Get More Smarter on Friday (January 8)

Happy “Typing Day.” Please celebrate responsibly. 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 

 

► As POLITICO reports, momentum continues to build for impeaching President Trump:

House Democrats are moving quickly toward impeaching President Donald Trump as early next week, a reflection of the seething outrage that remains over his incitement of deadly riots inside the U.S. Capitol.

Timing remains in flux and Speaker Nancy Pelosi has yet to make a decision on exactly how to proceed, including whether to pursue a constitutional process that could remove Trump without impeachment. Top Democrats are still in talks with all their members and will hold a caucus-wide call at noon. But they are expected to decide today on their next steps, according to several lawmakers and aides.

Whether or not Trump could officially be impeached before his time in office expires at noon on January 20 is less important than holding Trump accountable for this week’s assault on the U.S. Capitol:

If Democrats pass articles early next week — and Pelosi immediately sent them to the Senate — the Senate would be required to begin a trial immediately under congressional rules. Trump’s first impeachment trial, on charges he abused his power and obstructed a congressional investigation, ultimately lasted four weeks before the Senate delivered its verdict.

That timetable suggests the goal of any impeachment is unlikely to be Trump’s removal and is much more focused on the option to prevent him from holding federal office in the future. Some Democrats believe that possibility could woo Senate Republicans, some of whom are eyeing a 2024 bid themselves.

 

CNN reports on another tragic loss resulting from the Trump mob’s attack on the Capitol building:

Prosecutors in the US Attorney’s office plan to open a federal murder investigation into the death of Brian D. Sicknick, a US Capitol Police officer who died Thursday night, a law enforcement official tells CNN.

Sicknick was injured Wednesday when a mob of President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the US Capitol. He died at approximately 9:30 p.m. ET Thursday “due to injuries sustained while on-duty,” Capitol Police officials said in a statement.
The death is being investigated by the DC Metropolitan Police Department’s homicide branch, the US Capitol Police and their federal partners.

Sicknick was many Capitol Police officers who were attacked with lead pipes and other blunt instruments.

 

 As Marianne Goodland reports for the publication formerly known as the Colorado Statesman, there is a growing list of high-profile names and organizations calling on the resignation of Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Doug Lamborn for taking part in trying to overturn the results of the 2020 election:

The letter said the two lawmakers “have betrayed the trust of Colorado voters by helping incite violence against the body you were elected to, a body designed to serve us. By endorsing the president’s unsubstantiated and repeatedly debunked, discredited, and false claims of voter fraud, you encouraged and tacitly endorsed the actions of these terrorists and threatened the basic foundation of our democracy.”…

…Signatories to the letter include seven Democratic members of the Colorado General Assembly, city council members in Aurora, Broomfield, Denver and Edgewater; former Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Trish Zornio and Lorena Garcia, and two dozen progressive organizations, including unions, Planned Parenthood and ProgressNow Colorado.

Meanwhile, Boebert appears to have no concept of the harm she and fellow Trumpians have caused. In a video released today, Boebert sounds absolutely looney:

Boebert says that she wants people to view her floor speech on Wednesday. We agree. Here it is.

#ResignBoebert.

 

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

 

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (January 6)

Welcome to the first “Get More Smarter” of 2021! 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 

 

► Holy crap, Georgia!

Democrats are close to capturing majority control of the U.S. Senate after Raphael Warnock defeated Republican Kelly Loeffler in Georgia’s runoff election on Tuesday; Warnock becomes the first Black Senator from the State of Georgia.

In the other Senate contest, Democrat Jon Ossoff holds a narrow lead over Republican David Perdue, with the majority of the outstanding ballots still to be counted concentrated in Democratic-leaning counties. As National Public Radio reports, Ossoff has declared victory:

Democrat Jon Ossoff — who as of 9 a.m. ET Wednesday leads Republican David Perdue by about 16,000 votes in the Georgia runoff that could give Democrats control of the U.S. Senate — claimed victory Wednesday. The Associated Press, which NPR relies on for its results, has not yet called the contest.

“It is with humility that I thank the people of Georgia for electing me to serve you in the United States Senate,” Ossoff said in remarks Wednesday morning.

When Vice President Kamala Harris is sworn-in to office on January 20, she will become the tie-breaking vote in the Senate that will change Mitch McConnell’s title to “Minority Leader.”

Via The New York Times (9:15 am, 1/6/21)

 

► With a new Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, expanded coronavirus stimulus payments could be just around the corner.

 

► Tuesday’s big victories in Georgia for Democrats will undoubtedly sour the mood today when certain Republican Members of Congress — including Colorado Reps. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and Doug Lamborn — will make a no-hope attempt at preventing Democrat Joe Biden from becoming President. As POLITICO explains:

…the bicameral session of the House and Senate — which could stretch into the early hours of Thursday — will be the stage for this last stand by Trump allies who have refused to accept the election results.

Inside the Capitol, the effort has splintered Trump’s party, with more than 100 House Republicans and at least a dozen Senate Republicans objecting to Biden’s victory while Senate GOP leadership warned their caucus against the effort. Already, senators are signaling they’ll challenge results in Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania.

But the most intense focus will be on Vice President Mike Pence, who will preside over the 1 p.m. joint meeting, where he’ll be required by the Constitution to count the electoral votes certified by the states. Biden earned 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, and a wave of legal challenges by Trump to reverse several states’ results failed at every level of state and federal court.

Are you familiar with the phrase, “it’s all over but the shouting”?

Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) will play a key role in today’s nonsense-fest as one of four Democrats assigned to handle the arguments against overturning the election results.

Here in Colorado, local Republicans are promoting a QAnon rally in Denver aimed at showing support for President Trump, or something.

 

POLITICO reports on an absolutely amazing bit of karmic justice:

Joe Biden has selected Judge Merrick Garland to serve as his attorney general, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.

Biden selected Garland over former Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) and former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, choosing to elevate the chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals in D.C. to run the Justice Department.

In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Garland to serve on the Supreme Court, but his nomination languished in the GOP-controlled Senate at the end of the former president’s term. In recent weeks, Garland has been recusing himself from cases involving the federal government, fueling speculation that he was a leading candidate for the job.

 

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

 

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Neguse Takes Leading Role Opposing GOP Election Challenge

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish)

A group of Republican Members of Congress on Wednesday will object to efforts to finalize the 2020 election of Democrat Joe Biden as the next President of the United States. These efforts are widely expected to fail, as POLITICO explains:

The Senate Republicans opposed to certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win are heading toward a hefty defeat on Wednesday. The only remaining question is this: how badly do they lose?

