Americans Don’t Approve of Trump “Emergency”

New polling data shows that Americans are not buying what President Trump is selling when it comes to his emergency declaration for funding a big ‘ol wall at the U.S.-Mexico border:

More than 6-in-10 Americans disapprove of President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency so he can build barriers along the U.S border with Mexico, a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll finds.

Nearly 6-in-10 also don’t believe there is an emergency at the southern border and that the president is misusing his presidential authority. They also believe that his decision should be challenged in court.

“All things related to the declaring of a national emergency, the president is striking out in the court of public opinion,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, which conducted the survey. “He’s maintaining his base and little else.”

Of course, “maintaining his base” might just be all that President Trump really cares about when it comes to the giant wall debate. But for the rest of the GOP, including Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), this is just another heaping helping of bad news.

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Gardner’s Totally Predictable Wall Waffle Underway

SATURDAY UPDATE: Mid-waffle update–KRDO 13 reports:

“I think the President is right to pursue additional border security dollars,” Gardner says, [Pols emphasis] “I think Congress ought to do their job and make this border security a reality.”

The declaration receiving a lot of criticism from Democrats and Republicans, including questions about its legality. The Republican Senator saying that before things move forward on the proposed wall, he wants to find out himself.”That’s what i’m looking at before anything further is just understanding the law, understanding the legal ramifications.”

He’ll be home in time for supper, folks.

—–

Donald Trump, Cory Gardner.

In an interview yesterday with Colorado Public Radio, Sen. Cory Gardner sure sounded like he was certain about his opinion of President Donald Trump’s plan to declare a national emergency in order to build his wall fence barrier whatever you want to call it:

When asked whether Trump should declare an emergency or use other federal funds to pay for the wall, Gardner said he had personally told Trump he opposed both steps. [Pols emphasis]

“I think Congress needs to do its job,” Gardner said.

Was anything lost in translation from the live interview to the news story, you might reasonably ask?

Ryan Warner: How do you get the message to him that you don’t want him to perhaps declare a national emergency, as has been hinted? Or, raid other funds for this. How does —

Cory Gardner: Well, it’s pretty simple. I’d tell him that in person, that I think Congress needs to do its job.

Ryan Warner: Have you done, that? And do you —

Cory Gardner: I have.

Got that? Cory Gardner–not on board with the national emergency. As we pointed out. Yesterday.

Oh wait, you thought Sen. Gardner meant all that stuff, didn’t you? Sorry to disappoint you, but this is the same Cory Gardner less than 24 hours later! The only thing that’s changed is Trump has declared his emergency, and Gardner isn’t sitting next to Sen. Michael Bennet on Colorado Public Radio.

If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated at how Cory Gardner shamelessly utilizes Bennet as a human shield, particularly in situations where the Republican position is going to look unsalvageably bad–a frequent profanity-laden topic among Democratic operatives–this could be the most maddening occurrence yet. Gardner is caught midway through a fully predictable 180-degree pivot back to supporting Trump, and he simply lied his way through what could have been a telling confrontation over the issue yesterday with his Democratic counterpart.

If you didn’t already know to never take anything Gardner says at face value, here is the lesson writ large.

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Trump to Declare Wall Emergency; Gardner Looks Silly (Again)

“Wall, wall, wall. Wall.”

As the Washington Post reports, President Trump is expected to sign compromise legislation preventing another government shutdown…but he’s also going to declare a “national emergency” so that he can siphon off more money for his big ol’ border wall:

President Trump is prepared to sign a massive spending and border security deal, while at the same time declaring a national emergency to get more money to build his border wall, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday.

McConnell made the announcement on the Senate floor, and told senators to prepare to vote shortly on the legislation that would stave off a government shutdown Friday at midnight.

“The president will sign the bill. We’ll be voting on it shortly,” McConnell said.

McConnell also said he’d told the president he would support the emergency declaration, which would allow the president to circumvent Congress and use the military to build his wall. McConnell has voiced opposition for weeks to the idea of Trump declaring a national emergency. [Pols emphasis]

This is a pretty abrupt change from McConnell, and as you’ll see in a moment, it appears to be a surprise to other Republicans like Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma).  Earlier today, Gardner appeared with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) for an interview with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio. This exact topic was the first item of discussion:

WARNER: Senator Gardner, let’s do a reality check here. Congress controls the purse strings for the most part. Is it realistic for the President to get the wall built without Congress?

GARDNER: Well, again, you’d have to check the legal authorities that might be there, but I don’t think he should do anything without Congress’ approval. It’s important for Congress to have the appropriate oversight. That’s why this deal is, I think, a compromise that he will sign. I believe he will. Nancy Pelosi said she would not allow one dollar to go to the barrier, barriers on the border. President Trump said he wanted $5.7 billion, and this is a reasonable path forward allowing the government to maintain itself in operation while also providing border security.

WARNER: So how do you get the message to him perhaps that you don’t want him to declare a national emergency, as has been hinted, or raid other funds for this?

GARDNER: Well, it’s pretty simple. I can tell him that in person, that I think Congress needs to do its job.

WARNER: Have you done that?

GARDNER: I have.

WARNER: Alright.

Look who got stuck holding the bag.

D’oh!

Gardner hasn’t missed many opportunities to lavish praise on President Trump lately, perhaps in part because Colorado Republicans remain oddly enamored with the big orange guy (unfortunately for Gardner, the rest of Colorado disagrees with both Trump and his wall).

Just last month, Gardner became one of the first high-profile Republicans to officially endorse Trump’s re-election campaign, which earned him a Presidential Tweet. But when it comes down to policy issues, for everything from a border wall to North Korea, Trump has no problem stepping over Gardner.

Politically-speaking, this could soon get much worse for Gardner and friends. As CNN noted earlier this week, the “national emergency” approach has long terrified Congressional Republicans:

That’s because doing so could set off a chain of events on Capitol Hill that risks splitting the Republican conference, undercutting other parts of Trump’s agenda and likely opening the administration’s actions to legal challenges. It would also provide a clarifying moment that Republicans on the Hill have managed to avoid since Trump took office — casting an up or down vote on whether to build the full-scale wall Trump desires.

According to federal law, Congress can rescind a presidential emergency declaration by passing a joint resolution. In the likely event that such a bill would be vetoed by the President, Congress could then override it with a two-thirds majority in the Senate and the House.

The danger to congressional Republicans isn’t having to overcome a presidential veto, but in having to vote on the resolution itself. Any such measure would be considered privileged — if, for example, the House passed it then the Senate would be required by law to vote on the measure within 18 days. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would be powerless to stop a floor vote.

Gardner says that he has told Trump directly that he disagrees with a “national emergency” declaration — which didn’t seem to make any difference to Trump. Gardner might soon have to cast a vote on this very issue, which will most certainly make a difference with Colorado voters in 2020.

Loyalty has its price. When it comes to Gardner and Trump, only one person appears to be making any payments.

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The Gardner Shuffle

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocks a move by Senate Democrats to hold a vote on reopening the federal government.

—–

Come on everybody, gather ’round! Grab your partner and head on over to the dance floor for “The Gardner Shuffle.”

