Thursday Open Thread

“On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

–H. L. Mencken

Mike Pence Supports “Official English,” Just Like Mike Coffman

Mike Pence, Mike Coffman

Mike Pence, Mike Coffman

Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence recently reaffirmed his support of efforts to make the English language the official language of the federal government. According to a press release issued this week by “ProEnglish”:

ProEnglish Executive Director Sam Pimm recently attended an exclusive meeting with Vice-Presidential candidate Governor Mike Pence.

Governor Pence is a longtime advocate of official English; as a former Congressman, he cosponsored H.R. 997 (a bill to make English the official language of the federal government) five times. [Pols emphasis]  English is also the official language of Indiana, where Pence is Governor. Hot off the campaign trail, Governor Pence met with Pimm and others in a closed door meeting to discuss policy positions.

ProEnglish Executive Director Sam Pimm took the opportunity to ask Governor Pence, if elected Vice-President, if he would continue to “advocate for English as our official language,” noting that “54 other countries have English as their official language.”

Governor Pence not only reiterated his support for official English, but clarified why he supports official English. “When my ancestors came here they already spoke English. Speaking English is the key to assimilation and achieving the American dream.”

The “Official English” movement, which has long been supported by former CD-6 Rep. Tom Tancredo, has also been a favorite cause of Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) over the years.

Although Coffman would have you believe that he is “One of Us,” he is also a repeat co-sponsor of “Official English” legislation. Like Pence, Coffman has regularly co-sponsored H.R. 997 during his time in Congress (here, and here). Coffman has not offered his name as a co-sponsor in the most recent iteration of the “Official English” legislation, however.

Does Coffman no longer believe in the “Official English” movement? Or is he just no longer willing to attach his name as a co-sponsor?

Thanks Judge, But We’re Gonna Avoid Kansas Anyway

1992_ford_crown_victoriaWestword’s Michael Roberts reports:

The claims consistently maintain that law enforcers in jurisdictions beyond this state are more apt to stop vehicles for marijuana-related searches if they’re outfitted with Colorado license plates.

Such tactics were always controversial. Now, a federal court says they’re totally unjustified.

In the strongest ruling on this topic to date, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals says that Colorado license plates alone are not nearly enough to sanction a traffic stop.

The case is based on a lawsuit filed by Peter Vasquez against two Kansas state troopers, Dax Lewis and Richard Jimerson — and the incident itself took place nearly five years ago.

As the story goes, these two Kansas highway patrolmen decided basically on the strength of a car having a Colorado license plate that a search of the vehicle was justified–after all, Colorado has legal marijuana, and Kansas doesn’t. Isn’t that probable cause enough, say the Jayhawkers?

The answer, of course, is hell no it’s not. Simply residing in a state where marijuana is legal does not ipso facto make one a suspect for transporting marijuana across state lines. Colorado does have a higher percentage of pot smokers than the national average, but the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment says the number is a little less than 14% of our state’s population.

And sorry Kansas, but probable cause that isn’t.

If you’re one of the 86% of Coloradans who doesn’t smoke weed–and even if you do, since it’s perfectly legal here–Kansas asserting the right to pull over Coloradans just for being Coloradans could reasonably be considered very offensive. In a state already facing economic problems due to extremely poor fiscal management by ideological conservatives, this doesn’t seem like the way to encourage folks to drop tourism dollars there–or even drive through. Fortunately, there is something you can do about it:


Take the long way to Kansas City next time.

And Then There Were Seven Ballot Measures

Your Colorado statewide ballot just got a little bit longer.

According to the Secretary of State, two more initiatives have qualified for the 2016 ballot:

Initiative No. 98 allows unaffiliated voters to participate in primary elections without having to declare being a member of a certain party, as is the current law. However, Republicans and Democrats could decide to forgo having a primary election and instead choose their general election nominees at the assembly or convention, providing that 75 percent of the party’s state central committee agrees.

