Cory Gardner makes lede from Koch Brothers Confab

This is why Michael Bennet should distance himself from Colorado‘s junior senator:

Your Betters get together to save the Little People from themselves

by digby

The Koch pageant is in full effect:

Koch, speaking on a low stage in front of an elaborately manicured lawn at the St. Regis Monarch Beach luxury resort, warned about 450 assembled donors and a slew of Republican elected officials – including Sens. Cory Gardner, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse and Dan Sullivan – of a “life or death struggle for our country.”

“One of the things I ask you to think about over this weekend is will you stand together with us to help save our country. It can’t be done without you and many, many others,” said Koch, who seldom speaks in the presence of reporters.

This address was to a group of multi- millionaires and billionaires who have come together to decide on which of the candidates to spend the almost 1 billion the Kochs plan to raise to buy themselves the presidency— er….”save our country.”

Now I know Michael Bennet doesn’t know how to act “the Democrat”. Though, damned if he doesn’t try. Given that, it should be more than obvious to him, and his advisors, and his supporters, and even those that may vote for him that he shouldn’t try to be Gardner-lite or any such thing that could be thought of a resembling any number of Koch whores.

If he can’t figure this out, then he’s even dumber than he looks.

UPDATE: Trump calls out the moneygrubbers. Heh.

Trump sounds like Coffman on immigration, but (surprise) we don’t know the details

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Reflecting yesterday on Donald Trump’s recent pledge to deport, cattle-car style, each and every one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America–and then expedite the return of the “good ones”– the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent called on reporters to extract detailed plans from the herd of Republican presidential candidates regarding their positions on immigration.

Indeed, one hopes that the moderators of the upcoming GOP debate will see an opportunity in Trump’s cattle car musings: why not ask all the GOP candidates whether they agree with him? And if not, where dothey stand on the 11 million exactly? Remember, Mitt Romney’s big “self-deportation” moment came at a GOP primary debate…

The point is that eventually, we’ll need to hear from all the GOP candidates as to what they would do about the 11 million — beyond vaguely supporting legal status, but only after some future point at which we’ve attained a Platonic ideal of border security. Trump may have just made it more likely that this moment will come sooner, rather than later. One can hope, anyway.

It’s a good idea and has direct application here in Colorado, where Republicans, like Rep. Mike Coffman, continue to slide by journalists with vague and shifting statements about immigration.

Like Trump, Coffman has said he favors some sort of “legal status” for adult undocumented immigrants, but it’s not clear whether he’d boot out everyone first, and then allow the good apples to return–or if he’d skip the cattle-car phase and grant “legal status” to the immigrants here.

Either way, would he wait for seamless border security? And what’s good enough, when it comes to the border?

And then, assuming the border is sufficiently seamless, and whether he chooses the cattle-car or no cattle-car opition, does Coffman really want t0 create an underclass of millions of noncitizens in America, with no voice in government? Would we be looking at good old fashioned taxation without representation? What rights (voting?) and responsibilities (military service? taxes?) would be denied? Even Helen Krieble, a Colorado resident who first proposed the cattle-car option, advocates giving a political voice to undocumented immigrants through citizenship.

Details, details. I wouldn’t want to go there either, if I were Coffman–because he’d get bitten by both progressive and conservative sharks. But that’s not a problem for journalists who should be asking him the questions.

New Coffman® Trumped By Knee-Jerk Immigration Vote

Mike Coffman gets Trumped.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

As the Washington Post reports, don’t ever let it be said again that Republicans can’t get an immigration bill passed:

The House voted Thursday to punish local jurisdictions — known as “sanctuary cities” — that defy federal immigration authorities in order to protect immigrants living illegally in the United States.