Just 11 GOP senators have joined the effort led by Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to object to Congress’ routine approval of Biden’s Electoral College win. That makes 13 supporters — and many more have come out swinging against it…

…At least 21 GOP senators will vote to certify Biden’s election win, according to a series of interviews and statements. As of midday Tuesday, 17 Republican senators had not said what they would do publicly. With every Senate Democrat also sure to reject the challenge to Biden’s victory, President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign will easily fail even as it succeeds in splitting the GOP.

Wednesday’s last-ditch effort by Trump supporters to somehow keep The Big Orange Guy in the White House won’t be without involvement from Colorado’s Congressional delegation. Freshman Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert and longtime Colorado Springs Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn will both oppose certifying Biden’s Electoral College victory. Colorado’s third Republican Member of Congress, Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley, has announced that he will NOT participate in efforts to block Biden’s victory.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) is among four members of the House of Representatives who will be responsible for arguing against nonsense claims against decertification. As Kyle Cheney of POLITICO reports:

Neguse and three other Democratic House Members will lead the debate on Republican objections to certifying Biden’s victory. This is another big moment for a Colorado Democrat; last year Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) was among seven House Members given the task of serving as “impeachment managers” in President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial. Crow earned rave reviews for his steady performance, despite the fact that the Republican-controlled Senate ultimately let Trump off the hook.

We don’t expect to hear much from Lamborn on Wednesday, but Republicans may allow Boebert to be among the GOP House Members who will attempt to make some sort of argument in favor of overturning the will of American voters.

In this debate — or any other, for that matter — we’d gladly put our chips behind Neguse over Boebert.

So, You Want to Overturn Democracy…

Clockwise from top: Rep. Michael Waltz, Rep. Ken Buck, and Rep. Doug Lamborn kissing arse.

We wrote yesterday about the news that Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) had both added their names to an amicus brief related to that asinine Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the results of the 2020 election so that Donald Trump can remain in the White House.

It seems that we are not alone in our dismay over the actions of local Members of Congress. The editorial board of The Orlando Sentinel is pretty pissed off about the decision of Rep. Michael Waltz to join in this circus — so upset, in fact, that it published an editorial in which it apologized for endorsing Waltz in 2020:

We now know what we didn’t then — that Waltz, a U.S. Army Green Beret who served his country — is willing to undermine the nation to ensure his political party remains in control of the White House.

Every American should be appalled at the attempted usurpation taking place, and at the elected officials taking part in this terrifying fiasco and violating their oath to protect the country from enemies, foreign and domestic.

Everyone who supported Michael Waltz for Congress should feel a deep sense of remorse and regret.

We do.

Sadly, the list of Republican Members of Congress signing onto the Texas lawsuit continues to grow. The rationale, as the Sentinel explains, is distressingly simple:

They want to undo 231 years of election tradition and norms so their guy, Donald Trump, can have another four years in office. And so the president won’t send out a mean tweet that might torpedo their chances for reelection.

Back in March 2019, the editorial board of The Denver Post famously un-endorsed Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) after finally growing tired of Gardner’s inability to honor his word and his general impotence in dealing with President Trump. The last straw for the Post was Gardner’s flip-flop in support of Trump’s “emergency declaration” so that he could raid military coffers to build his stupid wall along the Mexico border. As the Post wrote:

Gardner has been too busy walking a political tight rope to be a leader. He has become precisely what we said in our endorsement he would not be: “a political time-server interested only in professional security.”…

…We no longer know what principles guide the senator and regret giving him our support in a close race against Mark Udall.

Colorado’s newspaper of record, The Denver Post, can’t un-endorse Rep. Buck; they supported long shot Democrat Ike McCorkle in 2020 rather than give a thumbs up to more of Buck’s nonsense. For obvious reasons, the Post also did not endorse Rep. Lamborn in 2020.

Newspapers such as The Greeley Tribune could still follow the lead of The Orlando Sentinel in voicing displeasure with Buck’s blatant disregard for democracy. If The Colorado Springs Gazette were a real newspaper, they could similarly shame Lamborn (but they won’t).

Regardless, we are encouraged by the actions of The Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board. Speaking truth to power is one of the most important roles of a free press. Our democracy may very well depend on it.

Buck, Lamborn and 124 other House Republicans crossed a line this week that should never have even been approachable. As the Sentinel editorial board writes, “Our nation teeters on the edge of constitutional disaster” as a result of the actions of these Republican Members of Congress. Buck and Lamborn need to hear this message, repeatedly, so that this never happens again.

Buck, Lamborn Join Dumbass Texas Lawsuit

Rep. Ken Buck (top) and Rep. Doug Lamborn

We wrote earlier about the ludicrous lawsuit out of Texas seeking to invalidate election results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin so that Democrat Joe Biden could somehow be un-elected as President. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed the dubious lawsuit on Tuesday, and President Trump officially joined on Wednesday. Six other Republicans Attorneys General joined the suit on Thursday.

As Steve Vladeck, a CNN Supreme Court analyst and University of Texas Law School professor explained for CNN: “In a nutshell the President is asking the Supreme Court to exercise its rarest form of jurisdiction to effectively overturn the entire presidential election.”

As Vox.com explains:

But the problem Paxton faces is the same one that has dogged all the legal challenges filed so far by Trump allies: There’s simply no evidence of significant irregularities. Elections officials in dozens of states spanning the red-to-blue spectrum have found no evidence of significant voter fraud marring the results. And they’ve looked.

Election law experts say that the Texas lawsuit has virtually no chance of succeeding, but that didn’t stop two Colorado Congressmen from joining the (lost) cause. Both Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) and Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) added their names to an Amicus brief:

 

Look, Rep. Lamborn is not the sharpest tool in the shed, so seeing his name appear on an idiotic lawsuit is not terribly surprising. But Buck is a freakin’ lawyer who was the District Attorney in Weld County for 10 years prior to being elected to Congress. Buck SHOULD know that this is legal horse manure. Frankly, it says a lot about Buck that he probably does know that this lawsuit is nonsense but he agreed to add his name to it anyway.

Buck has shown recently that he’s happy to parrot any suggestion of election impropriety, and he is apparently more than willing to break election laws himself despite serving as the State Republican Party Chairman. The next time Buck tries to tell you about how he is “draining the swamp” in Washington D.C., you can stop him right here.

