Cory Gardner’s Hickenlooper Wannabe Campaign Continues

Hot on the heels of Sen. Cory Gardner’s last negative ad, in which Gardner lovingly hand-washes somebody’s Maserati while reciting various falsehoods about former Gov. John Hickenlooper’s record, Gardner has a new TV spot out today lamenting the fact that Hickenlooper is running negative ads about Gardner:

Back in 2010, Hickenlooper ran a particularly well-received ad in that year’s gubernatorial race depicting himself showering fully clothed–highlighting the fact that in that he didn’t campaign on negative attacks against his opponent. Of course, in 2010 Hickenlooper didn’t need to go negative, since the Republican gubernatorial campaign that year collapsed in a heap of plagiarism allegations and the emergence of a laughably unqualified GOP nominee who proceeded to garner 11% of the vote.

In 2020, nobody is going to begrudge Hickenlooper for taking the gloves off against Cory Gardner, certainly not after the ruthless character assassination campaign waged by Republicans against Hick from the moment he got into the U.S. Senate race. But with this latest ad from Gardner, there’s something else becoming quite clear: Gardner is mimicking Hickenlooper’s greatest hits as his own campaign strategy. And it’s…weird:

Here’s the problem: everybody knows Hickenlooper is the beer-drinking friendly former governor who once took a shower fully clothed. When Cory Gardner steps out of that shower, or toasts you with his Coors Light or whatever he’s drinking in the ad above, the viewer doesn’t think of Cory Gardner–they think about John Hickenlooper. Sure there’s a message in the ad attacking Hickenlooper, but the visual is just Gardner pretending to be Hickenlooper. With Gardner struggling to offer an affirmative case for re-election in a state that has abandoned his politics, these ads are practically an admission that Gardner has nothing original to offer. They’re the ads you make on the way to losing.

All that’s left now is for Gardner to jump out of his own plane.

Wednesday Open Thread

“Necessity may well be called the mother of invention but calamity is the test of integrity.”

–Samuel Richardson

Boebert Poses With Sign Linking Her to QAnon

(Bad product placement – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

While attending her own fundraiser hosted by a Sandy Hook truther, Republican congressional candidate Lauren Boebert posed with a yard sign linking her to the QAnon conspiracies.

Pueblo County Patriots Mona Demicell, an enthusiastic QAnon believer, took the photo and shared it on Facebook.

The sign reads “NO to QAnon. NO to Insanity. NO to Boebert.”

It is located on the front lawn of a neighbor’s house near last week’s fundraiser in Pueblo.

Demicell routinely expresses her support for both Boebert and QAnon conspiracies on Facebook. In a July 9 post, she shared a QAnon post and added the hashtags, “#LaurenForColorado” and “#SilentMajority.”


Chuck Schumer Throws His Body On The Machine

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Michael Bennet.

As The Hill reports, Democrats in Washington are beginning to engage in whatever resistance they can without the votes to actually stop the Republican majority with steamrolling ahead on a new Supreme Court Justice six weeks before Election Day 2020:

Senate Democrats are limiting the ability to hold committee hearings in retaliation for Republicans decision to try to fill a Supreme Court seat in the middle of an election year, the first action in what is likely to be an increasingly combative battle over procedure in the Senate.

A Democratic aide confirmed that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had invoked the so-called “two hour rule,” which can be used to limit the ability to hold committee hearings after the Senate has been in session for more than two hours…

“Because the Senate Republicans have no respect for the institution, we won’t have business as usual here in the Senate,” Schumer said from the Senate floor.

A campaign of procedural obstruction to slow down business in the Senate, not unlike the delay tactics waged by Colorado GOP minorities in the General Assembly under Democratic control in 2019, certainly do have the ability to protract and exact the maximum political damage from a majority determined to carry out their agenda. Although Republicans have the votes to push a Supreme Court nominee through to a confirmation vote, even without confirmation hearings, our local Republicans are an example of how well a cohesive minority can jam up the majority–and that’s before we start talking about the moral differences between then and now.

