Would Gardner Vote To End the Shutdown?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has been emphasizing that he voted for a senate bill late last year that would have kept the government running.

He made the point in a Dec. 21 tweet, stating, “I voted for a clean government funding bill that passed the Senate on Wednesday night.”

Gardner is referring to his vote on a bipartisan measure that would have kept the government operating without funding for a border wall. That’s why he refers to it as a “clean” bill. It passed the senate but died after the House passed a bill that contained the wall funds.

Gardner said again today in a KOA radio interview that he voted for the clean senate bill in December and that he wants to end the shutdown.

Now the question is, would he vote for the same or very similar bill again, if it’s passed, as expected, by House Democrats in the coming week?

Would he push for a senate vote on the legislation?

That follow-up question wasn’t put to him on KOA this morning, and Gardner didn’t return a call from the Colorado Times Recorder seeking to know the answer.

Another reasonable question is, if the bill were to clear the senate, would he vote to override a Trump veto?


Taking A Trump Piñata For A Walk On Denver’s 16th Street Mall

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I was bit nervous when I took a Trump piñata to Denver’s 16th Street Mall recently–even though I had no plans to wrap a blindfold around my eyes, grab a bat, and hit it–or to encourage anyone else to do so.

But I figured just the existence of the piñata could upset Trump supporters–and others who might see it as disrespectful to the office of the president.

This was just a lunch-time nonviolent journalistic exercise, but it had the potential to go south.

It turned out that during the one-hour excursion from the office, not a single person objected to the piñata.

The response was 100 percent supportive, but not so much of Trump, starting with the first comment I got from a guy at the wheel of a white van stopped at a light.

“Hey! Can I hit that piñata?” he asked.

“No,” I said, bringing the piñata over to him. “But you can rub his hair.”

From there it was constant amused grins, rubbernecking. Lots of smiles.

In fact, if you’re sad, friendless, and lonely, and want people to come to your party, the Trump pinata could work wonders, at least in downtown Denver.

“Someone is gonna have fun! Can I come to the party? I got 30 bucks!” said one lively guy.



Gardner On Trump: 2018 In Review

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) enters 2019 on thin blue ice–as he looks to defend his seat in 2020 with Trump’s name on the same election ballot.

To add context to the Gardner debate going forward, here’s a list of 2018 Gardner quotes relating to Trump, taken mostly from the Colorado Times Recorder’s coverage of Gardner. Because the senator and his staff refuse to return our phone calls, most of these quotes are from other media sources.

“Revenge Majority”

“This is nothing more than a revenge majority,”  Gardner said on Fox News’ ‘Fox and Friends’ in December, speaking of the Democratic majority in the U.S. House. “They want to fight against a president that they believe never should have been elected in the first place, and so the policies that they are pursuing are all going to be based on revenge: investigations, cutting border security, doing everything they can to provide that revenge.”

“I’d Like to See the President Come to Colorado.”

“And so I think those are the two key takeaways [from the mid-term election], how President Trump did more than I think any other president has done for elections and getting these candidates elected, and how we were able to defy history,” Gardner said on conservative radio after November’s election, adding on another show: “So, look, I look forward to continuing our work together. And I’d like to see the President come to Colorado. I’d like to see my colleagues want to see him be successful. Let’s talk about the good things we’ve done in Colorado. Let’s show him the good things we’ve done in Colorado. I hope that everybody is engaged in wanting us to have a successful president.

“Radical Left” Opposes Trump

“I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country,” Gardner said in November. “There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on. But the economy is creating jobs… Wages are going up. This is incredible.”

The “Media Is Afraid of This”

In June, Gardner told conservatives at the Western Conservative Summit in Denver that Republicans will be able to confirm scores of judges if they can retain control of the U.S. Senate in November. Gardner said the “media is afraid of this,” and they “want us to fail.”

Trump’s Meeting with Kim Jong-un “Certainly a Positive Move”

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) said in May that it was “certainly a positive move” for Trump to enter into talks with North Korea, even though he said the then likely meeting should be taken “not only with a grain of salt but with perhaps an entire salt block.” After once lambasting Obama for lower-level talks with North Korea, Gardner reiterated to CBS that the talks were “positive development.”

Help Secure the “future of President Trump’s America First agenda”

“Your contribution is vital to the future of President Trump’s America First agenda,” Gardner wrote in an August fundraising appeal for a national Republican organization. “With your support, we will strengthen our Senate Majority. Will you step up and make a contribution today?”

“Loony Left” A Potential “Problem” in Mid-Term Election

“Obviously, voter motivation and intensity is important in elections,” Gardner told a libertarian radio host in September. “And if more on the radical left, the loony left, get out and vote than the right, that’s a problem.”

Advice for Trump before State of the Union Speech

“I think this is a chance for the President to really talk about those accomplishments, to talk about the fact that we passed significant bipartisan legislation to make it easier for lifesaving drugs to get approved, that we passed legislation to repeal a whole bunch of bad regulations that were dragging the economy down, that we passed a massive tax cut for the American people allowing them to keep more of their own dollars in their own pocket” Gardner told a conservative radio host in January.

“So this is a little bit of a chance for the President to say, ‘Hey, this is what we accomplished over the last year. As a result, we have more people believing we have the strongest economy in decades. We have more people seeing wage growth. We have more people being able to keep more of their own dollars in their own pocket. We have more people finding better jobs. And this is what we can now do together to make this next year even better.’”



Justifying My Stealth Squirrel War In Denver

The squirrel you see in your yard might be there thanks to me.

That’s because I trap squirrels alive in my yard, put them in the trunk of my car, and let them go free wherever I happen to be driving in the neighborhood: the grocery story, the park, a party, anywhere that’s at least a mile from our home.

If your house is on my route, I could let my squirrel go in front of it.