Profiles in Cowardice: Colorado’s GOP Delegation

UPDATE #2: Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley), who also serves as the State Republican Party Chairman, won’t answer questions about the Presidential election…but he’ll happily take time to write a letter to Attorney General William Barr asking for an investigation into “Hunter Biden’s laptop.”

—–

UPDATE: It’s worth noting that this is not a new phenomenon. As Justin Wingerter reported for The Denver Post on November 23:

In the nearly three weeks since Biden defeated Trump, none of the state’s four congressional Republicans have acknowledged Trump’s defeat or signaled support for his wild claims of widespread election fraud. On Monday, spokespeople for the four declined to comment when asked if Trump should concede.

—–

Nope, nope, nope, and nope

Life is full of unanswerable questions. “Who won the 2020 Presidential Election?” is not among them.

Nevertheless, The Washington Post devoted what we imagine was a considerable amount of time into surveying every Republican Member of Congress — all 249 of them — about the results of last month’s election. The Post mostly got a bunch of non-responses and was thus forced to research other public comments from Republicans. All told, only 27 GOP lawmakers acknowledged that Democrat Joe Biden is the President-elect. Two Republicans, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama and Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, actually maintain that Donald Trump won the 2020 election.

All told, 88% of Congressional Republicans REFUSE TO OFFER AN OPINION on the winner of the 2020 election. That percentage is even more dismal among Colorado’s GOP delegation, which is 100% united in silence. No member of Colorado’s Republican delegation even bothered to respond to questions about the election outcome. Not Sen. Cory Gardner, not Rep. Scott Tipton, not Rep. Ken Buck, nor Rep. Doug Lamborn.

And these were not difficult questions:

Via The Washington Post (12/6/20)

The last question and non-answer is particularly absurd. Most Republicans won’t even say if they would accept Biden as President of the United States once members of the Electoral College cast their ballots. How about after Biden is inaugurated on January 20, 2021? Or when Biden is literally sitting in front of the Resolute desk in the Oval Office of the White House?

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, this is beyond ludicrous:

Saying that we need to consider both sides of this argument equally is an utter farce. It’s as though one side is arguing that 2 +2 = 4 and the other side is saying that 2+ 2 = 5, and we have to act as though both arguments are equally valid.

We are fortunate that the outcome of the Presidential election does not depend on the opinion of Doug Lamborn, but there are other important factors at play in this discussion. Cillizza goes on to make a point that should not — must not — be dismissed as simple partisan politics:

Because if some decent chunk of the population is so convinced — facts be damned — that Trump won and the election was stolen from him, it leads to events like we saw in Michigan on Saturday night: A group of armed protesters surrounded the home of Democratic Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson demanding that she “stop the steal” of the election from the President.

Donald Trump’s poisonous impact on America is undebatable, but let’s not forget the importance of Trump’s enablers. Republicans don’t have to mimic Trump’s unfound allegations about widespread voter fraud in order to weaken democracy and foment violence. By remaining silent, they are admitting that avoiding a mean Tweet from Trump is more important to them than preventing real people from getting hurt.

Shame on Cory Gardner. Shame on Scott Tipton. Shame on Ken Buck. Shame on Doug Lamborn. May their cowardice never be forgotten.

LIVE: Colorado Election Night 2020

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

Welcome to blue statehood.

—–

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

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

Who Wears it Better (Theoretically)?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Strange Man Exposed to COVID-19 Wandering Around Colorado

Have you seen this man?

As The Denver Post reports, at least two members of Rep. Doug Lamborn’s Washington D.C. staff have tested positive for COVID-19. The Colorado Springs Republican himself is allegedly refusing to be tested and is running around in Colorado attending fundraisers.

As Conrad Swanson writes for The Denver Post:

“The deputy chief of staff, who is also the legislative director, started feeling unwell sometime around Thursday or Friday and tested positive for COVID over the weekend,” one of Lamborn’s staffers told The Post.

Then, Lamborn’s military legislative assistant tested positive Tuesday, the source said.

“The chief of staff called and told us about the one positive case,” the source said. “Three or four more people are experiencing symptoms. … It was recommended that they not tell their roommates.” [Pols emphasis]

The information was confirmed by a second Lamborn staff member…

…Lamborn’s offices are among the few in Congress that haven’t closed due to the pandemic, his staffers said. His D.C. office employs about a dozen people, while the local office employs about seven.

“Hi everybody!”

A spokesperson for Lamborn says that the Congressman has “been in contact with a physician,” which is kind of like saying you called a mechanic to report that your car won’t start. According to the spokesperson, Lamborn reported feeling no symptoms and was told that he didn’t need to take a COVID test or self-quarantine.

Now…we’re not doctors, but if some of Lamborn’s top staffers tested positive — and everybody works in the same building where there is a known coronavirus outbreak — then either Lamborn wasn’t being straight in his conversation or his physician is Dr. Nick Riviera.

Lamborn doesn’t want to be diagnosed with COVID-19 for a number of reasons, including the fact that it would contradict his own stupid-ass logic about the coronavirus. In August, Lamborn penned an Op-Ed for The Washington Examiner that concluded with this prediction about America’s battle with COVID:

Defeating the pandemic is now acknowledged by pundits on both ends of the spectrum as Trump’s finest hour.

Uh…maybe? Lamborn’s prediction was that this consensus would ultimately be formed in August 2021, so there is still time for his crystal ball to be proven accurate.

In the meantime, do not go anywhere near Doug Lamborn if you happen to spot him in the wild in the next few weeks.

Doug Lamborn Sees the Future and Is Sad

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) posing with a big orange guy.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is finishing up his seventh term in the House of Representatives. He will almost certainly be re-elected for an eighth term in November. Because CO-5 has long been centered in the conservative city of Colorado Springs, winning a Republican Primary is pretty much the whole enchilada (just like winning a Democratic Primary in Denver virtually guarantees a General Election victory).

Lamborn earned his ticket to Washington D.C. with a narrow win in a 6-way Republican Primary in 2006. Because 15,126 Republican voters checked Lamborn’s box in August of that year, he gained the power of incumbency in a heavily-partisan district that won’t likely be rid of him until he decides to do something else (Lamborn’s predecessor, Joel Hefley, is the only other person to have held this seat in its history; he served 20 years in Congress before retiring).