The 241-to-179 vote, which was backed by Republican leaders and fell largely along party lines, is the most dramatic action taken by Congress after a spate of new attention on illegal immigration sparked by the July 1 killing of a 32-year-old California woman…

Some law enforcement organizations, civil rights groups and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have pushed back on efforts to crack down on sanctuary cities, arguing that new policies would be counterproductive by undermining the trust between local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

In the wake of the tragic killing of Kathryn Steinle by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported from the United States several times, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives rushed a bill to the floor bypassing the normal committee process to punish so-called “sanctuary cities”–jurisdictions that don’t investigate immigration status when working with residents or taking reports of crimes. Supporters of local governments who have made that policy decision say immigrants are more willing to cooperate with law enforcement in investigations of serious crimes if they don’t fear automatic arrest over their immigration status.

City governments, local law enforcement, not to mention millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States are waiting for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level to resolve the conflicts between federal and local policy, rationalize the broken status quo, and restore functionality to a system that hasn’t served the needs of the nation or immigrants wanting to come to American in many decades. Until then, knee-jerk retaliation against the headlines of the day are all we get on this issue from the Republican-controlled Congress.

coffmanaye

That includes Rep. Mike Coffman, whose “reinvention” on the issue of immigration since being redistricted out of his formerly safe GOP seat into a diverse battleground has once again been “Trumped” by his actual vote. Despite Coffman’s repeated attempts to cast himself as a “moderate” on immigration since redistricting, this vote has yet again failed to square with his newfound rhetoric. A good example of this delicate posturing came right after President Barack Obama’s executive order to halt deportations of DREAMer students–when Coffman voted to defund the program, claiming it gave prosecutors “too much discretion.”

Defending Thursday’s vote, Coffman said “it cannot be seen as anti-immigrant, as anti-Hispanic.” But with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump demagoguing the tragic yet anecdotal incident universally cited as the reason for rushing this bill through the GOP-controlled House, making this a focus of a campaign that has already outraged Hispanics over Trump’s unapologetic racist overtures…how can it possibly be seen as anything else?

Give the way Trump is dominating Spanish language news coverage of the 2016 presidential race, it’s an easy guess who Hispanic voters will identify this action with. Donald Trump is driving the agenda in today’s Republican Party–and in Colorado’s most competitive congressional race, Mike Coffman is happy to help him.

Bigots, Birchers, and Islamophobes in Colorado Mainstream Now

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Groups promoting hatred and fear of Muslims, gays, immigrants, unionized workers, and people of color are openly meeting in Colorado. These meetings are being promoted by mainstream Republican activists, and are aimed at influencing policy by informing local law enforcement and legislators of the  “threats” these groups pose. The John Birch Society had an Executive Dinner in Denver July 24.  RMGO is promoting an anti-Muslim training session for law enforcement, community and the public Aug. 13-15.

John Birch Society- the Founding Bigots

The John Birch Society met July 24, at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in North Denver.  Many mainstream GOP activists planned to attend, according to their Facebook pages. The John Birch Society (JBS) has a long history of racism and religious bigotry in the United States, and was where the Koch Brothers learned how to prey upon the fears of the ignorant.

In the JBS world view, communists are everywhere.

The JBS had its origins in the McCarthy era, as an anti-Communist group.  “Birchers” preached that all Civil Rights Movement leaders and actions were Communist-inspired. My father, an editorial writer for the Post, used to rail about the “Goddamn Birchers” who would oppose every piece of civil rights or anti-poverty legislation in Denver, and tried to suppress his editorials in the 1960s.

Although JBS leadership now wears three-piece suits, and meets at $50 a plate fundraising dinners in nice hotel ballrooms, their messaging has changed very little: “Those people” (leftists, feminists, unionists, environmentalists, gays, Muslims, the UN, Democrats, people of color promoting Obama’s “race war”) are conspiring to take away your American way of life,  and they must be stopped, preferably with a hefty donation to the JBS. 

The JBS contributes heavily to “Right to Work” and other ALEC- generated legislation.  Colorado legislators are rated  on the JBS “Freedom Index”. Rated at 70% or higher: Mike Coffman, Doug Lamborn, Scott Tipton,  Cory Gardner, and Ken Buck . It will be interesting to see which of these Republican politicians attended the JBS dinner.

