The Circle of Strife: Republicans Set Sail in Separate Leaky Boats

UPDATE: Going great!

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[Pols Note: This is Part Two of a three-part series]

Oh Captains, My Captains!

In part one of “The Circle of Strife,” we covered the ongoing feud between the El Paso County Republican Party and the State Republican Party. On Tuesday evening, the State GOP voted by a 139-123.8 margin (yes, 123.8) to allow a neutral group of observers to oversee the Feb. 11 election for new officers in El Paso County. The reason for this unprecedented vote is because of concerns that two-term El Paso Chair Vickie Tonkins (who is also seeking re-election) is trying to rig the election in her favor. 

This is not a new accusation – similar charges were made when Tonkins was re-elected in 2021 – but the El Paso GOP is so mad about being bigfooted by its statewide siblings that it filed a lawsuit against the State Party to stop the influence of a “neutral group of observers.” Meanwhile, accusations of election interference are also being made in Adams County regarding Chairperson JoAnn Windholz

While these battles are fascinating on their own, they are also part of a longer trend for Colorado Republicans that goes back more than a decade. It isn’t the GOP’s neverending circular firing squad that is solely responsible for recent election losses; but when you understand the history of these conflicts, it’s easy to wonder how Republicans even have the time or energy to worry about Democrats.

The timeline we reconstructed below begins in January 2019, but Republican leadership problems go much further back. For instance, the “Coffmangate” scandal of 2015 was as wild and ridiculous as anything Colorado Republicans have done since. The short version of “Coffmangate” is that a handful of powerful Republicans – including then-Attorney General Cynthia Coffman – attempted to overthrow State Republican Party Chair Steve House just three months after his election to the post. The scandal included some pretty believable stories of blackmail, which made it national news throughout the summer of 2015.

January 2019 was a pivotal time for the State Republican Party. The 2018 election had been devastating to Republicans both because of the results and because of the shattering of expectations that had grown after Donald Trump’s Presidential election in 2016. Democrat Jared Polis trounced Republican Walker Stapleton in the race for Governor by nearly 11 points; Democrats won all four statewide constitutional offices for the first time in modern history; Republicans lost six seats in the state legislature; and Democratic newcomer Jason Crow ousted longtime Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in CO-06 by an 11-point margin.

The 2022 election was dubbed by one Republican as “an extinction-level event.”

Then-State GOP Chair Jeff Hays was wrapping up a disappointing two-year term by promising not to seek re-election. Colorado Republicans SHOULD have been introspective about their 2018 performance and looking to chart a different path forward ahead of the 2020 election cycle, where they would be trying to re-elect the last remaining well-known Republican in Colorado (Sen. Cory Gardner). Instead, the GOP went with a new leader who only worked at the job of Chair when he had time away from his regular job of serving in Congress. Naturally, a part-time effort generated half-assed results. 

In May 2020, we chronicled Rep. Ken Buck’s disastrous first year as State Chair. In that same spirit, here’s a broader timeline of the many, many, many Republican missteps that brought them to their current “Circle of Strife.” 

As you’ll see below, there is one consistent commonality among all of the personalities involved with the Colorado Republican Party: Regret, rinse, and repeat. Republican leaders keep making the same mistakes by appealing to the right-wing for short-term gains and then finding themselves flummoxed when that same group creates a whole new batch of problems.

 

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Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Dec. 20)

It’s about to get really freaking cold in Colorado. Like, dangerously cold. Bundle up, people! 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.

 

FIRST UP…

 

State Republican Party Chairperson Kristi Burton Brown announced on Monday that she will not seek another term after leading the GOP to its worst election year defeat in generations. As The Colorado Sun reports in its “Unaffiliated” newsletter, there’s a new name who could be interested in half-assing the job for the 2024 cycle:

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams, a fierce gun rights advocate and familiar face at Republican events, is strongly considering running next year to become the Colorado GOP’s next state party chair.

Reams told The Colorado Sun on Monday there’s a greater than 50% chance he makes a bid for the job when the Colorado Republican Party votes for a new leader in March, but that he still has “some work to do to convince myself fully.”

Reams was reelected Nov. 8 to a third four-year term as sheriff, meaning he would have to balance his position as sheriff with the demands of being state party chair. That’s his biggest consideration in weighing whether to make a party chair bid. U.S. Rep. Ken Buck served as party chair from 2019 to 2021 while he was also a congressman.

Colorado Republicans lost every statewide race in 2022 by at least 10 points; lost a new Congressional seat in CO-08; and fell further into minority party status in the state legislature. What Republicans definitely need now is a new leader who already has a full-time job and can’t devote 100% of his time to being GOP Party Chair. Here’s how well that approach worked when Congressman Ken Buck tried doing two jobs at once in the 2020 cycle.

Reams says he will decide by the end of the year whether to run for Party Chair, where there are a handful of perennial losers lining up for the job. Casper Stockham, who loses political campaigns like children lose baby teeth, is running once again to be State Party Chair. Two-time gubernatorial loser Greg Lopez is also apparently looking at running, as is outgoing Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters (who might well be in prison by next summer); outgoing State Rep. Dave Williams (who lost a Republican Primary in CO-05 in June); and Holly Osborne Horn (who managed Attorney General candidate John Kellner’s debacle of a campaign in 2022).

In fairness, Republicans would probably prefer a candidate for State Chair who has not recently lost a campaign of some sort, but those people don’t really exist.

 

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection referred Donald Trump and several associates to the Justice Department for prosecution on Monday. Republicans who have always rushed to Trump’s defense have been noticeably silent this week, as The Associated Press reports:

The Republican Party quickly and forcefully rallied behind Donald Trump in the hours after federal agents seized classified documents from his Florida estate this summer.

Four months later, that sense of intensity and urgency was missing — at least for now — after the Jan. 6 House committee voted to recommend the Justice Department bring criminal charges against him. Leading Republicans largely avoided the historic criminal referral Monday, while others pressed to weigh in offered muted defenses — or none at all.

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell called for “an immediate and thorough explanation” after the FBI executed the August search warrant at Mar-a-Lago. On Monday, he told reporters he had only one “immediate observation” about the criminal referral: “The entire nation knows who is responsible for that day.” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who called for Attorney General Merrick Garland’s resignation in the wake of the search, was silent on the committee’s referral, focusing instead on alleged FBI missteps…

…The divergent responses are a sign of how quickly the political landscape has shifted for Trump as he faces a new legal threat and mounts a third bid for the presidency. It’s a marked change for a party that has been defined, above all, by its unconditional loyalty to Trump under any and all circumstances for the last six years.

 

Regents at the University of Colorado are finally calling a spade a spade, as Elizabeth Hernandez reports for The Denver Post:

The chair of the University of Colorado’s Board of Regents called John Eastman “an embarrassment” Monday and said the elected board respects the ability of the Justice Department to weigh the Jan. 6 committee’s request that the attorney be prosecuted in connection with the Capitol insurrection.

Eastman was employed by CU Boulder as the visiting scholar of conservative thought and policy at the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization while he was advising President Donald Trump on how to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

On Monday, the House Jan. 6 committee recommended to the Department of Justice that Trump be charged with violating four criminal statutes, including aiding an insurrection, and that Eastman be prosecuted on two of the same statutes as Trump: conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstructing an official proceeding…

…CU Regent Chair Lesley Smith, an at-large Democrat, issued a new statement Monday on behalf of the university’s governing board:

“John Eastman has not been affiliated with CU for some 20 months. As CU Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano clearly noted immediately following the Jan. 6 riot, Eastman’s conduct in the weeks preceding Jan. 6 and on that day was shameful and it certainly does not reflect CU’s values. He is an embarrassment. We respect both the January 6 Committee’s right to make a referral to the Justice Department and the department’s ability to evaluate the evidence and determine whether to seek charges against him.”

We would imagine that CU Regent Hiedi Heidi Ganahl does not agree with this statement, given her repeated excuses for Eastman.

 

 

Click below to keep learning things…

 

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January 6th Committee Refers Trump for Prosecution

Who has two thumbs and just got referred to the Department of Justice for prosecution?

As The New York Times reports:

The House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol accused former President Donald J. Trump on Monday of inciting insurrection, conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of an act of Congress and one more federal crime as it referred him to the Justice Department for potential prosecution.

The action, the first time in American history that Congress has referred a former president for criminal prosecution, is the coda to the committee’s intense 18-month investigation into Mr. Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election that culminated in a violent mob of the former president’s supporters laying siege to the Capitol.

The criminal referrals were a major escalation for a congressional investigation that is the most significant in a generation. The panel referred five other Trump allies — Mark Meadows, his final chief of staff, and the lawyers Rudolph W. Giuliani, John Eastman, Jeffrey Clark and Kenneth Chesebro — for potential prosecution for actions the committee said warranted Justice Department investigation. The charges would carry lengthy prison sentences if federal prosecutors chose to pursue them. [Pols emphasis]

The more local connection, of course, is former University of Colorado visiting scholar John Eastman being added to the list of Trump allies referred to the Justice Department for potential prosecution.

Longtime pals of former President Donald Trump, including Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, have been backing away from the Big Orange Guy in recent weeks. Trump has been a convenient source of blame for Republicans who were disappointed with their showing in 2022, and the launching of his 2024 Presidential campaign was met with more of a shrug than applause.

To what degree will Republicans defend Trump — now very much an albatross — once a new Congress convenes next month? If they go to the mat for Trump, it will signal that he still dominates the Republican Party. If they don’t, they risk alienating Trump acolytes who are still very vocal and very active in Republican politics — not to mention angering the pitiless former President who continues to show an inexplicable ability to raise large sums of money from his right-wing base of supporters

Republicans had an out here…but that passed after they refused to condemn Trump in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection. The GOP kicked the can down the road instead, and now they’ve run out of road.