Just follow these simple instructions…

STEP 1:

Make national headlines by saying that you want to end the government shutdown to show the rubes that you are a bipartisan moderate superhero:

As The Hill reported on January 3, 2019:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who faces a potentially tough re-election in 2020, says Congress should re-open the federal government, even without a deal on funding President Trump’s border wall.

Gardner is the first Senate Republican to call for ending the partial shutdown even without a deal on President Trump’s demand for $5 billion to fund a border wall.

“I think we should pass a continuing resolution to get the government back open. The Senate has done it last Congress, we should do it again today,” he said…

 

STEP 2:

Minimize the daylight between you and President Trump when your right-wing base gets angry that you suggested ending the shutdown without resolution on a border wall.

From the Colorado Springs Gazette (January 5, 2019):

Despite the firestorm that erupted when he became the first Republican senator to call for reopening the federal government, Colorado’s Cory Gardner said Friday that he hasn’t changed his position on shutdowns…

…“This is the same position I have had,” Gardner said. “I don’t think shutdowns are the right way to govern.”

Gardner said he supports Trump’s demand for $5.6 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. [Pols emphasis] But, he said, the GOP should reopen the government, then resume the fight over border security, putting Democrats on the defensive.

NOTE: You may need to pretend that you didn’t hear the question when you get asked about previous statements in opposition to building a border wall

 

STEP 3:

Tell conservative audiences that President Trump has your full support and blame the government shutdown on Democrats (nevermind that Trump has repeatedly taken ownership of the shutdown).

Here’s Gardner on the “Steffan Tubbs Show” on KNUS on Wednesday (January 9, 2019):

“The President is right to be fighting for more border security dollars. I don’t understand the opposition today, other than it’s just opposition to the President…

…I made a comment several weeks ago where I said that it seems like what we’re seeing out of the House of Representatives is a ‘revenge majority,’ A majority that is simply going to oppose everything because it comes from President Trump.”

STEP 4:

Do-si-do, or whatever.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (January 8)

The 2020 election is 665 days away. In the meantime, let’s “Get More Smarter.” If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Democrat Jared Polis will officially take over as Colorado’s Governor today. Polis’ 2018 opponent, Republican Walker Stapleton, will be reporting for jury duty. Denver7 has more on today’s inauguration festivities.

 

► President Trump will deliver a prime time address tonight about his fictional border crisis; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will follow with a Democratic rebuttal. As James Hohmann writes for the Washington Post, Trump’s rhetoric on immigration is not at all related to facts on the ground:

Leaks from inside the government continue to undercut the administration’s misleading spin on crime and terrorism vis-à-vis immigration:

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection encountered only six immigrants at ports of entry on the U.S-Mexico border in the first half of fiscal year 2018 whose names were on a federal government list of known or suspected terrorists, according to CBP data provided to Congress in May 2018,” NBC News’s Julia Ainsley reports.

Six people. Six. That’s quite a bit fewer than the 4,000 that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders insisted were stopped at the border in 2018. And then there’s this:

“Despite their portrayal of Mexico as a teeming portal for terrorists,” the AP’s Calvin Woodward reports this morning, “the State Department issued a report in September finding ‘no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.’” (Read the State Department report for yourself.)

Here in Colorado, we’ll be anxiously waiting to see how Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) responds to Trump’s speech tonight. Gardner’s recent shutdown waffling has angered his Republican base (or what’s left of it) and prompted new talk about a “circular firing squad.”

 

► The New York Times examines the toll of the government shutdown on day 17:

The impact of a partial government shutdown began to ripple across the economy as it stretched into Day 17, with mortgage applications delayed, public companies unable to get approval to raise capital and thousands of Secret Service agents expected to show up for work without pay.

President Trump and congressional Democrats have made little progress in negotiations to end a shutdown that has affected about 800,000 federal workers, many of whom will miss their first paycheck this week, and who owe a combined $249 million in monthly mortgage payments, according to the online real estate firm Zillow…

…The standoff is beginning to inflict pain on Americans, whose lives are affected, in one way or another, by the federal government. It is already the second-longest shutdown in history, behind the one that started in December 1995 and lasted 21 days.

More than 600 federal employees in Colorado have now filed for unemployment benefits, as 9News reports.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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Bunny Boilers and Primary Challengers: Gardner’s Shutdown Statement Angers GOP Base

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado’s conservative activists are furious at U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s call to end the government shutdown without funding for President Trump’s wall. County GOP officials and Tea Party leaders are talking openly about the need for a primary challenger in 2020.

One official went so far as to joke about boiling a bunny on Sen. Gardner’s stove.

Jefferson County Republican Vice Chair Steve Dorman vehemently disagreed with a post written by a member of the Arapahoe Tea Party group that stated. “Sorry, we need to accept Cory Gardner.”

Dorman replied “this betrayal is too huge. I don’t care about 99.9% of the time. And yes….the wall and border security are very important.”

In another comment, the JeffCo GOP Vice Chair added “I don’t want him to come home and find a rabbit’s head boiling on his stove….but…….”
The author of the original post replied, “That’s a good idea.”JeffCo GOP Vice Chair wants to boil Sen. Gardner's bunny

Though presumably tongue-in-cheek, this quip is particularly dubious in light of a threatening video of a beheading Gardner’s wife received via text message back in October.

Pueblo County Republican Party Treasurer George Mayfield posted his call for a primary on the group’s Facebook page,

Our RINO U.S. Senator Cory Gardner just announced that he would vote to re-open the complete federal government, with no money for a wall. I think it’s time that he gets ready for a primary in 2020. He won’t win in blue Colorado by trolling for Democrat votes.

Pueblo GOP Treasurer: Primary Gardner in 2020

On Friday, Anil Mathai, chair of the Adams County Republicans, agreed with radio host Peter BoyleS that Sen. Gardner is a “useful idiot,” or easily manipulated pawn, presumably of establishment conservatives.

(more…)

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Friendless: GOP Base Turns On Cory Gardner

Following the announcement yesterday by Colorado’s imperiled junior GOP U.S. Senator Cory Gardner that he would now support legislation to reopen parts of the federal government without funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall, in effect caving to Democrats on the same day they took control of the U.S. House for the first time since 2011, prominent members of Gardner’s own party still loyal to President Trump reacted–and it wasn’t kind:

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

Ouch! It’s a safe bet that Laura Ingraham’s 2.4 million followers were not impressed, and the replies to her Tweet certainly indicate as much. The real test, of course, will be whether President Trump himself chooses to personally weigh in on Gardner’s new groove. Trump has given Gardner several warm mentions in the past few months both in person and via the Twitters, not least a glowing send-up at a campaign rally in West Virginia after Gardner accompanied Trump to the event on Air Force One (photo right).

Strategically, this move has been broadly recognized as a first step in what pundits agree will be a wholesale political transformation for Sen. Gardner if he has any realistic hope of staying in office after 2020. Much like when Gardner launched his 2014 Senate campaign by audaciously declaring he no longer supported the “Personhood” abortion ban initiatives, Gardner is making a highly public splash of dissent in hopes of disrupting the “Trump toady” image he currently is saddled with.

