Get More Smarter on Tuesday (September 3)

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TOP OF MIND TODAY…

As the Associated Press reports, lawmakers are making a renewed push to ban high-capacity magazines for firearms as Congress approaches the end of its August recess:

Nine states, including Colorado, have passed laws restricting magazine capacity to 10 to 15 bullets, and the Democratic-led U.S. House plans to consider a similar ban at the federal level in the coming weeks.

In arguing for the bans, politicians, experts and gun-control advocates point out that in the time it takes for a driver to wait through a stop light, a shooter with a 100-round magazine can kill and injure dozens of people.

The man who opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, last month killed nine people and injured 27 others in only 30 seconds, in part because of the 100-bullet drum attached to his rifle. It only took 85 seconds for a gunman to empty several 30-round magazines at an IHOP in Carson City, Nevada, killing four people and injuring 14 in 2011.

Authorities have not released any information on the accessories the gunman in Odessa, Texas, used over the weekend when he opened fire on police and bystanders with an AR-style weapon.

Seven people were killed and at least 22 injured in Saturday’s shooting in Odessa, Texas. Senate Majority Leader “Moscow” Mitch McConnell says that he will only allow a vote on new gun safety measures in the U.S. Senate with the approval of President Trump.

Meanwhile, as CNN reports, America’s largest retailer is making a big move on gun safety:

Walmart on Tuesday announced it will reduce its gun and ammunition sales, one month after more than 20 people were killed in a mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. Walmart also pressured Congress to enact gun safety measures.

The company, America’s largest retailer, said it will stop selling handgun ammunition and ammunition for short-barrel rifles after selling all of its current inventory. Walmart (WMT) will also stop selling handguns in Alaska, the only state where it still sells handguns. And Walmart will request that customers no longer openly carry guns into its 4,700 US stores, or its Sam’s Club stores, in states that allow open carry.

However, Walmart will continue to sell long barrel deer rifles and shotguns and much of the ammunition for those guns. Walmart will also continue to allow concealed carry by customers with permits in its stores. 

 

► The El Paso County Republican Party is in tatters.

 

► There are a lot of things that you can and should be outraged about. This is not one of those things.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Bernie’s Coming To Shore Up Colorado

Courtesy Bernie Sanders’ Dank Meme Stash.

9NEWS reported Saturday:

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders is holding a rally in Denver in two weeks.

Reservations are recommended, his website says.

This will be Sanders’ first visit to Colorado during the 2020 campaign, which will hold its presidential primary on Super Tuesday, March 3, 2020, an email from the Sanders campaign said.

The recent Emerson poll of the Democratic presidential primary field put Bernie Sanders ahead of Joe Biden by a statistically insignificant single point, with Elizabeth Warren rapidly closing on them both with 20% support. Bernie won the Colorado caucus in 2016 and has a strong base of support on the Colorado Democratic Party’s left flank, but with most of the momentum in recent months consisting of Warren’s support growing while Sanders remains relatively static, a Sanders win in Colorado on Super Tuesday is by no means assured.

So we’ll be watching to see what Civic Center Park looks like when Bernie takes the stage a week from today.

A GOP Radio Host Asks His Listeners Why They Dislike Gardner

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

A conservative radio host asked a question I’ve been wanting to hear on the conservative air waves for years: Why do so many Republicans dislike U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) so much?

“So many of you have texted over the last year. So many of you have called in. So many of you emailed in. ‘How dare you even call [Gardner] your friend,'” KNUS radio host Steffan Tubbs told his audience last week.

“Why don’t you like him?,” asked Tubbs on air.

The responses flowed in from his listeners:

Gardner hasn’t been honest with people. ..If he were passionate about just one thing, I wouldn’t be such a frustrated conservative. …He’s missed so many opportunities to stand up for conservatives and Trump. …

Wishy washy Charlie Brown; at least have some principles. …Sick of his goofy smiling face. He needs to be more serious.

