Because What 2020 Really Needs Is A Good War

UPDATE: As the Denver Post reports, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado is not mincing words:

“I think this was a terribly reckless and provocative act,” said Sen. Michael Bennet, [Pols emphasis] a Denver Democrat and presidential candidate, on WGBH Radio in Boston. “It’s the latest in a long string of nonstrategic choices that Donald Trump has made in the Middle East, that has weakened our position in the Middle East, that has strengthened Iran’s position in the Middle East.

“And I think you couldn’t be more naive to believe that this was going to result somehow in Iran coming to the negotiating table, rather than creating the potential for another war — which is the last thing we need in the Middle East,” Bennet added. He called Trump “the weakest foreign policy president we’ve had in my lifetime,” which began in 1964.

—–

CNN reports on the news everyone on the planet with access to news is talking about:

President Donald Trump’s targeted killing of Iran’s ruthless intelligence chief adds up to his most dangerous gamble yet with other peoples’ lives and his own political fate.

By killing Qasem Soleimani in Iraq, Trump committed the United States to a risky open conflict that at best could stop short of all-out war with Iran that could cause national security and economic shocks in the United States and across the globe.

Starting right now, and given Iran’s easy access to soft targets, the Middle East and even Europe suddenly look a lot less safe for Americans, including US troops Trump may be even more tempted to haul home.

Caption: Iran is really pissed off now.

Al Jazeera reports from Tehran that the killing of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s second most-powerful leader has a nation already given over to bellicose rhetoric talking flat-out war:

The assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in air raids by the United States has triggered a wave of emotions and garnered a response of solidarity and retribution across the otherwise divided Iranian political spectrum…

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani echoed the threat of revenge and vowed that there would be consequences. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif condemned the killing as an “act of state terrorism” in a statement.

“The pure blood of Qassem Soleimani will surely strengthen the tree of resistance, unite the Iranian people, and make US policies in the region less effective by the day,” he said.

Iran’s National Security Council has convened an emergency meeting to decide Iran’s reaction to the killing. Reports say Khamenei has participated in the meeting for the first time ever, denoting the gravity of the situation.

One of the first reactions one can count on following a high-profile military action taken by the President without the prior approval of Congress is a protest, well-founded but routinely ignored, that at least top congressional leadership should be consulted before committing the nation to military action. Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado’s statement:

Only Congress has the power to declare war. The President’s unilateral decision to launch this airstrike, yet again, comes without consultation or caution and signals the need for clarification of the Authorization of Military Force. That is precisely why I voted in support of a bipartisan amendment earlier this year that would have avoided a dangerous escalation with Iran by preventing federal funds from being used for any military force in or against Iran without congressional authorization.

Congress must reassert its constitutional obligations under Article I without further delay. And the Administration must consult Congress, as required by law, on both the airstrike and the next steps necessary to keep our country and service members safe.

That’s consistent with the concerns expressed by members of Congress in both parties in response to unilateral military actions taken by President Barack Obama such as the 2011 military intervention in Libya, including Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver who had “significant questions” about committing American forces in that country even after Obama went on national television to explain.

But if you were hoping from similar candor from Colorado’s highest-ranked Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, you’ll be disappointed by his statement in response to the killing of Qassem Soleimani:

I commend the Administration for taking this decisive action today in Baghdad against Tehran-backed terrorists. The world should not mourn Qassem Soleimani, a man whose name is synonymous with murder in the Middle East and who was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American service members. I now urge the Administration to be prepared for possible retaliation, including against U.S. troops stationed in the region, and to consult closely with Congress on any next steps should the situation escalate. I hope Iran will realize its future depends on stopping its support of terrorism.

The question of course is not whether an avowed enemy of the United States like Soleimani should be “mourned,” but whether this action results in a wider conflict in the Middle East that could result in many more deaths, and plunge the nation into a full-scale war just as the 2020 election year gets underway. At this moment, there’s a lot we don’t know–what exactly prompted the decision to strike now instead of another time and place, the nature of the “additional attacks” it has been suggested were imminent had Soleimani not been killed, and whether the Trump administration has a plan for the aftermath of this action at all.

Three U.S. Presidents have been successfully impeached. Trump could become the first President who starts a war between his impeachment and the Senate trial. Politically this is all uncharted territory, which isn’t a new experience under Donald Trump. For the good of the country and the whole world, everyone should hope that this action was taken for legitimate and urgent national security reasons, and not to distract attention from Trump’s domestic political problems.

If the latter is true, the judgment of history will be very harsh.

373 Shares

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Bold Predictions for 2020

This is it: The final episode of 2019 for The Get More Smarter Podcast. To close out the year, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the most important Colorado political stories of 2019 and look ahead to 2020 with some bold predictions. Will Democrats take control of the U.S. Senate in 2020? Can Sen. Cory Gardner win re-election? Which one of Colorado’s seven Congressional seats could flip next year? 

And for the first time, Jason plays America’s worst favorite game, “Duke or Donald.” Ian is the current record-holder in the game that nobody really wins, but can Jason take the title in the last episode of 2019?

The Get More Smarter Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Buzzcloud, Spotify, and Overcast. You can also follow the Podcast on Twitter @MoreSmarterShow. If you have a question or comment, hit us up at AngryRants@GetMoreSmarter.com.

1 Shares

Dean of Colorado’s Delegation Presides Over Historic Vote

UPDATE: And then there’s Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), the dope of the Colorado delegation:

—–

Rep. Diana DeGette (D).

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter:

When the speaker’s gavel bangs in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday morning to debate the impeachment of President Donald Trump, that gavel will be held by a Denver Democrat.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette will preside over the House’s third impeachment debate and vote in American history, granting her a front-row seat to a chapter of that history. The Democrat-held House is expected to vote on two articles of impeachment Wednesday: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Rep. Diana DeGette’s statement on this solemn occasion:

I am honored that the speaker has asked me to serve as speaker pro tempore of the House and to preside over most of the impeachment debate. None of us came to Congress to impeach a president, but every one of us – when we assumed office – took an oath to uphold the constitution. This is a sad and somber moment in our nation’s history and the responsibility to preside over this important debate is something I will not take lightly.

It’s certainly not the first time in Rep. DeGette’s over two decades of service in Congress that she’s held the gavel, but presiding over the expected vote today to impeach President Donald Trump is an act that all by itself adds a bullet point to DeGette’s entry in the annals of American history. It’s an undeniable honor, and politically it’s good for DeGette in Colorado’s true-blue First Congressional District.