I never rid my property of squirrels this way, because the neighborhood is infested with them. They’re in all the trees. All the parks. All over Denver.

But, I can put a temporary dent in the population around our home, stopping them during harvest season from devouring our tomatoes, pumpkins, and zucchini from our garden—and the fruit from our trees.

This year, with sporadic trapping, I got to pick about 25 percent of the peaches from our tree. I’m hoping to do better next year.

My admittedly weak justification for depositing the squirrels elsewhere in the neighborhood is mostly based on the fact that the area is infested to begin with, so I’m not really adding unwanted squirrels to my neighbors’ yards, especially because I never release two squirrels in the same location.

Squirrels are already everywhere, and the greatest number of squirrels I might have released in front of your house is one.

Plus, most of my neighbors don’t seem to care about the squirrels, and many like them! Or are at least entertained by them.

Once a passer-by saw a squirrel in my trap and set it free. My sister even makes squirrel holiday cookies. Squirrels even adorn toilet seats in some houses. I’ve discovered a subculture of squirrel ridiculousness and “cute” products out there on Google.

And lots of my neighbors actually feed these animals, whose predators (fox, coyotes, hawks) don’t kill enough of them to hold the population in check and stave off the destruction they cause.

Feeding these arboreal rats, swelling their infestation, is arguably worse than my relocation project, I tell myself.

And there’s a wider societal benefit to the existence and productivity of my garden, which is completely organic, hyper local.  By reducing the number of squirrels around my house, I’m cutting down on food processing, chemical sprays, exhaust-filled car trips to the store, and more.

I’ve thought about killing my squirrels many times, like a neighbor up the block does. She catches them alive and drops the trap in a barrel of water, drowning the rodents. Another friend shoots them.

But even though you can kill “nuisance” squirrels under Colorado law, I don’t want to. I might if I could eat them, but who knows what trash and poison they consume. I’ve talked to a couple people in town who cook them up, and one woman overheard me mentioning squirrel traps at a coffee shop and spontaneously gave me a squirrel stew recipe. But I don’t think consuming them is a very smart move in Denver

Another option would be to drive to open space and release them, like another friend does. He’ll go up to Golden or beyond. But I honestly don’t have the time, and it’s not right to upset nature’s balance with more of this type of mammal.

Part of the reason my friend drives his trapped squirrels so far away is, he thinks if he doesn’t, they’ll journey back many miles to his house.

He actually spray paints the squirrels’ tails green before letting them go, to see if they make the impossible trek to his trees.

Many years ago, my 5-year old son and I tried to sabotage him by spray painting the tail of one of our trapped squirrels green, and then letting it go in front of his house. My kid couldn’t contain himself and revealed our prank immediately upon seeing my friend. He never caught our green-tailed squirrel anyway. And we never saw it at our house either, which is about a mile away.

In any case, unless I come up with a better idea, I’ll continue to deal with my squirrels with my trap-and-release routine.

It’s a bad solution, and I’m sorry if my squirrel eats your peach.

If you respond in kind and dump squirrels on me, I completely understand.

Our country doesn’t need more polarization, much less a squirrel war, and I feel guilty. But I don’t know what to do.

CORRECTION: This post has been corrected to state that Colorado residents can kill “nuisance” tree squirrels on their property. But they cannot relocate squirrels without, among other requirements, notifying Colorado Parks and Wildlife and securing permission to do so by the owner of the land where squirrel would be set free.


Let’s Start Thanking All Government Workers, Not Just The Military, For Their Service

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

It’s great that we recognize people who’ve served in the U.S. military with the simple acknowledgement of, “Thank you for your service.”

Now, with so many of our other public servants under mindless attack, we should expand the tradition and begin thanking everyone who works in government. They deserve regular thanks as well.

So when you meet teachers, you should begin the conversation by thanking them for their service, just as you would a U.S. Marine or retired Navy Captain.

Ditto when you encounter a fellow citizen who serves in the EPA, wastewater treatment, the Colorado Department of Health Policy and Environment, the Peace Corps, the courts, the IRS, and the police department.

We should all thank bus drivers, code enforcers, firefighters, street sweepers, prison guards, building inspectors, parking meter readers, public defenders, and everyone and anyone else who works in our government.

All these jobs require sacrifice, some are dangerous, and they’re all required to make our communities thrive and survive.

These workers deserve our appreciation, and they don’t get it enough, because government is too often maligned and undervalued, most often by Republicans but also by Democrats and everyday people of all stripes.

Thanking government workers would be step toward educating people about all the things government does and how important they are.

It would move us toward creating a culture of love and appreciation for government, with a shared awareness that we are the government–and that our government operations and institutions exist to implement our communal values in the real world.

When you thank street sweepers for their service, for example, you’d be fighting back against the awful attacks that dominate our discussions of government and its functions. You’d be offering the respect our government deserves–and countering all the hype about government waste and inefficiency.

It may sound dramatic, but if our democratic society is going to succeed, we have to get over the idea that government is somehow “other” or, worse, a negative force that should be tolerated only with nose clips firmly in place to alleviate the stench. Sure, government reeks sometimes, but that’s when we have to do better as community to repair it.

By thanking teachers and others for their service, we’d be in no way slighting our military. Thanking others who work for us doesn’t diminish the service of our men and women in the armed forces.

It’s true that military personnel make unique sacrifices for the country, and these should never be under-appreciated. They should continue to be recognized, as they now are.

In other words, when you start thanking the cashier when you get your driver’s license, you won’t be tarnishing the military.

The bottom line is, no work is more important than government work, whether it’s in the Coast Guard, the Capitol, or in the basement of some white office building or school.

That’s why, during this holiday season, it’s time to resolve to be more thankful to those who serve us every second of every day.

So to all you government workers who are reading this, thank you for your service.


