The “New Kind Of Republican?”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Remember last November?

I know, I know, a lot has happened since then — Katy Perry rode into the Super Bowl on a giant mechanical lion, James Inhofe tried to instigate a snowball fight on the U.S. Senate floor, and Peyton Manning turned 39.

Election season wasn’t too long ago, though. When campaign advertisements were absolutely everywhere, canvassers were showing up at your house, and flyers for this or that candidate were overwhelming recycling bins all over the country. It was a hectic time, to be sure, but one advertisement stands out: the now-infamous bit in which Cory Gardner, standing in front of a wind farm, claimed to be a new kind of Republican, one who was concerned with the future, preserving Colorado’s clean energy economy, and safeguarding the next generation.

For a new kind of Republican, he sure votes a lot like the old kind. In a recent series of votes on amendments to the 2016 budget resolution, Gardner voted against a key climate amendment that was sponsored by our other Senator, Michael Bennet. This was an acknowledgment that climate change is human-induced and would prepare federal agencies to prepare for it in a deficit-neutral way. The vote was far from party-line. No fewer than seven of Gardner’s Republican colleagues voted for it. Several of them hail from states that have historically shown less commitment to climate issues than Colorado has, such as South Carolina, Nevada, and Ohio, among others. This makes Gardner’s no vote even more baffling.  

However, it is not time to discredit his election-season promises quite yet. He also voted against an amendment that would enable the sale or transfer of national public lands. He has shown an interest in protecting our natural areas in the past, and these votes are certainly heartening. It’s clear that he has the wisdom to recognize that Colorado’s public lands define us as a state, and threatening them would be a reckless and costly move.

But Gardner’s votes against common sense  climate change issues (i.e., humans cause climate change so let’s do something about it) are a disservice to the millions of Coloradans who care deeply about our clean energy economy and combating climate change. Polls consistently show that Colorado stands firmly in support of action on climate, and Gardner’s votes should reflect that support.

It’s too early to issue a verdict on Senator Gardner’s term in office. He has only been our senator for a few months, but now does seem like a good time to remind him that he is in office in part because of his efforts to show Coloradans that he cares about clean energy and the next generation. Coloradans are still waiting for Cory Gardner to be the new kind of Republican he promised in the fall.

 

Dr. Chaps Attacks Reporters, Praises Todd Akin in Sort-Of Apology

UPDATE: Via Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post:




Republican Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt has been getting hammered over the last several days because of comments he made in the aftermath of the Michelle Wilkins attack in Longmont. Now, he’s speaking out about speaking out, and it’s not going well.

Today, Dr. Chaps posted a special edition of his “PIJN News” that offered a sort-of apology for his statements last week about the shocking attack of a pregnant woman in Longmont. In a video lasting nearly 29 minutes, Dr Chaps goes “Full Klingenschmitt” on a variety of subjects — including his clarification of what the word “this” really means — before saying that he was wrong about everything he did (but not really) and apologizing to “anyone who was offended.”

Dr. Chaps on MondayAs 9News reports, Dr. Chaps’ cries of “dishonest reporting” aren’t earning many sympathetic ears…though he is doing a heck of a job in continuing to promote his own idiotic remarks:

9NEWS reporting on the subject included Klingenschmitt’s exact quote, with the source video being played multiple times on television.

Klingenschmitt’s words in the original video are:

“This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb. Part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open.” [Pols emphasis]

In an interview with 9NEWS on Thursday, Klingenschmitt declined multiple opportunities to offer an alternate interpretation of his remarks.

Many Colorado Republicans were upset last week when Dr. Chaps used his weekly PIJN News show to discuss the attack on the pregnant Michelle Wilkins and attempting to link the crime to a call for policies restricting abortion access. Dr. Chaps even earned a rare rebuke of his own GOP Caucus on Friday.

Nothing that Dr. Chaps says in his video really comes across as a heartfelt apology — particularly when the first 20 minutes are spent on ripping his critics. Dr. Chaps also spends a lot of time talking about being misquoted, before later putting on-screen the words that he said (which are almost exactly how he was quoted). In the end, the only real benefit here is to promote himself and to keep advancing a story (the story about Dr. Chaps, not about the crime)  that is not helpful to him or Republicans in general.