At the same time, nobody’s happy to be part of an impeachment process–or at least they shouldn’t be. However necessary this process may be, it’s not a cheerful one. The basis for these impeachment proceedings are actions committed by the President that have endangered our democratic process, and validated the worst fears of those who warned back in 2016–correctly–that Trump welcomed foreign manipulation of American elections on his behalf.

With that said, it’s always good to see one of our own making history.

0 Shares

Republicans Flummoxed on Prescription Drug Pricing

Image via AARP

While you were reading about impeachment news last week, you may have missed a significant vote in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives addressing an issue that is of utmost concern to American voters in 2020: Reducing the outrageous costs of prescription drugs.

The “Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act” (HR-3) passed out of the House on Thursday on a largely party line vote (Colorado’s four Democratic House Members voted “YES,” while all three Republicans voted “NO”) and will now head to the place where all good pieces of legislation go to die: The desk of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. As CBS News explains:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s bill would cap Medicare recipients’ out-of-pocket costs for medicines at $2,000 a year. It would use about $360 billion of its projected 10-year savings from lower drug costs to establish Medicare coverage for dental care, hearing, and vision, filling major gaps for seniors.

But the legislation has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate, and the White House has issued a veto threat. Still, Democrats saw a victory in the message their bill sends to voters…[Pols emphasis]

…Pelosi is claiming bragging rights because her bill would deliver on the promise that President Trump made as a candidate in 2016, when he said he would “negotiate like crazy” to lower prescription drug prices for Medicare recipients. It’s a pledge that Mr. Trump has backed away from as president.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Cory Gardner don’t know where to go from here.

Polling data continually shows that health care and prescription drugs top the list of voter concerns in 2020…much like they did in the Democratic wave year of 2018. A recent survey from Healthier Colorado found that 82% of Colorado voters believe that prescription drugs are too costly; nearly half of voters say that health care in general is unaffordable. The bill passed last week in the House of Representatives has the support of groups such as AARP, but McConnell won’t touch it in part because it is fiercely opposed by the pharmaceutical industry. As Politico reports today, the issue has put Republicans in a bind:

Yet with an election year cresting and massive divisions among his members, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is staying put. Associates say the Kentucky Republican is not eager to make a move that splits his caucus and could incur the wrath of the well-financed pharmaceutical industry.

A final decision will wait until after the Senate’s impeachment trial. Many Senate Republicans, however, know they need to do something to satisfy Trump and avoid the awful optics of doing nothing at all.

Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) this summer advanced a bill that would fine drugmakers that hike prices above inflation rates, but from the start it had more Democratic support than Republican backing. Even though a significant number of GOP members say it’s a bold stroke with crucial presidential support, many Republicans liken the move to price controls that would kill innovation.

This quote from Louisiana Republican Sen. Bill Cassidy sums up the absurdity of the GOP’s position: “Thank goodness Republicans control the Senate. That said, we still need something to make medicines affordable.” Ya think?

Republicans have lambasted impeachment investigations against President Trump as a distraction from the key issues facing average Americans, but Democrats snatched that stool right out from under them last week by multitasking on important topics. As The Hill explains:

Vulnerable Democrats in swing districts can point to the legislation as keeping a long-held promise to let Medicare negotiate drug prices. Members can show they are focused on kitchen table issues despite the chaos over impeachment.

The bill also gives moderate Democrats in Congress a chance to tout a health care issue that’s separate from the “Medicare for All” debate consuming the Democratic presidential primary.

“If a Democrat wins the White House and the party takes control of the Senate, a bill to allow the government to negotiate drug prices seems much more likely to pass than Medicare for All or even a public option,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president for health care policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Congressional Republicans are now in the unenviable position of arguing against the substance of legislation that would reduce health care costs for millions of Americans. Republican leaders can shake their fists at the idea of “price controls” for prescription drugs, but that language only makes a dent with pharmaceutical lobbyists; controlling prices is exactly what average voters want to see from Congress on the issue of prescription drug costs.

52 Shares

Crisanta Duran Ends Congressional Campaign

Rep. Diana DeGette (left) and Crisanta Duran

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, former State House Speaker Crisanta Duran is ending her bid to unseat Rep. Diana DeGette in Denver’s first congressional district:

Former Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran on Friday dropped her Democratic primary challenge against U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, saying she believes she can “be more effective in pursuing transformational change through other means.”

Her withdrawal comes just over two weeks after the Denver attorney underwent emergency surgery for what Duran described in a Facebook post as an imminent ruptured appendix her doctor told her was potentially life-threatening.

As she was recovering, Duran posted a photo of herself in a hospital bed and said that she was “taking time to recover and reflecting on much,” adding that there was “More to come. …”

“I’ve always known that purpose is more important than one’s title,” Duran said in an email to supporters announcing that she was ending her campaign, adding: “Words cannot begin to express my gratitude to those who had the courage to support the campaign and demand bold and innovative leadership for the people of Congressional District 1.”

Health concerns aside, Duran’s exit from the race in CO-1 is not much of a surprise. The former Denver legislator has had trouble attracting much interest in her campaign, which failed to raise more than $100k in each of its first two fundraising periods, and there was no clear path for her heading into 2020. The incumbent DeGette took Duran’s candidacy seriously from the start and worked strategically to cut her off at every corner.

Hopefully Duran can use this time to focus on her health. We wish her well.

12 Shares

DeGette Nabs Notable Endorsement

Rep. Diana DeGette (left) and Crisanta Duran

Politics is often compared to chess, and for good reason. A successful political campaign requires sound strategy and foresight to cut off your opponent at the most opportune moments.

This analogy is particularly apt in light of a notable endorsement today in the Democratic Primary race for CO-1. Incumbent Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Denver) picked up the endorsement of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), one of the largest labor unions in Colorado. From a press release:

Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 7 Union announced their endorsement of Congresswoman Diana DeGette as she seeks re-election in 2020. UFCW Local 7 President, Kim Cordova, announced the endorsement at their union hall alongside Congresswoman DeGette and Local 7 members.

“United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 is proud to announce our Endorsement of Diana DeGette, a proven workers champion for another term. Diana shares our core values through her advocacy for affordable and quality healthcare, gender equity, raising the minimum wage and workers’ rights. Colorado needs her continued strong leadership in Congress to fight for workers and to ensure Labor has a voice.” – UFCW Local 7 President Kim Cordova…

…UFCW Local 7 is Colorado’s largest labor union representing Supermarkets, Packing Houses, Food Processing Plants, Barbers and Cosmetologists and Healthcare facilities. Large employers in Congressional District One include Mission Tortillas, King Soopers, and Safeway.