Initiative No. 140 restores a presidential primary to be held before the end of March in presidential election years, and allows unaffiliated voters to participate without declaring to be a member of a political party.

The Secretary of State’s office is still looking at signatures to determine the fate of two more ballot measures, both dealing with fracking (local control and mandatory setbacks).

Trump Surrogate To Big Oil: Just Kidding, He Loves Fracking!

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

The Denver Post reports from the Rocky Mountain Energy Summit underway now at the Colorado Convention Center:

Donald Trump’s top energy adviser on Tuesday sought to play down the Republican presidential candidate’s recent comments in Colorado that he could support local efforts to ban hydraulic fracturing, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Harold Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources Inc., said in an interview with the Journal that Trump did not fully understand the question when he was asked about local control over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, by a reporter at 9News. He said Trump was a strong supporter of the industry.

“Donald Trump did not understand that concept at the time in my opinion,” Hamm said in an interview at the Colorado Oil and Gas Association’s annual conference. “He does now.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump raised eyebrows in his interview with 9NEWS’ Brandon Rittiman at the end of July, in which Trump asserted that voters should “have a say” in decisions about oil and gas development–noting (correctly, we might add) that “there are some areas maybe that don’t want to have fracking.” Now, it’s entirely possible that Trump said this completely ignorant of the battle over fracking in Colorado, in particular the environmentalist position that local communities should have more control over oil and gas drilling within their boundaries than they do now.

In short, Trump was siding with the dreaded “enviros” and he didn’t even know it.

But not to worry, as the Post continues:

Hamm said he hasn’t spoken to Trump about the comments, but emphasized that he is confident the GOP nominee does not support local bans on fracking. A request for comment to the Trump campaign by the Journal was not immediately returned Tuesday…

Hamm said Trump got caught up in the term “local control.”

“I think he was pulled into that with the term local control, which is a magnet for Republican thoughts,” Hamm said. [Pols emphasis]

Why, yes it is! Modern conservatives in fact view the abstract concept of “local control” as an article of faith, on a broad range of issues from education policy to civil rights laws. “Local control” has been a battle cry for decades for Republicans against remote, aloof federal (or state as the case may be) governments that “don’t understand” the interests of the local community they’re interfering with.

But as we know in Colorado, not for oil and gas! Trump obviously wasn’t aware that in Colorado, the conventional wisdom regarding “local control” has been turned on its head. In Colorado, “local control” is the slogan of neighborhood activists who persuaded cities along the Northern Front Range to pass moratoria and bans on fracking within their boundaries. They contend their hand was forced by a state oil and gas authority that proved ineffective at protecting their communities. On the other hand, it’s the oil and gas industry who favors statewide “one size fits all” policymaking on oil and gas–not least because they’ve got a highly accommodating partner in the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

For as often as Trump is accused of abandoning “conservative values” so as to not be constrained by them on the campaign trail, in this case, Trump was actually defaulting to a conservative position when asked about fracking.

Unfortunately, in Colorado “conservative values” come second to what’s good for the oil and gas industry.

Paul Ryan is in the Denver Area if You Can Find Him

From Mike Coffman's campaign Facebook page (Aug. 24, 2016)

From Mike Coffman’s campaign Facebook page (Aug. 24, 2016)

House Speaker Paul Ryan was in Wyoming this week for a big meeting of major Republican donors and associated advisors. Today, Ryan is in Colorado helping Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) to raise money at a super-secret luncheon of some sort.

We can’t tell you much more about where Ryan is stumping with Coffman, or for how long, because Coffman’s own campaign won’t really talk about it. Check out the weird statement that showed up this morning on Coffman’s campaign Facebook page, in which Democrat Nancy Pelosi’s name is mentioned four times before Ryan’s name comes up.

“We can’t take anything for granted and we’re honored to have Speaker Ryan in Colorado today,” says Coffman spokesperson Cinamon Watson.

Anyhoo…so, the Speaker of the House is in Colorado today, and nobody wants to talk about it.

