Let The GOP Riot Backpedal Begin

“A couple young folks got into the Capitol,” said Rep. Richard Champion (R).

Yesterday’s violent assault on the U.S. Capitol by thousands of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump has once again completely upended national politics with less the two weeks remaining before Joe Biden is sworn into office. In less than 24 hours, Trump’s much-balleyhooed “Wild Protest” devolved from a final bit of catharsis for the defeated President and his fact-averse diehard supporters into a galvanizing moment of national unity–against Trump, and against the “post-truth” politics that resulted in yesterday’s violence after every rational investigation and court case since the election has found no evidence of election fraud that could affect the result.

As the old saying goes, “victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan.” And in the aftermath of unprecedented violence that left four people dead and resulted in the first storming of the U.S. Capitol by hostile forces since the War of 1812, local Republicans who helped incite and even participate in yesterday’s mayhem are hard at work writing an alternative history of these disgraceful events. Yesterday, Colorado Springs Gazette editorial page editor, who was present at the rioting in D.C. yesterday Wayne Laugesen repeated the totally baseless story that “Antifa” protesters had actually broken into the Capitol, not Trump supporters.

Then yesterday evening, a GOP state representative from Colorado who was also on the scene of yesterday’s rioting had this to say to the Littleton Independent:

[Rep. Richard] Champion called the event that culminated in the storming of the House and Senate chambers “very peaceful.”

“It was very well organized and without mayhem or anything else,” Champion said by phone from a hotel room near the Capitol. “Apparently a couple young folks got into the Capitol, which we never saw.”

…Champion called the evacuation of Capitol overblown.

“I don’t think anyone was in danger,” he said. [Pols emphasis] “There was nothing I saw that warranted that kind of response.”

“There was nothing I saw that warranted that kind of response,” said Rep. Champion.

We can only hope these words were spoken before Rep. Richard Champion learned that four people died.

Not to be outdone, Rep. Mark Baisley of Douglas County, who last year made a disgrace of himself after falsely claiming health departments were “altering COVID death certificates,” has decided this must have been Antifa, it just must have! And when you’ve got no credibility to lose, connecting the dots is effortless:

It does not make any sense to me that Trump patriots would storm the US Capitol to interrupt a congressional challenge to the electoral college results. The violent and arrogant actions of this attack (scaling walls, breaking windows) matches the signature of Antifa rioters.

Rep. Baisley might want to have a talk with West Virginia Delegate Derrick Evans, one of the first high-profile Republicans who has been identified from footage inside the building and is facing calls to resign. Or with Nick Fuentes, the anti-Semitic friend of local right-wing columnist Michelle Malkin who also posted incriminating selfies from inside the building like a dumbass.

Yesterday’s disgraceful riot inside and outside the U.S. Capitol could well go down in history as the moment Trumpism died. It makes sense that as this crushing reality begins to dawn on Trump’s diehard supporters, they are going to start rewriting the history of yesterday’s events in order to save face. But the facts are irrefutable: Donald Trump called for these people to come to Washington. Trump sent them to the Capitol. And Trump refused to call the rioters off for hours as they smashed windows and rampaged through congressional offices.

If Republicans meant what they said when they said “enough is enough” after yesterday’s pro-Trump violence inside the U.S. Capitol shook the nation to its foundations, the road back to sanity starts with repudiating Wayne Laugesen, our resident Colorado “House Crazies,” and anyone else who wants to pretend this failed attempt at violent insurrection was not what it plainly was. It is their fellow Republicans who did this. There can be no reconciliation without acknowledging this truth.

Trump, and they themselves, have brought the nation to this precipice we must now all back away from.

Trump Concedes

The Tweet from Dan Scavino went out at 1:40AM Mountain time:

AP reports via KDVR:

President Donald Trump for the first time acknowledged his defeat in the Nov. 3 election and announced there would be an “orderly transition on January 20th” after Congress concluded the electoral vote count early Thursday certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.

Trump’s acknowledgement came after a day of chaos and destruction on Capitol Hill when his supporters stormed the Capitol, forced members into hiding and halted the formal congressional tally for more than six hours.

So ends the most severe test of our small-d democratic institutions in 160 years.

We passed, but not by enough.

Gazette Editorial Page Editor: Trump Mob Was ‘Probably Antifa’

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Wayne Laugesen.

In a Facebook exchange today, the editorial page editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette wrote of the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol: “They looked nothing like members of the typical Trump rally crowd. Probably Antifa.”

The Editor, Wayne Laugesen, did not respond to inquiries via email and Facebook Messenger asking for evidence for his view that the mobsters were likely Antifa, a left-wing protest group. There is no evidence of Antifa involvement.