The significance of this endorsement will be obvious to longtime political observers. It was nearly 10 years ago to the day that Ernie Duran, Jr. — UFCW’s longest-standing President — was voted out of office after charges of nepotism. As the Denver Post reported on September 22, 2009:

During the contentious battle over the “right to work” ballot measure last year, reports surfaced about nepotism within the union under Duran’s leadership.

In 2007, Crisanta Duran was paid $133,410 and Ernie Duran’s son, Ernie Duran III, was paid $134,378 as an executive staff member, according to Labor Department filings. The elder Duran earned $162,368 that year.

“The nepotism was a big issue with the workers — Ernie hiring his family and putting them into high-paid positions,” Cordova said.

Allegations surfaced this year about misspent union funds.

Duran’s daughter is Crisanta Duran, who picked up the job as UFCW’s staff attorney not long after she graduated from law school. Duran would later earn a seat in the State House of Representatives, where she served as the first Latina Speaker of the House in Colorado (2017-19). Earlier this year Duran announced that she was mounting a Primary challenge against DeGette, the longest-serving member of Colorado’s Congressional delegation.

Duran kicked off her CO-1 campaign with much fanfare but has failed to gain any momentum against DeGette; Duran has posted a couple of miserable fundraising quarters and lost out on the endorsement of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, which backed DeGette in July.

Given the controversy that surrounded the elder Duran’s departure from UFCW, it was probably unlikely that Crisanta Duran was ever going to earn the support of the grocery workers’ union — but it’s not insignificant that the UFCW decided to publicly back DeGette. In every political campaign, some endorsements mean more than others. For Denver politicos — the sort of voters that DeGette and Duran will be fighting over next spring — this is one of those endorsements.

45 Shares

Another Brutal Fundraising Quarter for Duran in CO-1

Fundraising reports for the second quarter of 2019 are now available, so it’s time to take another look at the Democratic Primary in CO-1 (Denver) between Crisanta Duran and incumbent Rep. Diana DeGette.

The good news for Duran is that she had a better fundraising quarter than she did her first time around. The bad news is rough: Duran is still nowhere close to a six-figure fundraising quarter, and she’s spending almost as much money as she’s bringing in to her campaign.

DeGette’s $207k fundraising quarter is unimpressive, to say the least, but it is nevertheless $50k more than Duran has raised during her entire campaign. Here’s how we assessed Duran’s campaign in April after her miserable initial fundraising performance:

Momentum and money go hand-in-hand in politics. Duran has neither, and she’s now in a position where she’ll need a very strong Q2 just to remain somewhat viable heading into the dead summer of an off-year. If Duran doesn’t at least quadruple her Q1 numbers, what had looked to be an interesting race will be all but over a year before the Primary Election.

This fundraising disparity, combined with DeGette’s endorsement from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus earlier this month, will make it difficult for Duran to continue to mount a real challenge in CO-1. The only real mystery left here is to see how long Duran can even stay in the race.

It ain’t over until it’s over, as the saying goes…but this is about as close as it gets.

8 Shares

Impeachment: What You Want, What You Can Get, What Wins

President Donald Trump.

The Denver Post’s Justin Wingerter has a good write-up today on the views of Colorado Democrats on impeaching President Donald Trump following the release of a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report–a report that is considerably worse for Trump after digestion than Attorney General William Barr led the nation to believe.

Despite this, most of the delegation agrees that the moment is not yet ripe to commence impeachment proceedings:

“The Mueller report details many instances in which President Trump actively attempted to interfere with the investigation into his campaign’s potentially treasonous ties with Russia,” said Rep. Diana DeGette, a Denver Democrat. “The president’s actions are clearly beneath the high personal, ethical and legal standards our founders envisioned in the executive branch, and, as such, constitute a prima facie case to trigger an impeachment investigation.”

…When asked if there is enough evidence in the redacted Mueller report to justify impeachment, Rep. Ed Perlmutter paused for seven seconds and sighed before answering. “My guess is, if we could see what’s been redacted, that there would be enough. [Pols emphasis] But I don’t know that because it’s been redacted,” he said, adding that there is “pretty damning” evidence Trump obstructed justice.

Perlmutter, a former critic of [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, largely agrees with her on the next steps for House Democrats: Further investigate alleged instances of wrongdoing by Trump and his campaign, such as a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower, and only act on impeachment if new details come to light that warrant impeachment.

Politically, there are a number of competing factors in play. Democratic grassroots desire to strike a blow against the President via an impeachment proceeding is extremely strong, to the point of harshly condemning Democrats like Speaker Nancy Pelosi who have expressed caution about plunging headlong into impeachment.

At the same time, the threshold of wrongdoing that would be required to induce the GOP-controlled Senate to actually vote to convict the President is simply unknowable. We’re pretty sure it’s not as high as Trump thinks–if he shot someone in the middle of 5th Avenue, we’re inclined to think the Senate would vote to remove him from office. But the GOP’s collective tolerance for Trump’s malfeasance, particularly with regard to this issue, makes the chances of getting even 50 votes–let alone the supermajority needed to remove Trump from office–very unlikely.

If impeachment is unlikely to succeed, the next question for Democrats to resolve is whether proceeding with the attempt has political value ahead of the 2020 elections. There’s a good argument that a failed impeachment attempt will do more to shore up Trump’s base of support than erode it, much like Barr’s initial four-page spin of the Mueller report gave many Republicans the pretext they needed to ignore everything that came out afterward. And the closer we get to the 2020 election cycle, the more straightforward remedy of simply voting Trump out arguably makes impeachment talk a distraction.

For Democrats who are old enough to remember when Republicans impeached Bill Clinton for lying about a blow job, having the patience to forego returning the favor over Trump’s infinitely more serious offenses is a lot to ask.

But in the long run, much like Colorado Republicans wasting time and money on recalls instead of preparing for the next general election, keeping Democratic eyes on the 2020 prize could well be the smart play.

0 Shares

Crisanta Duran Fails to Clear Very Low Bar in Q1

Artist rendition of Crisanta Duran’s Congressional campaign.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) is the “dean” of the Colorado Congressional delegation, a title she has earned by consistently winning re-election in what has long been a safe Democratic seat in CO-1. First elected to her Denver district in 1996, DeGette has been in the House of Representatives 10 years longer than her nearest contemporaries; both Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) and Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County) were first elected in 2006.