Leadership Battles Continue Within Republican Ranks

On the day that former President Donald Trump is set to announce another bid for the White House, Congressional Republicans found that the schism in their ranks that helped create a disappointing 2022 election is still, uh, schisming.

House Republicans elected (sort of) Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker, but whether he can actually fulfill that role won’t be known until January. Republicans are justifiably irritated that McCarthy had so much trouble leading the GOP toward re-taking the House after they only needed to flip 5 seats.

There was talk on Monday from some less-crazy Republicans that a Congress-wide Speakership battle might still be upcoming, though perhaps that will be avoided now. Nevertheless, as the Omaha World-Herald reports:

Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb., said that he would be willing to reach across the aisle to elect a speaker if necessary.

Bacon plans to support McCarthy, but he said on Monday that he would work with Democrats to find a new candidate if McCarthy doesn’t get enough votes, in order to keep Congress from becoming gridlocked and ineffective.

“If we have total gridlock, I’m going to work with like-minded people across the aisle to find someone agreeable for speaker,” Bacon said. “We have to govern. We can’t afford to let our country be stuck in neutral.”

Elsewhere, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has an official challenger to his bid to hold on to power. Florida Sen. Rick Scott, the Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) in 2022, announced that he will battle the old turtle for GOP Senate supremacy.

NRSC Chairman Rick Scott (R-Creepy)

Via POLITICO:

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) announced a challenge to Mitch McConnell in a closed-door party lunch on Tuesday afternoon, the first such opposition that the Senate GOP leader is facing in 15 years at the helm.

The challenge emerged after Republicans’ disappointing midterm performance provoked a tremendous round of finger-pointing. Scott, who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee and got nudged to mount opposition to McConnell by former President Donald Trump, was at odds with the GOP leader over strategy and tactics for months before Election Day.

McConnell says he already has the votes locked up to win a Wednesday leadership election, and Scott is not expected to garner enough support to come close to toppling the leader. But Scott is pressing forward anyway, as a band of conservatives pushes to delay leadership elections until all the Senate races are determined. [Pols emphasis]

That last paragraph makes this fight particularly interesting. Scott probably can’t win against McConnell, but he’s going to try anyway just to prove some sort of point.

Yes, Mitch, there will be 2 candidates for Senate Minority Leader.

As The Washington Post reported earlier today:

Allies of Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, on Tuesday called out the Mitch McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund for its lack of spending on ads supporting GOP candidate Herschel Walker in Georgia’s Senate runoff.

It’s the latest show of tensions between McConnell (R-Ky.) and Scott, who have long been at odds over messaging, strategy and the direction of the Republican Party, and comes just three weeks before the Dec. 6 runoff.

Curt Anderson, a top adviser to Scott, on Tuesday noted on Twitter that the super PAC aligned with the Senate minority leader has yet to run ads attacking Sen. Raphael G. Warnock, the Democratic incumbent. “Have they given up?” he asked. In a later tweet, Anderson tagged the Senate Leadership Fund’s Twitter account, saying that “the Georgia runoff is 1/4 over with. Election is scheduled for December 6. FYI.”

McConnell and Scott have been battling for months about which direction to drive the Senate Republican caucus in 2024. Scott has been accused by some of screwing up the NRSC in 2022 and pissing away hundreds of millions of dollars; animosity was already stirring after Scott rolled out some asinine policy proposals earlier this year. McConnell, meanwhile, has taken criticism for not doing enough to help Republicans via his own PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund.

It’s certainly possible that Congress may convene in January with McCarthy and McConnell both in their long-expected leadership roles. But the fact that these questions don’t already have answers is another ominous sign for a reeling Republican Party.

Shellacking Or No, Looks Like Trump’s Gonna Jump

Despite the unexpectedly poor showing for Republicans across the nation in last week’s midterm elections, especially but not limited to Republicans loyal to and boosted by ex-President Donald Trump, all news reports as of this writing indicate that Trump plans to proceed with his “very big announcement” tomorrow at Mar-a-Lago that he’ll be running for President once again in 2024. CNBC reported Saturday:

“We had tremendous success — why would anything change?” Trump told Fox News on Wednesday.

Longtime Trump aide Jason Miller said Friday morning that Trump will definitely be announcing his campaign next Tuesday.

“I spoke with the President Trump this morning. He was on the golf course and I talked to him about Tuesday which is really his focus,” Miller said on the podcast of Steve Bannon, a former senior Trump advisor, NBC reported.

“He said, ‘There doesn’t need to be any question. Of course I’m running. I’m going to do this and I want to make sure that people know that I’m fired up and we got to get the country back,’” Miller said.

As the New York Times reports, Trump’s determination to get back in the ring seems to have only hardened since last Tuesday’s election despite the bad night for his favored candidates–meaning Trump is not listening to Republicans begging him to put off this announcement until after the U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia next month:

Mr. Trump’s plans to run for president, which he is expected to announce on Tuesday, could force the issue in ways not seen since his first campaign, as party leaders are asked to declare their allegiances to him or to other potential rivals…

Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, the third-ranking House Republican, endorsed Mr. Trump for president on Friday ahead of his anticipated campaign announcement on Tuesday.

“President Trump has always put America First, and I look forward to supporting him so we can save America,” Ms. Stefanik said on Twitter.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, as readers recall, tried to expand her sphere of influence to include the Republican nominee in Colorado’s brand-new CD-8 by endorsing both Barb Kirkmeyer and primary rival Jan Kulmann. Stefanik is still considered upwardly mobile in the House GOP caucus, and a candidate to someday replace GOP House Leader Kevin McCarthy. Last week, Trump endorsed McCarthy’s re-election as GOP Leader and Stefanik as GOP caucus chair, and it’s hard to imagine McCarthy not returning the favor.

And we assume Colorado’s Rep.-by-a-thread Lauren Boebert will be on hand tomorrow evening in Palm Beach.

From there, Trump’s campaign will impose a loyalty test that every Republican will have to reckon with for themselves. After the violence on January 6th and many Republicans including McCarthy turned against Trump briefly only to come crawling back, realistic hope that this party might someday stand up to Trump was largely dashed. If Trump blows through his primary opposition this time as he did in 2016, Republicans will face the question Joe O’Dea stumbled over disastrously on the campaign trail: whether to vote for Trump if he wins the nomination, or commit the greatest sin any Republican can.

In the end, even Joe O’Dea was prepared to dance with the Trump who brought him.

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Pam Anderson’s Selective Opposition to Election Deniers

Republican Secretary of State candidate Pam Anderson on Monday evening

Last night, Colorado candidates for Secretary of State took part in one of the few public debates in that contest. The forum televised by 9News featured a lot of detailed discussion about elections and voting that was about as interesting as it sounds, but there was one key exchange between incumbent Democrat Jena Griswold and Republican challenger Pam Anderson that is worth highlighting.

We’ve written several times in this space about Anderson’s selective opposition to election deniers (HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE). Anderson, the former Clerk and Recorder in Jefferson County, launched her campaign for Secretary of State by claiming that Griswold was “too partisan” while standing herself up as a true Republican champion of fair elections. Anderson likes to say that it is “critically important” to inform the public “that elections are safe and secure” and that she will be a Secretary of State that “both sides can trust.” This all sounds great, except that Anderson’s deeds do not always match her rhetoric.

The sad truth is that Pam Anderson is totally against election deniers…except when she is not.

On Monday evening, Anderson was asked to explain how it is that she talks about opposing election deniers while also regularly campaigning with election deniers. Her response was pretty bad:

 

 

KYLE CLARK: Ms. Anderson, you in fact have campaign alongside election deniers, including the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, Danny Moore. But you recently criticized a scheduled event featuring Moore and fellow election denier, FEC United’s Joe Oltmann. You called him ‘reprehensible.’ Can you explain to us why you are comfortable keeping company with SOME election deniers but not other election deniers? [Pols emphasis]

PAM ANDERSON: So, I am a registered Republican and a center point of my campaign is to go to voters where invited to push back on false, misleading information and conspiracy. It’s been a real honor to go and go talk about my campaign for 10 minutes and then answer questions for an hour and 45 minutes. Now, I haven’t seen my opponent doing that. Thirty-second spots saying, ‘Trust me, I’m your government’ isn’t going to get us through this.

I have pushed back against President Trump, former President Trump, candidate President Trump, and anyone who seeks to mislead it [sic]. My opponent won’t even stand up to her party when they spent millions of dollars propping up the candidates, saying exactly what she says she hates. So I’ve done it when it’s difficult. I will continue to do that against either party that misleads our voters.

Anderson’s initial response here is to provide a similar answer to what Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl has said about 2020 election denialism. It’s the Why can’t we just have a conversation? argument. Or Danny Moore’s I’m just saying… explanation.

Pam Anderson (left) with Danny Moore (center) and Joe O’Dea (right)

 

To his credit, Clark was not satisfied with Anderson’s gibberish about her opposition to multiple iterations of Donald Trump, which will also come into play again in a moment.

CLARK: But I’m trying to understand the difference. Why will you literally stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Republican Lieutenant Governor candidate, Danny Moore, who is an election denier…but then another election denier, Joe Oltmann, you said that the two of them campaigning together is reprehensible. Where’s the line? [Pols emphasis]

ANDERSON: Actually, when Danny Moore was appointed by the Governor candidate, Heidi Ganahl, I said that I was disappointed in that appointment because of his comments. What I will continue to do is not, um, wag my finger and lecture people about their questions, but talk to them. I don’t think that we…if we vilify people with good conscience, like voters, we should push back on candidates. I’ve reached out to all of them to provide information, opportunities to visit with county clerks, to learn more about elections. And I think that’s made a difference.