Nancy Pelosi!!!

Sorry, Darryl Glenn: You’re Still Darryl Glenn

Darryl Glenn (you can see him if you squint)

Darryl Glenn (you can see him if you squint)

On Tuesday we wrote about a pretty (unintentionally) sad moment for Republican Senate candidate Darryl Glenn, in which he told an audience at Colorado Christian University that his mother received an email from the campaign of Sen. Michael Bennet indicating that Glenn was within single digits of Bennet. This is almost certainly not accurate — polls show Bennet is closer to a 20-point lead than a 10-point lead — and was another telling moment for a Senate candidate who is nowhere near being ready to contend in a statewide race. But that wasn’t the worst part of Glenn’s day. Late Tuesday afternoon, John Frank of the Denver Post tweeted about an astonishingly-meatheaded encounter with Glenn:

Glenn is probably still mad at the Denver Post for having the audacity to let reporter Joey Bunch do his job and look deeper into Glenn’s weird accounts of a domestic incident when he was 18 years old. At the time, some of Glenn’s supporters bellyached about the Post story as some sort of witch hunt, which was a silly if predictable response. But Glenn has apparently decided to channel his inner-Donald Trump and start blacklisting media outlets he deems unfavorable. This is absolutely idiotic.

Glenn is a proud man who doesn’t take kindly to even the slightest of, er, slights, but his ego is blinding him to his political reality. Glenn’s campaign doesn’t have the money to do any serious advertising on television, which means his only hope of generating attention is through earned media. Stiff-arming the Denver Post may soothe Glenn’s ego, but it only hurts his chances of winning the Senate race in Colorado.

Trump has used a strategy heavy on earned media to scrap his way to the Republican Presidential nomination, and his media “blacklist” doesn’t prevent these outlets from covering him. Trump, however, has long been a household name from his numerous reality TV appearances, and now that he is the Republican nominee for President, media outlets have no choice but to report on his campaign. Darryl Glenn is just, well, Darryl Glenn.

Nancy Doty’s Backwards Worldview

(The graphic design follies continue – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Doty upside down EarthI’ve been trying to convince journalists to find out why state senate candidate Nancy Doty thinks Sarah Palin gave a “Spot on” speech in Denver, in which the former Alaska governor raved about Donald Trump. (Here’s a funny video to emphasize the point.)

From where I sit as a progressive, the world is pretty backwards if you think Palin is “spot on.”

And it turns out, judging from the recent Doty advertisement on your right, that’s exactly how Doty sees the Earth–transposed, ass backwards, if you will.

So, does the inverted worldview on Doty’s mailer have anything to do with her enthusiasm about Palin and Trump?

Or is Doty’s backwards Earth related to the ability of kids to “count on NANCY DOTY” for a “WORLD CLASS” education?

I doubt it, to be honest, but she’s yet to be questioned, so we don’t know. And if there’s one thing you learn as a journalist, it’s that you never know what someone will say until you ask them.

Doty’s Arapahoe County race against State Rep. Daniel Kagan is key, along with an Arvada state senate contest, in the GOP’s struggle to maintain their one-seat majority in the senate chamber and thereby block Democrats’ hopes of controlling state government next year.


Wednesday Open Thread

“If you’re losing your soul and you know it, then you’ve still got a soul left to lose.”

–Charles Bukowski

Sad Trombone for Darryl Glenn

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn spoke to a group at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood today, and as Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman Tweets…well, this is just sad:

Is it sadder that Glenn is getting his opposition research from his mother…or is it worse that he is bragging to a crowd that he might be within “single digits” of Sen. Michael Bennet?

