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.

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Congressman Lamborn’s Top Priority for Military Bill: Stopping Critical Race Theory

(At least he’s not your…oops, sorry Colorado Springs – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a Facebook post yesterday, Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) listed his five priorities for the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the annual military budget bill. Topping the to-do list of the Representative whose district boasts the highest percentage of veterans in the nation: “Preventing the expansion of critical race theory in the military. Yesterday’s House Armed Services Committee mark-up hearing ran late into the night as members debated amendments to the NDAA.

Well over an hour of the 16-hour debate was devoted to amendment relating to critical race theory and diversity training, which Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA), a veteran and Naval Academy graduate, decried as “a waste of time and do not do a damn thing to improve our national security.” She called her colleagues proposing the amendments “completely unserious.”

Critical race theory is a collegiate and graduate school academic frame taught largely in law schools as a means of examining racial disparity throughout the American legal system. According to a Military Times report, “The only clear example of critical race theory being taught in the military is at the U.S. Military Academy.”

CRT simply isn’t taught to enlisted troops, but conservative media outlets and some members of Congress conflate it with basic diversity training common in any workplace, including the Armed Forces. In July U.S. Senator Tom Cotton railed against “CRT-influenced training which singles out troops based on skin color.”

Lamborn voted for a failed amendment offered by U.S. Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), which proposed banning critical race theory in any form not only from being taught to service members but also at “academic institutions operated or controlled by the Department of Defense.”

In an example of the conflation of CRT with general diversity training, Lamborn offered his own amendment that would require all diversity training to be conducted by a single Department of Defense office, the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute. He argued that this would allow all training to be uniform and to be reviewed by Congress.

Two other committee members, U.S. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Lamborn’s Colorado colleague Jason Crow, a Democrat, both veterans, objected to the amendment. Khanna noted the unrealistic expectation that DEOMI could handle that volume of work, an argument supported by committee Chair Adam Smith, who predicted that Lamborn’s proposal would kill off approximately 90% of the military’s current diversity training programs. Crow cited his own experience as a platoon leader, explaining the importance of unit leaders having the ability to convene discussions on any topic creating tension among their troops.

Following the vote, Lamborn’s released a statement saying he was pleased to vote for the bill that, while “not perfect, will improve our national security. He cited numerous aspects of the bill that he supports but made no mention of the failed amendments addressing critical race theory or diversity training.

Lamborn’s press office did not immediately return an email request for comment. This article will be updated with any response received.

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.

Doug Lamborn: Worst Boss In The World?

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

The Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson follows up on a story we’ve been watching for several months now–a wrongful termination lawsuit filed by a former staffer for Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn of El Paso County alleging Lamborn deliberately created an unsafe working environment during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, displaying wanton disregard for best practices that resulted in an outbreak in Lamborn’s office and the congressman himself testing positive.

The new details reported today are…not real good for Lamborn:

In his sworn statements to [attorney Les] Alderman, [Former Lamborn district director Josh] Hosler — who declined to comment for this article — said [Staffer Brandon] Pope was under his direct supervision and served as a model employee. Pope voiced his concerns about Lamborn’s office’s “careless approach” to the pandemic frequently from March 2020 until he was fired by Chief of Staff Dale Anderson that December.

Throughout that time Lamborn referred to the pandemic as a hoax “fabricated to derail then-President Donald Trump’s reelection bid” [Pols emphasis] and Anderson called those concerned about the virus “liberal sissies” who were overreacting, Hosler said in the sworn statement…

Among the sworn statements from ex-Lamborn district director Josh Hosler is a potentially explosive allegation that Rep. Lamborn lied to the Office of the Attending Physician about his contact with staff as the outbreak raged through his office:

“I was driving Congressman Lamborn when he learned that his Deputy Chief of Staff had tested positive for COVID-19 and that additional staffers were symptomatic,” Hosler said. “Upon learning this, the Congressman spoke to a physician within the Office of the Attending Physician, but the Congressman misrepresented the facts and falsely told the OAP physician that he had not been in close contact with his staff in D.C. over the previous several days.” [Pols emphasis]

The wrongful termination lawsuit against Lamborn is specific to the grievances of the employee in question, but other highly questionable actions by Lamborn with respect to managing his office came to light as part of this reporting–including improper use of staff to run personal errands for Lamborn’s spouse, and an even wilder case of Lamborn allegedly allowing his son to live in a storage space in the U.S. Capitol basement.

Add all of that to these new allegations of lying to congressional medical personnel about his contact with COVID-positive staffers–right before traveling around Colorado after being exposed and ultimately testing positive himself–maybe a tipping point will have been reached? Lamborn’s egregious irresponsibility and abuse of his office’s perks would be bigger headlines in a less-crazy world, and it’s powerful ammo for a primary challenger even if congressional oversight is lacking.

Safe to say, we wouldn’t work for Lamborn on a bet.

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.

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.

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:

(more…)

The Big Lie is Still the Only Truth for Republicans

Not Donald Trump at work in The Oval Office.

It has been 216 days since the last Presidential election…unless you are a Republican candidate for public office in 2022. Republican politicians exist in an alternate reality from everyone else; they can’t discuss the future because they’re still obsessed with re-writing the past. For them, the Big Lie is still the only truth that matters.

As The New York Times explains:

Across the country, a rising class of Republican challengers has embraced the fiction that the 2020 election was illegitimate, marred by fraud and inconsistencies. Aggressively pushing Mr. Trump’s baseless claims that he was robbed of re-election, these candidates represent the next generation of aspiring G.O.P. leaders, who would bring to Congress the real possibility that the party’s assault on the legitimacy of elections, a bedrock principle of American democracy, could continue through the 2024 contests.