You can watch the entire video after the jump, and here’s a quick rundown of what you’ll find:

♦ 4:14: Dr. Chaps says he will apologize later in the video
♦ 5:30: Says Mike Littwin of the Colorado Independent is a “dishonest reporter.”
♦ 7:00: Calls Brandon Rittiman of 9News a “dishonest reporterand demands a retraction.
♦ 9:00:
Fox 31’s Eli Stokols is added to Dr. Chaps’ list of “dishonest reporters” of whom he demands a retraction.
♦ 11:27: Attacks El Paso County Republican activist Laura Carno and calls her a “pro-homosexual activist.”
13:31: Dr. Chaps praises former Missouri Congressman Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin.
♦ 13:47: Claims to have beaten Westboro Baptist Church in a debate, or something.
♦ 14:42: Talks about Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Megan Schrader and praises her for being an “honest reporter” because she issued some sort of retraction.
♦ 16:26: Praises Denver Post reporter Lynn Bartels for being an “honest reporter” because she quoted him directly?
19:26: Tries explaining what he actually said, with specific pieces of quotes aired on-screen. Watch this part of the video and see if you can make sense of what he just said about the word “this.”
23:20: The apology at last? Dr. Chaps says, “I do want to apologize for my words last week,” after saying that he would not apologize for things he didn’t say. Uh, okay.

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Get More Smarter on Monday (March 30)

Your NCAA Tourney bracket is officially worthless. 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…

► The “Long Bill” will begin to suck up all the oxygen out of the State Capitol this week. The Associated Press previews the arguments and decimal points. The Senate is expected to vote on the budget by Thursday before passing it along to the House. John Frank of the Denver Post has more on the budget battle.

► Aurora City Manager Skip Noe needs to make a good impression in a closed-door meeting with the Aurora City Council today.

► Indiana Republicans are working on legislation to clarify previously-approved legislation that would make it easier for businesses to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgendered people. Republican Gov. Mike Pence signed the original bill, and he swears he actually read the language first.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Steve House’s First At-Bat: Swing and a Miss

Steve House.

Steve House.

As the Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reports, newly elected Colorado Republican Party chairman Steve House got right to work last week, firing up the Republican faithful to oppose the rascally agenda of those villainous “Denver Democrats” in the state legislature.

The problem is, House’s appeal for donations to the Colorado GOP to stop the “Denver Democrats” appears to rely on making stuff up.

House, who beat Ryan Call for the chairman’s post earlier this month, outlined the “common sense conservative bills” that “Democrat obstructionists” in the state House have killed. (Republicans control the Senate; Democrats the House.) The chairman included in the list of dead bills Senate Bill 1 from Senate President Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, “which puts TABOR money into the pockets of the working families.”

Really? That’s news to everybody else at the Capitol:

Senate Republicans are waiting until the legislature passes the budget before taking up the measure which, by the way, the left-leaning Colorado Fiscal Institute actually likes. [Pols emphasis]

Got that? Not only is Senate Bill 15-001 still alive, there’s bipartisan support for it. That means not only does Steve House look foolish to mourn the bill’s death prematurely, he could be making it harder to pass by needlessly injecting partisanship into the debate over the bill. Either way, it’s an inauspicious start for the man who just kicked Ryan Call to the proverbial curb on a wave of “we can do better.”

Because “better” should include having your facts straight.

Let’s appreciate The Post’s coverage of city council races–while we can

God love The Denver Post for actually factually covering Denver’s city council races with a little bit of breadth and a little bit of depth.

You can find a story here and there by other news entities, including the neighborhood newspapers. But to understand what’s happening  city-wide you have to turn to The Post.

It’s apparently put Jon Murray, one of the paper’s top political reporters on the beat. And he, along with other skilled reporters, are offering real coverage of the election, at the end of which we will have six of 13 new faces on the council. So it’s a big deal.

The Post is running a series spotlighting the major issues and candidates in the races, including, so far, District 1, District 2, and District 3.  The newspaper is dutifully following the money, as well as major developments.

The Post, for example, reported details this week of possible campaign-finance violations by District 10 candidate Wayne New, who admitted to omitting information from his official signs and not reporting in-kind donations .

But Wayne New denies that he is required to report the obvious advertising value of large campaign signs he’s placed in parking lots owned by Buzz Geller, a businessman who supports New.

Luis Toro, director Colorado Ethics Watch, which filed a complaint against Wayne New, says the failure to disclose the value of the use of parking lots is a “real, substantive violation” of Denver’s campaign finance laws. Toro told The Post his group’s action against New has nothing to do with the fact that New has donated to Republican candidates Mitt Romney and John McCain. [Disclosure: I support one of New’s District 10 opponents, Anna Jones, though I live outside the district.]

Anyway, wouldn’t it be great if the media were full of blow-by-blow accounts of low-level political battles like these? The best we have is The Post. And you wonder, who’s gonna do it when/if The Post is gone? It’s something that should not go unappreciated today, while we still have it.