I will continue to run my own race, who I am, representing all voters, regardless — in a non-partisan way — not dividing people and vilifying them.

Election denier Heidi Ganahl (left) and Pam Anderson. Also, Lang Sias.

At this point, Griswold asks if she can add a comment.

JENA GRISWOLD: I just want to explain how dangerous this is to Colorado elections and why it’s so personal to me. You know, the “Big Lie” is why Tina Peters breached her election infrastructure. The “Big Lie” is why the Chafee County Clerk works behind bulletproof glass. The “Big Lie” is why a man was just sentenced to 18 months in prison for threatening my life. This has real effects. These lies are destabilizing our democracy. And Coloradans can always expect from me never to campaign with election deniers, to stand up…if there’s a Democratic election denier, I will stand up to them. If there is a Republican, I will stand up to them.

Coloradans can also expect me to very clearly state I will never vote for someone trying to take away our right to vote. That’s another distinction between my opponent and me. She refuses to say that she will not support Donald Trump if he runs again.

CLARK: (to Anderson) Is that the case?

ANDERSON: That is absolutely false. I’ve said as a principled election official that I won’t tell you who I will vote for but I will continue to push back. I will also tell you that there is no nuance for me, ever, on this issue. [Pols emphasis]

Gah!

It’s a really bad look to spend three minutes providing nuanced answers about your opposition to election deniers and THEN proclaim “there is no nuance for me, ever, on this issue.”

What might be worse is talking at length about your opposition to Donald Trump and THEN refusing to say whether or not you would support Trump in 2024. Why would you do this?

In fact, Anderson’s answer reminds us of Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. From CNN:

Asked on his charter plane whether Donald Trump’s questioning of President Barack Obama’s birthplace gave him pause, Romney simply said he was grateful for all his supporters.

“You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Romney said. “But I need to get 50.1% or more and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”

Anderson doesn’t really have the political courage she claims to possess. People who oppose election deniers don’t campaign with election deniers, just like people who oppose white supremacists don’t take pictures with Klan members. It’s not more complicated than this.

Likewise, people who say they oppose conspiracy theories don’t promote conspiracy theories in order to win elections…which is exactly what Anderson did in April 2022 when she claimed that she would “crack down on ballot harvesting” despite the fact that “ballot harvesting” isn’t a real thing that actually happens.

Pam Anderson may be perplexed that others find it odd that she claims to oppose election deniers but regularly campaigns with them. Colorado voters will likely be less confused.

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Worried About Turnout, Republicans Try Blaming Democrats

Frank McNulty is not really interested in things like “facts” or “truth.”

Voters in Colorado are already casting ballots received in the mail last week; ballots can be returned at one of more than 400 drop boxes across the state. In-person early voting is also now available in Colorado at select locations. For more information on how you can cast your 2022 ballot, check out GoVoteColorado.gov. To track your ballots as it makes its way through the election sausage machine, take a virtual visit to Ballot Trax.

As we wrote last week, there are still plenty of Republicans in Colorado who are convinced that imaginary fraud in the 2020 election might seep over into 2022 and are therefore trying to discourage voters from casting mail ballots in favor of in-person Election Day voting. As Seth Klamann reported last week for The Denver Post regarding text messages sent out by the Eagle County Republican Party:

Matt Crane, the executive director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, said the messages match up with conspiracies pushed by “election deniers” in Colorado and elsewhere. He called it “B.S.” and said it would only serve to hurt voter turnout.

“As long as you’re in line by 7 p.m. on election night, you can vote. That’s the voter’s choice,” he said. “The thing that’s problematic about this — it’s built on a premise of disinformation and lies.” [Pols emphasis]

Republicans are making the same spurious claims all over the country. As Georgia Public Broadcasting reports:

Republican activists who believe the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump have crafted a plan that, in their telling, will thwart cheating in this year’s midterm elections.

The strategy: Vote in person on Election Day or — for voters who receive a mailed ballot — hold onto it and hand it in at a polling place or election office on Nov. 8.

The plan is based on unfounded conspiracy theories that fraudsters will manipulate voting systems to rig results for Democrats once they have seen how many Republican votes have been returned early. There has been no evidence of any such widespread fraud.

Not all Colorado Republicans are on board with this strategy, however. The State Republican Party is well aware that it is strategically stupid to encourage voters to hold on to their ballots; the GOP recently sent out an email telling Colorado Republicans to vote ASAP.

Former Republican House Speaker Frank McNulty, now a candidate for CU Regent, is equally worried about the potential for GOP turnout to be depressed because right-wing voters might believe that the 2022 election is somehow fraudulent. McNulty is so concerned, in fact, that he’s promoting a flat-out lie that this is somehow an evil plot by Democrats:

 

The irony here is obvious. Colorado Republicans who invested their hearts and minds in Donald Trump’s snake oil business became so convinced that our elections are shady that even the GOP candidate for Governor, Hiedi Heidi Ganahl, STILL refuses to acknowledge that the 2020 election was legitimate. For a long time, Republicans like McNulty were happy to ride Trump’s coattails, ignoring the reality that his “Big Lie” nonsense was just his way of making himself feel better about losing to Democrat Joe Biden in 2020. In March 2021, for example, Kristi Burton Brown was elected Republican Party Chairperson after running on a message centered around election fraud.

Even after it was clear that those lies were persisting into 2022, Republicans didn’t do much to dissuade candidates like Ganahl from continuing to talk about election fraud. Now that it’s time to vote, however, Republicans on the ballot are nervous enough that they think the only way to fix the problem is to pretend that it is the fault of Democrats.

It’s as gross as it is predictable, but we’ll just say the same thing we’ve always said: Whoever you are, wherever you are…just vote.

One Year of Running in Circles

The editorial board of The Denver Post formally backed incumbent Democratic Gov. Jared Polis on Sunday, joining every serious newspaper in Colorado that plans to make endorsements for public office in 2022.

We’d guess that supporting Polis was not a particularly difficult decision for the Post editorial board given the persistent lunacy of Republican gubernatorial nominee Hiedi Heidi Ganahl. You could no more craft a logical endorsement of Ganahl than you could advocate for replacing your car tires with giant wheels of cheese. It is nevertheless instructive to look at what the Post had to say because of three critical paragraphs at the very end of the endorsement:

Ganahl is asking voters to look past the current Republican realities. While presenting herself as a law-and-order supporter, Ganahl has linked herself too closely to a fringe Republican movement — led by former President Donald Trump — aiming to undermine America’s democracy and turn Americans against one another with outrageous claims that a vast conspiracy of Democratic Party operatives have rigged our elections.

Ganahl did not want to talk about the issue when asked if she was concerned about Trump’s actions.

“I’m concerned about a media that is completely biased and out of control … I know who you are going to endorse, so we don’t have to complete the conversation if this is how it’s going to go,” Ganahl said. “Danny (Moore) and I have both said loud and clear that Biden is the president, the media just doesn’t want to cover it, and we are focused on beating Jared Polis.” [Pols emphasis]

If you have been following the 2022 race for Governor in Colorado, this will all sound very familiar. Ganahl is ending her gubernatorial campaign in basically the exact same place she began.

When Ganahl formally launched her bid for Governor in September 2021, she talked with a group of reporters and immediately set the precedent for a combative relationship with Colorado media outlets based on her non-answer to one simple question: Do you think there was fraud in the 2020 election?

This was, and remains, an important topic for any 2022 candidate — particularly a candidate for statewide office. It is no small thing to acknowledge that you believe in the system of democracy in which you are seeking to take part. Ganahl whiffed on the question when asked by multiple reporters (including The Denver Post). She followed that up with a disastrous interview with Marshall Zelinger of 9News in which she tried (and failed) to change the subject.

Weirdly exasperated by the same question she had already failed to answer, Ganahl responded: “Why all the divisive questions?”

When Zelinger did not just allow Ganahl to change the subject, she followed up with this:

“Oh my goodness, Marshall. Let’s talk about what’s important to the people of Colorado. And that’s kids, it’s skyrocketing crime. I just said that kids are killing themselves at record rates and we want to talk about other things that aren’t that important to many people.”

Sitting down with the editorial board of The Denver Post one year later, Ganahl seems to be utterly incapable of understanding that the reason people keep asking her this question IS BECAUSE SHE NEVER PROVIDES AN ANSWER.

This is not rocket surgery. If you don’t answer a question, you can bet that journalists will keep asking — particularly when you simultaneously select a noted election denier as your running mate.

Ganahl and her Lieutenant Governor choice, Danny Moore, now say that “Joe Biden is the President,” which is not an answer to a question about election fraud. Ganahl won’t elaborate on this no matter how many times she is asked. The only logical conclusion to make amid this defiance is that Ganahl truly believes in Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

This is strange, because surely Ganahl had to understand that being a full-fledged election denier would make her unelectable in Colorado. The alternative is even weirder: If Ganahl actually does NOT believe in the “Big Lie,” then she flushed her credibility down the toilet for no reason at all.

Whatever the answer, the end result is the same. This entire campaign was a complete waste of time for Ganahl and every one of her supporters. When you’re running in circles, you always end up right back where you started.

Wait, What? (Erik Aadland Edition)

Yeah, not so much

We were taking our time, catching up on our political news today, when a sentence just reached out and socked us in the face like one of Hiedi Heidi Ganahl’s out-of-left-field batshit insane theories on education reform.