Dozens of Republican candidates have sown doubts about the election as they seek to join the ranks of the 147 Republicans in Congress who voted against certifying President Biden’s victory. There are degrees of denial: Some bluntly declare they must repair a rigged system that produced a flawed result, while others speak in the language of “election integrity,” promoting Republican re-examinations of the vote counts in Arizona and Georgia and backing new voting restrictions introduced by Republicans in battleground states.

They are united by a near-universal reluctance to state outright that Mr. Biden is the legitimately elected leader of the country… 

…But Republicans’ unwavering fealty to the voter fraud myth underscores an emerging dynamic of party politics: To build a campaign in the modern G.O.P., most candidates must embrace — or at least not openly deny — conspiracy theories and election lies, and they must commit to a mission of imposing greater voting restrictions and making it easier to challenge or even overturn an election’s results. The prevalence of such candidates in the nascent stages of the party primaries highlights how Mr. Trump’s willingness to embrace far-flung falsehoods has elevated fringe ideas to the mainstream of his party. [Pols emphasis]

Multiple news outlets — including the Times — reported last week that former President Trump remains completely consumed by the idea that the 2020 election was somehow stolen from him. These aren’t just the bitter ramblings of a fragile ego; Trump actually believes that he is going to end up back in the White House within a matter of months. As Charles Cooke of the conservative National Journal writes:

I can attest, from speaking to an array of different sources, that Donald Trump does indeed believe quite genuinely that he — along with former senators David Perdue and Martha McSally — will be “reinstated” to office this summer after “audits” of the 2020 elections in Arizona, Georgia, and a handful of other states have been completed. [Pols emphasis] I can attest, too, that Trump is trying hard to recruit journalists, politicians, and other influential figures to promulgate this belief — not as a fundraising tool or an infantile bit of trolling or a trial balloon, but as a fact…

…The scale of Trump’s delusion is quite startling. This is not merely an eccentric interpretation of the facts or an interesting foible, nor is it an irrelevant example of anguished post-presidency chatter. It is a rejection of reality, a rejection of law, and, ultimately, a rejection of the entire system of American government.

Cool pants

As Cooke continues, even if there were irrefutable proof that the 2020 election was rigged against Trump, there is absolutely nothing that can change the fact that Joe Biden is the current President of the United States.

None of this apparently matters to many Republicans, who continue to insist that their ideal 2022 candidates look and act like Trump. This is a real problem for the GOP, because the majority of Americans prefer to see 2022 candidates who are as ideologically different from Trump as possible. This devotion to The Big Lie also prevents Republicans from even pondering their next steps. As The Associated Press reports:

Republicans are fighting to seize control of Congress. Just don’t ask what they’d do if they win.

Look no further for evidence of the GOP’s muddled governing agenda than battleground North Carolina, where party leaders packed into a convention hall Saturday night to cheer former President Donald Trump. Even with a high-stakes U.S. Senate election looming, the Republicans there were united not by any consistent set of conservative policies or principles, but by Trump’s groundless grievances about the 2020 election and his attacks against critics in both parties…

…“I’m unaware of a GOP agenda. I would love to see one,” said Texas-based conservative activist and former tea party leader Mark Meckler. [Pols emphasis]

How do Republicans in Colorado move forward in 2022 when they are so chained to 2020? How can someone like Heidi Ganahl seek the GOP nomination for Governor when she risks losing the support of her base just by answering the question, “Is Joe Biden the President?”

Insisting that Biden is not really the President might still work for the likes of Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) or Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs), but it’s not going to win much support outside of deep-red districts. Colorado will gain an eighth Congressional seat in 2022; it’s likely that the winner of an eventual GOP Primary will be someone who declares that 2020 never happened. Good luck explaining that in a General Election.

There’s an old saying about how those who fail to learn from the past are condemned to repeat the same mistakes in the future. This still applies even if you pretend the past never happened.

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

Doug Lamborn’s No-Win War On Big Bird Resumes

Ernest Luning at the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, the lamest perennial quest in Colorado politics–except maybe for the campaign to swap the names of Mount Democrat and Republican Mountain, also courtesy Rep. Doug Lamborn–to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting for its supposed liberal indoctrination of the children and/or the voters with your hard-earned taxpayer dollars is back for another no-go-around:

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn has introduced legislation to pull the plug on federal subsidies for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio, he said Monday, claiming the public TV and radio outlets have “increasingly turned into a mouthpiece for the left.”

The Colorado Springs Republican has been trying to eliminate the organizations’ federal funding for at least a dozen years, arguing that taxpayers shouldn’t be subsidizing media conglomerates that receive the bulk of their funding from private sources, including membership dues and corporate underwriters.

Previous versions of his message suggested that it was time for Big Bird, the iconic “Sesame Street” character, to “earn his wings and learn to fly on his own,” but in this year’s announcement, Lamborn also cited NPR’s election year coverage of alleged scandals involving President Joe Biden’s son Hunter as a reason to cut its funding.

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

Coming as a surprise to absolutely no one, the 2020 elections have given Rep. Lamborn a whole new set of grievances. Lamborn’s statement on the latest iteration of the Big Bird Must Die Act:

Last year, National Public Radio further discredited their institution and journalistic standards by refusing to cover a story that was damaging to then-candidate Joe Biden. NPR and PBS have increasingly turned into a mouthpiece for the left. This is why I am once again introducing legislation that would defund National Public Radio and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Government subsidization of programs that refuse to publish actual news is fiscally irresponsible. With the current out-of-control spending in Washington, we should not provide funds to organizations that already receive sufficient funding from the private sector.

The big story that National Public Radio “refused to cover” was Hunter Biden’s alleged laptop containing purported evidence of wheeling dealing crack-smoking sexytime–and as Luning correctly explains, NPR was far from alone in their reluctance to touch a dubious story about the family member of a presidential candidate (as opposed to the candidate) right before an election. Hunter Biden and his exhaustively hyped laptop have been recirculating in conservative media once again in recent weeks for the want of factual complaints with which to dent President Joe Biden’s solid approval ratings, but outside the conservative media bubble nobody cares. Not after four years of Donald Trump’s perfidious offspring in the White House.