The problem, as you can see in Ingraham’s response, is that Gardner is alienating base Republicans that he needs every bit as much as swing voters by caving on Trump’s signature priority. Because Gardner is running in a state whose politics have moved steadily away from Republicans, it makes sense that he is trying to put distance between himself and the Republican brand–but whatever Gardner nets in terms of swing support, which won’t be much, comes at the expense of base Republican votes.

Is there a good move for Gardner at this point? Maybe not, but the people who rightly consider themselves Gardner’s closest allies say this is not it.

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Of Course Coffman’s Gonna Help Build The Wall

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

With the impasse over President Donald Trump’s demand for $5 billion in funding for a wall along the southern U.S. border having resulted in a partial shutdown of the federal government over the Christmas holiday and potentially beyond, let’s take a few minutes to discuss the vote of lame-duck GOP Rep. Mike Coffman to give Trump his wall funding–in particular what it says about Coffman’s career in the U.S. House and his defeat this November.

Mike Coffman was originally elected to succeed retiring Rep. Tom Tancredo in Colorado’s CD-6. At this time, CD-6 was an extremely safe Republican seat representing the southern Denver suburbs and conservative Douglas County, a district not just untroubled but supportive of the anti-immigrant hard line politics that remain Tancredo’s calling card. Tancredo may have been persona non grata in the Bush White House, but he developed a base of support that he leveraged into a vanity campaign for President that further raised Tancredo’s name ID.

Succeeding Tancredo, Coffman originally strained to present as fierce an anti-immigrant image as his predecessor, telling immigrant voters to “pull out a dictionary” and claiming “the DREAM Act will be a nightmare for the American people.” Coffman had fought a nasty primary to win his seat, and in this district had an obligation to show the flag with vigor to stave off another in 2010.

All of this changed in 2011, when the redistricting process transformed CD-6 from Tom Tancredo’s stronghold into a district comprised of almost 20% Latino voters. CD-6 never again voted for a Republican candidate in presidential races, and was in fact carried in 2016 by Hillary Clinton by a substantial margin. In 2012, Coffman barely survived re-election against an underfunded Democratic challenger, a lucky break given him by Democrats who were slow to capitalize on the opportunity.

After 2012, Coffman set to work remaking his image on immigration. He did this primarily through paying lip service to accommodating the children of immigrants who arrived here with no agency in the decision to migrate, the same DREAMers he had previously maligned. With Republicans in control under a Democratic President, gridlock on immigration along with basically everything else ensued, and when Coffman thumbed his nose at the Senate’s 2013 attempt at immigration reform it somehow didn’t undermine his new credentials with the local media as a “moderate on immigration.”

Because for all the credit Coffman received for not being part of the problem on immigration, his actual policy proposals never matched up. Coffman’s centerpiece legislation to give undocumented immigrants who serve in the military legal status was a niche bill that wouldn’t solve most of the problem, and Coffman’s support for a “clean” DREAM Act, after opposing President Obama’s DACA program for years, came far too late to make a difference. Beyond that, Coffman simply hid behind the gridlock caused by Republican leadership he voted for.

This year, Coffman’s unlikely run of victories in a district that elected Democrats above and below him on the ballot came to an end. Donald Trump’s presidency exposed Coffman’s triangulation strategy as fraudulent, when Coffman was forced to toe the pro-Trump line to appease his own base while simultaneously trying to maintain a facade of “moderation” for the swing voters he needed to overcome the district’s natural propensity to elect Democrats. It’s didn’t work, and Coffman lost by the margin he arguably could have lost by in 2012, 2014, or 2016.

And so this week, when defeated Rep. Coffman voted to build Trump’s wall, all he did was dispense with a pretense that had outlived its usefulness. To the reporters he tricked into validating credentials on immigration Coffman did not deserve, and the pro-immigrant activists and Democratic lawmakers who he likewise used for undeserved cover, it’s a final round of insulting confirmation of the long con game Coffman played to their and the voting public’s detriment.

But there is one consolation. It’s just about over.

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Cory Gardner Contradicts Cory Gardner on The Big Wall

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) on “Fox and Friends” (12/14/18)

Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) yukked it up on national television on Friday as a guest on “Wake Up, Mr. President” “Fox & Friends,” the morning news/talk show that is basically President Trump’s personal “Sesame Street” (Jason Salzman has more on Gardner’s “revenge majority” phrase) The topic of discussion was the looming government shutdown over funding for Trump’s big wall along the Mexican border…or as the clip is labeled, “Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner says the Democrats are taking revenge out on the president after winning back the majority in the House by not voting for border wall funding.”

Gardner had the bullshit meter turned up all the way to 100 for his sit-down interview, which we transcribed for your reading, uh, pleasure below. Gardner spends most of the interview bashing Democrats for not supporting billions of dollars in funding for Trump’s big wall — though Gardner himself is on the record opposing funding for a border wall. It wasn’t even all that long ago, either. Let’s take a step back in time to March 9, 2017, via Politico:

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, stated his opposition to a physical wall in fairly explicit terms during a telephone town hall Wednesday night…

…”As far as the wall goes, I believe we have to have border security, but I do think billions of dollars on a wall is not the right way to proceed,” Gardner told a constituent, according to audio obtained by POLITICO. [Pols emphasis] “I don’t support a tariff to pay for any kind of wall.”

If constructed, Trump’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is expected, by some estimates, to cost $14 billion, if not much more.

Gardner told reporters last month that he didn’t think the wall was “the best idea,” but he was more emphatic in his comments Wednesday night.

“We do need security on the border,” Gardner said. “That may mean personnel. It may mean a fence. That may mean an electronic fence,” the first-term lawmaker said. “But we shouldn’t just build a wall and add billions of dollars because that’s what somebody said should be done.” [Pols emphasis]

Same wall. Same guy.

Hmmm…that’s odd. Here’s Gardner’s interview with “Fox & Friends” muppets Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt from Friday:

EARHARDT: Are there 10 Senators who are Democrats who would consider voting for this wall?

GARDNER: Well, I certainly hope so. This is about border security, which is something that both sides have said they supported. I hope there are more than 10 Senators on the Democrat side of the aisle that believe border security is important.

EARHARDT: I’m thinking about Senators from border states…

GARDNER: Right. You’ve got some border state [Senators]. You have others in the Senate who have been voting with us…

EARHARDT:…Like Joe Manchin…

GARDNER: Like Joe Manchin, on common sense border reforms, and others in the Senate. So I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that just a few months ago you agreed to $25 billion in border security. Why are they trying to cut border security funding now? And I hope they will agree that, yes, let’s get this done.

DOOCY: And that bill you were actually part of – the $25 billion that so many Democrats were like, ‘Yeah, we’ll sign onto that.’ But what has happened? The dynamic has changed because it seems as though the Democrats have dug in. They simply don’t want to give him [Trump?] a nickel for him to build a wall.

GARDNER: This is what I don’t understand. At all. It makes no sense. They have no border security plan. Months ago they supported $25 billion dollars in border security funding. Now, they support less than a fifth of that. This is a massive cut in border security funding that the Democrats are now proposing.

DOOCY: But it’s politics…

GARDNER: It’s politics, but it’s based on a revenge majority that they just elected to the House. This is nothing more than a revenge majority. They want to fight against a President that they believe should never have been elected in the first place. 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.