Despite that longevity — or perhaps because of it — DeGette is facing a potentially tough Democratic Primary in 2020 from former State House Speaker Crisanta Duran. Or, at least, that was the thinking before Q1 fundraising numbers were announced this week.

DeGette raised a piddling $138,000 in Q1, a shockingly-weak sum for someone looking at a third consecutive Primary challenge. Fortunately for her, Duran only managed to raise about half of that amount. As Denverite reports, Duran’s campaign is trying desperately to spin a $70,000 quarter as a positive outcome:

“This is a great start to our campaign for change,” Duran said in the release. “We received contributions from people of all walks of life and from an inclusive cross-section of leaders and grassroots supporters throughout our community.”

Duran isn’t accepting money from corporate political action committees, a fact her campaign is using to set her apart from DeGette, who is accepting money from these types of PACs. Duran campaign consultant Steve Welchert said in the release that they “don’t expect to keep up with DeGette’s corporate PAC machine, but today’s report shows we’ll build a strong, winning campaign.”

Um…no. You can’t shine a $70,000 turd.

Duran’s campaign is quick to point out that she didn’t have the benefit of a full fundraising quarter after announcing her campaign for CO-1 in late February. This is true, but also irrelevant; if Duran wasn’t confident that she could put up a good fundraising quarter, then she shouldn’t have announced her candidacy so early. This is pretty much the worst-case scenario for Duran’s campaign.

Momentum and money go hand-in-hand in politics. Duran has neither, and she’s now in a position where she’ll need a very strong Q2 just to remain somewhat viable heading into the dead summer of an off-year. If Duran doesn’t at least quadruple her Q1 numbers, what had looked to be an interesting race will be all but over a year before the Primary Election.

2 Shares

Let’s Talk About the U.S. Senate Race!

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is among the most endangered Republican incumbents in the country. We know this because hardly a week goes by without some news outlet mentioning his vulnerability in 2020. While the 2020 election is still 607 days away (as of today), we’re less than a year out from the party caucuses in Colorado, which means the clock is ticking as potential candidates jockey for position in 2019.

Gardner officially kicked off his Senate re-election campaign last month with a high-dollar fundraiser in Washington D.C., but he has yet to announce any sort of campaign launch in Colorado. We’re still not convinced that Gardner will ultimately be on the ballot in November 2020; sharing a slate with Donald Trump is going to be rough for any Republican, particularly in a state like Colorado where Democrats ran roughshod over Republicans in 2018.

Gardner is not the kind of politician who joins a fight he isn’t confident about winning, and his polling numbers have been in the toilet for several years now. His increasingly-close embrace of Trump – Gardner was one of the first big Republican names to endorse Trump’s re-election — won’t help him in a state carried by Hillary Clintonin 2016. His strange waffling on Trump’s “emergency declaration” for border wall money suggests that he’s also worried about a potential Republican Primary.

But enough speculation about Gardner for now. He’s still the incumbent and he says he’s running for re-election, so let’s focus instead on the Democratic side of the aisle, where the likely 2020 nominee isn’t even a candidate yet…

 

(more…)

3 Shares

Take Me to Your…Um, What’s the Word I’m Looking For?

The word of the day is…

Former State House Speaker Crisanta Duran kicked off her campaign for Congress in CO-1 (Denver) on Sunday with an exclusive interview with Denver7. Today, Duran rolled out a nice endorsement in former Denver Mayor Federico Peña.

As Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, it’s not hard to figure out what message apparently polled the best in her pre-campaign research (all bold text is Colorado Pols’ emphasis):

Duran declined to point out policy differences with DeGette, who was first elected to the Denver-based 1st Congressional District seat in 1996, but said she wants to let voters in the heavily Democratic district decide if it’s time for a different style of leadership

…”I have appreciated the work Congresswoman DeGette has done,” Duran said. “I do think, though, in these time when we have Donald Trump in the White House, we must evaluate how we move this country forward and make sure we have the right leaders in the right place at the right time.”

She added: “These times in particular, we need to make sure we’re doing everything in our power to be able to lead. I have a new and different style of leadership that I could bring to Congressional District 1. At the end of the day, it’s up to the voters to decide who is the best leader moving forward.”

Her leadership style, Duran said, involves listening to constituents.

“Building community is very important to me and is a different leadership style, I think. I also think that during the time that I’ve served, I’ve never shied away from tough issues,” Duran said. “In this time we need leaders who do things not for political convenience, but for political courage. It’s not a time to be shy, it’s not a time to play it safe, it’s a time to be bold. And I think it should be up to the people of Congressional District 1 to be able to cast their vote (for) who is the best leader to move the district forward.”

In fairness to Duran, words like “conductor,” “skipper,” and “pacesetter” probably don’t pop as much with focus groups.

0 Shares

State Assemblies End; The Big Line Updates

With both the Democratic and Republican state assemblies/conventions now behind us, we’ve made a multitude of updates to The Big Line. If you’re looking for information on who made the ballot and who didn’t, you’ll find those updates in The Big Line. If you’re looking for a good restaurant in Colorado, you will not find that information in The Big Line. If you’re looking for an analysis of the 2018 races for Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, and Congress…it’s in The Big Line.

You may now commence with your complaints…

(P.S.: The Big Line)

0 Shares

Colorado Democratic Assembly Results

Colorado Democrats assembled at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield from Friday, April 13, to Saturday, April 14, 2018. The crowd of almost 4,000 Democrats were enthusiastic, engaged, yet civil (in contrast to the stunning back-stabbing and skullduggery at the Republican assembly) . The CDP Assembly was superbly well-organized, with balloting completed in about a half hour, and counted in less than two hours.  Kudos to Chair Morgan Carroll and all of the CDP staff and volunteers.

All of the  congressional districts held their own assemblies; many candidates had primary challengers or Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents. In this “blue wave” year, no office held by the GOP can be considered to be off-limits. Democrats in Colorado put forward a slate of phenomenal candidates.

The official results from the Colorado Democratic Party (CDP) for statewide offices are:

CU Regent-at-Large
Lesley Smith: 3,229 votes (100.00%)

Based on these results, Lesley Smith has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for CU Regent-at-Large.

Treasurer
Bernard Douthit: 1,074 votes (31.50%)
Charles Scheibe: 557 votes (16.34%)
Dave Young: 1,778 votes (52.16%)

Based on these results, Bernard Douthit and Dave Young have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Treasurer.

Secretary of State
Jena Griswold: 3,352 votes (98.44%)
Phillip Villard: 53 votes (1.56%)

Based on these results, Jena Griswold has qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Secretary of State.