With this in mind, it’s a safe bet this latest hook for Rep. Doug Lamborn’s same old axe to grind won’t get him any farther toward his goal in the Democratic-controlled House than it has every other time he’s tried to cut funding to public broadcasting since 2007. Under Republican and Democratic White Houses alike, Big Bird and company always give Lamborn the slip to indoctrinate the kids and voters another day.

Perennial failure makes Colorado’s lamest perennial political quest…even more lame.

Burying January 6th With Colorado Republicans

Ernest Luning reports for the Colorado Springs Gazette’s political blog on yesterday’s vote in the U.S. House to establish a commission to investigate the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of ex-President Donald Trump seeking to disrupt the certification of the Electoral College vote–a goal shared by at at least two Republican members of Congress from Colorado, Reps. Lauren Boebert and Doug Lamborn, who joined in the objections to certifying the vote on the House floor both before and after the rioters stormed the building:

Colorado’s three House Republican members were not among the 35 GOP lawmakers who voted Wednesday to create an independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

The measure won approval 252-175 in the Democratic-controlled House over objections from Republican leaders and former President Donald Trump, with all four of the state’s Democrats voting in favor.

“If you didn’t know that TV footage was a video from January the sixth, you would actually think it was a normal tourist visit,” Rep. Andy Clyde (R-GA) said.

We’ll start with a necessary point for everyone to acknowledge: 35 House Republicans defying their leadership (not to mention the ever-watchful ex-President) and voting for a commission to investigate the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol is a very big deal. The suspension of critical thinking required to separate Trump and high-ranking Republicans who backed his sore loser backlash against the outcome of the 2020 presidential elections from the violence on January 6th is just too much for anyone not totally surrendered to Trump’s cult of personality. The cause and effect is so damningly obvious that even many Republicans, including 35 members of Congress who were in the building that day, can’t just set it aside for political expediency.

Of the three Republican minority members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, by far the biggest disappointment from yesterday’s vote was Rep. Ken Buck. As readers know, Buck has gone rogue from the MAGA message by conceding Biden’s victory relatively quickly (mid-December, we’re grading on a generous curve), and working to dispel misinformation about Colorado’s election systems that also happened to refute the larger bogus case Trump was making about election fraud in contested states.

Yesterday, Buck tried again to hold on to his shrinking plot of faux middle ground, and failed:

U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor, said in a statement that the attack on the Capitol was wrong and that he “unequivocally condemned the violence and urged that the perpetrators be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law” but said he was voting against legislation he called “a blatant exercise in partisanship” that was “too narrow in scope.”

This is a similar talking point to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who in the wake of the violence on January 6th condemned the President’s role in causing it but has since then steadily backed away from putting that condemnation into action, either by impeachment or now via a commission to investigate. Unfortunately for Buck, there were way too many defections among his fellow House Republicans to hide behind this false equivalence argument likening the January 6th attack to other protests and acts of violence. What makes January 6th different is the fact that Republicans all the way up to President Trump played a direct role in inciting the violence.

Which brings us back to Lamborn and Boebert:

At least in Boebert’s case, nothing yells louder than a guilty conscience. Boebert’s full-throated advocacy for overturning the results of the 2020 election by any means necessary in the leadup to January 6th, and her at-least idiotic (hopefully that’s all) Tweets about Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s location while rioters were entering the building, mean she would logically be a target of this commission’s investigation. It therefore makes perfect sense why Boebert doesn’t want a commission! When the guilty get a vote on whether they should be held accountable, unsurprisingly most of them will vote no.

But that is not justice. Justice for January 6th is, hopefully, yet to come.

Lamborn Sued by Former Staffer for Long List of Complaints

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Ahole Boss)

FRIDAY UPDATE #2: The Denver Post obtains emails between staffers that back up some of the claims in the lawsuit. And then there’s this:

Lamborn told Colorado Public Radio on Friday morning that Pope was a disgruntled employee. He called the lawsuit weak and denied any ethical violations, but did not specifically deny one allegation — that he allowed one of his sons to live rent-free for weeks in a storage area of the U.S. Capitol’s basement.

“I gave my son temporary housing as my guest because the housing market in Washington, D.C., is very tight,” Lamborn said, though he refused to go into details when asked whether he let his son stay in his office or in a storage unit.

Q: Did you allow your son to live in a storage closet at the U.S. Capitol?

A: Squirrel!

—–

FRIDAY UPDATE: This story from POLITICO makes Lamborn look really bad:

“Well, I don’t care about you guys getting it.” That’s what Rep. Doug Lamborn (R–Colo.) allegedly told a staffer in October 2020, right after discovering that his Capitol Hill office was turning into a hotbed of Covid-19 infections. [Pols emphasis]

It’s one of the many eye-popping accusations in a new lawsuit filed Thursday afternoon in the District Court for the District of Columbia by Brandon Pope, a former Lamborn staffer who says he vocally pushed back on what he called the congressman’s “reckless and dangerous approach” to the pandemic — and was fired for it…

…Pope — a Marine veteran who started with Lamborn as a Wounded Warrior fellow before being promoted to defense policy adviser — claims in the suit that early in the pandemic, he raised safety concerns to a superior. He suggested teleworking or at least some social distancing in the office after hearing from colleagues who were worried about the health risks of in-person work because of immunocompromised family members. Those suggestions were ignored, Pope says.

According to Pope’s lawsuit, early on in the pandemic, when most congressional offices moved to remote work, Lamborn insisted that his staff continue to operate in-person — allegedly saying that he would not allow House leadership to dictate how he ran his office, and “belittl[ing] any staffer who raised health-related concerns.” When Pope suggested that one staffer with health conditions at least be afforded a “zip wall” to limit exposure to other staff, Lamborn denied those requests.