EARHARDT: Senator, it doesn’t look like the President is going to get the $5 trillion…

GARDNER: Billion…

EARHARDT: $5 billion.

GARDNER: [laughing] $5 trillion would do it.

EARHARDT: I keep saying ‘trillion.’ It’s ‘billion.’ It doesn’t look like he’s going to get that, so is there a compromise? If he gets the 1.3 or 1.6 right now, is there a chance to get another 1.3 or 1.6 in a few months?

GARDNER: You know, there certainly is. You can keep going at it and getting more, bit by bit by bit. But we know the numbers. We know that border security is better when you have something like this in place. We know from the leaders of our border security agencies – by the way, which the revenge majority wants to destroy now. We know that the leaders of these agencies have said, ‘We can do a better job if we have these border security measures in place.’  So, yes, you can do it bit by bit, and ultimately I think we will see that happen over the next week. Let’s get this done.

DOOCY: Okay, first time we’ve heard the word ‘revenge majority.’ I’ve got a feeling we’re going to hear that more. Thank you, Senator.

It’s important to note that the $25 billion “border security” bill Gardner references also included a 12-year pathway to citizenship for so-called “DREAMers” — children of immigrants who are in the United States through no fault of their own — that President Trump rejected outright. The $25 billion “WALL Act” that Senate Republicans are now pushing is no shape or form similar to any of the immigration reform bills that Gardner is referencing when he says that Democrats are now trying to “cut border security funding.” This isn’t an “apples to oranges” comparison; it’s more like “apples to spaceships.”

Congressional Democrats largely do not support Trump’s obsession with building a giant wall but have consistently supported proposals to strengthen border security through the use of sensors, drones, and other non-wall means.

As for the duplicitous Gardner, it’s really not a mystery as to why his approval ratings are in the toilet — even among Republicans. Gardner is a man of his words…whichever words he thinks serve him best at any given moment.

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Colorado Republicans Invite Hate Leader To Speak At Post-Election Retreat

(Just wow – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

anti-Muslim extremist David Horowitz

Looking to re-energize their caucus following sweeping losses at the ballot box last month, Colorado Republicans held a retreat in Sedalia immediately after the election. The event featured controversial writer and pundit David Horowitz as a keynote speaker.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Horowitz as an “Anti-Muslim fanatic” and lists David Horowitz as an anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim extremist. It describes his David Horowitz Freedom Center as “a platform to project hate and misinformation.” 

Horowitz published the text of his speech on his website. It’s clear from his first sentence that he wasn’t pulling any punches:

Horowitz: Here’s my lesson from the recent election in my newly adopted state: You’re too damn nice. Democrats call Republicans “racists, sexists, homophobes, Islamophobes, xenophobes” and “Nazis.” And Republicans call Democrats … “liberals.” Stop it! What are Democrats liberal about except sex, drugs, spending other people’s money, coddling criminals, giving America’s mortal enemies like Iran the benefit of the doubt, nuclear weapons and billions in cash to finance their terrorist activities, and opening borders to terrorists, sexual predators and whoever comes along? Democrats don’t even believe in due process any more. Innocent until proven guilty? That’s for aging white men – Republicans. The Democrats are satisfied with guilt by accusation. The Democratic Party is a party of racists, character assassins and, oh, liars. Say it.

For a party looking to broaden its appeal to an increasingly diverse Colorado electorate, the choice of Horowitz is puzzling. His recent appearance at the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in August led several large corporations to drop their ALEC memberships in protest. Verizon left in September, stating,

“Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comment or ideals.”

As outrage over Horowitz’s speech grew, ALEC distanced itself from him in a statement and removed video of his speech from their site. That wasn’t enough to stem the tide of companies abandoning the organization, however.

Last Friday, industry titans AT&T, Dow Chemical and Honeywell, also quit ALEC over Horowitz’s speech.     

Horowitz, who said via email that he did not charge for his appearance, was invited by State Sens. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) and Vicki Marble (R-Fort Collins) .

Lundberg dismissed concerns about Horowitz’s beliefs and positions, telling the Colorado Times Recorder he was aware of the concerns raised by companies that dropped their ALEC memberships, so he listened to the speech before inviting Horowitz to speak to the Republican caucus. He did not find the speech to be racist.  

Lundberg: “I believe he had some very salient points to make. He doesn’t mince words. He dives right in and tells you what he thinks in a very forthright manner. He does have some observations that are worth paying attention to… I came to the conclusion that Mr. Horowitz was not being fairly represented, and I felt he has valuable things to say to the Colorado Republican caucus and so I asked him to speak to us and he did.” 

Lundberg expressed disappointment that ALEC “capitulated” to “bullying” in issuing its statement disavowing Horowitz’s speech. He noted that “ALEC does an incredibly good job in informing and empowering state legislators with the basic principles of limited government, free markets and federalism.”

(more…)

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Trump Exposes Coffman’s Ugly Past on “Birthright Citizenship”

Responding to news this week that President Donald Trump would like to use an executive order to rescind the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of citizenship to persons born on American soil–which he can’t actually do–Rep. Mike Coffman, facing increasingly likely defeat next Tuesday, responded in a way that sounded fairly critical:

In Spanish, so there’s no confusion as to the target audience:

Since Trump took office, Coffman has had plenty of opportunities to triangulate off the president’s hard-line statements on immigration, and he’s taken some of them. Eliminating the constitutional guarantee of citizenship for children born on American soil is certainly one of the most controversial and aggressive moves Trump has proposed on immigration yet. Obviously, it’s in Coffman’s best interests to put as much daylight as possible between himself and this proposal with the swing voters he’s won over with his moderate tone.

Unfortunately for Mike Coffman, when it comes to the issue of “birthright citizenship,” there’s a problem.

The problem is that Mike Coffman himself co-sponsored legislation to rescind birthright citizenship, in both 2009 and 2011. This was back when Coffman was doing his best to uphold his congressional predecessor Tom Tancredo’s hard line anti-immigrant legacy, and before redistricting in 2011 redrew Coffman’s district to include a far more diverse and immigrant-heavy constituency. After that time, of course, these bills morphed from political asset to massive political liability; and Coffman has tried mightily to live them down, and reinvent himself wholesale on the issue.

But as you can see, Coffman can’t criticize Trump on the underlying issue, just the constitutionality of him doing this by executive order, without exposing himself as a hypocrite–even though it’s likely that Coffman’s legislation to rescind “birthright citizenship” would have run up against the 14th Amendment’s plain language too. Once you know Coffman’s true history on this issue, his weak statement of protest against Trump is exposed as a lame attempt to cover up Coffman’s own record. At the very least, a reporter needs to ask Coffman specifically what has changed between 2011, when he sponsored legislation to do exactly what Trump is proposing, and today when he wants voters to think he opposes it.

Better ask soon, though, because after next Tuesday it might not matter.

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Statehouse Candidate Grady Nouis Campaigns on Immigrant Crime Despite Criminal Record

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Grady Nouis, the Republican candidate for an Arvada area statehouse seat in the Colorado legislature, talks a lot about crime. He’s primarily concerned that so-called “sanctuary cities” endanger residents, because undocumented immigrants who may live in these cities commit crimes, particularly drug crimes.  

