Trump Admin Fumbles Vaccine Distribution Again

President Trump and Gov. Jared Polis.

The Washington Post reports today, the word from the Trump administration earlier in the week that a “reserve” of COVID-19 vaccine doses would be released to the states under expedited new guidelines designed to get more Americans vaccinated faster, which had spurred hopes that the vaccine logjam would finally ease up, was in error:

When Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced this week that the federal government would begin releasing coronavirus vaccine doses held in reserve for second shots, no such reserve existed, according to state and federal officials briefed on distribution plans. The Trump administration had already begun shipping out what was available beginning at the end of December, taking second doses directly off the manufacturing line.

Now, health officials across the country who had anticipated their extremely limited vaccine supply as much as doubling beginning next week are confronting the reality that their allocations will not immediately increase, dashing hopes of dramatically expanding access for millions of elderly people and those with high-risk medical conditions. Health officials in some cities and states were informed in recent days about the reality of the situation, while others are still in the dark.

Gov. Jared Polis of Colorado is not happy:

Though it looks to be more a matter of miscommunication and ineptitude than outright treachery, it’s just the latest broken promise from the Trump administration on what should be the highest priority in the nation–the race to vaccinate Americans against COVID-19 as the daily death toll hits an unthinkable 4,000. The US ended 2020 with fewer than 3 million people vaccinated despite a goal set by the administration of 20 million. This is a failure compounding with each passing day, with a direct cost in preventable deaths.

Truly, January 20 cannot come fast enough.

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Cory Gardner’s Last Con Falls Apart

UPDATE: Politico reports that the Colorado delegation isn’t taking this adverse decision lying down:

“This last-minute decision, based entirely on political expediency, will devastate our space capabilities,” [Rep. Doug] Lamborn wrote. “I call on you to use your authority upon taking office as our nation’s commoner-in-chief to reverse this foolish and hastily made decision.”

Separately, Colorado Democrats Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper released a statement saying they will “ensure the Biden administration reviews this purported decision.”

“Just as President Trump is leaving office, Colorado was not selected despite reports that it was the Air Force’s top choice,” the senators wrote. “We believe a process based on the merits will keep Space Command in Colorado. There is no role for politics when it comes to our national security.”

The Pentagon named six finalists to host the headquarters in November after a politically charged search that spanned two dozen states and lasted more than a year. Officials then winnowed it to the bases in Colorado Springs and Huntsville.

Rep. Doug Lamborn condemning President Donald Trump’s announcement as “political expediency” could be the most pointed disagreement Lamborn has ever worked up the nerve to vocalize with Trump–a sign that perhaps Lamborn too has realized the future is not on the Trump Train.

Might this decision be reversed by incoming President Joe Biden? We’ll have to see, but the worm may be turning even as the announcement is made.

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Apparently the reverse is also true.

Colorado Public Radio reports:

The U.S. Space Command will be calling Alabama home permanently — and not Colorado.

Petersen Air Force Base in Colorado Springs was named the temporary headquarters for the combatant command in May 2019 — and it looks like that status won’t have a chance to establish Centennial State roots…

In a statement, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis called the decision “misguided” and said the state’s aerospace security, military heritage, and quality of life makes it the “epicenter of national security space and the only permanent home for U.S. Space Command.”

“Reports that the in-depth military process found Colorado Springs to be the best location for military readiness and cost and recommended Colorado to the President only to be overruled for politically motivated reasons are deeply concerning,” Polis added. [Pols emphasis]

Donald Trump, Cory Gardner at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs last February.

News that the U.S. Space Command’s permanent headquarters would be moving to Huntsville, Alabama instead of bringing jobs and construction money to the Colorado Springs area is a significant blow to the southern Front Range’s economy, which is heavily dependent on the region’s major military installations. During Sen. Cory Gardner’s unsuccessful re-election campaign last year, the prospect of Space Command being permanently located in Colorado was touted by the campaign one of Gardner’s biggest “accomplishments,” and was dangled by President Donald Trump himself at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs last February:

“You are being very strongly considered for the space command, very strongly,” Trump told a capacity crowd of 10,000 inside The Broadmoor World Arena and hundreds more who stood outside in the cold to watch him on a screen set up for the event.

Trump said he will decide where to house the command by the end of 2020, possibly after the November election. The decision was originally due last summer, and the delay has gone unexplained by the Pentagon.

Trump’s implied personal involvement in the decision is a rarity for the White House, which in the past two administrations has steered clear of basing decisions which are generally settled in the Pentagon. [Pols emphasis]

Despite this, as AL.com reports jubilantly, the Air Force insists they didn’t play political favorites:

The Air Force studied sites in numerous states including Alabama and Colorado, where the headquarters is temporarily located. A report in Politico today said Huntsville ranked higher than Colorado in each category of the evaluation. That included cost of living and housing availability off base.

With that said,

The Politico story also quoted a top Air Force official saying the choice was “made in consultation with the White House, [Pols emphasis] senior military commanders, the congressional defense committees and others.”

Either way, at least one local Republican operative couldn’t conceal his glee at seeing Colorado lose out:

Obviously, for everyone in Colorado who wanted this major command permanently located in Colorado Springs with all the economic benefits that entails, this sucks. But it’s clear at this point the promise that a “vote for Cory Gardner is a vote for Space Command” was woefully empty. At best it was a political carrot dangled by Trump to a state his campaign quickly realized was not competitive–and no such largesse could save Gardner, who was all but written off by national Republicans early on in the 2020 cycle.

As for Alabama, we’re inclined to agree that to whatever extent Trump did have sway over this decision, he would certainly try to reward Mo Brooks and Tommy Tuberville for their unwavering loyalty right to the bitter end of Trump’s presidency. With Gardner’s loyalty to Trump there was also “no waver,” but the voters of Colorado rendered the question of Gardner’s loyalty moot. He was useless to Trump in defeat. The only caveat to this we feel obliged to add is some presumption of the best when it comes to the Air Force’s political impartiality, and readers can debate that for themselves.