—–

Definitely a red face day for Rep. Doug Lamborn.

We don’t normally spend a lot of time in this space talking about Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) for obvious reasons. Even though Lamborn has represented CO-05 since 2007, he doesn’t tend to DO anything aside from popping his head up now and then to fire off strange Tweets or pen nonsensical Op-Eds. People in Colorado Springs generally acknowledge that Lamborn is about as useful as a wooden saw.

Thus, if we’re talking about Lamborn here, it’s usually because of something that is not particularly flattering to the eight-term Congressman. Today is no exception.

As NBC News in Washington D.C. reports, Lamborn is being sued by a former staff member for generally being a pretty terrible boss:

The suit alleges the congressman flouted U.S. House safety rules, ignored warnings about unsafe conditions, and required staff to provide personal favors and tasks for the congressman’s family.

The suit also accuses the congressman of sleeping in his congressional office in D.C. after he knew his staffers were exposed to the coronavirus.

The lawsuit also said the congressman allowed his son to live in a storage space in the basement of the Capitol for weeks when his son was relocating to Washington.

In the suit, filed Thursday in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, former Lamborn military aide Brandon Pope claims he was the victim of retaliation for “seeking to protect employees from unsafe conditions in the workplace.”

Yikes! Where do we even start unpacking this story? The foundation of the lawsuit seems to be that Lamborn refused to allow his employees to wear masks or to take social distancing measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This doesn’t seem unlikely given Lamborn’s dismissive public comments about the pandemic. As The Denver Post reported in October 2020:

Two members of U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn’s Washington, D.C., staff have tested positive for COVID-19, staffers of the Colorado Springs Republican confirmed to The Denver Post on Tuesday evening.

Meanwhile, Lamborn is back in Colorado attending fundraisers and refusing to take a test himself, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution. [Pols emphasis]

A few weeks later, Lamborn’s office confirmed that the Congressman was indeed infected with the COVID virus that he didn’t believe existed. Former aide Brandon Pope, who filed the lawsuit, alleges that he was fired after speaking out upon contracting COVID-19 in November.

The lawsuit against Lamborn also contains some interesting accusations about staffers being forced to run personal errands for Lamborn and his wife and being required to buy Christmas gifts for the couple. And then there’s that particularly strange line about how Lamborn “allowed” his son, Luke, to live in a storage space in the basement of the U.S. Capitol.

Brick Tamland and Doug Lamborn (or vice-versa)

Here’s how Lamborn is responding, according to The Denver Post:

Lamborn, from Colorado Springs, issued a statement through his spokeswoman Cassandra Sebastian: “The workplace safety allegations made by Mr. Pope are unsubstantiated and did not result in the termination of his employment. Congressman Lamborn looks forward to full vindication as all facts come to light.”

Lamborn’s seat in CO-05 has been fairly safe ever since he was first elected in 2006, though plenty of Republicans have tried to unseat him in Primary elections. Lamborn has always managed to survive politically with the bare minimum effort — he raised a little over $5,000 TOTAL in Q1 2021 — because he is fairly boring and does just enough work on behalf of the powerful military interests in his district.

But Lamborn is also not particularly well-liked among fellow Republicans and Members of Congress. There won’t be a long line of people queuing up to show their support if Lamborn’s troubles escalate, and that’s where this lawsuit could be a real problem: It gives Republican voters a tangible reason to back a different horse in 2022. Lamborn probably SHOULD be on his way out of Congress after 16+ years of unremarkable representation in Colorado Springs — particularly if the allegations in this lawsuit are true.

Could you do worse than having Lamborn in Congress? That’s debatable, but you could definitely do a lot better.

Colorado Republicans Rage At Facebook’s Trump Ban

This guy again.

As the New York Times reports and you doubtless already know, Facebook’s appointed Oversight Board yesterday declined to lift the company’s ban on former President Donald Trump utilizing the platform, directing the company to clarify its rules and come back in six months for another review:

A Facebook-appointed panel of journalists, activists and lawyers on Wednesday upheld the social network’s ban of former President Donald J. Trump, ending any immediate return by Mr. Trump to mainstream social media and renewing a debate about tech power over online speech.

Facebook’s Oversight Board, which acts as a quasi-court over the company’s content decisions, ruled the social network was right to bar Mr. Trump after the insurrection in Washington in January, saying he “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.” The panel said that ongoing risk “justified” the move.

But the board also kicked the case back to Facebook and its top executives. It said that an indefinite suspension was “not appropriate” because it was not a penalty defined in Facebook’s policies and that the company should apply a standard punishment, such as a time-bound suspension or a permanent ban. The board gave Facebook six months to make a final decision on Mr. Trump’s account status.

CBS4 Denver has the reaction from Colorado’s minority Republican congressional delegation, and they are uniformly on full-tilt outrage. Rep. Ken Buck, whose crusade against Big Tech’s allegedly censorious ways predates Trump’s post-insurrection social media blackout, invoked the nastiest (and most dreadfully overused) comparison in the GOP playbook, Communist Gyna:

Following the news that Facebook Oversight Committee upheld former President Donald Trump’s ban, the three Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional Delegation were quick to react.

Rep. Ken Buck went to the social media platform itself, posting a link to an NPR article about the decision and commenting: “Silencing former leaders is something they do in Communist China, Big Tech has too much power.”

Not to be outdone, Rep. Lauren Boebert apparently thinks someone has been executed?

3rd District Rep. Lauren Boebart voiced her criticism on Twitter, tweeting “The Facebook Oversight Board acted as the judge, jury, prosecutor, appellate court and executioner. Big Tech needs to be broken up.”

Even Colorado’s least charismatic member of Congress, Rep. Doug Lamborn, took a swing:

“Unfortunately, Facebook’s decision to keep the ban on President Trump comes as no surprise. No social media company should have the power to entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people. Facebook’s oversight board is a farce. We must reign in #BigTech.”

