Dubya’s Comin’ To Denver!

The Martin Museum Residence at the DAM.

The Martin Museum Residence at the DAM.

FRIDAY UPDATE: The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch:

Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush will get some brotherly help and collect some Colorado cash when former President George W. Bush comes to Denver on Oct. 18.

Since February the former president has been scheduled as the keynote speaker for the Association for Financial Professionals annual conference at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

The location of the fundraiser isn’t being publicized but will be disclosed to invited guests as they RSVP…

We’re not sure what all the attempted secrecy is about with the location of this fundraiser…oh, who are we kidding, we know exactly why they’re not being up front with the location of the Martin Museum Residence for a fundraiser starring George W. Bush. Former President Bush is far and away the most protested American chief executive in a generation, with far bigger demonstrations against his policies–and in more places around the world–than anything the “Tea Party” was ever able to throw at Barack Obama.

So we hope we’re not causing any, you know, problems for this event by disclosing to our readers that J. Landis Martin’s Museum Residence is located…wait for it…at the Denver Art Museum! Which has many convenient nearby protest locations.

Original post follows…


Just arrived in our inbox–a very special guest is coming to town on October 18th:


George W. Bush.

Former President George W. Bush.

That’s right, folks! Republican presidential candidate Jeb! Bush may not want to use his dynastic last name in campaign materials, but apparently enlisting brother and former President George W. Bush to headline a fundraiser is A-OK. We’re not sure how this will work out for Jeb! in the long run, since most analysts agree that getting out from under his more famous sibling’s shadow (not to mention his father’s) is critical if Jeb! really entertains a hope in hell of becoming America’s third Bush President.

Many of these questions also apply to Jeb! and Dubya’s cousin, Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, who himself fancies a run for higher office in the not-too-distant future–perhaps in a gubernatorial primary against George Brauchler in 2018? Naturally, it would look weird for Stapleton to miss an event headlining his cousin and former President. But on the other hand, every photo of them together could someday be a liability.

Not like he can worry about that now! The Bush family is back in the spotlight, and all there is to do is smile.

Ken Witt, The Dumbest Man In Colorado Politics

UPDATE #2: 7NEWS’ Deb Stanley with an absolutely blistering story–if you were wondering if this little time-waster of a stunt had pissed off the media as we suggested this morning, you can stop wondering.

It did:

The political posturing around the recall election for three JEFFCO Public Schools board members has soared to an absurd new level. [Pols emphasis]

On Thursday morning, embattled board president Ken Witt said he was making a “major announcement” in regards to the recall he was facing.

When the media arrived, Witt announced he was filing an ethics complaint against himself and handed out copies of what he said he was mailing to the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission…

And it turns out, Witt’s point is moot anyway.


UPDATE: We think this clip speaks for everyone who endured today’s presser:

Meanwhile, Jeffco United for Action responds:

“Ken Witt’s political stunt this morning is exactly why thousands of parents and educators are seeking to recall him. We must get politics out of our schools and today, Ken Witt further confirmed he isn’t the person to move Jeffco Schools forward,” stated Lynea Hansen spokeswoman for Jeffco United for Action.

Parents have previously filed complaints about board actions with the IEC. The IEC about a year ago told us the school board is not inside their jurisdiction and neither are open meeting laws. Jurisdiction would lie with the District Court. Even if the court was to rule in our favor that the School Board Majority did hire their personal board attorney behind closed doors, the only outcome would be to require the Board to re-do their vote in the public.

“This recall is so much bigger than one issue. Thousands of parents collected double the required signatures because the community wants these harmful politics out of their schools,” continued Hansen.


Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt.

Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt.

Jefferson County School Board President Ken Witt mysteriously gave notice last night that he would make a “big announcement” this morning. Since the report aired on CBS4 Denver last night, Jefferson County politicos have been scratching their heads trying to figure out what Witt was about to announce. Would he resign from the school board? Something else equally dramatic, justifying a presser at the Denver West Sheraton and camera crews from all the local networks?

As the Denver Post reports, not so much:

Ken Witt, board president of Jeffco Public Schools, announced at a news conference Thursday that he has file an ethic complaint against himself.

He has asked the Colorado Ethics Commission to investigate whether Witt was involved in breaking any open meetings laws.

Witt, a conservative member of the board, said the decision was in response to a recall effort seeking his ouster.

“I’m just calling their bluff,” Witt said Thursday…

That’s right, folks! Witt just self-inflicted this nigh-on unbelievable headline:


Now, the first problem here is that Witt filed his “complaint” with an entity that has no jurisdiction over school boards. Because it’s not a paid position, the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission ruled in 2009 that board members are excluded from the definition of “public officers” under Amendment 41. And if that’s not bad enough, the IEC isn’t even scheduled to meet again until after the election.