Perhaps the one upside is Gardner doesn’t have to make excuses about losing Space Command now, and that’s good because we’re pretty sure nobody in Colorado would want to hear them. So long, Cory Gardner, and thanks for even closer to nothing than we thought.

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Recall Polis 2.0: Even More Fail Than We Thought

Here’s the latest update from the failed but still noisy Recall Polis 2.0 campaign this weekend, doing their best to keep the disappointed faithful on board, despite turning in zero signatures to the Secretary of State by the November 13 deadline which (checks today’s date) expired over a month ago:

Although it’s impossible to know if even the number organizers claim above is accurate, this is the first time we’ve seen an estimate from the Recall Polis 2.0 campaign other than the wildly inflated “progress meter” graphics they posted during the 60-day collection period which suggested back in September they already had over 200,000 signatures. For comparison, and again there’s no way to verify any of this because none of the signatures from either campaign were ever turned in for validation, the “Recall Polis 1.0” campaign claimed to have collected “over 300,000” signatures in 2019–still 50% short of the minimum goal. That means even if we accept these numbers at face value, Recall Polis 2.0 collected 100,000 fewer signatures than the first failed attempt, less than one third of what was minimally needed.

With all of this in mind, the idea that a court should grant this campaign any kind of relief or extension when they haven’t come close to meeting the standard is preposterous. At this point, any Republican with an ounce of political sense remaining should see that every dollar and man-hour devoted to this lost cause is wasted. The repeated failure of recall attempts against both Gov. Jared Polis and various Democratic legislatures since 2018 have made a running joke of the recall process in this state, and this latest refusal to accept obvious failure is just making it worse.

Then again…Donald Trump! If no Republican ever admits to losing again, this discussion could be moot. Fortunately, the rest of us have elections and courts and, you know, reality.

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (December 10)

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

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

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

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

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

 

► The United States broke a week-old record by surpassing 3,000 daily deaths from COVID-19. The good news: Americans could be receiving vaccinations within a matter of days. As The New York Times reports:

The Food and Drug Administration’s vaccine advisory panel, composed of independent scientific experts, infectious disease doctors and statisticians, as well as industry and consumer representatives, is meeting all day on Thursday to discuss whether Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine should be authorized by the agency. Although the F.D.A. does not have to follow the advice of the panel, it usually does.

If the experts vote in favor of the vaccine, it will clear the way for the F.D.A. to authorize the vaccine within days and for some health care workers and nursing home residents to begin receiving it early next week.

Earlier this week, career scientists at the F.D.A. published more than 100 pages of analysis of Pfizer’s clinical trial data that showed the vaccine was safe and effective across a variety of demographic groups and also began to show effectiveness after the first of two doses.

Colorado Public Radio and The Denver Post have more on how the State of Colorado plans to prioritize the availability of vaccinations, broken down by Winter, Spring, and Summer stages. The short version is that extremely-high risk health care workers and individuals will get the vaccine first, while the general public probably won’t get stabbed in the arm until early Summer 2021.

Prisoners in Colorado jails have been moved down the priorities list, though as 9News reports, the biggest outbreak in the federal prison system is in the Denver Metro area:

A minimum security federal prison in Jefferson County is experiencing the largest outbreak in the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) system.

Out of 900 inmates at FCI Englewood, 451 presently have COVID-19, and 50 out of 251 staff have COVID right now, according to BOP.

 

► Scrooge McConnell appears to have scuttled a coronavirus relief package. Again.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) is still officially on the job until Democrat John Hickenlooper is sworn in as his replacement on January 3. But as Ernest Luning reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, Gardner hasn’t really been doing his job for weeks now:

The email contact form on Gardner’s website disappeared soon after the election, and the “email Cory” link at the bottom of the site’s other pages leads to a 404 page that says, “404. We’re sorry. The page you requested cannot be found.”…

…Gardner’s eight in-state offices in Colorado shuttered for good on Friday, according to a message reached by calling the senator’s Pueblo office. Multiple calls to each of his offices, including the one in Washington, D.C., went unanswered this week.

A Gardner spokeswoman didn’t respond to a request for comment.

While it is not at all unusual for Gardner’s office to avoid comment — on pretty much any question — it is not standard practice for outgoing U.S. Senators to just stop doing their job:

Four of the other five departing senators had functioning email contact forms on their Senate websites on Wednesday, and the fifth, retiring Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, greeted constituents with messages urging them to get in touch with other members of the state’s delegation…

Spokeswomen for U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette and Jason Crow said they’d be happy to help out constituents who can’t reach Gardner’s office. [Pols emphasis]

► Colorado is one of 46 states that have joined an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook. As The Denver Post explains:

The lawsuit alleges Facebook aggressively bought out any company that threatened the platform’s dominance, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and worked to “bury” companies that did not sell out to the social media giant by using a variety of competition-stifling tactics, like limiting access to Facebook for third-party applications.

“If you stepped on Facebook’s turf or resisted pressure to sell, (Mark) Zuckerberg would go into ‘destroy mode,’ subjecting your business to the ‘wrath of Mark,’” the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit and a separate complaint filed by the Federal Trade Commission seek to stop Facebook’s anti-competitive behavior by forcing the company to sell Instagram and WhatsApp, and preventing the company from making any acquisitions for more than $10 million without first alerting officials in the states that filed the suit…

…The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is led by New York Attorney General Letitia James, as well as an eight-member executive committee that includes Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser. South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and South Dakota did not join the effort. The District of Columbia and the territory of Guam did join.

 

 Colorado House Republicans want to hold a hearing of the Legislative Audit Committee in order to “investigate” nonexistent election fraud in Colorado. Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster have been invited to testify.

 

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

 

(more…)

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“Recall Polis” Dead-Enders Take Decidedly Creepy Turn

CBS4 Denver reported Monday:

A group of people protested outside of a restaurant in Lyons after the state seized its liquor and suspended its license to serve it over the weekend. The Colorado Department of Revenue says the Lyons Den Restaurant and Taphouse continued to operate with indoor dining despite several warnings and Level Red restrictions.

