Hicken-Letter Epically Destroys Boebert’s Earmark Hypocrisy

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D) doesn’t always throw down, but when he does…

Prior to the GOP’s narrow takeover of the U.S. House in the 2022 midterms, Colorado’s then-freshman all-purpose blowhard Rep. Lauren Boebert ostentatiously refused to pass on requests for so-called “earmarks,” otherwise known as specific funding appropriations for numerous projects in her district, decrying Democratic leadership for engaging in a process she condemned as corrupt. At the same time, Boebert rushed to take credit for funding allocated to projects in CD-3 carried by Colorado’s Democratic lawmakers–despite voting against the legislation that appropriated the money.

After Republicans retook control of the House last year, the GOP House conference voted overwhelmingly to keep “earmarks,” thus putting Boebert is a difficult position that she resolved by simply asserting that Republicans had “fixed earmarks.” In March, the Grand Junction Sentinel reported that Boebert’s office was accepting appropriations requests. To our knowledge, Boebert hasn’t had the opportunity to vote on any of those newly acceptable requests that made it into legislation, and simply accepting requests doesn’t entitle Boebert to any credit if she votes against the bill containing them.

But as readers know, neither eschewing earmarks nor voting against appropriations bills containing funding for CD-3 projects has ever stopped Boebert from demanding credit for them. Again, these are line-items that in many cases Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Senators and Democratic majority members of Congress are responsible for winning, after which Boebert swoops in for wholly undeserved credit.

Today, in a letter to the editor of the Grand Junction Sentinel, Sen. John Hickenlooper took the gloves off in responding to Boebert’s flip-flop on to bringing home the proverbial bacon for her district–deservedly, since Boebert demands credit for what is in many cases Hickenlooper’s efforts and (most importantly) votes:

Rep. Lauren Boebert recently announced in this paper that she had reconsidered and now supports Congressionally Directed Spending, or earmarks as they’re sometimes known. She defended this change of heart by saying that she helped “fix” the process by stripping out “corrupt, vote-buying behavior” that supposedly marred the program over the past two years. (That didn’t stop her from taking credit for these projects once they were passed into law without her support.)

Maybe the $1.4 million for the city of Grand Junction to build affordable housing was the problem. Or the $1 million to build the Glenwood Springs South Bridge project to provide crucial emergency routes and improved access — funding that was apparently only corrupt when someone else requested it, because she submitted the exact same project for consideration this year. Or money to shore up disaster response efforts in Monte Vista, establish a comprehensive medical care program in Pueblo, and develop a new engineering degree program at Adams State University in Alamosa? You get the idea, and these are only a few of the $60 million in projects over two years we were able to fund across Rep. Boebert’s district. She steadfastly voted against all of them… [Pols emphasis]

The simple truth is that earmarks, Congressionally Directed Spending, or whatever you want to call it, help Colorado get our fair share of federal funding. The funds we requested are our priorities because they are your priorities. We stand behind every single one of them and will keep fighting tooth and nail to make sure Colorado — all of Colorado — gets its fair share every single year. I won’t break the law or my values for this state, but I’ll do damned near everything else to make sure we get the help we need. I’m glad Rep. Boebert has come around and I look forward to working with her to support all the great work Congress is trying to do for Colorado. But it doesn’t make sense to call the last two year’s worth of projects corrupt without telling these communities which of them didn’t deserve the money. [Pols emphasis]

Hickenlooper goes on to link to “every project we’ve funded across Colorado’s 3rd District over the last two years — despite Rep. Boebert’s opposition.” It’s a long list, but our brief examination failed to turn up anything nefarious. Many of these line-items are projects that Boebert has praised, with the usual convoluted excuses about voting against them after helping insert them into bills that passed without her help. There is absolutely no good reason for Democrats to allow Boebert to get away with this deception any longer now that she’s one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents in Congress.

The gauntlet at last is thrown. Time for Boebert to stop stealing the credit for other people’s work.

Sweet Home Colorado for Space Command HQ?


Space Force!

The administration of former President Donald Trump created a new branch of the military called “Space Force” in 2018. The headquarters of U.S. Space Command was established in Colorado Springs on a temporary basis until an official home was found, and Colorado politicians lobbied hard for the HQ to remain in our state. But in a late 2020 decision that appeared to be a purely political move — speculation that was confirmed by Colorado Springs Mayor John SuthersTrump announced that he had “single-handedly” decided to establish the Space Command HQ in Huntsville, Alabama instead of Colorado.

However…a report from NBC News earlier this week is giving Colorado new hope that U.S. Space Command will remain in Colorado permanently:

Some defense and congressional officials believe the White House is laying the groundwork to halt plans to move U.S. Space Command’s headquarters to Alabama in part because of concerns about the state’s restrictive abortion law, according to two U.S. officials and one U.S. defense official familiar with the discussions…

…The White House directed the Air Force last December to conduct a review of the process that led to the Trump administration’s decision to move Space Command’s headquarters from Colorado to Huntsville, Alabama. The review was ordered up in the months after Alabama’s law banning nearly all abortions, including in cases of rape and incest, went into effect last summer. The law is considered among the most restrictive in the U.S.

