“House Republicans Simply Cannot be Led”

kidsrunning

Herding Republicans

Members of Congress were scrambling to make their flights home today for the August recess…and then Republicans f***** everything up again.  As "The Fix" reports this afternoon:

Oops, they did it again.

A spending measure designed to address the ongoing crisis of undocumented children entering at the country's southern border was shelved Thursday because the party couldn't rally the necessary votes to pass it. That decision raised the specter that the House would adjourn for a five-week summer recess without passing any sort fix for the border crisis. And, it amounted to yet another defeat for maligned House Speaker John Boehner and other members of the Republican leadership team who not only pushed hard for the bill's passage but also confidently predicted victory earlier on Thursday. (At press time, there was some question as to whether some sort of legislation could be cobbled together to gain a majority of Republican votes. Even if that happens, the inability of Republicans to pass the leadership-backed vehicle is a remarkable swing and a miss.)

The failure of the GOP leadership's immigration solution fits a now-familiar pattern for Congressional Republicans. Led by Boehner, the party's top brass fight with President Obama on the parameters of a legislative solution to a problem in the country. In hopes of answering the "do nothing" charges leveled at them by Democrats, those same GOP leaders put a proposal on the table that offers a handful of concessions but nowhere near the number the White House is demanding. The tea party faction in the House — led by Sen. Ted Cruz (yes, you read that right) — balks, demanding that the GOP make no concessions of any sort to the president. The party leaders whip support for the bill but, ultimately, find that 20 (or so) of their conference will not be for it under any circumstances. That means Boehner either has to a) pass legislation with Democratic votes or b) pull proposals off the House floor to avoid embarrassing losses.

The issues change — tax increases, immigration, the farm bill and so on and so forth — but the underlying reality remains the same: House Republicans simply cannot be led…

…House Republicans continue to flail helplessly while the country watches, mouth agape.

Yup.

 

Gardner’s immigration spin cycle now includes attack on Udall for supporting Senate Bill

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Senatorial candidate Cory Gardner has been hitting the radio airwaves recently with his thoughts on immigration, and I've discerned a pattern, nothing too complex, but a pattern nonetheless:

Start with point number one here: 1. Sound like you're for immigration reform. 2. Attack others for immigration-reform failures. 3. Sound like you have an actual factual immigration-reform plan, when, in fact, you have nothing specific to offer. 4. Go back to point number 1.

Here's how it works in action, as delivered during a Hot Air interview July 26, so real reporters can be prepared, if they interview Gardner on immigration.

Gardner: We have a humanitarian crisis at our Southern border that underscores the broader need for responsible immigration reform.

[That's point one: He's sounding like he wants rational reform.]

Gardner: My opponent, Senator Udall, voted in favor of the Senate legislation that the Congressional Budget Office estimates would decrease illegal immigration by as little as 33%. Our current problems require long-term reform, not short-term Washington fixes.

[Point two: He's blaming others. And, by the way, the bill would cut illegal immigration by 33-50 percent.]

Gardner: I believe we should move forward with an immigration policy that prioritizes border security, and that includes a viable guest-worker program that capitalizes on the benefits of legal immigration to this country.

[Pont three and four: He's sounding like he has a plan. But where is it? Judging from his utterances, you'd think he supports the bipartisan Senate bill, which he's just slammed Udall for supporting. What does Gardner support?

In another recent interview, on KFKA's Amy Oliver show, Gardner rattled off his immigration spin cycle in a slightly different order, but the points were there.

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Corporate-Driven Education Reform Experiments Failing in Denver and Around the Country

I decided to add to my recent articles about the Colorado State Board of Education primary in Denver after reading an article today in Chalkbeat Colorado, a national non-profit education news agency. In the article "8 struggling schools opt in to Colorado's new turnaround network."  Ashley Jochim, research analyst at the Center on Reinventing Publication Education and one of the policy experts advising the states the following: 


                                                                                                                                                   Stacey Jocim, CRPE

"But Jochim said the resources will only be fruitful if principals are allowed to adopt the best ideas, even if they run counter to district policies – something that could be a challenge when it comes to personnel, budget, and curriculum. 

If Colorado stumbles, it won't be alone, Jochim said.

 "We're not in a place where anyone has done [a turnaround network] right,"* she said.