Get More Smarter on Friday (March 27)

Get More Smarter

Stop telling your out of state friends and family about our perfect weather, they’re moving here too fast! It’s time again 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…

► Former Taliban prisoner Bowe Bergdahl charged with desertion, but the story has some twists that could complicate things quite a bit if true:

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl told the military he left his unit in eastern Afghanistan in July 2009 intending to walk to the nearest U.S. military outpost to report wrongdoing, believing he could not trust his own commanders to deal with his concerns, according to sources familiar with the Army investigation. It is the clearest indication yet of the motive behind his decision to leave his post.

Bergdahl was planning to report what he believed to be problems with “order and discipline” in his unit, a senior Defense official tells CNN. A second official says Bergdahl had “concerns about leadership issues at his base.”

This information is part of the report presented to General Mark Milley who this week decided to charge Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. This information outlines what could be a key part of Bergdahl’s defense, which the army is already aware of.

► In Washington, D.C. political news, iconic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada will retire in 2016.

► Early 2016 states may be giving Ted Cruz the stink eye.

► Turning to Colorado, Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt’s latest outrageous–possibly most outrageous everremarks about the horrific fetal abduction case in Longmont last week are sending his fellow Republicans running for cover.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Leaving local TV news for Politico, Stokols looks forward to never being told “that’s too inside baseball”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Eli Stokols.

Eli Stokols.

Eli Stokols, who came to Denver as a general assignment reporter in 2005, is leaving KDVR-TV Fox 31 Tuesday as one of the state’s top political reporters. He also became a Fox 31 anchor, launched his own public-policy TV show, and wrote nonstop on multiple platforms.

I had coffee with Stokols, and we talked about his ten-year run in Denver and his future job at Politico in Washington DC. Here’s an edited version of our conversation:

Why Politico?

Stokols: I’ve been looking for an opportunity to report on politics from a national platform. I don’t think that’s any secret. And, frankly, part of that is because in Colorado you get a taste of doing that, because every campaign here is nationalized. There is no shortage of great political stories to cover here, which helped me to broaden my work. You come to a point in your professional career when you need a different challenge. On some level, because I’d been here for so long and was considered one of the veterans, a lot of people come to you with information, and it gets easier. And you can find yourself not working as hard because stuff comes to you. Or you find yourself not as excited when the campaign cycle comes around because you’ve done a ton of them.

And what are you going to do there?

I’m going to cover 2016, mostly write about it. I imagine I’ll cover a lot of the presidential candidates early on.

On the trail?

Yeah. I’ll be traveling a lot. That’s going to be exciting. I’ve been joking with people. It’s about time someone gives up statehouse reporting and goes and covers the presidential race, because what America really needs is more reporters covering the presidential race. You understand going into it that it’s going be hard to come up with stories and angles, but it’s exciting. It’s probably a cliche, but if you’re a political reporter, and that’s what you’re interested in, the opportunity to cover a presidential race and be on the trail is a bucket list thing.

Speaking of the state legislature, will Fox 31 replace you?

The upshot is, this was never a position we had because management said we had to cover politics. I don’t know what they will do. [See CJR’s Corey Hutchins’ take on this here.] It’s disappointing. You get this opportunity, and then you leave. And you look at what you built. And I know [9News political reporter Adam Schrager] felt the same way when he left. You want it to continue. And so it’s bittersweet.

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Dr. Chaps calls attack on pregnant woman a “curse of God upon America”

(A new low for Dr. Chaps – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

UPDATE 3/27: Denver media offered near saturation coverage Thursday of the Klingenschmitt controversy, including multiple interviews with Klingenschmitt, who refused to apologize. On KOA radio’s morning news today, the state representative from Colorado Springs said:

“If you were offended because I quoted the Bible in church, I ask you to forgive me. But I will not apologize for quoting the Bible in church.”

Klingenschmitt was interviewed in the Capitol basement by Fox 31’s Eli Stokols, who reported that the Republican lawmaker was “adamant that what he says as a preacher on his Sunday morning program should be viewed separately from his work as an elected official.”

“I’ve said many times that I wear two hats; and on Sundays, I’m an ordained minister and I preach the gospel and I quote the bible,” [Klingenschmitt] said.

Klingenschmitt directed his own outrage at Hullinghorst and Democrats at the Capitol who have blocked personhood measures that, he argues, would afford adequate justice to Wilkins for the death of her unborn baby.

POLS UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reports on bipartisan outrage over Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt’s latest ugly remarks–but no calls from fellow Republicans to resign.

