So, About that New Congressional Redistricting Map…

If you were paying attention to Colorado politics over the weekend, you might have noticed a lot of people running around like they were on fire.

On Friday, Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission released a new proposed map of Colorado’s eight Congressional districts (officially called “First Staff Plan”). As Thy Vo and Sandra Fish report for The Colorado Sun today, there is much wringing of hands and discussions of viewpoints considering some pretty significant new district lines being proposed:

The dozen members of Colorado’s Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission questioned nonpartisan staff Monday about the latest draft map of the state’s U.S. House districts as they prepare to hear from the public about the plan this week.

The map, introduced Friday based on 2020 census data and which has thrown Colorado’s political world into a tizzy, is markedly different from an initial proposal based on 2019 population estimates.

Before we go any further, we should point out that the map introduced on Friday is not necessarily the map that will determine Congressional boundaries for 2022. The Redistricting Commission will hold four public hearings this week for comment on the First Staff Plan (FSP) Map, which can be confirmed with a ‘YES’ vote from 8 of the 12 Commission members. If this map is NOT approved, the nonpartisan redistricting staff can present as many as two additional proposals before the Sept. 28 deadline to finalize redistricting boundaries.

But if the “FSP Map” ends up being close to a final version of what we can expect for the next decade, then there is plenty to talk about. Here’s what that map looks like (CLICK HERE for a bigger version):

 

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Come Home Tina Peters!

This week on Episode #85 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss the whereabouts of Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters; we get ready for a Republican campaign for Governor; we wonder (and not for the first time) what in the hell Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is trying to say; and we ponder the never-ending list of troubles for Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle)

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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

Get More Smarter on Thursday (August 26)

Teddy! 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

 

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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Now that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has received full approval from the FDA, Republicans are having a hard time trying to figure out where to stand on the issue of mandatory vaccinations. As The Washington Post explains:

In the days since the FDA’s authorization and Biden’s call, Republicans who have otherwise fought tooth and nail against vaccine mandates have been surprisingly quiet about the prospect of employer mandates. And the few who have spoken out have generally said employers should be allowed to implement them.

The issue has played out in recent weeks and months in a number of states, with some lawmakers pushing for bans on mandates. But unlike the party’s posture toward school mask mandates, government vaccine mandates and vaccine passports, there is little cohesion on this subject. So far, only one state bans employer vaccine mandates: Montana…

…[South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem] essentially said conservatives should give businesses the freedom to take this step. And that’s going to be a tough pill to swallow for a Republican base that has been spoon-fed anti-mandate rhetoric — often tinged with conspiracy theories — by its leaders for so long.

Supporting pre-emptive bans on vaccine mandates doesn’t really jibe with “conservative” ideals to leave private businesses alone to make their own decisions. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, however, is plowing ahead anyway.

 

Congressperson Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) is facing new calls for investigations related to her bizarre disclosure last week in which she apparently remembered that her husband, Jayson, gets paid a half-million dollars a year to “consult” for an oil and gas company.

 

The redistricting process in Colorado is (finally) nearing its final stages. This is bad news for Republicans, who picked a terrible time to get caught breaking the law on lobbying disclosures.

In related news, Bente Birkland of Colorado Public Radio looks at how a supposedly nonpartisan redistricting process is being corrupted by partisanship:

Colorado’s new redistricting process was intended to replace politicians with independent commissioners, and party interests with public input. But recent developments show there are still plenty of ways for partisans to try to influence the process.

On Tuesday, Democratic attorney Mark Grueskin filed a complaint against three prominent Colorado Republicans — former state sen. Greg Brophy, former state House Speaker Frank McNulty, and Alan Philp with the Colorado Neighborhood Coalition — alleging that they have been trying to influence the state’s redistricting process without properly disclosing their efforts.

The complaint filed on behalf of a voter in Larimer county, alleges the men either failed to properly register as lobbyists while conducting meetings related to redistricting and proposing ideas for maps, or they didn’t disclose income.

Colorado Republicans are trying to convince Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters to end her time on the lam and return to Colorado to face the music for allegedly compromising election security in a ham-handed attempt to prove some sort of 2020 election fraud. The Washington Post has more on how a nutty conspiracy theory is causing real-world security problems in Mesa County.

The office of Colorado’s Attorney General has joined in the investigation of Peters. The Colorado Secretary of State’s office, the Mesa County District Attorney, and the FBI are already looking into Peters’ misdeeds.

 

Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is touring Colorado and getting an earful from residents about Climate Change worries.

Meanwhile, Colorado Newsline’s Chase Woodruff reports that Bennet’s 2022 re-election campaign is cruising along with solid fundraising and little Republican opposition.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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D’oh! Buck Deletes His Own Gibberish Tweet on Spending

The non-official Twitter account for Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) Tweeted out a spectacular bit of nonsense this afternoon before somebody apparently came to their senses and hit the ‘DELETE’ button. But, alas, nothing ever REALLY gets erased from the Internet, so we can show you exactly what Team Buck hoped to delete:

Since-deleted Tweet from @BuckForColorado

 

The screenshot above is taken from this video, which shows a Colorado State Chamber of Commerce event from last week that featured Buck and fellow Colorado Reps. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish), Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), Jason Crow (D-Aurora), and Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County). In the clip that was Tweeted (and deleted), Buck is yammering some nonsense about why the State Government should pay for things instead of the Federal Government (jump ahead to the 40:25 mark HERE).

Buck seems to be upset that the Colorado legislature would use COVID-19 relief funds — as requested by many Colorado business leaders — to help backfill the coffers that support unemployment benefits. But his point is rather in-artfully articulated:

BUCK: Nobody, nobody in either party wants to deny someone daycare services. For those that can’t afford daycare services, there absolutely should be daycare services. And there should absolutely be services available for those who can’t afford that. And there absolutely should be services available for those who can afford that and want to pay for it. The question really is, which level of government writes the check? And we’re faced with the issue now — if there are daycare services that are necessary, state government should write that check. State government has to balance its budget. The federal government doesn’t balance its budget. So to take federal money in an unbalanced way, in a deficit-spending way, to pay for those expenses is wrong. [Pols emphasis] Again, the governors are the group that decided how to shut down their economy, how to manage the situation on the ground in each individual state.

And by the way, when my friend Ed [gestures toward Perlmutter] says that Colorado had less deaths than Florida, Florida has always been a magnet for seniors. [This is seemingly meant to be a joke] Seniors are the most vulnerable, they went to Florida, and Colorado is one of the youngest, healthiest states in the country, and so to compare those two is kind of apples and oranges. But when you’re talking about this unemployment benefit, I think it’s really important to understand that Colorado has to step up in some way and accept some of the responsibility for that. I haven’t seen the bill yet — I’m not going to pass a judgment on the bill at this point — but in my mind, I think we have to make sure that we are putting the burden on the right level of government.

You can see what that’s probably not the best bit of public speaking for Team Buck to promote. We’d encourage you to watch the video yourself, if nothing else to catch the priceless reaction from Rep. Perlmutter as Buck rambles along.

One Twitter follower quickly noticed a different problem with Buck’s rambling:

Buck spent the early part of his career as a prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice before serving two terms as the Weld County District Attorney. He was elected to Congress in 2014.

