Ken Buck Really Doesn’t Like President Obama

As Tweeted earlier today–a little ad hominem, don't you think?

We get that Rep-elect Ken Buck was not elected on a Barack Obama lovefest platform, but they ought to be able to eat pizza in the same pizza joint, right? Not that we should have expected much better from Colorado's most rightmost member of Congress by a mile, but a little pretend comity would probably help the two of them, you know, run the country.

We're just saying.

Lamborn’s Latest: Free Trade=Forced Trade!

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

A press release this week from Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs, famous for his almost total inability to pass legislation in Congress, announces his latest big idea:

Today I introduced H.R 5727 to thwart efforts by Palestinian organizations to pressure different corporations, companies and educational institutions to boycott, divest, and sanction Israel. Sadly, just yesterday we heard that some in the European Union are drafting new regulations with a similar aim. These attacks and the falsehoods being spread about Israel are harmful to any honest effort to bring peace to the region.
 
My bill will require that any prospective contractors with the U.S. Government will certify that they are not boycotting a country with which the U.S. has a free trade agreement. The bill also includes penalties for false certifications, including the ability to ban companies that breach its parameters from doing future business with the U.S. Government. Our government business practices should not play any role in harming our greatest ally in the Middle East.
 
Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, a place where all men and women enjoy freedom regardless of their faith or ethnicity. In fact Jewish owned factories and companies in Israel and in Judea and Samaria are among the chief employers of the Palestinian community. Palestinian workers get equal pay and equal treatment and enjoy benefits.

We respect the great sensitivity of the debate over Israel and the occupied territories under her control inhabited by Palestinian Arabs. Setting that aside for a moment, it's worth noting that the United States has free trade agreements was many more nations than Israel, who would presumably also be shielded from boycotts by American companies also doing business with the federal government under Lamborn's bill. So everyone's clear, that includes the free trade agreements in place today between the United States and Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jordan, South Korea, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Panama, Peru, and Singapore. There is also a pending trade agreement with many more nations proposed as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

So, next time the King of Bahrain decides it's time to brutally crush a protest movement, or things get nasty in Nicaragua again human rights-wise, or Singapore breaks out the rattan cane on another punk American vandal…no boycotts, folks! And to make sure the greatest possible chilling effect is achieved, Lamborn's bill is worded broadly to ensure both federal contractors and anyone "owned or controlled by the [contractor] is not a 'boycotting person.'" Which could cover a lot of people unrelated to the federal contract in question.

Bottom line: it's another in-all-likelihood stillborn bad idea from Doug Lamborn–so bad, in fact, that we think he may have actually thought of it himself as opposed to it being written by a lobbyist.

Hickenlooper Unfiltered Again–The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

Gov. John Hickenlooper.

As Americans wait to hear from President Barack Obama this evening on the subject of immigration reform executive orders, the Wall Street Journal interviewed Colorado's recently re-elected Gov. John Hickenlooper yesterday–and some of Hickenlooper's remarks are raising eyebrows today. As reported by WSJ's Reid Epstein, Hick began with some indirect criticism of Sen. Mark Udall's unsuccessful re-election campaign that we think is shared by many Democrats:

“We stayed on the economy the whole time,” he told Wall Street Journal reporters and editors Wednesday. “We kept coming back to the economy. These are objective sources ranking state economies across the country and we are in the top four of every major assessment.”

Mr. Hickenlooper’s victory explanation came as an inherent rebuke to Mr. Udall, who lost to Republican Rep. Cory Gardner after running a heavily negative campaign focused on social issues. Mr. Udall skipped an appearance on his behalf at a Denver fundraiser – and Mr. Hickenlooper said it was a mistake to reject a visit from the president of the United States.

“My gosh, the president of the United States calls you and you’re going to say ‘No,’?” Mr. Hickenlooper said. “The president of the United States calls and asks for your time, I think generally you should find a way to do it.”

We wanted to start with this comment from Hickenlooper about Mark Udall's decision to avoid President Obama even as Obama campaigned in Colorado on Udall's behalf, because we think it's dead-on. In retrospect, we do not believe that hiding from Obama helped Udall in the least. On the contrary, the Democratic base cheered pictures of Hickenlooper and the President shooting pool together at the Wynkoop Brewery.