The point of this history lesson is to explain the very low bar that Lamborn must clear every two years in order to remain in office, and to help you understand how a sitting Member of Congress could be responsible for authoring something as spectacularly stupid as the Op-Ed you’re about to see. If you were ever able to hold a contest to identify the dimmest bulb in Congress, Lamborn would be a strong betting favorite; just a few months ago, for example, Lamborn declared that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was pushing for another coronavirus stimulus package because she secretly wanted to secure the release from prison of the infamous drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.

Now that you’re all caught up with that bit of history, we can comfortably look ahead to the future. According to Lamborn (or, more likely, someone on Lamborn’s staff who can spell big words), the United States of America will be a smoldering ruin if Democrat Joe Biden is elected President in November. The ultra right-wing newspaper The Washington Examiner published a very gloomy Op-Ed signed by Lamborn that predicts all of the terrible things that will happen in the first year of a Biden administration.

As a public service, we decided to break down Lamborn’s argument point-by-point so that Colorado Pols readers can fully understand the dark ages ahead. If you’ve been anxious to read an unabashedly racist, sexist, factually-inaccurate and fear-mongering editorial from a sitting Member of Congress, then (WHOO, BOY!) you came to the right place!

Let’s get to it…

 

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GOP Congressional Delegation: Whatevs, Cory Gardner

Clockwise from top left: Sen. Cory Gardner, Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton.

As Colorado Public Radio’s Caitlyn Kim reports, the march to passage of the Great American Outdoors Act, which passed the U.S. Senate with wide bipartisan support and Sen. Cory Gardner’s earnest election-year blessing, went a little sideways yesterday after all of Colorado’s Republican members of Congress voted against the bill:

Republican Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn and Scott Tipton all voted against the bill, which represents one of their Republican Senate colleague’s biggest wins in office.

Buck praised his friend Gardner’s work on the measure but said he couldn’t vote for it. While “laudable” in its goal, Buck said, “this bill will convert the LWCF’s funding stream to mandatory funding, much like Medicare and Social Security spending, which will allow this program to continue expanding in perpetuity.”

And that’s not all, Cliven Bundy!

Buck added he has concerns that LWCF will be used to purchase more land and prevent other uses on it, from recreation to mineral development.

“The federal government already owns 35.9 percent of Colorado, and controls 28 percent of the total landmass of the United States — this bill gives the federal government even more power to control land and set federal standards,” he said. [Pols emphasis]

Kind of curious, isn’t it? The exact thing the Great American Outdoors Act principally does, provide a permanent funding stream for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, is the heart of the problem for Colorado’s Republican congressional delegation! The 105 Republicans who voted against the bill were not enough to stop it, of course, and the next stop is President Donald Trump–who after allegedly being sweet-talked with outlandish comparisons to Theodore Roosevelt by Gardner intends to sign it.

The opposition of all of Gardner’s GOP colleagues in the House naturally gives rise to questions on the right about Gardner’s conservative bonafides, which is already a problem for Gardner evidenced in tepid support from Gardner’s own Republican base. As for the positives for Gardner in taking credit for this bipartisan legislation, sure–it gives him something to talk about with swing voters. But any goodwill Gardner manages from this bill is offset and then some by the much greater dissatisfaction with Republicans on the part of voters motivated by environmental issues.

For good or ill, Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton kept it real.

And “keeping it real” makes Cory Gardner look bad every time.

Doug Lamborn Dials Up Buffoonery to New Level

Brick Tamland, ie Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs)

Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) is widely regarded as one of the dimmest bulbs in Congress, and he regularly takes the opportunity to confirm his idiocy lest anyone forget. He did it again today:

Yeah, that’s what’s happening: Democrats are pushing a coronavirus relief bill as an excuse to let one of the world’s most infamous drug lords out of prison. This is such a monumentally stupid accusation that it doesn’t even need to be fact-checked, but if you’re curious, the real intent of this portion of the legislation is to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak in our nation’s prisons by encouraging the release of NON-VIOLENT offenders (in other words, NOT Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who is a resident of the federal supermax prison in Florence, Colorado). As Roll Call reports:

In a 44-page section called the “Pandemic Justice Response Act,” the bill would require the release of prisoners and those in the custody of U.S. Marshals Service who are within a year of being released, or those who are juveniles, over 50 years old or have a health condition such as diabetes, heart disease, HIV, cancer or are pregnant.

Public health experts say incarcerated people are particularly vulnerable to the grave harms of the virus because they have higher rates of underlying health issues, the bill states. And the close conditions and lack of hygiene products make prisons “unusually susceptible to viral pandemics,” the bill says.

Engage in conversation with this man at your own risk.

Lamborn probably knows that his “El Chapo” accusation isn’t true, though it’s equally plausible that he totally believes this nonsense. It’s hard to know with Lamborn.

When he’s not drafting nonsensical legislation or calling constituents to yell at them for writing mean letters to the editor (and leaving voice mail messages, no less), Lamborn has been spotted literally running around the Capitol yanking paintings off the walls. This is the same guy who infamously called President Obama a “tar baby” and somehow managed to accidentally disclose classified information, so any stupid thing is possible when Lamborn is involved. He is also a bipartisan doofus; back in 2014, Lamborn was lambasted by Republican colleagues (including Mike Coffman and Cory Gardner) for openly encouraging military leaders to resign in protest over the foreign policy ideas of President Obama.

Lamborn is as bad a candidate as he is a politician — he almost didn’t make the Primary ballot in 2018 because his campaign couldn’t collect 1,500 valid petition signatures — but he’s still an actual Member of Congress because he has good timing. Lamborn narrowly won a 6-way Primary in 2006 in a district where incumbent Republicans get re-elected so long as they maintain a pulse (his predecessor, Joel Hefley, held this seat for 30 years).

If redistricting doesn’t make meaningful changes to CO-5, Lamborn will likely remain in this seat until somebody tells him that he retired. In the meantime, we can confidently say that no current or future Member of Congress from Colorado will ever be in danger of sliding underneath the bar that Lamborn has set for himself.

Buck, Lamborn’s COVID-19 Priority? “Baby Body Parts!”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

Michael Karlik reports for the Colorado Springs Gazette:

U.S. Reps. Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck signed on to a letter to the Trump Administration on Tuesday advising against a suspension of the ban on fetal tissue research — which they described as “research using aborted baby body parts” — in pursuit of a treatment for COVID-19.