Sandra Fish did a comparison of the candidates in CO-07 for The Colorado Sun that was mostly a “she says this, he says that” kind of piece. Democrat Brittany Pettersen and Republican Erik Aadland explained their positions on a number of issues (admittedly, “explained” is a very generous term when it comes to Aadland’s policy proposals). Aadland also generally took the opportunity to flat-out lie on multiple occasions.

This isn’t the thing that smacked us in the face, but for example:

The Sun asked Pettersen and Aadland, who have each talked about their mothers’ battles with opioid addiction, how Congress could address drug addiction and recovery.

Aadland falsely claimed that Pettersen “started a clean injection site.”…

…Aadland didn’t offer a federal solution to the issue.

Kudos to Fish for pointing out here that Aadland’s words were not at all true. Unfortunately, Fish didn’t always take the time to, um, “correct” Aadland’s misperceptions.

The big smackaroo came at the end of the Sun article, in response to the following question: “Did Joe Biden legitimately win the 2020 presidential election?”

Because she is not a lunatic, Pettersen answered that yes, she believes Biden legitimately won the 2020 election. And then it was Double-A’s turn to respond:

Aadland acknowledged that Biden “is the legitimate president. I have said that many times.”

The Sun asked about reports that he said the election was illegitimate. In June, he told a Republican group the election was “undermined by fraud, how they were corrupted, and now how we have an illegitimate government in power.” The Washington Post included him on a list of election deniers.

“I said it was rigged,” he told The Sun. “That’s different.”

First of all, this is complete horseshit from Aadland. Dating back to June 2021, when the political world was first learning of his existence, Aadland has publicly questioned the integrity of the 2020 Presidential election at least seven different times. As recently as June 21, 2022, Aadland told members of the Mountain Republicans Club that he was concerned by how the 2020 elections were “undermined by fraud, how they were corrupted, and how we have an illegitimate government in power.”

The Sun made the following correction later in the day:

Via The Colorado Sun

Okay, now that we have that first part out of the way, let’s examine the rhetorical punch to the face we mentioned at the top:

 

“I said it was rigged. That’s different.”

 

Whaaaaaaaaa?????

If you believe that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged…but you ALSO claim that President Biden is “the legitimate president,” then there may be several words at play here that have simply eluded your comprehension.

If you are sure that you understand the meaning of all the words and you STILL think the election was rigged AND you think the winner of that election is “the legitimate president”…then we are sad to inform you that you are most likely an absolute fucking moron.

Seriously. We have had it with these election denier candidates who make it to the General Election and try pretending that they didn’t really question the integrity of the Presidential election. If you truly believe that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged, then own it. If nothing else, owning it is a gazillion times better than making it appear as though you are too stupid to understand simple questions that require basic logical reasoning.

 

“I said it was rigged. That’s different.”

 

Aadland knows that it is bad for his election hopes if people know he is a full-on “Big Lie” believer. Why do we know he knows this? BECAUSE HE SAID IT HIMSELF. Out loud. In public. In front of a camera.

So what does Aadland do when confronted with this question by the Sun? He reaffirms, for all intents and purposes, that he is both an election denier AND a complete goddamned idiot. Frankly, the two are probably one in the same anyway, but you get what we’re throwing down here.

In an election cycle that has been unusually dumb, Erik Aadland persevered and somehow found a way to make #copolitics even dumber.

wZVKAdVXn

Jan. 6 Committee Drops Bombshells, Votes to Subpoena Trump

UPDATE #2: In a unanimous vote, the committee voted to subpoena Trump himself. From The New York Times:

“He is required to answer for his actions,” said Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and the chairman of the committee, at the end of what was possibly the panel’s final public session. “He is required to answer to those police officers who put their lives and bodies on the line to defend our democracy.”

—–

UPDATE:

—–
The final pre-election hearing of the House committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection is taking place as we type this sentence, and it looks like they may be close to reeling in the biggest fish of them all.

As The Washington Post reports:

The House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, is planning to vote during Thursday’s hearing to subpoena former president Donald Trump, according to three individuals with knowledge of the vote.

The individuals did not say whether they are seeking the former president’s direct testimony or more documents beyond those the committee has already received.

The chances of Donald Trump actually heeding a subpoena are probably not good, but this is still a major step in the investigation of Trump’s coup attempt.

Today’s hearing is also revealing some startling new information about Trump’s direct involvement in the insurrection. The Jan. 6 committee said today that Trump directly participated in an effort to use fake electors to overturn the election. Again, from the Post:

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel told the committee that Trump’s attorney, John Eastman, called her asking her to arrange for the fake electors to meet and rehearse the process of casting their fake votes.

“I don’t remember the exact date it was,” she said. “It was from the White House switchboard, and it was President Trump, who in turn contacted and he introduced me to a gentleman named John Eastman.” 

“And then essentially, he turned the call over to Mr. Eastman, who then proceeded to talk about the importance of the RNC helping the campaign gather these contingent electors,” McDaniel added. [Pols emphasis]

The House committee also presented evidence that the Secret Service KNEW that armed Trump supporters were going to show up to the U.S. Capitol.

We’ll update this post with more information as it becomes available.

Joe O’Dea, Like Trump, Says Media Treats Him “Unfairly”

Joe O’Dea has the sads

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea is well on his way to being defeated by incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in November. A new bipartisan poll released on Friday from Keating Research and Magellan Strategies shows Bennet leading O’Dea 46-36, which tracks with what we’ve seen from most public polling in recent months.

O’Dea may be going down, but he’s not going to go down without a fight…and by “fight” we mean “whining about the media just like former President Donald Trump.”

O’Dea was a guest on the “Craig Silverman Podcast” on Oct. 1, 2022 when the discussion got around to O’Dea’s belief that he isn’t afraid to “answer the tough questions.” Then O’Dea complained about media outlets — specifically Kyle Clark and Marshall Zelinger of 9News — being unfair to him when he responds to “tough questions” with terrible answers.

 

O’DEA: I like answering the tough questions. [Pols emphasis] I gotta tell you [Bennet has] only agreed to one debate. It’s the 28th of October, as you know, the Blitz dropped some time to 17th. So half the ballots will probably be turned in and that’s the only debate he’s agreed to. And it’s with 9News, so we’ll have to debate them both. It’ll be Bennet and Kyle Clark now.

 

SILVERMAN: Now, wait a second. Kyle was a guest of mine on episode 100 and if you watch his show, I don’t know if you do or if you don’t. But he offers criticism of Democrats when they screw up. And you don’t think Kyle Clark and Marshall Zelinger can be fair to you? 

 

O’DEA: Well they haven’t been to me so far. I did a 20 minute interview, and Kyle edited it to show some slips that I had and took them totally out of context. He’s not been fair with me. I’ve been fair with him. He comes after me every time he turns around, and I haven’t seen him be fair with any of the Republicans here this year. He’s, uh, in my opinion, he’s an activist. But you know,  that’s his role, I guess. I don’t feel like I’m getting treated fairly from him whenever I talk to him. So. And that’s my own personal feelings. But people like to watch his show. I understand. [Pols emphasis]

O’Dea is talking about this interview from early September in which he answered some very obvious questions with some very terrible answers. This is the interview in which O’Dea was asked about his position on abortion rights, and he responded with this:

Here’s the deal. I’m going to the Senate to negotiate a good bill that brings balance to women’s rights. 

That is a really, really, really bad answer. But apparently in O’Dea’s mind, this is somehow Kyle Clark’s fault. This interview was not replayed everywhere because Clark asked new questions that nobody had ever considered before; it went viral because of what O’Dea said himself.

[We’re continually baffled why Republican candidates — including gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl — continue to attack the most-watched news station in Colorado, but that’s a subject for another time.]

O’Dea’s whiny nonsense sounds quite familiar. In fact, it sounds a lot like former President Donald Trump. Here’s Trump on May 17, 2017, delivering the commencement speech to the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy:

 

TRUMP: Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

Well, that was before Joe O’Dea was asked questions by journalists at 9News! It’s hard for anyone to take O’Dea seriously when he talks about holding Democrats and Bennet accountable but then won’t even hold himself accountable for his own dumb words. 

There is one more clip from O’Dea’s interview with Silverman that deserves attention:

 

SILVERMAN: I’m worried about the world moving toward bigotry and fascism Joe O’Dea and I need people in the Republican Party to stop that. Would you be that guy?

O’DEA: I’m that guy. Craig, I gotta tell you my wife is, her grandfather immigrated from Mexico. The Hispanic community is part of my family. I don’t have time for bigotry, for anything. I like to judge people based on their work ethic, on their character. I don’t see color. [Pols emphasis]

Oof.

The phrase “I don’t see color” is a close relative of the phrase “I’m not racist, but…” It is one of those phrases that most people — especially white people — generally don’t say anymore (thank goodness). Telling someone “I don’t see color” is sort of like saying you can’t be racist because you have a Black friend (or because you went to a wedding in China). When you say, “I don’t see color,” what you are really doing is downplaying the importance of cultural and ethnic differences, because OF COURSE you see color; everyone does.

As documentary filmmaker Dawn Porter wrote years ago in Reader’s Digest:

When you say I don’t see color, you are not doing me a favor. It’s as if you are telling me my brown skin is something you have to work to look past, to excuse even, in order to see my humanity. I want you to see my color as much as I want you to notice anything else about me.