We’re going to go with option C: All of the above.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 23)

Get More SmarterOn this day in history…it turns out not much happened. 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). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


Congressman Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign is mashing the panic button. On Monday, Coffman’s campaign started attacking Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll with bizarre claims that she is not a supporter of immigration reform; in 2013, in fact, Carroll was a co-sponsor of the ASSET bill in Colorado, also known as “Colorado’s DREAM Act.” Of course, it is Coffman who has been wishy-washy on immigration issues throughout his entire career, and Monday’s blatant attempt to confuse the issue was another indication of Coffman’s political worries this election cycle. 

Perhaps Team Coffman is lashing out in anger over the fact that former CD-6 Rep. Tom Tancredo — a man Coffman once called his political “hero” — is making a point to dump on Coffman whenever possible. On Monday, Tancredo clarified earlier statements that he might consider voting for Carroll (though he doesn’t actually live in CD-6 anymore) while making sure to rip Coffman again. “I don’t think there’s anything sincere about Mike Coffman,” said Tancredo in an interview with Jason Salzman.


► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is sorta-kinda taking a new approach to the issue of illegal immigration. As the Washington Post reports:

After spending a few days reflecting on his immigration stances and consulting with Hispanic supporters, Donald Trump on Monday detailed how he would deal with the millions of immigrants illegally living in the United States: Enforce laws that are already on the books and continue to do what President Obama is doing, although “perhaps with a lot more energy.”

This strategy marks a sudden change for the Republican nominee, who has presented himself as a politically incorrect outsider who is not afraid to take extreme measures to combat illegal immigration, such as deporting 11 million people or constructing a massive wall along the Southern border. For more than a year, Trump insisted that all illegal immigrants “have got to go” and that he would create a “deportation force” to carry out the task.

Trump struck a starkly different tone during an interview with Bill O’Reilly that aired on Fox News on Monday night. Trump said he would separate the country’s undocumented immigrants into two groups: The “bad ones” who would be kicked out of the country as soon as he takes office and “everybody else” who would go through the same process that the Obama Administration is currently using.

On Monday, Trump told O’Reilly that the first thing he would do as President would be to “get rid of all the bad [illegal immigrants.]” That sounds so easy! Why didn’t anyone think of that before?


► Trump is expected to attend a high-dollar fundraiser in Aspen on Thursday, but contrary to national media reports, Trump will not make a separate appearance in Colorado to deliver a big speech on his immigration reform proposals.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Trump Tries To Right The Ship–By Cancelling Events

trumpburnUPDATE: As Politico reports, Trump’s schedule changes are directly related to his new campaign team:

The new approach, which includes visits to Florida and Nevada, appears to have the fingerprints of Kellyanne Conway, a respected Republican pollster who was elevated last week to the role of campaign manager and who has been credited for Trump’s toned-down approach in recent days.

Asked on Tuesday why the campaign decided to nix Trump’s speech on immigration previously slated for Thursday in Colorado, Conway suggested it as a vestige of the old regime.

“You know, we inherited this schedule and although I think it’s a great idea to have that kind of speech and certainly put together a full plan, immigration is such a complex issue and Mr. Trump has been taking the counsel of many different people on this,” Conway told Fox News. “He obviously has some very strong feelings and policy prescription with respect to immigration, but he’s speaking to people to understand how to execute on those ideas.”


USA TODAY’s Eliza Collins reports on the recent spate of event cancellations by embattled Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump–including an event in Denver on Thursday where Trump was set to discuss (sorry, Rep. Mike Coffman) immigration policy:

On Monday, outlets in Colorado, Nevada and Oregon reported that Trump events set to go on in their states were canceled, though in Nevada and Colorado, Trump is still slated to attend fundraisers.

Trump was originally scheduled to make a speech on immigration in Denver on Thursday, but according to The Denver Post the speech has been postponed. The campaign said that his speech was “still being modified.” Trump will, however, attend a fundraiser in Aspen, according to the Post…

Both Colorado and Nevada are battleground states where Hillary Clinton leads in recent polling. However, a Suffolk University poll last week had her lead within the margin of error in Nevada.