Trump Looks “Non-Confrontational, Thoughtful” In Proposed Portrait

(Painters work magic – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Trump Image Selected For Capitol Portrait

A committee at the Colorado legislature has approved a Trump photo and an associated sketch, which will serve as the basis for a Trump portrait that will be ready to hang in the Colorado Capitol by April.

Colorado Springs artist Sarah Boardman offered members of the Capitol Building Advisory Committee (CBAC) two Trump sketches and four photos, showing the president with different expressions and stylistic features, according to materials provided to committee staff by Boardman.

The artist’s preferred photo, which she described as “consistent” with other presidential portraits in the Capitol, shows Trump with a “serious, non-confrontational, thoughtful” expression.

Boardman described Trump in her second-choice photo as “marginally less confident.”



Gardner Indicates Support For Court Ruling Killing Obamacare And Calls for Creation of Unspecified Better Healthcare “System”

(Gardner’s favorite programs are the “unspecified” ones — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner apparently supports a decision last week by a federal judge striking down the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Asked yesterday by a KOA radio host if he agrees with Texas judge, Gardner indicated he supports the ruling, but he wants Congress to pass a law guaranteeing protections for pre-existing conditions “as we have said we will do and we’ll continue to work to do.”

GARDNER: Well, this is going to take some time to work through the system. The status quo remains in place. Nothing changes as this decision will be appealed, most likely all the way to the Supreme Court.

What has to happen: Congress needs to guarantee protections for pre-existing conditions, as we have said we will do and we’ll continue to work to do. But we also have to find a[n] approach that fixes what’s wrong with Obamacare, because it has led to hundreds of thousands of people who had their health insurance plans canceled, and higher costs.

So, let’s create a system that allows people to buy the insurance they want at a price they can afford.

Gardner voted for three senate bills that would have killed Obamacare, but they failed to pass, the last one going down with the thumb of former U.S. Senator John McCain of Arizona. All would have raised health-insurance premiums and made people lose their health insurance.

Gardner has not come forward with a specific plan that, as he puts it, “allows people to buy the insurance they want at a price they can afford.”

Gardner also supported the Trump tax bill, which became law, and eliminated the requirement that Americans buy health insurance or pay a fine.

For years, Gardner has repeatedly said that people had their insurance plans cancelled under Obamacare, including himself.

In truth, the old plans, like his, did not meet the requirements of Obamacare, such as free preventative care and coverage of pre-existing conditions and children, so folks with substandard plans were directed to sign up for compliant coverage. Everyone was offered a new plan; they were not thrown off the rolls.

Like the senate bills supported by Gardner, a court decision to end Obamacare would have wide consequences, including Medicare coverage.

The death of Obamacare would throw millions of people of the country’s health insurance rolls, according to multiple analysis.



Gardner Says Democrats Advocating Policies And Opposing Trump “Based On Revenge”

(“Revenge majority” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Further aligning himself with Trump, despite the president’s unpopularity in Colorado, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) accused Democrats Friday of opposing Republican policies based on “revenge” instead of what’s good for the country.

Gardner: “This is nothing more than a revenge majority,”  Gardner said on Fox News’ ‘Fox and Friends’ Friday. “They want to fight against a president that they believe never should have been elected in the first place, and so the policies that they are pursuing are all going to be based on revenge: investigations, cutting border security, doing everything they can to provide that revenge.”

Gardner’s comment came as Trump has vowed to shut down the government to try to force Congress to fund a border wall. Gardner accused Democrats of wanting to cut border funds and having “no border-security plan.”

“It’s based on a revenge majority that they just elected to the House,” said Gardner.



“Moms Demand Automatics” To Rally During Denver’s Jan. 19 Women’s March

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Democrats are widely expected to pass gun-safety legislation next year.

But the Democrats’ legislative majority isn’t stopping pro-gun groups from preparing to fight.

A pro-gun group called Moms Demand Automatics is trying to get attention by organizing a counter-protest during Denver’s Jan. 19 Women’s March, according to the group’s Facebook page, which includes likes from Republican State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock. About 100 people are interested or going to the rally, like former Republican House candidate Grady Nouis.

Another pro-gun gun entity, Rally for Our Rights, is raising money for billboards in Colorado and planning workshops on the legislative process.

One of Rally for Our Rights’ three proposed billboards calls it hypocrisy to support women’s rights and also to advocate for gun-safety legislation. The  billboard would state:

Politicians Who Claim to Support Women’s Rights Want to Take Away A Woman’s Right To Defend Herself with a Firearm. Why? RallyforOurRights.com

The group wants the billboards as part of a campaign to fight expected gun-control legislation.

“Colorado is going to be ground zero for gun control legislation after Democrats swept all three branches of state government on election day,” state’s the group’s GoFundMe page, which indicates that about $1,000 has been raised toward a $15,000 goal.

In addition to the billboard campaign, Rally for Our Rights plans to hold three free activist workshops in Colorado, including one at the offices of the Independence Institute, a libertarian entity most often aligned with Republicans.  The workshops, which will be scheduled later, are titled, “How to Be a Better Second Amendment Activist.”

The training includes information on the legislative and the electoral processes, as well as a “quick overview of the recall process.”

Rally for Our Rights is being promoted by longtime Tea Party activist Lesley Hollywood, who founded the group but did not respond to requests for comment. Hollywood recently appeared on NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch’s “NRATV” program.



How Hanging A Trump Portrait At The Colo Capitol Could Mark The Enlightenment Of The GOP

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

You might think that, for the GOP, hanging a portrait of Trump at the Colorado Capitol, amid inevitable protests and hype, is like begging for another blue Tsunami, even though Colorado Republicans were just flattened then drowned by one, perhaps indefinitely.

But Republican leaders are nevertheless pushing ahead with their plan to erect the Trump portrait by Jan. 4, when the legislature convenes again.

GOP leaders are saying, and it’s true, that Trump is our president, and it’s a tradition to place presidential portraits in our Capitol rotunda.