In the summer of 2005, Nouis was arrested and charged with felony manufacturing of hallucinogenic mushrooms. He ultimately pled guilty to “maintaining a drug house” and possession of marijuana.

The arrest report, obtained by the Colorado Times Recorder via a source, explains how the police discovered Nouis’ suspected mushroom grow operation. He was living in a house owned by his parents in Grand Blanc, Michigan. They had moved to another city and were planning to sell the house in Grand Blanc. A realtor, believing their son to have returned to college, entered to prepare the house for a showing. She discovered numerous syringes and mason jars filled with a clear liquid and topped with plastic tubing. Believing she had discovered a methamphetamine lab, she called the police. After entering the property themselves, the police determined that it was a “psilocybin mushroom grow operation.”

“As we cleared the rest of the residence, we continued to find evidence of a psilocybin mushroom grow operation. We observed several dehydrating/drying units, packaged mushrooms ready for sale, the spores need to grow mushrooms a makeshift greenhouse made out of large plastic tubs with mushrooms growing along with various other items.”

HD29 Candidate Grady Nouis Arrest Report

According to court records, Nouis was initially charged with one felony count of “manufacture of psilocybin,” and one misdemeanor count of “possession of marijuana.” A plea bargain reduced the felony manufacturing charge to another misdemeanor, “maintaining a drug house.” Nouis was sentenced to three years of probation and paid fees and fines totaling $1,660.

(more…)

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Stapleton, Tancredo, Racism–And One Disastrous Interview

This morning, former congressman and controversial supporter of Republican gubernatorial candidate Walker Stapleton, Tom Tancredo, went on the Peter Boyles Show to address the recent controversy over a fundraiser Tancredo headlined for Stapleton’s campaign. Tancredo’s high-profile support for Stapleton has turned seriously problematic after local reporters questioned Stapleton’s repudiation of his own family ties to the Ku Klux Klan, noting that Tancredo is a past board member of the white nationalist organization VDARE.

So who did Tancredo bring on the radio to vouch? The founder of VDARE, Peter Brimelow!

Which, as you’re about to discover, was a very large mistake:

Here’s the transcript of the two separate clips of audio playable above:

BOYLES: But I want to ask you a principled question, first: Before either of those media outlets smeared you, did any of them ever call you and want to talk to you?

BRIMELOW: Oh, no! Of course not! They never…

BOYLES: That’s my point! There! I rest my case! Tommy…

BRIMELOW: What they do, Peter, is they rely entirely on the Southern Policy Law Center–which, of course, is a racket, you know–it’s in the business of frightening out all the Jews into giving large amounts of money [Pols emphasis] by turning up those Neo-Nazis roaming around. And it’s raised close to a half a billion dollars, doing that. And so they need to find neo-Nazis around. And if they can’t find any, they make it up.

[…]

TANCREDO: He took over my seat–the Sixth Congressional District–promising to be a strong, strong supporter of the positions I had taken on immigration. Well, that lasted until–of course–redistricting and he lost a little bit of Republican support, and all of a sudden he turned…

You know, it’s one thing to say, “Well, let’s be judicious,” but not be a complete chameleon.

BRIMELOW: Tom, that’s still a 70% white district, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not–he doesn’t really have to cuck so hard. [Pols emphasis]

It shouldn’t be necessary to remind readers and listeners that Brimelow was–we assume–trying to refute the allegation that VDARE is a racist organization. As you can see, that goal was not accomplished! It’s extremely difficult to imagine how Stapleton can let this go without some kind of response–that is, unless it’s true that Stapleton is counting on voters who align with Tancredo to win and dares not alienate them.

But for anyone trying to hold together the farce of Stapleton hugging Tom Tancredo and “condemning racism of all forms” at the same time, this is the end of the road.

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A Few Words On The Game Rep. Dave Williams Plays

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

The murder of Iowa college student Mollie Tibbetts in mid-July of this year has provided another emotional flashpoint in the long-running debate over immigration law in the United States, a debate that Donald Trump purposefully inflamed for his own political gain in 2016 and is raging at fever pitch as the 2018 midterm elections quickly approach.

President Trump has invoked Tibbetts’ murder countless times since July, along with Republican candidates at every level to justify further crackdowns on undocumented immigrants. In the debate over the criminal threat represented by undocumented immigrants against American citizens, anecdotes like the killing of a young white woman in a low-crime rural area frequently substitute for the data that consistently shows undocumented immigrants commit crimes at a much lower rate than the native-born population.

CNN reports via FOX 31 yesterday that the family of Mollie Tibbetts wants it to stop:

Since authorities revealed the suspect in the killing of Mollie Tibbetts is an undocumented immigrant from Mexico, Iowa’s Latino communities have been the target of rising anti-immigrant sentiment.

But the father of the late 20-year-old college student has had enough. He’s spoken out, and he has a message: Don’t exploit my daughter’s death to promote a racist agenda.

“I encourage the debate on immigration; there is great merit in its reasonable outcome,” Tibbetts wrote in an op-ed for the Des Moines Register on Saturday. “But do not appropriate Mollie’s soul in advancing views she believed were profoundly racist.”

Here’s more from Rob Tibbetts’ op-ed:

The person who is accused of taking Mollie’s life is no more a reflection of the Hispanic community as white supremacists are of all white people. [Pols emphasis] To suggest otherwise is a lie. Justice in my America is blind. This person will receive a fair trial, as it should be. If convicted, he will face the consequences society has set. Beyond that, he deserves no more attention.

To the Hispanic community, my family stands with you and offers its heartfelt apology. That you’ve been beset by the circumstances of Mollie’s death is wrong. We treasure the contribution you bring to the American tapestry in all its color and melody.

In Colorado, by far the politician most eagerly exploiting Mollie Tibbetts’ murder for political gain is an elected official in no real danger of losing his seat in November: Rep. Dave Williams, Republican of Colorado Springs, who succeeded the infamous Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt representing one of the safest Republican seats in the Colorado General Assembly. Surprising absolutely no one, Rep. Williams has been on a social media tear:

We could cite many more examples, but you get the idea. Since winning his seat in the 2016 elections, Rep. Williams has repeatedly thrust himself into the national debate over immigration, appearing on FOX News in support of Trump’s policies and maximizing publicity of his stillborn legislation to retaliate against so-called “sanctuary cities.” In response to one such piece of legislation, readers will recall that Rep. Joe Salazar was filmed telling a group of supporters incredulously that Rep. Williams is “half Latino”–a gaffe Williams turned into a veritable circus of feigned outrage.

Salazar’s choice of words may have left the door open for Williams, but the incident is a useful window into the peculiar brand of “identity politics” Williams not only practices but has relied upon to differentiate himself in Republican politics. Being willing to pose in photos with unabashedly racist national Republican figures like Iowa’s Rep. Steve King (above), combined with rhetoric that mainstream Republicans avoid lest they be lumped in with racists like King, makes Rep. Williams highly appealing to the overwhelmingly white conservative Republican voters he represents. Best of all, if you’re not extremely careful about pointing this out, Williams will turn the contrived indignation on you too! As they say in show business, it’s nice work if you can get it.