His responses are canned. …He is too reluctant to take stands on issues. …He’s a fake conservative — needs to stop running to the middle. …He did not show up to be with Trump at the Air Force Academy

Gardner hasn’t been honest with people. …Generic responses to constituent concerns. …He dodges on issues by saying that any given issue is a “local decision.” …The man leads on NOTHING!

When Gardner got to Washington, he was bought and paid for by big-money donors, not guys like me. …I’d prefer former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo — men of courage, honor and principles. …I’m disappointed in Cory because he supports the DREAM Act

Gardner needs to Cowboy up and quit being a city slicker. …Needs a backbone. …He’s trying to juggle four balloons. …He needs to start pounding the podium. …Empty suit. …I’m tired of holding my nose and voting for people.

On Friday, Tubbs told Gardner on air that many of his listeners are super upset with him, and he got a response from Gardner to a couple of the gripes.

Tubbs told Gardner that his listeners want him to express his opinions about Trump, even if he disagrees, instead of sitting in silence.

“Well, look, I’ve made it clear on things I disagree with the president about. I don’t think I’ve tried to hide those areas,” replied Gardner, citing his opposition to tariffs, which he’s actually hedged on.

“I am a far from perfect person”

“I am far from a perfect person,” said Gardner. “You can ask my wife about that. But I do work each and every day for the people of this state and that’s what I am going to continue to do.”

Tubbs asked Gardner to respond to the accusation that “there’s no passion there.”

“There’s a time for everything, I suppose,” replied Gardner on air. “…Coloradans deserve respect, and they deserve somebody who is going to try to provide that respect to the people of this state–and try to be civil and try to be somebody who is providing, I hope, to provide a calm voice in what is a pretty divisive time right now. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

Tuesday Open Thread


“Behind every failure is an opportunity somebody wishes they had missed.”

–Lily Tomlin

Outrage Fatigue: Get a Grip, Cattlemen


The latest threat to liberty.

As the Denver Post’s Nic Garcia reports this burger-grilling Labor Day:

Gov. Jared Polis has rattled some farmers and ranchers with his suggestion that Colorado help its agriculture industry get a foothold in the burgeoning plant-based meat alternative market.

Beef is big business in Colorado. It’s the state’s largest export, totaling nearly $4 billion. So the mere idea that the state could put resources toward the competition has upset industry leaders. What’s more, it’s not a practical idea, some experts say…

“What we can’t and shouldn’t change is that Colorado is a very unique place for beef production,” said Terry R. Fankhauser, vice president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. “To have a governor make any sort of reference that we shouldn’t embrace and support that is problematic.”

2019 has been the year in which Colorado Republicans have positively thrown the kitchen sink at Democrats from Gov. Jared Polis on down, seeking to gin up outrage after Democrats triumphed in the 2018 elections leaving the GOP with its rumpiest of rump minorities since the era of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After Gov. Polis and the Democratic majority in the legislature destroyed the oil and gas industry, taught your children to go gay, and passed a law so that anyone who doesn’t like your car’s bumper stickers can take your guns–of course Polis is coming for your beef burgers next. Of course he is!

Here in our safe space for reality, though, where we know that the oil and gas industry is doing fine, the kids are whatever they’re born to be, and the state’s new extreme risk protection order law absolutely does not target anyone over their choice of bumper stickers, when somebody says that Gov. Polis is trying to destroy the beef industry by supporting agribusiness’ pursuit of meatless protein products like the “Impossible Whopper,” we’re more than a little skeptical.

This might seem obvious to you, but it’s apparently not to the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association so we’ll review: in an era when the global consumption of beef along with food of every kind is skyrocketing and billions of new hungry people are being born, food production is not a zero-sum game. There is a market for every single juicy all-beef patty produced by Colorado cattle feedlots and for all the meatless protein made by funky genetically-engineered yeast (look it up) the world can produce too. And there will continue to be a burgeoning market for all of these products for the rest of our lives unless something very bad happens.