*Bold added for emphasis.                                                                                       Link:  http://tinyurl.com/okb5gdp

 


Since the beginning of the now-Senator Michael Bennet's term as DPS superintendent, Denver Public Schools administration has pursued an aggressive approach to public schools that includes firing and displacing teachers, closing schools, and privatizing public schools by putting control in the hand of private companies that use public and private funds to run those schools. Bennet hired Mr. Boasberg to be the COO of DPS by attracting him away from his position as the VP of Corporate Affiairs at a multi-billion dollar corporation (a background much like Bennet's). In addition Boasberg chooses to reside and Boulder and will not send his own children to the District he oversees.  

 

DPS Superintendent Tom Boasberg                                Boasberg and Senator Michael Bennet

                              


What is Turnaround?

For a background on Turnaround, Turnaround is a status that is granted through US Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan's landmark education policy, Race to the Top. Much of Race to the Top included money to backfill the budgets of states, districts, and schools who were suffering devastating cuts during the Great Recession. Another component was school turnarounds to be funded under the School Improvement Grants. In order to receive funding for Turnarounds, a school must be in the lowest 5% of rankings on high-stakes standardized tests like CSAPTCAP, and PARCC. The federal government promised $5 billion dollars over 5 years. It just happens to be that these schools are primarily. 

 

                                                                                                                                       US Secretary of Education,                                                                                                                                                          Arnie Duncan

There are 4 Turnaround models in the federal guidelines:

  1. Turnaround Model – Replace the principal and rehire no more than 50% of the school’s staff, adopt a new governance structure, and implement a research-based vertically aligned instructional program. 
  2. Restart Model – Transfer control of or close and reopen a school under a School Management Organization (SMO) or school operator that has been selected through a rigorous review process. 
  3. School Closure – Close the school and enroll students in other, higher-achieving schools. 
  4. Transformation Model – Develop teacher/principal effectiveness (including replacing the principal), implement comprehensive instructional reform, extend learning and teacher planning time, create a community-orientation, and provide operating flexibility and sustained support

Link:  http://tinyurl.com/prel32m

 

Translated into normal  English:  

  1. Turnaround ModelFire or displace at least half of the staff and the principal.
  2. Restart Model – Create a charter or give the existing school a privately-run and publicly-funded charter school.
  3. School Closure – No need to explain. See Chicago Public Schools or DC Public Schools.  
  4. Transformation - Fire the principal and invest. Only model that doesn't fire and displace effective teachers. 

DPS most commonly chooses the Turnaround model. This is not the case nationwide. Once again, I want to reiterate the quote that "We're not in a place where anyone has done [a turnaround network] right."


What does this mean for DPS?

According to this Colorado Department of Education website, DPS has used federal Turnaround grants at least 14 times over 3 years, receiving millions in federal money. 

Link:  http://www.cde.state.co.us/fedprograms/tieredinterventiongrantresources

  1. Montbello High School (Close)
  2. North High School
  3. Noel Middle School
  4. Philips (Close)
  5. Rishel (Close)
  6. Lake
  7. Skyland (Close)
  8. Greenlee 
  9. Gilpin 
  10. Trevista 
  11. Charles M. Schenk 
  12. Smith
  13. West
  14. Bruce Randolph

 

The list above does not include schools that went through a similar process called "Redesign". These schools did not qualify for the School Improvement Grants, happened prior to SIG, or are outside of the CDE reporting. This following list may be missing additional schools, but the redesign and closed schools that I can recall outside of the SIG grants are:

  1. Remington Elementary (Closed)
  2. Smedley Elementary (Closed)
  3. Horace Mann Middle School
  4. Del Pueblo Elementary (Closed)
  5. Wyman Elementary (Closed)
  6. Gilpin
  7. Polaris (Closed)
  8. Manual High School (Twice:  resulting in many students, predominantly of color, never graduating high school)
  9. Kunsmiller Middle School
  10. Grant Middle School
  11. Oakland Elementary (Twice:  turned into SOAR Oakland charter school and then closed again)
  12. McGlone Elementary
  13. Green Valley Ranch Elementary
  14. Centennial K-8
  15. Fairmont K-8
  16. Ashley Elementary
  17. Smiley Middle School (Closed)
  18. Kepner Middle School (Coming in 2015-2016)

 

Denver Public Schools currently has two Turnaround networks of schools managed by their own Instruction Superindent, Deputy Superintendent, and support staff. The current networks are the West Denver Network (WDN) and the Denver Summit Schools Network (DSSN). They are in process of establishing a new turnaround network including Cheltenham Elementary, Columbine Elementary, Fairview Elementary, and Valverde Elementary. This network is flagged for Redesign or Turnaround if improvement is not made soon.  