 John Guandalo: RMGO sponsored workshops August 13-15 on “Understanding the Threat” of the Global Islamic Movement

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How The Hell Can You Oppose This Bill?

The Schlagetters.

The Schlagetters.

The Colorado Independent’s Nat Stein reports on legislation co-sponsored by Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, along with Reps. Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis in the House:

Sen. Michael Bennet joined 21 other senators to introduce a bill on Monday that would reinstate honor for the estimated 100,000 military service members discharged since World War II for their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Restore Honor to Service Members Act has 97 co-sponsors in the House version, including Democrats Reps. Jared Polis and Ed Perlmutter. An identical bill failed along party lines last session.

Before the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2010, service members outed as LGBT were forced out of the military with the status of “other than honorable,” “general discharge” or “dishonorable,” depending on the situation. Without honor, these veterans don’t have access to certain benefits they earned, such as health care, the GI bill and military burial. An other-than-honorable-discharge status is treated as a felony in some states, making it impossible to vote and nearly impossible to find employment.

“‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was a backward looking policy that undermined our national security and stood contrary to our national values,” Sen. Bennet said in a release. “It’s time to take steps that will help ensure these men and women receive the benefits they rightfully earned.”

The bill would correct the record by forcing the Department of Defense to remove mention of sexual orientation from discharge, reissue personnel records and hear oral testimony from people who experienced discrimination in the military. The move is more than symbolic — it would legally restore the rights that LGBT veterans have been denied.

With the end of the military’s much-reviled “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy,” along with changes in civilian law like the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down bans on same-sex marriage in the states, restoring/upgrading the discharge status of thousands of military members who were discharged over the years due to their sexual orientation seems like a no-brainer. We would compare such an action to the government’s apologies to segregated minority servicemen, or even Japanese internees–all similarly victims of past discriminatory policies that have now been repudiated. Of course we should do this.

Unfortunately, this measure by all accounts has very little chance of passage in the fully GOP-controlled Congress. Without at least a few Republican Senators willing to buck prejudice within their party and help move this bill forward, it remains what seems like a no-brainer, but in the present reality is a nonstarter.

And despite everything LGBT Americans have to celebrate today, that really sucks.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (July 14)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Forget sanctions — we should just threaten Iran with more letters from Congress. Let’s Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The United States and a handful of other world powers have agreed on a plan regarding sanctions on Iran and its nuclear weapons program. From Politico:

The United States and five other world powers have reached a deal with Iran that would place strict limits on Tehran’s nuclear program in return for ending sanctions on its economy, the culmination of years of delicate diplomacy pursued by President Barack Obama despite warnings the agreement could strengthen Iran’s Islamist regime and leave it dangerously close to a nuclear bomb.

The historic accord, reached by Secretary of State John Kerry and his international counterparts in Vienna on Tuesday after 18 days of intense negotiations, now faces review from a hostile Republican-led Congress, opposition from every GOP presidential candidate, from Israel’s government and from Sunni Arab monarchs. The deal’s long and complex implementation process also leaves it vulnerable to unraveling.

Warm up the printers! Congressional Republicans should be busy drafting new letters to send to Iran.

► It should come as little surprise that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was the top overall fundraiser among Republican Presidential contenders during the first six months of 2015, but you’ll never guess who checked in at number two: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is the top non-Bush fundraiser in the GOP field.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

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Bennet Raises Another $2 Million, Warchest at $4.3 Million

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver)

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver)

Colorado Republicans have had a difficult time trying to recruit a candidate to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in 2016, a task that grows more difficult by the day. As Lynn Bartels reports for the Denver Post, Bennet raised $2 million for his re-election for the second straight quarter and is now sitting on a warchest of more than $4.3 million.