Here we come to the central issue, which is the idea as Lamborn falsely suggests that Facebook has the ability to “entirely block a public official from communicating with the American people.” As we saw this week with the much-hyped launch of former President Trump’s blog, Trump is fully able to communicate with the American people online as much as he wants. He’s just not doing it on private commercial social media networks who have the full authority–let’s go a step farther and call it a right–to deny the use of their system to people who misuse it for criminal purposes like inciting a riot.

Though we certainly do not have the reach of a global platform like Facebook, we do have some experience on this blog with regulating the limits of content we consider inappropriate, undesirable, or any other way we might choose to evaluate what our readers post in comments and community blogs. Our standards are liberal enough that we’re generally accused of not policing content adequately as opposed to allegations of censorship, but we absolutely retain the right to moderate posted content and deny access to abusive users. If, for example, readers started plotting in comments to overthrow the state government, we’d feel an obligation to stop that.

In short, there’s a huge disconnect between the “free market” values these conservatives claim to uphold and their allegation that these private companies have committed some kind of unconstitutional suppression of former President Trump’s free speech rights. Free speech is not and has never been an entitlement to somebody else’s broadcast platform to amplify your speech at their expense. The violent insurrection on January 6th directly caused by the refusal of Trump (and for that matter, Boebert and Lamborn) to accept the results of the 2020 elections is ample cause to to permanently ban Trump from any private platform that wishes to.

But that segues into a conversation none of them want to have.

Don’t Want To Play? It’s Your District That Will Pay

Reps. Lauren Boebert, Ken Buck (R-CO).

The Colorado Sun’s Sandra Fish brings us an interesting story today about how the transfer of power in Washington has changed the way business is being done–and how reluctance by Colorado’s three Republican members of Congress to step up to the proverbial pump for their home districts could leave their constituents out of big investment opportunities:

The four Colorado Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have assembled a list of nearly $200 million in special spending on transportation initiatives and community projects in their districts as Congress reopens the door to the controversial practice of earmarking…

It’s been 10 years since Congress ended earmarks, the practice of allowing individual members to designate funding for projects in their districts. Scandals and controversy surrounding the spending practice led to its demise, and conservatives remain skeptical of earmarks.

“Tea Party” fiscal policy expert.

In truth, the biggest factor behind Congress imposing its “temporary” ban on earmarks in February of 2011 which has persisted to the present today was the Republican takeover of the U.S. House in the 2010 “Tea Party” wave elections. “Earmarks” were condemned by this new wave of far-right Republicans in Congress as a tool of corruption, but that’s neither an accurate nor fair representation of a longstanding practice by which lawmakers identify and seek funding for specific needs in their districts. That’s why Democrats, back in full albeit narrow control for the first time in a decade and looking to make historic investments, are looking to members of Congress to help set priorities.

For Republicans, this presents a choice: and our local Republicans are making the wrong one.

Republicans in conservative districts have disavowed the practice, including the three GOP U.S. representatives from Colorado. That could mean Colorado Springs and the state’s rural areas lose out on some funding opportunities.

In her February Fox News opinion piece, Rep. Lauren Boebert called bullcrap on bringing home the bacon for CD-3:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., are quietly pushing a campaign to reinstate earmarks so they can fund liberal pet projects and buy votes with your tax dollars.

Republicans should unite behind our promise to put the American people first, drain the swamp, and commit to putting a stop Democrats’ plans to revive pork-barrel politics.

Rep. Ken Buck said the same for his district in a Newsweek op-ed in March:

Now, today, Democrats are trying to revive the practice—and some Republicans on Capitol Hill seem willing to go along. This time around, however, politicians are attempting to give a new image to the unpopular term “earmarks.” We hear now that these projects will often be referred to as “member-directed funding for community projects.” Apparently that phrase polled better than “taxpayer-funded pet projects to help members of Congress gain political favor.”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

Responding to the Colorado Sun, Rep. Doug Lamborn’s office was even more blunt:

“As of now, Congressman Lamborn’s office will not be working on community-funded projects,” Cassandra Sebastian, Lamborn’s spokeswoman, said in an email.

That may disappoint some of the Republicans’ constituents…

The campaign against earmarks waged by the “Tea Party” movement in 2010 was, like so much of the rhetoric from that crazy and portentous year in American politics, based largely on anecdotes trumping data and rank misinformation. Individual examples of perceived waste were invoked to discredit the far larger share of spending on popular and necessary projects. It’s a political game as old as dirt, but until the next elections Republicans have only the choice to step up for their districts–or allow needs for their constituents to go unmet out of pure political spite.

The out-of-state ideologues these Republicans are largely beholden to won’t care.

But stakeholders in their districts who pay the price for this grandstand will get their say at the polls.

Happy Easter from Doug Lamborn…Or Something

MONDAY UPDATE: Lamborn finally finished his 4-part Tweet on Sunday, though the entire exercise was largely just repeating most of the first Tweet three more times.

—–

Brick Tamland and Doug Lamborn

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is not universally regarded as someone whom you might classify as a deep thinker.

Since first winning election in 2006, Lamborn has spent most of his time in Congress just being a general weirdo. Our favorite Lamborn story is from 2017, when he became obsessed with removing and hiding a particular painting that had been hanging on the wall at the U.S. Capitol building.

Occasionally Lamborn will draft nonsensical legislation when he isn’t busy repeating absurd conspiracy theories or stammering out comments that are wholly inappropriate. Fellow Republicans in Colorado generally try to keep a distance from Lamborn so as not to get wounded by debris when he pulls a Mr. Magoo and sets off a political tripwire or accidentally violates his security clearance.

It is with this background information that we present a recent Lamborn Tweet that is probably (maybe) meant to be an Easter weekend greeting:


Don’t bother looking for the other three messages as indicated by the “(1/4)” note at the beginning of the Tweet above. They don’t exist as of this writing. All in all, this is perfectly on-brand for Lamborn.