Joe O’Dea doesn’t seem to be a terrible guy, but it’s been more than obvious throughout his campaign that he just hasn’t put a lot of thought into critically-important issues such as abortion rights and race relations. If you haven’t thought about these things, then you have no business being a U.S. Senator. And again, these are all O’Dea’s own words — nobody forced him to say these things.

Voters in Colorado generally don’t find it charming when candidates can’t take responsibility for their own mistakes and don’t take the time to be able to provide thoughtful answers on important topics. O’Dea thinks there is some meaning to regularly saying, “I’m not a politician,” which is a silly excuse to make when you are literally running for office (and, thus, being a politician).

When you say dumb things, you should expect a critical response. If you’re surprised by that, or if you blame someone else for that response, then you should definitely be doing something else with your life than running for public office.

Kirkmeyer Steps on Trump Landmine in New Interview

Will explode. Cannot be disarmed.

Republican “Secession” Barb Kirkmeyer may have (metaphorically) blown off a limb today that could make it more difficult for her to edge past Democrat Yadira Caraveo in the race for the new congressional seat in CO-08.

In an interview with Ryan Warner of Colorado Public Radio, Kirkmeyer addressed the topic of one Donald J. Trump in a manner that won’t likely be beneficial to the rest of her campaign:

Warner: Much of the narrative around the 2020 election has come specifically from former President Trump. Would you vote for him if he ran again?

Kirkmeyer: I don’t know who else is running, for starters. So I don’t know. Did I vote for him in 2016? Yes, I did. Did I vote for him in 2020? Yes, I did. If he is our Republican nominee, yes I would probably vote for him. [Pols emphasis]

Gah!

Barb Kirkmeyer

Kirkmeyer might have just instinctively answered this question, since her former elected offices (Weld County Commissioner and State Senate) were representative of areas that were as far-right as she is. If you live in deep-red Weld County, of course you voted for Trump.

But the “Cook Partisan Voter Index” for CO-08 is considered “EVEN,” and the areas that are now part of this district collectively voted for Democrat Joe Biden over Donald Trump in 2020 (51-46). The flurry of terrible news that continues to greet Trump on basically a weekly basis has not been kind to his approval ratings, either.

It is absolutely problematic for Kirkmeyer to have admitted that she would vote for Trump again if he ran for President in 2024. In a district this competitive, voicing your support for Trump could be all that many undecided voters need to hear to go in a different direction. Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has been furiously backpedaling on his previous support of Trump for precisely this reason.

Kirkmeyer’s fealty to Trump is also odd given that she has had no problem pretending to ignore issues like her opposition to abortion rights — something that is near and dear to her heart.

But Barb’s gonna Barb, we suppose. It’s gotten her this far.

Kellner Throws RAGA, and His Election Hopes, Under the Bus

Republican John Kellner

As we approach the final days of the 2022 election cycle, a similar theme is playing out across many of Colorado’s top contests. Democratic candidates who have significantly outraised their Republican opponents are now up on television with a bevy of advertisements; underfunded GOP challengers, meanwhile, continue to twiddle their thumbs hoping that some sort of national money will be spent in Colorado on their behalf. 

In the race for Attorney General, incumbent Democrat Phil Weiser started running this ad last week and will likely maintain a presence on television through Election Day. 

As of the last fundraising period ending Sept. 14, Weiser had raised $4,160,692 and reported $1,130,285 in the bank. Republican John Kellner, meanwhile, has raised a total of $242,116 and reported a cash-on-hand amount of just $97,867. This is enough money to produce a TV spot but not enough to make an ad buy that will come anywhere close to reaching enough voters to give him a chance against Weiser.

As we’ve written before in this space, Kellner’s only real chance at making a dent in Weiser’s support would likely have to come via funds from the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA), the group that spent more than $5 million in 2018 trying to boost the chances of GOP candidate George Brauchler (whom Weiser defeated 52-45). While RAGA does have a committee open in Colorado that could receive and spend money in the race for AG, as of this writing there is no indication that any significant expenditure is forthcoming.

Yet even if RAGA were to make a last-ditch effort in Colorado, it would put Kellner in a very difficult position given an answer he gave at a candidate forum last week. 

RAGA has been floundering trying to fix its reputation after it was widely reported in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection that the group had spent big money trying to help the very folks who were intent on overturning the results of the 2020 Presidential election. As a result of its zeal in pushing election fraud conspiracy theories and funding robocalls to urge “patriots” to attend the Jan. 6 insurrection, donations to RAGA fell off appreciably in the months that followed. 

During a candidate forum sponsored by the Lowry United Neighborhoods on Sept. 20, both candidates for Attorney General were asked a very specific question about taking help from election deniers. Here’s that video and the transcription:

 

QUESTION: Would both of you pledge to commit to accepting no campaign funds and holding no fundraisers with anybody that gave to the Jan. 6 insurrection and worked with election deniers?

 

KELLNER: That’s a great question, and it’s absolutely appropriate to ask. I think anybody who violated the law that day on Jan. 6 should be held accountable, [and] should probably go look at jail or prison [time]. I don’t support the folks that denied the outcome of the election in any way, shape, or form. [Pols emphasis] 

What I’m gravely concerned about, honestly, is the amount of money – upwards of $10 million dollars – spent by the Democrat Party to try and uplift people that they also simultaneously said are a true threat to our democracy. I think that amount of hypocrisy is probably something that we’ve never, ever seen before. I think it is fundamentally wrong.

So, to answer your question, no, I don’t support that. I support the peaceful transition of power as a Marine, as an officer. I was commissioned under George W. Bush. I went to war under President Obama. I served under President Trump in the reserves. I continue to serve under President Biden in the reserves and I’m proud to do it.

Kellner’s statement — “I don’t support the folks that denied the outcome of the election in any way, shape, or form” – would absolutely apply to RAGA, and it would put him in a very weird position if RAGA decided to start spending money in order to assist his campaign for Attorney General. Perhaps Kellner went ahead and gave the answer he did because he already knows that RAGA isn’t coming to his rescue, but this is still a problem for him. 

Kellner’s statement last week also means he has some explaining to do regarding his attendance at the RAGA “Summer National Meeting” in Colorado Springs in August; on the final day of that retreat, Kellner held a RAGA-sponsored fundraiser for his campaign. This is a question he’s going to have to answer at some point in the next few weeks. 

Kellner needed RAGA’s money to give him a chance in November, but after last week, any help from the national group would come with new problems for the District Attorney from the 18th Judicial District. And if RAGA needed an excuse to stay out if this race, they got it from the candidate himself.

Trump and Businesses Accused of “Staggering Fraud”

Via The New York Times (9/21/22)

There were some pretty strong words today from New York Attorney General Letitia James in announcement about a lawsuit against former President Donald Trump.

As The New York Times reports:

Donald J. Trump, his family business and three of his children lied to lenders and insurers for more than a decade, according to the New York attorney general, Letitia James, who accused him of fraudulently overvaluing his assets by billions of dollars in a sprawling scheme. She is seeking to bar the Trumps from ever running a business in the state again.

Ms. James concluded in a sweeping lawsuit filed on Wednesday that Mr. Trump and his family business violated several state criminal laws and “plausibly” broke federal criminal laws as well. Her office, which in this case lacks authority to file criminal charges, referred the findings to federal prosecutors in Manhattan; it was not immediately clear whether the U.S. attorney would investigate.

The 220-page lawsuit, filed in New York State Supreme Court, lays out in new and startling detail how, according to Ms. James, Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements were a compendium of lies. The statements, yearly records that include the company’s estimated value of his holdings and debts, wildly inflated the worth of nearly every one of his marquee properties — from Mar-a-Lago in Florida to Trump Tower and 40 Wall Street in Manhattan, according to the lawsuit.

The company also routinely spurned the assessments of outside experts: After a bank ordered an appraisal that found 40 Wall Street was worth $200 million, the Trumps promptly valued it at well over twice that number. Overall, the lawsuit said that 11 of Mr. Trump’s annual financial statements included more than 200 false and misleading asset valuations.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R) and the former occupant of the White House.

Meanwhile, Trump’s poll numbers in a hypothetical 2024 Presidential matchup are slipping among Republicans…but the Big Orange Guy is still the clear leader in the hypothetical clubhouse. From The Hill newspaper:

The Morning Consult-Politico survey released Wednesday found that 52 percent of Republican primary voters would support Trump, who is followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis with 19 percent. Former Vice President Mike Pence came in third with 8 percent, while all other candidates received support from 3 percent of primary voters or less.

Trump’s support among GOP voters is 5 points lower than the 57 percent support he received last month. That polling came shortly after the FBI conducted a search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago property for classified and sensitive documents.

This is quite the conundrum for Republicans across the country and here in Colorado. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, whose political stunt sending migrants to Martha’s Vineyard continues to unravel, is trying to out-Trump Trump…to Trump’s dismay:

 

Maybe this will all turn out great for Republicans, but it’s really, really hard to see a happy ending at the end of this crap rainbow.

Joe O’Dea’s “MAGA Republican” Journey

Wait, this isn’t a circle!

Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea has a lot of positions on a handful of important issues — many of which he squares into the shape of a circle over time.

O’Dea’s penchant for massaging his own beliefs has been most apparent on the issue of abortion rights. His waffling on this issue has become so well-known among political journalists that he was recently used as a cautionary tale in an episode of the national NPR Politics Podcast during a discussion about Ohio Republican Senate candidate J.D. Vance:

As NPR Political Correspondent Danielle Kurtzleben explained:

[Joe] O’Dea has some sort of inconsistencies [on abortion rights] which Democrats are focusing in on as a big issue in the race.