Optimistic Republicans like to point to the fact that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) defeated Democrat Mark Udall in 2014 despite waiting until the end of February to launch his campaign, but that’s more footnote than foreshadowing when it comes to 2016. Bennet has a well-deserved reputation as one of the top fundraisers in Congress, but it’s still an impressive feat even when you know it’s coming.

 

 

 

Tom Tancredo Celebrates Donald Trump (Of Course)

Tom Tancredo.

Tom Tancredo.

As the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reports, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s incendiary rhetoric about immigrants from Mexico has given national Republican strategists heartburn in the last few weeks, not least because it seems to be helping Trump in polls of GOP primary voters.

Here in Colorado, Trump’s anti-immigrant diatribes have won him a big fan in former CD-6 Congressman Tom Tancredo. Even after being out of Congress for eight years, Tancredo remains one of the most nationally prominent immigration firebrands on the right. During his term in office, Tancredo earned the lasting enmity of the George W. Bush administration, even becoming persona non grata at the White House, after repeatedly clashing with them on the issue.

Not without reason, Tancredo suspects a Trump administration would treat him a little better:

These are heady days for former Congressman Tom Tancredo, who is watching presidential hopeful Donald Trump take up his obsession with illegal immigrants at the same time a national discussion is underway about sanctuary cities after a fatal shooting in San Francisco by a five-time deportee.

So is Tancredo, who once ran for president himself, a supporter of The Donald?

“God, yes,” Tancredo said, and then clarified his position. “At least of what he’s said.”

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

But wait, hasn’t Trump actually offended more people than he has won over with his sweeping characterizations of immigrants as wanton murderous rapists, at least in terms of the broader American electorate?

The problem, Tancredo said, is that Trump “needs to be a little bit more artful” when talking about the problems of illegal immigration. [Pols emphasis]

Keep in mind, gentle reader, that this is the same Tom Tancredo who once referred to Miami as a “Third World country,” proposed Jim Crow-style literacy tests for voting, and refused to attend a presidential debate on Univision because of his belief that candidates should only campaign in English. For those keeping score, Tancredo also denounced the first Hispanic-American Supreme Court Justice, Sonia Sotomayor as a “racist,” and in 2003 called for a five-year moratorium on legal immigration. Oh, and let’s not forget bombing Mecca.

Folks, when Tom Tancredo tells you you need to be “a little more artful” when discussing immigration issues, you’ve got a serious problem. That poll-topping Donald Trump is legitimizing the Tancredos of the world, showing the 2016 electorate the worst possible face of today’s Republican party, can be fairly considered a worst-case scenario.

For Republicans who want to win general elections, that is.

You’re the Next Contestant on “Somebody Please Run for U.S. Senate”

Republicans are trying to recruit former Solicitor General Dan Domenico to run for Senate in 2016.

Republican Dan Domenico.

Dan Domenico, come on down!

Republicans continue their search for a decent candidate for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet in 2016, and they appear to have narrowed their recruitment efforts — for the time being, at least — on the former Solicitor General under Attorney General John Suthers. 

Domenico is not well-known outside of small political circles, but Republicans think he could be a decent candidate to challenge Bennet’s re-election efforts after the GOP’s top tier — and second and third tier — took a pass on 2016 (sorry, Greg Lopez and Darryl Glenn, but you’re still a few levels down on the list).

Domenico has been rumored as a potential candidate in the past, and with few other options on the board, he just might be the next-best name for Republicans. Domenico has a good resume, no voting record to exploit, and is pretty photogenic; perhaps more importantly, his wife is a professional fundraiser who could help ease the financial burdens facing Republicans as they try to hold onto control of the U.S. Senate in a tough election year (Domenico’s wife is currently helping to raise money for GOP Presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina).

The downside to Domenico as a candidate is his background with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, where he took the lead on arguing Colorado’s case against allowing same-sex marriage in our state. This wouldn’t have been as much of a strategic concern as recently as last year, but 2016 is definitely not the year to be running for office as a noted opponent of same-sex marriage.