Several leading Colorado Republicans lashed out Thursday against state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, saying his act-of-God comments about an attack on a pregnant woman whose baby was cut from her stomach were “disgusting” and “reprehensible.”

The lawmaker, who also is a minister, quoted the Bible in his “Pray In Jesus Name” program Wednesday and tried to link the crime to abortion…

“Gordon does not speak for his caucus,” said [Rep. Polly] Lawrence, the House assistant minority leader.

Steve House, the new chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said Klingenschmitt under the First Amendment has the right to say what he wants but “he does not represent the Colorado Republican Party.”

Original post follows.

—–

You had the feeling it was just a matter of time until Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt said something, in his position as a lawmaker, that was so grotesque that it should be widely reported and thoroughly condemned. That time arrived today.

The progressive organization Right Wing Watch reported that Klingenschmitt said in an online video that the horrific attack on a pregnant woman March 18 in Longmont is a “curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb.”

It’s a statement along the lines of Pat Robertson blaming abortion and gays for 9/11, and it has the effect of casting Republicans–not just Klingenschmitt–as being completely heartless and cold-hearted mean–unless they thoroughly denounce it. But will they?

Right Wing Watch reported this morning:

On his “Pray In Jesus Name” program today, Klingenschmitt discussed the story and tied it to a passage from Hosea in which God curses the people of Samaria for their rebellion by declaring that “their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.”

“I wonder if there is prophetic significance to America today in that scripture,” he said. “This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb and part of that curse for our rebellion against God as a nation is that our pregnant women are ripped open”

Friday Open Thread

“We cannot change anything until we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.”

–Carl Jung

Gardner promise: Obamacare replacement will be “ready to go”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

The Hill’s Sarah Ferris reported today that Obama is mocking Republicans for claiming to have an alternative to Obamacare, when they obviously don’t.

Five years after the passage of his signature healthcare law, President Obama took a jab at the Republican Party for still lacking its own plan to replace it.

“We have been promised a lot of things these past five years that didn’t turn out to be the case,” Obama said at a White House event marking the healthcare law’s progress. “Death panels. Doom. A serious alternative from Republicans in Congress.”

Colorado’s Sen. Cory Gardner is one of the Republicans whom Obama is mocking. Asked if Republicans would have a plan ready if the Supreme Court rules against the health care law in King v. Burwell, Gaardner said on Fox News Wednesday (at 2:30):

“I think the Republicans not only will have a plan but something the President will accept, because it’s something we have to do,” said Gardner, citing the efforts of GOP Senators John Barrasso of Wyoming, Louisiana’s Bill Cassidy, and Nebraska’s Benjamin Sass.

“Republican’s will have a plan in place if the ruling is for the plaintiffs. Our plan will be ready to go,” Gardner said.

The replacement will be ready to go? If that’s true, why has it taken so long? And why wait for the Supreme Court’s decision? Gardner has been voting for the repeal Obamacare for years.

He even advocated for the government shutdown, in an effort to defund the health care program.

So Reporters should hold Gardner to his latest Obamacare-replacement promise, even if the justices uphold the health-care law. It will be ready do go, Gardner promised, so I’d think reporters would be looking forward to seeing it, one way or the other.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (March 25)

We’re not going streaking! 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…

► The state Senate has approved a school vouchers bill that would also give tax credits to home-schoolers. FOX 31 News gives a brief rundown, with everything you need to understand about this bill wrapped up in one sentence:

As public schools continue to lose funding, many Republicans are now looking to subsidize parents who choose to send their kids to a private school or home-schooling.

That makes…no sense whatsoever. Even if Sen. Kevin Lundberg muscles this nonsense through the Senate, the grown-ups in the State House will almost certainly reject the idea.

► Reporters at the Colorado Springs Gazette could be fired for speaking out against a 4-part series in the Gazette that is little more than a long, extended, editorialized rant against voter-approved legal marijuana. The Colorado Springs Independent has been doing a good job following the controversy from various angles:

According to national media reporter Jim Romenesko, employees at the Colorado Springs Gazette are being told to sit down and shut up when it comes to its recent marijuana series, “Clearing the Haze,” which, as we reported, is plagued with ethical problems.

Learn more about this growing controversy (pun intended) from longtime Pols reader Zappatero.

► Congressional Republicans are nearing final votes on a budget plan that has no hope of becoming law, but they’re doing it anyway because otherwise they’d have to, you know, govern or something. National media outlets are calling this a “make-or-break” week for Republicans; the smart money is not on the “make” side.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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