The Colorado Springs Gazette, owned by conservative billionaire Phil Anschutz, has criticized right-wing activists, like those at the Capitol today.

In one editorial, possibly penned by Laguesen, the newspaper criticized Republicans for being “sore losers” for trying to recall Democratic lawmakers.

“Our country chooses representation with fair, civilized, regulated elections,” wrote the Gazette in October of 2019. “Losers in that process should focus on winning the next time, not on changing the last election’s results. Sore losers, from both parties, look ridiculous.”

Laugesen’s comment today appeared in a Facebook post of his wife, Dede Laugesen, a former Trump campaign staffer who recently promoted election fraud conspiracies at pro-Trump rally in December.


NBC News Calls Georgia for Ossoff; Democrats Control Senate

As NBC News reports:

Jon Ossoff defeated Republican David Perdue and Raphael Warnock won over GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler in Georgia, NBC News projects.

The twin wins for Democrats in Tuesday’s election give the party control of the Senate, which will stand at 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, allowing incoming Vice President Kamala Harris to cast tie-breaking votes. The Georgia election results are a big boost for President-elect Joe Biden, who would have faced stiff opposition from Republicans had they retained the Senate.

CNN is also projecting that Ossoff will defeat Perdue.

Chaos in Washington D.C. as Protestors Storm Capitol

UPDATE #7: Via CNN and Getty Images:




UPDATE #6: President Trump has repeatedly declined to say anything further that might defuse the situation.


UPDATE #5: President Trump Tweets a very weak response after encouraging the protests earlier:


UPDATE #4: Congressman Jason Crow (D-Aurora):



UPDATE #3: U.S. House and Senate have adjourned as protests outside the Capitol intensify.


UPDATE #2: Rep. Joe Neguse gets his first chance to shine in today’s climactic debate:


UPDATE #1: We have our first objection. Congressman Paul Gosar of Arizona objects to the votes in his own state. Senator Ted Cruz objects from the Senate side. The House and Senate now go back to their respective chambers to debate on the Arizona objection. We might be here until February.


Here we go…

Merrick Garland for Attorney General

Merrick Garland

As POLITICO reports:

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-Ala.) 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 a Republican-controlled Senate, Jones was viewed as the easiest candidate to get confirmed given his strong relationships across the aisle. Garland was also considered a risk in that it would be difficult to confirm a replacement for him on the appellate court.

But with Democrats expected to have won the majority with a pair of upset victories in Georgia, confirmation issues with other candidates largely dissipated. The announcement of the selection could come as early as Thursday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told reporters on Wednesday.

Call it karma. Call it poetic justice. Pretty soon, you can call it reality.

2020’s Top Story (Tie): The Pandemic And The Struggle For Justice

If there’s anything we’re sick of in these first days of January 2021, it’s coming up with fresh superlatives to describe the year that just ended. 2020 in the United States and in Colorado was one of the most challenging years in the lifetimes of everyone now living–a true annus horribilis if ever there was one. As we attempted to sort out the top ten stories of political importance in the state of Colorado in 2020, it became clear early on that two separate but intertwining storylines that dominated the news last year needed to be given parity at the very top: the COVID-19 pandemic, and the racial justice movement catalyzed into renewed action by the most recent spate of deaths of Black men in police custody.

President Trump and Gov. Jared Polis.

COVID-19 upends the world

Although Colorado began 2020 dimly aware of a fast-spreading respiratory infection first detected in China in December of 2019, most of us expected at that time that what would become known as COVID-19 would remain a remote threat, perhaps with some high-drama stories about stopping the disease at the border or the first hospital before it could spread. This false sense of security was deliberately promoted by President Donald Trump in the early months of 2020, even though we now know Trump was fully lucid about the danger. The deliberate choice by the Trump administration to downplay the pandemic initially, then to politicize to necessary measures taken by state and local governments to control the spread, is a principal factor in America now having the most cases and deaths from COVID-19 of any nation on Earth.

In Colorado, our Democratic-controlled state government responded to the dual threats of the pandemic and politicization of the response as best they could with limited resources and haphazard-at-best federal assistance. Gov. Jared Polis, one of the richest men in Colorado and keenly aware of the economic damage done by restrictive public health measures, tried desperately to balance the necessary restrictions with the need to keep the economy functional enough to literally feed and house the population of the state. The failure by the federal government to provide sustained economic relief for most of 2020 exacerbated the hardship of the stay-at-home orders, and helped galvanize partisan political resistance to them.