Attorney General
Amy Padden: 360 votes (10.54%)
Joe Salazar: 1,249 votes (36.58%)
Phil Weiser: 1,805 votes (52.87%)

Based on these results, Joe Salazar and Phil Weiser have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Attorney General. Amy Padden can qualify for the ballot if the Secretary of State determines that she has collected the requisite number of valid signatures.

Governor
Cary Kennedy: 2,101 votes (61.65%)
Jared Polis: 1,120 votes (32.86%)
Erik Underwood: 187 votes (5.49%)

Based on these results, Cary Kennedy and Jared Polis have qualified for the Democratic primary ballot for Governor.

NOTE: These are not all of the candidates that are running for these particular offices. Some candidates have chosen to qualify for the ballot by submitting petition signatures instead of going through the caucus-assembly process.

Here are the CD results in order: ( rounded to nearest 1%). I’ll update this list with numbers as I find them.

I’ve included my notes on the assemblies I attended and on the speakers I heard.

CD1: (Denver metro)Diana Degette – 61% . Her primary opponent, Saira Rao , got 37%, and  will be on the ballot. Rep. Degette has been a reliable Democratic vote for many years in a safe district – I think Rao’s candidacy will be a needed wake-up call to be more progressive and to offer better constituent services. Rao is sharp, a great speaker, and has energized the progressive base. Degette attended her CD1 assembly on April 13 , did not attend nor speak at the state assembly April 14.

CD2: (Boulder area – Jared Polis vacated the seat to run for Governor) Joe Negeuse – 91% Joe gave a helluva speech, as he always does. His personal story touches many people. Boulder will be well represented by him, as he’ll certainly win the primary, and almost certainly the general election. His primary opponent, Mark Williams, did not make the ballot.  The GOP has put up a couple of “Nicks” against Neguse: Nick Thomas and Nicholas Morse. I don’t know who won the GOP assembly vote, but they won’t beat “the Goose”.

CD3: (most of the western slope and SW CO – currently held by Scott Tipton) Diane Mitsch Bush had the highest delegate vote with 56%; Karl Harlon also cleared the 30% threshold with 41%, and will be on the ballot.

CD4: (Mostly NE CO – current incumbent Ken Buck) The Doctors were in the house! Veterinary doctors Karen McCormick and Chase Kohne each had throngs of energetic supporters on stage for their nominations. Each gave a rousing speech:

Kohne’s best line, in my opinion: “If you want to shoot an AR15, go down to the recruiting office and join the military.”

McCormick’s nominators are emphasizing Dr McCormick’s support for Dreamers and immigrants. Karen McCormick emphasized Cannabis, immigrant rights, healthcare, union support, bipartisan cooperation to get laws passed. Full disclosure: I live in CD4. I’m voting for McCormick, will be fine with Kohne as well.

CD5 (El Paso area, currently held by Doug Lamborn) Stephany Rose Spaulding won the delegate count and will be on the ballot. I don’t know about the other CD5 candidates, whom you can read about at the EPCO Young Dems site.  It’s great to see so many young Democrats running from what has6been the Tea Party GOP’s bastion in Colorado.

CD6 Aurora / Arapahoe County area, currently held by Mike Coffman. Jason Crow won top ballot with 64% , while Levi Tilleman will also be on the ballot with 35%. I saw Crow speak to the assembly, and found his persona to be authentic and appealing. PPP surveyed 761 voters, and found that Crow polled 44-39 against Coffman in Febrary 2018.

CD7 Ed Perlmutter, the Democratic incumbent, did not attend the Assembly as far as I know. Ed, a very popular Congressman in his district,  is not  being primaried in this election.

 

Author’s note – this diary started as an open thread based on my  live blogging at the Colorado State Assembly. I’ve updated it with ballot results.

 

 

0 Shares

DeGette called a “White Supremacist” by Republican opponent

(Oh, good, more Casper Stockham — promoted by Colorado Pols)

Denver congressional candidate Casper Stockham is accusing his Democratic opponent, U.S. Rep Diana DeGette (D-CO), of being a “white supremacist.”

Asked about the comment, which he made on Facebook last week, Stockham told the Colorado Times Recorder he thinks DeGette “wants to help black people because they are lesser than her.”

“She believes the white race is higher than the black race,” Stockham told me, explaing that “black people don’t need government assistance.”

[DeGette] doesn’t want equal status,” he continued. “She wants to help them because she thinks they are lesser than her.”

Asked if he has evidence to back up the accusation, Stockham, whose extreme Facebook posts have drawn attention before, said:

“It’s my opinion, based upon how I see her operate. It’s just like people calling Trump a racist. I haven’t seen any evidence of it. But that’s their opinion. And if it’s the majority of the people’s opinion, there is nothing I can do about it. But it is absolutely my opinion that she feels the white race is higher than the black race.”

Stockham, who is African American, made the Facebook comment in response to a post by DeGette’s Democratic primary opponent Saira Rao, who called told ColoradoPolitics.com reporter Ernest Luning that “we have white supremacists running the country.”

Stockham, who lost to DeGette in 2016 and is the likely GOP nominee for this year, responded to Rao on Facebook with, “I agree with Saira but the White Supremacist Elite she is fighting to replace is the real problem.”

Asked to explain her comment about “white sumpremacists running the country,” Rao spokeswoman JoyAnn Ruscha said via email:

“In 2017, we saw candidates of color, LGBTQ individuals, millennials, immigrants, and people from all walks of life beat the odds and swipe seats from Republicans. If we want to take our government back from Donald Trump, we need to build a diverse and united party that looks more like the America we love.”

This is not the first time in our history that white supremacists have run our country – but we can make it the last.

DeGette’s campaign declined comment.

0 Shares

Rep. Diana DeGette: #MeToo

Rep. Diana DeGette (D).

The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports on Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver’s revelations yesterday that she was sexually harassed by ex-Rep. Bob Filner, the San Diego Democrat whose career imploded after leaving Congress under allegations of serial sexual misconduct:

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette said Monday that she is among the many women who have been sexually harassed while serving in Congress — telling MSNBC that former U.S. Rep. Bob Filner of California groped her while the two Democrats were in an elevator.

“Some years ago, I was in an elevator and then-Congressman Bob Filner tried to pin me to the door of the elevator and kiss me and I pushed him away,” said the Denver lawmaker in an on-air interview…

“When these advances happen, they’re brushed under the rug,” DeGette said. “This is one reason why I think it’s so important that we update our House employment rules.”