 

 

DPS has already redesigned or turned around 17 schools on its own and 14 more with the support federal money to aid their programs. This makes 31 schools in Denver where students were displaced, teachers and other staff were fired. 

 

What is the result?

 

The Achievement Gap Is Growing.

Denver Public Schools consists of 77% minority students. 58% of those students are Latino, and 14% Black. As the District administration continues to fail to address the achievement gap, it continues to fail the majority of Denver students. Furthermore, these schools all predominantly serve or served students of color. Two of Denver's iconic schools that successfully served African American students, Montbello and Manual High Schools, have been tinkered with with little success. DPS eventually shut down Montbello and is trying to decide what to do with Manual. Similar Turnarounds and closures are happening at Latino schools like West High School and Kepner Middle School. Tom Boasberg has even admitted that while the achievement gap is shrinking statewide, it is getting worse in Denver, 

"While we're seeing significant gains across all demographic groups, we are not seeing our gaps close and this is very concerning," Boasberg said. "As we move forward, clearly we need to improve the effectiveness of our efforts to close the achievement gaps."

Citation:  "Latino students in Colroado Slowly closing gaps on achievement tests." Denver Post

 

​​Articles:

 

Massive Layoffs and Firings of Effective Teachers.

The vast majority of these schools implemented a process that either shuttered the school or required the staff to reapply for their jobs despite positive performance evaluations. The district is then able to displace or layoff teachers without any cause when they had been performing effectively. 

Articles

 

Fewer Teachers of Color in Denver Schools

  • It is a well-known fact that Denver Public Schools is losing more teachers of color than they are attracting. ​According to Colorado Public Radio reported Jenny Brundin in an article in February 2014, only 4% of teachers in Denver are black while 14% of the student body is black. The gap worsens with Latinos with a 17% Latino teachers and 58% Latino students. Link – "Race Matters in the Classroom:  Why are all of my teachers white?http://www.cpr.org/news/story/race-matters-classroom-why-are-all-my-teachers-white

Articles:

 

Major Funding for Politicians (Democrats for Education Reform) and Republicans Who Support this Model. 

 

2009

2011

​​2013

 

Maybe this will help explain why the NEA's body of over 8,000 education employee delegates vote in support of a request to ask US Secretary of State Arnie Duncan to resign. School boards are getting more and more funding from national corporate and special interests that are working to privatize public education and bust teacher and other public employee unions (one of the strongest checks on corporations and Republicans). 

We are now seeing this in Douglas County, Jefferson County, Big Thompson School District, and District 12 as well. It is time to get educated and get organized to preserve one of the major pillars of American prosperity. 

Perlmutter, Bennet Push for IRS to Waive Fee that Marijuana Businesses Cannot Avoid

Ed Perlmutter

Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County)

Whatever your opinion on the legalization of marijuana — both for medicinal and recreational uses — it's become increasingly clear that banking and tax laws need to be adjusted for the safety and security of both businesses and customers.

As David Migoya reports in the Denver Post, Rep. Ed Perlmutter continues his push to find some sort of fair middle ground for pot shops that are being forced to conduct most of their business operations entirely in cash:

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Ed Perlmutter on Friday asked the Internal Revenue Service to stop assessing a 10 percent penalty on legal marijuana businesses that are forced to pay federal withholding taxes in cash for lack of banking services.

In a joint letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, Bennet and Perlmutter, both Democrats, noted how pot shops in Colorado often have little choice but to pay employee withholding taxes in cash since banks won't take their business.

IRS rules require the taxes to be paid via the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System, and businesses that don't comply face a 10 percent penalty on the tax.

News of the practice came to light when The Denver Post last week reported about a Denver dispensary's legal efforts to challenge the IRS…

…Another problem is that businesses willing to pay the IRS assessment — often amounting to tens of thousands of dollars — can't get an installment plan as other businesses do because they remain out of compliance and subject to additional penalties, according to the attorney who is challenging the fines in U.S. Tax Court. As a result, a legal marijuana shop's operating license is in jeopardy — despite paying their taxes on time — because state law requires them to be in compliance with all federal and state tax laws.

This problem seems particularly ludicrous — again, no matter your opinion on marijuana — because pot shops have absolutely no option for avoiding the 10% penalty they are assessed for not using banking services. The federal government still doesn't allow banks to accept deposits from marijuana businesses, so how, exactly, are they supposed to comply with IRS rules requiring the use of banking services? We're not going to allow you to deposit money in a bank…but we are going to fine you for not having a bank account.

