Democratic Presidential Debate Diary: Vegas, Baby!

October 13, 2015

October 13, 2015

There’s no “Junior Varsity” debate tonight as the Democratic candidates for President take the stage for their first big discussion of the 2016 election season.

You know what that means: It’s time to fire up the Colorado Pols Debate Diary once again.

*NOTE: The most current update appears at the top of the page. As always, unless it is in direct quotes, consider all statements paraphrased in the interest of time. 


8:14 pm
Juan Carlos Lopez
makes his first appearance of the evening, asking Sanders about conflicting votes on immigration reform. The question is a bit too specific to understand clearly. 

Sanders talks for awhile, then Lopez asks Clinton about making Obamacare available to immigrant families. Apparently O’Malley has a different policy stance on this issue, which the moderators seem to think is obvious to everyone else.

“I am for a generous, compassionate America that says we are all in this together.”

Webb is asked about whether immigrants should have access to Obamacare. He says some stuff for about 30 seconds.

Clinton jumps in and points out that Democrats on stage are talking very differently about immigrants compared to Republicans. Great, great point to make — and it saves us from listening to Webb drone on and on.


8:09 pm
Dana Bash asks a question about whether taxpayers should pick up the tab for rich families to send their kids to college. This is a weird way to ask a question about making college more affordable.

Dana Bash kind of looks like Jar-Jar Binks, BTW.

Clinton talks about college affordability for a bit before Bash interrupts and tries to insist that she answer the second part of the original question, which nobody remembers anyway.

Sanders starts talking about “chained CPI” and other specific economic policies. Snore.


8:04 pm
O’Malley takes the first real shot at another candidate when he says that Hillary is not a true supporter of Glass-Steagall.

Then Hillary says this: “I never took a position on Keystone until I took a position on Keystone.”

Sanders says it was wrong to ask the middle class to bail out Wall Street.

Whatever momentum had been generated by this discussion dies immediately when Webb starts talking. Since this debate is taking place in Las Vegas, you could call Webb “The Cooler.”

Now back to Chafee, who takes the boring baton from Webb and runs with it.


7:59 pm
O’Malley brings up Glass-Steagall, and Cooper takes a moment to explain to the audience what we’re talking about here.

Sanders has another good line: “Fraud is a business model.” Then he talks in the third person. Awesome.

Clinton talks about her record going after big banks. She says bank executives should be in jail.

Sanders: “Congress does not regulate Wall Street. Wall Street regulates Congress.”


7:52 pm
Don Lemon now gets the stage, and there are technical difficulties in introducing a question from Facebook about whether or not “black lives matter.” This is obviously an important topic, but the question is awkward.

O’Malley has a good answer about how the response would be different if we were burying young white men at the same rates.

Clinton says that this may be the only bipartisan issue in the country right now — that we cannot keep putting people in prison at such a high rate. Clinton says “we need a new New Deal for people of color.”

Jim Webb starts talking, then wanders off into the woods. It would be difficult to be more boring than Webb at this point.

Sanders jumps in and talks about economic policies and raising wages.

Cooper lobs a horseshit question at Clinton about supporting the middle class when she is a part of the 1% economically. Cooper should be ashamed of himself for this question — every single candidate for President, on both sides of the aisle, is comfortably wealthy.


7:46 pm
First question after the break is for Clinton, about her emails and her upcoming testimony in Congress. Hillary deals with the question well, sounding contrite and apologetic but also a bit fiesty when she says that the Congressional Committee she will testify in front of is little more than an arm of the Republican National Committee. You can thank Congressman Kevin McCarthy for providing the exit for Clinton here.

Sanders: “Let me say something that may not be great politics. The Secretary is right — people are tired of hearing about your damn emails!” Great, great line from Sanders, and he delivered it perfectly. “Enough of the emails. Let’s talk about the real issues facing America!” The crowd erupts as Clinton and Sanders shake hands.

Cooper tries to get Chafee to attack Clinton over her emails, but Chafee won’t do much more than talk about “credibility” in general terms.

And then the biggest moment of the night thus far: Cooper asks Clinton if she would like to respond, and she says simply, “No.” The crowd erupts.