On Friday, the restaurant posted to its Facebook page saying it will not give up and “won’t be bullied.”

The owner says the Monday protest is meant to be peaceful.

Over at the still-30,000 strong Recall Polis 2020 Facebook group, the Lyons Den protest was warmly received:

But in the comments, the tenor of the conversation escalated into something pretty frightening, well beyond what we’ve seen even within this excitable private forum:

(more…)

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Wishing First Gentleman Marlon Reis Well

TUESDAY UPDATE: Gov. Jared Polis says First Gentleman Marlon Reis has been successfully discharged from the hospital after treatment.

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Denver7 reports:

Gov. Jared Polis’ office said First Gentleman Marlon Reis is now in the hospital due to worsening COVID-19 symptoms…

Over the last 24 hours, Reis started to experience a slightly worsening cough and shortness of breath eight days after being diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the press release.

As a precaution, Gov. Polis drove Reis to the hospital in his personal vehicle to be reviewed and treated. Polis is not experiencing any additional symptoms at this time.

We wish Colorado’s First Family good health and a speedy recovery.

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More Stimulus, Less Sideshow: COVID Relief Session Kicks Off

Clockwise from left: Senate President Leroy Garcia (D), House Speaker KC Becker (D), Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert (R), House Minority Leader Pat Neville (R).

Faith Miller reported yesterday for Colorado Newsline on the goals for the (hopefully) three-day extraordinary session of the Colorado General Assembly that gaveled in today to work on a package of economic relief bills at the request of Gov. Jared Polis:

The administration of Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic leaders in the state House and Senate have framed the session as a necessary stopgap after coronavirus relief talks between Republicans and Democrats in Congress fell apart.

“We had all been expecting and hoping for greater federal action, which hasn’t materialized,” House Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder, told reporters during a virtual news conference Nov. 29.

Becker added that lawmakers will be provided with KN95 masks and asked to get diagnostic COVID-19 tests before Nov. 30. Rapid surveillance tests will be available for legislators, staff and reporters each day of the special session, which is expected to last a few days.

From the joint statement by Democratic House and Senate leaders:

“Congressional inaction has left millions stranded – completely abandoned in their time of need. Small businesses have been drowning for months waiting for comprehensive federal aid, while hardworking Coloradans anxiously watch housing and unemployment support dissipate,” said Senate President Leroy Garcia, D-Pueblo. “The amount the Colorado state government can do to alleviate the burdens of struggling communities is limited, but it’s not nothing. That’s why we are using everything in our power to deliver the support families and businesses need to make it through another couple months. I fully believe that federal relief is on its way, but Coloradans simply can’t wait any longer. This stimulus package will help cover the immediate needs of those hit hardest by the pandemic and buoy us until more help is available.”

“We have to do everything possible in Colorado to help families, workers and businesses get through the challenging months ahead,” said Speaker KC Becker, D-Boulder. “This pandemic is taking its toll on nearly every Coloradan, with businesses on the brink of closing and families struggling to avoid eviction or foreclosure. Only Washington can deliver the kind of comprehensive relief our communities need, but Coloradans can’t wait any longer. Our state government will step up with every tool we have, despite our limited budget, to do what we can to help bridge the gap until Congress acts and until a vaccine is ready.”

With Republican co-sponsorship for the most important parts of the proposed stimulus package–relief for capacity-restricted businesses, targeted tax relief, childcare and rental assistance, utility assistance–we don’t expect to see much in the way of conflict over the headline measures of the session. The more accurate our forecast in this regard proves to be, the more satisfied we’ll be on the other side that local Republicans have learned enough from their second consecutive electoral shellacking to come back a degree more reasonable than their counterparts in Washington.

Because the goal of these hopefully no more than three days lawmakers will be spending in one another’s airspace is to get something positive done for the people of Colorado who are suffering most. Not as much as the need requires, which is well beyond the state’s fiscal capacity. But something.

And less of, well, this:

To paraphrase Forrest Gump, the minority is as the minority does.

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GOP State Rep: Spread COVID This Thanksgiving For Freedom

As readers know, Gov. Jared Polis and public health officials across the state and nation are begging Americans to avoid multi-household gatherings this Thanksgiving as the COVID-19 pandemic rages unchecked and hospitals fill to capacity much, much too early in the season.

But Republican Rep. Mark Baisley of Douglas County, who you might remember from his embarrassing misinformation about “altered death certificates” in the spring that helped fellow COVIDiots deny the severity of the pandemic, has his own message for HD-39 constituents: Americans have the God-given right to be stupid.

COVID-19 public health compliance officer.

Rep. Baisley perfectly sums up the problem with the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic in just these few paragraphs without realizing it. Yes, Americans have rights to freedom of assembly, and religious freedom. But Gov. Polis is not urging Coloradans to avoid mingling households over Thanksgiving in order to trample their freedoms. It’s about saving lives from a deadly disease that is spreading out of control. Just because one has a right to do a thing does not make it smart to do it wherever and whenever, and if a global pandemic that has killed 250,000 fellow Americans isn’t enough to convince someone to be serious about the safety of themselves and their families, we have no idea what could.

The true penalty for not following the direction of public health experts, like Gov. Polis says invoking the Grim Reaper, will not be administered by the state. Extended families who spread COVID-19 among themselves this Thanksgiving will pay a greater price than anything Polis could possibly do to them for disregarding public health orders. It is not unreasonable to predict that some number of people in HD-39 who agree with their state representative and turn Thanksgiving into a political grandstand against Jared Polis at the cost of common sense will die.

In short, one may be able to argue eloquently in favor of the right to assemble in front of an oncoming train, but respecting that crossing signal makes a lot more sense. Though it’s long been said that “the Constitution is not a suicide pact,” it was perhaps never more true than at this moment.

Here’s a concept: keep your family safe because you want to. Let that moral obligation transcend piffling partisanship.