A DeGette aide said the Colorado lawmaker did not file a complaint or take official action in either incident she mentioned.

The straightforward reason why Rep. DeGette would not have reported this incident is the fact that Rep. Filner was a much higher-ranking member than herself. In an environment where such incidents were routinely swept under the rug, the controversy caused by reporting the offense could well have had its own negative impact on her career. That’s an explanation reporters have gotten from women in Colorado who have been subjected to sexual harassment in the General Assembly as well. In the end, the negative consequences of standing up for one’s self over sexual harassment are perceived to outweigh the offense.

All we can say to that is it should never, ever be that way. And hopefully one outcome of the present upheaval over sexual harassment across all levels of society is that survivors will never have to weigh the repercussions of seeking justice against their right to seek justice ever again.

0 Shares

The Get More Smarter Show: April 21, 2017

Today on the Get More Smarter Show: your hosts Jason Bane and Alan Franklin talk through the latest in Colorado political news, the governor’s race, and 7 seconds on Brexit! Then stay tuned for a must-watch interview with Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver, the senior member of Colorado’s congressional delegation.

To jump directly to our interview with Congresswoman Diana DeGette, start at 14:02.

Catch up with previous Get More Smarter Show episodes here–and thanks for watching.

0 Shares

Don’t let 80,000 Coloradans down

The following is from Dr. Christine Gilroy of Colorado Health OP:

“I am writing to explain what you will see in the news in the next few days.

The feds have quietly been shutting down co-ops in other states over the last 3 months. New York and Nevada were most recent. I am speaking now, as they have since issued gag orders to these co-ops.

The reason these co-ops were closed was that they were successful in the Individual Market. New York had 200,000 members.

Start up insurance requires 3 years to build Risk Based Capital. Starting Co-ops required an initial start-up loan, the feds promised second year funds to Risk Based Capital, which they reneged on in the CROMNIBUS budget of 12/9/14.

They told us at the same time we could not accept Venture Capital loans or Angel Investor dollars that help other start-ups through their initial capitalization period.

The Feds also promised to support the new individual market for 2 years through Reinsurance of the Risk Corridors. This meant that insurance companies would be incentivized to take all comers through the exchanges, and more insurance companies would participate to dilute the risk.

Today they broke their promise to Colorado, and denied us the Risk Corridor funds we were promised. They offered 12%. This affects every company that participated in the individual exchanges, not just Colorado HealthOP. Colorado HealthOP only needed 35% risk payment, and would have required no further infusions of federal money to be profitable in 2016, and are currently on track to pay back our loans — with interest –before they were due.

Short-sighted partisan politics are harming the people of Colorado.

The ACA was successful in lowering individual health premiums throughout Colorado. The Colorado HealthOP is part of that.

Please, call your Congresspeople. 80,000 Coloradans rely on Colorado HealthOP to provide access to affordable care. Let’s make sure they keep their promises to the people of this state.

0 Shares

DeGette Skipping Bibi Netanyahu’s Speech

Benjamin Netanyahu.

Benjamin Netanyahu.

Controversy is building in Washington over an address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scheduled for March 3rd–just weeks before Israeli elections, and not invited by President Barack Obama as a breach of diplomatic protocol. Netanyahu's address, pertaining to negotiations with Iran over that country's nuclear program, is controversial in Israel for the same reason, with a majority of Israeli voters saying the speech should be cancelled. Reuters:

The speech has caused controversy in Israel and the United States, where the Democrats and the White House are angry that the Republican speaker, John Boehner, invited Netanyahu to speak at a sensitive time in the nuclear negotiations between Iran and six big powers including Washington, and only two weeks before Israel's closely fought March 17 election.

Following complaints from opposition parties, election chief Salim Joubran decided that Netanyahu's address should be broadcast with a five-minute delay in Israel, giving news editors time to cut any statements deemed partisan…

President Barack Obama, at odds with Netanyahu over the Israeli prime minister's criticism of the nuclear talks, will not meet him during his visit, saying it is a breach of protocol to receive a foreign leader before an election.

As of now, most members of Colorado's delegation reportedly plan to attend Netanyahu's speech, including all the Republicans, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, and Rep. Jared Polis. Rep. Ed Perlmutter hasn't made a public announcement yet. The one Colorado representative who has said she will not attend Netanyahu's speech is…well, we just gave it away, it's Rep. Diana DeGette. Rep. DeGette has a scheduling conflict on March 3rd:

Congresswoman DeGette will not be able to attend Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech. She has had a long-standing scheduling commitment that morning to address a clinical research group about her 21st Century Cures initiative, and we just learned this morning that the Prime Minister’s speech is scheduled for 11:00, which creates a conflict for her.

Other than a highly one-sided report in the Boulder Jewish News, DeGette's decision to not attend Netanyahu's address hasn't received much press. We expect that will change as long as the speech isn't cancelled, that others will be given many chances to comment, and that Rep. Perlmutter's decision whether or not to attend will be closely watched. It's a longstanding presumption in American politics that categorical public support for Israel is mandatory for any real political viability. The problem with this address to a Republican-dominated Congress is that Netanyahu is making a partisan issue out of something that historically hasn't been. And it's forcing a conflict of loyalties that American supporters of Israel haven't been made to reckon with.

In Israel, Netanyahu has been roundly criticized even by some of his right-wing allies, mostly for appearing to put his ties to the Republican Party ahead of the close relationship Israel has always had with the United States. [Pols emphasis]

It should be noted that attending a speech is not the same thing as agreeing with it. But insofar as Netanyahu is involving Colorado politicians in Israeli domestic politics without their consent, we're obliged to point out that not every friend of Israel is a Likudnik.

Or, for that matter, a Republican.

0 Shares

The Folly of Denver’s Residential Requirements Effort

There is an effort underway in Denver to re-establish a degree of residency requirement that may appear on the May 2015 ballot. This is a stupid idea, for reasons that we'll explain in a moment. But first, we'll let Jon Murray of the Denver Post explain the trumped-up controversy:

Denver voters long ago repealed a requirement that city workers live within city limits, but a group of residents is working to revive the rule for mayoral appointees.

They're aiming to place a charter amendment on the ballot for next May's municipal election, when Mayor Michael Hancock is up for re-election...

…For about 20 years, landlocked Denver had the rule for all city employees, from top political appointees to janitors.

But in 1998, Denver voters decided, 58 percent to 41 percent, to expand the residency rule significantly, allowing city employees to live not only in Denver, but also in six nearby counties.