We wouldn't expect Congress to take action on this issue, since Republican House leadership has largely pledged not to take action on, well, anything beyond getting mad at President Obama for trying to govern while they race office chairs up and down the hall. But this is a pretty good issue for potential bipartisan support if there ever was such a thing. Republicans are normally jumping at the chance to prevent the federal government from infringing on state's rights; when you include the opportunity to complain about the IRS at the same time, this should be a slam dunk for the GOP. And again, this is a serious safety issue when you force an industry to carry around massive amounts of cash; why bother robbing a bank when you'll get more cash out of a pot shop that had a good weekend?

If and when federal law is finally changed to accommodate changes created by state elections, Rep. Perlmutter should get the credit he deserves for being at the forefront of a set of issues that really do affect Coloradans of all stripes.

 

Beauprez favors Arizona-style action on immigration, if feds don’t respond to his demands, lawsuit

(Making best buddy Tom Tancredo proud! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

In wide-ranging thoughts on immigration policy delivered over the weekend on a Denver radio station, Colorado gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez said states should enforce federal immigration law themselves, in the absence of federal action, "as Jan Brewer tried to do in Arizona."

The Arizona law, backed by Brewer, allowing police to detain anyone suspected of being an illegal immigrant, was ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. It's widely believed that the law would have led to harassment and discrimination of legal and undocumented immigrants.

Beauprez said that before he'd take immigration matters in his own hands if elected governor, he'd join with other governors and sue the federal government to "secure our borders."

Beauprez made the comments on KOA 850-AM, a Denver radio station, Saturday in response to a question from guest radio host Doug Kellet, who asked Beauprez about the young undocumented immigrants captured recently along the U.S.-Mexico border.

"I was with a group of people the day before yesterday, and several of them were from our southern cities, Pueblo specifically," said Beauprez on air. "And they said, if buses show up, they will be in the streets to block them. I think you are going to see what happened in California start happening everywhere."

Beauprez also said: "It’s going to affect all the states out here, and the President is trying to gloss over it and tell us all the wonderful things we’re doing as a nation to accept all these people. He doesn’t tell us the impact on the people who are already here and are going to pay the bill."

Kellet didn't ask Beauprez if he'd participate in the street protests himself.

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Beauprez accuses Obama of dumping undocumented immigrants in Arizona for political revenge

(This is pretty gross. – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Bob Beauprez.

Bob Beauprez.

Undocumented children are literally dying along the U.S. border, in the desert, and radio-host Mike Rosen and gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez are accusing Obama of dumping undocumented kids in Arizona, as a form of political revenge against Arizona governor Jan Brewer:

ROSEN: You suppose that there could be any spiteful motivations on President Obama’s part for dumping a lot of those unaccompanied—

BEAUPREZ: (sarcastically) Surely not. You’re not that cynical, are you?

ROSEN: — teenage immigrants into the state of Arizona because he doesn’t like [Republican Governor] Jan Brewer?

BEAUPREZ: [laughing loudly] Yeah, it’s perhaps more than coincidental.

ROSEN: Hmmmm. Hmmm

It's moments like this when you wish SuperTalker from above would float into the KOA studios, bop Rosen on the head, and say, "Shut up, Mike. And you, Bob, want to be governor? What kind of governor makes ugly and bizarre accusations, like this, based on no evidence at all. And you're laughing about it, at the expense of the poorest, most vulnerable kids? It doesn't get much worse."

Then SuperTalker would tell KOA listeners that he's placed Rosen in timeout for a few days and asked him to think about whether it would be right, on any planet, to say such things, as kids are caught in the immigration nightmare that we've created.

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Time’s Up For Two-Faced Immigration Pandering

GOP Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

GOP Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

​During the latest round of debate over the perennially hot-button issue of immigration reform, proponents of comprehensive reform have creditably given Republicans tremendous leeway to come around on the issue. This was a pragmatic decision on the part of traditionally Democratic-aligned immigration reform proponents, hoping that growing public support for their version of reform, which would include a sensible path forward for undocumented immigrants already in the county, would push enough Republicans to the table to make progress.

To this end, immigration reform advocates were elated to see Rep. Mike Coffman, the successor to anti-immigrant firebrand Tom Tancredo in Congress, paying newfound lip service to the idea of immigration reform. Coffman has continued to make what can be best described as "surgical overtures" to immigration reform proponents, in particular calling for a path to permanent residency for undocumented students who join the military.

“These are talented, hardworking DREAMers who will strengthen our military, boost our national security, and enhance our military readiness.”

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Rep. Mike Coffman (left).

Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and Rep. Mike Coffman (left).