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Senate GOP Spox Sells Slap Happy COVIDiot Face Masks

Trolling the interwebs today, we ran across something that will make you laugh, or not, probably not, or maybe laugh just for a moment before you get angry relative to your personal experience with the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic:

“The Governor Made Me Wear This Mask!” Are you not amused?

Colorado Senate GOP Minority spokesman Sage Naumann’s limited edition bumper stickers celebrating the GOP’s 2019 obstruction campaign were somewhat more funny than the disruptive antics of the Republican minority last year, but unfortunately we can’t say that about the pandemic which has now killed over 250,000 Americans. With Senate Minority Leader Chris Holbert invoking deceased lawmakers as a reason for his cantankerous caucus to do the right thing in the upcoming special session devoted to COVID relief, this mask seems like an outrageous miscue.

Except it’s not. It’s just Republicans playing to their different audiences!

We’re not linking to the order page. If you’d like to sort these mixed messages out, or buy one of Sage’s masks so you can wear your COVIDiocy literally on your face while your friends and neighbors get sick and die, contact the Senate Minority Press Office.

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Jared Polis Steps Up Because Mitch McConnell Won’t

Gov. Jared Polis (D).

As the Denver Post’s Alex Burness reports:

Colorado state lawmakers are preparing for Gov. Jared Polis to call a special session focused on COVID-19 relief.

Top Democratic officials in both chambers of the statehouse say they and the Democratic governor’s office have been in talks for weeks on a possible special session, and that the failure of Congress to pass a new federal stimulus package has added urgency to those talks of late…

The governor’s office, asked about the possibility of a special session, released this statement from Polis and Democratic legislative leaders: “Legislative leaders and the Governor’s office have been having productive conversations on how we can step up to help provide additional relief to Colorado businesses and hardworking families during these challenging times.”

This morning, Marianne Goodland of the Colorado Springs Gazette relayed more details on the relief package state lawmakers will take up in the special session expected to be announced by Gov. Jared Polis at a press conference this afternoon:

Polis already has proposed a $1.3 billion stimulus package for the 2021-22 fiscal year budget. That package contains $220 million in “shovel-ready public works and infrastructure projects,” mostly for the Department of Transportation and state parks improvements. Another $160 million would go toward broadband investments, including telehealth and education; $78 million for wildfire response; $106 million for small businesses — mostly direct aid grants to restaurants and bars, hit hard by capacity restrictions imposed by the state and local governments; and $168 million for the $375 payment for low-and middle-income earners who lost jobs due to the pandemic.

Another $200 million is included for “one-time stimulus legislative priorities.”

The stimulus headed to lawmakers for the special session is a subset of that $1.3 billion package, comprised of an additional $220 million in spending.

The key points of this economic relief bill are reportedly targeted at small businesses most in need of immediate assistance, including bars and restaurants. Also prioritized for help: Renters, child care assistance, and internet access for students being forced into remote learning by the virus’s resurgence. The increased urgency of the need for relief, after months of failure in Washington to make good on promises that helped seal outgoing Sen. Cory Gardner’s doom in the recent election, appears to be greasing the bipartisan skids in the Colorado General Assembly for passage. After all, the principal complaint earlier in the year from (mostly) Republican legislators is they didn’t have a role in appropriating some of the CARES Act’s targeted funds. They can’t say that in a special session.

We’ll be pleased to see this go off uneventfully, a sign that the state’s Republican minority is growing out of the past two years of pointless partisan “war footing” obstruction–or failing that, at least minimally listening to their struggling constituents.

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Bearing Witness To Recall Polis 2.0’s Sad Sputter

As promised when the so-called “Dethrone Polis 2020” campaign announced Friday that they would not be turning in the required 630,000+ valid voter signatures to qualify a recall question for a future special election ballot, here’s the “request” by a lawyer purporting to represent the campaign asking for a 90-day extension of the collection period, citing public gathering restrictions imposed to control the spread of COVID-19.

As the Colorado Sun reported Saturday, this is dumb on a couple of key levels:

The 60-day deadline for signature gathering is specified in the state Constitution. Any request for an extension would have to be granted by the courts, Betsy Hart, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Jena Griswold, said in an email.

Although proponents of the failed abortion ban ballot measure Proposition 115 successfully petitioned the courts for a short extension to citing collection difficulties during the pandemic, that campaign had actually submitted signatures by the required deadline, something the Recall Polis campaign never even bothered to do. With no evidence that this campaign came even remotely close to their goal within the 60 days they had, granting them 90 more days would be silly and unfair.

Not to mention they have to ask a judge, not the Secretary of State. We’ll see if a court case is ever even filed–and if one is, we expect it to survive about as long as one of President Donald Trump’s election lawsuits.

With all of this in mind, the realization that the second in as many recall attempts against Colorado’s popular Democratic governor has failed miserably is not sitting well with the Facebook faithful–and they’re growing despondent over leaders’ silence:

And in the absence of hard information, some are getting a bit twitchy, Michigan-style:

Safe to say, these are not productive methods of coping with bad news.

The reality, much like the half-baked dispute over the presidential election, is that this second consecutive recall campaign against Gov. Jared Polis is all over. We are curious to know just how many signatures organizers claim to have obtained, but unless they actually turn them in for validation we have no reason to believe any number they give us. As we’ve said from the beginning, the logistics of an undertaking on the scale needed to gather more signatures than any campaign in the state’s history would have been visible. It never existed, it was never going to exist, and just like the 2019 recall it was the product of unserious actors who were never capable of succeeding.

Since the 2018 elections devastated a Colorado GOP already reeling from their steady erosion of power over the previous 14 years, the party from the highest levels has done nothing to change course–and the 2020 election proved it. Taking bad advice from bad consultants, Republicans instead dived into a series of recall campaigns against Gov. Polis and state lawmakers in 2019 that not only failed, but seriously damaged the credibility of Republicans from state party chairman Ken Buck on down. Buck’s personal embrace of recalls, and his vice-chair’s direct role in the ill-fated recall attempt against Rep. Tom Sullivan of Centennial made it impossible to extricate the party once the campaigns humiliatingly crashed and burned.