O’Dea can perhaps explain these “inconsistencies” in person to Vance, who he will be seeing a lot this week as both participate in a couple of “MAGA Republican” fundraising events. O’Dea was among the attendees at a fundraiser for Republican Senate candidates in Miami, Florida on Thursday evening that was hosted by a cringeworthy group of big GOP donors. O’Dea will spend the rest of the weekend at Sea Island in Georgia, where the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is putting on a two-day retreat that includes a golf tournament and clay shooting for the #HorseSushi type of crowd.

 

For a guy who has tried hard to distance himself from his past support for former President Donald Trump and other “MAGA Republican” election deniers, it’s remarkable how often O’Dea keeps appearing with these very same people at Republican events — whether in Colorado or across the country.

Given the company that O’Dea is keeping this weekend — including the likes of Vance and Arizona Senate hopeful Blake Masters — it’s worth taking another look at how O’Dea’s public comments about “MAGA Republicans” and the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection have changed over a relatively short period of time…

 

Just a Rally (February 2022)

“That’s a rally in my opinion.”

     — Joe O’Dea on the Jan. 6 insurrection (Feb. 2022)

During a Republican Senate candidate forum in Evergreen, Colorado, O’Dea expressed a remarkably strange opinion about the insurrection that does not track with his efforts to portray himself as more mainstream Republican candidate. As the Colorado Times Recorder reports:

While O’Dea has consistently said Republicans should move on from the 2020 election and focus on future elections, he said he had friends at the Jan. 6 riot and preferred to call it a “rally” instead of an insurrection while answering a question at a February candidate forum in Evergreen.

“I had friends that were out at January 6, they went nowhere near the building,” O’Dea said. “That’s a rally in my opinion.” [Pols emphasis]

This is a completely ridiculous thing to say, of course, which is probably why O’Dea has been walking it back over time.

 

No Blame for Trump (June 2022)

“No.”

     — Joe O’Dea on whether former President Trump deserves any blame for the Jan. 6 insurrection (June 2022)

During a final pre-Primary candidate forum hosted by The Colorado Sun and CBS4 Denver, O’Dea said that he would support Trump if he were the Republican

nominee for President in 2024 and agreed with then-opponent Ron Hanks that Trump was not to blame for the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol. From The Colorado Sun:

Both candidates said Trump does not deserve blame — even in part — for the events that unfolded on Jan. 6. 

Hearings? What Hearings? (July 2022)

A few weeks later, the newly-minted Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Colorado told FOX News that he wasn’t paying any attention to revelations coming out of the Jan. 6 House Committee hearings. Left unsaid was that he hoped no Colorado voters were paying attention, either.

 

Still Backing Trump (August 2022)

Following the FBI’s raid on Mar-a-Lago in search of classified documents illegally-held by Trump, O’Dea confirmed to 9News that he would still support Trump for President in 2024.

Later in August, O’Dea would say publicly — TWICE — that the raid on Mar-a-Lago was a “political stunt.” As more information emerged about the reasoning behind the Mar-a-Lago raid, O’Dea’s comments began to look increasingly terrible. Let the backtracking begin (again)!

 

Perhaps I Misheard Myself… (September 2022)

“I’ve said that [Trump] does bear some blame.”

     — Joe O’Dea on the Jan. 6 insurrection (Sept. 2022)

In his first campaign interview with 9News, O’Dea claimed that he does NOT believe that Trump is blameless related to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Unless you skipped all of the other words above this point, you are well aware that this is NOT what O’Dea said just a few months ago.

Here’s that full exchange:

KYLE CLARK: Okay. Okay. You’ve said that President Trump doesn’t deserve any blame for the January 6 attacks. You don’t think that he egged on those people to do what they did.

JOE O’DEA: I’ve said that he does bear some blame. And I’ve also said it’s a black eye on the country. And I believe he could have done a lot more to dissuade that crowd, three and a half hours to come out and say stop, that’s too long, he should have used his position to stop that immediately. I don’t believe in violence. Anybody that was violent that day deserves to be accountable, just like through all the protests.

 

In this same interview, O’Dea generally tries avoiding the topic of Trump and “MAGA Republicans” altogether:

 

Miami and Sea Island (September 2022)

The “MAGA Republican” circle is complete…

Via the Colorado Times Recorder (9/15/22)

 

FBI Seizes Mike Lindell’s Phone During Investigation of Colorado Clerk & Other Election Conspiracists

(Stand by for a new promo code — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell reads from his FBI search warrant

Returning from a successful morning hunt at his favorite duck pond, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell and a friend pulled into a southern Minnesota Hardee’s drive-thru for a bite on the way home. While awaiting their order, three cars surrounded Lindell’s vehicle from all sides.

Lindell says he told his friend, ‘those are either bad guys, or the FBI.’ It was the FBI, with a search warrant for his phone.  

Reached by phone, Lindell tells the Colorado Times Recorder they wanted to talk to him about indicted Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters and former math teacher turned Big Lie propagandist Douglas Frank.

“They asked me when I first met Tina. I told them what I’ve always said: I never met her until she arrived at the Cyber Symposium. They asked me about Doug Frank too. I told them I met him when we made the [election fraud conspiracy movie] Scientific Proof.”  

Lindell says he considered refusing to hand over the phone in hopes of forcing the FBI to arrest him and thus generating headlines, but that his own lawyer, whom he called while being detained, told him to give the agents his phone. He says he and his lawyer are now working on getting it back from the Department of Justice.

Lindell shared images of a cover letter and search warrant on his podcast yesterday. He told the Colorado Times Recorder that federal agents gave him the documents during the encounter at Hardee’s.

The DOJ declined the Colorado Times Recorder’s request for comment, but the FBI confirmed to multiple news outlets that it executed a search warrant at the location Lindell described. 

The warrant authorized federal agents to search Lindell and seize his cell phone. The search request, which comes from an Assistant U.S. Attorney based in the Department of Justice’s Grand Junction office, lists the phone data of concern to the DOJ. It specifies any records involving Lindell, Frank, Peters, her staffers Belinda Knisley and Sandra Brown, (who have already been charged).

(more…)

“Balance To Women’s Rights”: Joe O’Dea’s 9News Unraveling

UPDATE: But wait, there’s more! Because of course there’s more!

These are the actual words from actual Senate candidate Joe O’Dea when pressed about his own admission that he voted YES on Prop. 115 in 2020 (which would have banned abortion at 22 weeks):

“I didn’t write that bill.”

What? How is this at all relevant? It was a ballot measure that YOU said you voted for.

 

—–

We’re still waiting for the feature story, but last night 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark posted a clip from his long-awaited interview of Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea that brutally exposed O’Dea’s contradictions on key issues his campaign has tried to hard to outmaneuver: abortion rights, and running as a Republican in the era of Donald Trump.

Here’s the deal. I’m going to the Senate to negotiate a good bill that brings balance to women’s rights. [Pols emphasis]

Take a seat, young lady, while Joe O’Dea “balances” your rights for you.

Joe O’Dea didn’t just come up with impromptu the slogan “bring balance to women’s rights.” This was almost certainly the product of careful deliberation between Joe O’Dea’s campaign team, where after thorough consideration of the potential pros and cons beinging “balance to women’s rights” was agreed to be the safest path forward for a candidate who just burned himself badly on the issue abortion rights by admitting support for a 2020 abortion restriction ballot measure that Colorado voters overwhelmingly rejected.

Unfortunately, Joe O’Dea’s senior staff is to the best of our knowledge comprised entirely of dudes.

The idea of Joe O’Dea mansplaining to the women voters of Colorado what exactly “balance” should consist of where it concerns their reproductive rights has left Democrats who have seen this interview quite giddy, since they’ve been trying to punch holes in the false narrative that O’Dea is a “pro-choice Republican” ever since O’Dea laid the claim. They couldn’t ask for a more damaging sound bite to accompany O’Dea’s pre-primary claim to be “personally very pro-life” with bringing “balance to women’s rights” in Mitch McConnell’s GOP-controlled Senate.

And if that wasn’t enough:

If you’re aware of how much legislation in the last two years had passed the Democratic-controlled U.S. House but then stalled out in the evenly divided Senate, especially considering O’Dea’s lip service to issues like marriage equality, this is almost as disqualifying for O’Dea as crowning himself the great “balancer” of women’s rights. Marriage equality, codifying abortion rights, voting rights, immigration reform–the list goes on and on. For O’Dea to say there’s nothing in the logjam of stalled legislation in the U.S. Senate he would support effectively negates his position on all of those issues.

And finally, O’Dea’s latest contortion on the question of supporting Donald Trump as the Republican presidential nominee in 2024:

In the video clip above O’Dea gets positively red-faced trying to wriggle out from this one– but after repeatedly stating that he would vote for Donald Trump if Trump wins the Republican nomination in 2024, O’Dea won’t say the words now to Kyle Clark.

After you’ve already said it, that’s the worst choice of all.

Conservatives frequently complain about Kyle Clark’s reporting, but in this case all Clark did was ask straightforward questions with logical follow-ups that took into account O’Dea’s prior statements on these issues. It’s remarkable how damaging that simple expository process can be for Republican candidates trying to overcome their intrinsically unpopular agenda.

Not only does the truth hurt, in the case of Republicans in 2022, nothing hurts more.

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Republicans Giveth, But Not Nearly as Mucheth

 

The latest fundraising figures for state races were released earlier this week, and most of the news for Republicans was pretty grim.