That’s not the only wrinkle to a potential Domenico campaign for Senate, however. If Attorney General Cynthia Coffman ends up leaving office early because of the Coffmangate scandal, which we continue to hear is not unlikely, Domenico is probably the GOP’s best candidate to put forward as her replacement. Would Domencio really roll the dice on a Senate campaign now that the AG’s office may suddenly open up for another Republican candidate? Domenico spent the last few years working under former Attorney General John Suthers, and we hear that the AG’s office would be his preference if he had the option.

On the other hand, if Domenico has ever considered running for federal office, this is probably the best opportunity he’s ever going to have; if Domenico doesn’t jump at the race in 2016, he’ll have to wait until at least the year 2022 because Republican Sen. Cory Gardner is up for re-election in 2020. The odds are slim that Domenico might still be in a position to be wooed by Republicans in another six years.

2012 Miss Colorado Slams Donald Trump

2012 Miss Colorado Marybel Gonzales.

2012 Miss Colorado Marybel Gonzalez.

Perennial Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been making ugly headlines since the launch of his campaign, after remarks harshly disparaging Mexican immigrants to the United States provoked widespread outcry–which Trump has been only too happy to feed by doubling down on his statements. Other Republican candidates have ranged from teeing off Trump’s comments to score points, to a refusal to engage in “Republican on Republican violence” by denouncing them (here’s looking at you, Ted Cruz).

Trump’s financial interest in such high-profile media events as the Miss USA Pageant has made it expedient for high-visibility partner organizations like NBC to cut their ties, generating still more negative press coverage. Here in Colorado, as Maya Rodriguez at 9NEWS reports, 2012 Miss Colorado Marybel Gonzalez is also calling Trump out:

“When Mexico sends its people they’re not sending their best,” Trump said. “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people.”

Gonzalez said his comments about Mexicans caught her off guard.

“The first thing I felt was just hurt,” she said. “I’m Mexican American. My parents were immigrants and I felt it was such a generalization that implicated hate, implicated discrimination and was completely unfounded.”

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

From Gonzales’ message to Trump:

When I watched your ill worded and completely erroneous speech, the only thing that resonated with me was the level of ignorance in your words. You say that Mexicans who come to the USA are all rapists. However, your argument is not only unsubstantiated but also completely hypocritical. See, a rapist is “one who abuses something or treats something improperly.” A rapist is a violator, and exploiter to be more precise. When you singled out a community and ignorantly generalized a population for the benefit of your campaign, you committed the worst exploitation. When you belittled the people of a country for the sake of a vote or an applause you acted in an unjustly manner to benefit your needs. Further, when you now negate other girls the opportunity to be present and heard in a public forum you are blatantly robbing them… if I am a rapist by the simple fact of being Mexican, then what do these actions speak of you?

Sincerely, Marybel González
A very Mexican, not rapist, Miss Colorado USA 2012, Top 10 Miss USA finalist

Safe to say that every time Trump’s name is mentioned along with the words “2016 Republican presidential candidate,” everyone who would like to see any Republican become President in 2016 cringes.

But for now, like it or not, he’s the one making headlines.

 

Republicans Find Senate Candidate Willing to Run in 2016…Sort Of

Greg Lopez, apparently.

Greg Lopez, apparently.

UPDATE: Longtime Colorado politicos may remember that Lopez ran for State Senate (SD-30) back in 2000 and lost to John Evans after a pretty meek campaign.

—–

Republicans have unearthed another candidate for U.S. Senate in 2016, as Lynn Bartels reports for the Denver Post blog “The Spot”:

Greg Lopez, the former director of the Small Business Administration in Colorado, announced Monday he plans to run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

Lopez said he’s not worried that other Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora and state Sen. Ellen Roberts of Durango, have already said “no” to challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet next year.

A former Mayor of Parker, Lopez tells Bartels that “His Democratic friends have told him they would back him publicly and financially if he ran for office,” though we can’t imagine those friends ever thought Lopez might run for United States Senate. Lopez is bilingual and has served 10 years on the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, and along with his time with he SBA, he has an interesting resume…on paper.