The Wall Street Journal had a good piece last week explaining what the latest staff shakeups and now public appearance cutbacks mean for Trump: damage control before he loses even more Republican support. If he’s hiding in Aspen with Larry Mizel, he’s not outraging the majority of Americans:

Donald Trump’s overhaul of his campaign staff, his second shake-up in two months, is being welcomed by Republicans who want a dramatic change in the candidate’s faltering trajectory. But many are worried about the kind of change it will bring and about whether the campaign will be able to recover the ground Mr. Trump has lost in recent weeks…

Some allies of Mr. Trump say the problem isn’t his top staffers; it’s the nominee himself and his performance on the stump. Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman, had said repeatedly that Mr. Trump was transitioning into a more disciplined candidate, only to see him go off-script.

Some Republicans see Labor Day, the traditional starting line for the last sprint to the general election, as a kind of deadline for Mr. Trump.

Trump’s free-wheeling speeches at public campaign events are a major part of his historic energizing of the right-wing GOP grassroots–which enabled him to power right past the helpless Republican establishment and seize the nomination in essentially a hostile takeover of the party. At the same time, Trump’s unscripted, frequently juvenile, and almost always hotly controversial words on the stump may well be setting the Republican Party up for its greatest landslide defeat in generations.

In terms of actually making Donald Trump competitive in this year’s presidential election, we’d say it’s much too late for that. But muzzling Trump before Labor Day could be one of the only damage control options left that might help salvage races down the ballot.

Assuming Trump can stay muzzled, which we’re inclined to doubt.

Tancredo Says He’ll Vote for Morgan Carroll, Then Changes Mind

(Thanks but uh, definitely no thanks – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Tom Tancredo, Mike Coffman.

Tom Tancredo, Mike Coffman.

At this point, nothing about Tom Tancredo should surprise me, but my jaw bounced off the floor when he said Saturday he’d vote for state Sen. Morgan Carroll over U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.

After Tancredo lashed into Coffman for caring about nothing except staying in office, KNUS’ Saturday host Craig Silverman asked Tancredo if he’d vote for Carroll over Coffman, if Tanc lived in Aurora where the Coffman and Carroll are battling each other in one of the closest congressional races in the country.

And Tancredo, whose Congressional seat was won by Coffman (with Tanc’s support) after Tancredo stepped down, said he’d vote for the Democrat.

Silverman: Former Congressman Tom Tancredo says, ‘Vote for Morgan Carroll over Mike Coffman.’ Do I have it right?

Tancredo: You got it right.

But, I told Tancredo in a subsequent phone call, Coffman is much more hostile to immigrants than Carroll.

Coffman opposed a 2013 bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform bill, which included a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and Coffman still stands against the measure. Coffman is opposed to birthright citizenship, which allows children of undocumented immigrants born on U.S. soil to be citizens. Coffman is also against a provision in the Voting Rights Act that requires some jurisdictions to provide dual-language ballots.

I told Tancredo I couldn’t see how he’d favor Morgan Carroll, who, for example, has attacked Coffman for opposing the bipartisan immigration bill, and she supports a path to citizenship and the Dream Act.

But didn’t Carroll vote against the “Dream Act” in Colorado, Tancredo asked, reminding me that he’d referenced this on the radio, when he said, “Who knows, we may have something better [with Carroll].”

I told Coffman that Carroll had initially voted against providing in-state tuition for undocumented students in Colorado, but she later joined state lawmakers in passing the measure.

So, today, even with Coffman’s shifts on immigration, Coffman is much more in Tancredo’s immigration camp than Carroll, who’s now as immigrant-friendly as they get, I told Tancredo.

“With that in mind,” Tancredo said after hearing this, “I guess I’d write somebody else in. That would probably be my fallback position.”

So Tancredo changed his mind. He wouldn’t vote for Carroll.

“My point is this, more than anything else,” said Tancredo. “… I am absolutely convinced that [Coffman] is a fraud. If Trump were [running] even in the district, or if [Trump] were ahead, I know that Mike Coffman would be putting ads on TV talking about how wonderful Trump is.”

