AP via the Denver Post, a familiar 2015 Colorado legislative battleground already taking shape:
Democrats who credit a drop in teen pregnancy to expanding access to long-acting birth control such as intrauterine devices have to persuade Republicans to use state money for contraceptives…
The Colorado Family Planning Initiative has provided low-income women access to birth control like IUDs and hormone implants for free or low cost at 68 clinics in the state. But state officials say $5 million is needed to continue the program.
The problem, of course, is that Democrats no longer have full control of the Colorado General Assembly. And that means the decision of whether to continue a program credited with reducing the rate of teen pregnancy in Colorado by 40%, in addition to reducing the number of abortions, is at least partly in the hands of Assistant Senate Majority Leader-elect Kevin Lundberg.
"We are talking about the most critical issue of protecting life or abortion," said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, a Republican from Berthoud who will chair the Health and Human Services Committee. Lundberg said he doesn't oppose the use of condoms or pills. But he said IUDs are "abortifacients," meaning they cause abortions.
"That is not medically correct," countered Dr. Larry Wolk, the state's chief medical officer and the director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment… [Pols emphasis]
The thing is, we already know it's not medically correct, we just dealt with the incorrect assertion that interuterine devices (IUDs) are "abortifacients" when failed GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprezsaid as much during a debate against Gov. John Hickenlooper this year. Beauprez was drilled by reproductive health experts for claiming IUDs are "aborifacient" after Hickenlooper cited this same program a successful policy. Other Republican candidates, like U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner desperately trying to convince undecided voters that the whole idea of banning birth control is "crazy," watched in horror as Beauprez at least morally validated the idea of doing just that.
Perhaps the biggest triumph of the 2014 elections in Colorado for Republicans was successfully "gumming to death" the issue of reproductive choice, which had cost them dearly in previous years as Colorado's electorate rejected abortion bans over and over. Led by Cory Gardner's deliberate campaign to "muddy up" the issue enough to blunt Democratic attacks, the GOP's insistence that the "war on women" is fake eventually suckered enough pundits, reporters, and editorial boards to sway conventional wisdom–at least through November 4th.
But as we'll all learn again next month, the "war on women" simply takes a break during election years.
Cory Gardner and the smile that changed everything.
In order to understand what happened this week in Colorado's U.S. Senate race, which saw the first ouster of a sitting U.S. Senator from this state in decades, we return to a story that came out on Election Day by Politico'sNeil Malhotra, titled "Why Do Voters Believe Lies?"
The lede of the story? Colorado GOP Rep. Cory Gardner.
There is no such thing as a federal personhood bill.” Or so said Colorado Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican candidate currently locked in a tight Senate race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall, in an interview a few weeks ago. It was a surprising statement—not only because the federal personhood bill, otherwise known as Life Begins at Conception Act, does in fact exist but also because Gardner himself co-sponsored it. “This is all politics,” he added, blaming Udall for spreading untruths about him.
It was, indeed, all about politics. Gardner’s strong support of personhood legislation might have bolstered his popularity among conservative Republicans. But after declaring his Senate bid, Gardner found himself having to appeal to a more moderate electorate (Colorado voters have repeatedly rejected a personhood ballot measure) and changed his position on the issue. So far, his equivocation hasn’t hurt him…
In the end, Gardner's decision to abandon the Colorado state Personhood abortion ban ballot measures he had supported for years right after entering the Senate race did not prevent him from defeating incumbent Sen. Mark Udall as we and many Democrats believed it would. As Democrats cried foul and began loudly hammering away at the inconsistencies of Gardner's flip-flop on Personhood, Gardner never once admitted that there were any inconsistencies. Udall, Democratic surrogates, and eventually the press itself grew exasperated trying to rattle the unflappable Gardner, pointing out that not even other proponents of the Colorado Personhood abortion ban or the equivalent federal Life at Conception Act agreed with him–his insistence that the two measures were different, or that Gardner's "federal Personhood bill" would ban abortion or abortifacient birth control.
The enormity of Gardner's falsehood on the state and federal Personhood bills shocked Democratic strategists, and convinced them that Gardner had opened himself to a fatal line of attack. But, as Politico's Malhotra wrote on Election Day, there was something Democrats hadn't considered:
[R]esearch has shown that attempts to correct misinformation don’t just fall flat; they often backfire. Forcing people to reckon with and argue against facts they don’t want to accept actually makes them more entrenched in their political predispositions…
People on both sides of the political spectrum do this. When they see information they like, they are not motivated to come up with reasons why it is wrong. When they see information they don’t like, they work very hard to discredit it.
Much has been made of Cory Gardner's indestructible smile. Gardner's sunny disposition ingratiated him with non-ideological voters, and made less informed voters of all stripes more likely to be skeptical of negative messages against him. The harsh subject matter of abortion, rape and incest, etc. contrasted against Gardner's smile, frequently positive ads, and upbeat demeanor generally. Gardner's parry to the attacks on abortion, a dubious proposal to make oral contraceptives available over the counter, succeeded in "muddying up" the issue–not enough to win over all women voters, but enough to win some and introduce confusion about where he really stood with others.
But abortion was far from the only issue on which Gardner was caught red-handed lying to voters. Local and national media fact-checkers dismantled Gardner's claims about his past support for renewable energy, questioned major discrepancies in Gardner's story about his "cancelled" health insurance plan, and easily discredited Gardner's crass fearmongering about the Ebola virus and the Islamic insurgency in the Middle East–just as a few examples. But Udall's campaign failed to make any of these demonstrable lies stick to Gardner. Part of it was the fact that Gardner had successfully "gummed to death" the abortion issue, which made it harder for voters to accept other negatives against him. But the other part was that Gardner was already winning the voters over with positive energy, trumping all such fact-based arguments.
In the end, this was a perfect storm for Mark Udall, and a challenge he was just not built to overcome. Udall, a contemplative and reserved public figure not predisposed to self-promotion, couldn't match Gardner's relentless charisma, and as a result the negative attacks on Gardner lacked a counterbalancing affirmative case for Udall's re-election. Gardner out-smiled and out-gabbed Udall–and not even the press, by September and October livid over Gardner's many evasions and falsehoods, was able to make a difference.
Does Mark Udall deserve blame for his punishing defeat, which almost certainly had negative effects down the ticket for other Colorado Democrats? Absolutely–once it was clear that the abortion attacks were not gaining the right kind of traction, Udall's campaign and Democratic surrogates should have broadened the message to include all the other things Gardner wasn't being honest about on the campaign trail. It wasn't wrong to attack Gardner over Personhood, especially after Gardner made it an issue–but it was wrong to rely on that message after it hit its point of diminishing return. Gardner's lies about energy, Obamacare, and other subjects could have supplemented a broader narrative of how voters couldn't trust Gardner on any issue. Instead of fixating on abortion, Udall's team could have pivoted to how all of these issues render Gardner untrustworthy.
It would not be wrong for Democrats, and anyone else who cares about honesty in politics, to be deeply concerned by what Gardner's lie-based victory says about our political culture today. In 2012, Mitt Romney was broadly perceived to be untrustworthy after his own flip-flops and false statements.
The difference, of course, is that Romney lost. But Gardner's victory in 2014 could validate the strategy of lying to win elections and never apologizing–or even admitting that you're lying, even after everyone with an ounce of political savvy knows it. Lying in politics is not new, of course, but Gardner has elevated it to a new level–of ruthlessness, shamelessness, or brilliance depending on whose side you're on.
And we cannot see how that is a good thing for America.
In exit polling after the 2012 election, voters said they backed President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney because they thought Obama cared more about "people like me."
Republicans in Colorado apparently didn't learn anything, because they've made the same mistake again this year, failing to show that they care for regular people.