Trump’s likeness would hang next to paintings of former Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Bush. Like most Coloradans, none of those former presidents likes Trump very much at all, but so what? In America, we respect the office of the president.

Fair enough, and there’s bipartisan support for this. When Republicans were raising money to pay for the Trump portrait last year, some Democrats pitched in, as part of the $10,000 GoFundMe effort. State Rep. Dan Pabon (D-Denver) and former state lawmaker Dorothy Butcher (D-Pueblo) donated, according to Republican organizers.

“Every President – regardless of their political party – deserves a portrait in the Colorado State Capitol,” said outgoing State Senate President Kevin Grantham (R-Canon City) in August news release, calling Trump a “populist” whom many Coloradans support and adding that he can’t wait to see “another beautiful piece of art” in the rotunda.

But just how “beautiful” would it actually be to have Trump staring at you from a Capitol wall?

Already, it’s become passé to say that Trump weakens or undermines our country’s basic institutions and intellectualism, like the judiciary, the press, our voting system, our scientists, law enforcement, our Bill of Rights, and much more.

What will he do next? And how bad will it get?



Gardner Silent As Other GOP Senators Rage About ‘Guilty’ Saudi Prince

(Life comes at you fast – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After a CIA briefing today on the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Politico posted a piece headlined, “Republicans rage at ‘guilty’ Saudi crown prince.”

But one senator who wasn’t in a rage was Colorado’s Cory Gardner, who made this comment last week when asked about the CIA’s reported conclusion that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman knew about the plot to kill Khashoggi:

GARDNER: ““Well, I would be careful of what the CIA is being accused of saying. And I think that was clear in a briefing yesterday.I can’t get into the details of it, but I would just be very careful about what the CIA does and doesn’t believe.”

Republicans who attended today’s CIA briefing clearly disagree with Gardner, as Politico reported today:

A CIA briefing on Tuesday left senators raging at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, with Sen. Bob Corker declaring a jury would find him “guilty” of murdering journalist Jamal Kashoggi and Sen. Lindsey Graham asserting the Trump administration must be “willfully blind” not to hold MBS, as he his known, accountable for the killing of Khashoggi.

The unbridled anger toward MBS after a meeting between top Senate leaders and CIA Director Gina Haspel suggests that the chamber will move swiftly to punish the Saudi regime in the coming days. Republican senators in particularly were biting in their assessments of both MBS and the Trump administration, which has declined to assert that the Saudi prince ordered Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey in October.

Corker (R-Tenn.), the Senate Foreign Relations chairman, said that there is “zero question that the crown prince directed the murder.”

It’s not known if Gardner attended the CIA briefing, and his office didn’t issue a comment on the CIA’s Khashoggi briefing.

It appears that Gardner and Trump are the only prominent Washington politicians who are skeptical of the reported CIA conclusion.

Gardner won’t return calls from the Colorado Times Recorder seeking to know why he doubts the CIA’s conclusion.

Gardner was commenting on other matters today. Shortly after Corker and Graham made their comments, Gardner tweeted:

“I’ve introduced bipartisan legislation w/ @SenDougJones to ensure student veterans receive every penny they’re owed,” tweeted Gardner. “The @DeptVetAffairs made a mistake and didn’t pay student veterans the money they’re entitled to for the semester, it’s unacceptable and must be fixed immediately.”

Another tweet addressed the boy from the northern Colorado town of Severence, who led a campaign to legalize snowball fights, which had been banned.

Gardner: “All it takes is one person with a dream (and some snow) to make something happen. To the people of Severance CO, enjoy your town’s first ~legal~ snowball fight!”


Briefing Tomorrow Could Give Gardner Chance To Confirm Doubts About Khashoggi Murder

(promoted by Colorado Pols)

Jamal Khashoggi.

CIA Director Gina Haspel will brief U.S. Senate “committee leaders” Tuesday, likely giving U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) the chance to confirm his doubts about the CIA’s reported conclusion that Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman knew about the plot to kill journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Last week, appearing on conservative talk radio, Gardner questioned the CIA’s position:

“Well, I would be careful of what the CIA is being accused of saying,” Gardner told KDMT radio host Jimmy Sengenberger Nov. 29. “And I think that was clear in a briefing yesterday. I can’t get into the details of it, but I would just be very careful about what the CIA does and doesn’t believe.”

Gardner’s comment turned heads because it reflected Trump’s stance on the Khashoggi murder, apparently making Gardner and Trump the only prominent Washington politicians who are skeptical of the reported conclusion of the CIA.

Even Secretary of State James Mattis, who said there was “no smoking gun” connecting the prince to the murder, refused to cast doubt directly on the CIA’s reported conclusion.

CNN reported Nov. 29

But when he was asked if it was true the CIA expressed high confidence, Mattis would only say, “there you need to go to the CIA.”

Politico’s Burgess Everett reported today:

The spy chief will meet with top leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, according to a source familiar with the matter. The meeting comes ahead of a scheduled vote on whether the Senate will vote to pull support for the civil war in Yemen.

The number of attendees at the briefing could grow given the concern among both parties about Khashoggi’s killing at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey earlier this year. [emphasis added]

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week failed to address concerns by senators, who demanded Haspel appear on Capitol Hill. The Senate then voted to advance the measure curtailing U.S. support for Saudi forces in Yemen, setting up critical procedural votes that could occur later this week or early next.


Gardner Joins Trump in Questioning CIA’s Reported Conclusion That Saudi Prince Knew Of Journalist’s Murder

(Going full Trump – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Apparently referring to information he received during a classified senate briefing, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is directly questioning the CIA’s widely reported conclusion that Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman knew about the plot to kill journalist journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

“Well, I would be careful of what the CIA is being accused of saying,” Gardner told KDMT radio host Jimmy Sengenberger this morning. “And I think that was clear in a briefing yesterday. I can’t get into the details of it, but I would just be very careful about what the CIA does and doesn’t believe.”