In a separate segment, Buck also decried the existence of extended unemployment benefits, repeating the oft-used GOP talking point that extended UI benefits are preventing the American workforce from fully recovering after the pandemic. Actual research, in fact, has shown that THERE IS NO EVIDENCE to support the idea that extended UI benefits were encouraging some Americans not to seek employment.

It’s well-known that Ken Buck will take every position on every subject at some point. Occasionally he even tries to make a logical argument, but most of the time — as in the segment above — Buck just spouts out words in an order that might make sense in his head but dies a quick death when exposed to outside air.

Go Ahead and Ignore Republicans on Afghanistan

President Biden spoke this afternoon from the White House regarding the situation in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of American forces from that country and the subsequent takeover by Taliban forces. As The Washington Post reports:

In remarks at the White House Monday afternoon, President Biden acknowledged that the collapse of Afghanistan’s government and security forces took place more rapidly than expected — but maintained that withdrawing U.S. troops from the country was the correct decision.

“The truth is, this did unfold more quickly than we had anticipated,” Biden said. “So what’s happened? Afghanistan’s political leaders gave up and fled the country. The Afghan military collapsed, some … without trying to fight. If anything, the developments of the past week reinforced that ending U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan now was the right decision.”

He added: “American troops cannot and should not be fighting in a war and dying in a war that Afghan forces are not willing to fight for themselves.”

Meanwhile, both around the country and here in Colorado, Republicans are crowing about the perceived failures of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. It’s the kind of back seat driving/Monday morning quarterbacking that Republicans have long favored as opposed to offering up any sort of actual policy proposal of their own.

Former President Trump is accusing Biden of having “surrendered” to the Taliban — and even, absurdly, calling on Biden to resign as President — while insisting that he would have handled the withdrawal of military forces differently. Never mind that it was the TRUMP ADMINISTRATION that negotiated the withdrawal of American forces from Afghanistan back in December 2020

In fact, here was Trump in July 2021 (yes, LAST month):

 

Nobody would argue that the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan is going well, but it’s likely that the swift Taliban takeover in the region was going to happen whenever America finally left Afghanistan. As The Washington Post explains, the complete failure of the Afghan security forces to offer any real resistance to the Taliban was not a huge surprise. 

Yet in their zeal to pin all of the negative effects of the withdrawal on Biden, Republicans are again completely ignoring their own history. For example, here’s Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle):

In that last Tweet, Boebert quotes right-wing talking head Jack Posobiec, whom Reddit users already discredited over the weekend.

Appearing on Fox News over the weekend, Boebert’s Colorado colleague, Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), haughtily condemned the Biden administration over the Afghanistan withdrawal:

We are a strong country with a weak President…

…President Biden was misleading the American people and putting Americans at risk, and foreigners at risk, inside Afghanistan with just a foolhardy plan.

This is interesting, considering that just a few months ago Buck was clamoring for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021. Here’s what he wrote in a letter co-signed by Rep. Barbara Lee in March of this year:

“We support your administration’s pledge to advance a negotiated end to this war, and we believe that meeting the May 1 deadline is vital to this effort…But it is long past time for the United States to end its military role in a complex conflict that predates our initial invasion two decades ago.”

Congressman Buck has long been an adherent of taking every side on every issue, so his mealy-mouthed talk on Afghanistan is no huge surprise. This is all illustrative (again) that Republican politicians largely have absolutely nothing useful to add to the problem.

Republicans are going to say something today that is completely different than whatever they said yesterday, and if the situation changes tomorrow…then they’ll say something else. It’s as predictable as it is useless.

“Reprehensible”–Liz Cheney Calls Out GOP Colleagues In Aspen

Rep. Liz Cheney (R).

As the Aspen Times’ Rick Carroll reports, yesterday the Aspen Insitute hosted a conversation with Republican Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming about her role on the select committee investigating the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol by dead-ender supporters of ex-President Donald Trump on January 6th in an attempt to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential elections. Cheney’s refusal to accede to the “Big Lie” that the election was stolen from Trump, and her unrelenting condemnation of the events of that day even as her Republican colleagues fell back in line behind Trump, have made Cheney a pariah within her own party.

But that won’t be the judgment of history:

“It was mob, and you’ve seen the video now, attempting to tear people limb from limb,” Cheney told interviewer Eric Schmidt, also former chairman and CEO of Google, inside the Greenwald Pavilion on the Aspen Meadows campus. “And so when I hear my colleagues say it was a group of tourists, when I hear them say this was nothing to be afraid of, when I hear Donald Trump say the crowd was full of love, I think it is reprehensible and indefensible, [Pols emphasis] and I think that all of us have a duty and a responsibility not to look away from the reality of that day and the reality of how we got to that day.”

Cheney voted with Donald Trump 92.6% of the time he was president and also voted to re-elect him in 2020. The daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney assumed office in January 2017 and has said she will seek re-election in the 2022 mid-terms.

Republicans removed her from her GOP leadership position after she impeached Trump over the insurrection, and Trump reportedly has been meeting with potential challengers to Cheney in next year’s primary. Cheney, however, said the insurrection probe is a search for the truth of what happened Jan. 6, also the byproduct of a fragmented America, part of which has drifted from the country’s democratic principles.

Insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, January 6th 2021.

Rep. Cheney has no love for the left, and the feeling up until Donald Trump forced a different kind of moral alignment upon the country was certainly mutual. But we defy anyone on either side of the aisle to question Cheney’s insight regarding the events of January 6th:

“I look at this moment that we have arrived at and I think in many ways that we need to have a very serious, sustained national discussion about American history, about civics, about the Constitution and about the rule of law,” she said. “And when you look at what happened in the lead-up to Jan. 6, and look at what happened on Jan. 6, and when you look at the response of my party in the days and weeks and now months afterwards, it’s very clear that some people are willing to accept what I think was a line that can never be crossed, and I think as Americans, for us it’s a moment where we have to put politics aside and we have to say ‘this isn’t about a policy debate, this isn’t about where you are on taxes or on government regulation or on national security issues; this is about the fundamental underpinnings of our society.’” [Pols emphasis]

Never before and maybe never again, but what Liz Cheney said.

Aspen is a liberal enclave in the heart of freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert’s district. During Boebert’s run for office in 2020, Cheney hosted a fundraiser for Boebert, but now that Boebert calls Cheney “a cancer to our party and to our caucus” that’s obviously all in the past. Rep. Ken Buck stoutly defended Cheney when the House GOP conference voted to boot Cheney from leadership, but since then Buck has come back to the “Big Lie” in his own peculiar way and certainly has no appetite for an investigation into the events of January 6th. At no point has Buck attempted to reconcile his view of Cheney with Boebert’s, a massive contradiction that has simply festered while events have taken their course.

It’s not going to work forever. Liz Cheney came to Aspen to throw down in the backyard of one of her most acrimonious detractors. Boebert can’t respond to Cheney’s criticism of Trump and the enablers of January 6th with facts, only with scorn and cheap-shot aspersions. And anything that Ken Buck says at this point will only get him in more trouble with his own party one way or the other.

It’s a real pickle for every Republican except Liz Cheney, who has nothing left to lose.