The proof goes beyond nominating a gubernatorial candidate, Bob Beauprez, who once said that 47 percent of Americans are "perfectly happy" to be dependent on government.
In August, Beauprez said Colorado is too far "inland" to house destitute child migrants, fleeing from gangs and other horrors in Central American countries, as they wait for their deportation hearings here in America. In effect, Beauprez said, let other states worry about these poor children.
How can someone with so little compassion for these kids, on our midst, possibly care about regular people? It's mean, period. Voters say they want their leaders to care. Beauprez made the comments on a conservative talk-radio show, where they were received with loud praise. No one was there, of course, to represent the children.
Respect for young immigrants doesn't rank high on senatorial candidate Cory Gardner's compassion meter either. He now says he favors offering work visas for undocumented immigrants, but he opposes offering in-state tuition for undocumented students who know only Colorado as their home, having been brought here illegally as children.
This type of heartlessness spells doom for the GOP at the ballot box, as Republicans have warned themselves about.
The Bishops’ announcement came in a news release denouncing an anti-personhood media campaign by Catholics for Choice, a national organization that challenges the “Vatican on matters related to sex, marriage, family life and motherhood.”
A spokeswoman for Catholics for Choice points to tacit support by Colorado Bishops for Amendment 67, despite their professed neutrality on the measure, by allowing congregations to organize in support of it. You can find more details on a post of mine today on RH Reality Check.
You wonder what the bishops are thinking and how they justify it. And a trip back four years sheds some light on the matter.
The bishops’ statement of neutrality this year doesn’t get into the details, but back in 2008, when the personhood initiative first appeared in Colorado, they articulated their belief that a personhood amendment, if successful, could undermine the church’s goal of bestowing legal rights on zygotes or fertilized eggs.
We admire the goals of this year’s effort to end abortion, and we remain committed to defending all human life from conception to natural death. As we have said from the start, however, we do not believe that this year’s Colorado Personhood Amendment is the best means to pursue an end to abortion in 2008…
Constructive alternatives to reduce abortions and advance the ultimate objective of ending abortion, however, do exist at the state level.
In the last two years, state level legislative strategies to protect life have included: increased penalties for attacks on pregnant women which result in the death of the unborn child; informed consent and ultrasound legislation which would have required a woman to be notified of her right to receive an ultrasound before an abortion was performed; and a complete abortion ban.
The Catholic Church in Colorado has a long and active history of working, through state legislative efforts and other community initiatives, to protect life from conception to natural death. We will continue through every realistic means to work toward this end. [BigMedia emphasis]
Maybe that’s why Gardner opposes personhood at the state level but supports in in Washington. He thinks it’s a more realistic way to ban abortion and common forms of birth control. That’s speculation, but with Gardner apparently lying about personhood, what else can you do.
Recently, in Pueblo, Beauprez attempted to sidetrack discussion about reproductive choice with a strange diatribe about how women are really scared about Hickenlooper's release of violent parolees, and this is the security issue for which women should vote Republican.
Lieutenant Governor candidate Jill Repella posted a statement on the Beauprez website : HIgh Risk Parolee Scandal. She touts her female credentials: "As a single mother, I find that [release of parolees] appalling." Repella, a woman promoting this as a woman's issue, attempts to woo women to the Republican side as "security voters".
Beauprez got booed by the audience, and lambasted by Mike Littwin, for bringing the murder of prisons chief Tom Clements by parolee Evan Ebel into the debate to make his point about women's safety. Hickenlooper responded factually, that prisoners are no longer released directly from solitary confinement onto the streets.
Is it just us, or was the Supreme Court the only group of partisan political people who chose notto debate today?
Monday afternoon featured two debates hosted by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce: Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and Republican challenger Bob Beauprez got first crack at a discussion of the issues before Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and Republican Congressman Cory Gardner took to the stage.
Republican Rep. Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Andrew Romanoff did the debate thing at 9News, which will be aired tonight at 7:00 (but not on Channel 9 — on Channel 20. And no, we have no idea what channel that is on Comcast and DirecTV). So you know what that means: It's Live Blog Time!
*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time.
We thought that Romanoff crushed Coffman in their last debate (Sept. 23rd), but that was nothing compared to what we saw tonight. There is absolutely no way that a logical, unbiased person could have watched tonight's debate and not come to the conclusion that Andrew Romanoff is more prepared, more polished, and more statesman-like than Mike Coffman. In their last debate, Coffman was quiet and reserved, and that didn't work. In this debate, Coffman went back to being Angry Coffman, and that REALLY didn't work. If these last two debates are any indication at all of the direction this race is headed, Romanoff is going to win handily in November. The difference was that clear.
Politics in Colorado are never boring, but 2014 is shaping up to be one of the craziest elections we’ve ever seen in the Centennial State. We’ve got a strip club owner running for office who just released a campaign ad about marijuana with Wyclef Jean and a candidate running for the state house on a platform of demon exorcism.
But perhaps the craziest of all the candidates we’ll see on the ballot in Colorado this year is the Republican candidate running for Governor named Bob Beauprez. Here’s a list of the ten wackiest things Beauprez has said on the record. Once you read it, we think you’ll agree Beauprez is the craziest Republican America has never heard of.
11. Beauprez said climate change is “at best a grossly overhyped issue and at worst a complete hoax foisted on most of the world.”
Climate change. Facebook fees. Any questions? Source
10. Beauprez supported northeast Colorado secessionists: “maybe we ought to just go our separate ways. Why don’t you run your state and we’ll run ours.”
Then why does he want to be governor of THIS COLORADO at all?! Source
It's no secret that Republicans in Colorado have been having a heck of a time trying to convince women to vote for them in recent years. In 2010, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet defeated Republican challenger Ken Buck thanks primarily to strong support from female voters (assisted by Buck's tone-deafness around women's issues). In 2014, Republican candidates such as Bob Beauprez, Cory Gardner, and Mike Coffman are facing similar electoral conundrums when it comes to appeasing their right wing base and trying to attract the support of moderate women in Colorado.
Republicans have yet to figure out how to deal with their problem of (not) appealing to female voters — and make no mistake about the size of the problem. As noted on Colorado Pols today, Beauprez is on the record in a very Todd Akin-like manner on abortion, declaring that he believes abortion should be outlawed with no exceptions for rape or incest. Both Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman are rowing the same boat.
If you are a Republican, how do you reach out to women voters while your candidates are simultaneously making them cringe? When all else fails, apparently, you do your best to tell women that these issues don't really matter anyway. Check out this guest commentary from the Denver Post over the weekend in which Republican activist/consultant Laura Carno sacrifices the interests of the GOP base at the altar of election-year panic:
Since the 1973 landmark Supreme Court decision, Roe vs. Wade has "survived" the pro-life presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush…
…a deafening barrage of political commercials is now telling women their reproductive rights are in danger. Let's be clear: They aren't. [Pols emphasis]
In other words, don't worry about Bob Beauprez's far-right view on abortion because Republicans can't or won't change the law anyway.
Lest you think these are the words of a lone wolf activist, you should know that Carno is the founder of an organization called "I Am Created Equal," which lists among the members of its "Advisory Board" — wait for it — Bob Beauprez himself.
You can't make this stuff up.
Carno's guest commentary is incredibly enlightening in offering a peak at Republican strategic thinking on the even of the election. Clearly, the GOP has no idea how to deal with their "women voters" problem, which is never going to go away until Republican candidates stop taking positions that are offensive to female voters.
Without putting forth more moderate candidates, this is certainly a difficult conundrum for Republican strategists to ponder. But we dare say that Carno's messaging isn't helpful for a lot of reasons.
For one thing, there are plenty of right-wing Republicans waiting in the wings who will use this message to defeat moderate Republicans in future Primary Elections.