But does Tancredo think Coffman is sincere about his past and present opposition to the comprehensive immigration bill that Carroll supports?

“No. I don’t think there’s anything sincere about Mike Coffman,” said Tancredo, whom Coffman once called his “hero.” “Nothing that I have observed over the last several years would lead me to that conclusion, except his sincere desire to remain in Congress. So I guess I would say that’s a caveat there.”

Tuesday Open Thread

“No scoundrel is so stupid as to not find a reason for his vile conduct.”

–Shakti Gawain

Coffman Takes Immigration History Revision Too Far

UPDATE: For good measure, here’s a clip of Mike Coffman praising Tom Tancredo during the latter’s run for governor in 2010:

Listen to the lavish praise from Coffman for Tancredo “standing up” to President Bush’s immigration reform attempts.

And ask yourself how this could possibly be the same man vilifying Democrats today by likening them to Tancredo.


dreamactcoffmanIn 2014, GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, who once called the DREAM Act to protect immigrant students “a nightmare for the American people” and fought against immigration reform until his congressional district was redrawn to include a large immigrant population, defeated his Democratic opponent in part by audaciously claiming his own position on immigration to be more progressive than the Democrat in the race.

This year, Coffman doesn’t seem to be changing the playbook a bit against his current Democratic opponent, Sen. Morgan Carroll:

That’s in reference to Coffman’s predecessor Tom Tancredo, the nationally-famous anti-immigration firebrand who has recently criticized Coffman’s reinvention on the issue as contrived to win votes in his new district. This Tweet refers to a vote in 2009 by Sen. Carroll against legislation that would have created similar tuition status as the DREAM Act for undocumented high school graduates in Colorado.

Just one problem: in 2013, Sen. Carroll cosponsored the ASSET bill, a.k.a. “Colorado’s DREAM Act.” ASSET is now the law in Colorado thanks to Carroll’s support. Once you realize that, it’s obvious that Coffman’s campaign is playing the most cynical kind of game with the truth–the lie of omission.

And it gets better:

In 2006, as at least a few of our longtime readers will remember, Republicans proposed a harsh immigration crackdown ballot measure called “Defend Colorado Now.” Hoping to forestall that measure, Democrats in the Colorado legislature made the in-hindsight highly regrettable decision to convene a special session of the legislature to pass immigration restrictions that would make such a ballot measure “unnecessary.” The truth is, Tom Tancredo was one of the original backers of the Defend Colorado Now measure, and was opposed to the special session convened by Democrats to forestall it.

Folks, what side do you think Coffman was on? The Longmont Times-Call reported (article no longer online):

Illegal-immigration foes drew a crowd to the foot of the state Capitol on Thursday to launch their petition drive for a state ballot measure that would deny government services to anyone who’s not in this country legally…

The rally began with state Treasurer Mike Coffman, a Republican candidate for secretary of state, leading the participants in the pledge of allegiance. [Pols emphasis]

In retrospect, both the 2006 Defend Colorado Now measure and the legislative session convened to counter it were ill-advised. Democrats have been taking their lumps over that mistake since 2006. But not only was Morgan Carroll working against Tancredo’s goals in 2006, at that same moment, Mike Coffman was the one standing with Tom Tancredo.

The real story behind today’s attacks on Carroll from Coffman’s campaign is one of such eye-popping hypocrisy and outright falsehoods that we’re legitimately surprised Coffman was willing to go there yet again. On the other hand, this is the perfect example of the kind of blatant disregard for the truth Coffman has repeatedly demonstrated against his Democratic opponents since redistricting.

For all the deference Coffman gets from the media over his wholesale flip-flops on the issues, with this latest we think Coffman may finally have taken it too far. Everyone who was there in 2006 knows the truth about what Coffman said and did then. It’s not a question of interpretation. It’s not a “misstatement.”

It’s a lie. And it must not go unchallenged.