As for this greater question “about the fundamental underpinnings of our society,” Cheney is on the side history will favor.

Endgame: Colorado’s GOP Reps Call For Overturning Roe v. Wade

Ex-Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Joke’s on you).

MSNBC’s Steve Benen writes today:

Last fall, in the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing, and as Republicans scrambled to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the high court, Democrats told voters the future of reproductive rights was on the line in the 2020 elections.

And Republicans, realizing that they’re on the wrong side of public opinion, furiously pretended otherwise.

In one of the presidential debates, for example, after Joe Biden said the Roe v. Wade precedent was on the ballot, Donald Trump immediately pushed back. “Why is it on the ballot?” the Republican asked. “Why is it on the ballot? It’s not on the ballot.”

The same day, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) insisted the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned “is very minimal.” She added, “I don’t see that happening.” Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) used similar rhetoric during his re-election campaign.

Here in Colorado, where voters have overwhelmingly rejected repeated attempts to ban abortion via statewide ballot initiatives, the conventional wisdom that abortion rights were not in serious danger despite mounting evidence to the contrary took a very long time to change. In 2014, the Denver Post infamously told its readers in their endorsement of Cory Gardner in his U.S. Senate bid that “Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.” Perennial legislation from minority Republicans to criminalize and impose restrictions on abortion in the Colorado General Assembly was trivialized by the local media, believing as they did with Gardner that the actual threat to abortion rights was remote–or happy to keep up a pretense that just happened to have saved Gardner’s ass in 2014.

In retrospect, this was one of the greatest deceptions in Colorado’s political history.

Gardner went on to participate in the GOP Senate majority’s denial of a fair hearing and vote for Merrick Garland in 2016, then proceeded to help Donald Trump appoint three conservative Justices in only four years. And even though Gardner was soundly defeated in last year’s elections, late last week, Colorado’s Republican congressional minority carried his torch in calling for the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court Gardner left in his wake to overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing abortion rights:

U.S. Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Lauren Boebert signed on to an amicus brief in support of Mississippi, which wants to enforce its ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The brief cites the landmark abortion cases Roe v. Wade, which in 1973 upheld the constitutional right to an abortion, and Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which upheld Roe in 1992.

“These precedents should be reconsidered and, where necessary, wholly or partially overruled,” the brief’s authors argue.

Even as abortion rights activists in Colorado have fought off repeated attempts to criminalize abortion, at the federal level abortion rights have been brought to the brink of ruin thanks in no small part to Cory Gardner’s role in reshaping the Supreme Court for the next generation. If Roe v. Wade is overturned and abortion rights become a state-by-state issue, Colorado is expected to become a “haven” for women seeking abortion care from states where abortion is outlawed. And of course, Colorado’s own longstanding and robust protections for abortion rights will truly be only one election away from ending.

We know there are readers who are tired of hearing about Cory Gardner and the “Big Lie” of 2014 in Colorado politics. Even Colorado GOP chairwoman Kristi Burton Brown, who got her start as the face of the “Personhood” abortion ban measures, says her goal today is “not to push one particular issue but to actually win.” A whole class of political pundits, consultants, lackeys, minions, and flunkies would like to move on from this grand yet old deception. After all, Cory Gardner doesn’t need it anymore.

If the Trump Court rules as Trump promised they would, that will be impossible. Just in time for the 2022 election cycle, abortion could be the defining issue it should have been in 2014.

Republicans Might Have Backed the Wrong Horse…Again

 

UPDATE #2: And again…

 

—–

UPDATE: To our point…

Via The Washington Post (7/30/21)

—–

Could become a popular item (the bag).

Philip Bump of The Washington Post has an interesting new column out today that prodded us to take a new look at a question we’ve long pondered: Are Republicans SURE that following Donald Trump is their best option in 2022? 

Bump notes that Trump is no longer able to drive a national conversation like he once could — in part because of his banishment from major social media sites — and points out that Trump’s favorability ratings among Republicans have been steadily dropping since the Jan. 6 insurrection. Add in the fact that Trump’s endorsement hasn’t been all that effective lately (more on this in a moment), and it leads Bump to conclude the following:

It’s hard to overstate how important it is for Trump to be seen as decisive. It’s why when a political action committee associated with Trump nemesis John Bolton published a poll suggesting that Trump’s grip had weakened, Trump’s team did a full-court press to rebut the insinuation. His then-spokesman Jason Miller sent a flurry of rejoinders insisting that Trump was still as strong as he liked the world to think. (Incidentally, Miller’s replacement by Liz Harrington is in its own way a diminishment of Trump’s ability to hold the party in his grip.) Trump needs people to think he can make or break their careers.

It’s probably true that, for many, he still can. But this week has been a good reminder that such bullying can very quickly fall apart under the right conditions. At some point next year, as primaries unfold, Trump may see his power collapse and see a bunch of Republicans he opposed headed back to Washington — shaking their heads at him as they go, amazed that they had ever feared him. [Pols emphasis]

On Monday, Trump endorsed Susan Wright ahead of a special election in Texas to fill the remainder of her late husband’s term in Congress (Rep. Ron Wright died earlier this year after being infected with COVID-19). Susan Wright went on to lose to fellow Republican Jake Ellzey by about seven points. 

As POLITICO reports, the outcome in Texas’ 6th Congressional District had Trump lackeys running scared:

[Wright’s] loss Tuesday night sent shockwaves through the former president’s inner circle. Many privately concede the pressure is on them to win another special election next week in Ohio, where a Trump-backed candidate is locked in a close primary.

Advisers worry that a second embarrassing loss would raise questions about the power of Trump’s endorsement — his most prized political commodity, which candidates from Ohio to Wyoming are scrambling to earn before next year’s midterms. [Pols emphasis] More broadly, losses could undermine his standing in the Republican Party, where his popularity and influence has protected Trump’s relevance even as a former president barred from his social media megaphones.

A bit later, POLITICO noters that Trump didn’t do much for Wright aside from his generic endorsement rhetoric:

Some Republicans, however, pin partial blame for Wright’s loss on Trump. While the former president sent out statements reiterating his support for Wright and hosted a late tele-rally for her, he did little to help her build her campaign war chest — something he could have done using his vast small donor network. Recently released finance reports showed Ellzey significantly outraising Wright.

Trump has backed Mike Carey for Congress in a special election in Ohio next week, where the story is much the same. Carey is being vastly outspent by a different Republican candidate, former state lawmaker Ron Hood, who is backed by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and other conservative Super PACs. Trump advisers are right to worry about what it will say for The Big Orange Guy’s influence if his preferred candidate loses what is essentially a Republican primary for the second time in a week.

These are not the only signs that Trump’s influence might not be as strong as his supporters — including Colorado Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert — would like to believe. 

In late Spring, Trump rolled out a new blog called “From the Desk of Donald J. Trump” that lasted all of 29 days after proving to be less popular than even lesser-known pet-adoption and recipe websites. Organizers of a proposed winter tour headlined by Trump and former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly are having a hard time selling tickets; consumers are apparently much more interested in paying money to see the likes of comedian Katt Williams or podcast host Joe Rogan

Republicans across the country have stuck with Trump even after his departure from the White House in January, but doubts are growing. Colorado Republican Party Chair Kristi Burton Brown, who earlier this year declared that the State GOP would “never” go back to “the pre-Trump era,” has been walking back those declarations in recent interviews. 