In 2001, Denver voters repealed the residency requirement altogether, 51 percent to 48 percent.

SWDenver-Map2

You’re not in Denver anymore. Or are you?

The editorial board of the Denver Post weighed in over the weekend, calling the residency requirement "a step too far" and "unnecessary," and we wholeheartedly agree with this sentiment. We have no problem with requiring elected officials to live in the area in which they seek to represent, but there's a good reason that Denver scrapped this requirement for city workers in general.

Denver's City and County boundaries evolved in a weird way over the last century, which you can see from the map at right. There are official Denver tentacles that stretch wayyy outside reasonable boundaries, with little pockets of the City and County existing as municipal islands in the middle of Jefferson County.

The reason that Denver County juts well past Sheridan to the Southwest is because old residency requirements once required all city employees — including those working for the fire and police departments — to live within official Denver boundaries. As Metro Denver grew into the vast sprawl that exists today, many of these Denver employees wanted to move into newer, and more affordable, developments popping up in nearby unincorporated Jefferson County.

As a workaround solution so that Denver employees could keep their jobs and their new homes, odd sections of land were annexed into Denver — the metropolitan mountain moving to Muhammad, to borrow a phrase. This is a middle finger to the entire argument in favor of residential requirements, which is the idea that City and County employees will be more attuned to the needs and desires of Denver so long as you extend a boundary on a map.

Today, these neighborhoods are so far removed from the City and County of Denver that residents spend most of their lives (and money) in Jefferson County, even if their property taxes go somewhere else. Denver residents wisely voted to drop the requirements in 1991, but now some folks want to reestablish these requirements for mayoral appointees for petty reasons. This is a slippery slope that can quickly become problematic as more and more levels of local government get obsessed with the relevance of residency. Employees of Jefferson County are not required to live within the county boundaries, nor should they be. We can only imagine how it would stifle diversity if we required all government employees to live in specific areas.

The Denver Metropolitan Area is more than just the boundaries of its capitol city…and that's a good thing. If you don't like a particular mayoral appointee, then you can take it up with the Mayor's office; requiring an employee to move into the dotted-line sections of a map isn't going to change anything.

 

0 Shares

Big Line Updates: Democrats Appear to Have Slight Advantage

As Election Day gets closer and closer, we're updating The Big Line on a weekly basis. Remember: Percentages listed indicate our view of the win/loss outcome only (we are not attempting to guess margin of victory).

You can always access the full Big Line 2014, but below we provide a bit more detail about our thoughts on various races.
 

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (62%)
Cory Gardner (38%)
Senator Mark Udall has seen his momentum slow down of late, but that probably has more to do with the natural tightening of this race as October draws near. Public polling in Colorado has become about as reliable as a Ouija Board, though if the final outcome is within the general margin of error of most voter surveys, the data is largely irrelevant anyway. For Congressman Cory Gardner, the one thing that has yet to change remains his biggest problem: He just has too many bad votes on too many important issues. Gardner's campaign also seems to have no idea how to go after Udall effectively; they've been changing tactics like the rest of us change socks.

When all is said and done (or insert cliche of your choice), we always come back to the same question: If you had to gamble everything you had on predicting the winner of this race, would you really choose Gardner?

Neither would we.

 

GOVERNOR
John Hickenlooper (60%)
Bob Beauprez (40%)

This race continues to be one of the stranger contests we can remember because of its relatively low profile. Republican Bob Beauprez hasn't run a particularly strong, or interesting, campaign thus far — but perhaps it's enough to ask that his campaign doesn't crater as completely as it did in 2006. Governor John Hickenlooper, meanwhile, has been largely invisible for the last few months. No matter how you look at the race, it's hard to envision Beauprez actually ending up in the Governor's Mansion.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL
Cynthia Coffman (51%)
Don Quick (49%)
We've had Quick at the top of the Line for a very long time, so what's different? Nothing, really. In fact, it will be hard (post-election) to explain the outcome of this race no matter what happens in November. If this race were taking place in a bubble, we'd give the edge to Quick. But if Democrats win seats for Senate and Governor, history suggests that voters will split their ballot and pick Republicans for other statewide spots.

 

CD-6
Andrew Romanoff (55%)
Mike Coffman (45%)
There may still be a "Coffman" in elected office come January; for the first time in 25 years, we don't think it will be Mike. In their third debate of the campaign, Democrat Andrew Romanoff completely demolished Congressman Mike Coffman. One debate does not a campaign make (or something like that), but the momentum in this race is unmistakably on the side of Romanoff. Coffman's campaign has been insisting that their guy is ahead in internal polling numbers — just don't ask for proof.


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

 

0 Shares

Big Line Updates; Now, with Percentages!

We have occasionally changed the appearance of The Big Line from representing fractional odds to presenting percentages. It's a matter of preference, of course, but as Election Day nears and Colorado Pols attracts more and new readers, we figured now would be a good time to switch again to percentages.

Here's what we're currently thinking as to the main movers in the top races in Colorado. For the first time this cycle, we've also added Lines for State Senate and State House majorities, respectively.

U.S. SENATE
Mark Udall (65%)
Cory Gardner (35%)

Gardner has been throwing multiple messages at the wall of late, which is typically the sign of a campaign that doesn't feel confident in the direction it is headed. There's a saying in football that if you are rotating more than one quarterback into the game, then you don't really have a quarterback. If you're a Gardner fan, this is a very difficult question to answer: What is his path to victory here?

 

GOVERNOR
John Hickenlooper (68%)
Bob Beauprez (32%)

While there has never been a point in this race where it really felt like Gov. Hickenlooper was in trouble, Hick has made enough errors that it has provided Beauprez with an opportunity. Still, Beauprez can't win just by running a decent race; if Hick stops his stumble, there's not enough room for Beauprez to squeeze past in November.
 

ATTORNEY GENERAL, STATE TREASURER, SECRETARY OF STATE
With so much money going into races for the U.S. Senate and CD-6, there will be little oxygen left in the room for candidates in the other statewide races after Governor. It's difficult to tell at this stage whether any of the candidates will be able to do enough to make their own luck.
 

CD-6 (Aurora-ish)
Andrew Romanoff (54%)
Mike Coffman (46%)

We wrote earlier about our belief that Countdown Coffman is underway following incumbent Rep. Coffman's boorish behavior in last week's debates. We've been hearing consistent buzz that Romanoff is now rising steadily while Coffman seeks the momentum he needs to prevent a complete collapse.
 