7:45 pm
The first Democratic debate has thus far proven to be far less interesting to watch than the initial Republican debates, but there’s an interesting dynamic at play tonight; Democrats are considerably more poised and professional than the GOP candidates have shown.


Stay Classy, Ted Harvey (Chris Stevens’ Grave Edition)

UPDATE #2: Looks like Stop Hillary PAC has pulled down the ad featuring a prominent misspelling of the word “Libya.” Thankfully, we had the foresight to download it for posterity:


This is why you proof, and proof, and proof again.


UPDATE: In a fundraising email in support of this ad, former Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey’s Stop Hillary PAC claims they are spending $125,000 to air it during tonight’s Democratic presidential debate on CNN. The ad reportedly played on CNN once or twice earlier today as well. Harvey proudly boasted in April that Stop Hillary PAC had brought over $1.4 million in the prior year–but given reports that the group only spends about 12% of its haul on actual work, maybe this is all they could spare?

With your help, we’re spending $125,000 to air this ad during the debate…and strike Hillary when she’s vulnerable.

Hillary Clinton must be held accountable for her lies and fatal judgement. Stop Hillary PAC is the only organization who’s sole purpose is defeating Hillary Clinton, and this commercial is the first step of many that we will take to guarantee she is not our next Commander in Chief.

We are airing this commercial during the Democrat debate so we can have the biggest impact, but as you can imagine it’s not cheap. CNN charges a hefty sum to air commercials during the debate, and we need your help to afford the nearly insurmountable fees.

It’s a nice gig if you can get it, folks.


Sen. Ted Harvey.

Sen. Ted Harvey.

Politico’s Eliza Collins reports on a shocking new ad airing from the Stop Hillary PAC, whose chairman as our readers know is former Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey:

The Stop Hillary PAC is out with a new ad, set to air during the Democratic debate Tuesday night, that shows the grave of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador killed in Benghazi, Libya.

The ad which is titled “I’d like to Ask,” also shows photographs of the four Americans who were killed during Benghazi attacks…

“I’d like to hear why you silenced the Benghazi whistleblower,” the video says as a photograph of Sean Smith, a State Dept. IT technician, fills the screen.

“But Mrs. Clinton, I can’t,” the voice says as the video shows Stevens’s photograph. “What difference does it make?” The screen then fills with Stevens’ grave.

To be fair, we’re not completely sure that this is really Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’ headstone–it could be some kind of Photoshopped mock-up? That we think would be at least somewhat preferable to the Stop Hillary PAC having actually gone to the cemetery where Ambassador Stevens is buried, and taken a photo of the man’s headstone for a political ad.

Good Lord, people.

Even with that benefit of the doubt, this ad is totally ridiculous. Numerous investigations into the Benghazi attacks, including Republican congressional investigations, have cleared Hillary Clinton and high-level Obama administration officials of wrongdoing. The Benghazi attacks have been hyped out of all earthly proportion ever since they occurred in 2012 in the middle of that year’s presidential race, and Republicans appear totally unable to let the matter drop despite the overwhelming evidence their own investigations have produced showing there’s nothing to keep prattling on about.

Oh, and one more thing, Sen. Harvey: could you please learn how to spell “Libya?”


Oops! Maybe they can get that corrected before this ad runs on CNN during tonight’s debate.

Ted Harvey’s Stop Hillary PAC was profiled in Politico back in January along with a large number of other so-called “Scam PACs”–groups that collect huge sums of money ostensibly for political campaigns, while offering little to no actual programmatic justification for their existence. Other than salaries paid to the PAC’s employees, of course. According to that report, “Scam PACs” including Stop Hillary PAC spent around 12% of their income on actual public-facing work product like this ad.

Perhaps next time, maybe they’ll hire a producer with an ounce of common decency. Or at least a spell-checker.

Editorial Department: Mike Coffman and the VA Hospital

Colorado Pols Editorial DepartmentColorado Pols is opening a new “Editorial Department” to deal with opinion pieces and other assorted Op-Ed commentary.