Cool, you’ve got these voters. What about everybody else?

Republicans have been basing their entire 2022 political strategy around support for “The Big Lie,” either because they truly believe that the 2020 Presidential Election was fraudulent or (more likely) because they are terrified that Trump could derail their political careers by supporting a GOP challenger. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is so frightened of receiving a primary challenge that he recently started inventing his own ridiculous election conspiracy theories. After waffling for months on whether or not the 2020 election was legitimate, Buck dove headfirst down the rabbit hole in July to prove his fealty to falsehoods. Was it worth it, politically-speaking, for Buck to avoid the ire of Trump? 

Maybe not.

Politicians such as Buck, Boebert, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy have staked their 2022 election hopes on the power of Trump’s influence, an allegiance that has compelled them to speak up more forcefully ON THE SIDE OF THE INSURRECTIONISTS. Historically it has not generally been a good political strategy to openly support terrorists; the upside of remaining on Trump’s Christmas card list might not prove to be a fair trade in 18 months. 

Trump is still the overwhelming favorite to be the Republican nominee for President in 2024, so there’s still reason to believe that keeping your nose in Trump’s butt will be a (politically) rewarding strategy.

But it’s tough to argue that Trump’s influence isn’t trending in the wrong direction…and that should make a lot of Republicans very, very nervous.

Ken Buck Solicits Funds With COVID and Big Tech Conspiracies

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Actors’ portrayal of Ken Buck supporters reading his latest email

By James O’Rourke for the Colorado Times Recorder

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) sent a fundraising email to his subscribers with an unusual title: “Delete After Reading.”

The email opens with a Donor ID number, followed by “Status: Confidential – Do Not Share.”

From there, the message is comprised of various appeals to right-wing conspiratorial thinking, including spreading suspicion about the true nature of COVID-19.

“Friend, I need your help,” the message reads. “The Woke Left and Big Tech led by a group of Washington Elites are trying to silence me. “It sounds crazy, but then again they want us to believe COVID came from a bat, right?[Emphasis added.]

The widely accepted consensus among scientific & medical experts is been that COVID-19 was spread to humans from contact with an infected bat and did not leak from a laboratory. More recently, U.S. President Biden called for an investigation into the possibility that COVID-19 came from a lab. However, the lab leak theory remains a possibility, far from certainty.

It is uncertain what is so “crazy” about the idea that “COVID came from a bat.” A recent review of existing COVID data by over 20 leading virus experts from around the globe, found that “there is currently no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 has a laboratory origin.”

One of the authors, Dr. Steven Goldstein, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Utah, told the Salt Lake City Tribune, that the most likely scenario is the pandemic began at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.

“If you look at where the first cases in Wuhan were, there’s a really striking concentration of those cases starting in the neighborhoods surrounding this market and spreading outward from there, said Goldstein. “There’s no real reason to put any weight on the possibility of a lab leak right now.”

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: All-Star Alternate Universes

This week on Episode #81 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii introduce our new intern, Taleen Sample, with a new segment answering her questions about politics.

But first, we dive into the very nature of reality itself…sort of. Mostly it’s just us talking about how the Republican Party is setting up the 2022 election cycle to be a battle over conflicting versions of truth. Get ready for another 18 months of “alternate facts.”

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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

Get More Smarter on Friday (July 16)

It’s gonna be another sunny, but very hot, weekend. 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

 

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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The editorial board of The Washington Post marvels (and not in a good way) at renewed efforts from right-wing voices to attack COVID-19 vaccinations:

By slowing the uptake of lifesaving vaccines, anti-vaccination voices give the delta variant time and space to claim new victims. This is a threat to everyone because it will prolong the pandemic. Infections are on the rise in the United States. A stark scenario is unfolding in southwestern Missouri, where hospitals are beginning to surpass the level of covid-19 patients seen in December 2020. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Tuesday that new cases in St. Louis County had skyrocketed 63 percent in the past two weeks. Missouri is among several states with vaccination rates well below the national average.

Across the country, those getting sick and being hospitalized are almost exclusively the unvaccinated. For Fox News and conservative politicians to be frightening people about vaccines with words like “creepy,” “scandal” and the conspiratorial “let’s talk, comrade” is not mere pandering. It can be fatal.

Here in Colorado, we’ve noted the continued problem with low vaccination rates in Mesa County. Heath officials in Larimer County, meanwhile, are sounding the alarm about rising COVID-19 cases in Northern Colorado.

Please, people: Just get your vaccines.

 

Fox 31 Denver reports on the continuation of a troubling trend for Colorado Republicans:

There are now about 22,000 fewer registered Republicans in Colorado in July, than there were on January 1, 2021. During that same time, Democrats lost about 100 voters. Meanwhile, unaffiliated voter registrations increased by about 85,000.

Republicans have lost about 40,000 registered voters in Colorado since 2016. But yeah, stick with Trumpism!

 

We say it a lot here, but it’s always worth repeating: Elections matter. Local areas with Democratic Members of Congress in Colorado are getting a lot of federal money to assist with transportation and other community programs. If your Congressperson is a Republican…not so much.

 

This has been a good week for Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver). The child tax credit policy that he has long championed is now being instituted, and on Thursday, Bennet’s re-election campaign reported raising $1.7 million in Q2, increasing its cash-on-hand numbers to $2.3 million.

Colorado Newsline has more on the rollout of the child tax credit.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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What Does Blue Do For You?

Back in May, we wrote in this space about reporting from The Colorado Sun related to how Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation were going about trying to secure federal funding for important local infrastructure and community projects in the wake of relaxed rules on “earmarks” in the new Congress.

Colorado Republicans in the House of Representatives have insisted that they will NOT participate in “member designated projects” or “community project funding requests” as part of some sort of narrow-minded protest against the earmark process in general. In March, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) even penned an Op-Ed for Newsweek in which he stated that “earmarks go hand-in-hand with corruption.”

Perhaps realizing that not supporting local projects is a bad look, Buck has since “Buckpedaled” on his opposition to earmarks with mealy-mouthed language about how he “supports” efforts by the City of Greeley to obtain funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Greeley Regional Interchange Project. Of course, Buck could have just made the funding request himself, but that would have conflicted with his efforts to pretend that he is ethically superior to other Members of Congress.

The point here is that while Colorado Republicans are shaking their fists at some mythical “Earmark Goblin,” Democrats in the House of Representatives are doing a LOT of work to move along important infrastructure and community projects in their home districts.

 

Perlmutter

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County), for example, helped to push through federal funding that will assist in making roadway and bike lane improvements on Federal Parkway; removing and replacing the I-70 Eastbound and Westbound bridges over 32nd Avenue; widening State Highway 72 (Indiana Street); and improvements to Wadsworth Blvd. and Colfax Ave. If you live in Arvada, Golden, Wheat Ridge, or Lakewood, you know how significant these improvements will be for your daily commute. Perlmutter also secured funding for 10 community projects (CPF) in CO-07, including body cameras for the Thornton Police Department; improvements to Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport; multimodal improvements to State Highway 93; and renovations for a new pediatric health clinic in Commerce City.

Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Denver) promoted infrastructure projects that will revitalize the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver and replace miles of decades-old light-rail track, switches, and concrete flatwork throughout Denver’s light-rail system. DeGette’s CPF requests includes money to help the City of Denver convert an old hotel into lodging for homeless residents; the creation of more affordable housing in Montbello; and assistance for Urban Peak in building a homeless shelter for children.

Crow

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) secured money to improve the Interchange at I-25 and Belleview; the intersection at Easter and Havana in Centennial; and the expansion of Gun Club Road in Aurora. His CPF requests include expanding services to domestic violence victims in Adams County; renovating the Village Exchange Center Facility;  funding for at-risk intervention and mentoring projects; and money for the Aurora Comprehensive Community Mental Health Center.

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) helped push through funding for improvements to the Frisco Transit Center; State Highway 119; State Highway 52; State Highway 14; US 36; and the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnel on I-70 that a good number of Coloradans will travel through at least once this year. His CPF requests include funding for domestic violence services in Adams County; support for a mechanical engineering partnership between Colorado State University and Adams State University; emergency operations in Gilpin County; wildfire risk reduction throughout CO-02; and a rural outreach partnership program run by the University of Colorado.

By comparison, Republican Members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation made sure that local communities in their districts RECEIVED ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.

Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Lauren Boebert have brought $0 federal dollars back to their districts and local communities in 2021.

 

Guess who loses when Reps. Ken Buck, Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle), and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) refuse to participate in the process of procuring federal funding for local and community projects? The people who live in their district, that’s who.

(In Lamborn’s case, we’re not including any money that was spent on allowing his adult son to live in a storage room in the basement of the U.S. Capitol).

And who benefits from this refusal? Nobody, really, other than a couple of conservative grouches who work for anti-spending think tanks somewhere. Certainly nobody in Colorado is gaining anything from the inaction of these three Republicans. The constituents of CO-03, CO-04, and CO-05 should just be glad that Colorado has two Democratic U.S. Senators who are endeavoring to help fund other projects around the state.

If you want your elected officials to Tweet and gripe about social issues while ignoring their responsibilities to constituents, then you’re probably thrilled with Buck, Boebert, and Lamborn.

For everyone else, we’ll say it again: Elections matter.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (July 14)

It was fun while it lasted; now we can go back to not having professional baseball in Colorado. 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

 

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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

 President Biden used a speech on Tuesday to make the case that Republicans are attempting an all-out assault on voting rights in this country. As The Washington Post explains:

President Biden on Tuesday delivered his most forceful condemnation yet of the wave of voting restrictions proposed in Republican-led states nationwide — efforts the president argued are the biggest threat to American democracy since the Civil War.

Biden’s speech was an attempt to inject new life into flagging efforts to pass federal legislation addressing the issue. But while he intensified his explanation of the stakes, his speech did not include a call for the Senate to change the filibuster, which is seen by advocates as the best, and perhaps only, way to usher in the kinds of changes Biden is seeking.

At the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, in a room filled with images of Benjamin Franklin and quotes from Daniel Webster and Theodore Roosevelt, Biden compared the new laws to voter suppression by the KKK and to the Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised nearly all voters who were not White or male. He railed against laws that restrict access — calling them “raw and sustained election subversion” — and said that the 2022 midterm elections could highlight the damaging impacts of the new laws.

But as The Washington Post reports in a separate story, many progressives aren’t particularly pleased with the fact that Biden left out a very key point in his speech:

“On voting rights, President Joe Biden is failing to meet the moment,” said Adam Jentleson, who worked for former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and now heads the Battle Born Collective, a progressive group.

The problem isn’t how Biden describes the threat he perceives from Republican efforts to roll back electoral practices they blame for their 2020 White House loss, partly by empowering their partisans to oversee and overrule the results.

It’s that he hasn’t sided with the left in calling for an end, or a significant change, to the parliamentary tactic thwarting Democratic legislation in the 50-50 Senate — the filibuster, which requires 60 votes to get bills to passage.

These are legitimate criticisms. The Senate can move forward with passing a big voting rights package that has already made it through the House of Representatives, but it probably can’t happen unless the filibuster or the 60-vote threshold is changed.

 

As The Denver Post reports, a whole bunch of restaurants in Colorado got big money from COVID relief funds:

This spring and summer, 1,762 restaurants, bars, breweries, wineries and caterers in Colorado received a combined $480 million in grants from the federal government — money that doesn’t need to be repaid and can be spent on a wide array of business expenses.

Four Colorado businesses received $10 million each, the largest amount possible: Mission Yogurt, based in Westminster; The Kitchen American Bistros in Boulder, which has four restaurants and is owned by Elon Musk’s brother; Breckenridge-Wynkoop breweries in the Denver metro; and Illegal Pete’s, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration under the Freedom of Information Act.

Among the 75 largest beneficiaries in the state – which received a combined $191 million – 74 are along the Front Range (the other is in Aspen). In Denver, 423 companies received $183 million. In Boulder, 97 took in $47 million. In Colorado Springs, 139 businesses received $33 million.

 

As CNN’s Chris Cillizza explains, the final days of the Trump Presidency were even worse than you thought:

This is, in sum, a man deeply unfit for the presidency. (That is not a partisan statement. It is a statement of fact based on the clear portrait we have of how Trump behaved while in the most powerful office in the country.) A man who, by his inability to understand the sanctity of the office he held, threatened to destroy that sanctity for those who would follow him into the White House. And a man who was, without any question, an active danger for every single American – whether they supported or opposed him.

 

Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissioners heard from constituents at a public hearing in Arvada on Tuesday…and much of what they heard was not positive toward the initial new maps presented last month.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 13)

Don’t believe the rumors you might have heard: The Home Run Derby actually did come to an end. 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

 

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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

The New York Times reports on the first child tax credit payments going out this week, a big victory for Democrats — including longtime champion Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver):

With all but the most affluent families eligible to receive up to $300 a month per child, the United States will join many other rich countries that provide a guaranteed income for children, a goal that has long animated progressives. Experts estimate the payments will cut child poverty by nearly half, an achievement with no precedent…

…While the government has increased many aid programs during the coronavirus pandemic, supporters say the payments from an expanded Child Tax Credit, at a one-year cost of about $105 billion, are unique in their potential to stabilize both poor and middle-class families.

“It’s the most transformative policy coming out of Washington since the days of F.D.R.,” said Senator Cory Booker, Democrat of New Jersey. “America is dramatically behind its industrial peers in investing in our children. We have some of the highest child poverty rates, but even families that are not poor are struggling, as the cost of raising children goes higher and higher.”

Among America’s 74 million children, nearly nine in 10 will qualify for the new monthly payments — up to $250 a child, or $300 for those under six — which are scheduled to start on Thursday. Those payments, most of which will be sent to bank accounts through direct deposit, will total half of the year’s subsidy, with the rest to come as a tax refund next year.

Colorado Newsline has more on how the program will work. Democrats are trying to make the child tax credit a permanent policy.