“Aborted fetal tissue from ongoing abortions, however, has never been used in the production of a single vaccine,” reads the Lamborn-led letter, which over 120 Republican House members co-signed. “While a few old cell lines derived from abortion in the 1960s and 1970s continues to be used for a small handful of vaccines, most vaccines today use more efficient, modern cell lines and production techniques.”

Except, well, that’s not exactly, you know, accurate:

The Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University notes that some vaccines to prevent rubella, measles, rabies, poliomyelitis, hepatitis A, chickenpox and smallpox use tissue from abortions. Scientists seeking to use fetal tissue in mice to create more realistic trials of potential COVID-19 treatments on humans have run into a 2019 federal ban on using donated tissue…

Obviously, we’re not infectious disease research experts, and are in no position to comment one way or the other about the efficacy of fetal tissue in research to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We have no problem admitting this up front so you know where we’re coming from.

What we do know is that Reps. Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck are not qualified scientists either, and themselves have no clue or concern whether fetal tissue could be useful in life-saving COVID-19 research. For both of them, this is just another opportunity to recite a gruesome pre-existing litany of misleading talking points about so-called “baby body parts” in medical research–the same stuff that motivated a psycho named Robert Dear to open fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs a few years ago.

If you’re asking the obvious question, “Really? Can they not? At least not right now?”

We’re sorry to inform you they will never miss the chance.

Colorado GOP Delegation Backs COVID Blame Projection Bill

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Michael Karlik at the Colorado Springs Gazette reports:

U.S. Reps. Scott Tipton, Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn have co-sponsored a House resolution that condemns the Chinese government’s response to COVID-19 and asks the country to take responsibility for originating the novel coronavirus…

Tipton blamed the severity of the global pandemic on the Chinese government’s failure to act quickly and be “immediately forthcoming” about what it knew. “This recklessness by the Chinese government cannot be tolerated, and they should face severe consequences including sanctions and reparations to nations they have impacted,” he said.

Colorado’s three Republican members of Congress, Reps. Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton are all on board, with Lamborn earning a name-check from leading congressional Trump apologist Rep. Elise Stefanik:

Here’s the intro to House Resolution 907:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Government of the People’s Republic of China made multiple, serious mistakes in the early stages of the COVID–19 outbreak that heightened the severity and spread of the ongoing COVID–19 pandemic, which include the Chinese Government’s intentional spread of misinformation to downplay the risks of the virus, a refusal to cooperate with international health authorities, internal censorship of doctors and journalists, and malicious disregard for the health of ethnic minorities.

In psychology, the term “projection” refers to ascribing one’s own flaws and insecurities to another party in order to assuage one’s own guilt. The accusation that the People’s Republic of China made “multiple, serious mistakes in the early stages of the COVID–19 outbreak” may have basis in fact, but this allegation applies every bit as well to the early response by the United States government to the COVID-19 pandemic.

That should be the priority of the U.S. House of Representatives, not China.

President Donald Trump’s weeks of denial of the severity of the pandemic, insisting that the virus would “go away” and that the number of cases was declining, perfectly fit the accusation in this resolution of “intentional spread of misinformation to downplay the risks of the virus.” Trump called the World Health Organization coronavirus test used to good effect in other countries “a bad test,” which could fairly be called “a refusal to cooperate with international health authorities.” While we wouldn’t say that scientists in the United States have been “censored,” watching Dr. Anthony Fauci facepalm while Trump fictionalizes the latest pandemic updates seems close enough. Finally, there’s the “malicious disregard for the health of ethnic minorities.” Check.

We all accuse the other side of being crazy, but in this case we think a clinical explanation might honestly be right. We’ll leave it to qualified psychologists to make the diagnosis, but we will say that rarely does the projection so perfectly characterize the original sin.

Lamborn: ‘Gullible’ Minorities Believe Democrats’ Lies about Voter Suppression

(“Tar Baby” Doug strikes again! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) thinks “gullible” minorities believe lies about voter suppression from Democrats.

Lamborn made the comments Thursday on a conservative talk-radio show in Colorado Springs.

“The Democrats lie when they say, ‘Oh, this is to suppress votes,’ or ‘This is to hurt minorities.’ It’s just a lie,” Lamborn told KVOR host Richard Randall. “They want to stir up minorities who are gullible and believe that garbage.”

Randall had told Lamborn, who represents the Colorado Springs area, that Judicial Watch, a conservative advocacy group, has threatened to sue county clerks in Colorado if they didn’t “clean up voter rolls.”

Then Randall asked Lamborn if he was “concerned about voter fraud here in Colorado, but especially states like California and others.”

“Well, I am,” replied Lamborn. “And I think it’s legitimate for Republicans or anyone for that matter to make sure that county clerks and secretaries of state clean up their acts and really have transparent and accountable records, paper trails, and all of the above have cyber security.”

Experts told the Colorado Times Recorder that Lamborn is wrong in multiple ways.

(more…)

“Law and Order,” Colorado Republican Style

“We probably won’t see any relief in these kinds of robberies until these businesses aren’t forced to deal only in cash”

As Westword’s Thomas Mitchell reports, two Republican members of Congress from Colorado, Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, have signed on to a letter to the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee Sen. Mike Crapo, asking Senate Republicans to reject the SAFE Banking Act, legislation which would allow banking institutions to serve the presently cash only multibillion-dollar retail marijuana industry:

Two Colorado members of the U.S. House of Representatives, along with ten other members of the House, have once again announced their opposition to federal banking reform for state-legal marijuana businesses. But since they’ve already cast their votes on the matter in the House, they’re looking to the Senate for help.

Less than a month after a group of representatives led by Congressman Ed Perlmutter, a Democrat from Colorado, sent a letter to Senate Banking Committee chairman Mike Crapo, urging him to advance Perlmutter’s successful House legislation that would protect banks serving marijuana businesses, another group of House members sent Crapo a letter with a starkly different stance on the bill, the SAFE Banking Act…

“The SAFE Banking Act jeopardizes public safety by legitimizing banking access for a Schedule I drug. It is important that we continue to tread lightly and consider public health concerns that surround the marijuana industry,” Buck says. “That’s why I opposed the SAFE Banking Act when it came to a vote in the House of Representatives and urge Senator Crapo to weigh these concerns when considering this legislation in the Senate.”