Today, we take a look at an editorial piece penned by Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) that appeared in the Denver Post on Saturday, titled, “Completed Aurora VA hospital is in sight.”

Coffman’s editorial seemed a little…light on some important points, so we wrote a different version.

Here’s how it should have looked (Editorial Department suggestions are in bold font).

Click after the jump to read the full text…


Ethics Complaint Filed: Coffman Must Disavow Pay-To-Play “Patriot Program”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

POLS UPDATE: Politico reports on the American Democracy Legal Fund’s complaint against congresscritters who signed the National Republican Congressional Committee’s “Patriot Program” contract:

The American Democracy Legal Fund, a liberal group that has filed dozens of campaign finance and ethics complaints against Republicans over the past year, is launching a new complaint over recently disclosed agreements between GOP incumbents and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The complaints, filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics accuses 23 House Republicans enrolled in the NRCC’s Patriot Program for vulnerable incumbents of violating “House rules prohibiting official resources from being used for campaign or political purposes.” The complaint alleges that, by signing a document that committed the representatives to providing the NRCC with political justifications for their legislative goals, the representatives broke House rules designed to keep politics and legislative business separate.

The particular sticking point cited by the ADLF is the signature not just of the lawmaker, but also the lawmaker’s chief of staff–a taxpayer-funded position that should have no partisan political obligations. It’s interesting to see this story retaining its punch after many weeks of Republicans trying hard to downplay it–and Democrats insisting there is no analogue for this contract on their side.

The longer this story sticks around, the more the NRCC’s “help” becomes a liability. Original post follows–


After the filing last week of an official complaint with the U.S. House of Representatives Office of Congressional Ethics against Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado over his participation in the controversial Republican Party “Patriot Program,” ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, renewed its call for Coffman to immediately withdraw from the program.

“The complaint filed last week by the American Democracy Legal Fund accuses Mike Coffman of violating both federal law and congressional ethics rules,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “The contract Coffman signed with national Republican donors obliges Coffman to use the official resources of his office to coordinate legislative plans with a partisan political organization. That’s against the law, as well a huge breach of trust with the citizens Coffman represents in Congress.”

In its complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics, ADLF notes that “the Patriot Program is designed only for current members of the House of Representatives; thus, the contract contemplates that the Members would have official resources available…to make it even clearer that official resources are at stake, the Members’ Chief of Staff is also listed as a contracting party and required to sign the contract separately.” Federal law, 31 U.S.C. § 1301 and House rules both prohibit official resources from being used for campaign or political purposes. [1]

“By signing the ‘Patriot Program’ contract, Mike Coffman has signed over his office to national Republican donors and special interests,” said Runyon-Harms. “The sad fact is, this latest incident wouldn’t even be Coffman’s first case of violating campaign laws. In 2004, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Coffman had violated the Fair Campaign Practices Act, using official resources to conduct partisan political activity.”

“Playing by his own rules has been Coffman’s habit for years,” said Runyon-Harms, “but it may finally be catching up with him with a national spotlight on his long record. We’re asking for Coffman to immediately withdraw from the ‘Patriot Program,’ and apologize for once again putting his political survival above the interests of the people he was elected to serve.”

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (Oct. 13)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Here’s hoping that CNN debate moderators ask a question about Playboy magazine’s decision to stop publishing pictures of fully nude women; the level of awkwardness would be off the charts. 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).


► It’s mail ballot time in Colorado. Ballots for the 2015 election should be arriving in your mailbox this week. Go to to check your voter registration status or to print out a sample ballot. [*NOTE: We’re going to keep this item at the top of the page on Get More Smarter for the next week or two]


CNN is holding a podium spot for Vice President Joe Biden should he decide to suddenly show up in Las Vegas, NV for the first Democratic Presidential debate. Tonight’s debate is scheduled to begin at 7:00 pm, and we’ll be live-blogging the event right here at Colorado Pols.


► How many Congressional investigations into Planned Parenthood are enough? The more the merrier, says Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora).


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Ken Buck Plays Both Sides in Red-on-Red War in Congress

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Ken Buck presses everyone's buttons

Ken Buck presses everyone’s buttons

Colorado Rep. Ken Buck snapped at his fellow House conservatives, telling a Denver radio host Oct. 9 that any new Republican House speaker is “immediately going to be cast as someone who is compromising.”