So do you think, maybe just once, Gov. Polis could do something completely inoffensive like promoting Colorado agriculture and not have a bunch of Republicans in cowboy hats freak out? This endless over-the-top drama gets really, really tiresome. It was tiresome six months ago.

Maybe after the recall fails things will become less silly.

Oh, No Joe! Fox 31 Reporter Falls Hard for Gardner Scam


UPDATE #2: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark masticates and spits the pitiful spin:

Pretty much exactly this, folks.

—–

UPDATE: As an eagle-eyed reader points out, there are 69 total events listed in the Fox 31/KDVR story…including at least 6 8 9 duplicates and one birthday party. Here are those duplicates listed side-by-side:

Colorado State Fair Parade – Pueblo – Pueblo
State Fair Parade

Legislative BBQ – Pueblo – Pueblo
Legislative BBQ

Meeting with Pueblo GOP Women – Pueblo – Pueblo
Pueblo Republican Women Meet and Greet

Foothills GOP event – Littleton – Jefferson
Foothills Republican BBQ

Teller County GOP Event – Woodland Park – Teller
Big Tent Event- Teller County

Picnic – Golden – Jefferson
HD 23/24 Picnic

Larimer County GOP Meet and Greet – Fort Collins – Larimer
Larimer County GOP Meet and Greet

Boulder County GOP Meet and Greet – Boulder – Boulder
Boulder County GOP Meet and Greet

GOP Meet and Greet – Aspen – Pitkin
Pitkin GOP Meet and Greet

And here is the “birthday party”:

Gardner Birthday Party in Yuma

How is this a “public event?” In lieu of gifts, bring policy questions!

—–

Sen. Cory Gardner (top left), Fox 31 Reporter Joe St. George, and piles of Nigerian gold

Most people fundamentally understand that they are unlikely to receive millions of dollars worth of gold in exchange for the low, low price of $1,000. Yet the Nigerian Prince/Letter scam — also known as “419” fraud or an “advance-fee scam” — remains in existence more than a decade after it first appeared because it still works often enough to be profitable. Last year alone, Americans were bilked out of at least $700,000 after responding to an unsolicited email message from a mysterious “Nigerian prince.”

Sadly, this sort of scam also works in politics from time to time. Today Joe St. George of Fox 31 News bit embarrassingly hard on a ridiculous bit of spin from the office of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) that other news outlets have already dismissed as nonsense. Be prepared to cringe:

If you are a follower of #copolitics on social media you have likely seen the accusation that Senator Cory Gardner is hiding.

“Cardboard Cory” is a popular meme on Twitter with Democrats accusing Gardner of not taking questions from constituents.

While Gardner has not hosted a large scale townhall in Denver this year — featuring widespread publicity in advance like other GOP candidates have done over the years– Gardner is not in hiding.

A review of Senator Gardner’s schedule shows he has actually hosted more than 50 events throughout the state in August — giving the candidate for reelection in 2020 a chance to interact with thousands of Coloradoans.

Oh, boy. St. George goes on to list a full page of “events” in which Gardner supposedly appeared in public during the month of August. Team Gardner tried this exact spin with the Greeley Tribune last week but were rebuffed:

In fact, the Gardner office informed the Greeley Tribune on Tuesday afternoon the real Gardner would be in Greeley that very same day, touring a pair of food production facilities in town. The public was not invited to either event, but the newspaper was invited, without cameras, to join the senator as he toured Hungenberg Produce. [Pols emphasis]

A few days after this story appeared, the editorial board of the Greeley Tribune reaffirmed Gardner’s inaccessibility:

…it’s also true Gardner has been largely absent during the past five years when it comes to being available for his constituents, to whom he needs to be accountable.

His own office couldn’t even recall his last appearance in a town hall-like setting. Instead, they provided the Tribune a list of events Gardner had appeared at in the past few months, most of which were private or were the sort of public appearances, like walking tours, that don’t actually give voters the kind of access the “Cardboard Cory” folks have been asking for. [Pols emphasis]

Walking tours provide a great photo opportunity, but they don’t allow constituents to directly interact with Gardner, and that’s especially true when the tour hasn’t been advertised or put on some kind of schedule to which the public has access.