While abortion rights may be playing some role in the decision to keep Space Command in Colorado, it’s certainly not the only reason:

Biden administration officials have signaled privately to Pentagon officials and lawmakers that they’re looking to reverse the Alabama decision over concerns about operational disruptions that moving Spacecom’s headquarters, which is currently located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, could bring. [Pols emphasis]

The White House said Alabama’s abortion ban was not a factor in its ongoing review of the decision to build Spacecom’s permanent headquarters there. A White House official said that access to reproductive health care does not weigh in to making the decision about location.

Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville might also be a problem for that state’s hopes of landing Spacecom. “He’s not helping,” as one official told NBC News.

Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) seen here launching a different sort of exploration.

Tuberville has been blocking military promotions for months because he is apparently a craven racist. As The Associated Press reported last week:

Tuberville is facing backlash for remarks he made about white nationalists in the armed forces in an interview about his blocking of military nominees…

…The first-term senator from Alabama made his initial remarks in an interview last week with WBHM, an NPR affiliate. He suggested that the Biden administration’s efforts to expand diversity in the military were weakening the force and hampering recruitment, though the Army has said that the real problem is that many young people do not see enlistment as safe or a good career path.

“We are losing in the military so fast. Our readiness in terms of recruitment,” Tuberville said, according to the station’s transcript of the May 4 interview. “And why? I’ll tell you why. Because the Democrats are attacking our military, saying we need to get out the white extremists, the white nationalists, people that don’t believe in our agenda.”

When asked if he believed white nationalists should be allowed in the U.S. military, Tuberville responded, “Well, they call them that. I call them Americans.” [Pols emphasis]

According the POLITICO, there is no looming announcement about the future plans for Spacecom. The Air Force has yet to make a recommendation to the National Security Council for the location of Spacecom.

Colorado Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) and Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) both told KRDO-TV in Colorado Springs that they do not believe a final decision is imminent. Colorado’s Congressional delegation has generally been on the same page in fighting for Spacecom to remain in Colorado Springs.

Hickenlooper Joins Call for Investigation Over Rising Utility Rates

Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver)

As Colorado Public Radio reported last week, Xcel Energy says it has a “plan” to reduce utility costs now that enough consumers have complained about rising rates. That “plan” is essentially just to pass along savings from lower natural gas prices, which is something that you would hope a utility provider would be doing anyway.

Xcel and other utility companies have caused enough pain across the country that Democratic Senators — including Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) — are demanding more accountability for utilities charging astronomical rates to consumers. According to a press release from Hickenlooper’s office:

This week, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper, Sheldon Whitehouse, Chris Van Hollen, and Elizabeth Warren sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan requesting the agency investigate the investor-owned utility industry’s abusive practices that drive up costs, hurt consumers, and damage the public trust.

In the letter, the Senators highlight how the changing energy landscape can threaten existing electricity industry profit models, and implore the FTC to look into potentially harmful and deceptive actions taken by utility companies that prioritize profit. [Pols emphasis]

“Some utilities have responded by engaging in questionable practices to subvert these trends in the interest of protecting their profits over the pockets of their customers, harming poor communities and communities of color in particular,” wrote the Senators. “We believe these disturbing anti-competitive and anti-democratic incidents merit an FTC investigation.”

The Senators’ letter supports a May 2022 petition submitted by more than 230 organizations and advocates, including Environment Colorado, Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center, the Center for Asian Studies (CASE) at the University of Colorado, and Living Rivers & Colorado Riverkeeper.

Click here to read the full letter from the Senators. Colorado has two investor-owned utilities that would be affected by an FTC investigation: Xcel Energy and Black Hills Energy.

Bennet, Hick Play Hardball Over Space Command

Sens. John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet.

As Byrant Harris reports for Defense News, the battle over ex-President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs to Alabama as a reward to that state’s MAGA loyalists and a snub to our own state after Trump’s back-to-back defeats, continues with Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper bucking the Biden administration for a course change:

Republican lawmakers spent the last year stalling President Joe Biden’s defense nominees, but the latest threat to filling the Pentagon’s top jobs is coming from the president’s own party.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., said he’s threatening to delay the six remaining Pentagon nominees because Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin refuses to meet with him over the Trump administration’s decision to move U.S. Space Command from its current location in Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama…

Bennet and fellow Colorado Democrat Sen. John Hickenlooper joined Republicans in voting “no” on [Brendan] Owens because their letters to Austin have gone unanswered.

Thomas Novelly of Military.com reports that blocking assistant Defense Secretary nominee Brendan Owens succeeded in getting the DoD’s attention:

Military.com learned Wednesday that Bennet’s office has since been in communication with the Pentagon following the senator’s vote against Owens. [Pols emphasis] The Trump-era call to move Space Command headquarters has been dragging on for two years, with a final decision — supposedly — right around the corner…

In August 2021, while speaking on an Alabama radio show, Trump said the move was his decision, which sparked speculation that the former president may have intervened in the process for choosing the base, something that could have given ammunition to legal challenges.

“Space Force — I sent to Alabama,” Trump told the “Rick & Bubba” radio show at the time. “I hope you know that. [They] said they were looking for a home, and I single-handedly said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama.’ They wanted it. I said, ‘Let’s go to Alabama. I love Alabama.'”

To be clear, nobody is accusing the Biden administration of continuing to prosecute ex-President Trump’s political vendettas. This seems to us to be more a case of bureaucratic inertia, no doubt with some heavy lobbying from Alabama who would very much like the economic lift of Space Command in their state–despite Trump having turned it into a political football right before leaving office in disgrace. Unfortunately for Alabama, Trump’s actions in context have tainted the decision to move Space Command there. Even devoted MAGA toady Rep. Doug Lamborn agrees that Trump’s last-minute act of treachery against Colorado should not be allowed to stand.