Lopez is probably a better Republican candidate than Darryl Glenn — though that isn’t a very high bar to clear — but he’s certainly not a game-changer who will pose a serious threat to Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet. Put it this way: If your campaign announcement for Senate is only picked up by the political blog of the Denver Post, you’re obviously not generating a lot of buzz or excitement.

It also doesn’t help Lopez that he left the U.S. Small Business Administration in April 2014 “because of clashes with his bosses in Washington over the Veterans Administration hospital project in Aurora that was beset by cost overruns…” Being involved in the mess that is the VA Hospital project in Aurora should be a big bonus!

Beer Wars: Coal, Water, Smelt, and the Great Beer Boycott of 2015

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Forget about buying New Belgium Craft Beer in Craig, Colorado. Most of the liquor stores, and some of the bars, just aren’t selling it anymore. The boycott is a reaction to New Belgium’s support of the work of the Wild Earth Guardians (WEG). WEG has successfully promoted an environmental lawsuit halting expansion of the ColoWyo coal mine in Moffat County near Craig, and some local coal miners fear that their livelihoods will be sacrificed for an environmental cause or an endangered species. In an article in the Craig Daily Press, Lori Gillam, an owner of Stockmen’s Liquor store, said, “We pulled those beers because their support of WildEarth Guardians… who said their ultimate goal is to shut down coal mines. Craig is a coal mine town.”

These fears are being relentlessly inflamed in the right wing blogosphere, and on right wing talk radio. On June 9 and 10, Ken Clark’s Freedom 360 show was all about the so-called “War on Coal” in Craig, Colorado. 

New Belgian Beers on Tap

New Belgium Beers on tap, from National Journal article by Matt Berman. Photo by Quan Ha

 

  

“They’re coming after Colorado!,” Ken Clark breathlessly reported at 8:39 minutes into his 6/9/15 Freedom 560 show. From 5:23 to 8:20, Clark made the following statements about Wild Earth Guardians:

  “These are the same folks that created all this havoc in California. [They] .. are the whack jobs that shut down all of the irrigation to these farmlands in order to protect that smelt, that fish. . . They pretty much killed California and their farm production.  Fresno County – the unemployment rate’s 47%. These are the same guys. . . .They have set their sights on Colorado. They are coming here.  And now they’re coming after us.” 

 

Factually, Clark is just plain wrong here, although he wisely left wiggle room by saying that his “friend told him so”, and he plans to “check it out”. Fresno’s unemployment rate in 2014 was 11%, not 47%. California is obviously suffering from drought, and farmers, tourists, developers, businesses, and wildlife are all struggling and negotiating for the use of the same diminishing pool of potable water. The only reference to environmental regulations and fish in the Fresno Bee article was the mention of how water is being kept in Lake Shasta to keep  salmon and trout alive. 

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Taking The Sting Out Of The Next Government Shutdown?

Photo via the Wilderness Society

Photo via the Wilderness Society

As the Durango Herald’s Mariam Baksh reports, Colorado Rep. Scott Tipton (R) is teaming up with Sen. Michael Bennet (D) to get our state reimbursed for the costs of keeping economically vital national parks open during the 2013 shutdown of the federal government–a shutdown, as you’ll recall, instigated by Republicans in an attempt to force the repeal of the Affordable Care Act:

During the 2013 government shutdown, Colorado used its own funds to keep its national parks open.

Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, agree that Colorado should get this money back from the federal government…

Colorado spent about $367,000 keeping Rocky Mountain National Park open.

Colorado would receive its share of the $2 million [Sen. Jeff] Flake is proposing the Department of Interior return to the states that gave money to the agency to keep national parks open.

GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona was a consistent opponent of shutting down the government over Obamacare in 2013, which makes sense given the enormous importance of federally-funded tourism destinations like the Grand Canyon are to his state. Here in Colorado, most Republicans initially embraced the shutdown, or at most half-heartedly claimed to not like it while voting to make it happen. That includes Rep. Scott Tipton as well as now-Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who since being elected to the Senate has generally supported proposals that would make government shutdowns harder–a sign that perhaps Gardner learned a lesson from the lasting political fallout for the GOP after the 2013 shutdown.

Tipton co-sponsored a bill that then-Rep. Cory Gardner introduced that would require the Department of Interior to return money to states that used their own budgets to keep federal parks open.

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Is there any responsible lawmaker who would oppose repaying states for funds spent keeping national parks open during the 2013 shutdown? We’d assume not. But the easy question of whether to make states whole for their shutdown expenditures sidesteps the original question of responsibility for the shutdown. In 2013, the public lopsidedly blamed the GOP, though many voters would be hard pressed to remember the details today. But at least until Barack Obama leaves office, the dynamic of future fiscal debates, and potential government shutdowns, will be driven by congressional Republicans choosing to instigate one. Republicans led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have said there would be no more shutdowns, at least implicitly citing the political damage caused by the last one. But if they were to succeed in taking the sting out of a future shutdown, would that promise hold up?

And the question remains: is this kind of dysfunctional brinksmanship any way to do business?

Bennet said he supports the U.S. Department of Interior giving money back to the states, but he takes issue with legislation aimed at mitigating the effects of a future shutdown when lawmakers should instead be focused on passing appropriations bills that fund the entire government and avoid a shutdown to begin with.

It seems to us that anything that would mitigate the impact of a shutdown, especially while allowing so many other functions of government to come to a halt as this limited proposal would, is basically guaranteed to increase the chances of another harmful shutdown. Without serious consequences for everyone responsible, there is no reason for the brinksmanship that has typified recent budget standoffs to be resolved. Every such consequence therefore becomes leverage to bring both sides to the bargaining table, and a reality check against unreasonable obstruction by factional interests on either side.

With all that in mind, yes, give our state back the money. But don’t make the next shutdown less painful.

Instead, let’s just not have any more shutdowns.

Get More Smarter on Monday (June 8)

Get More SmarterThis doesn’t seem very fast to us. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Senator Michael Bennet (D-Denver) is pushing for a major overhaul of campaign finance reform. We all know that campaign finance laws are pretty useless at the moment — hell, GOP Presidential contender Jeb Bush has been openly breaking the law for months.

► The Veterans Administration is promoting a new plan to help pay for completion of the Aurora VA Hospital. A three-week extension on funding construction is set to expire this week.

► The deadline for Gov. John Hickenlooper to veto legislation from the 2015 Colorado Assembly came and went on Friday with no new vetoes. Hickenlooper vetoed three bills from the prior session: two red-light camera restriction bills, and nonsense legislation that would have allowed predatory lenders to drastically increase interest rates. Good on ya, Gov.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Coffman does little to promote immigration reform besides create the appearance of support for it

(Try to Google “What is Mike Coffman’s position on immigration reform?” — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmanpushup

In response to my post yesterday urging reporters to spotlight Mike Coffman’s weak advocacy for immigration reform, Coffman’s spokesman Tyler Sandberg told me via Twitter that “Google is Your Friend,” and directed me to an instance when Coffman said he was “deeply disappointed” with House opposition to a resolution allowing young immigrants to gain citizenship via military service.

Google is my friend, and it confirms my larger point that Coffman does little to promote immigration reform besides create the appearance of seriousness without the much substance at all.

Coffman has expressed disappointment, yes, and I regret writing that he didn’t use the word, but he hasn’t seriously challenged Boehner, who’s arguably been the biggest obstacle to immigration reform in the country.

Where was Coffman’s disappointment when the Senate’s bipartisan immigration legislation, with Marco Rubio’s name on it, died in the House. Coffman didn’t even support a vote on the bipartisan and comprehensive bill, despite Coffman’s public statements in favor of comprehensive immigration reform.

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