We can’s speak for the results everywhere, but in Colorado, voters were not swayed by this manufactured political dilemma. While it’s possible that COVID-19 restrictions blunted Democratic success in some other states, Republicans in Colorado were shellacked once again by voters who were far more upset about Republican “COVIDiocy” than necessary measures to keep people safe in a pandemic. Now ex-Sen. Cory Gardner tried to reinvent himself from a hard-line fiscal conservative into “Santa Cory,” who voted for every economic relief bill in sight–but Gardner’s close association with Trump’s incompetence, and a major political backfire after Gardner tried to intervene in the co-opting of ventilators ordered by Colorado by the federal government, made a cruel joke of Gardner’s earnest promises. When workers at a meat packing plant in Greeley didn’t get the tests Gardner personally promised before they were forced back on the job, they went public and further damaged Gardner’s credibility.

Because as of this writing the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage out of control, and months remain before a majority of the population is vaccinated allowing pre-pandemic normal life to resume, it’s not possible to fully assess the impact on Colorado politics today. Although the resistance to measures to fight the pandemic became a partisan political battle, the results of the 2020 elections suggest strongly that Republicans in Colorado have lost that battle. Gov. Jared Polis weathered a storm of unhinged attacks and a second half-baked recall attempt and remains popular–coming in for more criticism when he tries to appease the irrational right than when he took action to fight the pandemic. For the majority of Coloradans who have taken a science-based approach in their own handling of this unprecedented crisis, the choice between Polis’ reason and the GOP’s willful ignorance remains easy.


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.



*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:

*How you can help in Colorado:

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


► 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…



Boebert Says Polis Sends Nazi “Brown Shirts” to Enforce Health Orders in Her District

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R).

Angry about Colorado’s public health orders requiring restaurants to restrict services during the pandemic, U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) accused Colorado Gov. Jared Polis of sending “Brown Shirts in to make sure everyone shuts down.”

“Brown Shirt” is a term used to describe a member of the Sturmabteilung, Hitler’s Nazi militia that attacked and often killed opponents of Hitler’s rise to power.

“Here in Garfield County where my restaurant is, restaurants are closing once again because Governor Polis has sent his Brown Shirts in to make sure everyone shuts down,” Boebert told KVOR’s Jeff Crank Dec. 26. “It is sad. It is depressing. Business owners cannot pay their employees. They will not be able to pay rent. We’re worried about all of these folks who won’t be able to pay their rent. But what about the actual mortgages? Who’s going to hold the owners of these buildings and help them out? You know, all of this is just a mess and we need to reopen our country for business.”

State Rep. Patrick Neville (R-Castle Rock), who was the Republican House Leader at the time, said last year that Polis’ stay-at-home orders could lead to a “Gestapo-like mentality.” The Gestapo were the Nazi secret police.

Polis tearfully responded to the accusation in April.

“As a Jewish American who lost family in the Holocaust, I’m offended by any comparison to Nazism,” said Polis, as quoted in The Denver Post. “We act to save lives — the exact opposite of the slaughter of 6 million Jews and many gypsies and Catholics and gays and lesbians and Russians and so many others.”

Polis is Colorado’s first Jewish and openly gay governor.

Neville later apologized, telling the Denver Post that he should have said “authoritarian” instead of “Gestapo.”

Under state rules, Garfield County restaurants have faced a range of restrictions at various times during the pandemic, including limitations on indoor seating and mask-wearing requirements.

Other Republicans and GOP groups, in Colorado and elsewhere, have compared COVID health orders to Nazism, without singling out Polis.


Colorado Republicans Promote QAnon-linked Capitol Rally to Overturn Election

(Consider yourselves Q-tipped – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“We Are The Storm!” proclaims the digital flyer for tomorrow’s noon rally at the Colorado Capitol to overturn the presidential election, invoking the QAnon conspiracist slogan.

The JeffCo GOP says it was unaware of any QAnon connection.

The event, which baselessly alleges that the presidential election was fraudulent, is being promoted by the Republican parties of Jefferson and Douglas Counties.

Since Joe Biden’s victory over President Trump, the QAnon “Storm” conspiracy has expanded to encompass claims that Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems, the largest voting machine company in the nation, rigged the election against Trump.

State GOP chair Ken Buck and several Republican county clerks (though not the DougCo clerk) reject the conspiracy theory, but numerous Colorado Republicans publicly support it. They include the President’s lawyer Jenna Ellis, eight members of the state legislature, and Joe Oltmann, founder of conservative group FEC United. Oltmann’s group and its associated militia, the United American Defense Force, are also promoting the event.

A pair of relatively new pro-Trump groups, Colorado Election Integrity Project (CEIP) and MAGA Drag Colorado, are organizing the event.