The consensus view since the election is that Udall's intense focus on abortion and women's reproductive issues–particularly when that came at the expense of articulating Udall's own case for re-election–was a major strategic blunder. Hickenlooper was criticized during the campaign for refusing to "go negative" against his opponent, who had an enormous wealth of negatives to work with. Instead, Hickenlooper stayed positive, focused on the state's strong economy recovery, and in the end was vindicated by re-election in a very strong Republican year.

So there's that, and we think a lot of readers will agree. But then Hickenlooper turns to the issue of immigration, apropos with Obama's announcement coming tonight. And Democrats waiting nervously since the election can reset their counters–the number of days without a major trip off the proverbial reservation by Hickenlooper is once again zero:

Immigration: Mr. Hickenlooper predicted Mr. Obama’s executive action, to be announced Thursday, will “be very combustible.” He proposed that instead of pushing Congress to enact last year’s Senate legislation, the White House should give up on the path to citizenship that has most inflamed opponents to an immigration overhaul.

“What’s amazing to me is, a lot of young Latinos, the vast majority don’t care about a pathway to citizenship,” Mr. Hickenlooper said. “They want to be able to get on an airplane and get down to Mexico City and visit their grandparents. And they want to get a job and be able to get paid over the table. Why don’t we just take the pathway to citizenship and say, ‘We’re not going to worry about it.’ Let’s have a robust guest worker system where everybody gets five years and we secure the border and we actually hold business accountable if they’re going to pay people under the table.”

There's really no way to spin these comments. Immigration reform advocates we've heard from are absolutely furious over the suggestion that "the vast majority" of immigrants don't want a pathway to citizenship. We don't think Hickenlooper intended this, but these comments could be interpreted as demeaning to the many immigrants who most certainly do want to become American citizens, and who have served as the face of the immigration reform movement for many years. Frankly, we'd like to know more about where Hickenlooper got this stuff, but in the meantime there seems to be consensus that these comments were not helpful to the larger goal of enacting comprehensive immigration reform.

We're watching, as we've seen with previous "Hickengaffes," to see this promptly walked back.

Election Day Sets New Traffic Record at Colorado Pols

We forgot to mention this earlier, but Election Day broke a four-year-old record for a single day of visitors at Colorado Pols. On Nov. 4, Colorado Pols attracted 16,632 unique visitors, surpassing the previous record set on Election Day 2010.

For the entire year, we are getting close to surpassing 1 million unique visitors.

Thank you — all of you — for your continued support of Colorado Pols. It's hard to believe, but we'll be celebrating our 10th birthday in December! We couldn't do it without you.

 

Obama’s Immigration Executive Order and the GOP’s Problem(s)

Obama Immigration Action

President Barack Obama is scheduled to speak to the nation tomorrow night to reveal his plan for an executive order to address the issue of illegal immigration. The move is expected to be made official during an event at a Nevada high school on Friday. As CNN reports:

Obama's prime-time address [on Thursday] will be followed Friday by an event in Las Vegas, sources tell CNN. While exact details of his announcement aren't yet public, the basic outline of the plan, as relayed by people familiar with its planning, includes deferring deportation for the parents of U.S. citizens, a move that would affect up to 3.5 million people.

"Everybody agrees that our immigration system is broken. Unfortunately, Washington has allowed the problem to fester for far too long," Obama said in a video posted on his Facebook page Wednesday. "And so what I'm going to be laying out is the things that I can do with my lawful authority as President to make the system work better, even as I continue to work with Congress to encourage them to get a bipartisan, comprehensive bill that can solve the entire problem."…

…The President declared in June he wouldn't wait for Congress to pass a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system, initially saying he would announce changes by the end the summer. The decision was delayed until after the midterm elections, when the White House believed it wouldn't be caught up in campaign politics.

But Republicans are expressing deep anger at the anticipated move, saying unilateral action on immigration would forestall any legislative action.

Republicans are revving up the angry rhetoric machine, but they need to be careful how they respond to President Obama's executive order (EO). Every political journalist in the country knows this has been coming for some time, and the message has been clearly sent that President Obama's actions are a direct result of Republican inaction on the issue, so there's no room for Republicans to feign surprise at this point. The Obama administration has also made it clear that the President expects the GOP to move on this issue eventually; they have been up front about acknowledging that an EO should not be a substitute for Congressional legislation and should be replaced by a broader legislative change, which puts the ball squarely in the hands of Republicans once the order is signed.