 

At least you don’t live in Mesa County…unless you do, in which case, that sucks and we are very sorry.

 

 Voting rights are still a top issue as the Major League Baseball All-Star Game kicks off on Tuesday night. The Denver Post has more on an unusually-political meaningless baseball game.

 

Texas Republicans are once again trying to restrict voting rights, which has forced Democratic lawmakers to flee the state in a last-ditch effort to preserve election integrity.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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Get More Smarter on Thursday (July 8)

It’s really hot today. It’s going to be really hot tomorrow, too. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen. 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

 

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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

Western Colorado is very dry and in significant danger of suffering serious wildfires. As Colorado Public Radio reports, the federal government is trying to help:

There’s a confluence of events happening in the West this summer: extreme heat, extreme drought and the possibility of another record-breaking wildfire season, all driven by a long-term drying trend worsened by climate change. It’s so serious that President Joe Biden convened a meeting last week with Western governors to talk about wildfire preparedness and response.

“This is an area that has been under-resourced. But that’s going to change, if we have anything to do with it,” Biden said. “We can’t cut corners when it comes to managing our wildfires or supporting our firefighters.”

Members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation have their own ideas for how to deal with the twin problems of drought and wildfires.

[Cattle rancher Mark] Roeber says he’s talked to Democratic Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper, as well as his local representative, Republican Lauren Boebert, about the need for financial assistance for the ag industry, in particular flexibility in some existing programs, as well as better water efficiency policies and water infrastructure — from storage to piping.

Western Slope leaders probably shouldn’t count on much help from Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, who remains more interested in scoring political points than policy victories:

Boebert backs increasing water storage capacity, something she hit on during a recent hearing.

“I support efforts to streamline cumbersome and bureaucratic policies in order to allow the construction of new water storage projects,” she said.

Boebert sits on a water subcommittee in the House, but when it held a public hearing on the subject, she did not ask any drought-related questions. Instead, she focused on potential conflicts of interest by Elizabeth Klein, the Interior official testifying at the hearing.

As CPR notes, supporting more water storage isn’t an idea that’s going to do much to help with severe drought conditions NOW.

 

Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is worried enough about a potential Republican Primary opponent that he’s gone full “election truther.” Buck is spinning a strange tale about Google somehow manipulating search engine results to allow Democrat Joe Biden to defeat Republican Donald Trump, or something like that. This doesn’t make a lot of sense, but then, that isn’t the point, is it?

 

The Denver Post reports on a law signed by Gov. Jared Polis — inspired by the death of Elijah McClain in Aurora — that restricts the use of ketamine by first responders.

 

New data again shows the importance of receiving both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine in order to protect against rising strains of the “Delta Variant.” The “Delta Variant” is overwhelming medical response teams in unvaccinated areas such as Southwest Missouri. As POLITICO reports, the “Delta Variant” is probably much more widespread than federal officials can even estimate.

In related news, a Colorado mother of four is the final winner of a $1 million lottery for receiving her COVID-19 vaccination.

 

Click below to keep learning stuff…

 

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The Big Lie, Ken Buck Style

President Donald Trump, Rep. Ken Buck.

Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck has been in a real predicament over the past few months. As a Republican who conceded that Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election relatively quickly, and by that we still mean taking over a month, Buck has emerged as a major problem for adherents of what’s become known as the “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from Donald Trump. Buck, in his former position as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, organized an event last December with Republican county clerks to explain to the party faithful that even though Colorado uses Dominion Voting Systems hardware and sends “unsolicited” mail ballots to all active voters, our elections are secure and accurate.

Because debunking the Big Lie here in Colorado effectively debunks it everywhere else, this has had the effect of making Buck considerably less popular with his fellow Republicans–a problem that only got worse after Buck publicly defended Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming while Cheney was being excommunicated for her own refusal to back the Big Lie. This was originally taking place amid speculation that Buck might retire from Congress, but in April Buck announced that he would run again for re-election in 2022.

Which leads to the next logical question: how does Ken Buck intend to stave off a pro-Trump primary challenge? Today, courtesy Lauren Windsor of the Undercurrent, we got the answer:

As you can see in the clip above, Ken Buck now says the 2020 election was “stolen”–not by rigging the actual votes, but because Google supposedly changed their search algorithms to “disadvantage” Donald Trump and advantage Joe Biden. Buck asserts that fully 15 million votes for Trump were “moved” to Biden due to this action by Google, though probably not members of his audience since they “Google in a more sophisticated way.” Under questioning Buck admits that the 15 million number is speculative, but he insists that the downranking of conservative media outlets in search results was all by itself enough to flip the 2020 elections. And since Americans are “so upset with boys playing girl sports, Critical Race Theory, and all the other things that are going on,” Buck says, Republicans will win back the House in 2022 and immediately hold hearings to prevent “the algorithms” from happening again in 2024.

And with that, yes, Buck probably avoids a MAGA primary. Democrats who found themselves in the odd position of praising Ken Buck for his honesty immediately after the election can stop now, because Buck has given the faithful a replacement conspiracy theory for the thoroughly debunked Big Lie that can truly live on forever. This was never about trust-busting for Buck, but an ideological quest to force internet companies to abandon their high-profile struggle against the spread of dangerous misinformation–which (there’s no nice way to say this) fully explains any downranking of right-wing “news” sites in search results by Google.

In the end, Buck came crawling back to Trump–like the whole Republican Party has.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Libertarians (ft. Jon Murray of The Denver Post)

This week on Episode #79 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Jon Murray of The Denver Post about his profile of the Libertarian Party and its roots in Colorado.

Later on, we talk about the one person on the Republican bench in 2022; we do some prognosticating on the statewide races this cycle; and we introduce a new segment called “Stuff We Tweeted.”

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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Rep. Buck Warns Conservatives Not to Let Democrats ‘Steal Elections’

(Tell us how you really feel – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE: This article has been updated with extensive comments from Congressman Buck, who says he wasn’t linking mail-in ballots to fraud.

Speaking at the Western Conservative Summit this weekend, Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO) appeared to raise the conspiracy theory of election fraud, warning the audience that they must not let Democrats “steal elections.” Buck specifically mentioned the need for Republicans to run up a margin of votes to guard against “when their votes come in a day or two later,” seemingly a reference to mail ballots tabulated after Election Day, which President Trump and allies continue to baselessly insist were evidence of Democrats stealing elections in swing states like Georgia and Pennsylvania.

“The great news is we’re going to be in control of the U.S. House in 2023,” said Buck in his speech. “We’re going to win that 2022 election. And we’re going to win the election because of the folks who are listening and because of the folks who are in this room. And we need to outwork the other side and we need to make sure that we have a margin, so when their votes come in a day or two later we make sure that we have won the races– that we have control. We don’t let them nationalize elections and we don’t let them steal elections and that’s what we have to make sure that we do.”

