Blaha Trumps Trump

Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha.

Buzzfeed picked up a gem of a tirade from Robert “Bla-ha!” Blaha, a Colorado Republican U.S. Senate primary candidate fighting for relevance in a 5-man race:

Robert Blaha, a Republican primary candidate in Colorado’s Senate race, said on Tuesday that Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country doesn’t go far enough.

“I want to go beyond just Muslims,” Blaha said at a GOP meeting in Fremont County. “And I’ll tell you why. The issue is not—the issue is partially a religious issue, but the real issue there is—the real issue is security. The real issue is we do not know who these people are. We don’t know where they’re coming from, we don’t know whether a terrorist state. We do not have the ability as a government right now to vet these people…”

“Until we can properly vet people and know who they are and know where they’re coming from and know what their belief structures are they’re coming out of, we cannot afford to take that risk,” he said.

When Blaha says we “can’t vet these people,” we have to assume he just hasn’t heard about all the ways we do “vet these people” right now. We assume Blaha is principally concerned with refugees like other Republicans who find political advantage in demagoguing this stuff, but the fact is, refugees are much more thoroughly screened than other kinds of visitors to the United States–like tourists. Tourists from abroad constitute a large percentage of the 75 million people who traveled to the United States last year from abroad, and while they’re here they contribute billions of dollars to the U.S. economy.

Including right here in the year-round alpine playground of Colorado. Is that what Blaha is trying to do? To hurt Colorado’s tourism economy?

Donald Trump is doing enough to damage America’s image in the world, to include desirability as a vacation destination, with his xenophobic scare tactics. For Colorado’s sake, it would be nice if our Republican U.S. Senate candidates weren’t doing their best to ensure our state has the same problem.

BREAKING: Trump Clinches GOP Presidential Nomination

trumpburnAP reporting, playtime is now officially over:

Donald Trump has reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president.

His triumph completes an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign.

Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP on Thursday they will support him at the convention.

Controversial firebrand billionaire Donald Trump has been the presumptive GOP presidential nominee for some weeks now after his last two primary opponents, Sen. Ted Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, recognized the inevitable and bowed out. But it’s always more impactful when the technical threshold is reached, which appears to be the case today.

Whatever happens between now and November, you can’t deny the historic implications of this moment.

Probably very bad implications, but for today you can just kind of stand in awe of what has happened to the once-grand (and still enormously powerful) Republican Party. Whether Trump wins or loses, the Grand Old Party will never be the same again.

State GOP chair boots blogger seen as “risk” to Colorado RNC delegation

(The ghost of “Coffmangate” – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

houseforgopchairColorado Republican Party Chair Steve House has booted Republican activist and blogger Kathryn Porter from the group of Colorado Republicans who are going to the Republican National Convention (RNC) in Cleveleand July 18 because House thinks her blogging poses a “risk” to the Colorado delegation.

Porter, whose work appears on the Politichicks blog and was among the first to report details on efforts to oust House as GOP chair, was slated to attend the RNC as a guest of delegate Mike McAlpine, Porter said, under rules which allow each delegate to take a guest.

But in an email to Porter, House wrote it’s his “job to protect the delegation” and Porter’s “actions as a media representative in the past year and especially the past month and a half clearly represent risk to this delegation that we do not need to take at this critical convention in Cleveland.”

(more…)

The Get More Smarter Show: Hickenlooper’s Opposite of Woe


Watch Part 2 of the Get More Smarter Show’s extended interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper! In today’s segment we’ll be talking to the Governor about his new memoir–although Hick says he’s “too young to have a memoir”–The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics, on bookshelves now.

If you missed yesterday’s debut episode of the Get More Smarter Show, you can watch it here in all its technically challenged glory including Part 1 of our interview with Gov. Hickenlooper. Next week’s show will feature fewer production mistakes, mostly because we made so many of them with the first episode.

Many thanks again to Gov. Hickenlooper for sitting down with us.

Thursday Open Thread

“Though the dungeon, the scourge, and the executioner be absent, the guilty mind can apply the goad and scorch with blows.”

–Lucretius

Colorado Dems Ridicule “That Blaha Moment”

blahamoment

Robert Blaha.

Robert Blaha.