Anyhoo, have a Good Friday and a Happy Easter, everyone!

Lamborn Lambasted for Saying It’s “Truly Disturbing” to Host Migrant Kids at Air Force Base

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs)

By Sean Price, Colorado Times Recorder

Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs is being considered by the Department of Defense to host unaccompanied migrant children, and U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), whose district includes Colorado Springs, is reportedly not happy about the idea.

“It is truly disturbing that the Biden administration would entertain the possibility of using Peterson Air Force Base as a location to house unaccompanied minor illegal immigrants,” Lamborn told the Colorado Springs Gazette. “Peterson is critical to our national security and is home to both Space Command and Northern Command — defense entities with can’t-fail missions that occur daily.”

In the Gazette article a Department of Defense spokesperson responded that the Pentagon only offers this kind of support when it has “no impact on primary missions.”

Since President Joe Biden took office there has been an increase in apprehensions of migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

A press release by the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition included several immigrant advocacy groups and Colorado Springs residents urging the community to create a welcoming environment for the children.

Reverend Nori Rost, local faith leader and member of the Accompaniment & Sanctuary Coalition of Colorado Springs (ASC COS), an immigrant rights advocacy coalition, said in the press release that she was deeply concerned by type of rhetoric Lamborn used.

“It is important for our community, local elected officials, and legislators to educate themselves on these issues instead of perpetuating incomplete narratives about unaccompanied minors and the broader immigrant community,” Rost said.

Despite the increase in unaccompanied minor apprehensions and the backlog of asylum requests, the number of unauthorized immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is lower than it was in 2019.

Whether Peterson Air Force Base is selected, the discussion provides an opportunity to reset the conversation in Colorado surrounding immigration, according to Silvia Hernandez, Colorado Springs resident and a leader of Grupo Esperanza, a grassroots group of undocumented people in the Springs.

“This moment is a chance for Colorado to prioritize humanization over criminalization,” Hernandez said. “As organizers, we’ll do our utmost to ensure our state takes that chance.”

Even if unaccompanied migrant children are housed at Peterson, Jerima King, also from ASC COC, says that more should be done.

“Temporarily housing unaccompanied minors at Peterson is certainly preferable to holding them in a more carceral setting, like a detention center.” King said. “Our immediate priority must be to reunite these children with their families as soon as possible.”

Military bases in Virginia and Texas have also been surveyed as options to temporarily house migrant children.

Lamborn’s office has not yet returned a request to comment on the response from immigration advocacy groups.

Colorado Republicans Buck, Boebert, Lamborn & Ganahl Keep Parler & Gab Accounts on the Down-Low

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

https://coloradotimesrecorder.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/CU.Regent.Heidi_.Ganahl-1.jpgLike it or not, social media accounts are an indispensable component of all professional communications, but especially for elected officials, who can share their message without having to go through reporters. As a rule, the more attention the better. More followers mean a bigger megaphone to talk directly to constituents.

For Colorado Republicans posting on far-right sites Parler and its even more extreme competitor, Gab, however, it appears there’s an exception to that rule.

None of the three Republican members of Colorado’s congressional delegation, nor University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahl, the lone statewide Republican elected official, list Parler or Gab among the other social media sites on their websites. The Colorado Times Recorder searched for all of seven of the state’s Members of Congress, as well as both At-Large Regents, but didn’t find Parler or Gab accounts for any of the Democrats.

Both Congressman Ken Buck’s official website and campaign site direct visitors to four social media platforms where people can find him: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Neither mentions a fifth platform, Parler, which until recently was growing in popularity as a far-right anything-goes alternative to mainstream sites.

Buck doesn’t advertise his presence on Parler, but he’s quite active, posting almost daily.

(more…)

Bob Beauprez Warns GOP on Stimulus Objections

If there’s one thing that Bob Beauprez understands, it’s bull crap (er, horse crap).

Last week the House of Representatives gave final approval to The American Rescue Plan (ARP), a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that President Biden promptly signed into law. The ARP contains all kinds of helpful things for Americans of all political backgrounds, including $1,400 direct payments to families; extended unemployment benefits; the expansion of child tax credits that could cut child poverty by 50%; much-needed relief for state and local governments; and new money to help schools reopen as quickly as possible.

Not one Republican in either chamber of Congress voted in support of the ARP. Congresswoman Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) spoke for Colorado Republicans in opposition to the bill, rattling off a bunch of debunked facts and figures as part of her rudderless attack on what has proven to be one of the most popular pieces of legislation in modern American history. Just this week, Boebert tried out another attack on the legislation that made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Republicans are having a hard time making a logical argument against the ARP, for obvious reasons. As James Downie writes for The Washington Post:

The just-passed stimulus package is a rarity in today’s Washington: a major new law that’s a win in terms of both politics and policy. Poll after poll shows overwhelming support. As my colleague Greg Sargent notes, the bill is even popular with both lower-income Republicans and non-college Whites, two key components of the Trump-era GOP coalition. Millions of Americans are already receiving desperately needed payments to help the country get back on its feet from a once-in-a-century pandemic.

Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s rhetoric on the stimulus bill doesn’t match the chryons.

A lack of a coherent message won’t stop Republicans from crapping on a stimulus package that they should have just supported in the first place. But as the right-wing Washington Examiner explains, Republicans might want to listen to former Colorado Congressman and two-time gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez’s warning about relentlessly attacking something that people are generally happy about:

Another former Republican congressman, Bob Beauprez of Colorado, refused to call Biden’s spending package a “legislative win” given it wasn’t a bipartisan agreement. But he did echo Heye’s point about what conservatives call irrelevant inclusions in the framework.