In short, this was about the most perfectly-engineered waste of the media’s time Ken Witt could have possibly come up with. If we had been a reporter suckered into showing up to this farce of a press conference, we would actually be very upset about the time and expense of dispatching busy camera crews and journalists to an event way out in the suburbs with absolutely zero news value.

The only thing we can add is that drawing attention to one of the principal allegations leveled by recall proponents against himself, especially in a way that makes him look like a uninformed clown while failing to refute anything regarding the allegation in question, is just laughably bad PR strategy. “Hey, look over here! They’re accusing me of something bad and instead of disproving it, I’m pulling this lame stunt!”

Whoever dispenses this kind of political advice needs to find a new career. Right now.

BREAKING: McCarthy Withdraws, House GOP In Chaos

UPDATE #3: Wall Street is equally baffled by the Republican leadership vacuum black hole. From Politico:

“We will not mince words — this is the political equivalent of a dumpster fire,” said Chris Krueger of Guggenheim Securities. “We are increasing our odds from 30 percent to 40 percent for some kind of accident that would keep Congress from raising the debt ceiling in time due to brinkmanship, procrastination or political gridlock.”


UPDATE #2: Colorado’s Rep. Ken Buck has possibly never been more right:


UPDATE: The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, tough to argue with him:

The tendency in the after-action reporting on McCarthy’s stunning collapse — and, make no mistake, it is stunning — will be to pinpoint a single reason for it: whether that reason be rumors of personal problems, an inability to win over the more conservative members of his conference or his recent flub when talking about the Benghazi select committee. But, those single-issue theories all miss the broader point here: There is a revolution happening within the Republican party right now. The establishment’s hold on power is more tenuous than it has been at any time in recent memory. There is no one currently in office that can claim with any credibility that he or she speaks “for” the party as a whole. That’s a remarkable development since, for decades, the GOP was known as the party that, eventually, got in line. As in, Republicans tended to nominate the guy for president who was perceived as the runner up the last time around. And, they might grumble but they eventually acceded to the wishes of Congressional leaders like Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert. The Democrats were always the rebellious party; the GOP was the follow-the-rules party.

—– We’ll be talking about this for a few news cycles, via the AP:

Stand by for local updates. And look out below!

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Oct. 8)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218Back to the Future called it — the Chicago Cubs will win the 2015 World Series. 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).


► The University of Colorado is trying to defend itself against student outrage over a complete lack of access to the Oct. 28 Republican Presidential debate in Boulder. Both the Boulder Daily Camera and the Durango Herald are covering the controversy today.


► Congressman Mike Coffman is facing scrutiny for speaking to an anti-Muslim “hate group” last month. Coffman was a featured speaker in September at a conference for “ACT for America,” which has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

On another note, Coffman’s congressional campaign announced yesterday that it had raised $475,000 in the third quarter of 2015. This is Coffman’s biggest fundraising haul of the year, but it also comes after a Q2 that was his worst fundraising performance in the last four years.


► Conservative Republicans have found their own candidate to challenge Rep. Kevin McCarthy as the next Speaker of the House. As the Washington Post reports:

The House Freedom Caucus’s backing of Rep. Daniel Webster (R-Fla.) ahead of a crucial internal party vote Thursday deeply complicates Majority Leader Kevin O. McCarthy’s bid to succeed Boehner. The group counts enough members — about 40 — to deny McCarthy the majority of the whole House he would need to claim the speaker’s chair.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


OF COURSE Coffman Spoke To An Anti-Muslim Hate Group

As the Colorado Independent’s Kyle Harris reports:

Republican Rep. Mike Coffman spoke in September at the conference of an organization that has been profiled repeatedly as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“ACT For America is perhaps the nation’s leading Anti-Muslim hate group … extremely out there in terms of their bigotry and extremism and hate mongering,” said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The New York Times Magazine described the organization’s president Brigitte Gabriel, who also spoke at the conference, as follows: “She presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion.”

Gabriel has described Arabs as “barbarians” and has said, “Every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim.” [Pols emphasis]

Now before you make any, you know, presumptions:

Would he speak for this group, which has have given him a 100 percent grade for voting against “radical Islam,” had he been warned?

“With regard to why he spoke to this group (ACT! for America), the Congressman speaks with literally hundreds of groups every year, and very rarely agrees with every aspect of their agenda. But that doesn’t mean you don’t have a dialogue,” his spokesperson [Cinamon] Watson wrote.