On the radio, Buck likes to present himself as a hard-core Tea Partier, all about principles all the time, but in reality, Buck likes to have it both ways.

Buck previously voted for House Speaker John Boehner, who resigned under pressure by uncompromising Republican warriors. And Buck was set to vote for Rep. Kevin McCarthy, a compromiser-to-be, who was under pressure by the same uncompromising Republican warriors when he withdrew from the race to replace Boehner as House speaker.

Buck told KHOW 710-AM’s Mandy Connell that the current situation is so difficult, with Boehner and McCarthy out, that some House Republicans are considering “forming a coalition government” that would keep conservatives “out of the mix in terms of choosing a speaker.”

“Be careful what you wish for,” Buck condescendingly told Tea Party Republicans who might have been listening:

Buck: “I have to tell you though, be careful what you wish for, because we’ve gotten rid of John Boehner, and Kevin McCarthy has decided not to do it. There are Republicans now, because they are so frustrated with conservatives holding this up, talking about forming a coalition government, talking about working with Democrats to create a majority and keep the conservatives out of the mix in terms of choosing a speaker… It would be horrible. It may very well form a 3rd party. And I strongly believe, if you split the Republican Party into two parties, and the Democrats win for the next  [inaudible] years. Listen to Buck on KHOW 10.9.15.

Interestingly, Buck apparently doesn’t consider conservatives like himself among those who’d be iced out, since Buck voted for Boehner. Neither did Buck say on air how many Republicans were considering a move against the uncompromisers.

But he indavertantly made the case for dumping Tea Partiers (not him though), which he said he was against doing, when he told Connell how difficult the coming weeks will be for the next House speaker, if he or she is elected by the Republican caucus.

Buck (@11:25) : “The next month or month and a half will be a very difficult time for whoever is in that position. I say that because we’ve got a debt-ceiling vote that President Obama has moved up specifically because, not because we are running out of money, but specifically because John Boenher has stepped down. And he knows that the Republican House is in dissaray at this point and he wants to take advantage of that. And we have other votes. We have an omnibus vote on Appropriations that’s coming up. So we’ve got some very difficult decisions to make, and whoever steps into this is immediately going to be cast as someone who is compromising and it’s going to be tough.” Listen to Buck on KHOW 10.9.15.

Mike Coffman Salutes More Planned Parenthood “Committees”

If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around to hear it, does it still make a noise? If you can answer that question, maybe you can solve this one as well: How many special/select committees can Congress create to investigate the same subject?

As ThinkProgress reported last week:

House Republicans have created a new committee specifically tasked with investigating the women’s health organization, despite the fact that months of scrutiny have failed to turn up any evidence that the group is actually breaking any laws.

The special committee formed on Wednesday brings the total count of congressional committees investigating Planned Parenthood up to five. There are already three in the House and one in the Senate…

…Republican lawmakers say the special committee will help consolidate the ongoing probe into Planned Parenthood under one legislative body. Though they acknowledge that they cannot definitively say the national women health’s organization has violated the law, they argue that doesn’t eliminate the need for further inquiry into fetal tissue research — a scientific practice that has come under fire following the release of several inflammatory videos accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally profiting from the sale of aborted baby parts.

As we noted on Friday, one of these “PP Committees” ended up producing very little aside from rhetorical nonsense; Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, admitted that his Committee’s investigation turned up, well, nothing.

“Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no,” Chaffetz said.

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman's 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood's logo.

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman’s 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood’s logo.

Nothing? Oh. Well, good thing there are still four PP Committees that are still investigating. Last week the House voted to establish a Select Investigative Panel of the Committee on Energy and Commerce to look into the nonsense allegations against Planned Parenthood. Plenty of Republicans voted in favor of creating this committee, including Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora)…who used Planned Parenthood’s logo to imply an endorsement of his campaign in 2014.