Colorado’s interests are being aggressively represented in Washington. Neither side can call that a bad thing.

How to Go the Full Alan Salazar (feat. Alan Salazar)

Alan Salazar (left) and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with legendary Colorado politico Alan Salazar and coin a new term from his vast experience. Currently serving as Chief of Staff to Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Salazar has been a top adviser to Congressmen, Senators, Governors, and even Presidents — for familiar names such as Roy Romer, Mark Udall, John Hickenlooper, and Bill Clinton. We discuss the traits that these successful politicians all have in common (other than hiring Alan Salazar).

Later, Jason and Ian also dive into the debt ceiling and try to understand why Colorado Republican lawmakers refused to co-sponsor a resolution honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

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Watch: Senator Hickenlooper Breaks Down The Crypto Crisis

We don’t post every clip of social media content from Colorado politicos, but this brief and informative explanation of the ongoing crisis following the collapse of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange from Sen. John Hickenlooper is well worth fifty seconds of your time. Hickenlooper is calling for crypto exchanges to be regulated with the same scrutiny as banks, and if you’re one of the thousands of crypto investors who just lost their shirt in this largely unregulated uninsured market it’s tough to disagree.

How To Wash Down Horse Sushi? Michelob Ultra Over Ice

Back in July, a Facebook post from GOP U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea went quasi-viral as a uniquely silly attempt to project “everyman” appeal: hankering for sushi from the local Denver suburban strip mall, O’Dea saddled up the horses and rode through the suburban streets of southwest Denver to relieve his craving–just like you would if you had horses, more free time than the average working suburbanite, and no regrets about leaving road apples on the roads and sidewalks.

O’Dea tries hard to come off as a relatable ordinary guy, but something about his “goatee and mullet” image has always come off as a bit contrived. Inevitably separated from the travails of everyday life by tens of millions of dollars, it’s no more possible for O’Dea to pretend to be an “ordinary Joe” than Mehmet Oz can fake the experience of shopping for a veggie platter.

This weekend, in a Politico profile of the Colorado U.S. Senate race, it happened again:

In an interview at Spanky’s Roadhouse in Denver, sipping a Michelob Ultra he poured into a glass of ice, [Pols emphasis] O’Dea elaborated on the kind of Republican senator he would be.

Who better to express the revulsion we all should feel than U.S. Senate brewmeister John Hickenlooper:

The story has prompted significant debate this morning over which is the greater zymological offense: drinking beer over ice, or drinking Michelob Ultra over ice. Michelob Ultra is only by the very loosest standards considered beer, after all, and once diluted with ice we’re not sure what you would call it. A beer cooler? Whatever it is, we surer than hell wouldn’t drink it.

Joe O’Dea: trying too hard, or not nearly hard enough? Either way, it’s just kind of weird.

Big Government Is Not Taking Over Your Thermostat

Denver7’s Jaclyn Allen reports on a not-really new program from Xcel Energy designed to help cope with extremely high electrical consumption during hot summer days, which Tuesday was apparently engaged for the first time to the surprise of a number of homeowners who (sorry to say this) shouldn’t have been surprised:

Xcel confirmed to Contact Denver7 that 22,000 customers who had signed up for the Colorado AC Rewards program were locked out of their smart thermostats for hours on Tuesday.

“It’s a voluntary program. Let’s remember that this is something that customers choose to be a part of based on the incentives,” said Emmett Romine, vice president of customer solutions and innovation at Xcel. [Pols emphasis]

Customers receive a $100 credit for enrolling in the program and $25 annually, but Romine said customers also agree to give up some control to save energy and money and make the system more reliable.

“So, it helps everybody for people to participate in these programs. It is a bit uncomfortable for a short period of time, but it’s very, very helpful,” said Romine.

Many new homes built in Colorado today utilize a smart thermostat that both consumers and–if given permission by the consumer–utility companies can access to help manage power consumption during peak periods. This helps avoid the much less pleasant alternative of rolling blackouts when the power grid hits capacity. It’s also available to existing homeowners who upgrade to compatible smart thermostats.

And again, AC Rewards is a 100% voluntary and compensated program that no consumer is forced to participate in. But that’s not stopping Republicans like this Maryland congressional candidate from declaring an impending thermostatic dystopia and trying to turn this voluntary program into a stick to beat Colorado Democrats with:

Here in the reality-based community, we know that Democratic politicians aren’t trying to punish Coloradans with Xcel Energy’s energy efficiency programs any more than consumers are being forced to participate in them. That Tuesday was the first time the system was activated in this emergency capacity since it rolled out in 2019 shows how sparingly the smart thermostat’s emergency override is employed. Given a choice between limits on power in an emergency versus losing power entirely, it’s an easy choice. Or at least it should be.

If you’re determined to uncover a nefarious plot behind everything, that’s all you tend to find.

Michael Bennet and Jon Ossoff Get More Smarter

This week in a SPECIAL EPISODE of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with not one, but two United States Senators.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-GA) stop by to discuss the 2022 election and some of the lesser-known details of the Inflation Recovery Act (IRA). Senator Bennet also discusses how he helped to make sure that drought assistance was included in the IRA for Colorado; his celebratory visit to Sen. Joe Manchin’s West Virginia boat; his ongoing bet with Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; and how he and other Democratic Senators actually talk about #HorseSushi.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

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President Biden Signs The BFD Act

UPDATE: Don’t take our word for it:


Sens. John Hickenlooper, Michael Bennet.