And then there is this closing argument from Carno, which takes us full-circle back to the original problem:
The option for a woman to choose a legal abortion is only one issue out of many. And since that option is not likely in jeopardy, look at the other choices that are important to you and your family, including health care, take-home pay and your family's safety.
Why would you bring up "take-home pay" for women when politicians such as Rep. Mike Coffman have voted again and again and again to deny legislation that would ensure equal pay for women? Why would you bring up equal pay for women when Democratic Sen. Mark Udallis the co-sponsor of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and your Republican candidate for Governor (Beauprez) is on the record in opposition?
See, female voters shouldn't just worry about issues like abortion, because Republican candidates are just as bad on fair pay for women!
Carno is trying really hard here to discount the idea of a "War on Women," while at the very same time demonstrating that Republicans wouldn't be fighting for women if such a war did exist. (Not) well played.
(Will he or won't he? Does it even matter now? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
It's a big week for senatorial candidate Cory Gardner, as the clock ticks down on his opportunity to withdraw his co-sponsorship from a federal personhood bill, which aims to ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.
To get his name off the legislation, Gardner is required to make a speech from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to adjourn as early as this week. And it would not meet again prior to the election. So this is Gardner's last chance.
Fact checkers in Colorado (here and here plus yours truly) and nationally have concluded that the Life at Conception Act, which Gardner cosponsored just last year, is substantive legislation, written and promoted by its sponsors to end a women's right to choose.
But, inexplicably, both Gardner and his spokespeople, like Owen Loftus, have told reporters that the bill is symbolic. Most recently, Gardner told 9News' Brandon Rittiman, "There is no federal personhood bill." The bill he cosponsored "says life begins at conception," Gardner told Rittiman. Loftus once said, "The Democrats like to say that it is personhood but it's not."
Given these statements by Gardner, who's challenging pro-choice Democrat Sen. Mark Udall, you wouldn't expect Gardner to withdraw his name at this point, because he'd have a mouthful of explaining to do–like why he thinks his legislation is symbolic when no one else does.
Reporters should put that question to Gardner regardless of whether he removes his name form the bill in the coming weeks. Why is he repeating the documented falsehood that the Life at Conception Act is symbolic, given the text of the legislation and the fact checks. With the deadline approaching, now would be a really great time to ask him.
(Once again–the federal Life at Conception Act contains the same operative language as Colorado's Personhood abortion ban. Gardner's distinction according to fact-checkers, is complete BS. – promoted by Colorado Pols)
9News political reporter Brandon Rittiman got one-on-one interviews with both senatorial candidates last week, and the questions he chose to ask Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, should earn him the respect of conservatives and progressives.
(Skip to 4:10 in the video below for the quotes in question – Promoted by Colorado Pols)
As women across the country celebrate Women's Equality Day, ProgressNow Colorado demands that Bob Beauprez tell the truth about his opposition to a woman’s right to choose–even in the case of rape and incest. Beauprez claims his hard line opposition to abortion is his "personal" view, but during his last run for governor, Beauprez clearly stated he would sign an abortion ban into law with no exception for victims of sex crimes.
"It's time for Bob Beauprez to end his war on women: a woman has the right to make her own personal, private medical decisions, including victims of rape and incest,” stated Amy Runyon-Harms, Executive Director of ProgressNow Colorado. "It's shocking that in 2014 we are still having a debate about something so basic."
In an interview broadcast this past Sunday–transcribed below–Beauprez said, "I respect that different people have different opinions than me and I respect the law of the land which is very clear and as Governor I will enforce the law of the land…for me personally the only exception is life of the mother–that's me personally."
Yet in 2006, Beauprez said he would sign a bill that outlaws abortion, even in cases of rape and incest. (Denver Post, October 20, 2006)
"Beauprez's record shows that he would let the government interfere with decisions that should be left to a woman, her family and her doctor," said Runyon-Harms. "Beauprez supported federal Personhood legislation, and said in his last run for Governor that he would sign a bill outlawing all abortions, even in cases of rape or incest. Once again, Both Ways Bob is saying one thing to women, while his record demonstrates otherwise."
If you follow the 6th Congressional District race, Coffman vs. Romanoff, you know that everything we're seeing, from Coffman's attempts to re-invent himself (abortion, immigration) to Romanoff's decision to run at all, goes back to the 2010 redistricting, which turned the seat from red to purple.
From day one after the new district was created, reporters referenced the question of whether, when it comes to his new district, Coffman is a square peg in a round hole, a bad fit, even a Cuckoo bird* (my friend's analogy). The election will answer this question.
But whether you think Coffman is anything like a Cuckoo bird, you wouldn't expect Coffman, three years after redistricting, to be bringing up the square-peg issue himself, almost hating on his own district.
As Coffman said on the Hugh Hewitt show last week:
Coffman: Well, what they did, is they targeted my seat in the redistricting process. A Democratic judge – you know, certainly his affiliation, I’m sure, — in Denver, signed off on their map, without any amendments, and it certainly is what they call a ‘D+1’ [‘D’ plus one] district. So, it’s a Democrat-leaning district. Obama carried it by five points last time. I’m the number-one target for any sitting House Republican by the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee. And I’m proud of it. I need the support of all the folks out there who seeks to return to a constitutional government to the United States.
Hewitt doesn't know enough about Colorado politics to be expected to correct some of Coffman's facts here, so I'll fill in for him.
First, there's the politics. I read this as Coffman admitting that he's not right for his own district. He's pissed at Democrats for targeting his seat, and he's mad at the "Democratic judge" for approving it. Yet, he wants to be the representative. Fine, but how far will he go (and can he go) not to be the square peg? That's the heart of the matter out there in Aurora.
Silverman’s show airs on KNUS 710-AM Saturdays, from 9 to noon. He’s the latest talk-radio host to be resurrected by KNUS, which is featuring a local lineup that includes Peter Boyles, Dan Caplis, Steve Kelley, Bill Rogan, Jimmy Sengenberger, Matt Dunn, Krista Kafer, and others.
Silverman answers a few of my questions below about his new show.
Jason: Tell me what the show will focus on.
Silverman: The Craig Silverman Show will focus on current events and entertaining, thought provoking topics. We will look at the week that was, enjoy the weekend, and look forward to the week ahead. I’ll have a regular feature named CRAIG’S LAWYERS’ LOUNGE in which we create a forum for prominent attorneys to relax and tell us their war stories. My first guest was Johnny Carson’s former attorney, Henry Bushkin, who told us about the best lawyering job he ever did for Johnny, and how Johnny packed heat.
For a feature named Call of the Week, I had on famous progressive and regular talk show caller, Frank, the leftie lawyer, whose real name I know. Frank had called Dan Caplis to say how little courage he thinks Governor Hickenlooper possesses, and it bothers him such that he has decided to vote for Bob Beauprez. Wow, that was news! Bob Beauprez may really win. So I had Frank on to accept his award toward the end of the show and he was funny and grateful and it was a nice way to end a terrific debut show. Here is a link to the last hour of my show with Bushkin and Frank. Hour one is here and this is hour two.
Jason: Will you welcome progressive callers?
Silverman: Absolutely. You won’t have to say “ditto” or “you are a great American” to get on our shows. I welcome all callers and, as a lawyer, I appreciate a good argument. I like to banter. Besides, unlike some famous talk show hosts, I don’t know everything. I still have a lot to learn. My point of view is rarely too rigid to accommodate new information and good arguments.
Jason: What do you say to progressives who say there’s no significant difference, on the political spectrum, between you and Dan Caplis?
Silverman: I would say those people must get a mental health check-up. Dan and I have some areas of agreement. Neither one of us wanted Ward Churchill to continue as a Professor at CU. Dan never thought that Barack Obama would be a good President and it turns out he was correct. But I was right about Mel Gibson. Dan is pro-life and I favor a woman’s right to choose (1st trimester please). I support gay marriage. Dan doesn’t. Dan favors cannabis prohibition and I believe the war on marijuana was hypocritical and unsuccessful. I support the separation of church and state, and the separation of state and church. Live and let live. But don’t hurt people.