You may recall from a few weeks ago that Coffman also voted in favor of cutting federal funding from Planned Parenthood, even with the knowledge that such a vote could derail negotiations hoping to avoid a government shutdown for the second time in three years. The explanation for that vote and the contrasting use of the Planned Parenthood logo for his campaign led to this classic response:

“Using Planned Parenthood’s expression of support is not the same thing as saying it’s a good organization,” said Coffman’s spokeswoman Cinamon Watson in an email to 9NEWS.

Republicans in Colorado have been trying hard to stoke the flames of manufactured anger over Planned Parenthood, and Rep. Coffman has happily joined in at every step — nevermind his 2014 campaign claims. But after Rep. Chaffetz’s frank comments that his Planned Parenthood investigation turned up nada, how can Coffman and other Congressional Republicans continue to promote more investigations? If another committee does try to push some sort of “evidence” involving Planned Parenthood, the first casualty will be the Republican members of Rep. Chaffetz’s committee; they’re going to look pretty incompetent if another committee claims evidence of wrongdoing after they reluctantly admitted running into a dead end.

But…if all five of these Committees fail to produce anything meaningful, will Coffman support the creation of a new Committee to investigate those other Committees? It only seems fair.

Blowhards: Springs Road Tax Haters Make Fools Of Selves



As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Billie Stanton reports, Republican Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers’ campaign to pass the city Ballot Issue 2C, a modest increase in the city’s sales tax rate to fund desperately-needed street repair projects, is meeting fierce opposition from national conservative group Americans for Prosperity–and also from the ubiquitous Laura Carno, a Springs-based conservative paid political activist with ties to former gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez.

As Stanton reports, the opposition is fierce, but unexpectedly shallow:

“Any politicians raising taxes anywhere – prove to me that that is the only way,” Carno said. “It is our money. When voters say no, government tightens their belts like we have to.”

She points to a report by a certified public accountant, hired by AFP, who said the city budget has enough money to rebuild roads without raising the sales tax.

“I don’t think I need to have any financial acumen to be a taxpayer saying they have not proven to me that they need to do this,” Carno said…

Laura Carno.

Laura Carno.

Followed by this frank admission:

“I am not a CPA. I am not an expert. My big fear is that they haven’t proven it to us.” [Pols emphasis]

For many Springs residents, the “proof” Carno is looking for can be found in a ten-minute drive on the city’s crumbling streets. But Carno also relies on a report commissioned by Americans for Prosperity from a certified public accountant named Jay Anderson, whose past includes a stint as budget director for Gov. Sam Brownback of Kansas. The major fiscal problems in Kansas caused by large tax cuts recommended Anderson under Brownback are a matter of record, and the state passed a budget this year that was forced to raise some taxes again to close a massive “unexpected” deficit.

You have to wonder how much of Anderson’s “creative” math from Kansas went into his report on how easily Colorado Springs can fix the roads :

His 23-page report reflects several basic misunderstandings of the city budget.

For example, he urged the city to recover more than $20 million in property taxes lost through exclusions. But only churches, nonprofits and the military are excluded. If they were taxed, it would add only $4.3 million to the city’s $20 million in property taxes this year, Mayor John Suthers said.

“Do you think the citizens of Colorado Springs would vote to tax churches and nonprofits? We’d be the only jurisdiction in Colorado that did that,” he said.

In addition, Anderson “recommended” the city slash its funding reserves far below the level considered prudent. Given Anderson’s recent experience in Kansas, and the obvious damage done by that state’s irresponsible fiscal decisions, he’s probably the last person anyone should be taking fiscal advice from. But not only are we being asked to do that, you have Carno backing him up with what’s become her trademark nasal-voiced snarky catchphrase presumptuousness–never mind the fact that she’s, in her own words, “not an expert.” In fact, as Stanton reports in this story, Carno spent 14 years at a credit card issuer that was forced to pay almost half a billion dollars in fines over its predatory lending practices.

All of this adds up to make the opposition to Colorado Springs Ballot Issue 2C look not just rationally unsound, but also fairly…well, contemptible. Unfortunately, however, this is Colorado Springs–so none of these facts may matter to the outcome.

But folks down there deserve to know the whole story of what they’re being told, and by who.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Oct. 12)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Happy Columbus Day. Or not — your call. 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).