While the President's EO is an important step for the immigration issue in general, in many ways this is also going to be a story of Republican inaction. As Jonathan Capehart explained in the Washington Post on Monday:

The introduction of a new report from American Bridge about Obama’s forthcoming executive action succinctly details what the president did over the course of a year to allow House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to move on the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate with 68 votes in June 2013…

…If congressional Republicans don’t want Obama to take action on immigration, they should move on the comprehensive immigration reform bill sitting in the House. In the meantime, as I’ve written before, if the president is going to make people mad, he might as well do it to help people and let the GOP figure out what to do with the poisoned chalice of their own making.

Reagan and Bush Sr

Presidents Reagan, left, and Bush Sr. provide cover for Obama’s pending Executive Order.

President Obama is certainly making Republicans angry, even drawing out new threats of impeachment over the pending EO. But again, Republicans need to be careful not to go too far down the rhetoric hole, because railing on and on about the constitutionality of Obama's decision puts them at odds with history. Two other Presidents have acted alone on immigration reform: Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Republicans will argue that those actions took place under different circumstances, but that's just semantics; it's hard to call Obama out for something that was also done by two previous Republican Presidents. In fact, Executive Action providing discretionary relief from deportation has been used by every President since Eisenhower.

Furthermore, Republicans will have trouble trying to make the President's EO seem more nefarious than it is. Alicia Caldwell of The Associated Press does a good job in breaking down what Obama can and cannot do via Executive Order, which largely involves deferred action through clear policies of enforcement and resource allocation. Obama can't "change the law" on immigration any more than you can, and the Administration has worked for months — along with other partners — in laying out the facts for the media to counter ridiculous charges from Congressional Republicans that the President won't work with them on the issue. Don't believe us? Check out today's editorial in the Denver Post calling on Republicans to stop complaining and get to work on their own legislation.

There's no way around it for the GOP: When they take control of both the House and Senate in January, they can either move forward with immigration reform or not. There is nobody left for Republicans to blame if they don't take action themselves. The GOP painted themselves into a corner with inaction on immigration, and the only way out is to make their own footprints. Ultimately, if Republicans don't actually move on the issue, 2016 voters aren't going to care why they failed to act with their Congressional majority — as Yoda might say, there is only "do" or "do not."

 

2015 State Senate Education Committee: Meet The Freak Show

From top: Sens. Owen Hill, Vicki Marble, Tim Neville, Laura Woods, Chris Holbert.

From top: Sens. Owen Hill, Vicki Marble, Tim Neville, Laura Woods, Chris Holbert.

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports on committee assignments announced yesterday by the incoming Colorado Senate GOP Majority:

Colorado Senate Republicans, who will be in charge for the next two years, have announced their committee chairs and members for the next two years.

The biggest surprise for Democrats might be the Senate Education Committee, where some of the chamber’s most conservative Republicans are assigned. In other words, this is not a teachers union friendly crowd.

That, folks, is an understatement. This may not be a crowd "friendly" to unions, teachers…or students?

Senate Education
Senator Owen Hill Chair
Senator Vicki Marble Vice Chair
Senator-elect Tim Neville
Senator-elect Chris Holbert
Senator-elect Laura Woods

Where to start? Owen Hill is a stridently conservative and ambitious legislator, and with Chris Holbert arguably the least gaffe-prone of the bunch. But with Laura Waters Woods, Tim Neville, hard-right brother-in-law of Jefferson County school board member Julie Williams, and especially Vicki "Where's The Mute Button" Marble rounding out the Republican majority on this committee, Senate Education just became the go-to venue for Democratic trackers looking for embarrassing clips. Neville and Woods, you'll recall, even sent out campaign mailers that doctored the signs of Jefferson County student protesters. Wouldn't it be smashing to have one of those students show up to testify before this committee?

Of course, the ability to actually carry out whatever their education agenda might be–like the GOP-controlled Senate generally–is attenuated by Democratic control of the House and Gov. John Hickenlooper. But the choices made by GOP leadership to staff this committee to do not bode well for "working with our Democratic colleagues to build a better Colorado," as GOP Majority Leader Mark Scheffel claimed in his release.

And that, again, may be an understatement.