Jason: You mentioned that you’ll be adding some unusual segments each week, announcing a guest of the week and question of the week from KNUS shows. Are you going to listen to all KNUS shows of Boyles, Caplis, Kelley, to get these?
Silverman: My segments are creative and fun and ideally suited for the weekend. I will announce the weekly winner for Best Guest, Call of the Week, Best TV Bite of the Week, and Best Question. The winner is highly subjective and based strictly on the portions of talk radio and television that come to my attention. People can let me know their nominations and give me links to consider on my Facebook page or twitter @CraigsColorado. I listen to KNUS more than any other media right now because I find the topics interesting and appreciate the quality of its national and local hosts.
Jason: I know you’re happy to be back on the air. But can you give me a sense of just how important and gratifying it is for you to have a KNUS show? What’s driving you to do this? It can’t be the money or the audience on KNUS Saturday mornings?
Silverman: KNUS is the best place to be right now. They are spending more money than the competition, and it shows. Advertising and ratings are strong and growing. The management, staff, and the production teams are top notch and have great attitudes.
If people haven’t checked out 710 KNUS in a while, they should, especially for my show. Peter Boyles has the station cooking with gas and he is not a Christian and he is not a Republican. Neither am I.
As for what drives me, I’m getting paid a fair amount to do something I enjoy, and few things concentrate the mind like live broadcasting. Its stimulating to ponder the great issues of the day. Many of my old advertisers have signed up to sponsor my new show so don’t think this is a non-profit. The audience for 710 KNUS is large and I hope to make it larger. What else do you want to listen to at 9:00 on a Saturday morning? The Mutual Fund Show? An infomercial about how green tea cures cancer? A replay of NPR’s seven a.m. hour. An older than dirt Car Talk segment? Did you know those car guys retired in 2012 and the show is all repeats?
Jason: Please explain briefly how you got your start in radio, when you joined Caplis, when that ended, and anything else about your media career.
Silverman: I have been part of Colorado media for decades now. I worked for the Denver DA’s Office from 1980 to 1996 where I was a Chief Deputy District Attorney. I handled many big cases that were covered by the media and I was accordingly asked to do commentary on other cases. I was the first Colorado attorney to be a guest commentator on Court TV in their studios in New York and I commented frequently for the LA Times and numerous other media outlets about the botched prosecution of OJ Simpson. It was during that trial and while I was Chief Deputy DA that I would leave my government job at 5:00 and rush over to Channel 9 to analyze the OJ case with Ed Sardella, Adelle Arawakawa, and Scott Robinson. Then, I would run over to the radio studio of The Dan Caplis Show to add further commentary on that incredible OJ case. In 1996, I ran as an unaffiliated/independent candidate for Denver District Attorney against incumbent Democrat Bill Ritter. I lost but it was a hell of a campaign that received extensive coverage from the local media and newspapers. The Rocky Mountain News endorsed me. The Denver Post did not like me, especially because I had successfully prosecuted a death penalty case (People v. Frank Rodriguez).
My campaign theme was that Politics and Prosecution are a Poor Mix but I lost and I was pressed into private practice. I quickly partnered with my good friend and former Denver DA’s office colleague David Olivas and we have had the law firm of Silverman & Olivas, P.C. for almost 20 years now.
I lost the election in November of 1996 and in December of 1996, the tragic murder of JonBenet Ramsey happened and I was called by members of the media to comment on the case. Peter Boyles had me on regularly. I was on ABC’s Nightline which led to the people at Rivera Live seeing me and liking me and then having me on that hugely successfully CNBC show many dozens of times. I was hired in 1997 to be the legal analyst for KGMH Channel 7 and I did that for ten years until the radio show interfered.
Since Jon Benet, there have been other fascinating Colorado situations including Oklahoma City Bombing Trial, Columbine, and the Kobe Bryant case. I have appeared hundreds of times on various national television shows, and in local and national newspapers, discussing these and other legal matters.
During the Kobe Bryant case, I was up in Eagle covering the situation for Channel 7 and also as a paid legal analyst for 850 KOA. Alex Stone and I were roommates up there and Dan Caplis was hosting a Saturday morning show on KOA. I was a regular guest again with Dan and he started doing some fill in work on KOA’s evening talk shows and then, Ken Saso passed away, and Dan Caplis was the evening talk show host in his absence. I was a regular guest and Kris Olinger who was a great program director liked Caplis and Silverman and came up with the idea for us to do an afternoon drive time show on 630 KHOW. We did the show for 8 years from the summer of 2004 to the summer of 2012 and we won every available award at one point or another for our broadcast excellence. We broadcast live from the Democratic National Convention and we each penned daily columns for the late great Rocky Mountain News during that DNC week.
Some people like a certain Jason Salzman thought I should be more liberal to counteract Dan’s conservatism but that was never what we were meant to be. Besides, I could not play the part of a complete progressive because I am not. I am liberal compared to Dan Caplis but conservative compared to Jason Salzman. I defy easy categorization.
What I am is a trial lawyer who likes to put on a winning show. That is what I’ll try to do every Saturday. It will be like nothing like Colorado talk radio listeners have ever heard before and I hope everybody will enjoy it.
Today's poll from Quinnipiac University of the Colorado U.S. Senate race, like the Q-poll released released yesterday showing Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper and GOP challenger Bob Beauprez in a statistical dead heat, puts Democrats on notice that a long, hard election season most likely awaits:
The closely-watched U.S. Senate race is tied with 44 percent for U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican challenger, and 42 percent for Sen. Mark Udall, the Democratic incumbent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Another 10 percent are undecided.
This compares to the results of an April 24 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University showing Sen. Udall at 45 percent to 44 percent for Rep. Gardner…
Colorado voters give Udall a negative 42 – 46 percent job approval rating, his lowest net approval ever and down from a 42 – 42 percent split in April. Voters say 49 – 40 percent that Udall does not deserve to be reelected, tying his lowest score on that measure…
"This race shifts back and forth a point or two and remains too close to call. There's a whole lot at stake as Sen. Mark Udall runs neck and neck with U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, the GOP challenger, in a marquee race that could tip the balance of the Senate," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
While not the direction Democrats want to see the polls moving in, it should be noted that the shift in this poll from Quinnipiac's April survey is considerably smaller than the putative swing Beauprez has enjoyed in the gubernatorial race. Both races are much too close to call, but Udall's race has remained locked in a tighter range. Also, although we consider Quinnipiac as reliable a pollster as the next, this might be a good time to remember that Quinnipiac consistently showedMitt Romney ahead of Barack Obama in Colorado in 2012. Obama carried the state by five points. Like Beauprez, there is a large body of negative material on Gardner that voters have not been exposed to yet, whereas Udall has been getting pummeled over a course of years as an incumbent Senator. The poll shows that Udall has a solid advantage over Gardner on reproductive choice and other "issues important to women," which suggests that the one issue Gardner has taken fire on, abortion, has hurt him. Now it's time for Democrats to segue into the other stuff in the oppo book.
The biggest winners in this poll? Reporters who'd prefer to call a horse race instead of unpacking the issues. It's shallower and easier, and it looks like that's going to be the narrative for the time being.
One of the biggest election-year hypocrisies hanging out there, waiting for a civic-minded reporter to jump on, is the fact that senatorial candidate Cory Gardner remains a cosponsor of federal personhood legislation, even though he's told the world, both in interviews and even in a paid advertisement, that he's "learned more" about "personhood" and changed his mind about supporting it.