Even Secretary of State James Mattis refused to deny that the CIA has a high level of confidence that bin Salman knew about the Khashoggi murder, as CNN reported this morning:

Speaking to reporters after the briefing, Pompeo said there is “no direct reporting” connecting the crown prince to the murder of Khashoggi.

Mattis echoed that point telling reporters “we have no smoking gun that the crown prince was involved” in the killing. Mattis said he read all the intelligence reports and transcripts himself.

But when he was asked if it was true the CIA expressed high confidence, Mattis would only say, “there you need to go to the CIA.” [emphasis added by the Colorado Times Recorder]

Neither Mattis nor Secretary of State Mike Pompeo doubted the CIA directly in public comments Wednesday, so yesterday’s classified briefing was apparently the source for Gardner’s “clear” information about the uncertainty of the CIA’s Khashoggi conclusion.

The CIA did not testify at yesterday’s hearing, and Gardner told Politico that CIA testimony would have been “helpful.” But that didn’t stop Gardner from casting doubt on the CIA’s reported conclusion.

It appears that Gardner and Trump are the only prominent Washington politicians who are skeptical of the reported CIA conclusion.



Hickenlooper Says It’s The Republicans Who Are The Overreaching Pigs And/Or Hogs

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Gov. John Hickenlooper (D).

In a recent Colorado Public Radio interview, host Ryan Warner told Gov. John Hickenlooper that Jeff Hays, Colorado’s Republican Party leader, likened Democrats to pigs who will over-indulge (pass unpopular legislation) and then become fat hogs who will get slaughtered (thrown out of office by voters).

Warner quoted Hays as saying: “There’s a phrase: ‘Pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.'”

Hick’s response, “Wait, is he portraying himself as a pig or as a hog?”

It’s the perfect counterpoint to Hays’ accusation of overreach, because it trains the spotlight on the fact that it’s the Republicans who’ve been overreaching by obstructing government and fattening up their donors in the process with tax policies and Grinch-like programs that favor the rich.

The progressive agenda, supported by voters, is exemplified by efforts to pass reasonable gun safety legislation like a red flag bill, shoring up K-12 education funding, expanding health insurance coverage to all, addressing student debt while reducing higher education costs to consumers, fixing roads and bridges–all of which are issues that Ryan Warner touched on in his interview.

Republicans at the state and federal level have mostly blocked efforts to fund these things, first and foremost.

And then they’ve repeatedly killed proposed laws that address the problems with moderate fixes.

So, Hickenlooper, who usually holds back on the blazing attack lines, did the right thing by calling Hays a pig or a hog or both.

It’s the Republicans who’ve been fattening themselves up by overreaching on their anti-government agenda.

And that is a point that hasn’t been made enough.



Colorado Trump Backer Warns Gardner to Apply an Even Tighter Bear Hug to the President

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ex-Sen. Ted Harvey (R).

The chair of a large Trump-backing organization hopped on conservative KNUS radio yesterday and warned U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) that he’d better put an even tighter embrace around Trump.

“I think he’d better start supporting the President’s issues when it comes to border security, and fighting against illegal immigration, and supporting the president on all of the important issues that the president got elected on, but specifically illegal immigration,” said former Colorado Springs lawmaker Ted Harvey, who chairs the Committee to Defend the President.

I left a phone message for Harvey asking why he’s critical of Gardner, given Gardner’s 91 percent pro-Trump voting record, including Gardner’s major votes for three Trump-backed bills to kill Obamacare and his vote for the Trump tax bill.

Harvey didn’t immediately respond, but the former director of Colorado’s Republican Party, Dick Wadhams, countered Harvey’s position in a recent KNUS interview, saying Gardner has always been there for Trump.

“Okay, [Gardner] voted for, and was a day in, day out defender of the tax cuts,” Wadhams said recently on KNUS. “He has been a defender of deregulation. He’s been the defender of Trump’s foreign policy. So, tell me, where has Cory fallen down, as U. S. Senator for Trump?”

Commenting on this month’s election, Harvey said on KNUS that Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton had “no campaign” because he didn’t “run on any of the major issues that mobilize grassroots conservatives to get out and work their butts off to win an election.”



Republicans Still Planning To Hang Trump Portrait At Colorado Capitol

(Stand by your man – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Donald Trump.

Neither the recent election results nor Trump’s ongoing controversies have prompted Colorado Republicans to reconsider their plan to place a portrait of Trump in Colorado’s Capitol rotunda.

The Denver Post’s Anna Staver reported last week that Republican State Senate President Kevin Grantham of Canon City hopes the portrait will be on a Capitol wall with other presidential portraits before the 2019 legislative session starts Jan. 4.

Grantham was the key figure in a successful GoFundMe fundraising effort to create the Trump likeness, saying at the time that Trump is a “populist,” and all citizens should have the opportunity to donate.  About $10,000 was raised from 216 donors.

The Republicans’ state senate spokesman Sean Paige did not return a call yesterday seeking to find out if any Republican lawmakers had expressed qualms about hanging the portrait in light of the recent election–as well as the escalating controversies involving the president, including special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Also unanswered is the question, have Republicans considered delaying the Trump portrait-project until the Mueller investigation is complete?

Asked if Republicans are obliged to hang the Trump portrait, or if it’s just a tradition, Jay Sellers, Director of Arts for Colorado, told the Colorado Times Recorder back in July that he was not aware of “any law that requires us to hang a president’s portrait in the Capitol.”



Gardner Praises Trump For Election Wins, While Coffman Slams The Prez For GOP Losses, Including His Own

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (left) and Rep. Mike Coffman.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) blamed Trump today for Coffman’s election loss last week, just as Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner jumped on the radio to credit the president for GOP wins in key senate races.