From the social media fails file–Colorado Republican U.S. Senate candidate Robert Blaha’s campaign came up this week with a too-clever-by-half “meme” series they’re calling “That Blaha! Moment,” like those “a-ha moments” you’ve had at important points in your life but…you know, with “Bla-ha” instead of “a-ha.”

Shut up, it’s clever. Check out the example above where he says “free college is just longer high school.”

Wait, what the hell does that even mean? Don’t think about it too much or you might have a different response than “a-ha.”

At any rate, Colorado Democratic Party spox Chris Meagher has his own list of “Blaha moments,” but not the ones Team Blaha wants you to remember! From a release today:

Since there have been plenty of #thatBlahamoments since the beginning of his campaign, here are several moments to remember –

1.    He has vigorously endorsed Trump, even calling him a “man of vision and courage.”

2.    He has said he would’ve voted to shut down the government.

3.    He said he wants to be a Senator much like Ted Cruz.

4.    He didn’t originally get on the ballotthen sued to get onthen demanded the Secretary of State resignthen was ruled off, then a judge put him back on.

5.    He invoked a painful rectal exam in a television ad.

6.    He posted a Facebook meme that “seems to compare Blaha and pro-gun politicians to Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, and Blaha’s opponents who are gun control advocates to Hitler.”

7.    He received donations that exceeded the legal campaign contribution limit.

“Robert Blaha has endorsed Donald Trump, and he has shown he is eager to keep up with Trump’s outrageous behavior and rhetoric,” said Chris Meagher, spokesman for the Colorado Democratic Party.

And with that, it’s back to the drawing board for a real “a-ha moment.” Or maybe just a “blah moment?” Either way, it’s better to focus group these kinds of things before you unleash them on a heartless, ridiculing world.

If we were running his campaign, we’d tell Bla-ha (we can’t imagine it without the hyphen anymore) to downplay the unfortunate surname. For every Jeff Flake exception, there’s a Jeff Crank who proves the rule. But it’s too late now for Robert Blaha.

Oh, sorry. Blah-ha!

The Get More Smarter Show: May 25, 2016


This week on Get More Smarter: in our technically-challenged first episode of the Get More Smarter Show, Jason Bane and Alan Franklin discuss the Jon Keyser petition fraud scandal and Colorado’s crazy GOP U.S. Senate primary. Then, stay tuned for Part 1 of GMS’s exclusive interview with Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado!

Along with the Get More Smarter daily roundup of Colorado politics each day on ColoradoPols.com, we’ll be taking a few minutes every week to talk about Colorado politics for the Get More Smarter Show. We’ll have great interviews like today’s with Gov. Hickenlooper, commentary that will get increasingly smarter as we shake off our stagefright and technical hurdles, and as much fun as our state’s political chattering class can handle.

Thanks for watching! To jump directly to our Hickenlooper interview, which will make us kind of sad but feel free, click to 8:04 in the video above or click here.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (May 25)

Get More SmarterNo more homework, no more books; no more teacher’s dirty looks. Today is the last day of school for several districts in Colorado, including Jefferson County. 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…

► At long last, you can finally Get More Smarter without even bothering to read words. Today is the debut of the Get More Smarter Show, presented commercial free on YouTube.

 

► Republican Ryan Frazier’s on-again, off-again relationship with the GOP Primary ballot took another turn on Tuesday. If you thought that this story couldn’t get any more ridiculous…well, obviously you are not familiar with the Colorado Secretary of State. As the Aurora Sentinel explains:

Frazier still has a chance to legitimately appear on the June 28 Republican primary ballot, however, as the state Supreme Court remanded the decision on the legality of another 51 signatures submitted by the former Aurora City Councilman’s campaign back to the Denver district court for reconsideration.

The district court has been ordered to issue a ruling on the final signatures by 5 p.m. Friday, May 27…

…Frazier was one of four Republican candidates who attempted to make the primary ballot by petition. Each of the other candidates — ex-Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham, Colorado Springs Businessman Robert Blaha and former state Rep. Jon Keyser — successfully petitioned on the ballot, despite several hiccups that resulted in various appeals.