Procedural obstruction may not be the limit of what Democrats can do. Colorado-based liberal commentator David Sirota suggests threatening a full government shutdown, which Speaker Nancy Pelosi has reportedly ruled out, or impeaching William Barr to play havoc with the Senate calendar. But we also know from Colorado experience that while the minority gets their say, it’s the majority who gets their way. And as CNN’s Gregory Krieg and Dan Merica report, it’s the threat of what Democrats have the power to do in the increasingly likely event they win the Senate majority and the White House that might prove the only real bargaining chip:

Sean McElwee, co-founder and executive director of the progressive group Data for Progress, called the threat of eliminating the filibuster, adding justices to the court and new seats in the Senate, the Democratic Senate minority’s “only credible threat.”

“You need a number of Democratic senators to be sending that message to McConnell, because it’s really the only point of leverage that Democrats have,” McElwee said. “Most of the procedural stuff that I’m seeing come out there is a bit of a fantasy, to be entirely frank.”

In the end, Democrats have little to risk from fighting it out over this nomination, and employing every kind of resistance tactic feasible to disrupt Republicans as they barrel with majority power toward the inevitable–along with very explicit promises about how Democrats will remediate the judiciary’s lurch to the right under Donald Trump after victory in November. The specific question of a government shutdown is more complicated because of the ongoing economic and health emergencies of 2020, but everything short of that seems like a no-brainer.

With all of this in mind, however, it’s not pre-emptive concession to acknowledge that this outcome was ensured by Trump’s victory in 2016, and Republican control of the U.S. Senate predating Trump. Unless Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blinks, the only remedy for anything that happens before next January comes at the polls in November.

Budget Crunch Forces State Employee Furloughs

As The Denver Post reports:

Most state employees who make more than $50,000 annually will be taking up to four furlough days before the end of the fiscal year, the governor’s office announced Tuesday.

The number of furlough days will be dependent on an employee’s salary. Some employees will be exempt, but those taking the days include the governor and lieutenant governor. Employees who are exempt include those working necessary services during the pandemic as well as those in public safety.

The State of Colorado’s fiscal year resets on July 1.

Furlough days are calculated based on an employee’s annual salary. Here’s how that works, according to a press release from the governor’s office:

Colorado State Employee furlough days

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 22)

So long, summer; hello, autumn. Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.



*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 

*Register to vote or get other election-related information:


► President Trump still plans to nominate a new Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justice by the end of the week, and it’s looking like Senate Republicans are going to ignore their own hypocrisy and allow a confirmation vote to take place. As The Washington Post reports:

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) announced Tuesday that he believes President Trump should get to choose a replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg regardless of whether he wins in November. The move clears the way for a vote this year by the GOP-led Senate on a nominee that Trump is expected to name Saturday.

Late Monday, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) announced that he would support a confirmation vote for a new SCOTUS nominee — despite the fact that Gardner argued vociferously in 2016 that a new SCOTUS pick should wait until a new President was elected. As Denver7 reports:

There has been immense pressure for the Republican senator to make a statement on what he would decide to do with a potential nominee since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died last Friday, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and fellow Republicans blocked hearings and a vote for President Obama’s March 2016 nominee, Merrick Garland, saying at the time that voters should decide the pick in an election year. Justice Antonin Scalia had died in February of that year…

…Denver7 asked Gardner’s office on Friday following the announcement of Justice Ginsburg’s death what the senator would do with a potential nomination but did not receive a response until his office sent out a news release Monday. He declined to comment on the nomination to some reporters in Washington D.C. and did not directly address a question about the vacancy at an appearance on the Western Slope this weekend.

As Chris Cillizza writes for CNN, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s “nothing matters but SCOTUS” political strategy appears to have worked again. The big question now: Will voters punish Republicans at the polls?