But some companies, led by the oil refining conglomerate owned by the politically influential Koch brothers, have campaigned against the legislation, according to a report in The Hill newspaper. Their efforts have resulted in 14 members of Congress withdrawing their support for the bill.
Gardner, Coffman, and Tipton apparently felt the Koch pressure, and speaking from the floor of the House, one by one, they asked that their cosponsorship of the natural-gas bill (HR 1380) be ended. Click at the bottom of the page here, on "Show cosponsors who withdrew."
Yesterday's story of the endorsement by 2012 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney of gubernatorial contender Bob Beauprez, resulting at least partly from Beauprez's support for Romney on the presidential campaign trail in 2008 and 2012, got us thinking: what has Beauprez said about the central component of both Romney's and President Barack Obama's health care reform plans–the individual mandate that everyone obtain health insurance coverage or pay a tax penalty?
Back in 2007, Beauprez's endorsement of Romney, as reported by the Denver Post, specifically noted what became known in the 2012 presidential election as RomneyCare.
Mitt Romney believes strongly in the core principles of free enterprise, fair and free trade, accountability in education, personal responsibility, tolerance, strong families, and a national defense second to none. More than that, however, we are amazed at what he accomplished during his term as Governor of Massachusetts – strengthening education, laying the foundation for private, market-based health insurance for all… [Pols emphasis]
For a number of years between his failed 2006 run for governor and today, Beauprez operated a blog called A Line of Sight, which over time became a hefty archive of Beauprez's prolific writing on all manner of issues, along with syndicated content from various other conservatives. Sometime after Beauprez's run for Governor began, A Line of Sight mysteriously went offline, but the contents of the site are still available via web caching services. And sure enough, in October of 2007, months after endorsing Romney, Beauprez wrote a post on A Line of Sight titled "Health Care Reform-The Battle is Joined."
In this astonishing now-deleted post, Beauprez endorses in considerable detail the individual mandate to obtain health insurance, arguing the point as well as Obama or anyone else could:
Required Coverage: I reluctantly come to the conclusion that just as motorists are required to have auto insurance, and lenders require homeowners insurance, citizens should have to have health insurance. [Pols emphasis] Of the 15-17% of the population that is uninsured, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 56% are 18-34 year old young adults. It is impossible to know for certain, but many of these are no doubt uninsured by choice. Believing they are either permanently healthy, bullet proof, or both, they choose to spend their money on other things than health insurance. If they do get really sick or injured they know that they can go to any emergency room and get treatment whether they can pay or not because of federal law known as Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA). Some are certainly uninsured because they cannot afford the cost of insurance, but most could afford at least a portion of a monthly premium.
The reality is that when someone doesn't have insurance the cost of their health care is shifted to those that do in higher premiums, and to taxpayers who fund government programs. Cost shifting from the growing number of uninsured to the insured is a huge reality. The biggest challenge hospitals face is to adjust prices to insurance companies for paying customers to cover losses for services to non-paying uninsured patients they are required by law to treat. That invariably is reflected in higher insurance premiums.
What would King Soopers do if every sixth customer walked out without paying for a shopping cart full of groceries? Prices would go up to the paying customers because they have to cover their margins somehow. [Pols emphasis]
The Women of Centennial Institute, a new group affiliated with CCU's think tank, invite you to a debate on economic growth, education, energy, the environment, safe neighborhoods, drug policy, moral and cultural concerns, and all the other issues from a feminine perspective. All the major party candidates, four Republicans and one Democrat, have been invited. Republicans Mike Kopp, Scott Gessler, and Bob Beauprez have accepted.
Even without Tanc, who's declined to attend, as did Hick, this promises to be well worth the ticket price (free), but you must RSVP. Do so here.
If reporters attend the event, co-sponsored by conservative KNUS 710-AM, here's a cheat sheet.
First, the Centennial Institute is the outfit that sponsors the annual Western Conservative Summit, where I witnessed the conservative minions literally drinking Kool-Aid last year, prior to an anti-immigrant speech by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
The women at this year's event (July 18-20) include Michele Bachmann and Laura Ingraham. Sarah Palin and Carly Fiorina are invited. It would be good to know if the debaters would welcome the endorsement these women.
There's always personhood, which would ban abortion, even for rape and incest.
Beauprez: He's gone both ways on personhood (like Rep. Cory Gardner), first endorsing a federal personhood bill, then saying in May he's never supported it at the state level. What happened?
Gessler: His website says he believes life begins at conception. If he's not supportive of personhood, which would give legal rights to all stages of human development from conception on, is he pro-choice?
We said it on Friday, and we'll say it again here: Republican Cory Gardner's unfathomable flip-flop over his support of "Personhood" may well prove to be the decisive event in the 2014 U.S. Senate race.
Dark sunglasses? Check. Flip-flops? Check.
In case you missed the news, Gardner told Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post on Friday that he no longer supports "Personhood," despite a long history of backing the extreme anti-abortion policy that would give full human rights to a fertilized egg. This is a monumental change of position on an issue that has ended the career of more than one Republican politician. As we explained on Friday:
In order to understand what a massive reversal this is for Gardner, you can watch the clip of a 2010 9NEWS CD-4 GOP primary debate (above), in which Gardner explains how he not only supported that year's Amendment 62, but actually circulated petitions to help the measure reach the ballot. As a state legislator in 2007, Gardner co-sponsored Senate Bill 07-143–-a near clone of this year's Republican abortion ban bill, which makes no exceptions for victims of rape or incest. Gardner's statement that it's a "lie" to say he opposes abortion even in cases of rape or incest is further tripped up by his co-sponsorship of 2011's H.R. 3, the "Redefining Rape" bill also sponsored by Rep. Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin of Missouri, which included the word "forcible" in the definition of rape to further prohibit federal funding of abortions. Colorado Right to Life, a major proponent of the Personhood abortion bans, says that Gardner "hasn't yet responded" to their 2014 survey, but listed him in 2010 as "supports Personhood, responded to our survey, has participated in CRTL events, and is considered 100% Pro-Life."…
…Cory Gardner claims that he started rethinking his support for the Personhood abortion ban "after voters rejected it by 3-to1 margin in 2010." As reported by Lynn Bartels, that appears very hard to believe, in light of the fact that Gardner signed on as a co-sponsor on July 23rd of last year to H.R. 1091: the federal Life at Conception Act. Like Colorado's Personhood abortion bans, this bill would extend "the right to life" to "every member of the species homo sapiens at all stages of life, including the moment of fertilization."
Ever since the surprise late-February announcement that Gardner would be running for Senate, we have consistently wondered aloud how Gardner would be able to convince voters that he is more moderate than his ultra-partisan record would suggest. When we pondered whether Gardner was fundamentally different enough than Ken Buck to defeat Sen. Mark Udall, we weren't joking. It was lost in the media storm surrounding the Gardner/Buck CD-4 switcheroo, but Gardner's record is so partisan that it was always going to be extremely difficult for him to move to the middle.
So what do we make of Friday's announcement from Gardner? Is this part of a broader strategy to publicly pretend to re-invent himself? We asked those questions, and then we answered them. Here's how it went:
The Colorado Independent'sJohn Tomasic offers solid analysis today of the entry of Congressman Cory Gardner into the 2014 U.S. Senate race. As we began working through yesterday, once the elation among Republicans that an incumbent member of Congress will take on incumbent Democrat Mark Udall wears off, serious questions about the viability of Gardner as the top-line Republican candidate on the 2014 ballot present themselves:
Young and telegenic, career Colorado politico Gardner has been touted as the great hope for a state Republican Party that for years has lost races for top seats. The main, widely acknowledged reason for those defeats is that GOP candidates have been pulled to the right by a hard-core activist base while the broader state electorate has moved to the left.