Tancredo aims to campaign against Christie in Iowa and New Hampshire

(No peace in our times, says The Tanc – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo.

Tom Tancredo.

Since the news broke on this blog Nov. 6 that he was forming a "Stop Chris Christie PAC," former congressman Tom Tancredo has been on the interview circuit bashing the New Jersey Governor and filling in a few details about what, specifically, Tancredo hopes to do with his anti-Christie PAC–which Tancredo established in response to Christie's nasty ad campaign against Tancredo this June, arguably derailing a Tancredo victory in Colorado's GOP gubernatorial primary.

Asked by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell Nov. 12 what his PAC will do, Tancredo said:

Tancredo: "Were going to do whatever we can with whatever money we can garner. We will place ads. I’ll open offices if I can in Iowa and New Hampshire. We'll be there when he’s there. My whole effort is to make sure the Republicans voting in those primaries know who this guy is because I have a feeling he’s going to try present a totally different picture to them."

Chris Christie and Bob Beauprez.

Chris Christie and Bob Beauprez.

Listening to Tancredo, you get the feeling he wants his PAC to become anti-Christie central, accumulating whatever is available from whomever is available, to knock Christie out of the presidential race.

"I’ll tell you, that once you start something like this [PAC], you learn a lot of stuff about the guy, from people who don’t like him. And there are a lot!" Tancredo told KNUS 710-AM host Chuck Bonniwell Nov. 15. "Oh, my goodness! It is amazing. And they all write you, like, 'I can’t–.'  You know, 'Don’t tell anybody because he’ll  come after me! He’ll indict me!' I mean, which he has done. That has been his modus operandi."

In most interviews, Tancredo acknowledges his personal beef with Christie, whose Republican Governors' Association funneled money through another organization to attack Tancredo, but Tancredo says the real issue Christie's blue-blooded, not-so-conservative interior.

Landrieu’s Craven Keystone Clamor: Thank God That’s Over

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

USA TODAY:

The U.S. Senate defeated a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, delivering a blow to Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., by members of her own party…

The bill failed to overcome a 60-vote threshold for passage by a narrow 59-41 decision. All 45 Republican senators voted for it, but Landrieu could not clinch the necessary last Democratic vote.

Thirteen Democrats voted with Landrieu, including outgoing Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and John Walsh of Montana. Additional Democratic votes came from Michael Bennet of Colorado, Tom Carper of Delaware, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Jon Tester of Montana, and Mark Warner of Virginia.

Landrieu is locked in a Dec. 6 runoff against GOP Rep. Bill Cassidy. The pipeline vote has become a political issue in the race, where the state's oil and gas industry is supportive of the pipeline's construction and both candidates are avid supporters. The 1,200-mile proposed crude-oil pipeline would help connect existing pipelines from Canada to the Gulf Coast.

FOX 31's Eli Stokols has more on the split vote by Colorado's two Senators, with outgoing Sen. Mark Udall cancelling out Sen. Michael Bennet's "yes":

“Senator Bennet voted in support of the Landrieu bill,” Bozzi said. “He would prefer that instead of focusing our political debate on a narrow issue that we develop a broad and comprehensive energy strategy to reduce carbon pollution and support renewable energy. He believes we should take aggressive action to curb climate change and support the President’s Climate Action Plan.”

Bennet’s decision to vote with 13 other Democrats and all senate Republicans only strengthens his centrist credentials, which serve him well in a purple state like Colorado, although conservationist Democrats weren’t pleased about it.

“We applaud Senator Udall for opposing the pipeline and are disappointed that Senator Bennet supported this ill conceived project,” said Conservation Colorado’s Pete Maysmith. [Pols emphasis]

As we've discussed in this space when the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline has come up in Colorado politics, there's an enormous amount of hype surrounding this issue, most of it from the energy industry but a little from the left as well. The claims from Sen.-elect Cory Gardner this year that the pipeline would create thousands of jobs in Colorado were just silly–the pipeline never enters our state, and Colorado's fully employed oil and gas industry is short of qualified workers as it is. In terms of jobs across the country, the temporary construction jobs the pipeline would create give way to just a few dozen positions needed to actually operate the pipeline once it's built. As for economic benefit for Colorado from the oil to be shipped via the Keystone XL, there isn't any: we already have a pipeline from Alberta to Commerce City, and the routing of more Canadian supplies to the Gulf Coast for export (which is what the Keystone XL is actually for, in case you didn't know) is expected to result in an increase in gas prices in Colorado and the central United States.