► The death toll from COVID-19 in the United States has surpassed the 200,000 mark. As The Washington Post reports, President Trump told rallygoers in Ohio on Monday that everything is cool:

President Trump falsely claimed at a Monday night campaign rally that the coronavirus “affects virtually nobody” below the age of 18 and is mainly a risk to elderly people with heart problems and other preexisting conditions. In a March 19 interview with Washington Post associate editor Bob Woodward, however, Trump acknowledged that “plenty of young people” were affected and admitted that he had downplayed the risks of the virus.

COVID-19 cases in Colorado are on the rise for the third straight week, potentially marking a third spike in our state. Classes at the University of Colorado-Boulder are moving online for at least two weeks because of an outbreak among students.

Meanwhile, the City of Denver is shifting COVID-19 testing strategies toward a focus on smaller pop-up testing sites.


► President Trump went on Fox & Friends on Monday and reminded us that Sen. Cory Gardner is “very, very loyal to the party.”


The Denver Post editorial board endorsed Rep. Jason Crow (D-Aurora) for re-election in CO-6.


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



COVID-19 Shuts Down Classes At CU-Boulder

Despite the best-laid plans of officials and the fervent hopes by all parties that it wouldn’t be a disaster, Jesse Paul at the Colorado Sun reports the return to class at the University of Colorado’s flagship Boulder campus has not gone well:

The University of Colorado Boulder is moving to remote learning for at least two weeks amid a coronavirus outbreak that has sickened hundreds of people on its campus.

Starting on Wednesday, all classes will be held virtually until at least Oct. 7.

“I know this situation is extremely difficult, and I wish, as I know we all do, that our circumstances were very different,” Chancellor Phil DiStefano wrote in a letter to the campus community on Monday. “The next two weeks are about more than our ability to see each other in person. The risks to our broader community are too great, and COVID-19 spreads too easily, for any further noncompliance with public health measures to go without immediate consequences.”

CU Boulder isn’t the first college campus in Colorado to have its reopening plans disrupted by an outbreak of COVID-19. Colorado College in Colorado Springs was forced to do the same after cases exploded soon after the beginning of the fall semester in August. CU’s outbreak is also not unique among major national universities who have had to take emergency steps backward after trying to reopen their campuses for the fall semester.

Students are being allowed to remain in their dorms at CU, and that’s good since sending them home would only serve to spread the infection from the student population in Boulder to their families across the state and nation. Although college-age people have a very low mortality rate from COVID-19, as a disease vector into more vulnerable populations these outbreaks on college campuses are an ominous sign with winter looming.

All of which should serve as additional confirmation that anyone telling you the COVID-19 pandemic is either over or overblown is a fool, and here on the state’s leading political blog we assess the political fallout from that foolishness–being, as it is at least in our state, the exclusive domain of Republicans. We are a long way from out of the woods, and whether due to youthful stupidity or a misguided political agenda someone tells you it’s okay to let our collective guard down, it’s very, very important that we not listen to them.

Let Boebert Grow Up, Say Her Defenders. But Read the Report of Arresting Officer and See What You Think

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Colorado congressional candidate Lauren Boebert continues to downplay the seriousness of her history of arrests, saying they resulted in minor fines and charges.

That’s true, but it’s the circumstances around her arrests that continue to cause Boebert trouble in her campaign. See billboard below.

For example, there’s the fact that she could have avoided two of her arrests if she’d just shown up in court, or possibly even sent a letter to the courthouse.

But she just ignored the requests of the justice system until it was forced to take mug shots of her that never needed to be taken.

Then there’s her behavior that got her one court date that she later ignored. At the Country Jam music festival in 2015, as first reported by Colorado Newsline, she yelled at police, claimed arresting officers would be hearing from her “friends” and Fox News, and tried to encourage juveniles to flee police custody at the scene, causing them to become “unruly,” and more, according to the police report.

Boebert says it’s a lot of hubbub over nothing.

And Boebert’s defenders add that she should be allowed to grow up and change.

“People are allowed to change and to grow up — whatever,” Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, who’s endorsed Boebert, told the Colorado Sun about the arrests.