But as top Republicans have struggled, Gardner has easily garnered votes. He won two elections to the Colorado legislature in a sparsely populated agricultural eastern plains district. In 2010, he was the only candidate in the Republican field with any experience as a lawmaker running in the state’s safely conservative high-plains Fourth Congressional District. He went from the Statehouse to the nation’s Capitol by espousing hardline Tea Party positions on social issues and energy policy.
Republicans here generally seem to be banking on Gardner as a political type that has been missing in the ranks as late. The hope is that he can sell a brand that has increasingly skewed old, hardcore, inflexible and threatening. That’s the image projected by statewide figures such as Ken Buck, Pete Coors, Bob Beauprez and Tom Tancredo. Insiders see Gardner as more in line with Republicans of the past who enjoyed more mainstream appeal, men like Wayne Allard, Bill Owens or Hank Brown, who all won top offices in the state.
The question now is whether Gardner, coming up as he has in the era of the Tea Party and embracing Tea Party positions for political advantage, has ruined his chance at convincing voters he is different than the Tea Party Republicans who can’t win a statewide race here. [Pols emphasis] Gardner, after all, has a record he has to run on, established over years where the party swerved right and away from compromise. When Gardner takes aim at Udall over Obamacare, Udall can fire back that Gardner voted to shut down the government. In the moderate middle-class Denver suburbs where elections are decided in Colorado, the angry, pointless, expensive shutdown may be at least as toxic a topic as Obamacare.
As we said, Gardner's entry into the Senate race is the direct result of the weak, out-of-touch field contending up until yesterday. The problem, much like Ken Buck himself, is that Gardner has already embraced all manner of unsightly hard-right positions from his safe Republican seat in Congress. Gardner is an proud supporter of the "Personhood" abortion ban, as the video above makes unequivocally clear. Gardner's biggest asset, a higher profile as a congressional incumbent also works against him–denying Republicans the anti-incumbency furor that might otherwise help them in this race.
Gardner faces other difficulties unique to himself, like his highly visible role in the controversy over disaster relief funds after last year's floods along the Front Range. East Coast politicians, including GOP Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, raged at Gardner and the rest of the Colorado GOP delegation as "hypocrites" after they voted against relief for Hurricane Sandy victims some months before. Gardner's name has surfaced several times as a participant in swanky fundraisers and overseas junkets.
The point is, and this is what we're increasingly hearing today from Democrats looking at this fundamentally reshaped race, is that the race remains entirely winnable for Mark Udall against Gardner–even more so if you assume, as seems safe, that whoever won the GOP primary would have enjoyed the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and other big-money Republicans. Okay, maybe not Randy Baumgardner. But when all is said and done, it may well be that Cory Gardner was no better prepared to defeat Udall than Amy Stephens.
How many of you said the same about Jane Norton four years ago?
MONDAY UPDATE: The Colorado Independentupdates their story as recall successor candidate Bernie Herpin pushes back on allegations he was a supporter of the “Personhood” abortion ban:
Herpin didn’t answer calls Thursday from the Independent seeking comment. But subsequent to publication, his campaign told the Independent that, although he is pro-life, there is “no evidence” that he has ever supported the personhood movement and that, in fact, Herpin does not support personhood and has never signed a personhood petition.
The Colorado Independent'sTessa Cheekreports today on a new mailer hitting Senate District 11 mailboxes this weekend, attacking Colorado Senate President John Morse'sde facto GOP recall opponent Bernie Herpin. A similar mailer is reportedly on the way to residents of Senate District 3, where Democratic Sen. Angela Giron faces a recall challenge led by Republican George Rivera:
The Herpin mailer refers to his support as city council member of the “personhood” movement, which seeks to outlaw abortion by granting full legal rights to fertilized human eggs, or “life from the moment of conception,” as supporters put it. Analysts have said personhood would amount to sweeping changes in the law, where countless statutes would have to be reworked and legal interpretations extended broadly and perhaps to absurd ends, where not only birth control would be outlawed but also where activities like drinking, smoking and raw-cheese eating, for example, could turn pregnant women into suspects or criminals.
Groups have tried and failed three times in recent years to pass a constitutional amendment to make personhood the law in Colorado. Voters in conservative Mississippi also solidly rejected a personhood proposal in 2011…
Republican George Rivera, a longtime Pueblo police officer who retired as a deputy chief, brushed off the mailers Friday on Twitter, calling them “desperate” and a “shell game” being played by Giron.
“I make no apologies for my belief in the sanctity of life,” he wrote.
But Rivera takes a hardline stance on the abortion debate, even for a conservative, and reproductive rights are sure to be one of the issues that will concern voters in Pueblo.
The recall attempts now underway against Sens. Morse and Giron began as a response to the passage of landmark gun safety bills in the Colorado legislature this year. Gun rights groups, grassroots and not so much, did the early organizing. But over time, the recalls have evolved into a much more generalized conflict between conservative and liberal political establishments in Colorado. This is particularly evident from the prominent role played by a group "advised" by Bob Beauprez and Mark Hillman in the Morse recall, not to mention Jeff Crank's Americans for Prosperity organization supplying professional staff to those "grassroots groups"–see Kerns, Jennifer–and lavish paid media support. After years of losing elections, these recalls have come to symbolize Colorado Republican hopes to springboard back into majority power.
It's important to remember that recall organizers themselves have freely expanded the scope of allegations against the targeted Senators to include the whole smorgasbord of Republican pet issues, from hating on renewable energy to civil unions–when it suited them. So nobody can accuse recall opponents of anything inappropriate by using a broader range of issues against the successor candidates now.
Bottom line: the more the recall debate veers away from the single issue of gun rights, the less likely the recalls are to succeed. Voters in both swing SD-11 and heavily Democratic SD-3 trend ambivalent at best, to strongly opposed to Herpin and Rivera's positions on just about every issue. Single-issue backlash from gun rights supporters aside, SD-3 is a Democratic stronghold, and SD-11 after reapportionment is more defensible by Democrats than the 2010 election's close result suggests. The fact is, any transpartisan appeal that recall supporters claim to have with opposition to the gun bills has a point of diminishing return–and it's these other issues, issues Democrats know very well how to use against Republicans politically, that will tip swing voters in these districts toward a "no."
There are 65 members of the Colorado House of Representatives, and 35 members of the Colorado State Senate. The Colorado legislature as a whole is a representative body, with each Senator representing about 143,691 constituents, and each House member standing for 77,372 Coloradans.
The Colorado Constitution outlines the makeup and duties of the state legislature, but it is a guarantee in the United States Constitution that every state shall have a republican form of government (with representatives elected by the people), rather than a direct democracy governed by the citizens.
Even Dawson didn’t cry as much as Colorado Republicans in 2013
Why the brief history lesson? As the legislature closes out its 2013 session, Republicans and some political pundits are busy accusing Colorado Democrats of "overreaching" for passing a lot of progressive pieces of legislation, yet they seem to forget that this "republican form of government" is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. Members of the Colorado legislature are elected by popular vote, the purpose of which is to see that the majority of Colorado citizens are not overruled by the minority. It is a logical extension of the process that the minority may not be happy with the results of an elected body chosen by the majority.
To put it bluntly, that's kind of the point. The system is working as designed.
But don't tell that to Colorado Republicans. Take this recent press release from the Colorado House Republicans titled: "ICYMI: Democrats continue to run up the score."
The posting from the House GOP quotes liberally from an April 28th story in the Denver Post, though they notably failed to quote the sillier parts of the story about a "marathon legislative session":
Rep. Frank McNulty of Highlands Ranch raced to the microphone and, in a thundering voice, accused Democrats of "doing a touchdown dance at the expense of the minority."[Pols emphasis]…
…Republicans have accused Democrats of "overreaching," waging war on rural Colorado and introducing bills to reward unions and trial lawyers while harming businesses.
Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, disagrees.