CEIP says speakers at the four-hour event include GOP congressional candidate and conservative activist Casper Stockham, porn industry survivor and former madam Jessica Joy, and Minister Amy Everette of Colorado Prays. Additional pastors are also expected to speak.


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.

Top Ten Stories of 2020 #2: Cory Gardner, Out With a Whimper

Former Sen. Cory Gardner (R-ekt)

November 3, 2020, 7:01 p.m.

That was the exact moment when we learned that Republican Sen. Cory Gardner had lost his bid for re-election to Democrat John Hickenlooper. Gardner was so far out of contention in 2020 that the race for U.S. Senate was called literally one minute after the polls closed in Colorado.

It was an ignominious ending for Gardner, who just barely avoided a double-digit loss (53.5% to 44%). This was a startling change of direction from 2014, when Gardner narrowly defeated incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and was widely pegged as a rising star in the Republican party.

After the 2018 mid-term elections, Colorado was primed as the most competitive Senate battleground race in the country. We never got that far. Gardner’s poll numbers were consistently in the toilet, right next to his credibility, and despite tens of millions of dollars spent on his behalf, Gardner was never even really a threat to win re-election in 2020. This bears repeating: Gardner was SO bad at being a Senator and a candidate for re-election that his eventual defeat was a foregone conclusion for months beforehand.

Just before the November 2020 election, we took a long and detailed look at how things went so horribly wrong for Gardner in the years following his 2014 upset victory. We’re not going to repeat that analysis here, but the short version is this: Gardner lost his re-election because he made awful decisions nearly every step of the way.

In the end, it was fitting that Gardner’s Senate career would close with little more than a shrug from local and national observers. Cory Gardner didn’t go down swinging…he just sorta went away.

The word you’re looking for is “anticlimactic.”

Mesa County Clerk Losing Her MAGA-Loving Mind

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters (R).

As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports, GOP Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters, who once defended the integrity of the recent elections carried out in part by her office on Dominion Voting Systems hardware, has…lapsed into behavior substantially less responsible:

Despite public statements that Colorado’s election system is safe and secure, Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters posted a tweet Sunday saying just the opposite.

In responding to a series of tweets from U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., denouncing his Senate colleagues for their planned attempts to challenge the Electoral College certification on Wednesday during a joint session of Congress, Peters responded that ballots can be counted more than once and that software used in voting machines can be manipulated.

In doing so, Peters repeats, without evidence, unproven claims that a Colorado-based Dominion Voting Systems executive, Eric Coomer, admitted to doing just that…

As readers may know, Eric Coomer of Denver-based Dominion Voting Systems has filed suit against Donald Trump’s campaign, Rudy Giuliani, and Trump agit-prop outlets Newsmax and OANN among others for defamation after baseless allegations about his company’s products resulted in death threats against Coomer and his family. Coomer wrote in December in a Denver Post op-ed:

The constant repetition of these baseless rumors has not only brought harm to me but also to my family. These lies that aim to ruin my reputation, my livelihood, my relationships, my well-being, and my life will not go unanswered. These fabrications and attacks against me have upended my life, forced me to flee my home, and caused my family and loved ones to fear for my safety, and I fear for theirs.

Well folks, it looks to us like Clerk Peters just volunteered to join the defendants in Coomer’s lawsuit! Hopefully she’s got a libel rider on her insurance policy. And in a separate response to Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania defending his state’s election results, Peters plants her flag as a full-on “election truther:”

This despite what she said back in November, reports the Sentinel:

Days after the Nov. 3 election, Peters, a Republican, and several members of her election staff said the 2020 general election in the county went off without a hitch, and passed its risk-limiting audit with flying colors.

Now before you get whiplash trying to reconcile Clerk Peters’ apparently 180-degree about face on how the 2020 elections went, we should probably note that Peters seems to be having trouble keeping her grip on reality on several different contemporary news fronts:

So, there’s that. What we will say is that if Clerk Peters has any evidence to back up her claims about voting machines–first that what she suggests is even hypothetically possible, and then evidence that ballots were actually counted twice or software manipulated as she suggests–she really needs to stop dodging reporters and prove that. If Clerk Peters could demonstrate any of her statements to be factual or even a little bit plausible, we’re pretty sure she’d have Rudy Giuliani on a plane to Grand Junction the next day for a press conference at Four Seasons Plumbing and Heating.

Peters, who was hit with calls to resign herself after hundreds of uncounted ballots from the 2019 elections were discovered months later in her office, may have just done in whatever remains of her credibility. We promise to follow up either way.