Coffman told Vox today:

“I believe, quite frankly, that the president had a strategy of focusing on the Senate at the expense of the House,” [Coffman] said. “That the map had it where that there were red states that Trump carried that had competitive Senate races and what he did was made the midterm a national election and about him….”

“The president’s tone is polarizing,” Coffman said. “It was very difficult to try and make the case, particularly to suburban, college-educated women who were so upset with the president, to vote for me when they felt there needed to be a greater check on President Trump…”

Coffman says he doesn’t see Republicans regaining any territory in the House.

“Good. Luck,” he said, laughing.

Contrast Coffman’s dark view of Trump with Gardner’s sunbeam comments about the president working his tail off for winning GOP senate candidates:

“We bucked history,” Gardner said on KNUS’ Caplis and Kafer Show last week, repeating his previous assertion that “I don’t think it was a blue wave” in Colorado. “…So, you know, the keeping of the majority in the midterm, I think, is historic. And President Trump went out and worked his tail off in a lot of these states.

“And so I think those are the two key takeaways, how President Trump did more than I think any other president has done for elections and getting these candidates elected, and how we were able to defy history….”

“So, look, I look forward to continuing our work together.” Gardner told Steffan Tubbs on KNUS yesterday, referring to Trump. “And I’d like to see the President come to Colorado. I’d like to see my colleagues want to see him be successful. Let’s talk about the good things we’ve done in Colorado. Let’s show him the good things we’ve done in Colorado. I hope that everybody is engaged in wanting us to have a successful president.

The Coffman-Gardner contrast on Trump underscores again that Republicans have nowhere to turn, with Trump’s unhinged media presence so overwhelming and his popularity so low among so many different types of voters in states like Colorado.

Embrace him? Trash him? Do both? None of those approaches will win over enough voters for a GOP candidate to compete in Colorado, at least as things stand today, based on what happened last Tuesday.


Elway Is A Loser On And Off The Football Field This Election Season

(Sad trombone – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

John Elway and Tim Neville

One reason political analysts think the waters of the blue wave won’t be leaving Colorado anytime soon is the absence of a Republican candidate who appears to be able to win.

Bronco legend John Elway has been thought of as such a candidate in the past, even though he’s apparently never really wanted to run.

And, even if he did, he appears to be on a deep losing streak, presiding over both a losing football team and endorsing failed GOP candidates.

John Elway and Beth Martinez Humenik

His favorite candidates appear to have included State Sen.Tim Neville (R-Littleton), who lost to Democrat Tammy Story; GOP businesswomen Christine Jensen, who lost to State Rep. Jessie Danielson  (D-Wheat Ridge); and State Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik (R-Thornton), who was defeated by Democratic State Rep. Faith Winter, of Adams County.

Apparently trying to jump to an early lead, the Superbowl quarterback gave $10,000 in August to Better Colorado Now, which spent heavily on behalf Walker Stapleton, who was blown out by Democrat Jared Polis by over 10 percentage points. Whether that entity was playing by the rules when Stapleton helped collect early donations has been questioned.



MUST-HEAR AUDIO: Former Leader of Colo GOP Explodes In Talk-Radio Battle Over Gardner

(Let it begin – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

In a volcanic eruption and tsunami on KNUS radio Monday, Colorado’s former Republican leader defended U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner from accusations that the first-term senator is a “total [whore] for the Chamber of Commerce,” a “Mitch McConnell stooge,” and, “just like” U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, a “traitor to every [position] he held in 2010.”

“[Gardner] has been a chamber guy from day one, and he runs with Mitch McConnell,” shouted Chuck Bonniwell, a Republican talk radio host who’s also the publisher of the Cherry Creek/Glendale Chronicle.

“[Gardner] voted for, and was a day-in-day-out defender of the tax cuts,” responded Wadhams. “He has been a defender of deregulation. He’s been the defender of Trump’s foreign policy. So, tell me, where has Cory fallen down, as U. S. Senator for Trump?”

Wadhams continued to criticize Trump and try to convince Bonniwell that Gardner, while imperfect, is a good Republican who deserves GOP support.

WADHAMS: I’ve got to tell you, I am frankly tired of people crapping on Cory Gardner, because–

BONNIWELL: Of course you are! Because he deserves it!

WADHAMS: No, he doesn’t. He doesn’t.

BONNIWELL: And the truth hurts! The truth hurts.

WADHAMS: Is he a perfect perfect Senator? No. But you know what? He has been there time after time.

Wadhams tried to make the case that Republicans won’t find a better candidate than Gardner.

WADHAMS: Is there any other Republican who can win a general election in 2020 — other than Cory Gardner — for the United States Senate? [It’s a] very specific question. Answer it!

BONNIWELL: Is anybody going to have the money he’s going to have from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce?

WADHAMS: I ask again, do you think–?

BONNIWELL: If you give him the money — if you give somebody good the money of Cory Gardner–.

WADHAMS: And who is ‘somebody good?’ I mean, let me hear this wonderful candidate.

Bonniwell eventually suggested that Gardner be replaced GOP State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville of Castle Rock. Or his father, State Sen. Tim Neville (R- Littleton), who was trounced out of office on last week.

The conversation went up and down from there.

But to get a real understanding of it, you have to listen to the audio below.



Conservative Republicans are already talking about trying to knock out Gardner

David Flaherty

David Flaherty

Conservative Republicans are already talking about trying to knock U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner out of Colorado’s 2020 senate race, with one local talk-radio host floating the name of State House Minority Leader Patrick Neville as a “great choice” to take on Gardner.

Neville didn’t return a call seeking to know if he’d challenge Gardner or if he knew about KNUS host Chuck Bonniwell’s suggestion that he run.

Whether it’s Neville or another Republican, David Flaherty of Magellan Strategies told a libertarian radio host last month that he thinks there “very well may be a primary” challenge to Gardner.