We prefer to stick with these practical economic arguments as they're in our experience the most broadly accepted–but from here you can certainly get into issues like the environmentally sensitive areas of Nebraska the pipeline is set to cross, or the role this vast supply of dirty Canadian tar sands could play in global climate change. The bottom line is, any way you slice it there's very little real incentive for Coloradans to support the Keystone XL pipeline. On the other hand, we don't see the Keystone XL as the end of the world, either–it's the fourth stage of a project that already connects Canadian oil supplies to American and export markets.

So why did Sen. Michael Bennet vote for the pipeline yesterday? He's come out previously as a supporter, but it needs to be kept in mind that the whole purpose of yesterday's misguided exercise was to provide political cover to endangered Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu. Facing likely defeat in a runoff next month, Landrieu has unapologetically banked her political survival on getting the Keystone XL bill through the Senate, even though President Barack Obama had already promised to veto it. The political wisdom of this was always dubious in our view, but Harry Reid scheduled the vote–and as head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), it's not like Bennet would have left her hanging.

The only thing we can add looking ahead is, Stokols' "Big Oil love is good Colorado politics" presumption is not something we would count on beyond the rare figures who have able to pull it off–Gov. John Hickenlooper comes to mind with some obvious caveats, or former Interior Secretary Ken "Land, Water, and People" Salazar. As polling over this year's abortive local control ballot measures showed, there is a great deal of concern about the issue among Colorado voters, and it's not going away. We're in no position to predict what will happen on energy in Colorado over the next two years, but this won't be the last chance for Bennet to weigh in.

Next time he does, we hope to see less defensiveness and more, you know, vision.

Wednesday Open Thread

"We are in a world that is quite extremist and extremism makes more noise. Normality does not sell."

–Vicente del Bosque

How Many Colorado Republicans Attended “WallBuilders?”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).

This past weekend, a major political conference for religious conservative state lawmakers took place in Dallas, Texas called the WallBuilders Pro-Family Legislators Conference. Leading LGBT blog Towleroad reported last Friday that the keynote speaker was none other than "Tea Party" darling Texas Sen. Ted Cruz:

Does Sen. Ted Cruz believe AIDS is God's punishment for being gay?

Does Cruz believe that government should regulate homosexuality and that public schools are using anti-bullying laws to indoctriinate children into homosexuality?

Does Cruz believe that we need more hate and less tolerance in the world?

If not, perhaps Cruz should explain why he's headlining a legislative conference in Dallas this weekend hosted by a group whose founder has said each and every one of those things.

Also reportedly at the WallBuilders conference this weekend was Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and a large number of Republican state legislators from across the nation. We haven't heard yet how many Colorado lawmakers went to Texas this weekend, but as you can see in the promo video for this year's WallBuilders conference, it's quite popular with Colorado General Assembly Republicans:

dinner_01

Here's a photo (right) from last year's WallBuilders conference, where you can see Colorado GOP Senators Scott Renfroe, Mark Scheffel, and Kevin Grantham, as well as Rep. Libby Szabo of Arvada.

WallBuilders is led by a well-known religious right activist named David Barton. Barton has his own page in the Southern Poverty Law Center's Extremist Files:

A fervent homophobe, Barton has claimed that gay people die “decades earlier” than others and have more than 500 partners apiece in their lifetimes. On his WallBuilders radio broadcast, he’s flagrantly misled listeners by saying that the “leading pediatric association in America” has cautioned educators against providing education about homosexuality. But the American College of Pediatricians that Barton referred to has only a couple of hundred members and is, in fact, a right-wing breakaway group from the 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics, which is the real “leading pediatric association in America.” The group he cited split with the American Academy of Pediatrics explicitly because it had taken an official stand that there is no harm associated with same-sex parenting.