That’s what the “Cardboard Cory” tour is really seeking, scheduled events at which they have direct access to their Senator. We don’t think that’s an unreasonable expectation.

Team Gardner also managed to fool Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver into reporting about the Senator’s non-existent “town hall” events, but at least Boyd’s inaccurate mention was a throwaway line at the end of a separate story.

What is doubly weird about this blunder by St. George is that he appeared to know better. Just last week we praised St. George in this space for conducting an interview with Gardner in which he specifically asked the Senator about why he was refusing to hold public events. Now, just 10 days later, St. George is carrying a completely different message on Gardner’s behalf.

It’s inexplicable…and quite embarrassing.

GOP Chaos in CO Springs Could Hamper GOP Comeback Effort

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Dave Williams (R).

The mysterious implosion of the county GOP party in Colorado Springs may hamper Republican efforts to fortify itself against a blue wave that appears to be heading our way again next year.

With so many of the state’s Republicans congregated in El Paso (157,208 registered Republican voters), and the rapidly growing number of Trump-hating independents and Democrats pooling in previously-thought-of swing areas of the state, the GOP must orchestrate a phenomenal turnout of voters around Colorado Springs–or it has little chance of winning Colorado’s U.S Senate race next year, say analysts.

Hence, the importance of having a functional Republican Party entity in El Paso.

So the sudden resignation Tamra Farah, the leader of El Paso’s Republican Party, less than ten days before their biggest fundraiser of the year and amid allegations that leading donors refused to work with her, is certainly a cause for concern among Colorado Republicans across the state.

Tension among leaders of the Republican Party in El Paso, which includes Colorado Springs, has been evident for many years, but GOP infighting “came to a head” in recent months, State Rep. Dave Williams (R-CO Springs) told KNUS, a conservative radio station, Wednesday.

“I put this squarely at the feet of the establishment,” said Williams on air, referring moneyed Republicans who generally support more moderate candidates.

Williams alleged that establishment Republicans initially supported Farah but backed off, but he wouldn’t name the individuals involved.

“This is not a grassroots problem,” said Williams on air, referring to the faction of the Republican Party that backs more right-leaning candidates and usually has less financial backing.

“I don’t think [Farah] wanted to play games anymore with helping out insiders and their friends and their buddies,” said Williams on KNUS.

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Colorado Week in Review: 8/30/19


NPV Repeal Makes 2020 Ballot–But Will It Even Matter?


As the Colorado Independent reports:

The Secretary of State on Thursday certified that petitioners opposed to Colorado’s participation in the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact have collected enough signatures to place the matter on the November 2020 ballot.

This is a direct challenge to a bill passed earlier this year and signed into law by Democratic Gov. Jared Polis. The bill provoked a significant party-line fight at the Capitol, during which Democrats — who control the state House and Senate — expended much more political capital than they’d planned for. Republicans seeking to recall Polis and various Democratic lawmakers have alleged the bill is a key example of overreach during the past session.

According to the Secretary of State, Colorado hasn’t seen a state law challenged on the ballot since 1932, when voters overturned a tax on margarine.

That the ballot measure challenging this year’s National Popular Vote Interstate Compact law adopted by Colorado received enough signatures to make the 2020 ballot should come as a surprise to no one. In marked contrast to the recall petition drives underway showing little sign of success, backers of the NPV repeal initiative excitedly kept the press informed about their progress and turned in well over the required number.

Since the campaign to repeal the NPV Compact in Colorado got started last spring, we’ve been frank about the likelihood that its solidly Republican proponents would succeed in their petition drive, and be better served politically to organize around this effort than with recall campaigns against legislators in a few small districts. Since then, however, the debate over NPV has become cluttered with external factors like the recent federal court ruling in favor of so-called “faithless electors.” At the same time, the national NPV push appears to have stalled with several states having defeated their attempts to join the compact. As of this writing it’s very unlikely that the NPV Compact would be in effect for the 2020 elections, and even if it were it may not be enforceable against the wishes of Colorado electors.