From the letter signed by Buck and Lamborn:

We write as Republican Members of Congress who voted against the SAFE Banking Act in the House of Representatives. Thank you for introducing a public health perspective to the question of banking for marijuana enterprises, including recreational stores that are advertising products that are appealing to children. We understand you have received significant pushback from these businesses for raising public health questions related to their business practices, and we urge you to stand strong…

We thank you again for your examination and consideration of these important public health topics. We remain opposed to liberalizing drug laws (including around banking), and we see these as some of our areas of greatest concern. We must protect our youth by preventing investment into companies that would prey upon them.

It’s important to understand that Buck and Lamborn’s objection to the SAFE Banking Act are not based in an easily-resolved technicality, but rather wholesale opposition to the legalization of marijuana. Even though they both represent a state that was the vanguard of legalization back in 2012, and has been joined by ten other states including major population centers like California and Illinois with more on the way, Buck and Lamborn refuse to allow the businesses raking in billions of dollars every year to use banking services every other legal business takes for granted.

For the cannabis industry in Colorado, the results have been needlessly tragic. Forced to operate as cash-only businesses, marijuana shops in Colorado have become lucrative targets for armed robberies–including in Aurora in 2016 in which a security guard for the dispensary was murdered execution-style. Dispensary owners have been forced to invest heavily in security and safe handling of large amounts of cash as a result.

With all of this in mind, it’s fair to ask the majority of Colorado voters who voted to legalize marijuana in 2012–what’s the bigger public safety risk here? Legal marijuana, or criminals targeting businesses forced to operate on cash? What public safety benefit is there in making an already legal industry needlessly dangerous? And where the hell is Sen. Cory Gardner, supposed best GOP friend of Colorado’s weed business? Once again, Gardner’s lip service to supporting the industry is being undercut by his fellow Republicans.

Politically, this is the sort of thing one can only get away with while holding a very safe seat–not just a safe Republican seat. It’s hard to imagine a position more opposed to the interests of the state Buck and Lamborn represent, actually supporting a status quo that invites crime against law-abiding Coloradans. Two out of three of Colorado’s GOP members of Congress were under no real pressure to sign a letter only ten other members from across the country were willing to put their name on.

It is not a principled stand. It is a slap in the face to the folks at home.

Lamborn Super Excited To Gut Social Security, Medicare!

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Freshly energized from President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday and acquittal in the impeachment trial yesterday, Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs is excited to move on to the next Big Thing he thinks is on the Republican agenda–slashing “entitlement” spending, meaning the Social Security and Medicare benefits millions of Americans and thousands of Lamborn’s own constituents rely on.

As Ernest Luning at the Colorado Springs Gazette reports, grab that third rail and hang on tight!

“Our economy can always be better, but I see things that show it’s an economy that’s really pretty broadly based,” Lamborn said. “I think, while we need to bring, say, health care costs down, because that’s a big expense for people, and energy costs — we don’t want those to get out of control, and the administration is doing good on that, taking away regulations that increase the cost of energy — I think there’s really some good things for many if not most of the families in this country.”

Lamborn said he’s looking forward to the president’s second term, when Republicans can take on an annual budget deficit forecast to top $1 trillion this year, nearly twice what it was when Trump took office.

“Trump and his people have said that if he gets reelected, he is going to make that his top priority, is getting spending under control,” Lamborn said. “For whatever reasons, we haven’t really talked about the entitlement part of our budget, which is 60% or higher. [Pols emphasis] So to really have meaningful attention paid to the deficit, you have to address mandatory spending, or entitlements.” He added, “I’m keeping my fingers crossed that that is true.”

Now of course, in Trump’s SOTU address Tuesday evening, he specifically said the words “we will always protect your Medicare and your Social Security.” Two weeks ago, however, Trump said pretty candidly that “entitlement” cuts were on the horizon after the 2017 tax cut legislation blew a trillion-dollar hole in the budget. And while Trump has always assured his voters that he would never cut these essential programs relied upon by Americans without partisan distinction, his proposed budgets have relied on doing exactly that.

With that said, it is very interesting to see all of this talk about cutting Social Security and Medicare in an election year, which is generally a time when Republicans shy away from talk of “reforming” programs that millions of voters depend on. The direct linkage between such program cuts and tax cuts passed two years ago by the same Republicans overwhelmingly benefiting the wealthiest Americans is objectionable even to many conservative voters–who once believed that Trump would fight for the middle class against the corporate predators at the top and the “moochers” at the bottom of society. As it turns out, both the middle and the lower class are getting the short end of the deal.

Though perhaps not in Doug Lamborn’s safe conservative stomping ground, “hell yes we’re cutting Social Security” is a message that could prove very costly to many Republicans on the 2020 ballot with Trump in competitive races. For Republicans there’s a time to spring this long-desired agenda item on the voting public, and that is not right before they vote.

Rep. Lamborn doesn’t get these subtleties. He says the quiet part out loud every time.

The Get More Smarter Podcast: Bold Predictions for 2020

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

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

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

Republicans Flummoxed on Prescription Drug Pricing

Image via AARP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Freep” Doug Lamborn’s Impeachment Poll

As delivered via Rep. Doug Lamborn’s official email address!

Gentle readers, it goes to a real live online poll! By real of course we don’t mean, you know, real, as in a poll containing any even slightly reliable information. But in case you wanted the chance to let Colorado’s least accomplished congressman know how you feel about impeaching Donald Trump, here it sort of is.

And yes, by encouraging our readers to “reweight” this poll we’ve probably given Lamborn all the reason he needs to ignore it. But we’re pretty confident that unless it tells Lamborn what he wants to hear…he was going to ignore it anyway.

Lamborn Tosses Giuliani Under the Bus

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R) as a fictional character.

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) isn’t a member of the House Intelligence Committee (in any sense of the phrase) that is currently overseeing public impeachment hearings against President Trump, but that doesn’t mean he can’t try to advance his own ridiculous theory on the matter.

David Corn of Mother Jones and MSNBC apparently found Lamborn talking to reporters in Washington D.C. today on the second day of public impeachment hearings. Lamborn’s take on the Ukraine scandal is that Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani acted as some sort of rogue actor:

LAMBORN: I have some questions about what Mr. Giuliani was doing. But that’s a side issue. That…that’s got really nothing to do with the President.

Lamborn’s comment is justifiably met with credulity from Corn, who tries unsuccessfully to get the Colorado Springs Republican to explain how 2+2 = 5.

REPORTER: But doesn’t it have everything to do with the President when the President is telling officials, ‘Talk to Rudy. Talk to Rudy.’

LAMBORN: Unless he [Giuliani] was off on his own mission doing things that people didn’t know about, kind of like a loose cannon. Then, that’s a Rudy Giuliani problem, not a President Trump one.