Notice how Coffman even uses the term "DREAMers?" The way Coffman talks about immigration reform today, you might never realize that he voted to deport those same DREAMers. So did Rep. Cory Gardner, now Colorado's Republican U.S. Senate candidate–who just this week told immigration reform protesters occupying his Greeley office:

I will continue my efforts to convince Speaker Boehner and the rest of the House to bring immigration reform legislation to the floor.

Like we said yesterday, this is the same Cory Gardner who helped kill bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform that had already passed the U.S. Senate. Cory Gardner voted to deport DREAMer students right along with Coffman, and Gardner even objected to the Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona challenging the constitutionality of that state's SB-1070 anti-immigrant law.

This is the emerging fact: the gap between Coffman and Gardner's words on immigration reform and their deeds is becoming so wide, that for anyone who understands the issue, it's simply not believable. You just can't reconcile their statements with their actions on immigration reform, which have done absolutely nothing to advance the issue. In fact, and there's no nice way to say this, their votes make bald-faced liars of both of them.

For reform proponents who gave Coffman, and to a lesser extent Gardner lots of time and space to do the right thing, this realization has of course been painful. It proves that reform advocates cared more about advancing the issue than partisan politics, and that is to their credit. But the net result has been that both of these politicians avoided attacks that could have done real political harm to them for many months. The unfortunate lesson in all of this is that sometimes pandering works: the time Coffman and Gardner bought themselves going into their hotly competitive elections this year was invaluable.

But as the AP's Nicholas Riccardi reports, reform proponents are done being pandered to, and mad as hell.

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Cory Gardner on Immigration: What Do You Want To Hear?

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

CBS4 reports on fascinating developments yesterday from a rally inside Rep. Cory Gardner's Greeley offices:

Dozens of immigration reform protesters packed Rep. Cory Gardner’s office calling for changes. They even brought a mariachi band.

“We have our rights. This is a public office. We’re taxpayers. We’re refusing to leave, everyone come in,” chanted the protesters…

They refused to leave until the lawmaker agreed to take action on long-debated measures that could improve the status of immigrants living in Colorado and throughout the U.S.

Here's more from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition Action Fund:

As Rep. Cory Gardner has now officially won the Republican nomination for Senate in Colorado, he will have to answer across the state for his votes to deport DREAMers and his blocking the best chance in decades to pass immigration reform. This week marks the one-year anniversary of the Senate passage of a bipartisan immigration bill, one that Gardner would have voted against if he had been a Senator at that time. As a House member, Gardner has been a major force in the Republican caucus that has failed to pass a common sense solution to fix the broken immigration system this year.

After a protest at his office in early June, Rep. Gardner told the AP he supports citizenship for military service, but reform supporters aren’t satisfied. Leaders from his district submitted a letter to Gardner’s office on June 11, asking him to put articulate a solution for the 11 million immigrants currently in the US, but Gardner has been silent.

So yesterday, they showed up to "occupy" Gardner's office. And that's where it gets interesting, as CBS4's report continues:

Gardner released this statement: “I remain supportive of fixing our broken immigration system. I’ve met with many groups who support immigration reform, and each conversation I have paints a more vivid picture of just how significant of an impact modernizing our immigration policy would have on families and businesses across Colorado. I will continue my efforts to convince Speaker Boehner and the rest of the House to bring immigration reform legislation to the floor. It’s far too important of an issue for Colorado not to.”

Gardner "remains supportive" of immigration reform? Understand–this is the same Cory Gardner who helped kill the Senate's bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill the moment it arrived in the House. The same Cory Gardner who opposed the DREAM Act, who voted to deport DREAMer students, and who even objected to the Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona over their much-reviled SB-1070 anti-immigrant law:

"The solution to the problem isn't for the Justice Department to file a taxpayer-funded lawsuit against the Governor of Arizona for responding to a law enforcement crisis. It isn't giving amnesty to the 12-20 million illegal immigrants in this country, or giving those people benefits that will only encourage more illegal immigration. The time has come to enforce the rule of law and end illegal immigration."

Folks, is there anyone out there who seriously believes Gardner has been trying to "convince" Speaker John Boehner to take up immigration reform in the House? Because if there are, we'd like to sell you a bridge, a swamp, whatever. For anyone who knows what Gardner's actual record is on this issue, his statement to these immigration reform protesters is nothing short of preposterous.

That said, Gardner's audacious willingness to say anything to anyone is really beginning to amaze us. If it wasn't for our lazy local media, we'd be 100% certain he was headed for epic disaster. But in order for voters to be outraged, they need to understand how outrageous this all really is.