“I’m not sure I’d want people to talk about it much more because they might actually find out what’s in it,” he joked. [Pols emphasis]

Beauprez questioned the package’s positive polling — “Free money? That does sound good.” — and the pressure it places on the country’s finances — “buying votes with borrowed money.” But those are more nuanced messages that are harder to convey to the public.

Beauprez may have been a terrible statewide candidate in Colorado, but he’s no dummy: He understands that Republicans have backed themselves into a corner by attacking a stimulus package that is really helpful to base Republican voters. Americans need help NOW, and Democrats are providing that help; Republicans, meanwhile, are hoping that people will overlook this help because they are more concerned about nebulous federal deficits down the road. It’s not a fair fight, and rational Republicans know this.

We can’t believe we’re saying this, but…Republicans should listen to Bob Beauprez.

Boebert, Lamborn Vote to Adjourn…at 10:00 in the Morning

Qaucus leaders Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene

At 10:07 am this morning in Washington D.C., the House of Representatives held a Roll Call vote on a Motion to Adjourn, which is absolutely as stupid as it sounds.

The Motion to Adjourn failed to pass, but not before 149 Republican Members of Congress voted ‘YES’ on ending their day before it even began — including Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs). This has been a common vote recently, spearheaded by Boebert’s fellow Qaucus member, Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene. As The Hill reported last week:

Greene’s efforts to delay congressional business by forcing futile procedural votes to adjourn the House each day are disrupting committee hearings and virtual constituent meetings — and ticking off a growing chorus of Republican colleagues.

Rep. Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) had to rush out of a committee hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on monetary policy. Rep. David Joyce (R-Ohio) had to step out of a video conference with an international conservation group. And Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) had to halt a Zoom meeting with local chambers of commerce from the Great Lakes region.

“Aggravated,” Wagner replied when asked by The Hill how she felt about having to vote on one of Greene’s motions to adjourn one recent morning.

Before stepping onto the House floor, Wagner added, “Ms. Greene doesn’t have three hearings today like I do.”

Greene doesn’t have as much on her plate as most of her colleagues after being stripped of her committee assignments in February on account of the fact that she is a complete lunatic, so she’s made it her personal mission to waste everyone’s time. Today, Boebert and Lamborn played along with Greene’s commitment to pointless obstruction, presumably in an effort to slow the final passage of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

ABC9 News in Georgia summarized what Greene and colleagues accomplished this morning:

Via ABC9 News in Georgia

 

Wow. Please clap.

How dare you make Doug Lamborn do his job!

As The Hill reports in a separate story from today, this “Motion to Adjourn” nonsense is wearing thin with Republicans:

Forty-one House Republicans on Wednesday voted against Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene’s latest motion to adjourn, yet another sign her party is growing increasingly frustrated with the Georgia Republican’s procedural delay tactics.

That figure was more than double the 18 Republicans who voted against her motion last week to end House business for the day.

Some of those Republicans who have bucked Greene and GOP leaders have correctly predicted that the number of “no” votes will only grow as Greene continues to force more of these votes. [Pols emphasis]

It will be interesting to see how long Boebert and Lamborn continue to play along with this silly stunt (Greeley Republican Rep. Ken Buck did not vote on the motion today).

In some ways, it might be a good thing if Greene keeps this up, because it really separates the serious from the unserious in Congress. It’s difficult for Boebert and Lamborn to say that they are there to represent their districts when they regularly try to skip out on doing their jobs altogether.

ARP, The BFD We’re Lucky As Hell To Be Getting

Rep. Doug Lamborn’s (R) exact facial expression while taking a dump on his home state of Colorado.

CBS4 Denver’s Danielle Chavira reports on the passage in the U.S. Senate this weekend of the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion comprehensive package of economic relief measures intended to see the nation through to the light slowly emerging at the end of the COVID-19 pandemic’s tunnel:

Colorado Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet praised the passage of a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill on Saturday morning. The Senate approved the bill after debating it for more than 24 hours…

“With today’s vote, we are one step closer to providing the relief our country urgently needs,” said Bennet. “One year after the first confirmed COVID-19 case in our state, Coloradans continue to struggle in the face of this public health and economic crisis. From funding for public health jobs to expanded tax credits for working families, this bill will help us put an end to the pandemic and improve the lives of countless Americans.”

AP’s Alan Fram via the Denver Post:

Colorado Sens. Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper voted in favor. The bill includes Bennet’s idea to create a “Health Force” that will employ people to vaccinate against and test for COVID-19. It also includes an estimated $6 billion in funding for Colorado’s state and local governments, Hickenlooper said.

“People need help now,” the Democratic senator said in a statement. “This relief bill provides stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, vaccines, small business grants and many other critical programs. We’re close to the end of this pandemic — we can’t let anyone fall through the cracks.”

Even this moran is getting a check.

The Washington Post’s Jeff Stein wrote Sunday about how times have changed in the decade since President Barack Obama passed a much smaller stimulus package over unhinged objections that would eventually snowball into the “Tea Party” reactionary political movement:

Since the outset of the coronavirus pandemic, polling has found substantial support among Americans for providing more government aid for those in need. That is partially due to the nature of the current crisis, which for a time opened a deeper economic hole than even the Great Recession. But the shift is also the result of a reorientation on economic policy — on the left and on the right — that has transformed the political landscape.

On the right, congressional Republicans may still fret about higher deficits — but the most popular politician among their voters does not. As a candidate and as president, Donald Trump blew past Republican concerns about the deficit, pushing for trillions in additional spending and tax cuts and running unprecedented peacetime debt levels.

And on the left, Democratic lawmakers have increasingly learned to ignore fears about spending too much. Party leaders have said they suffered crippling political defeats in the 2010s precisely because they did not deliver enough meaningful economic relief under Obama — a mistake that they see an opportunity to correct under Biden. [Pols emphasis] Democrats also repeatedly tout the 2017 Republican tax cut, which is expected to add approximately $2 trillion to the national debt, as a reason to be skeptical of GOP concerns about fiscal restraint.