REPORTER: But, this is what I don’t get: The President told [Ukrainian President] Zelinsky, ‘I want you to talk to Rudy.’ The President told top diplomats when they came in to see him, ‘Talk to Rudy. Talk to Rudy.’ So the President is empowering Rudy Giuliani, so isn’t he responsible for Rudy Giuliani’s involvement in all of this? If he’s telling people, ‘Rudy’s my man.’

LAMBORN: He may have been wrong to trust Rudy Giuliani if Giuliani was doing things on his own that were improper. So maybe he was trusting him too much.

The reporter tries once more to get Lamborn to explain his incongruent logic, but Lamborn begs off by saying that he has to go vote on something.

You can watch the entire exchange below:

The Next Abortion Ban: Telemedicine

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

A report from medical industry publication mHealth Intelligence discusses a new monkeywrench being thrown by Republicans into the gears of women’s reproductive rights–a ban on “telemedicine” physician appointments to prescribe abortion medications:

A Congressman from Texas is seeking to make telemedicine abortions all but illegal in the US.

Rep. Ron Wright’s new bill, HR 4395, would prohibit care providers from using telehealth to prescribe abortion drugs unless they have physically examined the patient, are physically present when the patient takes the medications, and schedule a follow-up visit…

Roughly 25 percent of the abortions performed in the U.S. are non-surgical, or medical abortions. The process can be paired with a telemedicine platform in two ways: a physician can examine a patient via telemedicine, then issue a prescription for mifepristone and misoprostol to the patient to terminate the pregnancy; or a remote physician can examine a patient who’s at a clinic, then issue instructions to clinic personnel to dispense the drugs from a locked cabinet that is remotely opened by the doctor.

As states have moved in recent to impose all manner of incremental restrictions and medically dubious regulations on access to abortion, telemedicine has emerged as a novel way for women to circumvent so-called “TRAP” legislation and get the care they need. It’s only natural that a ban on the practice would emerge as soon as anti-abortion Republicans became aware of it, and we fully expect to see a state-level version of this ban introduced in the Colorado legislature next January–where it will die, of course, after giving the issue’s diehards another chance to sound off in futility. This federal version was filed in the Democratic-controlled U.S. House for similar reasons.

The bill, which was filed on October 30, has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for further action. It has 12 co-sponsors: Reps. John Joyce (R-PA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Randy Weber Sr. (R-TX), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), John Rutherford (R-FL), Robert Aderholt (R-AL), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), [Pols emphasis] Mark Meadows (R-NC), Jody Hice (R-GA), Jim Banks (R-IN), Andy Harris (R-MD) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH).

And no surprise, Colorado’s Rep. Doug Lamborn is an original cosponsor! One of the ways Colorado’s least inspiring member of Congress defends his safe GOP seat from perennial primary challengers is by never missing the chance to jump all over sticky wedge issues the base can’t resist. Opposition to telemedicine appointments for reproductive care is difficult to oppose on the merits–if you oppose it, it’s probably because you oppose all abortion and recognize telemedicine as a way of circumventing other arbitrary restrictions.

Par for the course for Doug Lamborn, Colorado’s premiere “gynotician.”

Colorado Republicans Stand at Historical Crossroads

Via CNN

On Thursday the House of Representatives voted along party lines to formalize the process for impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

For weeks Republicans have railed against Democrats for not opening a “formal” impeachment inquiry — it was easier for Republicans to attack the process than to defend Trump on the merits of his actions — but on Thursday the GOP demonstrated that this argument was more style than substance. If Republicans can’t assail the process or defend the President’s decisions, then what’s left?

The only obvious step forward is to actually consider the case against President Trump and to vote accordingly. As the editorial board of the Aurora Sentinel wrote on Wednesday:

Credible, compelling, consistent and growing allegations against Trump extorting Ukraine for his own political gain have reached a tipping point…

…Trump himself has now offered honest Republicans a way out of having to defend an indefensible, lying, untrustworthy and incompetent president. Trump has admitted his “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Democrats are documenting them and making the unequivocal case for impeachment. Gardner and others can now finally step out from under the pressure to appease Trump’s misguided base of supporters. But to do that, they must commit to representing the voters in their district, not the delusional, fear-driven scheme of Republican Party leaders.

This is the way out for Gardner and other Republicans of becoming complicit with a duplicitous president. The nation is about to see Trump’s malevolent scandal exposed, and all voters will see which Republicans have the temerity to spurn or defend it.

The nation and history are watching what happens next.

Clockwise from top left: Cory Gardner, Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Scott Tipton.

History does not yet appear to motivate Republican members of Colorado’s Congressional delegation. Instead, they appear more concerned about the present and how they will be perceived by Trump in 2020. Congressmen Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs) are the co-chairs of Trump’s re-election campaign in Colorado; even if you could figure out a simple way to explain this to Lamborn, there’s little chance that he would bother to listen to the arguments. Congressman Ken Buck (R-Greeley)? He moonlights as the Chairman of the State Republican Party (or vice-versa) and has been clear about his loyalty to Trump.

As for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma)…well, Quid Pro Cory gave up any pretense of a conscience long ago. Gardner may not have a breaking point when it comes to Trump.

It seems clear that Colorado Republicans aren’t going to be moved by the present, but surely they can comprehend the impact impeachment proceedings may have on their own legacies. David Greenberg, a history professor at Rutgers University, examined this subject for The Washington Post:

Still, people return to this notion for a reason: It acknowledges the potentially high stakes of any political action — how a single vote or decision can loom large in someone’s legacy when the day of reckoning finally comes. It appeals to transcendent ideals that may be obscured by the fervor of the moment; sometimes these coalesce crisply over time, making right and wrong seem obvious and incontestable in retrospect. When, for example, a dying Sen. John McCain went to the well of the Senate to give his thumbs-down on the gutting of Obamacare, he knew this was an act he’d be remembered for…

But the Watergate saga does tell us this much: Those loyalists who abandoned Nixon early, when it mattered — who stood up for principle over party, for integrity over professional advancement, before Nixon was politically doomed — are remembered and praised for their courage. [Pols emphasis]

And what of those who chose to stand with Nixon?

None of these men has been well remembered. All of their obituaries led with the fact that they defended Nixon. That decision became the headline of their entire lives. [Pols emphasis]

Wherever the impeachment inquiry leads, Tipton, Buck, Lamborn, and Gardner have shown no indication that they will do anything but march alongside Trump.