Latino Alienation: Ditching Tancredo Won’t Save The GOP

shutterstock_2987758

An excellent story in today's Durango Herald from reporter Dale Rodebaugh, writing about a new report on the growing power of Latino voters nationally and in Colorado:

A fast-growing Hispanic population will have increasing importance in Colorado and national elections, statistics from a new report show.

The votes are there for either major party, but Republicans appear to be turning their back on Latinos, three commentators said during a call-in Wednesday regarding the survey prepared by America’s Voice and Latino Decisions.

The panelists were prominent Democrat Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator from Colorado and secretary of the Interior; Gabriel Sanchez, director of research at Latino Decisions and professor of political science at the University of New Mexico; and Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota…

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

​In the days since Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob "Mexican Time" Beauprez defeated primary challenger Tom Tancredo, local press and political pundits have been quick to declare that the GOP "dodged a bullet" by avoiding a candidate for governor who would have fundamentally repelled Latino voters. Unfortunately for Republicans, given Beauprez's record and the continued push rightward away from engagement with Latinos by the GOP as a whole–whether they like it or not, as Eric Cantor can tell you–we can't say the party's prospects for engaging this rapidly-growing segment of the electorate are really any better today.

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Coffman spokesperson feeds falsehoods to Univision

(Ridiculous – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Last month, Univision Denver's news show requested an interview with Republican Mike Coffman to get his reaction to Democrat Andrew Romanoff's accusation that Coffman's immigration policies reflect those of former Congressman Tom Tancredo.

Coffman sent his spokesman, Tyler Sandberg, to talk to Univision, and here's an excerpt from the piece that aired.

Univision reporter Karen Vega: … We asked if, in reality, Coffman shared the anti-immigrant opinions and practices of his predecessor, the former Congressman and current state gubernatorial candidate, Tom Tancredo.

Sandberg: Absolutely not. On the issue of immigration, Tom Tancredo and Mike Coffman represent two different extremes of the Republican Party. As such, with all respect to Tom Tancredo, Mike Coffman does not have the same anti-immigrant policies.

Left out was a reference to Romanoff's point that Coffman introduced Tom Tancredo as his "hero" at a 2010 Tea Party Rally:

Coffman: "It is a great honor for me to introduce somebody who is my hero, someone who has served this country with honor and integrity and courage… and that is former Congressman Tom Tancredo."

What's more, Coffman endorsed Tancredo in the 2010 gubernatorial election. (And vice versa here.)

Apparently aware of this, Vega asked Sandberg about the "admiration that Coffman supposedly has for Republican Tom Tancredo."

Sandberg replied to Vega by saying that Coffman respects Tancredo for his views on economic issues and not at all for his views on immigration.

Too bad Vega didn't have this video of Coffman's introduction of Tancredo in 2010, when Coffman offered hero-like praise for Tancredo's extreme opposition to Republican-led immigration reform in 2006.

COFFMAN: "In 2006, I was a disillusioned Republican because of what was going on in Washington DC when Republicans had the White House, when Republicans had the House and the Senate, and they ceased to govern by the conservative principles that they ran on. But there was one Republican in Washington who refused to stand with them, who stood on the same conservative principles that he ran on, and that was Tom Tancredo. When Republicans in the Congress ceased to govern by the values that got them elected, when the Republican President of the United States, with the Republican leadership and their Democrat allies, came up with a so-called immigration reform bill that did nothing to secure the borders of the United States and provided amnesty for those who had broken our law, Tom Tancredo refused to stand with those Republicans."

If Coffman, or more likely his spokesman, appears again on Univision, let's hope he gets time to explain why he thinks his boss is so far apart from Tancredo's immigration positions, when in fact they share both an anti-immigrant record and fighter's posture on the issue.

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What Gardner Isn’t Saying on Immigration Is More Important than What He Says

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

An Associated Press article last week reported on the clashes between Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner, on immigration issues. The AP piece, by Nicholas Riccardi, not only presents the two candidates' current positions on the topic but also adds info about what the one of the candidates is not saying.

Gardner last week said that he did support citizenship for people here illegally who served in the military. But he would not give any more specifics about who else should be granted citizenship.

Information about what candidates aren't willing to say allows readers to make meaningful comparisons.

It helps voters distinguish, in this case, a narrow immigration position, like Gardner's, from a broader one, like the comprehensive immigration reform supported by Udall. (Reporters covering Rep. Mike Coffman should also point out his unwillingness to offer a specific immigration plan, beyond vagaries–unlike his Democratic opponent Andrew Romanoff, who's a backer of the bipartisan Senate bill.)