Take a look at the cash-on-hand (COH) numbers for Republicans in the top four state races in 2018 compared to 2022:

These are not good numbers, but perhaps Colorado Republicans can feel a bit better knowing that donors are much less interested in giving money to Republican candidates everywhere in 2022. As POLITICO reports today:

The number of online donors to the Republican Party unexpectedly dropped in the first half of 2022, according to a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance data — one in a series of setbacks that have tempered expectations of a red wave in November.

Online fundraising usually ramps up dramatically and predictably over the course of an election cycle. But campaign finance data show that in the first half of this year, the number of people giving federal contributions to Republican candidates and committees through WinRed — the GOP’s widely used donation processing platform — fell to around 913,000 down from roughly 956,000 contributors during the six months prior.

The surprising dip illustrates broader fundraising difficulties that have plagued GOP candidates in key races across the country this summer, even amid hopes that the party could retake control of Congress. It reflects the party’s long-standing challenges in building donor lists to power its campaigns.

Heidi Ganahl, Lang Sias, and Pam Anderson are broketh.

Former President Donald Trump has been blamed by some Republicans for hoovering up many potential donors — Trump has raised more than $100 million online since leaving office — though POLITICO’s analysis suggests that only about 13 percent of online Republican donors have given only to Trump this cycle.

Still, Trump’s committees are sitting on tens of millions of dollars that aren’t likely to be spent helping other Republicans this fall.

Nationally, Senate Republicans are still fighting with each other; the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) is running on fumes, and NRSC head Rick Scott is blaming Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for suggesting that Scott recruited a bunch of dolts as candidates in some of the most important pickup opportunities in the country.

MAGA Millionaire Tries to Rescue MAGA Candidate for Governor

Steve Wells, Heidi Ganahl

Republican gubernatorial candidate Hiedi Heidi Ganahl filed her latest campaign finance report on Tuesday, and it was as underwhelming as everything else she has done since launching her bid for Governor last September.

Through Sept. 6, 2022, Ganahl has raised $1.6 million, loaned her campaign $250k, and spent about $1.6 million in total. She enters the last two months of the General Election campaign with $188,407 in the bank.

This is not good by any comparison. At about this same time in 2018, then-Republican gubernatorial hopeful Walker Stapleton had about three times as much money in the bank ($555,000) and would end up raising and spending in excess of $4 million total. Stapleton lost the race for Governor to Democrat Jared Polis by about 11 points.

Ganahl has obviously not been able to entice multiple donors to support her campaign, and there’s no indication that national Republican groups — such as the Republican Governor’s Association — are planning on parachuting in at the last minute to boost her chances against the incumbent Polis. There hasn’t been reliable public polling indicating that Ganahl even has a chance in November; even ultra-conservative pollsters haven’t been able to figure out a way to massage the numbers enough to show Ganahl within the margin of error against Polis.

Nevertheless, there is still one MAGA Republican in Colorado who is apparently willing to light his money on fire in support of Ganahl’s lost cause…or, at least, in opposition to her Democratic opponent. As The Colorado Sun reports, a Weld County rancher and oil and gas “booster” is committing big bucks in an effort to unseat Polis:

Wells Ranch, the company owned by Wells, put another $5 million into Deep Colorado Wells, the state-level super PAC he formed in June.

This brings Wells Ranch’s total investment in the PAC to $6 million. And it makes the ranch the biggest donor to a state-level super PAC in Colorado so far this cycle. [Pols emphasis]

While the group’s stated mission is to support Republican candidates, nearly all of Deep Colorado Wells’ $600,000 in spending last month went toward opposing Polis and supporting Ganahl.

Wells told The Sun he isn’t sure how much he’ll spend to defeat Polis. [Pols emphasis]

“MAGA Republican?” Check!

This doesn’t seem like a particularly well-thought out plan considering that Colorado voters will be casting ballots in six weeks and Polis is already on the air (Ganahl, meanwhile, is not). The Polis campaign has reserved at least $4.4 million in television ads from now through Election Day and has $3.3 million more in the bank; Polis is self-funding most of his campaign and could contribute many more millions if necessary (Polis spent more than $23 million of his own money in 2018).

In short, if Wells is really committed to defeating Polis, he’s either going to need to spend a LOT more money or gain access to a time machine so that any ads get enough repetition to get through to voters before ballots drop in mailboxes in mid-October. It would also help if Republicans hadn’t nominated someone who is likely the worst statewide candidate in Colorado history, but that can’t be fixed at this point.

Now, you’re probably asking, Who in the hell is Steve Wells? 

Wells is a wingnut MAGA Republican millionaire who first caught our attention in 2019 when he pledged $100,000 to the recall campaign against then Democratic State Rep. Rochelle Galindo. Wells owns a bunch of property in Weld County that is home to a good amount of oil and gas drilling. He also owns a company called Wells Trucking, but most of Wells’ wealth appears to come from oil and gas operations on his properties.

Wells operates an independent expenditure committee (IEC) called Deep Colorado Wells. The IEC has its own website that is mostly filled with long, strange video rants from Wells himself, in which he sits at a table in a game room of some sort and yells at rhetorical clouds facing a camera that apparently does not include an external microphone.

From the website “Deep Colorado Wells”

 

Wells is apparently angry with Polis for a number of reasons — many of which are listed on this Geocities-inspired website — including inflation, vehicle theft, and fentanyl. Wells is also a Climate Change denier, as this 2016 story from the Christian Science Monitor outlines:

On his ranch near Greeley, Mr. Wells sits inside his “office,” an enormous warehouse filled with hunting trophies, flags, eagle images, rodeo posters, and mementos: a 1927 green beer-delivery truck, a guitar signed by rock star and Second Amendment crusader Ted Nugent, and a ’92 Harley Davidson low-rider in a glass case.

His understanding of the climate and of climate science comes from the numerous articles he reads every day, sifting through them “to search for the truth.”

What strikes him as convincing? Articles about emissions from Mt. St. Helens influencing climate more than humans (a claim opposed by most scientists), and ones detailing NASA data showing the Antarctic ice cap is growing (a paradox that scientists acknowledge, though most say it is insignificant in terms of broad warming trends).

The articles fit into a broader pattern of partisan distrust. He recounts what he sees as a litany of Democratic failures and distortions on energy and the environment.

“Jimmy Carter said we’d be out of oil by the year 2000 and we were headed for an ice age, and that didn’t pan out,” Wells says. “Then it was acid rain. Then we started the global warming thing, and now we’ve started on climate change. You need to follow the money to figure out the truth. If you look at Al Gore’s net worth since he got out of office versus now, he’s made a lot of money with this so-called energy issue.” [Pols emphasis]

Um, yeah. You get the idea.

Wells claims that specific policy decisions drive his political spending — he said he got involved in the Galindo recall because of SB-181, the infamous legislation that (turns out) did not destroy the oil and gas industry in Colorado — but it’s clear from the ranting on his IEC website that he mostly enjoys being able to shake a larger fist than most people.

Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that a MAGA millionaire has stepped forward to support a MAGA Republican candidate — even if that candidate is the feckless Ganahl.

On the other hand, the fact that this doesn’t make much sense might be exactly why it makes all the sense in the world (the MAGA World…not the real one).

So, About Those Nuclear Weapons Secrets Trump Was Hoarding…

Barb Kirkmeyer, Joe O’Dea, and Trump

When the Mar-a-Lago home of former President Donald Trump was raided by the FBI in early August, MAGA Republicans across the country were quick to jump to Trump’s defense. As more details began to emerge regarding the crimes that Trump and his cronies may have committed — including violations of the FREAKING ESPIONAGE ACT — some Republicans started to realize how silly they looked in falling over themselves to stand in front of the train barreling down on The Big Orange Guy.

While smarter Republicans gradually backed away from defending Trump, others dug in their heels. In Colorado, Republicans such as U.S. Senate candidate Joe O’Dea quickly found themselves stuck inside a rhetorical box of their own making. O’Dea has called the raid on Mar-a-Lago a “political stunt” on at least two separate occasions, which was a weird thing to do for a guy who had been spending months trying to distance himself from prior comments supporting the former President.

And then there’s “Secession” Barb Kirkmeyer, the Republican candidate for Congress in CO-08. During a Republican event in Windsor in late August, Kirkmeyer promised to investigate both the FBI and the Justice Department to “hold them accountable” for, presumably, doing their jobs instead of letting Trump do whatever he wants.

As The Julesburg Advocate reported on Aug. 26:

Barb Kirkmeyer, who is running for the new Congressional District 8 seat [Kristi] Burton Brown predicts will be a Republican win in Congress, took aim at inflation, border security and offered a reminder of the country’s exit from Afghanistan. She has initially discussed, with potential House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, policy in the next session.

“We’ll bring in groups like the Department of Justice and the FBI and hold them accountable,” said Kirkmeyer, who is opposed by Democrat State Rep. Dr. Yadira Caraveo.

Now, the problem with calling the Mar-a-Lago raid a “political stunt” or pledging to investigate the FBI and the Justice Department for its actions is that these comments look and sound pretty ridiculous as more information emerges about what Trump was doing with all of these sensitive classified documents.

“We’ll bring in groups like the Department of Justice and the FBI and hold them accountable.”

     — Republican Barb Kirkmeyer (8/26/22)

As The Washington Post reports, Trump was hoarding documents that did, in fact, contain highly-sensitive information about nuclear weapons:

A document describing a foreign government’s military defenses, including its nuclear capabilities, was found by FBI agents who searched former president Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence and private club last month, according to people familiar with the matter, underscoring concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about classified material stashed in the Florida property. [Pols emphasis]

Some of the seized documents detail top-secret U.S. operations so closely guarded that many senior national security officials are kept in the dark about them. Only the president, some members of his Cabinet or a near-Cabinet-level official could authorize other government officials to know details of these special-access programs, according to people familiar with the search, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive details of an ongoing investigation.