As the Washington Post reports, the hard-won long-sought reconciliation spending package once known as the Build Back Better Plan and officially now known as the banal-sounding Inflation Reduction Act, was signed into law this afternoon by President Joe Biden, capping off a dramatic turn of political fortune for Democrats in recent weeks:

At a bill signing ceremony in the State Dining Room of the White House, Biden praised the legislation as among the most significant measures in the history of the country.

“Let me say from the start: With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost,” Biden said.

His administration had begun amid “a dark time in America,” Biden added, citing the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and threats to democracy.

“And yet we’ve not wavered, we’ve not flinched and we’ve not given in,” Biden said. “Instead, we’re delivering results for the American people. We didn’t tear down. We built up. We didn’t look back. We look forward. And today — today offers further proof that the soul of America is vibrant, the future of America is bright, and the promise of America is real.”

With signing of this overwhelmingly popular spending package into law, Democrats have the opportunity to put closure on two years of struggle in which much more was achieved than the Biden administration gets popular credit for, such as the infrastructure bill passed right after the 2021 midterms–a win that didn’t resonate politically in the moment after being delinked under pressure from the passage of the larger spending plan on health care and climate change known as Build Back Better. What America got today, thanks in significant part to the patient work of Colorado’s U.S. Senators, was enough of Build Back Better for Democrats to return to their districts with a long list of campaign promises they thought were unattainable kept.

In light of all of this, we will henceforth refer to the so-called Inflation Reduction Act as the BFD Act. It’s not all of Build Back Better, but it’s still, as Joe Biden once said famously about Obamacare, “a big f—ing deal.”

Partisan Republicans will disagree of course–and the one in Colorado who might have benefited politically from crossing over to the winning side, U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea, felt obliged to put party and Mitch McConnell first. So while the majority of Americans celebrate having a government once more capable of minimally getting stuff done, O’Dea is left to sulk with his party of fringe naysayers and dismal poll numbers.

Them’s the breaks when you bet against America.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Sen. John Hickenlooper

“Dark Hickenlooper”

This week in a SPECIAL EPISODE of the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper about the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and his efforts to help get Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to agree to the biggest Climate Change reduction bill in the history of ever.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

Get More Smarter on Friday (Feb. 25)

On this day in 1991, the Warsaw Pact was officially declared to be kaput. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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


 President Biden nominated Kitanji Brown Jackson to succeed Justice Stephen Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court. If confirmed by the Senate, Jackson would be the first black woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. 


Governor Jared Polis is promising that Colorado will make every effort to oppose Russian interests in the wake of that country’s invasion of Ukraine. From Elizabeth Hernandez at The Denver Post:

As Russian troops waged war on their homeland, Ukrainians living in Colorado came together in solidarity outside the state Capitol on Thursday and Gov. Jared Polis announced the state will work to ensure it’s not financially supporting the Kremlin in any way.

Scores of people waving Ukrainian flags and hoisting signs bearing slogans including “Putin! Hands off Ukraine!” and “Support Ukraine, save democracy in the world!” filled the Capitol’s front steps. Colorado is home to about 11,000 Ukrainians, the governor’s office said…

…Polis said Colorado will welcome Ukrainian refugees and examine whether the state has any contracts or investments with Russian entities that it should end or divest from, and urge higher education institutions to review and reconsider any grants or projects tied with Russia.

The governor’s office said it will look “to ensure that agencies are in no way supporting the Russian government.”

As 9News reports, Colorado Republicans are also united…in blaming President Biden for everything.

Meanwhile in Ukraine, Russian forces are closing in on the Capital city of Kyiv.


As The Associated Press reports, experts see the biggest threats to U.S. elections coming from within. Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who is running for Secretary of State, has a starring role in this article. 


Click below to keep learning things…



Joe Biden Heads For Colorado Disaster Zone


9NEWS reports, President Joe Biden accompanied by Gov. Jared Polis, Rep. Joe Neguse of Boulder, and both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators will visit Louisville and Superior this afternoon to assess the damage from devastating wind-driven wildfires that destroyed nearly 1,000 homes one week ago:

Biden will be joined by Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) and Neguse (D-Colorado) on Friday’s tour. It was announced Friday morning that Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) and Sen. John Hickenlooper will also join them. Both will travel with the president on Air Force One before touring fire damage and visiting with survivors…

Once in the area, the officials, also including First Lady Jill Biden, will tour an area of Louisville that was damaged by the Marshall Fire. Following the damage tour the president will meet with survivors at the Louisville Recreation & Senior Center and deliver brief remarks about the federal response to the fire.

“This week, many in the Boulder County community – throughout Superior and Louisville – are beginning the long road to recovery in the wake of the unprecedented and terrible Marshall Fire,” Neguse said in a statement.

Traffic through the Denver metro area is not expected to be disrupted, with the President taking a helicopter from Buckley Air Force Base across town to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jeffco. President Biden’s remarks are scheduled for 5:15PM local time (video will stream above).

All we can say is, it’s refreshing to have a presidential President in these moments of need.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (January 6)

One year ago today, something very bad happened and it’s still too soon to joke about it. Let’s Get More Smarter anyway. 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



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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

► President Joe Biden spoke this morning on the anniversary of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol seeking to overturn his victory in the 2020 elections. Politico:

President Joe Biden on Thursday marked one year since his predecessor’s supporters besieged the Capitol with a pointed rebuke of the violence — and a declaration that Donald Trump bears “singular responsibility” for the attack.