As Harris recounts, Rep. Mike Coffman has made bashing so-called “radical Islam” a favorite topic in guest opinion columns and at public events. The group that Coffman spoke at, ACT! For America, appears to take it a step further by declaring all Muslims to be “radical” Muslims. It should be noted that this belief has a fair number of adherents in Colorado, as one example the openly anti-Muslim climate that pervades the Western Conservative Summit year after year–even inviting internationally-infamous anti-Muslim demagogues like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands to speak.

At a Defense Department course on Islam, in 2007, Gabriel said: “If a Muslim who has — who is — a practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah, who abides by Islam, who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day — this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”

Wow! But remember, Coffman doesn’t necessarily agree. He just gave a speech at their conference, right? After all, it’s not like Coffman has ever said anything even remotely close to what this group says, right?

Oops (see photo).

Given the substantial percentage of the Republican base who believe to this day that President Barack Obama, like Coffman said in 2012, “is just not an American,” a belief largely revolving around President Obama’s Muslim father…well, don’t you think that if Coffman meant any of those apologies, he might be a little more careful about appearing before an organization given to all-too-similar generalizations?

All we can say is, he must really be counting on that free ride from the press.

Arvada Prepares for Bigger Ballot in 2015

As Austin Briggs of the Denver Post reports, Arvada voters have a plethora of choices on the ballot for 2015:

Because District 1 Councilwoman Rachel Zenzinger was called to serve in the Colorado Senatealmost two years ago and was  replaced by Jerry Marks, residents will have a rare opportunity to select five — instead of three or four — municipal officers.

All five incumbents are running for re-election, with six challengers hoping to replace them for four-year terms in the single at-large and mayor positions and two-year terms in the District 1, 2 and 4 seats.

Read the rest of the Post story to see how urban renewal issues may end up being the top priority for Arvada voters.

Turning Points for Renewable Energy

Turning points.

Turning points.

Whether it comes out of the ground or from the sky, energy production remains a hot topic in Colorado. Each side has its own set of arguments, but we may be reaching a true tipping point in favor of renewable energy.

As Tom Randall writes for Bloomberg Business, the “capacity factor” is making solar and wind energy more economically-viable than other sources of energy:

Wind power is now the cheapest electricity to produce in both Germany and the U.K., even without government subsidies, according to a new analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). It’s the first time that threshold has been crossed by a G7 economy.

But that’s less interesting than what just happened in the U.S.

To appreciate what’s going on there, you need to understand the capacity factor. That’s the percentage of a power plant’s maximum potential that’s actually achieved over time…

…One of the major strengths of fossil fuel power plants is that they can command very high and predictable capacity factors. The average U.S. natural gas plant, for example, might produce about 70 percent of its potential (falling short of 100 percent because of seasonal demand and maintenance). But that’s what’s changing, and it’s a big deal.

For the first time, widespread adoption of renewables is effectively lowering the capacity factor for fossil fuels. [Pols emphasis] That’s because once a solar or wind project is built, the marginal cost of the electricity it produces is pretty much zero—free electricity—while coal and gas plants require more fuel for every new watt produced. If you’re a power company with a choice, you choose the free stuff every time.

In any political debate, simple economic factors can end up making the strongest argument. All of the saber-rattling and fist-shaking about fossil fuels and renewables will grind to a halt when oil and gas production is no longer economically preferable…and it appears we may be crossing that bridge.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Oct. 7)

MoreSmarterLogo-300x218The Yankees…don’t win. 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).


► Democrat Morgan Carroll is shaking up the race for CD-6 in more ways than one. Carroll’s straight-talk style seems to be confusing for Republican trackers, and could be the key to defeating incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in 2016.


► Famous rich person Donald Trump remains atop the Republican field for President, and this one’s gotta sting the other candidates: He’s only spent $2 million on his campaign. In total. As the Washington Post reports, Trump appears to have realized that he might actually win this thing, so he’s moving toward creating a more traditional campaign structure. And a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Trump crushing both Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio in their home state of Florida.


►Using polling data to forecast election winners is getting more and more difficult as demographics change and more people drop landlines altogether. Gallup has decided not to track the general election for the first time since predicting Franklin Roosevelt’s re-election in 1936. Gallup’s poor showing in 2012 didn’t help matters, writes Politico:

Gallup’s final survey showed Romney leading Obama by 1 point — 4.9 points off from the final result, in which Obama prevailed by 3.9 points. It also misidentified the winner. That led to a lengthy and expensive effort by Gallup to retool its methodology, a process the pollster described back in 2013 as aimed at the next presidential election.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Morgan Carroll Tells It Like It Is, GOP Helps Spread The Word

Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll.

Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll.

As one of the nation’s most competitive congressional races heading into 2016, national Republican political media operations are clamoring for the chance to catch Democratic CD-6 candidate Morgan Carroll in a gaffe they can use in a TV spot. America Rising PAC is one of the bigger “independent” message groups working on the GOP side, and they’ve detailed a tracker to keep tabs on Carroll at public events.