STATE SENATE MAJORITY
DEMOCRATS (55%)
REPUBLICANS (45%)

We usually wait until this point in the cycle to attempt handicapping state legislative outcomes, but our analysis is similar to what we anticipated in the aftermath of the June Primary. Tea Party victories in two key Senate districts (SD-19 and SD-22) make winning the majority an uphill battle for Republicans.


STATE HOUSE MAJORITY
DEMOCRATS (75%)
REPUBLICANS (25%)

The ballot wasn't even completely settled until recently, but the direction of this battle has been clear for some time. Republicans have had difficulty even finding candidates for 2014; the GOP will be lucky not to lose a seat or two at this point.


Check out the full Big Line 2014 or comment below.

0 Shares

Gardner: Insurance Website Troubles A Big Fat Conspiracy

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Federal contractors responsible for the so-far notoriously glitchy HealthCare.gov, the health insurance marketplace website set up under the Affordable Care Act to provide insurance options in states that chose not to set up a site themselves, today testified before the GOP-controlled House Energy and Commerce Committee. They were there to answer for the considerable trouble the federal exchange site has experienced since launch–far more than in states like Colorado who built our own insurance exchanges. As Politico reports, both Republicans and Democrats had pointed questions about the federal exchange website's embarrassing failures:

Diana DeGette of Colorado agreed. “I want to stress that for the Affordable Care Act to work, these problems need to be fixed, and these problems need to be fixed fast,” she said. “We need to see clear examples of improvement, and we need a timeline for when it will be functional.”

While some Republicans had constructive questions, others couldn't resist taking political potshots that had more to do with their longstanding dogmatic opposition to health care reform that the subject at hand. Some veered into the downright silly with their (to put it mildly) highly speculative conclusions. We're sorry to report that includes Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado:

(more…)

0 Shares

Obama Asks Congress For Permission To Bomb Syria

UPDATE: CBS4 Denver has a new report on fresh skepticism from Rep. Mike Coffman today, including an interesting new possible GOP line of attack: should Obama not have gone to Congress then?

Coffman says the delay in striking Assad has wasted precious time.

“The Assad government has had all the time in the world to move their assets around so they don’t present themselves as easy targets,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

Coffman is not gung-ho for a strike. Not until it’s proven to him it would not lead to a protracted military engagement. He also wonders if Assad is chased from power, what then?

This wouldn't be the first time President Obama has been damned if he does and damned if he doesn't, of course.

—–

US Navy photo

US Navy photo

As the Washington Post reports:

Syria on Sunday gloated over a "historic American retreat," deriding President Barack Obama for his decision to delay what had appeared to be imminent military strikes and dealing a further blow to U.S. credibility among the Syrian opposition and its allies.

The announcement Saturday by Obama that he would seek congressional approval for any U.S. military intervention in Syria, effectively pushing back any potential strike for at least 10 days, was seized upon by Syrian officials and state media, presenting it as a victory for the regime…

Back on the home front, there's bipartisan support in the Colorado congressional delegation for President Barack Obama's choice to seek congressional approval ahead of any military action by the United States against Syria, though from our read of the statements issued by lawmakers, considerably less evident appetite for actually going to war. Colorado Springs Gazette:

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Reps. Doug Lamborn and Scott Tipton, applauded the president's plan to put the matter before Congress.

"I approve of the president consulting with Congress and seeking congressional support on this important issue. I will be gathering many facts before making any decision," Lamborn, a Colorado Springs Republican, wrote in an email to The Gazette.

Bennet, a Democrat, also stressed in a statement to The Gazette the need for Congress to weigh its options carefully.

"Syria's use of chemical weapons is deplorable. Congress will review the evidence presented by the administration and hold a serious debate about options," he wrote. "We must consider the enormous challenges in the region and the complexity of the situation that includes a military already stretched thin, a nation in civil war, and a region in transition."

9NEWS carried reaction from Rep. Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis: 

(more…)

0 Shares

Colorado House Republicans Unite…To Pass Abortion Ban

Politico:

The House Tuesday passed a bill that would ban most abortions nationwide after 20 weeks. The most far-reaching abortion legislation in the House in a decade, it was passed 228-196, mostly along party lines.

The vote is largely symbolic: The bill will be dead on arrival in the Senate. And the White House has already threatened to veto the “fetal pain” legislation, which is based on the controversial assertion that a fetus can feel pain at that stage of development…

Anti-abortion Republicans are hoping to capitalize on public outrage about Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell’s murder trial, which captured national headlines. Franks’s original bill was crafted to outlaw late term abortions in Washington, D.C., and it failed in the House last year under a procedure that needed a two-thirds vote for passage. But the Gosnell verdict sparked outrage and reinvigorated activists, and a few days after the conviction Franks broadened his legislation to apply nationwide.

Opposing it, Democrats supporting abortion rights are stoking liberal anger over the “war on women” and chiding the GOP for spending its time on a divisive social agenda instead of focusing on jobs. They said the bill is unconstitutional and distracting.

The Los Angeles Times has response from Democrats including Rep. Diana DeGette of Denver:

“I thought we had established this last fall with the election. Americans are tired of Congress taking up extreme and divisive legislation targeted at women’s health,” Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said at a news conference before the vote. “Many of our Republican colleagues don’t seem to have gotten that message.” [Pols emphasis]

A recent Gallup poll found that Americans’ views on abortion had changed little after the Gosnell trial, with 78% saying it should be legal under certain circumstances, compared with 20% who said it should be illegal in all circumstances.

All four Colorado House Republicans, Reps. Scott Tipton, Mike Coffman, Cory Gardner, and Doug Lamborn voted for this abortion ban bill. Rep. Lamborn went a fully expected step further and signed on as a co-sponsor. Take note of Rep. Tipton vote for this bill, as he has usually shied away from abortion controversies during his time in office, and could face a woman opponent in 2014–making this a vote that could come back to haunt him. Perhaps even more interesting is Rep. Coffman's vote in favor–not that it's all that surprising, since Coffman was a co-sponsor of Rep. Todd Akin's "legitimate rape" bill, 2011's H.R. 3. But this was an opportunity for Coffman to include reproductive choice in the slate of issues he is "reinventing" himself around, setting himself up as the moderate swing-district New Coffman®.

But much like his recent vote against DREAMers, Old Coffman appears to be the "decider." And as for the very good advice given to all Republicans after 2012's defeats, to steer clear of base-pleasing but otherwise self injurious social wedge issues? Now you have their answer, folks.

0 Shares