“His bruised ego matters more to him than our democracy, our Constitution,” Biden said of the former president. Trump, he added, is “not just a former president. He’s a defeated former president, defeated by a margin of over seven million of your votes in a full and free and fair election.”

…Calling out Trump and his GOP allies marks a notable tonal shift for Biden. Since taking office, he’s largely held off on sharp barbs toward the foe he could face again in 2024. But Biden hewed to one of his post-election conventions on Thursday: He did not use Trump’s name while criticizing the former president.

Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim spoke with Rep. Jason Crow, credited with bravery by his colleagues in the face of the chaos of that day, and other Democratic members of Congress (unsurprisingly, Republicans like Rep. Lauren Boebert weren’t available to talk):

Crow said that as the House was locked down, his brain went into “Ranger mode.”

“I wasn’t really allowing myself to kind of process or think about it,” he said. “I was just triaging the information and trying to figure out our way out, because at that moment, we were trapped and surrounded by a violent mob.”

A famous photo shows Crow holding the hand of a panicked looking Representative Susan Wild of Pennsylvania, comforting her as she lays back on the floor of the gallery.

On the floor below, Rep. Joe Neguse, who had been tapped to help lead the arguments for the Democrats that day, spent those chaotic minutes reaching out to his family.

For more on the anniversary of the January 6th insurection, Axios recaps the role of ex-CU professor John Eastman and local attorney Jenna Ellis in drafting plans to overturn the 2020 presidential elections on January 20th. Here’s the latest updates on Coloradans facing charges for their role in the violence at the U.S. Capitol courtesy Westword.


► President Biden is headed to Colorado tomorrow to meet with Gov. Jared Polis and see firsthand the devastation from the December 30th Marshall Fire, the most destructive in Colorado history in terms of homes destroyed. Denver Post:

Accompanying Gov. Jared Polis and Democratic U.S. Rep Joe Neguse, D-Lafayette, the president will survey the damage and discuss “urgently needed federal support,” according to a news release from Neguse’s office…

“We cannot expect our communities to bear the burden of this disaster on their own,” Neguse said in a statement Wednesday. “We must bring the full force of the federal government to bear as our communities work to rebuild and recover.”

Over $25 million has been raised to support fire victims despite crass attempts to politicize the relief efforts.


As the drama over the Build Back Better legislation continues in D.C., Sen. John Hickenlooper joined with a group of Democratic Senators insisting that climate change funds be preserved in the rewrite of the bill currently underway.


Meanwhile, the renewed push to get voting rights legislation through the Senate by any means necessary continues.


Click below to keep learning stuff…



The Pivot To Voting Rights: A Time To Be Honest

Sens. Michael Bennet, John Hickenlooper.

Colorado Newsline reporter Chase Woodruff relays the new message from U.S. Senate Democrats, who are said to be “shelving” consideration of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better budget reconciliation bill in order to switch focus to quickly passing voting rights legislation:

Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado on Wednesday announced his support for “changes” to the filibuster, as Senate Democrats move to take up voting rights legislation in the final weeks of the year.

“We’ve been here almost a year, and we’ve seen enough: It’s time to change the filibuster to protect voting rights,” Hickenlooper said in a statement released by his office. “Protecting the right to vote shouldn’t be a partisan issue, and we set out to work across the aisle. But three separate voting rights bills have failed in the Senate this year.”

Hickenlooper’s announcement came as Senate Democrats signaled they would postpone consideration of President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” budget bill until next year, and instead move forward with legislation to protect voting rights.

News of this shift of priority to passing legislation to protect voting rights, which has always been the highest Democratic priority after passage of Build Back Better itself, comes as talks between the White House and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke down this week over continued funding of the expanded Child Tax Credit–putting Manchin squarely into conflict with one of the CTC’s principal supporters, Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado:

One of the most pivotal issues holding up progress is the child tax credit, a major Democratic Party priority that delivers aid to families and is key to the Biden administration’s effort to reduce child poverty. Manchin wants to cut the expanded child tax credit from the bill, with a source telling CNN that he wants to “zero it out.”

The Denver Post’s Alex Burness reports, we’re talking about a lot of Colorado families who will very quickly feel the pain unless the tax credit is extended:

Some 600,000 Colorado households were slated Wednesday to receive their monthly payment through the federal expanded child tax credit program.

But those families should not count on this program continuing. Unless Congress acts to extend the program — and that doesn’t appear likely in this calendar year — there’s no promise of any payments beyond those that go out Dec. 15.

If this program expires, said U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat who has championed this tax credit, “It’s going to make it harder for (families) to pay the rent, to pay for food, to pay for child care.”

If the push to change filibuster rules enough to get a voting rights bill through with 50+1 votes succeeds, and the latest word is that fellow recalcitrant Sen. Krysten Sinema still doesn’t support weakening the filibuster so that is not in any way assured despite Manchin’s expressed support for a voting rights bill, it would be a significant accomplishment for Democrats with practical benefits in terms of combating vote suppression going into the 2022 midterms. But with so much hanging in the balance including the biggest direct attempt to reduce childhood poverty in most of our lifetimes, the fight to fund the CTC with or without the rest of Build Back Better will be top priority in the new year.