"Overreaching? No," he said. "I think we've been listening to the people of Colorado and they've told us, 'We put you in charge and we want you to get something done.' "
Hey McNulty, ask Carly Simon if this is about you.
Pabon is absolutely right here, and we've made the same argument before in this space. But before we get to that, let's examine how Republicans are so upset at the Democrats for continually beating them in elections that they think the 2013 legislative session is actually about them. To quote Carly Simon (no, seriously):
You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you
You're so vain, I'll bet you think this song is about you
Don't you? Don't You? Don't You?
There are many, many reasons why Republicans have never come close to regaining control of the state legislature since their surprise ouster in 2004, and their reaction to being steamrolled in 2013 is just another number on the list. Democrats are pushing ahead with progressive issues because Republicans don't do anything but get in the way. They don't offer reasonable amendments or attempt to debate in good faith — they just try to gum up the works and play procedural games. Anyone who has heard Republican Rep. Bob Gardner's version of a filibuster can understand what we mean here; Gardner just talks comically slow for as long as he can, his only goal to try to bore people into submission. Yet Republicans are annoyed when Democrats try to move things along and actually, you know, do their job?
Republicans call this "overreaching," and take it as a personal affront. But it's not about them, and it never was. It's about Democrats understanding that Colorado voters want them to lead; voters gave McNulty and the GOP a narrow majority in the House in 2010, and they promptly yanked it back from them two years later when it became clear that Republicans still have no intention of actually legislating.
Voters are tired of Republicans who can't figure out if they should still hate gay people. They're sick of Republicans who compare abortion to the Holocaust while everyone else is worried about schools and the economy. They're fed up with Republicans who persist with their ridiculous "Personhood" policy ideas that keep…getting…rejected…again…and again. "Personhood" isn't even about the issue anymore — it's a symbol of Republicans refusing to listen to even the most loudly shouted opinions of voters.
The simple truth of the 2013 session is this: Democrats were given a significant mandate from voters in 2012, and they are putting it to use. Some would say it is long overdue, and perhaps they learned their lesson from Congressional Democrats who did next to nothing with their 2008 mandate and then lost the House of Representatives in 2010. In fact, a closer look at the election results from the past decade tells a story that makes you wonder why Democrats waited so long to push harder on their agenda in the first place…
Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, and settle in for a dastardly tale of late season campaign hijinks. It took me the better part of the wee hours of the night last night to ferret out the details, so listen up!
It all started a few days ago, when a curious ad popped up on the radio from the Faith and Freedom Coalition. At first the ad seems to support Ken Buck, praising his support for the values of faith and freedom. But then, oddly, a certain degree of snark enters the narrator’s voice as he trumpets that Ken is one of “us”, fighting “them”. Who is this “them”? Well, it’s the evil forces of Obama, Pelosi, and every other dark souled liberal roaming the world looking for children to devour.
Now, there’s no good old fashioned, patriotic, freedom-loving American who wouldn’t agree that the policies of the current Democratic leadership have hurt our nation, and that said leaders need to be removed from office forthwith. But to self-righteously cast this as an “us” vs. “them” battle comes across as suspiciously divisive at a time when Ken Buck is working to restore the greatness and prosperity of our nation for ALL Americans. Naturally, my curiosity was piqued.
At first, I assumed this must be the work of another Stryker-funded Democrat hit squad. After all, they’re running dishonest ads attacking-and-therefore-supporting Doug Aden in an attempt to suppress the vote for Cory Gardner, and they previously ran ads supporting the epic failure known as Dan Maes in the primary. But no, when I checked out the website (www.ffcoalition.com), the site seemed to be legit. And that’s when things started to get good…
As it turns out, the group is the creation of none other than Ralph Reed. Yes, THAT Ralph Reed who was the first executive director of the Christian Coalition, and most recently failed in a primary election due to some not-so-pretty details that came out regarding his ties with Jack Abramoff. Still beloved by some on the social right, this guy is better known for cynically manipulating the social conservative vote. You can read all about his exploits here:
Digging deeper, I sorted through the “disclosure” tab on the donation page, and found a link to a 501(c)4 registration in New Jersey. The registration came complete with an address and phone number, and popped up all over the place on SoS pages when I searched for registrations in other states. It seems Reed is trying to restart the Christian Coalition, albeit “not your daddy’s” coalition:
Curiously, while the address was unsurpringly listed in Georgia, the phone number had a 303 area code and could be traced directly to the heart of Cherry Creek. As it turns out, that number belongs to a former Beauprez campaign manager and current lobbyist, who lists himself as the Chief Operating Officer of the Faith and Freedom Coaltion from June to Decemeber of 2009 on linkedin.com. According to my public record research, he has close family ties to the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC), whose Colorado chapter is Citizens for Life. Yes, this is the group that vowed they weren’t upset enough with Buck for not using abortion as a litmus test on judicial confirmations to “kick him in the shins”:
(Link shortened so as not to offend the gentle sensibilities of the owners of this blog, who are locked in stiff competition with Denver’s Mystery Paper blog.)
However, it appears that in the end they may have decided (via the FF coaltion) that they’d like to give him a sharp tap in the shins anyway just to ensure he doesn’t deviate from their control. After all, he even had the audacity to prosecute the murder of a Greeley transgender teen as a hate crime:
(This link, of course, is much more acceptable to our left leaning moderators.)
So, why am I posting all this? Well, there’s a moral to every good story. Here’s my point.
I’m as pro-life as the next guy, and I’m glad Ken shares my respect for life. I wouldn’t support him otherwise. But Ken Buck is an independent voice for Coloradans and he isn’t going to be beholden to one group or another. He’s going to do what’s best for the grassroots people of the state of Colorado, and currently that means fixing the economy, halting the overreach of government and exorbitant spending with threatens our democracy, and giving businesses the freedom and certainty they need to expand and create jobs. He’s not going to rush off and pass some strident abortion legislation instead of dealing with the economy, like the Dems did with healthcare. For the FF coalition to try to assert control over him so that if they go down, he goes down, is just disingenuous. They need to be called out for it, and that’s what I’m doing.
One of the biggest reasons why, despite what should be a national wave sweeping GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck to victory in a few weeks, the Colorado Senate race remains one of the most hotly contested in the nation, is the gap between Buck’s relative popularity among men and unpopularity with women. Recent polling illustrates this quite clearly, with a lopsided spread: Buck leads 52-37% with men over opponent Michael Bennet in a poll released by 9NEWS last week, but is trailing by five points or more with women. Combined with a persistent disparity between polls of “likely” voters as opposed to registered voters, and questions about the methods used to screen those “likely” voters, you have a situation where both sides see a plausible route to victory.
So, as many news stories have pointed to in recent weeks, Bennet’s campaign has targeted the key demographic of suburban women–both base Democrats and swing independent voters, to undermine polling models and win the election despite national trends. The message used with these voters, that Buck is too extreme, can’t be trusted to say what he believes, and supports policies that women will overwhelmingly find abhorrent, could also dislodge support for Buck from other swing voters who, while receptive to Republican framing on fiscal issues, recoil from intrusive conservative positions on social wedge stuff. If Democrats can make Buck’s positions–especially his pre-primary positions and subsequent reversals–on hot-button issues broadly understood, they can both hold Bennet’s lead among women and strongly motivate the Democratic base to vote on November 2nd.
The good news for Democrats is that, from anecdotes to the uncomfortable details, they’ve got a lot to work with in Ken Buck. It’s why a Buck primary victory was always the Democrats’ preference.
The first campaign that sought to raise Buck’s negatives among women voters was, of course, his primary opponent Jane Norton. The beginnings of that alienation come simply from being a male candidate engaging in vigorous debate with a woman–New York Senate candidate Rick Lazio learned this lesson back in the 2000 election, when his pushiness in debates against Hillary Clinton was perceived as creepy and sexist, and wound up hurting him. Buck never behaved as badly as Lazio did in a debate, but the lesson here is to be doubly careful of what you say: sexism runs deep in American culture, and women don’t miss the subtle signs of it.