Although recalls were always intended for use in exigent cases of misconduct by elected officials, not opportunistic do-overs of fairly decided elections, the abuse of the process for political paybacks by a shrinking minority party in Colorado does appear to have damaged the credibility of Republicans involved. Former House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, who audaciously played in the failed Sullivan recall after leading the House minority to its smallest size in decades, is as close to persona non grata as he’s ever been. The National Popular Vote legislation cited as justification for recalling Polis and state lawmakers was victorious in a statewide vote. The “red flag” law that had the gun lobby dreaming of a 2013 redux is working as intended.

If Republicans in Colorado ever want to win again, it is this endless state of contrived political crises that has to stop. The last decade of Republican politics has been about disregarding all rules, traditions, and even pretense of cross-aisle engagement, and waging endless, ad absurdum partisan warfare down to the very last mountainous molehill.

We can’t speak for everywhere in America, but the voters of Colorado are sick and tired of it.

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COVID-19 Finally Comes For Mesa County

Mesa County Commissioner Scott McInnis.

As the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports:

Another two COVID-19 patients have been hospitalized in Mesa County for a total of 36 county residents…

Positive COVID-19 tests jumped another 183 cases, according to the county health department. In the past two weeks alone, Mesa County has recorded 1,594 positive cases. That figure accounts for more than half of the county’s total positive case count since the pandemic began, 3,097.

Mesa County’s two-week positivity rate, a key indicator health officials use for tracking the prevalence in an area, was recorded at 10.28%.

This weekend, new restrictions went into effect in Mesa County as officials struggle with the surge of cases and a long, dark winter has not yet even begun:

As COVID-19 cases surge, the Mesa County Board of Public Health has approved a new Public Health Order to exert all efforts to keep businesses operating, students in classrooms, and avoid closures. Indoor events, outdoor events, and public gatherings are not allowed, and restaurants and bars that serve food may not offer live music or other live performances.

“We urge residents not to ignore our responsibility as individuals and as a community to keep our families, friends, and employees healthy and our economy running,” said Scott McInnis, Chairman of the Board of Mesa County Commissioners.

The new orders this weekend significantly increase restrictions over two weeks ago, when public gatherings were subject to capacity limits instead of being completely banned.

As readers know, the current surge in positive COVID-19 cases in Mesa County comes after the area’s Republican political leadership spent the spring and summer resisting public health measures to combat the spread of the virus. Mesa County was specifically cited by Colorado Senate Republican leaders in their angry letter to Gov. Jared Polis back in March as an example of “overreach.”

Is Mesa County the only place in Colorado with elected leaders who should be eating their words about COVID-19 today? Of course not. The politicization of what should never have been a political issue has resulted in elected leaders from the President on down making decisions completely at odds with their responsibility to protect the public. In turn, the public treats the pandemic seriously based on their own political affiliation instead of what’s needed to remain safe. The political divide over responding to the pandemic has severely compromised the effectiveness of prevention efforts, in addition to forcing well-intentioned leaders like Gov. Polis to make unscientific concessions–and even hesitate to act in the pandemic’s successive waves.

From the White House to the Colorado Senate to the Mesa County Board of Commissioners, the emerging hard reality is that we could have beat this pandemic if it hadn’t become a political football in the spring. We could have controlled the spread before it became uncontrollable, and shortened the pain of restrictions that must now go on indefinitely until a vaccine becomes available.

But we did not, and now the price will be paid without political distinction.

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Recall Polis 2.0 Campaign Fails Even Harder Than Recall Polis 1.0

FRIDAY PM UPDATE: #Fail.

Translation: they’re not turning in signatures. Because they don’t have the signatures. Every time they said they were on track to get the signatures, they were lying. This was, as we expected and as was the first Recall Polis campaign, a waste of everyone’s valuable time. The faithful are, needless to say, rather pissed:

Let the excuse-making commence anew! Better luck with Recall Polis 3.0, which should begin shortly.

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FRIDAY AM UPDATE: Anticipation builds at the Dethrone Polis Facebook page as today’s close-of-business deadline to turn in 630,000+ valid voter signatures looms:

Stay tuned–don’t make this the only thing you do today, but we’ll let you know how pathetically it ends.

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As readers keeping track are aware, and we admit that’s probably not all of you, tomorrow is the deadline for the so-called Dethrone Polis 2020 campaign to submit over 630,000 valid Colorado voter signatures to qualify a recall question against Democratic Gov. Jared Polis for a future special election. We have been following this effort as closely as our finite attention span allows since its kickoff in September, and there has been nothing to suggest anything close to the massive effort that would be required is actually underway to collect more petition signatures than any campaign in the state’s history has ever collected.

Despite this, as readers know, the Dethrone Polis 2020 campaign has posted optimistic graphics along the way, which they originally claimed showed the number of “petition signatures” collected–later altered to clarify it depicts the number of “petitions in circulation.” We assumed this to mean they had printed and handed out blank petition forms that could hypothetically hold 55% of the signatures they needed.

But when we checked the Dethrone Polis site this morning, the progress meter we’ve become accustomed watching grow to was gone, replaced by this message:

That’s it. “Signature collection is complete.” Which leaves plenty of wiggle room for the question we won’t have definitely answered until tomorrow’s deadline–was signature collection “completed”…successfully? Will the Dethrone Polis campaign actually deliver 630,000+ valid voter signatures tomorrow? Will it be another press conference to announce they (maybe) collected less than half of what they needed like the last Polis recall campaign? Will they show up with empty Budwesier boxes?

The one thing we can say for sure is they’ll have to announce the end of the current recall campaign before they can start the next Polis recall campaign. Who knows? Maybe recalling Gov. Polis will become a permanent cottage industry for little bands of disaffected Republicans who take up the cause, fail, and distribute the money raised among themselves. If nothing else, it’s a fine distraction from losing elections!