► It’s mail ballot time in Colorado. Ballots for the 2015 election should be arriving in your mailbox this week. Go to to check your voter registration status or to print out a sample ballot.


► Looking for real issues that will dominate the 2016 election cycle? Ensuring fair wages and rewarding the hard work of Americans will be a key theme, say economists. From Aldo Svaldi of the Denver Post:

The issues of stagnant wages and wealth inequity will dominate the discussion before next year’s presidential election — and unleash some unusual political dynamics, predicts a leading labor economist.

“It will be one of the main topics in the presidential election next year,” said  Lawrence Mishel, who has closely studied the issue…

…Since 1973, worker productivity has risen 73 percent, according to an EPI analysis. Higher productivity should result in higher wages, Mishel said, but that link is broken, a reflection of deliberate policy decisions by both parties over several administrations.

Median worker wages, adjusted for inflation, are up only 9 percent over the same period, with most of that coming in the late 1990s. Millennials are the most educated generation in U.S. history, yet they earn less than previous generations and struggle to find jobs in their fields. [Pols emphasis]

You hear that, Millennials? You can still vote with your wallet even if it’s empty.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Bernie Rocks Boulder, Because Of Course

FOX 31 reported from yesterday’s big, big rally for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the People’s Republic of Boulder:

Nestled under the picturesque Rocky Mountains, where the political landscape is much less diverse than the ever changing fall leaves, a stampede of more than nine thousand people converge on Boulder’s University of Colorado campus.

“I think Boulder is a spark plug of a town,” said Lee Nemerowicz, a small business owner who lives in Boulder.

“This is like, amazing to see,” said Molly Cooper, who drove eight hours from southwest Colorado for Saturday’s rally.

The Boulder Daily Camera’s Alex Burness described what has been broadly reported via attendees, both avowed supporters of Sanders and ideological fellow travelers who nonetheless back the Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, as an electric scene:

Before an estimated crowd of 9,000, standing on a stage on an outdoor running track that was backdropped by the sun-soaked Flatirons, the longtime Independent senator from Vermont-turned-Democratic presidential hopeful delivered his wildly popular manifesto to an audience that loved every word of it.

He said like to pass comprehensive immigration reform with policies that are “humane, sensible and keep families together.” He spoke of the country’s “grotesque” income inequality. He reminded his fans that his campaign is fueled not by a Super PAC or his private wealth, but rather by hundreds of thousands of individual donations that average about $30.

When he said that a bank “too big to fail” is also “too big to exist,” some in the crowd seemed to mouth the punchline along with him, like concertgoers giddy at the chance to hear a favorite song in person, at last.

The die-hard support Sanders has inspired across the country is a reflection of the sort of race the 74-year-old wants to run.

Bernie Sanders in Boulder yesterday.

Bernie Sanders in Boulder yesterday.

As the nation’s foremost proponent of an unapologetically progressive agenda today, Sanders has undeniably sparked a countermovement to the “Tea Party”-based rightward pressure that has dominated American politics for Barack Obama’s entire presidency. And for all the visual spectacle on a perfect afternoon in Boulder yesterday, yesterday’s rally wasn’t even that big compared to other recent Sanders events held in major sports arenas and convention center spaces across the nation.

He’s a very big deal, and no one should underestimate this campaign’s significance.

As the kitchen-sink attacks on Clinton continue to blow back on congressional Republicans, the latest being a high-level member of the congressional investigation into the Benghazi consulate attack denouncing the effort as a partisan political exercise, she appears increasingly likely to weather the storm and remain the Democratic frontrunner going into the early primary states–pending variables like Tuesday’s upcoming debate of course. But the huge groundswell of support for Sanders from the Democratic base and non-aligned left-leaners is both space created for Democrats to be Democrats, meaning not be afraid to stand up for their agenda, and a warning: that to not do so risks squandering important new momentum taking shape in American politics.

Hopefully, the footage of Bernie’s big crowds will help this important point sink in where it needs to.

Weekend Open Thread

“In this business, until you’re known as a monster you’re not a star.”