No honest observer of this situation can characterize it as politically ideal for Democrats. The U.S. Senate 50/50 split has left the party’s agenda effectively at the mercy of its weakest links. Sens. Manchin and Sinema have done tremendous damage by protracting this intra-party struggle through the first year of Biden’s presidency, and showing voters how fractious the couldn’t-be-narrower Democratic majority coalition is. The results of the 2021 elections threw a scare into Democratic leadership, who responded by hastily passing the bipartisan roads and bridges bill–giving Biden a bankable win at the expense of weakening his negotiating position to pass Build Back Better.

What Colorado Democrats must always remember is that this is not being done by fellow Colorado Democrats like Sen. Bennet and Sen. Hickenlooper. They are victims of the weakness at the margin of this smallest possible majority like the rest of us. Manchin has kicked the legs out from under major policy priorities from both Hickenlooper and now Bennet with Manchin’s assault on the Child Tax Credit. And if Bennet or Hickenlooper “get tough on Manchin,” whatever that means but that being the battle cry of vengeful progressive activists, Manchin will simply make good on his threats to switch parties, at which point all hope of passing anything Democrats want ends.

With all of this dreary reality acknowledged, the long-term best-case scenario is still pretty good. If Democrats get meaningful voting rights protections to Biden’s desk in this priority pivot, if they return after the holidays with renewed urgency to pass Build Back Better and keep relief flowing to millions of American families…

Until that is mathematically impossible, the only option is to keep plugging away with the army they have.

Colorado Dems Celebrate As Biden Gets Part One Done

(Clockwise from top left): Diana DeGette, Joe Neguse, Ed Perlmutter, and Jason Crow

Denver7’s Robert Garrison reports on the final and narrow passage last night of a bipartisan roads and bridges bill by the U.S. House, a vote made possible by 13 Republicans who crossed party lines to offset “no” votes from a handful of progressive Democrats led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez–handing President Joe Biden a major and much-needed victory that will have voter-visible effects in the near term, but also putting the onus squarely on Democratic Senate holdouts to ensure the much larger Build Back Better reconciliation package actually gets passed:

Colorado leaders hailed the passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure package as more details as to what it will mean for the state comes to light. But not everyone was in a celebratory mood.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act with bipartisan support late Friday.

Gov. Jared Polis said in a statement the bill is a “win” for the state.

“Let’s fix the roads and reduce traffic! This is a win for our country and a win for Colorado! I’m thrilled that Congress has passed with bipartisan support this once-in-a-generation opportunity to improve our roads, create new jobs, improve our drinking water, and tackle climate change,” Polis said in a statement. “Paired with our state’s historic bipartisan infrastructure plan that I signed this summer, Colorado will see a transformation across all four corners of our state to make our roads safer and better for all Coloradans. Thank you, President Biden and Congress for your bipartisan work to bring real change across our country’s entire infrastructure system.”

Rep. Joe Neguse, who serves as a vice-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), is ebullient and tallying up the wins for Colorado this morning:

Although passage of the bipartisan roads and bridges bill is making some progressives nervous about the fate of the larger Build Back Better plan (more on that in a moment), this morning the big story is the red-on-red rage from conservative Republicans including Colorado’s own Rep. Lauren Boebert, vowing retribution against the “fake Republicans” who enabled passage of the bill in the House last night:

While Republicans busy themselves eating their own for a few news cycles and President Biden enjoys a major win after an undeniably difficult few months, it is necessary to acknowledge the real concerns raised by the six dissenting Democrats, who say they voted no because it had been previously assured that the bipartisan roads and bridges bill and the larger “human infrastructure” Build Back Better plan would pass as a package deal. As of now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is operating on a promise by moderate House Democrats to support the larger bill once the Congressional Budget Office completes its necessary scoring–the same thing America’s Most Important Senator® Sen. Joe Manchin claims to be waiting for.

In exchange for accolades today, the stakes are now higher to pass the larger bill Democrats still very much need to deliver ahead of the 2022 midterms. Colorado Democrats have not at any point been part of the problem here, in fact both Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper have seen their own priorities threatened and even cut from the bill at Manchin’s whim. It’s a major test of discipline for the razor-thin Democratic majority in Congress–and as Will Rogers famously observed in 1935, organization has never been the Democratic Party’s strong suit.

When there’s a deal, Colorado Democrats will be on the right side of it.

Beyond that, pray and/or bet according to your preference.

Manchin Takes Aim At Bennet’s Prized Child Tax Credit

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-ish).

As Pat Poblete of the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports–while Colorado’s junior Sen. John Hickenlooper reckons with moderate obstinate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia’s deal-killing opposition to the carbon tax Hickenlooper has championed since his 2019 presidential run, Colorado’s other U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is confronted with a threat to the size and scope of his overwhelmingly popular Child Tax Credit from the same Sen. Manchin:

The number of Colorado parents eligible to receive the federal Child Tax Credit could be cut by nearly 70% if congressional Democrats and the Biden administration cave to the demands of one of their Democratic colleagues, according to a new report.

The vast federal program – which sends monthly payments to parents of children 17 years old and younger – has been a top policy priority of U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet since the middle of the last decade and was signed into law by President Joe Biden in March as part of a pandemic response package…

Researchers at the self-proclaimed “moderate” Niskanen Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, on Tuesday released estimates based off of Axios’ report showing if Manchin got his way, some 37.4 million children across the country would lose out on federal aid.