Documents about such highly classified operations require special clearances on a need-to-know basis, not just top-secret clearance. Some special-access programs can have as few as a couple dozen government personnel authorized to know of an operation’s existence. Records that deal with such programs are kept under lock and key, almost always in a secure compartmented information facility, with a designated control officer to keep careful tabs on their location.

In other words, documents that shouldn’t have been sitting in boxes in a basement closet at Mar-a-Lago. When The Washington Post first reported concerns about sensitive nuclear documents at Mar-a-Lago, Trump proclaimed the story to be a “hoax.”

Former Trump Attorney General Bill Barr has been unambiguous in defending the FBI and the Justice Department instead of backing up Trump’s misdirection. Yesterday was Barr’s second big appearance on Fox News in the last week:

As Steve Benen wrote on Tuesday for MSNBC:

The question for rank-and-file Republicans becomes obvious: If even Bill Barr recognizes the seriousness of the Mar-a-Lago scandal, why can’t they?

Andrew Desiderio and Nicholas Wu of POLITICO came to a similar conclusion:

In the days since the FBI search of Donald Trump’s home, GOP lawmakers and allies of the former president have offered increasingly strained responses when it comes to his possession of classified and top-secret documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate.

While the vast majority of Republicans leaped to defend Trump after the FBI executed a search warrant on his Florida residence, the rapidly unfolding investigation — including revelations that he refused to turn over sensitive and top-secret records — has left all but Trump’s staunchest allies tangled in knots. [Pols emphasis]

If the steady stream of bad news coming out of the Mar-a-Lago raid is any indication, this story is going to continue to get worse for Trump and MAGA Republicans like O’Dea and Kirkmeyer.

You’d think politicians would have learned by now that it’s not wise to go out on any limb in which Trump is already perched. O’Dea and Kirkmeyer may have to re-learn this lesson in November.

The GMS Podcast: Dark Brandon’s MAGA Smackdown

Charles Ashby, sans beard

This week on the Get More Smarter Podcast, your hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii discuss President Biden’s momentous speech last week calling out “MAGA Republicans” and what it means for the 2022 election in Colorado. We also update on the apparently very expensive recall effort against new Democratic State Sen. Kevin Priola; big new problems facing Republican State Sen. Dennis Hisey in El Paso County; and top GOP candidates who are scrubbing all mention of “abortion” from their campaign materials.

Our interview this week is with podcast favorite Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, who stops by to update us on the always-weird Tina Peters saga, Rep. Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert’s Christian Nationalism, and the Western Slope perspective on the final stretch of the 2022 election.

Listen to previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Let us have it at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com. Or send emails to jason@getmoresmarter.com or ian@getmoresmarter.com.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher |

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Biden Delivers Powerful Speech as MAGA Republicans Freak Out

UPDATE: Greg Sargent of The Washington Post sums up the conundrum for “MAGA Republicans:

Republicans are in a rage over President Biden’s speech in Philadelphia, in which he flatly declared that the American democratic experiment is in serious danger due to Donald Trump and the Republicans who remain allied with his political project.

So here’s a question for those Republicans: What exactly in Biden’s speech was wrong?…

…That MAGA coup attempt included extraordinarily corrupt pressure on many government actors, including law enforcement, which flouted the rule of law on its face. It involved pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to violate his constitutional duty. Pence himself said he was being asked to betray basic tenets of constitutional democracy.

Many Republicans who are now professing outrage supported all that. A review of their own conduct proves Biden right.

—–

“The MAGA Republicans believe that for them to succeed, everyone else has to fail.”

     — President Biden (9/1/22)

President Joe Biden delivered a powerful primetime speech on Thursday night from the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia that laid out in clear terms the battle for democracy in the United States.

As David Frum wrote later for The Atlantic, Biden’s speech was so effective because it was real:

The response from Biden’s Republican opponents has been hotter than mere tut-tutting. Biden’s sharp speech has only one justification: So much of it is true.

If you missed Biden’s 24-minute speech, you can read the full transcript here or watch it in full below. To better understand the significance of Thursday’s events — including here in Colorado — it helps to break things down into a few different parts. Let’s start with…

THE SPEECH

 

Biden’s remarks on Thursday were masterfully constructed. In plain language, he began by defining “MAGA Republicans” as people who were intent on destroying democracy. Biden did not resort to name-calling but stuck with facts instead:

And here, in my view, is what is true: [Pols emphasis] MAGA Republicans do not respect the Constitution. They do not believe in the rule of law. They do not recognize the will of the people. They refuse to accept the results of a free election, and they’re working right now as I speak in state after state to give power to decide elections in America to partisans and cronies, empowering election deniers to undermine democracy itself.

President Joe Biden

Biden then carefully explained that “MAGA Republicans” are a fringe minority in the United States, which had the effect of placing them in a rhetorical corner with the rest of the country on the other side:

But while the threat to American democracy is real, I want to say as clearly as we can, we are not powerless in the face of these threats. We are not bystanders in this ongoing attack on democracy. There are far more Americans, far more Americans from every background and belief, who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it. [Pols emphasis] And folks, it’s within our power, it’s in our hands, yours and mine, to stop the assault on American democracy…

…MAGA Republicans have made their choice. They embrace anger. They thrive on chaos. They live, not in the light of truth but in the shadow of lies. But together, together, we can choose a different path. We can choose a better path forward to the future, a future of possibility, a future to build a dream and hope, and we’re on that path moving ahead.

Meanwhile, “MAGA Republicans” were busy identifying themselves and proving every one of Biden’s points.

 

(more…)

Biden Prepares to Bring the Ruckus Tonight

UPDATE: In an apparent attempt to proactively make Biden’s point for him, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy delivered this bonkers line in a pre-Biden speech:

Dude…this is exactly what Biden is talking about. Stop attacking the FBI and law enforcement officials because you’re scared of Donald Trump.

—–

President Joe Biden

President Joe Biden will deliver a speech to the nation tonight that is already creating a lot of buzz. As The New York Times reports, Dark Brandon has had enough of this MAGAbot election fraud nonsense:

Biden will travel to Philadelphia on Thursday for a prime-time address in which he will accuse Republicans loyal to former President Donald J. Trump of embracing a form of extremism that is a direct threat to the United States.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity to preview the speech, a senior White House official said the president would state in direct language how “MAGA Republicans” have put the nation’s institutions at risk and undermined democratic values.

The focus on threats to democracy is a return to the issue that Mr. Biden said drove him to run for the presidency, after white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, Va., in 2017.

The speech is intended to deliver a dark message about threats to the very fabric of American democracy.

Biden previewed some of this message earlier this week, saying that Republicans have embraced “semi-fascism”:

As the Times reports, Biden has recently decided that it’s time to start telling it like it is:

The president had long planned to give another speech on the state of democracy but grew more motivated in recent weeks by persistent false claims of election fraud and the midterms, a White House official said.

Here’s a similar take from POLITICO:

In recent days, Biden and his top aides have called out the Republican response to the FBI search of Trump’s Palm Beach home. They note how some GOP lawmakers called to defund federal law enforcement while others have warned that violence could follow a possible Trump arrest. To Biden, that was just the latest transgression from a Republican Party he has told aides he barely recognizes — one that has remained in the thrall of Trump and in support of the insurrection.

Republicans, meanwhile, are very sad about Biden telling the truth and are raising their rhetoric in response. As Fox News reports:

“Joe Biden’s wretched attacks on millions of Americans have fueled attacks on pregnancy centers, Republican offices, and an assassination attempt on a Supreme Court Justice,” said Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. “Joe Biden is the divider-in-chief and epitomizes the current state of the Democrat Party: one of divisiveness, disgust and hostility towards half the country.”

Um, okay.

Biden will speak at 6:00 pm (MST) tonight from the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia. It probably won’t be hard to find a live stream wherever you watch television.

Joe O’Dea Calls Mar-a-Lago Raid a “Political Stunt”

Joe O’Dea has TWICE called the raid on Mar-a-Lago a “political stunt.”

Earlier today, Chase Woodruff of Colorado Newsline pointed out via Twitter that it has been three weeks since Republican Senate candidate Joe O’Dea said this about the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago:

“The American people deserve to know what’s going on here. [The] DOJ should put all their cards on the table. If the facts and the law support the action, so be it. If this is about election year politics, that will be equally clear.”

Woodruff was making the point that O’Dea should be asked about this comment in light of all of the new information that has since emerged about former President Donald Trump’s apparent efforts to hide his illegal possession of some of the most sensitive pieces of classified information in the United States. It’s a fair question, to be sure.

But then we saw this clip from Jewish Insider in which O’Dea makes even more outlandish assertions. According to Marc Rod of Jewish Insider, O’Dea made the following statement ON MONDAY:

Despite his criticisms of the former president, O’Dea described the recent FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago as a “political stunt” that is “undermining” Americans’ faith in the federal bureaucracy. But, he continued, if Trump kept documents he “shouldn’t have, that shouldn’t have gone on either.”

“The American people really want to know what’s going on,” O’Dea said. “If it was something wrong, he should be held accountable. If it’s just another political stunt by the Biden administration, which is what it looks like, that should come out as well.” [Pols emphasis]

Whoa.

If you wanted to be very generous, you could call O’Dea’s original comments “unfortunate.” But saying it twice, the second time as recently as Monday, means that THIS IS WHAT JOE O’DEA ACTUALLY BELIEVES.

And that, friends, disqualifies him from elected office.