The State Supreme Court punted a final decision on Frazier’s candidacy back to a lower court, where a few weeks ago a different judge refused to actually issue a definitive ruling…which is kind of how we got here in the first place. Primary ballots go out in the mail in less than two weeks, BTW.

For a great summary of the mess that is the Republican U.S. Senate race, check out this weekend story from Charles Ashby of the Grand Junction Sentinel.

 

► Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump is attacking New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez even though she is a Republican. Martinez has plenty of her own problems, thank you very much.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Republican County Chair Jokes about Obama Being a Monkey

(Stay classy – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Delta County Republican Chair Linda Sorenson shared an image on her Facebook page last week depicting Ronald Reagan nursing a chimpanzee. The photo is sandwiched by the phrase, “I’ll be damned… Reagan used to babysit Obama.”

Sorenson told me in a very brief phone interview today that it was a joke.

“I really don’t care if people are offended by it,” she told me of the post, which I received from a source. “Un-friend me. Stop looking at me on Facebook.”

A similar photo was among a group of images exchanged via email among Ferguson, Missouri police and a city official, according to a 2015 report in the Washington Post, which obtained the emails as part of a public records request. The three officals involved were fired. The Post reported at the time:

City officials in Ferguson, Mo., on Thursday evening released the full, unredacted content of racially charged and religiously insensitive e-mails sent by the city’s former court clerk as well as two former supervisors in the police department.

The e-mails, released to The Washington Post in response to a public-records request, were sent and received by Mary Ann Twitty, who was Ferguson’s court clerk, as well as former Ferguson police captain Rick Henke and former police sergeant William Mudd. All three were removed from their jobs after the Department of Justice discovered the e-mails, which prompted an internal investigation by city officials. The unredacted versions show for the first time which employee sent which e-mails.

Punting Ryan Frazier

Round and round and round he goes...

Round and round and round he goes…

There are five Republican names on the June 28th Primary ballot. We still don’t know if all of them are official candidates.

Jack Graham, Robert Blaha, and Darryl Glenn are on the ballot and any votes they receive will almost certainly be counted. Jon Keyser is on the ballot (no, really, just ask him), but there are so many problems with his petition signatures that it wouldn’t be a surprise if he was ultimately forced to withdraw from the race before the election.

And then there’s Ryan Frazier. The Secretary of State’s office originally ruled that Frazier did not submit enough valid petition signatures to qualify for the Primary ballot. Frazier then filed a lawsuit in a Denver court to get his name on the ballot anyway; with the deadline to print ballots looming, a judge ruled that Frazier could remain on the ballot under the condition that if he loses, he must withdraw from the race. Confused? Check out this story from the Grand Junction Sentinel on Sunday for more background.

Today, the Colorado Supreme Court issued an “opinion” on Frazier’s legal challenge that basically amounted to another punt. The Supreme Court “ruled” that 49 more signatures for Frazier should be counted…but then kicked the case back to a lower court. So it looks like the Frazier case will go back to a courtroom where a judge couldn’t make a decision in the first place. Good times!

If we’ve learned anything from the last month of political Primary ballot football, it’s that judges in Colorado don’t want anything to do with any of these questions. This is not very helpful, since asking for guidance from the Secretary of State’s office is like giving money to a fortune teller on the 16th Street Mall.  

Ballots for the June 28th Primary are supposed to be arriving in voters’ mailboxes in about two weeks. Ryan Frazier still doesn’t even know if he is really a candidate. This is beyond absurd. 

Laura Woods: Ignore Obama Guidelines on Transgender Student Discrimination

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

State Sen. Laura Woods wrote on Facebook Sunday that Colorado should ignore President Obama’s mandate that public schools allow students to use the bathroom corresponding the gender they identify with.

But ignoring the federal rule, as advocated by Woods, would apparently run counter to Colorado law, which, since 2008, has allowed transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity. There has been no assualts resulting from the Colorado policy.

Woods wrote on Facebook May 21:

Woods: So, the U.S. Department of Education is now dictating school bathroom policies? This is absurd. Their new policy will completely undermine local control. Plain and simple, this is none of their business and totally beyond Congressional intent in the enactment of Title IX. Therefore, it is a policy Colorado should ignore.

In making its decision earlier this month, the Obama Administration determined that forcing a transgender child to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on his or her birth certificate would amount to sex descrimination.