Donald Trump.

And as we’ve said before, if NPV remains a partisan question in a state about to reject President Donald Trump on the same ballot, the repeal measure’s prospects are dim no matter how many Republican signatures they received.

To all of that uncertainty, here’s another twist–a column in Politico published Wednesday just ahead of the NPV question in Colorado making the ballot, by Republicans arguing that the National Popular Vote Compact is necessary for that party in the long term as well:

In the wake of the 2016 election, when Democrats lost the presidential election but won the popular vote for the second time in 20 years, it’s easy to understand why momentum to abolish the Electoral College once again gathered on the left. It’s not so easy to understand, though, why Republicans have become so committed against the idea of a national popular vote in response. [Pols emphasis]

The Denver Post recently reported that Republican Sen. Cory Gardner actually donated $50,000 to an effort to withdraw Colorado via a referendum from the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The compact is an agreement that state legislatures have voted to join that would pool the electoral votes from among the participating states. Once the 270-vote threshold has been reached between those participating states, they would award all of those votes to whoever wins the popular vote across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Fifteen reliably blue states, plus the District of Columbia, have joined the compact since 2006, but it has not been as popular among Republicans—perhaps because of some kind of partisan loyalty to the Electoral College.

That loyalty is misguided, though. From a practical standpoint, moving to a national popular vote may well be the best way, and perhaps the only way, for Republicans to have a reasonable chance of winning the White House in 2020 and beyond. That’s because, despite President Donald Trump’s widely unexpected 2016 electoral victory, there is no red state advantage in the Electoral College. And things are going to look much, much worse for the GOP’s chances with the Electoral College if red Texas, along with the battleground state of Florida, move to purple or blue in the coming years.

This column makes a convincing argument that with large states like Texas and Florida steadily moving leftward, the still-large bloc of GOP voters in those states could save a Republican presidential candidate in a nationwide popular vote–voters whose voices are completely lost in today’s 50%+1 winner-take-all system. Which, we should add, has been the status quo for Republican voters in Colorado too in the last several presidential elections.

Like the panic over “faithless electors,” there’s a simple resolution: just make every voter’s vote equal.

Gardner Cites New Bipartisanship Report That Ignores All His Votes and Stances on Issues

Invisible Cory Gardner(Did someone change the definition of “bipartisan”? Did we miss that? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) issued a news release Wednesday about a new report showing Gardner to be “one of the most bipartisan Senators” in Congress.

It turns out the report, produced by Quorum Analytics, a software company, looks at one narrow set of data: the number of bills Gardner co-sponsored with a Democrat as the lead sponsor.

Nothing else was taken into consideration, not Gardner’s actual votes, not the significance, impact, or symbolism of the co-sponsored legislation, not his official stances on issues, like guns, climate change, healthcare, and abortion.

Quorum spokeswoman Theresa Hebert said her company is not judging Gardner or any lawmaker but simply demonstrating the “value of our software with the statistics that we have at our disposal to show what’s going on in Congress.”

Asked if she thought Quorum’s report was too narrow and easily manipulated, Hebert said, “There are certainly other ways that you can measure [bipartisanship]. We are specifically looking at that data set. It’s certainly not the only one you could use.”

Gardner issued the news release, titled “Quorum Highlights Senator Gardner’s Strong Bipartisan Record,” and tweet citing the Quorum data.

“Colorado is a fiercely independent state,” said Gardner in the news release. “We judge ideas based on how they will affect the Centennial State, not by the letter that is next to someone’s name. Coloradans expect our elected officials to work across the aisle for the good of our entire state. I’m proud of my bipartisan record of results for Colorado, and I will always place the people of Colorado first.”

Gardner’s news release also cited his fifth-place ranking, earlier this year, by the Lugar Center, as Washington DC think tank, that also used bipartisan co-sponsorships as the basis for a more in-depth analysis.