Asked for details, Flaherty said today, “With the sting of the defeat, there is a wide array of opinions and viewpoints on where to go from here. Obviously, some of those are going to be arch conservatives, if you will. And they have their voice and their opinion, just like you and I.”

“We’ll see what spirited conservative Republicans may emerge. I don’t know of anything in particular,” Flaherty told the Colorado Times Recorder, adding that he personally backs Gardner and the chances are “minuscule” that a primary challenge to Gardner would succeed.

“Cory is going to have $50 million at his fingertips after coming off his job at the NRSC,” said Flaherty. “And he’s going to have plenty of money to do whatever he needs to, if there is challenge in the primary.”

KNUS host Chuck Bonniwell, who’s the publisher of newspapers in Cherry Creek and Glendale, floated Neville’s name in a radio conversation this with Dick Wadhams, the former chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

Asked by Wadhams to name a person who would be a better candidate than Gardner, Bonniwell screamed, “Pick out a Neville! Patrick Neville!”

“Patrick Neville?” responded Wadhams. “Are you starting the Patrick Neville draft program?”

“Yeah,” said Bonniwell. “He’d be great…. Tim [Neville] has lots of time on his hands. He’s also a great conservative.”

Wadhams adamantly said no Republican will have a better chance in 2020 than Gardner.

“Start the primary process for Cory Gardner NOW.”

Writing on the Arapahoe Tea Party Facebook page, Republican gadfly Marc Zarlengo also tried to fire up anti-Gardner minions with a call to replace Gardner.

“Does GOP want to keep the US Senate seat?” wrote Zarlengo. “Start the primary process for Cory Gardner NOW. Get the most Conservative candidate who will appeal to the base and defeat Gardner. Otherwise we will have Senator Hickenlooper.”

Former Chair of the El Paso County GOP, Eli Bremer, wrote that Zarlengo’s comment was “ridiculous.”

Eli Bremer:  The only word I can come up with for this is ridiculous. Gardner is the only Republican who has demonstrated he can win. He has Trumps support and will campaign with him in two years. We can not afford to lose our majority in the Senate which would completely derail the outstanding work of placing originalist judges in courts.

Republicans lost because unaffiliated suburban women hated us in the election. That’s shown clearly in the data. It was literally in every district in the state. We need to find a way to talk to these voters and figure out what our shared values with them are rather than infighting and primarying the only Republican left statewide.

Zarlengo, who’s widely known anti-establishment Republican in Colorado, responded with:

Marc Zarlengo: “Uhh…Walker Stapleton and Wayne Williams won state wide election too, and they just got their asses handed to them. So I guess that theory is already out the door.”

Bremer, then wrote:

Eli Bremer: They were down ticket to Cory’s up ticket race. The data were clear: unaffiliated suburban women moved strongly against Republicans in Colorado. That is fact and not opinion. If we want to win, we have to deal with reality and not fantasy.

Will Republicans Switch Registration and Vote in Democratic Primary?

Flaherty is so convinced that Gardner will be the choice of Republicans in 2020 that he said on the radio he’d register as an Unaffiliated voter to manipulate the Democrats’ efforts in 2020.

“I wouldn’t affiliate with the Unaffiliated Party because I no longer want to be associated with the Republican Party or anything like that,” said Flaherty today.

“I would switch to Unaffiliated because I’d rather play around with the Democrats, because there are going to be so many of them. I very well might become unaffiliated just to vote in the Democrat presidential primary. And perhaps the [Democratic] primary for the senate too, because I expect that to be pretty spirited.”

How many Republicans might do this?

Flaherty took the January 2017 voter file and compared it to the the Oct. 2018 voter file and found that 100,000 voters switched and became Unaffiliated from a prior party. Turns out, it was about 50,000 Democrats and 50,000 Republicans, he said.

“I wouldn’t expect it to be overwhelming but who knows? I’m sure there are going to be other Republican voters like myself who say, ‘You know what, there isn’t going to be any action on our side. I may want to weigh in on the Dem primary because it’s going to have all the attention. You know what I mean, why not.”

“If I really felt my vote was needed for Cory, that would factor into my decision, although I think the odds of that are just minuscule.

“Honestly, I’m looking forward to seeing that Dem primary,” said Flaherty, insisting that Gardner can defeat some Democratic candidates. “The bottom line is, the candidate makes a difference.”

Listen to Flaherty on KHOW’s Ross Kaminsky Show March 31 here:


Gardner Won’t Say If He’ll Back Senate Bill To Protect Mueller

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is apparently undecided about whether he’ll back legislation protecting Special Council Robert Mueller.

Gardner’s fellow Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona has said he’ll push such legislation before he leaves office at the beginning of next year.

Gardner dodged a direct question from Denver TV reporter about whether he’d support the Flake legislation.

And The Denver Post’s Anna Staver reported that he was not certain about it:

When asked what should happen to the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into possible coordination between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia, Gardner said it should “absolutely continue,” adding that “the president has said he wants it to continue.”

But Gardner was less certain about whether he’d support a bill to protect the investigation, which his outgoing colleague, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, says he will try to pass before leaving office.

Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, was clear about his position [in favor of protecting Mueller] on Twitter.

Gardner has repeatedly said he’s undecided before voting on controversial legislation. Most notably, he said he was undecided until the last minute on three variations of bills to kill Obamacare, before voting for each one of them.

A move by Gardner to protect Mueller would be seen as hostile to Trump, who will likely be on the 2020 election ballot with Gardner. With Colorado split among Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliated voters, Gardner can’t afford to turn off many GOP voters, who largely approve of Trump, and hope to win here.