You’re right, nobody’s going to pay for this forever. Stay tuned for the ignominious conclusion.

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LIVE: Colorado Election Night 2020

UPDATE: Colorado called for Joe Biden and John Hickenlooper by national outlets at 7:01pm.

Welcome to blue statehood.

—–

Wondering where to watch tonight’s election returns? Well, wonder no more!

Your friends from “The Get More Smarter Podcast” will be LIVE tonight for an Election Night Extravaganza. Special guests will be dropping by throughout the evening to discuss 2020 election results in real time. We’ll kick things off at 6:30 pm on Facebook and Periscope. Check us out on YouTube or CLICK HERE FOR THE FACEBOOK LINK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Who Wears it Better (Theoretically)?

The U.S. Senate campaign of Democrat John Hickenlooper is out with a new Spanish-language television ad featuring former Senator and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. As you can see yourself, there’s something…different about Salazar:

Apparently, Ken Salazar is rocking a mustache these days. Since we could all use a little lighthearted humor with the election cycle finishing up its final three weeks, we wondered how other Colorado politicians might look if they decided to change up their style by adding the ol’ face caterpillar.

Clockwise from top left: John Hickenlooper, Cory Gardner, Joe Neguse, Ken Buck, Jared Polis, Doug Lamborn

Now, we’ve long been of the opinion that politicians who want to be re-elected should avoid a mustache at all costs, but what say you, Polsters?

Click after the jump to vote on which one of these imaginary facial decorations works best…

 

(more…)

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Recall Polis 2020 Claims Over 200,000 Signatures Already

They’re the ones saying so, we’re just the messenger:

If the graphic you see above is truthful, the Recall Polis 2020 campaign would have now have in its possession somewhere in excess of 200,000 signatures, on their way to the minimum necessary 631,266 minimum number necessary by the deadline of November 13th to qualify a recall question against Gov. Jared Polis for the ballot. Just like last year, collecting that historic number of signatures would still fall well short of the 30% or more in excess needed to cover the expected percentage of invalid signatures that arise in the verification process–but presumably 631,000 is the campaign’s initial target.

The problem, of course, is that we have absolutely no way of knowing whether this claim has a basis in reality–and plenty of reasons to suspect it does not. The first thing the current recall campaign would logically try to do, assuming they’re in possession of the data, is reach out to the of signers of the 2019 Polis recall petition. That effort claimed to have collected more than 300,000 signatures after the full 60-day campaign, but the true number will never be known since they were never turned in for verification by the Secretary of State.

The thing is, an outreach campaign to those signers just by itself would be a huge logistical undertaking that there’s been no sign of actually taking place. We’re more than three weeks into this recall petition campaign, and it’s true that the campaign needs to be at well over 200,000 signatures collected to be on track for success by the deadline–but apart from this graphic that claims all is well, there’s very little sign of the field campaign that would actually be required to produce those numbers. And even if in the most charitable benefit of the doubt we assume they can get all 300,000 alleged 2019 petition signers to sign again, accounting for an early pad to their numbers, that’s going to leave them distantly short of the number needed just like 2019.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say the Recall Polis 2020 campaign is being completely honest about their numbers, and have actually managed through a herculean yet somehow concealed effort to collect over 200,000 signatures to qualify a recall election question for the ballot at some point after the 2020 elections.

Folks, do you realize how much effort is not being put into winning the election on November 3rd if this is true? The energy expended by Republicans on organizing the Polis recall petition drive on the scale they are claiming is underway now, with a deadline ten days after the election, is such a perfect diversion of resources that Democrats should raise money to help them. Any Republican with even the most minimal sense of self-preservation should be screaming at the top of their lungs to abandon this folly and focus on what actually matters while they still can.

For all of these reasons, we’ll believe it when we see the proof. And we doubt that will ever happen.

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Budget Crunch Forces State Employee Furloughs

As The Denver Post reports:

Most state employees who make more than $50,000 annually will be taking up to four furlough days before the end of the fiscal year, the governor’s office announced Tuesday.

The number of furlough days will be dependent on an employee’s salary. Some employees will be exempt, but those taking the days include the governor and lieutenant governor. Employees who are exempt include those working necessary services during the pandemic as well as those in public safety.

The State of Colorado’s fiscal year resets on July 1.

Furlough days are calculated based on an employee’s annual salary. Here’s how that works, according to a press release from the governor’s office:

Colorado State Employee furlough days

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Recall Polis 2020: Few Signs Of Life

The first bonafide photograph of a place where Colorado voters can sign a petition to recall Gov. Jared Polis–not requiring a time machine back to 2019, mind you, the 2020 Recall Polis campaign–was sent to us today from a street corner in Loveland:

That’s the only hard proof we’ve seen of any actual organizing for this latest effort, and the clock is ticking–every day these very fine people don’t collect at least 10,500 signatures (that’s 631,266 divided by 60 days), they’re falling behind the mark. We assume if there were thousands of people lining up in Loveland to sign the petition, they’d send a photo of that instead. And that’s not the worst part: a look at the Recall Polis 2020 “Find a Signing Location” page this afternoon contains a whole lot of nothing in terms of information for such populated places as Jefferson County:

Or Denver:

The good news is, you can sign at the Otero County GOP office, conveniently located 180 miles from Denver:

We just looked through the entire “directory” of signing locations, and the only two listings in the entire state direct potential recall petition signers to the La Junta GOP office and a “Save the Republic” rally Saturday in Colorado Springs. If this campaign was serious, they would have been ready with signing locations across the state to follow up the press they received this week that their petition was approved for circulation–thus capitalizing on the less critical media attention these campaigns enjoy at the outset.

But much like the last Recall Polis campaign, we’re making a mistake if we’re presuming this is a serious effort. Any thinking Republican, of course, has no time to waste organizing a futile recall during the height of election season, when every available hand and resource needs to be focused on saving Republican candidates from another impending Democratic wave. If you’re working on this recall instead of helping Republicans who are on the ballot in November, you might as well be helping Democrats.