Asked for his views on Lugar’s report, Norman Ornstein, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, said he’s “not a fan of using cosponsorship as an indicator; it is a symbolic gesture for the vast majority of bills.”

When DC Comes Calling: How Quickly They Forget


Andrew Romanoff and would-be 2014 CD-6 primary opponent Karen Middleton.

As the intraparty tempest following the entry into the Democratic U.S. Senate primary of former Gov. John Hickenlooper continues apace today, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s (DSCC) choice to endorse Hickenlooper from the outset in the race over a slate of lesser-known candidates continues to provoke debate, former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff is controversially slamming both Hickenlooper and Washington Democrats as morally equivalent to the Republican incumbent all sides say is the real target:

Two news stories broke today. One shows some of the nation’s most powerful corporate interests are bankrolling not only Cory Gardner’s campaign but also the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The second story shows the DSCC has spent the past six months blackballing our campaign—threatening to punish any firm that does business with us.

Why? Because I’m fighting for a Green New Deal and Medicare for All—priorities that don’t sit well with the party bosses and powerbrokers in DC…

The issue of whether national party strategists should endorse primary candidates based on their estimation of general election viability is of course perennially fraught in both parties. We’ll let readers reckon that moral question for themselves–we prefer to go case-by-case. But aside from the scorched-earth language Romanoff in particular continues to use, likening Hickenlooper and national Democrats he would presumably need as the nominee to the Republican in the race, there’s something important missing from this latest round of indignation.

Back in 2014, as the Denver Post’s Allison Sherry reported almost two years before that election in January of 2013, Romanoff was himself chosen by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) to end the CD-6 Democratic primary for a seat critical to national strategy that year:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wasn’t shy Tuesday in talking about how much they want a Romanoff-Coffman 2014 ticket.

“Mike Coffman’s Tea Party approach puts him out of step with voters in the district, and a candidate like Andrew Romanoff would present voters with a real opportunity to elect a leader whose values match theirs and who will protect the middle class,” said DCCC spokeswoman Emily Bittner.

By the end of the following month, February of 2013, all of the potential primary challengers to Romanoff in his ill-fated run for CD-6 in 2014 were unceremoniously out of the race. Romanoff ran unopposed for the CD-6 nomination, and went on to lose to Republican Rep. Mike Coffman by 9 points. It may be true that in both 2010 and now ahead of 2020, Romanoff was passed over for support by Washington, D.C. Democrats for another candidate–but in between those two events, in 2014, Romanoff benefited from exactly the same “favoritism” he’s mad about today.

We can’t be the only ones who remember this. Call it another past-due reality check.

What’s Next for Democrats Who Missed Debate Cut?


Tom Steyer

The field of candidates for the next Democratic Presidential debate is set, with 10 hopefuls invited to the stage in Houston on September 12.

Several candidates who failed to meet the threshold to qualify for the Houston debate — 130,000 individual donors and a 2% polling average in at least four DNC-approved polls — have exited the race. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand became the latest candidate to bow out on Wednesday.

Missing the September debate is a big blow for candidates such as Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, but it isn’t necessarily a death knell for 2020 aspirations. For those candidates who remain in the race (as of today), who is the most likely to withstand the September shunning and continue to run a competitive campaign?

As always, we want to know what you THINK, not who you support or would prefer to see successful. Cast your vote after the jump below…

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Polis ‘Splains Global Energy Economy To COGA, COGA Freaks Out


Gov. Jared Polis (D).

The Denver Post’s John Aguilar reports on a delightful and long-overdue showdown between Gov. Jared Polis and the Colorado Oil and Gas Association yesterday, which culminated in Gov. Polis giving attendees at COGA’s annual meeting a remedial run-through of the state of global energy markets and oil prices in particular that left industry flacks, hacks, and shills with their jaws agape at the galling effrontery of it all:

Gov. Jared Polis told a large gathering of energy workers and executives Wednesday that what happens in oil-rich Venezuela and Russia — and in global commodity markets far and wide — has more bearing on the industry’s future in Colorado than do the potential effects of a sweeping and controversial state oil and gas bill passed earlier this year.