Unfortunately for Buck, there was a terribly damaging moment of not-so-subtle sexism on the campaign trail, when Buck told a woman who asked why she should vote for him, “because I don’t wear high heels.” It’s been defended, feebly, as some kind of “retort” against a charge from Norton that Buck was not “man enough” to engage her directly. We can tell you that in focus groups and other research conducted by both sides, women don’t take it that way at all, and that defense doesn’t wash even when it’s “fully explained.” And it did hurt Buck in the primary–not quite enough to overcome the “Tea Party” wave behind him, but enough to make it closer.
With that incident as his lead-in, Buck’s performance post-primary in terms of motivating women to support him has been an unqualified disaster. Democrats knew last spring that there would be a price to pay for every GOP Colorado gubernatorial or U.S. Senate candidate having endorsed the “Personhood Amendment,” but for obvious reasons, the effect would have been different had Norton won the primary. That said, she probably would also have backed away from it as Buck did, albeit to less criticism.
As it happened, Buck’s hard-core expressed views on abortion–not even allowable in cases of rape or incest–combined with his support for an initiative that would even ban common forms of birth control left him in a horrible spot with women general election voters. Buck’s attempts to change the subject back to “what voters care about” wasn’t enough to overcome the revulsion the proper explanation of Buck’s views inspired in both women voters and social issue-averse independents, which inevitably forced Buck to flip-flop on key abortion-related policy positions he had previously campaigned on in the primary–including the “Personhood Amendment” itself.
The trouble is, Buck’s reversals on abortion issues came in the middle of flip-flops on a slew of issues that Buck had taken stands on during the primary, and that he had been captured on tape explicitly referencing at one time or another. At the same moment Buck was trying to reassure women voters that he doesn’t support banning The Pill, and wouldn’t be the guy who introduced a constitutional amendment overturning Roe v. Wade, both contrary to specific things he had said during the primary, he was also “Buckpedaling” on opposing the democratic election of Senators, a national sales tax, the Bush tax cuts, privatizing Social Security and Medicare…
This is how unsteadiness on an individual issue reaches beyond a narrowly targeted audience, and becomes a trust problem. It’s what happened to GOP gubernatorial candidate “Both Ways Bob” Beauprez in 2006. The small problems aggregate–the 17th Amendment, by itself, is not going to turn out voters against Buck. A national sales tax, in and of itself, won’t matter either. Social Security and Medicare could be a little worse, but once you combine all of these, and unsteadiness on an issue like abortion for good measure? What you’ve got then is a candidate who voters can’t trust on any issue, who looks like he’ll say anything to get elected, and who women voters cannot place any faith in as he assures them that what he said before about their bodies isn’t true anymore.
Like we said at the beginning, what this presents, in the next two critical weeks of framing, is an opening to ruin Buck with voters beyond the focus on women in the suburbs–but still driven by the messaging aimed at them. If Norton had won the primary, the applicability of all of this would be sharply reduced, and the Democrats would not have this wedge to open up more wedges with. Beyond the obvious affinity, Norton had less to reverse herself on from the primary overall than Buck did, if for no other reason than her sticking to vague boilerplate on the campaign trail. But the bottom line is the same–the disparity between men’s versus women’s support for Ken Buck would not exist with Norton, and this race would probably be over.
Epilogue: we’ve heard a rumor from several credible sources now about an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) complaint against Buck in his past record that could shortly be disclosed “October surprise” style. We’ve been told that newspapers and at least one Denver television station are actively working this story. To be clear, the specific details of this have not been disclosed to us, even on background, except that it involves a complaint and a settlement. But we’re told it could further damagingly reinforce Buck’s problems with women voters.
Stay tuned, because what we have set out above, with or without any late-breaking scandals, is the battlefield on which the U.S. Senate race in Colorado this year will be won or lost.
In 2004, Schaffer was fighting a bitter primary battle against a wealthy beer scion across the terrain of values conservatism. As he attacked from the right, the primary became a fight over abortion, “nearly pornographic” beer ads and homosexuals’ lifestyle.
Four years later, with the GOP battered by successive primary battles in statewide races and a bitter fight over a “time out” from the spending limits of the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Schaffer is reinventing himself as a party healer as he seeks the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Wayne Allard.
His tone has changed, and the social wedge issues are gone. Instead, he hammers the kinds of themes that potentially can bring together Chamber of Commerce Republicans and the party’s grass roots – fiscal discipline, smaller government and seeing Iraq through…
In the 2004 Senate primary, then- Gov. Bill Owens backed Pete Coors over Schaffer, who was viewed as too conservative to win against then-Attorney General Ken Salazar, a moderate Democrat. Conservative activists viewed the move as an act of betrayal, opening a public divide between business and values Republicans in the state. Schaffer’s campaign – attacking Coors as not conservative enough – only deepened the clash, which was repeated two years later in a primary gubernatorial battle between Bob Beauprez and Marc Holtzman.
Even after the primary loss, Schaffer stuck to his role as the party’s conservative bulwark. Ten days before the 2004 general election, he sent a letter to constituents of moderate Republican state Rep. Ramey Johnson, attacking her for being too soft on vouchers and earning a stiff rebuke from Jefferson County Republicans, who claimed Schaffer cost Johnson her seat.
Then came the battle to pass Referendum C, which suspended TABOR limits for five years and which badly divided business Republicans from ideological conservatives, Schaffer among them…
Walk Klein, Schaffer’s campaign manager, emphasized that Schaffer hasn’t changed any of his positions. Schaffer is against abortion and gay marriage, Klein said, but don’t expect a Sen. Schaffer to spend his time sponsoring legislation around those issues.
“It’s not at the top of his agenda,” Klein said. “If (Democrats) want to spend millions of dollars saying Bob is a puppet of Focus on the Family . . . , they’re going to be wasting their money. What Bob is going to be doing is talking about the issues that people in Colorado care about.”
Ex-GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney also found it necessary to reinvent himself for the campaign trail, though in the opposite direction–Romney “became” more conservative than his prior record clearly demonstrated.
We think Schaffer’s run to the middle is by far the smarter choice, but as this story shows, it’s an open question as to whether or not Schaffer’s image makeover will be any more successful than Romney’s was.
The Denver Post this morning joined a so-far unbroken streak of Colorado newspapers in endorsing Democrat Bill Ritter for governor:
Ritter certainly isn’t your everyday Democrat. He is a pro-life advocate whose anti-abortion beliefs rattle many party members, but his thoughtful approach to this emotional subject has earned their respect. He has provided assurances that he will not mount a campaign to gut the protections of federal law. Beauprez also is pro-life, but as is his way, he takes the most extreme view of the issue, declining even to make exceptions for rape and incest.
Ritter speaks with assurance on subjects that will loom large for Colorado over the decades ahead, water and energy chief among them. He believes the state must better serve agriculture and ranching interests in western Colorado and the eastern plains. By investing in wind energy development and “biofuels,” such as ethanol made from corn, Ritter would work to expand the job base for Coloradans in what he calls a “new energy economy.”
His bid to become governor first caught our eye in 2005, when state officials were rallying to restore Colorado’s fiscal stability. Gov. Owens answered the call, as did Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. GOP leader Bruce Benson was there, as were legislative chiefs Joan Fitz-Gerald and Andrew Romanoff. University of Colorado president Hank Brown campaigned for fiscal reform on his own time.
These leaders used their influence to promote Referendum C, a compromise measure that achieved state financial objectives and earned voter approval. Without C, the state would have slashed $365 million in programs this year alone, and more next year.
Ritter worked for Referendum C. Beauprez stood apart, in feeble opposition.