And that’s not all:

Colorado would be particularly hard hit based on the projections put together by the Niskanen Center’s Robert Orr and Samuel Hammond. Based on the duo’s projections, roughly 320,000 Colorado kids would be eligible for the credit under Manchin’s proposal, down 67.9% from the roughly 1.1 million currently eligible children.

Sen. Bennet’s goal is to see the Child Tax Credit in its current form extended for a further five years–enough time for the credit to make measurable progress toward the goal of cutting child poverty in half throughout the United States. But because of the perfectly divided 50/50 U.S. Senate, Sen. Manchin now wields a degree of influence over the process that has galled and outraged Democrats across the nation. Manchin, the only Democratic representative left representing a state whose failed economy has embittered a white working-class population, seems to be taking pleasure in his dream-crushing role as he demands a smaller final package for the politically self-serving sake of being smaller.

With the signature priorities of both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators now at Joe Manchin’s mercy, the one thing we say for certain is that both Hickenlooper and Bennet are as frustrated as everyone else over the present state of affairs. What’s happening right now is not why either of them were elected to the U.S. Senate, and it’s not their fault. We can only hope that when the dust settles on a final product, some of the good stuff Colorado’s U.S. Senators have fought for is still in there.

In the long run, the only cure is a majority with a margin that prevents any one Senator from playing God.

Manchin, Tester Knock Down Hick’s Carbon Tax Aspirations

Sen. John Hickenlooper (D).

Politico reporting in their Congress Minutes brief today on news that will disappoint progressive Democrats who are hoping to see aggressive action to combat human-caused climate change in the budget reconciliation bill:

Key moderate senators are resisting efforts to impose a carbon tax as part of their climate action plan, sending progressives back to the drawing board.

Sen. Joe Manchin plainly told reporters Tuesday morning that “the carbon tax is not on the board at all right now.” And Sen. Jon Tester said separately “you might have problems with me on a carbon tax.”

“I just don’t think you can implement it. I use a lot more fuel than [a trucker does], and we’re both going to get the same check and it’s going to make us whole? It’s just not going to work. So I’ve got some issues with the carbon tax myself.” Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) told POLITICO.

Although a tax on carbon pollution gained new impetus in recent days after moderate obstinate Democratic Senators led by Sen. Joe Manchin shot down a previous incentive-based plan to encourage carbon reduction, it’s worth remembering as Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff reported at the end of August that we’re talking about a longstanding proposal from Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado, who ran for President in 2019 on a platform of (among other things) taxing carbon:

As negotiations over a high-stakes budget bill begin in Washington, D.C., Colorado Sen. John Hickenlooper told constituents in a virtual town hall on Monday that a carbon-pricing mechanism to combat climate change tops his wish list for the legislation.

“The thing I’d like more than anything is to get a price on carbon,” Hickenlooper said. “It would be so much more efficient if there was some sort of a fee, and a dividend of some sort, that would allow us to incentivize and motivate all of these entrepreneurs all over the country … to find cleaner ways of delivering energy.”

…Hickenlooper made a carbon tax central to the climate plan put forward by his ill-fated presidential campaign in 2019. As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, he could play a key role in drafting and negotiating the $198 billion clean-energy component of the Democrats’ reconciliation bill.

Although Sen. Hickenlooper took plenty of heat from his left during a gubernatorial administration in which oil and gas development increased significantly, here we have Hickenlooper clearly positioned to the left of the obstructionist Democrats representing energy-producing states on a major climate change policy proposal. It’s a reminder that Colorado’s Democrats are not the problem in these fraught blue-on-blue negotiations, and might join those disappointed on the wrong side of whatever compromise emerges.

In that event we will all need to focus on the good stuff that doesn’t get cut, and remember to not blame the wrong people.

We say these things because when we get to what they call “nut-cutting time,” no one else remembers to.

Caption This Photo: Cory Gardner Goes to Disney World (Again)

Former Senator Cory Gardner was spotted this weekend waiting in line at Disney World. The Yuma Republican usually hosts a “fundraising event” every November in Orlando, FL, in which his PAC picks up the check for Gardner and family to go in search of Mickey Mouse. We don’t know if this weekend’s Disney World visit was another “fundraiser,” or if Gardner actually paid to visit the park this time.

Regardless, caption away, dear readers…

Former Sen. Cory Gardner snapping photos at Disney World

So Many Captions For One Awkward Photo

Committed to the public domain by Rep. Lauren Boebert’s official Twitter account, from yesterday’s visit by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland (center) to Grand Junction accompanied by (from left) Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Joe Neguse, Gov. Jared Polis, and Sen. John Hickenlooper:

There’s a lot going on here, and 90% of it doesn’t need to be said.

Take care of the other 10%, gentle readers.

Of Course Cory Gardner is Now a Lobbyist

Old Gardner: ‘Boo, lobbyists!’
New Gardner: ‘Yay, I’m a lobbyist!’

We’ll say this for former one-term Senator Cory Gardner: He’s nothing if not predictable.

As The Hill newspaper reports, the Yuma Republican has a new job that nobody everybody could have seen coming:

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will join the board of Michael Best Strategies, the lobbying firm announced Wednesday…

…Michael Best Strategies is run by Reince Priebus, who served as former President Trump’s White House chief of staff and as Republican National Committee chairman. The firm has expanded this year, naming former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) to its board of advisers in March…

…“Cory is an efficient communicator and leader and has an extraordinary track record of success in an array of policy and legislative matters,” Priebus said in a statement. “As another tenured former government representative joins our board, Cory’s addition will greatly benefit Michael Best Strategies as we continue to deepen our leadership and advisory positions with former lawmakers.”