Riccardi's piece clearly states that Udall supports the bipartisan immigration bill passed by the Senate, and Gardner does not.

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Tancredo, Beauprez, And The “Great Democratic Headfake”

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels updates the state of play in the Colorado GOP gubernatorial primary, where top contenders Bob Beauprez and Tom Tancredo are running neck-and-neck in polls widely rumored but as yet unseen:

With the primary election around the corner, Tom Tancredo said Friday he believes he has slipped from being the front-runner in the GOP race for governor to second place behind Bob Beauprez.

Tancredo blamed a radio spot that claims he supports the legalization of hard drugs and two TV ads paid for by Democrats that are attempting to influence the GOP primary outcome.

Tancredo said he has been told Beauprez leads him by 1 percent in a recent poll that was commissioned on another issue, but included a question about the four Republicans running for governor…

Over the last few days, Republicans have been up in arms over Democratic-funded ads "attacking" both Tancredo and Beauprez, which seem in hindsight to have been a little too transparently written to boost Tancredo with conservative primary voters–"Tancredo HATES Obamacare!"–while hitting Beauprez in more authentically negative ways that conservatives won't appreciate.

The ads were designed to make Tancredo more appealing to GOP voters and Beauprez less appealing, political analysts said.

"What has happened instead," Tancredo said, "is Republicans are upset Democrats are trying to pick the nominee."

Former state Sen. Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, said the Democratic meddling has made her rethink her decision to support Tancredo.

"I'm leaning toward Bob Beauprez," she said. "If the Democrats think Beauprez is the one to beat, then as a good Republican why shouldn't I?" [Pols emphasis]

Tom Tancredo.

Tom Tancredo.

​​As we noted when these ads first debuted a couple of weeks ago, it's far from unprecedented for an opposing party to run ads intended to influence a primary election, and/or begin to define one's likely opposition before the primary. And there's nothing exceptional about the candidates in that primary attempting to use such ad buys for their own advantage–"it means they're scared of me," candidates targeted can plausibly claim.

But in this case, we can assure readers that Democratic campaign strategists are afraid of neither Tancredo nor Beauprez. Recent polls show clearly that Gov. John Hickenlooper is pulling away from the entire pack of Republican challengers, and Beauprez's own consultants released a poll showing him losing to Gov. Hickenlooper by a devastating fifteen-point margin. Democrats have plenty to worry about going into this midterm election, but the Colorado gubernatorial race is rapidly losing its competitiveness.

So why would Democrats spend money on this GOP primary if they can easily beat whoever wins? There are two principal reasons. The first is simply a numbers game. Bob Beauprez is personally quite wealthy, so even if the Republican Governor's Association and other national funding sources write off the Colorado gubernatorial race, Beauprez can fund a vanity campaign out of his own pocket. That means Democrats would have to divert resources to an otherwise noncompetitive race–and with so many other races needing attention, that would hurt Democrats. This factor alone may be reason enough for many Republicans to prefer Beauprez–the biggest downside being the the vast array of looney tunes statements Beauprez has made in recent years, which could well negate any advantage he brings by sullying the whole Republican brand. It's worth noting that, although our readers have become well-acquainted with Beauprez's long record of downright crazy statements since exiting electoral politics in 2006, the media has yet to pick it up.

When they do, it's not going to be pretty for Beauprez.

With that said, there is no politician in Colorado politics today more capable of self-harming the Republican brand than Tom Tancredo. Tancredo's very high name recognition, and nationally prominent association with immoderate anti-immigrant demagoguery, are nothing short of poisonous for a Republican Party hoping to appeal to the state and nation's fastest-growing segment of voters. Tancredo as the gubernatorial nominee would set back state GOP chairman Ryan Call's "Latino outreach effort" by–this is not hyperbole–several decades. Unfortunately for Call and other Republicans hoping to turn over a new leaf with Latinos, recent developments among the GOP grassroots, manifesting in the ouster last week of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor by an unknown Tea Party anti-immigrant opponent, undeniably boost Tancredo. Tancredo has no ability to self-fund his campaign, and combined with the toxicity he would bring to the Republican ticket this November, it's plain to see why Democrats regard a little spending in this race to be a worthwhile investment.

But folks, there's no need to read more into this than what there is. To the extent Democrats prefer Tancredo to Beauprez, it is an incremental preference–and they'll be able to use either one to their advantage.

Will talk radio boost Tancredo as it did Cantor’s tea-party opponent?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo.