Buck, who previously convened a panel of Republican county clerks to quell disinformation about fraud in Colorado’s election process, denies invoking the same conspiracy theories that led Trump supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol as a rallying cry for Republicans to take control of the legislative body seated within that very building. He insists that his two consecutive sentences were entirely separate comments:

“I think what you’re doing is conflating something I said at the beginning of the quote with something I said at the end,” Buck told the Colorado Times Recorder. “When I talk about not nationalizing elections, it has to do with H.R. 1 and S.R.1 and making sure that we have elections that are run by state legislatures and secretaries of state and not run by the federal government, which was never intended. Frankly, I think they’re unconstitutional to change the system without a constitutional amendment. I joined the Texas lawsuit because the governor of Pennsylvania changed the rules. And the US Constitution says only the state legislature can change the rules and election. I wanted the Supreme Court to say, ‘that’s wrong. You can’t do that.’ I did not join a lawsuit and ever say that I believe that the elections in the United States were stolen.

“So the first part of the end of my statement was about nationalizing the elections. In the second part was stealing elections. Four years ago we had Democrats who were concerned about the election having been tainted by Russian influence. There was a year-long investigation that really put the country through a lot. And it was determined that there was no collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians. But we investigated so that the election would be seen as a legitimate election.

“We now have a former president who is alleging that the election is stolen and certainly tainted. And we have a group of people on the right now who are very upset about how we conduct elections in this country and frankly refused to vote in the Georgia Senate elections. And so when Georgia moved to pass legislation to give a group of people the comfort of knowing that the election would be credible and honest and fairly run, there was a reaction from the left.

“We have to come together in this country and make sure that the left and the right don’t feel like an election was stolen in any way. And if that means that we do investigations and if that means that we pass more stringent standards, so be it. People have to have comfort that the elections are being run fairly. And at the same time, we can’t suppress the other side’s vote no matter what. We shouldn’t pass legislation that makes voting onerous and we shouldn’t pass legislation that allows fraud in elections. My statement about making sure that elections aren’t stolen has to do with the fear on the right about what happened in 2020. It’s not something I share. I don’t believe that the election was stolen. But that doesn’t mean that other people don’t believe it. And we have to make sure that they’re comfortable so that they do participate in our system.”

When this reporter noted that the main election fraud conspiracy about Georgia pointed to the “late surge” of Democratic ballots (which was largely due to increased use of mail-in ballots) as suspicious, Buck again insisted he wasn’t linking the two, rather simply noting that in Colorado, Republicans traditionally vote early and Democrats vote late.

“So when the Democrats surge hits from Election Day voting or even mail-in ballots counted after Election Day, we still have the lead,” Buck said. “That’s one statement. In a separate, completely different statement, that’s later in that quote is the idea of assuring people that we’re doing everything we can so that elections are free and fair.”

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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…

 

U.S. SENATE

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.

 

 

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How Is Hurting The Unemployed A Winning Strategy?

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, late last week Gov. Jared Polis rejected a call from Colorado’s three Republican members of Congress to cut off supplemental federal unemployment funds based on the incorrect assumption that those funds are operating as a disincentive for workers to return to their their pre-pandemic jobs:

U.S. Reps. Lauren Boebert of Silt, Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and Ken Buck of Windsor said in a joint letter to Polis on Friday that the added benefit is prompting some people to prefer to stay on unemployment, a stance that is not supported by state labor officials.

That money is part of the $1.2 trillion COVID-19 relief plan that Congress approved in March, which provided direct aid to state and local governments and extended unemployment benefits to those who don’t qualify for regular state aid or have exhausted their state benefits…

Since May, the Republican governors in at least 25 other states, including Utah, Wyoming and Nebraska, have discontinued giving out that money, with some also ending other state or federal benefits in an effort to encourage people to return to work.

Polis and Democratic governors around the nation, however, have resisted that. Instead, Polis instituted a Colorado Jumpstart Incentive Program last month offering those still receiving unemployment insurance money a one-time benefit of up to $1,600 if they ended receiving that aid and returned to work by the end of this month.

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle).

Last month as Republican governors began to swear off the federal supplemental unemployment benefit, Rep. Lauren Boebert chimed in by suggesting that if we just “take away unemployment bonuses” the economy would quickly reopen. And as Ernest Luning at the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog reports, Boebert along with Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn are unanimous today that it’s time to financially flog those deadbeat American workers back to their shifts:

“We must get Coloradans back to work,” Lamborn said in a statement. “I am extremely concerned that what was meant to be a temporary supplemental to help Americans through forced lockdowns has now been weaponized by Democrats in an attempt to raise the minimum wage.”

As we wrote in May, Republicans are relying on mistaken and meanspirited assumptions about the American workforce in order to justify cutting off the expanded unemployment benefits for their own constituents. The reality is that there is no evidence the additional unemployment funds are keeping workers from rejoining the labor pool. The biggest reason, going back to the Grand Junction Sentinel’s report Friday, is that it’s against the law:

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The Get More Smarter Podcast: Stop Trying to Make “Gerrymandering” Happen

This week on Episode #77 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii explain why Republicans aren’t going to get “Gerrymandering” to stick in Colorado; we bid farewell to Donald Trump’s sad blog; and we revisit two popular segments in “Legislating With Crayons” and “The Boebert Report.”

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Legislating With Lunatics

Rep. Ron Hanks (R-Crazytown)

This week on Episode #76 of The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii try to understand what it means that so many Republicans think Donald Trump is still President; we explain why Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) is full of crap; and we hear firsthand why Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) will have a hard time making a case for re-election. Also, our popular segment “Legislating With Crayons” gets its own mini-segment called “Legislating With Lunatics.”

This episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast won’t get you all the way through your Memorial Day Weekend road trip, but it’s a start…

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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

Get More Smarter on Thursday (May 27)

Governor Polis has ordered flags to be flown at half staff in remembrance of eight people killed during yet another mass shooting — this time in San Jose, California. 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

 

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 

*Coloradans can now get a COVID-19 vaccine at one of six locations without a prior appointment. 

 

President Biden is proposing a whopper of a federal budget, as Jim Tankersley reports for The New York Times:

President Biden will propose a $6 trillion budget on Friday that would take the United States to its highest sustained levels of federal spending since World War II, while running deficits above $1.3 trillion throughout the next decade.

Documents obtained by The New York Times show that Mr. Biden’s first budget request as president calls for the federal government to spend $6 trillion in the 2022 fiscal year, and for total spending to rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031. The growth is driven by Mr. Biden’s two-part agenda to upgrade the nation’s infrastructure and substantially expand the social safety net, contained in his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan, along with other planned increases in discretionary spending.

The proposal shows the sweep of Mr. Biden’s ambitions to wield government power to help more Americans attain the comforts of a middle-class life and to lift U.S. industry to better compete globally in an economy the administration believes will be dominated by a race to reduce energy emissions and combat climate change.

Mr. Biden’s plan to fund his agenda by raising taxes on corporations and high earners would begin to shrink budget deficits in the 2030s. Administration officials have said the jobs and families plans would be fully offset by tax increases over the course of 15 years, which the budget request backs up.

 

Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora) is speaking out (again) about Republican efforts to ignore the January 6 insurrection. Via Talking Points Memo:

Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), who served as an impeachment manager in the first impeachment of ex-President Donald Trump, warned on Wednesday night that failing to investigate the Capitol insurrection that Trump incited would be dangerous.

“We have a domestic terror movement in America,” the Democrat told CNN. “It has been enabled, it has been furthered, it has been legitimized by leaders at the highest levels of our country, starting with Donald Trump. That’s the sad reality.”