You want to let people grow up and change. But at the time of her music festival arrest, Boebert was 28 years old. Why didn’t she know better? What happened to her five years ago?

But I’ll leave it to you to decide if Boebert’s behavior, as described by police below in 2015, should be dismissed as youthful exuberance for a 28-year-old woman–or as irrelevant because charges were dismissed.

Or does Boebert owe the public more of an explanation than she’s given?


Cory Gardner: Sure, Let’s Confirm a New SCOTUS Nominee!

Brave as ever, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) waited until the very end of the day to issue a statement about his position on filling the Ruth Bader Ginsberg vacancy before the election.

Cory Gardner’s teeth

As The Denver Post reported in February 2016, that Cory Gardner was totally opposed to holding confirmation hearings in an election year and refused to even meet with President Obama’s eventual choice, Merrick Garland:

Asked his opinion about the high court vacancy, Gardner said the successor to the recently deceased Antonin Scalia “ought be chosen by the American people through the election of the next president.” [Pols emphasis]

Pressed…on what he would say to the argument that he should wait to see who the president nominates, Gardner responded: “Again, I think we’re too close to the election. The president who is elected in November should be the one who makes this decision.” [Pols emphasis]

It’s gross, folks. It really is.

Fact Checkers are Demolishing Gardner Talking Points

UPDATE (MONDAY): Gardner’s pre-existing medical conditions ad is so dishonest that even CBS4 Denver political reporter Shaun Boyd didn’t have anything nice to say (Boyd is well-known in Colorado political circles for her eagerness to toss softball after softball toward Gardner). From a CBS4 “Reality Check”:

There is maybe no provision of the Affordable Care Act that is more popular than protections for people with pre-existing conditions. And that has created a predicament for Republicans like Senator Cory Gardner who has voted repeatedly to repeal the law…

…This ad is meant to convince you Cory Gardner is sincere about his promise to protect people with preexisting conditions… Problem is, unlike the protections in the law he wants to repeal, his protections don’t go far enough.



Via Politifact (9/18/20)

Politifact is out with a new fact check on legislation being promoted by Senator Cory Gardner’s campaign that has already been blown to bits by local fact checkers.

Despite spending his entire career railing (and voting) against the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Gardner is campaigning on a 117-word bill that he introduced in late July that is intended to give the impression that he is doing something serious about protecting pre-existing medical conditions. The reason is simple: Protecting pre-existing medical conditions is popular with voters, and Gardner is not.

Rather than concentrate on a TV spot from Gardner’s campaign about his legislation regarding pre-existing medical conditions, Politifact instead skips straight to the meat of the discussion: Does Gardner’s bill do what he says it would do?

A campaign spokesperson reiterated in an email that Gardner’s goal is “to guarantee coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions and ensure they cannot be charged more as a result of their underlying medical conditions.”

Thomas Miller, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C., quipped that the main goal might be something else entirely.

“It’s probably about 100 words too long,” Miller said. “It could have said, ‘I’m running for election. I’ll do whatever is necessary.’” [Pols emphasis]

Politifact’s ultimate ruling is consistent with what other news outlets have discovered: Gardner’s bill is crap.

Because protecting people with medical conditions requires many moving parts, the brevity of Gardner’s proposal makes it appear to be a fig leaf for a political problem rather than a means to guarantee protections for people with preexisting conditions. [Pols emphasis]

The legislation is unclear on whether it guarantees that people with health problems will be able to buy insurance in the first place. And, even if they can, they may well find it priced out of reach because the legislation does not bar insurers from varying premiums widely on the basis of age, gender or occupation.

Viewed in its most favorable light, Gardner’s 117-word proposal would only serve as a place holder for larger legislation, upon which more protections would have to be layered to bolster the effectiveness of its guarantee.