But there is never a wrong time to do the right thing.

Blame Trump, But Don’t Forget His Republican Enablers

Republicans don’t seem to sweat President Trump’s dangerous behavior.

According to the website VeryWell Family, these are the top warning signs for children with a “serious behavior problem”: 1) Difficulty managing emotional outbursts, 2) Difficulty managing impulses, and 3) Behavior that does not respond to discipline.

You don’t need to be an expert or a parent to recognize reckless behavior in children. We’ve all seen out-of-control children at grocery stores, shopping malls, and airplanes. Our first reaction in this situation is usually to glance around in search of a parent or guardian, shaking our head in bewilderment that such behavior could go unchecked. We might be dismayed at the child’s actions, but our ire is generally reserved for the oblivious or indifferent parent nearby.

President Trump is the man-child in this analogy, and the Republican Party — particularly top GOP elected officials such as Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) — are the parental guardians. While the world collectively shakes its head at Trump’s ridiculous behavior, it is Trump’s Republican enablers who deserve an equal amount of scorn. When Trump throws a tantrum, he doesn’t get rebuked by fellow Republicans; instead, he gets a cookie. Trump can all but beg to be impeached, as he did on Thursday, and Republicans like Gardner will still headline a big fundraiser for him days later.

Chris Cillizza of CNN has a great outline today of this phenomenon, which he calls “the real issue” regarding President Trump’s scandalous behavior:

And yet, even as his actions in office grow more and more erratic and without historical precedent, the party stays united behind him.

Why? Simple! Fear.

“What is surprising, or shocking might be the better word for it, is the fact that Republican elected officials seem willing to not just condone this sort of behavior but even defend it.”

Every GOP elected official lives in fear of becoming the next Jeff Flake or Justin Amash — conservative Republicans in good standing with the party until they decided to publicly criticize Trump for something or other. The President pounced, his base attacked and both men found themselves in deeply precarious political predicaments.

Fear of being “Flaked” explains, for example, Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-South Carolina) absolute and total about-face on Trump. Ditto Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. And dozens and dozens of other Republican elected officials who voiced deep concern about the idea of Trump even being their party’s nominee in 2016 — much less the President of the United States.

If political survival is your only goal, then what Republicans are doing vis a vis Trump is not only fine, but right. Of course, leadership is a very different thing than what we are seeing out of Republican elected officials at the moment.

And there is the very real possibility that the damage Trump is doing to the party (let alone the country) will have impacts that last well after he is gone from office — and come back to haunt those Republicans who stood silently by. [Pols emphasis]

Republicans like Gardner have always valued political survival above the interests of anything else, but it’s still hard to fathom the idea that there is no line Trump can cross that will be a line too far for the GOP.

Sen. Cory Gardner always stands behind President Trump

Gardner has made it abundantly clear, in fact, that he won’t be backing away from Trump for any reason. As Ian Silverii writes today in the Denver Post:

That Gardner would participate in this fundraiser with the full knowledge of the whistleblower scandal probably tells us that he understands that there will be no political exit for him. If new facts emerge from the impeachment inquiry or if public opinion continues to move against him, calling for Trump’s resignation will also be an indictment against Gardner for supporting him this far. Afterward, if Gardner tries to pull the ripcord, Trump-brand forks and knives will come out of the bag instead of his parachute.

The 2020 election will be a referendum on President Trump. It should also be a referendum on his Republican enablers. History will not be kind to the likes of Gardner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but Americans won’t have to wait for those books to be written in order to take action.

“Doug Lamborn Sided With Abusers”

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R).

A press release from the Animal Wellness Foundation last week celebrates the recent passage in the U.S. House of the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, a measure designed to prevent a particularly cruel practice against certain show horses:

The PAST Act seeks to strengthen the Horse Protection Act and end the torturous, painful practice of soring Tennessee Walking, Racking, and Spotted Saddle Horses. Soring, the intentional infliction of pain to horses’ front limbs by applying caustic chemicals such as mustard oil or kerosene or inserting sharp objects into the horses’ hooves to create an exaggerated gait known as the “Big Lick,” has plagued the equine world for six decades.

U.S. Senator Michael Bennet joined as a cosponsor of the Senate companion bill on July 30th, S. 1007, led by the senior U.S. Senator from Idaho, Republican Mike Crapo, that mirrors the House passed legislation. Senator Cory Gardner has not cosponsored the Senate PAST Act but was formerly a cosponsor of the House bill when he served in the Lower Chamber in the 113th Congress. Colorado Governor Jared Polis was also a longtime supporter of the PAST Act during his time in the U.S. House as well.

“Soring involves cruel and intentional infliction of pain on a horse’s legs and hooves purely for sport,” said Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO-02). “No horse should be made to suffer for competition. Though laws have been on the books for decades banning this inhumane practice, horse soring still runs rampant. The PAST Act would strengthen and improve current regulations and ensure that this practice finally comes to an end. I am proud to be a cosponsor of and advocate for this legislation because it is time for Congress to step-in and halt this brutal and unnecessary practice.”

The PAST Act passed by an overwhelming 333-96 margin. In the Colorado House delegation, the only member voting no was Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, who has never in his career allowed distasteful optics to get in his benefactors’ way:

“We applaud the Members of the Colorado Delegation who voted to end this barbaric and indefensible practice that has marred the horse show world for decades,” said Marty Irby, executive director at Animal Wellness Action and past president of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders’ & Exhibitors’ Association. “We’re disappointed that Doug Lamborn sided with abusers, [Pols emphasis] but the landslide support for the bill is a powerful signal to the U.S. Senate that it should pony up and end this cruelty to horses once and for all.”

Folks, we’ll concede that we are not experts in the field of animal husbandry in general or horsekeeping in particular. But even a brief look at the practice of “soring” horses to produce this trademark showy gait suggests that it is extremely cruel, with only an anachronistic “benefit” to a class of people who are somehow able to enjoy watching an animal prance about oddly without an attack of conscience from the realization that the animal is prancing like that because it is in severe pain. Realizing that, “soring” lumps in with cockfighting and other such practices that are unambiguous animal cruelty and should most certainly be outlawed.

But apparently Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs is down with animal cruelty? Perhaps a horse was mean to him as a child? Being on the losing end of such a lopsided vote to outlaw this barbaric practice makes it a question worth asking–even of El Paso County’s infamously uncouth but perennially safe dullard of a congressman.