–Bette Davis

That Cow Don’t Hunt – And Other Fracktured Facts from Your Friendly Frackers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Mouth of Sauron

Energy In Depth spokesman

Energy in Depth mouthpiece (twitterer, primarily it seems) Randy Hildreth was serving up some Texas-sized bullshit in his recent de rigueur hit-piece.

CELDF Threat of Bankrupting Communities with Fracking Bans Comes to Colorado

The short of it is local communities paying to defend their own ordinances and going bankrupt is because groups like the Western Energy Alliance or some such similar are suing them.

Get it? The oil and gas industry is suing local governments over ordinances those governments enact, then is blaming the local community members and city councils.

Colorado’s Oil and Gas lobby responds to the state’s tepid suggestion that maybe they play a little more nicely, please?

Furthermore, all this is happening in the context of the state just issuing draft rules for siting some certain very limited number of oil and gas facilities.

Or rather the state has issued draft regulations for maybe talking with local governments about siting facilities.

Predictably, like flies on dung, the oil and gas folk–led by former Denver Post editorial page editor Dan Haley–are decrying the idea of having to interact with local governments as draconian over-regulation bound to ruin some 200,000 jobs and plunge the state into eternal darkness. To paraphrase, but only slightly.

Meanwhile the good people actually living among the flaming wells, fracking sites, traffic, noise, fumes, air pollution, dust, spills, mishaps, and it-really-was-no-big-deal-everything-is-fine reality of the gaspatch have pointed out the regulations fall far short of what is actually needed.

Leslie Robinson, president of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance in Garfield County, said in a news release, “We’re getting thrown under the bus here. We saw this process as an opportunity to address the problem of big oil and gas facilities being sited close to homes and communities. Instead, the (oil and gas) Commission is proposing to basically enshrine companies’ right to keep doing exactly that.”


Latest Planned Parenthood Witch Hunt Fizzles

komen-planned-parenthood4-1Huffington Post reports–remember that crazy hearing in Congress a little over a week ago that featured a bunch of Republicans practically leaping over the rail to attack Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood? A hearing so ugly to watch than even Glenn Beck wingnut and ex-Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi was unable to defend it?

The Republicans in charge of that hearing hope you forget it:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Thursday that the GOP’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds hasn’t turned up anything.

“Did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend? Yes. Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any,” he said during a Judiciary Committee hearing on the family planning provider.

Chaffetz, a candidate for House speaker, grilled Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards during a five-hour hearing last week. He questioned her salary, asked about the organization’s expenses and revenues, and pressed Richards on why the group had revenue of $127 million last year if it’s a nonprofit. (Nonprofits put their revenues back into their programs.)

But after all that, he concluded that Planned Parenthood isn’t doing anything sketchy with its money. “Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no,” Chaffetz said. [Pols emphasis]

After the spectacle of this much-hyped hearing, in which an unflappable Richards was personally lambasted over a range of allegations against Planned Parenthood both related and separate from heavily-edited videos released over the summer, Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s anticlimactic admission that there’s no “there” there in any of this latest trolling of Planned Parenthood makes us wonder what the plan ever was. Numerous local investigations of Planned Parenthood in the wake of those videos have turned up no violations of the law. Here in Colorado, our GOP attorney general has declined to go after Planned Parenthood despite considerable pressure from legislative Republicans.

In our experience, the Republican Party’s recurring war on legalized abortion, which is sometimes identified as part of a larger “war on women” by Democrats, is much more of an off-year pursuit than something seen during election years. Supporters of so-called “Personhood” abortion bans keep trying regardless of the season, of course, but by and large Republicans tend to put abortion on the back burner during contested elections–even to the point of shamelessly flip-flopping, or dissing their erstwhile allies who aren’t smart enough to know when this issue is useful politically to the GOP and when it needs to be squelched. After all, who wants to be the next Todd Akin?

Well, folks, it’s mid-October in an off year! So it’s just about time for abortion to go back on the proverbial shelf. There’s always the chance that this time, our media and pundit class will figure the game out and not get played like a fiddle in 2016 like Cory Gardner did to them in 2014. We hope so, but based on experience, we can’t count on it.