Some of Barton’s claims are mind-boggling to any reasonably well-educated person. For example, in his version of history, the founding fathers “already had the entire debate on creation and evolution,” and chose creationism. Reality check: Charles Darwin didn’t publish his theory of evolution in The Origin of Species until 1859, more than half a century after the founding fathers were active. Barton also has asserted that the American Revolution was fought to free slaves. “That’s why we said we want to separate from Britain, so we can end slavery,” Barton said. Actually, that’s ridiculous. Many of the founding fathers were slaveholders, slavery is acknowledged (although it is not named) in the constitution that they wrote, and the British Empire outlawed slavery three decades before the United States did…

Barton still retains some influence, but only in the most extreme and uneducated segments of the Christian Right. Virtually all serious conservatives have repudiated him, and his chances of making a comeback seem remote, to be kind, although he sounds just as glib and sure as himself as ever.

The "extreme and uneducated segments of the Christian Right?" Sounds like the perfect choice for our new GOP Senate leadership to take direction from! Did new Senate Majority Leader Mark Scheffel attend Barton's conference again this year? What about Kevin Grantham, now the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee? Given that LGBT equality is an issue Republicans in Colorado generally ran from this election season, it would be very interesting to know how many of our own legislators went to Dallas this weekend to get fired up for the next round of the "culture wars."

Our assumption until we hear more: too many.

No War on Christmas at The Post, Despite Right-Wing Allegation

(The war on Christmas starts earlier every year – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

war_on_xmas

In its annual "Friend or Foe of Christmas" campaign, the Liberty Counsel, a right-wing Florida-based organization, is targeting The Denver Post for allegedly banning newspaper carriers from writing "Merry Christmas" on holiday cards that they give to newspaper subscribers.

Liberty Counsel claimed that The Post, in a memo to staff, threatened to fire employees who use a Merry-Christmas card or any card other than the holiday card issued by The Post.

"Federal regulations state that employers must make reasonable efforts to accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of their employees," states the Liberty Counsel email, parts of which were reproduced in a news release here. "It is ludicrous to threaten termination for wishing someone a 'Merry Christmas,' a federal holiday."

Brian Trujillo, The Post's Circulation Director, told me The Post did not issue a threatening memo on this topic to anyone, as alleged by Liberty Counsel.

(more…)

Stapleton Makes Call To D.C., Gets Courtesy Name Drop

coffmanpushup

The Hill's Jonathan Easley reports on the Colorado Republican bench looking ahead to 2016 and beyond:

Republicans might be newly optimistic about their success, but the brutal reality is their bench beyond Gardner wasn’t deep. [Pols emphasis]  

For 2016, political operatives in the state mention two names as leading the pack of potential GOP candidates with a chance to unseat Bennet: Rep. Mike Coffman and Walker Stapleton, the 40-year-old state treasurer who cruised to reelection this year. 

“After that, there aren’t any names that are immediately apparent right now,” said Floyd Ciruli, a Colorado pollster and political analyst. 

Former Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams acknowledged that neither Coffman nor Stapleton has the “presence” of Gardner, but he said they shouldn’t be so easily dismissed in the search for the next great GOP hope in the state…

This story makes some points worth considering, like the strength Mike Coffman showed in his bigger-than-expected win over Democrat Andrew Romanoff, and the vote-getting ability of Attorney General-elect Cynthia Coffman–who also gives the newly minted Coffman Dynasty a footprint in two congressional districts!

We digress, but you've got to admit that was a weird story. All told, though, we agree with Dick Wadhams that Coffman lacks the charisma and message discipline that powered Cory Gardner to victory in this year's U.S. Senate race. And without those qualities, Cory Gardner may not have won the close race it turned out to be even in a wave year.

dealinwalkerfin

As for Bush family scion and Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton…sorry, folks, but we just don't see it. Stapleton's family ties, represented in this story as his primary asset, have never resonated in his favor on the campaign trail, and his advertising has tended to put the label of "career politician" on his opponents without mention his membership in one of America's foremost political dynasties. Stapleton has the connections to get his name mentioned in national political press as a possible contender either in 2016 for the U.S. Senate or 2018 for governor of Colorado, but he's done nothing to prove that he could win either race so far beyond bringing his cousin Jeb Bush to the state to campaign for him.

You never want to be too judgmental about the ability of new candidates to rocket to high office (see: Obama, Barack), but we have to agree that the overall state of the Republican bench in the long term in Colorado remains quite bleak. Democrats have a wealth of talent, particularly young up-and-comers from years of dominance in the state legislature. Democrats may have underestimated Cory Gardner for 2014, but as far as the next white knight for Republicans in this purple state?

We'll be damned if we can tell you who that is.