need to read it all yourself, but here are some of the stronger excerpts:

Also in 2017, Gardner voted twice to repeal the Affordable Care Act, without any type of a replacement on the table, in the works or even lingering in the air. No matter how many times Gardner said “repeal and replace” on the campaign trail in 2015 — I covered the election, it was often — he can’t escape the fact that in six years he has never articulated a viable replacement…

There are many reasons Colorado Republicans support Gardner — he’s pro-life and will be a reliable “yes” vote on any restriction on abortion brought before Congress; he supported Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that drastically reduced taxes across the board; and he has helped put conservative judges into lifetime appointments.

But there isn’t a single good reason a moderate or independent Colorado voter should support a senator who has proven to be a great pretender at representing their interests but has betrayed them time and time again. [Pols emphasis]

The sense of personal betrayal is quite evident in this column, recounting how Gardner’s pretending “to care about protecting Coloradan’s access to health insurance” was undermined by Gardner’s record of voting for legislation that would have forced massive cuts to Medicaid, and repealed the Affordable Care Act entirely with no replacement in place. Gardner’s abandonment of stated principles and promises on climate, health care, and checking Donald Trump’s power in appropriating funds to build his border wall, argues Schrader, leaves “moderate” Coloradans unpersuaded by social wedge issues with nothing to support.

In 2014, Gardner narrowly prevailed in part by convincing self-described moderates, then as always a fashionable identity for Colorado’s political chattering class, that he was their candidate despite their lying eyes. In 2020, equivocating would-be “centrist” voters have been shoved off the fence by Trump’s depredations–and to whatever extent “the center” exists in our politics this year, John Hickenlooper occupies it.

And as moderates, Democrats, and every Republican who is contractually allowed to admit the truth before the election knows, Gardner’s own choices dug his hole.

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DougCo Ditching Idiotic Plan To Leave Tri-County Health

Douglas County Board of COVIDiots.

As Westword’s Connor McCormick-Cavanagh reports–the widely ridiculed announcement by the Republican Douglas County Board of Commissioners last summer that they are pulling out of the Tri-County Health Department and setting up their own in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, one that presumably wouldn’t force red-blooded Americans to submit to the tyranny of wearing masks and social distancing, is ending with a whimper:

Douglas County has struck a tentative agreement with the Tri-County Health Department to remain with the agency through at least the end of 2022.

“Our Board is persuaded by Tri-County Health Department’s policy proposal that would increase the role of individual counties regarding public health orders, as they are being developed and before they are issued,” the Douglas County Board of Commissioners just announced.

Details of the agreement are sparse, and it would still need to be approved by the Tri-County Health Department’s Board of Health. If the board okays the deal, the parties will have staved off a breakup of the decades-long partnership between Douglas, Arapahoe and Adams counties. Douglas County commissioners had said they were seeking a split in July, after the health department issued a mask mandate.

Although Douglas County Commissioners are characterizing this agreement as a “win-win,” citing unspecified concessions to allow input from county governments on public health orders, the reality is very different. Republican DougCo commissioners may be beholden to the “COVIDiot” political resistance against measures taken to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, but every poll of public opinion indicates clearly that is not how a majority of DougCo residents feel. The announced withdrawal of Douglas County from the Tri-County Health Department in retaliation for the passage of a mask mandate has never looked more idiotic than it does today, with a third wave of pandemic infections bearing down on the state and nation.

Actually, scratch that. It will look worse tomorrow, and the next day, and every day more Coloradans get infected and die of COVID-19. Politically, the extreme tone-deafness of DougCo commissioners on this issue could upend Republican control, with two of three seats up for election this year. Incumbent Lora Thomas has been on the defensive ever since this ill-conceived stunt was announced, and Republican commish candidate George Teal has made no secret of his desire for “local control” of the health department. In both of these races, the Democratic candidates have hammered the Tri-County Health pullout decision as a colossal mistake.

Now DougCo’s voters will have the final say, and we’ll see if they have been paying attention.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (October 23)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS AND VOTING INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

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

 

The final Presidential debate of 2020 took place in Nashville, TN on Thursday night. A somewhat-restrained President Trump made the debate almost…normal. As The Washington Post reports:

With the two candidates electronically muted for portions of the night, the constant interruptions from the first debate were replaced by a clearer contrast between their competing views for the country and more sharply defined exchanges of attacks and retorts.

When Trump tried to accuse Biden of making money from China, the former vice president pointed out that the president has a bank account in the country and has failed to disclose his income tax returns despite promises to do so.

When Trump argued that stock markets would crash if Biden were elected, Biden responded with his signature line contrasting the gains of Wall Street vs. the cratering Main Street economy.

And when Trump sought to paint Biden as a puppet of socialist forces, his opponent pushed back with a forcefulness that has been absent from much of his campaign. “He’s a very confused guy. He thinks he’s running against somebody else,” Biden said. “He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.”

Trump attacked Biden on multiple occasions, but his rhetoric was a bit too obscure for the average voter to understand. As Elahe Izadi and Jeremy Barr write for The Washington Post, you’d have to be a regular viewer of Fox News to have understood most of Trump’s shorthand:

During the final presidential debate, President Trump made reference to “the laptop from hell,” “AOC plus three″ and “Russia, Russia, Russia” — yes, said three times in a row.

The material was very familiar to — and maybe only familiar to — regular viewers of Fox News opinion hosts such as Sean Hannity.

“I feel like he almost was speaking the language of Fox prime time,” Chuck Todd, host of “Meet the Press,” said on NBC after the debate. “If you watch a lot of Fox prime time, you understand what he’s saying. If you don’t, you have no idea.”

 

As NBC News reports, coronavirus cases in the United States are continuing to skyrocket:

The U.S. set a record Thursday as the number of new coronavirus cases rose to over 77,000, topping the previous record in July.

Nationwide, 77,640 new cases were reported for the day, up from the previous record of 75,723 on July 29, according to the latest tally compiled by NBC News.

The record-breaking daily tally comes as the total number of coronavirus cases in the country has reached nearly 8.5 million, with 224,280 deaths. There were 921 coronavirus-related deaths reported on Thursday.

Here in Colorado, COVID-19 cases are also increasing. The situation is enough of a concern in Aurora that officials have decided to move students in grades 1-8 to an online-only instruction model. Elsewhere, a new app will be available this weekend that is intended to allow Coloradans to gauge potential exposure to COVID-19 in their communities.

 

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that appears designed to allow him to fire more people who aren’t deemed sufficiently loyal to Dear Leader. As CNN reports:

Trump signed an executive order that appears to provide him and his agency appointees more leeway in the hiring and firing of federal employees deemed disloyal, a move that critics say politicizes civil service and could lead to career officials being pushed out for political reasons.

The President has vilified some career officials as the “deep state” during his term and sought to rid the federal government of people he views as anti-Trump. Critics warn that the order would allow the President to fill the federal workforce with his cronies and reverts the country back to a spoils systems.

The executive order, issued Wednesday, creates a new classification of federal employees titled “Schedule F” for employees serving in “confidential, policy-determining, policy-making, or policy-advocating positions” that typically do not change during a presidential transition.

The White House says the directive will give federal agencies more flexibility to hire “Schedule F” employees but also be able to remove “poor performers” from these roles without going through a lengthy appeals process.

 

 Governor Jared Polis will visit the sites of several massive wildfires in Colorado today. The two largest wildfires in state history are now in Larimer County. Large portions of Estes Park were evacuated on Thursday.

 

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

 

(more…)

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