But…but…wasn’t Senator Gardner a staunch supporter of efforts to PROHIBIT Members of Congress from moving straight from Congress into lobbying?

Well, yes. On more than once occasion, in fact.

Here’s what Gardner said on re-introducing the Close the Revolving Door Act in October 2019:

“By blocking Members of Congress from ever becoming lobbyists following their time in office, this legislation will bring the transparency and accountability to elected officials that Coloradans expect and deserve.”

Blah, blah, blahbity blah.

Gardner didn’t just become a complete bullshit artist after losing his re-election bid to Democrat John Hickenlooper by 9 points in 2020. Gardner was always full of craptransparently so, in fact — and it’s a big reason why he fared so poorly with Colorado voters in the years following his 2014 election to the Senate.

There’s nothing more Cory Gardner than moving straight into lobbying after years of decrying the fact that so many former Members of Congress were becoming lobbyists.

As a Member of Congress, very little of what Gardner said turned out to actually matter. May his new career be just as pointless.

Hickenlooper Unleashes His Inner Democrat

Another recent jam from Sen. Hickenlooper

The headline here is intentionally snarky.

You might remember about a year ago at this time, then-Senate candidate John Hickenlooper was getting gouged by Democratic Primary challenger Andrew Romanoff and friends for Hick’s purported lack of commitment to Democratic policies. Nevermind, of course, that Hickenlooper campaigned on a progressive agenda centered around building partnerships and helping everyone do better in our economic system.

Since Hickenlooper entered office as Colorado’s junior U.S. Senator in January, the former Governor has been doing basically what he said he would do — which (again) was to be a Democratic Senator. The latest example of this comes via press release from Hickenlooper’s Senate office:

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Maggie Hassan today introduced legislation to guarantee collective bargaining rights for firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel. [Pols emphasis] The Firefighters and EMS Employer-Employee Cooperation Act recognizes the right of emergency services providers to join a union as well as bargain for fair working conditions, hours, and wages.

Many states, including Colorado and New Hampshire, already have local collective bargaining protections for emergency personnel, but federal law does not protect these essential workers. In 16 states, public safety employees cannot collectively bargain for safe working conditions. In five states, they are unable to unionize altogether.

“Firefighters and emergency personnel look out for our safety every day, and it’s time for the federal government to look out for theirs,” said Hickenlooper, Chair of the HELP Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety. “This bill guarantees their right to negotiate for healthy working conditions and a living wage.”

There he goes again: Fracken-collective-bargaining-looper.

We didn’t intentionally write this to sound like a “told you so” argument, but it kinda ended up there in the end.

Updating “The Big Line: 2022” and Statewide Colorado Races

The Republican bench in Colorado can fit inside a phone booth, which is a big reason why 2022 has been such a difficult election cycle to predict for the GOP. That doesn’t mean we won’t give it a try.

Last week, Ernest Luning of the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman updated the rumor mill on potential statewide Republican candidates in 2022. That gives us as good of a news peg as any to update “The Big Line: 2022.” Here’s how things look for the five statewide races that will be on the ballot in Colorado…



Sen. Michael Bennet

Incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet is the first U.S. Senator from Colorado to even seek a third term in office since Gordon Allott in 1966 (remember to credit Colorado Pols when you get this question right while playing “Obscure Colorado Trivia Pursuit”). Bennet dispatched then-District Attorney Ken Buck in 2010 before lucking out with Darryl Glenn as his Republican opponent in 2016, and the trend toward terrible GOP opponents seems likely to continue. 

A few Republicans have officially filed paperwork to run in 2022, including people named Juli Henry, Peter Yu, and Erik Aadland. Since Donald Trump will be “re-appointed” as President before any of these names are likely to end up in the U.S. Senate, let’s just move along…

Former El Paso County GOP Chairman Eli Bremer indicated his interest in a Senate run back in February (as first reported by Luning); that trial balloon was met with a collective shrug from Republicans, but Bremer hasn’t given up on this dream just yet. Aside from Bremer, two names seem to be popping up more than others for Republicans: Clarice Navarro and Dan Caplis (no, seriously). 

Navarro is a former State Representative from Pueblo who resigned her seat in 2017 to take a job in the Trump administration as the Colorado Farm Service Agency’s state executive director. Navarro currently works as Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s District Director, which appears to be a fairly irrelevant position. Boebert political advisers like Laura Carno are advising Navarro on making a bid for Senate, and Navarro is taking a close look at running from what we hear.

Caplis is a silly right-wing radio host and ambulance-chasing defense lawyer who has been threatening to run for one office or another for more than a decade. Last fall, Caplis was talking about challenging Gov. Jared Polis in 2022, but he seems to have since changed his focus to the U.S. Senate. Normally we’d just ignore Caplis, but from what we hear, he is actively trying to put together a staff and is willing to front the money for salaries, which is more than can be said for any other potential Republican candidate at this point.

Bottom Line: After Democrat John Hickenlooper’s convincing 2020 Senate win, national Republicans aren’t going to target Bennet in 2022. Whoever emerges as the Republican nominee will have to do most of the work themselves. Bennet is safe here.