Rally Set To Demand Replacement Of Trump Ally Who’s Now In Charge Of Russia Investigation

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: So, this was quite a thing:


A coalition of groups, organized under the name TrumpIsNotAboveTheLaw, will rally at 5 p.m. today on the west steps of the state Capitol to protest Trump’s decision to place an ally of the president in charge of the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Speakers will include U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), U.S. Rep.-elect Jason Crow (D-CO), State Rep. Joe Salazar (D-Thornton), and Colorado Attorney General-elect Phil Weiser, also a Democrat

After Tuesday’s election, Trump fired his attorney general Jeff Sessions, inserting Trump ally Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general and putting him in charge of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russia investigation.

The message of the rally: a demand that Whitaker recuse himself in light of alleged conflicts of interest and previous statements attacking the investigation.

Similar rallies will take place across the country.

Other speakers include: Dr Reverend Timothy Tyler of Shorter Community AME Church, Nathan Woodliff-Stanley of ACLU Colorado, Nancy Leong of Lawyers for Good Government, and , and Caroline Fry of Common Cause.


For Now, Gardner (And An Unknown CU Regent) Are The Lone CO Republicans Holding Statewide Office

(This is what a blue wave looks like – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Trump (left) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).

Yesterday, as Coloradans finished casting a blue wave of ballots that upended state politics, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who along with CU Regent Heidi Ganahl are now the lone Republicans occupying state-wide offices in Colorado, was on the radio talking like a candidate.

That’s what he’ll likely be in 2020, if he defends his seat for the first, and Democrats hope, the last time.

On the radio, Gardner said “there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country.”

Gardner was trying to find a middle ground on Trump, acknowledging the widespread anger with the president in Colorado, which favored Hillary Clinton by five points, while focusing on economic themes.

GARDNER: And I think there are elements of the radical left who are going to oppose President Trump, no matter how good it is for this country. There are obviously things that we’re going to agree with and disagree with the president on.

But the economy is creating jobs. Money is coming back in, a thousand manufacturing jobs a day added to this country. You’ve got billions of dollars relocating into the United States. Wages are going up. This is incredible.

And you’re exactly right. There are elements of the radical left that are going to vote against that economic growth, vote against that economic opportunity, just because of the sheer blindness of their opposition.

Whether Gardner’s love-some-of-Trump-Hate-some-of-Trump message would work in Colorado in 2020, is obviously unknown today, two years out.

But after this election, you have think this would fail miserably, and Gardner couldn’t win here with Trump on the ticket, especially given that Gardner has been a loyal ninety-one-percent Trump supporter.

And yesterday’s election shows that Republicans nationwide aren’t in the mood to dump the president from the 2020 ballot, meaning he likely isn’t going anywhere and spelling doom for Gardner.

Even if Trump is gone by 2020, the voting pattern in Colorado today looks bad for the first-term senator, as pollsters on both sides of the aisle have been pointing out all week.



Coffman Goes From Hard-Right, To Softer-Right, To Every Which Way–And Then Out

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman won re-election in 2016, prevailing in a district carried by Hillary Clinton, even a liberal blog ColoradoPols wrote that the Republican’s “ability to survive so many very different electoral climates and the complete refashioning of his congressional district make another serious run at Coffman increasingly difficult to justify.”

Two years later, Coffman has been voted out, replaced by Democrat Jason Crow.

The difference this year is Trump.

Coffman’s increasingly desperate attempts to define himself as an anti-Trump Republican weren’t believed by voters who apparently saw him as a pawn in Trump’s GOP army. A pawn with a 96 percent pro-Trump voting record, as Democrats repeated throughout the campaign.

Actually, Coffman was more Trump-like during the first 18 years of his political career than he was when he was voted out today. He began migrating away from his hardest-hard-right social conservative stances after his congressional district was redrawn after the 2010 census.

Unlike some flip-flopping politicians, Coffman’s migration was achieved by adopting multiple nuanced positions on controversial issues–with variations emerging over years.

On abortion, for example, he went from proudly opposing all abortion, even for rape and incest, to withdrawing his support for a personhood abortion ban. Later, he voted for abortion ban exceptions, infuriating his personhood supporters.

He voted to defund Planned Parenthood multiple times and then put a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign advertisement. And then, in interviews on conservative radio, he continued to attack the women’s health organization.

On immigration, his spectacular metamorphosis took him from calling the Dream Act a nightmare to embracing it, even though he blocked the country’s best shot at immigration reform when he opposed a comprehensive immigration bill, passed in 2014 with bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate. The bill died in the House, and Coffman went on to learn Spanish.



With Ballot Calculus Favoring Dems, Trump Is Needed ASAP In Colo To Boost Republican Turnout, Says GOP Pollster

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

President Donald Trump.

Unaffiliated voters are casting ballots “at a level never seen before in a midterm election in Colorado,” says Republican Pollster Ryan Winger at Magellan Strategies in a blog post today.

At the same time, about 43,000 fewer Republicans have voted this year, and over 70,000 more Democrats have voted, compared to the last midterm election in 2014.

With polls showing that most Colorado unaffiliated voters don’t like Trump are expected to vote for Democrats, it’s time for Republicans to bring in the President to rev up the GOP here, said Magellan Strategies Pollster David Flaherty on KNUS radio Friday.

KNUS 710-AM host Julie Hayden, a former local TV reporter, asked Flaherty if a Trump rally help drive Colorado Republicans to the Polls.

“It would absolutely help, Julie,” Flaherty said on air.

“He could not be more popular or more beloved by Republicans. He has higher approval rating numbers than George W. Bush did practically right after 9-11, to give you an idea [of how high]. However, his approval rating among unaffiliated voters in in the low 30s, and that sort of a double-edged sword.”

“But I think without question it would be a good idea for him to swing through for us to pull even and get that final umph,” said Flaherty on KNUS. “I mean, despite his unpopularity among unaffiliated voters. It’s a tough call, no doubt about it, but if Republicans are going to continue lagging in their ballots turned in, I’d call in the big man.”