Obama’s guidelines ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment,” according to the administration.

Woods, who represents the Westminster area and does not return my calls, is being challenged by Democrat Rachel Zenzinger. The outcome of the race will likely determine which party controls state government.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (May 24)

Get More SmarterMay 24th may not be a national holiday…but it should be. 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 ongoing petition fraud story surrounding Republican Senate candidate Jon Keyser just won’t go away, in large part because everyone associated with Keyser’s campaign is operating on a “Michael Brown running FEMA” level of crisis response. On Monday, Denver7 reporter Marshall Zelinger managed to find “Maureen,” one of the petition gatherers suspected of fraud related to Keyser’s campaign, and she wasn’t very eager to talk:

“Maureen” can run away from journalists such as Zelinger, but we would suspect she’ll have a more difficult time continuing to evade investigators with the Denver District Attorney’s office.

 

► Mail ballots will drop about two weeks from today in advance of the June 28th Primary, which doesn’t leave much time for the rest of the GOP Senate field to get their mugs in front of enough potential voters. Jon Keyser’s campaign is deader than a parrot in a Monty Python skit, and Ryan Frazier is just hoping that he won’t be required to withdraw from the race before voting commences.  The race for the Republican Senate nomination is likely to be a three-way battle between Darryl Glenn, Jack Graham, and Robert Blaha, and the grassroots favorite (Glenn) just landed a huge endorsement for a campaign badly in need of funding.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Michael Bennet is Exactly Who You Thought He Was

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO)

Colorado Republicans have endured weeks upon weeks (upon weeks) of positively brutal headlines as the race for the Republican Senate nomination enters its final month, so we can understand why some in the GOP would be overjoyed to come across some negative news about Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet.

Before we get to bursting the GOP’s bubble on this particular piece of Bennet news, let us pause to allow our Republican friends to bask in the dim glow of this story from the Denver Post:

The Colorado AFL-CIO dealt a surprising rebuke to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet over the weekend when the union federation declined to endorse the Democratic incumbent in his bid for re-election.

Bennet was the only Democratic lawmaker in Colorado’s congressional delegation who failed to gain the support of the state’s AFL-CIO chapter…

…Sam Gilchrist, executive director of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said the vote on Bennet was close, but that he fell short of the required two-thirds majority needed for an endorsement because too many union members were unhappy with Bennet’s support of a measure last year that gives the White House more power to cut international trade deals.

That authority is broadly seen as a pathway for the Obama administration to approve a new agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would ease trade barriers among 12 Pacific Rim countries, from the U.S. and Canada to Japan and Chile.

While the Colorado AFL-CIO declined to endorse Bennet’s re-election campaign because of the Senator’s perceived support of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Bennet hasn’t exactly been bullish on the idea, either. As the Colorado Independent reports:

Bennet has not yet taken a public position on TPP.

But Bennet voted on a measure giving Obama the authority to “fast track” negotiations for it and other global trade agreements, and Bennet has drawn fire from the AFL-CIO for his stance on trade before. Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have come out against TPP.

Failing to lock up the endorsement of the Colorado AFL-CIO is certainly not a positive development for Bennet, but it’s not nearly as problematic for 2016 as Republicans would like you to believe. Bennet is a moderate Democrat who goes about his business on Capitol Hill as a moderate Democrat would be expected to act. Bennet’s moderate credentials may not make him beloved by the liberal Democrats in Colorado, but he is who he is. Maintaining his centrist approach to the Senate is a big part of the reason why he is widely favored to win re-election this fall.

Bennet may not get the official support of the Colorado AFL-CIO, but he should have plenty of backing from other labor groups who prefer Bennet over any of his Republicans challengers. Concerns about the TPP issue as a political millstone are overblown as well; you may recall that Bennet supported the Keystone XL oil pipeline in 2015, yet still received the endorsement of prominent environmental groups such as the League of Conservation Voters and the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

The very fact that the AFL-CIO felt comfortable enough to not support Bennet also bodes well for progressive politics in Colorado. The AFL-CIO made its point with Bennet; the message was received and understood, but not at the expense of mortally wounding the only swing-state incumbent Democratic Senator up for re-election this year.