“If we are not honest about what it is we’re dealing with, if we’re not honest about the dangers of that movement, we will not address it in a way that we need to and we will be at risk,” he continued.

The Democrat asserted that the House’s bill to create a bipartisan commission to study the insurrection is “not just an exercise in history and making sure that the history books accurately reflect on January 6.”

“We have a current problem we have to address and we have to be honest about that and we have to do what is necessary to keep ourselves safe,” he said.

Crow could be referring to any number of Republicans, but his comments seem particularly well-suited for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. As Dana Milbank explains for The Washington Post:

The Senate minority leader told Republican colleagues that they should oppose the creation of a Jan. 6 commission, no matter how it is structured, because it “could hurt the party’s midterm election message,” as Politico’s Burgess Everett reported.

And so, as early as Thursday, McConnell will use the filibuster to thwart a bipartisan effort to prevent further attacks on the U.S. government by domestic terrorists — because he thinks it’s good politics for Republicans…

…McConnell, asked this month about the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from GOP leadership, and whether he was concerned that many Republicans believe Donald Trump’s election lie, replied, twice: “One hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration.”  [Pols emphasis] True to his word, McConnell has blocked everything — even if it means undercutting Republican negotiators.

Performative obstruction is the Republican brand.

 

Is it any wonder that Republicans and Americans want very different things in 2022 and 2024? At least some Republicans are privately worried that Donald Trump really will attempt to run for President again in 2024.

 

The artist formerly known as “The Colorado Option” is on the verge of passing through the legislature after a few more tweaks. As Colorado Public Radio reports:

A proposal to create a new government-backed insurance plan passed another significant hurdle as Democrats voted to advance the “Colorado Option” through the state Senate on Wednesday.

The approval means that the bill is nearly guaranteed to become law. Once it’s in effect, new health insurance plans would be offered on the individual and small-group markets. That includes up to 15 percent of the state’s population, including hundreds of thousands who don’t have insurance right now. It would not directly affect employer-provided insurance…

…Democrats claim that the bill could lower insurance premiums 15 percent by 2025, allowing more people to afford a new insurance plan that is also designed to lower out-of-pocket costs. The bill would force insurance companies to sell the Colorado plan across the state, and it would allow the state to regulate the price of medical services to achieve those savings. Instead of a true “public option,” it’s more like a public-private option.

You may call it whatever you’d like; the bottom line is that the bill will cut health care premiums by at least 15% for Coloradans.

Here are a few more updates on news from the state legislature as Sine Die draws ever closer…

Legislation that limits the ability of emergency responders to use the drug ketamine is heading to the desk of Gov. Jared Polis.

Republicans who make opposing abortion their central tenet are trying to derail a bill that seeks to provide better maternal care services for women.

Colorado Public Radio reports on the latest iteration of a bill seeking to reform sentencing and prison populations in Colorado.

Legislation to speed up the process of bond hearings is nearing the finish line.

A bill to fund early childhood education made it out of a committee hearing.

Governor Polis signed a bill that ends a requirement for colleges in Colorado to use ACT or SAT scores as a guideline for admitting new students. The bill also ends “legacy admissions” for higher education institutions in the state.

 

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

 

(more…)

Good Times: Remembering Ken Buck’s Mueller Probe Blunder

Who has a seat in Congress and uses it to ask stupid questions? This guy!

As The Washington Post reports, the Manhattan District Attorney has some bad news for former President Donald Trump:

Manhattan’s district attorney has convened the grand jury that is expected to decide whether to indict former president Donald Trump, other executives at his company or the business itself, should prosecutors present the panel with criminal charges, according to two people familiar with the development…

…The move indicates that District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage after more than two years. It suggests, too, that Vance thinks he has found evidence of a crime — if not by Trump, by someone potentially close to him or by his company.

Vance’s investigation is expansive, according to people familiar with the probe and public disclosures made during related litigation. His investigators are scrutinizing Trump’s business practices before he was president, including whether the value of specific properties in the Trump Organization’s real estate portfolio were manipulated in a way that defrauded banks and insurance companies, and if any tax benefits were obtained illegally through unscrupulous asset valuation.

The district attorney also is examining the compensation provided to top Trump Organization executives, people familiar with the matter have said.

The news of a grand jury looking into Trump and his organization reminds us of one of the more notable blunders in recent Colorado political history. In July 2019, former special counsel Robert Mueller was testifying before Congress on matters related to his investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign when Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) butted in to ask a few questions. Buck, a former District Attorney in Weld County, broke the cardinal rule of never asking a question about which you don’t already know the answer:

D’oh!

Late July 2019 was not a good news cycle for Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley)

As Paul Waldman of The Washington Post noted at the time:

That is what soccer fans call an “own goal.” What Buck inadvertently argued, with Mueller’s help, was that while the evidence of Trump’s personal cooperation with Russia was insufficient to sustain a conspiracy charge, the evidence may well have been sufficient to sustain an obstruction charge, and it may have only been Trump’s current position that is saving him from an indictment.

Buck later tried to defend himself by attempting a ridiculous narrative that Mueller had somehow “misunderstood” his questions, as though Buck’s queries were too complicated for someone like Mueller to comprehend.

LATER THAT SAME WEEK, Trump held his infamous “perfect” phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he threatened to withhold U.S. military aid to Ukraine unless Zelensky “investigated” Trump’s Democratic political rivals (specifically Joe Biden).

Perhaps in an effort to atone for his idiocy during the Mueller testimony, Buck would become a harsh critic of efforts to impeach Trump. Buck said that only “very soft people” were worried about Trump’s alleged crimes, and then turned into a devotee of “The Sideshow Bob Defense,” which essentially held that it was illogical to punish Trump for only attempting to extort a foreign government for personal political gain. When the (first) Trump impeachment hearings got underway in late 2019, Buck pivoted to a bizarre “everybody does impeachable things” defense of Trump.

We’d love to tell you that Buck has since reformed his ways and given in to the siren call of logic, but that is not the case. Ah, well…we’ll always have the Mueller testimony.

Wait, Ken Buck Just Now Discovered Redistricting?

Suspend your disbelief long enough to check out this unusual fundraising missive from Rep. Ken Buck, running for re-election in Colorado’s heretofore safe 4th Congressional District:

We realize this is a fundraising email, but are we really supposed to believe that Ken Buck “just got the news” redistricting is going to happen? Like it does every ten years? If you are really that uninformed about how stuff works in American politics, there are a number of remedial sources of information you should consult before reading this blog. And for pity’s sake, don’t donate to anyone until you learn something. That’s like giving children live ammo.

“Sadly,” Buck says, he has no control over drawing the boundaries of his own district? Fans of small-d democracy may disagree on this point! Politicians drawing their own districts is exactly the sort of thing Colorado voters overwhelmingly said no to with Amendments Y&Z in 2018. That means those rascally socialists can’t draw Buck into career oblivion. As for turning Colorado’s deep-red CD-4 blue, we’ll see–but they’ll have to put Weld County somewhere.

As usual with Ken Buck, there’s a whole lot of wrong here. It’s a lot to, as they say, take in.