Tom Tancredo.

I've been too busy listening to talk radio to notice news reports that talk radio anchored the defeat of GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Politico reported Wednesday:

Brat’s surprise victory is a powerful reminder, as if any were needed, of the immense influence talk radio has over conservative politics — it was not only [Laura Ingraham] boosting [Cantor slayer David Brat] but also Glenn Beck and Mark Levin bringing their considerable influence with the right to bear as well. Since well before the rise of the tea party, establishment Republicans have feared the medium’s command over the conservative base.

National talk-radio hosts not only endorsed Brat, but had him on their radio shows, broadcast in Virginia, numerous times leading up to his primary victory, according to Politico.

Will these national yappers now take aim at Colorado, possibly boosting Tom Tancredo over his more establishment rivals? So far I haven't seen Laura Ingraham, broadcast locally on KLZ 560-AM, or Mark Levin, on KNUS 710-AM, getting involved in our gubernatorial primary, and I have no idea how their GOP audience here compares to Virginia's. Closest thing was Michelle Malkin's battle-cry tweet after Cantor's loss, saying Colorado is next.

(more…)

Doug Lamborn Nervously Eyes Cantor Defeat

Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn is once again facing a Primary challenge in CD-5, with repeat candidate Bentley Rayburn looking to pull off the upset on June 24th.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's stunning Primary loss yesterday was the result of several factors, but chief among them is the issue of immigration reform. As the Washington Post reported:

Now, this doesn't mean that any Republican who supports comprehensive immigration reform is going to lose his or her primary or even face a difficult race. The vast majority of them will probably be okay, because it's so hard to find viable primary challengers — as comprehensive immigration reform-supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-S.C.) easy win Tuesday shows.

It just means that, for the vast majority of Republicans — who don't have to worry about losing in the general election — support for comprehensive immigration reform amounts to something that could needlessly complicate an otherwise simple reelection bid.

Cantor's perceived support for comprehensive immigration reform, and the possibility that it cost him his job on Tuesday, was not lost on Lamborn. This morning, the Colorado Springs Republican began trying to inoculate himself on the issue, posting this statement to his Facebook page:

Doug Lamborn and amnesty

Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit…

Charges Dropped In First of Gessler’s Four Vote Fraud Cases

Scott Gessler.

Scott Gessler.

As the Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reports:

The charge has been dropped in what’s believed to be the first voter fraud case set for trial since Secretary of State Scott Gessler urged district attorneys statewide to prosecute people who purportedly are cheating Colorado’s election system.

Mike Michaelis was scheduled to be tried today for allegedly procuring false information on a voter registration form. Michaelis, 41 and now in construction, registered voters in 2012 on behalf of Work for Progress, a nonprofit that, as its website states, campaigns “for social justice, a fair economy, consumer protection, clean energy, and the environment.”

On a voter registration form submitted to Michaelis by Aurora resident Lydie Kouadio, a box was marked saying she is a U.S. citizen. Gessler’s office determined she isn’t. Her name was among 155 voters the Secretary of State deemed to be suspicious. Last June, Gessler sent prosecutors lists of residents in their districts for possible prosecution…

Winnowing down from Secretary of State Scott Gessler's original breathless claim that "thousands" of noncitizens had voted illegally in Colorado elections, we are finally at the bottom line after countless man-hours spent by his office, county clerks, and local law enforcement in pursuit of this alleged epidemic of vote fraud–four incidents where Arapahoe County DA George Brauchler, far and away the state's most partisan political district attorney, managed to put together enough of a case to file charges.

And now there are three.

Soon after taking office in 2011, Gessler, a longtime Republican election lawyer, claimed there were 16,000 noncitizens registered to vote in Colorado. Soon after, he said he identified 11,805 people as potentially fraudulent voters because they used noncitizen identification for drivers’ licenses with which they registered to vote.

Those figures, he said, backed up his claims that there was a “gaping hole” in the state’s voting system.

But Gessler’s numbers were off — way off – even as he alerted a congressional panel about Colorado’s purported rash of voter fraud.

Far from being a major systemic problem, the "illegal voters" Gessler actually uncovered amount to far less than the number of ballots and voter registrations Gessler's office routinely loses. Gessler's original insistence that many thousands of illegally registered voters were lurking in the rolls has become one of the most thoroughly discredited claims put forward by a Colorado politician in recent years. It's tough to understand why the near-total failure to substantiate a problem Gessler warned about in such certain and ominous terms has not ended his political career.

Perhaps it has, but we can't write that eulogy until after the primary.