Unfortunately for America Rising, their first “scoop” on Carroll is likely to help her more than it hurts:

During a September 2015 “Listening Tour” in Douglas County, Colorado, Democratic candidate for Colorado’s 6th Congressional District Morgan Carroll attacked what she called the “mainstream media,” specifically calling out The Denver Post and two of its top journalists.

When discussing the need for strong grassroots support for her congressional bid, Carroll claimed that she and her supporters “can’t count on the mainstream media to do real reporting.” Carroll then launched a diatribe against The Denver Post Editorial Board and two of the paper’s top journalists – Politics Editor Chuck Plunkett and Editorial Page Editor Vincent Carroll…

Oh noes! You mean the same Denver Post that has seen its reputation on the left collapse in a heap after their perfidious endorsement of Cory Gardner? The same Chuck Plunkett who made an unfavorable story about Rep. Mike Coffman vanish completely after deciding he “hadn’t heard” something everybody else knew?

It seems there are some circumstances on the ground here in Colorado that America Rising would do well to bone up on–starting with the fact that Democrats in Colorado agree with Morgan Carroll. Here’s the heart of Carroll’s recorded remarks:

CARROLL: “See they get to reinvent themselves and when we don’t point it out, the problem is is that it’s almost being complicit in letting it stand as true. And we’re going to need help on social media so it’s not just ‘oh candidate said this and that,’ but part of what we’re going to have to do because TV is so expensive in buying is have folks that are willing to ‘friend,’ ‘like,’ ‘share,’ so when we need to do rapid response on fact check that we have a grassroots army of people that are willing to ‘like,’ ‘share,’ ‘forward,’ call it out. And eventually at this point the media, if anything might wag, and decide to pick it up. But we can’t count on the mainstream media to do real reporting.”

There’s no nice way to say it: the sum of our experience with the local Colorado political media, especially since the closure of the Rocky Mountain News in 2009 and the steady contraction of political reporting at the Denver Post and other local outlets, strongly agrees with Sen. Carroll’s assessment that the mainstream media can’t be counted on to reliably report the full story. In recent years, the traditional journalism dynamic has been turned on its head by blogs and social media, to the point where news routinely breaks first without any help from the mainstream media–which is often days late to the story now if they cover it at all.

Too often, the decision of what mainstream outlets cover is not made based on news value. But social media still can’t transcend social networks like a news story. In short, if this is what Carroll is telling her core supporters, she’s exactly right, and she needs to keep saying it. There’s not a single constituency this hurts her with, except for a couple of named Denver Post employees who most Democrats we know agree need shaming.

Besides, aren’t Republicans usually the ones harping on the “lamestream media?” Not in this town, we guess.

Ben Carson Says Some Ridiculous Stuff About the Oregon Shootings

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson.

GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson. More guns, less gravity!

Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson has a pretty large following in Colorado, where conservative Republicans have regularly voted him #1 on straw polls in advance of the 2016 Presidential election. We won’t go into detail here about why Carson is so popular among Colorado Republicans, but we do wonder why anyone could support a Presidential candidate who is this obtuse. From the New York Times:

Ben Carson defended his position on Tuesday that tougher gun control measures would not curb violence and said that he would have been more aggressive in the face of a shooter than the victims of last week’s attack in Oregon.

The remarks on Fox News came a week after a gunman entered a community college classroom in Oregon and opened fire on students after asking them to say if they were Christians. Mr. Carson, a Republican presidential candidate who has been rising in recent polls, said that if he were in the classroom he would have handled things differently.

“Not only would I probably not cooperate with him, I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” Mr. Carson said, explaining that he would defend his faith at any cost. “I would say: ‘Hey, guys, everybody attack him! He may shoot me but he can’t get us all.’”

Uh, yeah. It’s easy to play Monday Morning Quarterback about a mass shooting when you aren’t the one standing in front of someone with a gun.


Preview Your Ballot at GoVoteColorado.com

County clerks across the state will begin mailing out ballots for the November election sometime next week. To make sure you are registered to vote and receive a mail ballot, visit GoVoteColorado.com.

This year, you can also see a preview of what your ballot will look like as well. So go to GoVoteColorado.com and…practice voting, or something. Here’s how to do it, courtesy of the Secretary of State’s office:

Once you are on the GoVoteColorado.com page, click on “Manage my registration” and underneath that click on “Find my registration.” Type in your name, ZIP code and date of birth. Your voter information should come up on the screen. Go to the link that says “View my sample ballot.”

Candidates are always listed before ballot measures and a number of school districts are holding school board elections and cities are holding municipal elections. In addition, there could be local issues on your ballot, including tax proposals.