Colorado Republican Party field testing their new message.

Make no mistake, despite the popularity of this aid package with ordinary Americans the Colorado Republican Party is sounding off angrily, setting themselves up to look villainously out of touch once the direct benefits in this legislation reach the overwhelming majority of Coloradans–CBS4:

“It is completely shameful how Senator Bennet and Senator Hickenlooper have sold out Colorado’s middle class and voted for this completely partisan liberal wishlist. This bill is the worst of Washington – Coloradans won’t forget that Bennet once again chose to follow Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in passing a wasteful, partisan, and extreme spending bill,” said Joe Jackson, spokesman of the Colorado GOP.

And then there’s Rep. Doug Lamborn, the former state lawmaker who knows that our state runs an incredibly tight budget due to TABOR and other constitutional fiscal chokeholds–but still clings to the offensive fabrication of a “blue state bailout.”

The massive spending bill goes on to continue unemployment insurance through August, in many cases paying people more to stay at home than they would earn working. It goes on to give a $50 billion bailout for disgraced New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and a $350 billion bailout for the failed policies of poorly run blue states and localities… [Pols emphasis]

Like we said about Lauren Boebert last week Lamborn is trashing his own state. The estimated $6 billion in aid coming to Colorado’s state and local governments under this bill mean the difference between being able to meet the most basic responsibilities to the people of Colorado and cuts that everyone in the state will see and suffer from. There are so many Republicans in Colorado who know better than this: the Republican members of the Joint Budget Committee in the state legislature, or city governments from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction who have suffered devastating revenue shortfalls in no way related to “fiscal mismanagement.” Republicans in Washington blame the states, then Republicans in the states stoically absorb what they know is just plain wrong.

Fortunately, by the narrowest of margins, the U.S. Senate delivered relief on the scale of the massive need.

And if the theory is correct, voters will not forget it in 2022.

“Lofgren Report” Highlights Boebert and Lamborn

The Lofgren Report

The “Lofgren Report” is getting a lot of attention today, with Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert (R-ifle) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) both popping up in a collection of social media posts related to the terrorist attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 and related efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 Presidential election.

As CNN explains:

Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren has quietly posted a nearly 2,000-page report documenting social media posts by her Republican colleagues who voted against certifying results of the presidential election on January 6. The information compiled isn’t secret, but the report is another sign of the deep distrust that has settled into the US Capitol in the weeks since the insurrection.

The report chronicles the social media activity of members on public forums immediately before the November election and right after the January 6 riot. The report has been online for a week.

CNN reported earlier Thursday that federal investigators are examining records of communications between members of Congress and the pro-Trump mob that attacked the Capitol, as the investigation moves closer to exploring whether lawmakers wittingly or unwittingly helped the insurrectionists.

In a preamble to the report, Lofgren — the chair of the House Administration Committee — wrote that she had asked her staff to pull the relevant social media posts and compile them in an effort to gather facts.

The “Lofgren Report” is divided up into different sections organized by state. Colorado’s list includes 74 pages of questionable social media posts from Boebert and Lamborn, but mostly from Boebert (Q*Bert accounts for 73 pages all by herself). For example:

Click here to see the complete “Lofgren Report.” Click here for the Colorado-specific section.

Has “Worthless” Doug Lamborn’s Star Finally Fallen?

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Two Republican members of Congress from Colorado stand accused of helping incite violence at the U.S. Capitol on January 6th by joining the dead-ender objections to elector slates from Arizona and Pennsylvania. One of them, Rep. Lauren Boebert, has become the focus of nationwide scrutiny for her actions before and during the attack on the Capitol. The other, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, has had much less to say than Boebert in the aftermath.

But as the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Erin Prater reports, Lamborn is back on the record again under the new President Lamborn tried to prevent from taking office–trying to reverse ex-President Donald Trump’s last-minute awarding of the U.S. Space Command headquarters to Huntsville, Alabama in what’s been widely characterized as political payback to Trump loyalists in that state:

Colorado Springs Republican U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn has joined a pair of senior congressional Democrats in calling for the Pentagon’s watchdog to investigate the role of political influence in the Trump administration’s decision to uproot U.S. Space Command from Colorado Springs.

“I’m going to be insisting on making sure the inspector general’s office can do an investigation on what went into this decision,” Lamborn, who serves as a ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, told The Gazette on Friday. “There were some, I think, unacceptable political pressures that were brought to bear on this basing decision. [Pols emphasis] We need to uncover that.”

It’s nice that Rep. Lamborn is crying foul over this adverse decision in such clear terms, and he has plenty of company among Colorado’s congressional delegation, Gov. Jared Polis, and officials without ties to either state who looked at this decision and saw corruption to benefit Alabama Republicans who stood by Trump to the end.

But that’s the rub: Lamborn stood with Trump right to the end too, but unlike Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Lamborn has nothing to show for it. We don’t generally cite letters to the editor, but this Gazette LTE from a Colorado Springs resident summed up the point quite well:

We should recognize the lack of political pull that Congressman Lamborn has [Pols emphasis] had during this administration and his poor choice in supporting the “Stop the Steal” campaign.

Rep. Doug Lamborn, generally considered a weak-minded Republican benchwarmer who can be counted on to reliably vote in accordance with the wishes of the powerful defense contractor interests in his district, has regularly faced spirited primary challenges for his safe Republican seat centered on arch-conservative El Paso County. Looking ahead to 2022, Lamborn now faces a backlash from corporate donors looking to punish Republicans who helped Trump set the stage for violence on January 6th. At the same time, Lamborn has to reckon with his own perceived ineffectiveness after losing Space Command despite his canine loyalty to Trump.

Doug Lamborn has weathered many challenges over the years, and held on to his seat by inertia.

But as ex-Rep. Scott Tipton can tell you, that may not be good enough anymore.