Rep. Williams is not unique with this strategy of what you could accurately call reverse identity politics, but in moments like this–when the politically-motivated animus against immigrants reaches a level where decency itself requires everyone to call it out–this is when it looks the very worst.

This is when, if a man like Dave Williams has any shame, he feels it and stops talking.

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Tancredo To Appear With Stapleton As “Special Guest” At Sept. 1 Fundraiser

(Tancredo hearts Stapleton, tell your friends – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you’ve been following Colorado’s governor’s race, you know that former Congressman Tom Tancredo gave Republican Walker Stapleton his full-throated endorsement during the GOP primary, embellishing Stapleton with Tancredo’s ultra-conservative imprimatur and delivering  primary voters to Stapleton, who’s connections to the Bush Dynasty were viewed with skepticism by Tea Party types.

In the past few months, after Stapleton became the Republican nominee for governor, political observers have been asking whether Stapleton will try to distance himself from Tancredo, who wants to expunge our country of all undocumented immigrants and suggested we bomb Mecca, among other things.

Well, Stapleton’s embrace of Tancredo isn’t loosening.

Tancredo is a “special guest” at a Sept. 1 fundraiser, where the former Congressman and Stapleton will be raising funds “to help Colorado WIN in November.”

To be fair, the speculation that Stapleton would reverse course and dump Tancredo isn’t consistent with how Stapleton has been running his campaign so far.

Stapleton embraced Trump, for example, during the primary, and he’s sticking with the unpopular president, even going so far as to invite Trump to Colorado to campaign with him.

If Stapleton isn’t running away from Trump, you wouldn’t think he’d run away from you, I told Tancredo.

“Right,” Tanc replied. “It would be interesting to know who’s hated more in Colorado. Me or Trump.”

(more…)

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Post Finds Its Voice To Call Out RGA’s Immigrant Baiting

Walker Stapleton.

After the sudden departure of the former Denver Post editorial board editor Chuck Plunkett earlier this year, the opinion section of the Post was without its institutional voice for several months. The Post resumed publication of editorials a few weeks later after new editor Megan Schrader, ex-Colorado Springs Gazette reporter, returned from leave. The first few offerings from the new Denver Post editorial board were not very satisfying, with a particularly insipid defense of Cory Gardner in mid-July that made eyes roll.

But today, the editorial board weighs in strongly in condemnation of the Republican Governors Association’s recent attacks on Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jared Polis, making incendiary claims about Polis’ stand on immigration:

Groups like the RGA and Better Colorado Now, are going to try to make this election for Colorado governor about immigration. We hope Colorado voters don’t take the bait. This race should be focused on the important issues that a governor can actually control like education and transportation and what this state should do with a windfall of cash…

Oddly the door hanger also says Polis “even wants to give in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.” Of course he does. It was good public policy with bi-partisan support when Colorado lawmakers voted in 2013 to allow recent graduates of Colorado high schools to attend state colleges with in-state tuition regardless of their legal status.

…It should make all Colorado voters, regardless of how they feel about immigration and Trump, a bit nauseated that the RGA and Better Colorado Now are using this wedge issue with such dishonesty. [Pols emphasis]

The editorial notes correctly that Walker Stapleton personally raised funds for Better Colorado Now before he formally launched his campaign–which made a farce of the idea of an “independent expenditure committee,” and most certainly makes it fair game to hold Stapleton responsible for the group’s communications now. This was one of the original examples of Stapleton’s fumbling of the most basic principles of a modern campaign–and we expect it won’t be the last time it comes back to haunt him.

For all the consternation over the Post’s milquetoast or even mercenary opinions through the years, with the seminal example remaining the paper’s credibility-straining endorsement of Cory Gardner in 2014, we’re glad to see them drawing a bright line against the factually-challenged attacks on immigrants that have become even more routine in the Donald Trump era than they were before. Newspapers no longer have the commanding audience to serve as a binding moral authority, if they ever did.

But today’s politics need all the moral checks and balances we can get. More like this please.

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George Brauchler Craps On Pueblo

George Brauchler.

An interview in the Pueblo Chieftain this weekend tries gamely to pump up GOP attorney general candidate George Brauchler, but seems more likely to leave local readers cold:

Brauchler was a GOP candidate for governor last year, but switched after Attorney General Cynthia Coffman signaled she would be leaving the AG’s office to run for governor…

Where Weiser has pledged to have Colorado join Pueblo County in suing big pharmaceutical companies for over-prescribing opioid drugs, Brauchler calls that pledge “reckless” — even though he says he wouldn’t rule out the state joining such a lawsuit eventually.

Pueblo has been hit unusually hard by the opioid crisis compared to other areas of the state, which is what prompted Pueblo County to join a nationwide lawsuit against opioid producers as well as pharmacy chains who distribute the drugs. The pharmaceutical industry is pushing back hard on this lawsuit and flexing its considerable political muscle to keep prosecutors like George Brauchler on the sidelines.

After that uninspiring response on a key local issue, the conversation turned to immigration:

On immigration, Brauchler said he doesn’t want Colorado police being coerced into enforcing federal immigration laws. But he also criticized Boulder and cities that have openly opposed cooperating with immigration arrests and detainment without a federal warrant.

To summarize, Colorado police shouldn’t be forced to help the feds, they should just…want to do it? That’s the best way we can interpret what seems to be a massive contradiction. The truth is that Brauchler is pretty much at liberty as a Republican candidate to engage in all the “sanctuary city” immigrant-bashing he wishes to–everywhere in the state except for Pueblo, where a somewhat more conservative-receptive Latino electorate offers a lucrative prize for Republicans who can nuance their message accordingly without tripping on their own words.

That’s pretty much the opposite of what Brauchler did in this interview. On opioids he’s aloof, and on immigration he’s all over the map. For swing voters in Pueblo, Brauchler did a fine job spelling out why he doesn’t deserve their support.

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Elections Matter: Trump Travel Ban Edition

Nyahhhhhh…

ICYMI, the U.S. Supreme Court today issued a mammoth ruling upholding President Trump’s “Muslim travel ban.” From the Washington Post:

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that President Trump has the authority to ban travelers from certain majority-Muslim countries if he thinks it is necessary to protect the United States, a victory in what has been a priority since Trump’s first weeks in office and a major affirmation of presidential power.

The vote was 5 to 4, with conservatives in the majority and Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing the opinion.

The president reacted on Twitter: “SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!”

Later, the White House issued a formal response that also took a swipe at his declared enemies. It called the ruling “a vindication following months of hysterical commentary from the media and Democratic politicians who refuse to do what it takes to secure our border and our country.”

Lower courts had struck down each of the three iterations of the president’s travel ban, the first of which was issued in January 2017. The administration had been hopeful about the Supreme Court, because it had previously decided to let the ban go into effect while considering the challenges to it.

Regardless of your opinion on this issue, the Supreme Court’s ruling is a great reminder — on the day of Colorado’s Primary Election, no less — that elections have consequences. This doesn’t happen if Hillary Clinton is elected President; not only would Clinton not have instituted such a proposal, but she wouldn’t have nominated Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

So go out and vote today.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (June 25)

Colorado’s Primary Election is almost over! Remember, friends: Ballots must be RECEIVED by your county clerk before 7:00 pm on Tuesday, so if you still haven’t voted, do NOT drop it in the mail. Check GoVoteColorado.com for more information on ballot drop-off locations. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► The big prize(s) in Colorado Tuesday are the Democratic and Republican Party nominations for Governor. Tell us who you think is going to win the Democratic nomination and the Republican nomination.