In an effort to defend Gardner, his campaign spokespeople have been working really hard to move the goalposts in describing “things that are true.” A spokesperson tells Politifact above that Gardner’s “goal” is to “guarantee coverage for individuals with preexisting conditions and ensure they cannot be charged more as a result of their underlying medical conditions.” That’s a cute bit of wordplay about a “goal” that skips past the fact that this is not what Gardner’s legislation would actually accomplish.

Responding to a Fox 31 News “truth check“, a Gardner spokesperson said, “Insurers would be required to take on and cover individuals with pre-existing conditions no matter what happens to Obamacare.” That’s not what health policy experts say. But our favorite Gardner campaign narrative came in response to a 9News “Truth Test” about his pre-existing conditions TV spot:

In an email, Gardner’s campaign spokeswoman defended the bill.

“One thing is 100% true: Cory Gardner authored the bill and he says it guarantees coverage, which means insurers would be required to cover and take on individuals with pre-existing conditions,” wrote spokeswoman Meghan Graf.

It is 100% true that Gardner authored the bill! It is 100% true that Gardner “says” it guarantees coverage! It is 100% true that Gardner is an actual U.S. Senator!

Here’s one more thing that is true: Gardner’s pre-existing medical conditions stunt is not working.

The Death of RBG and the SCOTUS Battle Ahead

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

The news came late on Friday of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG). Soon afterward, stories began swirling about the political impact of a Supreme Court (SCOTUS) vacancy just six weeks before Election Day. There is a LOT of news to unpack after a weekend flurry of reports and updates, so we’re breaking it down — Q&A style — into smaller bites of information to aid in digestion.


Q: Before We Get to the Political Stuff, What About the Memorial Service?

The body of Justice Ginsberg will lie in repose outside the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday. A private internment service will take place some time next week at Arlington National Cemetery.


Q: How Soon Will President Trump Nominate a New Justice?

Very soon. Trump says that he will announce a nominee by the end of this week and is encouraging the Senate to act quickly on completing the nomination process before Election Day.


Q: But What About Ginsberg’s Final Request?

According to RBG’s family, here’s her final statement: “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new President is installed.”

President Trump wasn’t going to worry about this anyway, but on Monday he suggested that RBG’s last words were written by Democrats. So, not only is Trump going to ignore RBG’s final wish — he’s going to pretend it never happened.



Trump’s Kisses of Death Rain Down on Cory Gardner

Here’s President Donald Trump speaking today with his favorite Fox and Friends in a clip eagerly shared by Colorado Democrats, assuring the morning agit-prop faithful that Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado is fully on board with jamming another U.S Supreme Court Justice into Trump’s legacy:

TRUMP: I think it’s going to help. I think it’s going to help Cory, I do. I think it’s going to help Cory Gardner. He’s a great guy by the way and very, very loyal to the party and loyal [to his state].

With that, the expectation is set at the very top! If Gardner “goes squish” now, the 30% of Colorado voters ready to follow Trump to whatever America looks like on the other side turn on him. That’s a scenario wherein Gardner experiences a small moral redemption on the way to certain defeat. The far more likely outcome, of course, is that Gardner recites his own version of Mitch McConnell’s talking points and does exactly what he’s told.

“Very, very loyal to the party.” You’re not going to see that in any pro-Gardner advertising.

The GMS Podcast: Sen. Leroy Garcia Gets More Smarter

Senate President Leroy Garcia (D-Pueblo)

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, we talk with Colorado Senate President Leroy Garcia about Pueblo politics, CO-3 candidates, and green chiles.

Your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii also discuss a new poll showing what lots of other polls are showing: Trump and Gardner are losing by double digits and progressives and their policy positions are popular! President Trump knowingly lied about the coronavirus and has blood on his hands (including that of 2,000 Coloradans); and Cory Gardner still hasn’t said jack about it. We also find Cory auditioning for his next career as a luxury car washer and revisit some more old political slogans to see if there’s any wisdom in them.

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

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Monday Open Thread

“The whole life of an American is passed like a game of chance, a revolutionary crisis, or a battle.”

–Alexis de Tocqueville