We’re pretty sure that doesn’t matter to them. So enjoy the distraction while it lasts.

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Everything Old and Dumb is New Again (And Still Dumb)

Hey, Wyoming, you’ve got a thing hanging from the bottom of your border.

As we learned last month during the Republican National Convention, the GOP does not have a party platform in 2020. This is at least consistent with a Republican President who does not have a plan — for anything — and it seems to be inspiring Colorado Republicans to ignore plotting for the future in favor of embracing failures from the past.

Earlier this week, we learned that a group of Republican activists received approval from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office to begin collecting signatures for another attempt at recalling Gov. Jared Polis. Republicans tried to recall Polis and a bunch of other Democrats in 2019; the end result of all of this effort turned out to be four signatures in a Budweiser box.

But if recalls aren’t your thing, perhaps you could be enticed to join another secession movement.

Recent post from the “Weld County, WY” Facebook page.

There are apparently some folks in Weld County who are working on trying to figure out a way to get adopted by Wyoming. This is not going to happen, but there are 3,390 people who like the idea on Facebook enough to convince “organizers” to start the process of collecting signatures to petition the Weld County Commissioners to bail on Colorado. We can’t tell you why this group thinks the Weld County Commissioners have the authority or ability to move the county into Wyoming, but that seems to be the plan for now.

(Also, doesn’t Wyoming get a say in this transaction? Or do they just have to agree to whatever the Weld County Commissioners command?)

You might be asking WHY Weld County would want to secede from Colorado. That’s a tough question to answer, though there are several reasons listed on the Weld County, Wyoming (WCW) Facebook page:

♦ The (WCW) group links to this video — originally posted to YouTube by Colorado Pols — of the Independence Institute’s Dave Kopel saying that the passage of Senate Bill 181 would “destroy” Weld County by making it economically-unviable. Senate Bill 181 did in fact become law, and as far as we can tell, Weld County still exists. The oil and gas industry isn’t doing great in Weld County or anywhere else, but you can’t blame any Colorado legislation for that problem.

♦ Wyoming is “more conservative” and “elects more Republicans” than Colorado. This is undoubtedly true. Weld County is also not inhabited entirely by conservative Republicans, but, whatever.

♦ Wyoming has a lower cost of living than Colorado. This is also true. Unfortunately, the cost of living isn’t going to change just because you put “WY” after “Weld County.” You could change your address to “Weld County, Indonesia,” but your landlord isn’t suddenly going to lower the rent.

Back in 2013, 11 rural Colorado counties — representing about 2% of Colorado voters — actually voted on a question about seceding from Colorado and forming a new state. That proposal failed miserably, with less than 41,000 people voting “YES.” Perhaps Weld County residents will be more excited about the idea of joining Wyoming instead of creating a 51st state.

It’s not clear why secession is bubbling back to the surface now. Senator Cory Gardner seems to think that secession makes for a good talking point, but any actual attempt at seceding from Colorado is not politically-helpful for the Yuma Republican because it means that his supporters are doing something other than helping him get re-elected.

Recall Polis! Secede from Colorado! Re-elect Cory Gardner! 

In that order.

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Of Course There is Another Polis Recall Effort

This calls for the “Quad Facepalm.”

Polling data continues to indicate that Colorado Republicans are in big trouble in 2020. But instead of organizing phone banks or fundraisers in the 50 days left before Election Day, a group of GOP activists have decided to hunker down and focus instead on trying to recall Gov. Jared Polis.

Again.

You may recall that in 2019, Republicans tried to recall a half-dozen different Democrats in Colorado. All of the recall attempts failed miserably — and we do mean miserably. The Colorado Republican Party supported these efforts to varying degrees before eventually calling for a full evacuation from Hurricane Recall. That message was apparently not received by some activists, as Jesse Paul reports for The Colorado Sun:

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Monday approved the petition drafted by “Recall Polis 2020,” which is tied to at least one of the people behind the failed efforts last year to remove the Democrat from office.

The organization has 60 days — or until Nov. 13 — to collect 631,266 signatures to force a special election to decide whether or not Polis, who is halfway through his first term in office, should be recalled.

Thus far, the Recall Polis 2020 issue committee, formed on June 10, reports raising only about $4,000 in cash. Organizer Lori Ann Cutunelli, of Summit County, reported donating more than $7,300 to pay for drafting the petition wording and to make a downpayment on printing costs. Additionally, a GoFundMe campaign has raised about $7,600 from 275 donors.

If you’re still worried that this new Polis recall effort might be successful, go ahead and read this paragraph:

Greg Merschel, one of the people behind Resist Polis PAC — which Coloradans Against Polis was formerly known as — is listed as one of the organizing members of Recall Polis 2020.

We’d love to explain this better, but we’d need an entire office wall and two rolls of red string to map out the lunacy in full.

Efforts at recalling Polis in 2019 did not end well, unless you measure success based on how many people you trick into writing you a check; in fact, you could make a strong argument that the primary purpose of trying to oust Polis was so that a couple of people could earn some extra cash. There were at least two separate groups claiming to be the “real” recall effort in 2019. “Resist Polis” and “Official Recall Jared Polis” sniped back and forth for months, and by the end of their “campaigns” they were openly rooting for each other to fail.

Before she was “Q*Bert,” Lauren Boebert collected Recall Polis petitions at her Rifle restaurant.

The “Resist Polis” campaign eventually held a comical press conference outside of the State Capitol in Denver, where several plastic boxes full of “petition signatures” were piled up on the West Steps as proof that “Resist Polis” did a thing. Organizers claimed to have collected more than 300,000 signatures, though they refused to submit their bounty to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office for verification. We can at least confirm that some of the boxes definitely contained pieces of paper.

Confusion about the recall Polis efforts persisted until the very end. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, now the Republican nominee for Congress in CO-3, literally drove across the state so that she could be there in person when the recall petitions were (not) submitted.

When Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) was asked about the recall efforts last summer, he was perplexed that Republicans would be spending time and resources focusing on work that was completely unrelated to the upcoming 2020 election. As The Denver Post reported in July 2019:

Even the state’s highest-ranking Republican officeholder, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, danced around the question when asked about the Polis recall.

“You know what, we gotta focus all we can on winning in 2020; getting our congressional seats back, getting our state legislature back … ,” Gardner said at a recent Republican Party event in El Paso County. “That’s where I’m at. You may agree or disagree, but boy I think we gotta get our nuts and bolts together so that we can win.”

Gardner wasn’t necessarily opposed to the idea of trying to recall Polis; he was more concerned that organizers were diverting the attention of volunteers and donors when the GOP really needed them for the actual upcoming election. This was definitely a problem for Republicans in 2019, but in 2020 it’s an outright disaster.

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GSG: Trump Down 11, Gardner Down 10

Sen. Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper.

As the Denver Post’s Alex Burness reports as the usual mid-September anxiety sets in over the usual mid-September election year question in Colorado–“sure Democrats are ahead, but is it close?”

After a couple of polls inspired speculation that in Colorado, the race for President and our state’s U.S. Senate seat was “narrowing,” a new survey out today from Global Strategy Group for liberal group ProgressNow Colorado once again shows the Democratic candidates in both these races with the double-digit leads we’ve been accustomed to for months now:

The findings were released by the liberal advocacy group ProgressNow Colorado, which contracted with Democratic firm Global Strategy Group to conduct the survey. The pollsters surveyed 800 likely Colorado voters between Aug. 28 and Sept. 1, with a breakdown of party affiliations — 43% unaffiliated voters, 27% Republicans and 30% Democrats — that roughly mirrors the latest statewide breakdown reported by the Secretary of State’s Office. The poll has a 3.5% margin of error.

The poll finds Joe Biden leading Trump by 11 points in the presidential race. Kanye West will be on the state’s ballot in that race, too, and he received 1% support.

The poll finds that in the U.S. Senate race, Republican incumbent Gardner is down 10 points to Democratic challenger Hickenlooper, the former governor. Other recent polls have shown Gardner within single digits of Hickenlooper, including one released last week that put Gardner just five points behind. Many view Gardner as the most vulnerable Republican incumbent in the Senate, and the outcome of this race could be a deciding factor in whether Democrats can gain control of the chamber.

Read the details here. It’s a poll loaded with good news for Democrats and fans of recent Democratic policy accomplishments like the Senate Bill 217 police accountability law, which is favored by 69% of respondents, and a solid 58% approval of Gov. Jared Polis’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with 36% disapproving. President Donald Trump’s approval on handling the pandemic is stuck at 40% with 58% of Coloradans disapproving–and in tough news for CD-3 GOP nominee Lauren Boebert, only 8% of Coloradans have a positive view of the “QAnon” conspiracy theory.

Individual polls aren’t gospel, for anyone seeking a clear picture of any race or question polling is about informing averages. But these numbers feel pretty close to reality to us, and they’ll provide some comfort to Democrats riding out the September of their discontent.

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Gov. Jared Polis Has Finally Gone Too Far

Pueblo chiles are the best, but hopefully we can all agree this gastronomical error is not the best way to prove it to New Mexico. Chalk it up to Gov. Jared Polis’ lovable oddity, along with the polo shirt bow tie.

And then forget it ever happened.

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

House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, columnist Michelle Malkin.

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

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

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

KDVR:

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

The governor issued the following statement regarding the lawsuit:

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

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

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

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

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

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Polis Keeps Eviction Balls Juggling While DC Dawdles

President Trump and Gov. Jared Polis.

As the Denver Post’s Alex Burness reports, Gov. Jared Polis took action yesterday to extend the limited protections that have been in place giving renters in Colorado more notice of impending eviction proceedings–short of the full eviction moratorium affordable housing and civil rights advocates are calling for, and as a result not pacifying the growing discontent on Polis’ left over the issue:

Gov. Jared Polis has extended an executive order that requires that Colorado landlords must, for at least one more month, give tenants 30 days’ notice before pursuing evictions.

The normal rule requires only 10 days’ notice. Vulnerable tenants deserve a little extra wiggle room now, Polis wrote in his extension, because, “many Coloradans continue to experience substantial loss of income as a result of business closures and layoffs, hindering their ability to keep up with their rent payments through no fault of their own.”

…The order does not prevent evictions. They have restarted in most of the state, though eviction defense advocates and some Democratic lawmakers continue to push Polis to temporarily ban them. He’s resisted those calls because, he told reporters recently, he believes people should generally be back at work and thus able to cover rent.

So far, the large wave of evictions that experts do expect will inevitably result from the economic disruption of the spring and summer has not materialized. A major factor in this delayed pain is the extended unemployment benefits unemployed workers have received since the passage of the CARES Act in March, which expired at the end of July and are set to be cut by at least one-third after Donald Trump’s actions this weekend–along with the $1,200 per person stimulus checks most taxpayers have by now received and long spent.

Gov. Polis’ management of the crisis faced by renters in this state reflects an attempt to hit a “moving target” of minimal disruption–meaning property owners can still control their properties–while trying to slow down evictions for nonpayment of rent for as long as needed to allow renters to recover and meet their obligations. This strategy depends, among other variables, on the federal government continuing to provide the economic stimulus that has kept American households going since March–and for the economy to recover rapidly enough for paycheck-to-paycheck workers to get their already-behind balance sheets current. Nuanced management of the problem and taking sweeping action only when necessary has characterized Polis’ leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic–and while it’s not as satisfying as headline-making executive orders, the outcome so far suggests that it has worked.

But as we’re seeing today in D.C.’s chaos over the next round of stimulus, this calculation is not without risk. If the wave of evictions that everyone agrees is looming can be staved off long enough, in theory the net effects can be mitigated by recovery and aggressive assistance. In the end, however, success depends in part on factors that Gov. Polis doesn’t control.

We hope enough things go right that Polis’ “just in time” strategy doesn’t go wrong.

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