The 2018 race for Governor is well on track to be the most expensive in state history. For more background information on the eight candidates for Governor, check out these profiles from the Colorado Independent. If you’re interested in other statewide races, Charles Ashby takes a look at the campaigns for Attorney General and State Treasurer for the Grand Junction Sentinel.

 

► A litany of Colorado elected officials traveled to the US-Mexico border to view the situation with immigrant families with their own eyeballs. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) visited McAllen, Texas, while Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) took his talents to El Paso. Coffman’s visit served mostly as a photo-op, which is par for the course for the Aurora Republican. Colorado’s House Speaker Crisanta Duran also travelled to the border to show off some new duds.

 

 The Supreme Court tossed a curveball on Monday in a high-profile battle over gerrymandering. From the Washington Post:

The Supreme Court on Monday sent back to a lower court a decision that Republicans in North Carolina had gerrymandered the state’s congressional districts to give their party an unfair advantage.

The lower court will need to decide whether the plaintiffs had the proper legal standing to bring the case.

The Supreme Court recently considered the question of partisan gerrymandering in cases from Wisconsin and Maryland. The court has never found a map so infected by politics that it violated the constitutional rights of voters.

But the justices did not rule on the merits of the issue. The court said plaintiffs in Wisconsin did not have the proper legal standing and that the Maryland case was in too preliminary a stage.

The newest Supreme Court Justice, Colorado’s Neil Gorsuch, sided with Justice Clarence Thomas. Here’s more from National Public Radio.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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Well Played, Crisanta Duran

In the rush of coverage of officials on all sides visiting the southern border to investigate the family separations by federal immigration agents that have dominated the headlines for over a month now, we’d be remiss if we didn’t give a nod to Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran–who arrived in Texas with her message to affected families on her…well, not sleeve exactly:

Take that, Melania Trump! Seriously, if a local clothing shop were to whip up a line of these jackets for sale, we know people who would buy them. We can’t imagine a finer local and woke fashion statement. And to our state’s first first Latina Speaker of the House, brava.

This is an image the the overwhelming majority of Coloradans will be proud to see.

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Mike Coffman Photo-Ops Family Separations Crisis

CBS4 Denver:

Thousands of children taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border are in detention centers, days after President Donald Trump reversed his “zero-tolerance” policy.

On Saturday, Colorado Congressman Mike Coffman traveled to the Texas border and toured one of the facilities. He spoke with children being held there.

Coffman says we must find a solution to reunite the families.

“The images that caused me to go down there and make a special trip, I mean to see children torn from their parents. I think that’s just fundamentally wrong,” he said.

There are of course very few politicians, particularly Republicans facing dicey re-elections, willing to look into any camera and say that the month-long PR debacle for the Republican Party as the Trump administration’s family separation policy has dominated the headlines has been a positive thing. GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, who was an anti-immigrant hardliner in the Tom Tancredo mold before his district was redrawn to include a diverse population in 2011, has received nationwide press for his call for White House strategist Stephen Miller to be fired over Miller role in crafting the Trump administration’s latest hateful backfire.

Since Donald Trump’s election, Coffman has faced much greater difficulty in holding together his strategy of both triangulating off the excesses committed in his majority party’s name while keeping base Republicans in his district happy enough to re-elect him–which has led to bizarre contradictions like Coffman stridently criticizing the Trump outrage of the week on immigration, while at the same time telling his base that Trump is “the only one within the Republican Party that can solve this issue.”

Coffman’s long record in Congress, which features many more actions malicious toward immigrants than in support of them and such incendiary rhetorical flourishes as “The DREAM Act will be a nightmare for the American people,” severely undermines his credibility on this issue with anyone familiar with his history. Unfortunately, in today’s short attention span media culture in which so many reporters writing political news are either out of work or were literally in grade school when Coffman succeeded Tancredo in Congress, the full reality of Coffman’s “evolution” on immigration–lacking in substance, and a politically-contrived ploy to survive what should have been a career-ending change of constituency–gets lost every election cycle.

We can’t say this often enough: Mike Coffman had a chance to support bipartisan immigration reform over and over, including in 2013 when it passed the Senate–and he opposed it. Before that time, Coffman was every bit as much an anti-immigration hardliner as the man he succeeded in Congress, Tom Tancredo. Since 2013, Coffman has played a complicated game of threading the needle on immigration, trying to suppress his old hard-line record without alienating the base Republican voters he still needs to be re-elected. All the while the situation has only gotten worse for immigrants, and the Republican leadership in Congress Coffman supports makes him look like a hapless stooge.

Is this the year Coffman’s triangulation long game finally crashes and burns? We won’t know–and his bellicose media surrogates will never concede even the slightest possibility–until the votes are counted.

But it’s wearing awfully thin.

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Get More Smarter on Friday (June 22)

If you still have a Primary ballot sitting on your kitchen table, you should take it to a ballot drop-off location rather than putting it in the mail at this point. Check GoVoteColorado.com for more information. It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY… 

► Congressional Republicans will NOT vote on an immigration reform proposal this week, because President Trump used Twitter. From CNN:

“Republicans should stop wasting their time on Immigration until after we elect more Senators and Congressmen/women in November,” Trump tweeted. “Dems are just playing games, have no intention of doing anything to solves this decades old problem. We can pass great legislation after the Red Wave!”…

…Now. The so-called “compromise” legislation — constructed by House Speaker Paul Ryan to make moderates and conservative happy — was already on life support before Trump came in and pulled the plug. A vote on the measure was originally scheduled for Thursday. It was then set for Friday. Then late Thursday, it was postponed until next week as GOP leaders insisted they saw a glimmer of hope to write a bill that might actually pass the House.

That hope is dead now. Imagine you are a conservative Republican resistant to the “compromise” bill because it provides a path to citizenship for DACA recipients. You now have every reason in the world not to come to the table and take a tough vote. The President literally said there was no point!

As Politico notes, Republican leaders in Congress appear to be completely mystified by Trump’s ever-changing immigration positions. The same goes for Republican strategists, who don’t agree with Trump that immigration is a good issue for the GOP in 2018. From the Washington Post:

Despite Trump’s tactical retreat on family separations this week, he continues to believe that immigration should be a defining issue of the 2018 elections and that it will galvanize the GOP base. This puts him at odds with most veteran Republican strategists, campaign managers and pollsters who think the party would be much better off focusing on the strong economy and the GOP tax cuts. But Trump believes he has superior political instincts than these experts and that his unexpected victory in 2016 proves it.

But two new polls suggest that immigration may not be as effective an issue for Trump in 2018 as it was two years ago. In fact, Trump’s fixation on building the wall and reducing the number of immigrants who are allowed into the country appears to be a key reason that those ideas are becoming less popular…

…Gallup found a record-low number of Americans — only 29 percent — think immigration into the U.S. should be decreased, which has been one of Trump’s core demands to congressional negotiators. A 39 percent plurality think immigration should be kept at its present level, while 28 percent say it should be increased.