“Commodities pricing and the market is what drives things,” Polis said during a question and answer session with Colorado Oil and Gas Association President Dan Haley during a packed luncheon at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver. “It has nothing to do with me, nothing to do with — well you know — our state politics and less even to do with national politics. It really has to do with supply and demand.”

But many in the room felt that emphasizing market forces over the effects of new regulations on energy extraction brought about by Senate Bill 181 was disingenuous on the part of the governor…

The Colorado Sun’s John Frank and Mark Jaffe, oh my!

“Well you know, I happen to be a Democrat so I worry much more about Trump’s tariffs and their impact on the infrastructure for the oil and gas industry and other industries, the closing down of overseas markets, the damage to the workforce readiness that he’s done with cracking down on immigration. So you can choose which side you worry about the economic threats from, but obviously I’m much more worried about who is president today than who will be president in a couple years,” Polis responded.

A moment later, after Polis rejected the suggestion that government regulation has the power to move markets, contradicting some economists, Haley asked the governor the question that served as the title for the conference session: “Can you still drill for oil in a blue state?”

“It’s just a silly question,” Polis said, adding that “it’s a geological question, it’s not a political question.” [Pols emphasis]

The Denver Business Journal’s Greg Avery–it’s just downright heresy!

“As long as commodity prices are good, you’re going to have a good business,” said Polis, a Boulder Democrat. “It has nothing to do with me, or very little.” [Pols emphasis]

…Polis’ remarks sounded outrageous to some. Barbara Kirkmeyer, Weld County Commissioner and a vocal supporter of the oil industry, afterward said she didn’t think the governor was being genuine when he said industry jobs are important.

“Telling oil operators about economics and then mocking?” Kirkmeyer said. “That’s unreal to me.”

Ever since the passage of Senate Bill 19-181 in the Colorado General Assembly this year, opponents have warned of dire consequences for the fossil fuel industry, lost jobs, and massive declines in oil and gas production. These warnings were never well-grounded in reality, especially after a host of amendments were made to the bill to placate the industry late in the legislative process. Dan Haley of COGA himself admitted that the bill would not have the destructive impact some opponents had irrationally forecast, the industry has continued to expand in key producing regions, and Barbara Kirkmeyer’s avowedly pro-oil Weld County just signed an agreement with the state to ensure a backlog of permit requests panic-filed during last year’s fight over Proposition 112 are processed quickly.

So, there’s that. But more importantly, Gov. Polis is absolutely right that the economics of drilling for oil and gas in Colorado and everywhere else are set by global energy markets, not by local regulations. Currently the price of oil is hovering between $55 and $60 a barrel, having recovered somewhat from a plunge at the beginning of 2019 to as low as $45 a barrel. Persistently high oil prices from 2010-14 ($80-$110) drove expansion of drilling in Colorado under Gov. John Hickenlooper, and the current low price of oil represents a vastly greater threat to the profitability of drilling here than any regulatory factor.

This is not liberal propaganda. It’s Energy Economics 101.

That energy industry bigwigs attending the COGA conference yesterday became so incensed over this reality check from Gov. Polis is more an indicator of long-term concerns about the viability of the fossil fuel industry than it is a reaction to any genuine impact of SB-181. When Polis tells them that if commodity prices support drilling, drilling will happen, he is right. And if the economics support drilling in Colorado, drillers can afford to follow rules to protect public health and safety.

We’ve remarked previously about the odd, almost religious devotion the fossil fuel industry demands from the political establishment in Colorado, backed up by a potent electoral operation and perfectly willing to mount wildly destructive attacks on the entire system like 2018’s Amendment 74. Popping that bubble makes the industry’s backers very upset, but that’s all Polis did yesterday–with facts no one can deny.