Trump is also accusing Democrats of planting “phony stories of sadness and grief” along the US-Mexico border.

 

► Walker Stumbleton Stapleton appears to be headed toward a victory in Tuesday’s Primary for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Colorado Democrats are more than happy to see Stapleton atop the GOP ticket this fall.

 

 Congressman Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) is getting hammered by critics for pretending to send a letter to the Department of Homeland Security in protest of President Trump’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy. 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

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Thanks For Nothing, Scott Tipton (Dead Letter Office Edition)

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez).

As the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent reports, the Trump administration’s self-inflicted debacle over child separations along the southern border is tripping up GOP Rep. Scott Tipton of Cortez–who is quickly emerging as a “reach goal” target for Democrats in the upcoming elections:

Two Democratic challengers who are seeking to replace Colorado’s 3rd District U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton are pressing the congressman after he Tweeted earlier this week about his position on U.S. border patrol family separations.

“I recently signed onto a letter w/ some of my colleagues to be sent to DHS, that expresses disapproval of the current policy of separating families & requests additional information on what is being done when a family arrives at the border in-between legal port of entry,” Tipton stated, responding to growing criticism of President Trump’s zero-tolerance policy of separating children from parents, before he signed an executive order Wednesday reversing the policy.

However, asked Wednesday for a copy of the letter outlining Tipton’s position on the issue, staffers in Washington, D.C. said they couldn’t immediately provide a copy.

Apparently, as of Wednesday the reason that Rep. Tipton could not provide a copy of this letter to the Department of Homeland Security is that it hadn’t been delivered yet! The crisis over family separations has been front page for nearly a month, and a major bone of contention for months prior to that, so a letter delivered Wednesday (or later, who knows) when President Donald Trump rescinded the policy that same day can be fairly categorized as totally meaningless ass-covering.

“I think that is classic Tipton, that he is trying to avoid taking a position on an issue because he doesn’t know which direction the political wind is blowing.” [Pols emphasis]

[Democratic CD-3 candidate Karl] Hanlon continued, “If I am sending this letter to the Department of Homeland Security, and speaking to a humanitarian crisis within our borders, I absolutely want my constituents to know what I said.”

In addition to the overwhelming public disapproval of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that led to families being separated at the border, Tipton’s district has been impacted by the Trump administration’s crackdown with documented shortages of both agricultural and seasonal resort labor. The state’s extremely low unemployment rate combined with visa programs for the needed labor that haven’t grown in decades is demonstrably holding back the economy in Tipton’s district.

And that’s before we even talk about Pueblo. In short there’s real danger for Tipton here, and he appears to already be well behind the curve in addressing the biggest headline in the national news today.

This isn’t a good year to be complacent.

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What Would Jesus Do? Jeff Hunt Has No Idea

UPDATE: A statement from faith leaders of the Colorado Governor’s Clergy Council slams the use of Christian liturgy to justify family separations:

Also Thursday, the Colorado Governor’s Clergy Council—comprised of 25 religious leaders in the state—issued a statement calling for further action from Congress to address the separation issue and for other state faith leaders to join them.

“From all different faiths, we can agree that the policy and practice of separating children from their parents is wrong and destructive on a number of levels. To use sacred texts to justify it is even worse,” the council said in a statement. “We encourage faith leaders to speak openly and honestly about these issues in their services over the coming weeks. We hope the faithful will look for opportunities to add their voices to this conversation and reach out to those who respect us in Congress. Our hope and prayer is that our Federal Government will act quickly and decisively to ensure that the most vulnerable are cared for and protected.”

—–

As the Atlantic’s Emma Green reports, some of the strongest criticism of President Donald Trump’s now-rescinded policy of separating undocumented families at the border–though not perhaps Trump personally–has come from his nominal allies on the religious right:

Over the past three weeks, conservative religious leaders have been steadily intensifying their condemnation of President Donald Trump’s “zero-tolerance” policy on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the forced separation of children and parents who illegally migrated to the United States. Groups including the Southern Baptist Convention and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops released anxious statements about immigration last week. Typically outspoken Trump supporters like Franklin Graham, the son of the famous evangelist Billy Graham and head of the charity Samaritan’s Purse, condemned the separations: During an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Graham said it is “disgraceful—it is terrible to see families ripped apart. And I don’t support that one bit.”

This is an unusual level of public pushback from conservative religious groups and leaders, many of whom have been extremely friendly to the Trump administration: Just as the Southern Baptist Convention passed its call for “immigration reform … maintaining a priority of family unity,” it also welcomed Vice President Mike Pence as a keynote speaker at its annual meeting.

But the volume of the criticism can also be deceiving. Many of the groups that have been most vocal against the border policy are already outspoken Trump skeptics. Among the ranks of Trump’s closest allies—including those who advise him on conservative religious voters—the condemnation has been more tempered.

In the case of Colorado’s foremost Christian conservative advocacy organization, Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute, the condemnation has been nonexistent. We haven’t found a single comment from CCU, the organization’s director Jeff Hunt, or anyone else affiliated with the organization. The separation of families at the border has been in the headlines for nearly a month now, but while the Centennial Institute has seen fit to weigh in on everything from abortion to the horrors of occupational licensing (not kidding), they’ve been totally silent on the issue.

In conclusion, the Centennial Institute’s motto is “Faith, Family, Freedom, Future.” But it would appear that in the case of their second F, “Family,” there are…exceptions.

That’s not something we’d want on our conscience on Judgement Day.

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BREAKING: Trump Formally Stops His Own Immigration Policy

UPDATE: As Aaron Blake summarizes for the Washington Post:

The Trump administration insisted it didn’t have a policy of separating children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border. It said that it was merely following the law. And it said “Congress alone can fix” the mess.

It just admitted that all that was nonsense — and that it badly overplayed its hand…

…It’s at once an admission that the politics of the issue had gotten out of hand and that the administration’s arguments were completely dishonest. Virtually everything it said about the policy is tossed aside with this executive action. It’s the political equivalent of waving the white flag and the legal equivalent of confessing to making false statements. Rather than letting Congress rebuke it, the White House is rebuking itself and trying to save some face.

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President Donald Trump signs an executive order to end family separations resulting from his own immigration policy. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

As Politico reports, President Trump needs some new talking points on immigration:

President Donald Trump signed an executive action Wednesday that ends the administration’s policy of separating migrant families crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, abandoning the president’s previous stance that only Congress can fix the problem.

“I didn’t like the sight or the feeling of families being separated,” the president told reporters in the Oval Office, flanked by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Vice President Mike Pence. “I think anybody with a heart would feel strongly about it. We don’t like to see families separated.”

Yet Trump said that he wanted to continue enforcing a strong policy at the border, an issue he campaigned on: “We are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero tolerance. We have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally.”

The action came after Trump and his team faced harsh criticism from lawmakers, activists, religious leaders and former first ladies over the separation of children from their parents in custody, which was panned almost universally as cruel and damaging to the kids’ well-being.

If it seems like it was only a few days ago that Trump was blaming Democrats for this immigration policy fiasco…that’s because it was only a few days ago. That’s Homeland Security Secretary (for now) Kirstjen Nielsen in the background of the photo above.

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