Colorado GOP Vice-Chair Mark Baisley: Sharia Is Coming

Colorado Republican Party vice-chairman Mark Baisley was elected to his post last September, as part of an insurrection against "establishment" Republicans by the Tea Party/Rocky Mountain Gun Owners grassroots wing. You may recall that Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call's attempts to distance the party from certain gaffe-prone legislators like Sen. Vicki Marble and Rep. Lori Saine set off a round of fierce infighting that had lots of Republicans declaring themselves "ABCs"–Anybody But Call. In the aftermath of that schism, Baisley was elected vice-chairman.

Since the beginning of this year, Baisley has been writing an opinion column for national conservative website Townhall.com. We try to keep track of where major Republican officials voice their opinions, but we confess we hadn't paid any attention to Baisley's column.

Until this week's opinion piece titled "Suicide by Democrat" was brought to our attention. As published yesterday:

I have become awestruck at the predictably sad pattern of citizens robotically voting against their own interests; not just educators, but across several demographics. And it seems that the Democratic Party merely has to repeat their proven messaging and truth becomes unimportant to the adherents. Their conditioned response is to vote against the “cruel Republicans” who want them to eat vegetables and exercise…

American women are similarly wooed into submitting to institutional government oppression by ironically responding to the Democratic Party’s appeal to their natural rebellion against subjection. The ads assert that Republicans are engaged in a war on women, denying them personal choices with their pro-life doctrine. But the argument may as well be delivered by Marlin Brando in a sleeveless wife-beater. Democrats ensure women’s right to choose to have an abortion – and deny them the right to choose where to send their children to school, how they will acquire health care, whether they can protect themselves with a weapon, and whether their 15 year old daughter receives prescription contraceptives or abortion surgery without their knowledge.

In the 1950s, the nation was almost paranoid about losing its culture of liberty. Most Americans held a healthy fear of socialism creeping into acceptability. We worried aloud about communism infiltrating into society and elected leadership. Even the Democratic Party stood firmly against communism well into the 1960s. But that sentiment died with President Kennedy in Dallas. Today, the Democratic Party subjugates women through “choice,” enslaves blacks through entitlements, ransoms Hispanics through their children, intimidates teachers through unions, encourages violence through gun control, saddles millennials with debt to buy their votes, and assuages Jewish concerns while betraying Israel.

Liberals no longer recoil at being described as socialists. And the revulsion of communism has not been passed on to America’s under-forty set. With its polished propaganda machine, the Democratic Party has demonstrated its propensity to smile in the face of the American people – while swindling them all out of their inheritance. Like a cocaine dealer, they promise paradise in exchange for trust; suicide by Democrat…

Having wound us up to a McCarthyite fever pitch, Baisley delivers the payoff:

We can stop warning Americans about losing the country to “soft tyranny.” The Democratic Party has hit their socialist stride and are now racing toward their ultimate conquest over liberty, Sharia. Let that sink in for a moment and Benghazi, Extortion 17, capitulating to ISIS, the Secretary of State wearing the hijab, and the President of the United States bowing to the King of Saudi Arabia begin to make sense. [Pols emphasis]

What's the difference between Mark Baisley and any number of delusional paranoid crackpots waiting in some talk radio queue right now, you may be asking yourself after reading this column?

Only one we can think of: he is vice-chairman of the Colorado Republican Party.

Dems To Beauprez: Release Those Tax Returns

Bob Beauprez (R).

Bob Beauprez (R).

A press release from liberal pugilist Mike Huttner's Making Colorado Great today kicks off the perennial "show us the money" soiree–which often isn't a big deal, but as we've seen with 2010 gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis–not to mention Bob Beauprez's close friend Mitt Romney–sometimes it is:

“We call on Bob Beauprez to immediately disclose his tax returns since his last run for office,” stated Michael Huttner, spokesman for Making Colorado Great.
 
In 2006, Beauprez’s campaign criticized his primary opponent—Mark Holtzman– for not disclosing his tax returns.  Specifically Beauprez’s campaign stated:  "It's vital that voters know their next governor doesn't have anything to hide. Any candidate in this race who's unwilling to disclose their taxes obviously has something to hide," said Beauprez’s spokesman. (Denver Post, April 5, 2006)

“We want to ensure that Beauprez is not hiding anything,” stated Huttner.  “We are simply asking of Beauprez what he demanded of his opponents when he ran last time,” Huttner noted.

Unless either Beauprez refuses to be fully forthcoming with his financial information–keep in mind that Gov. John Hickenlooper released decades of tax returns to the media in 2010 without complaint–or something turns up in Beauprez's financials since his last run for office that looks bad, this request is little more than a box to check off. If Beauprez is quick to disclose and there's nothing amiss, nothing will come of this and everybody moves on.

But given the discomfort financial disclosures often mean for wealthy Republican politicians (see McInnis, Romney), obviously, the question needs to be asked of Beauprez like anybody else. Does wealthy ex-banker Beauprez pay an embarrassingly low tax rate on an embarrassingly large amount of money? Does Beauprez's personal charitable giving offset his political demands to "cut government spending?"

You may consider the disclosure clock officially ticking.

Doug Lamborn Proves Again Why Safe Seats Suck

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colorado Springs).

As the Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader reports, there will no debates this year between incumbent GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs and his Democratic opponent, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Irv Halter:

"The Congressman will not be providing Mr. Halter with a platform to spread his deceptive rhetoric and uncivil tone," campaign spokesman Jarred Rego wrote in an email to The Gazette. "People know where Congressman Lamborn stands on the issues. The only person in this race whose positions are unknown is Mr. Halter, who keeps masquerading as a moderate, all while disguising his liberal views."

Halter, a retired Air Force major general, said refusing to debate with him is part of a pattern Lamborn has shown since he was elected in 2006.

"There is huge frustration with his attendance record at meetings and his lack of accessibility," Halter said. "I get this more from Republicans than I do from Democrats. He has been a congressman for eight years, and they do not know him."

Every election season, opponents make what hay they can from the complexities, both temporal and political, of scheduling debates with one another. In the end, of course, they usually do debate at least once. But as you can see, Doug Lamborn doesn't need to hide behind scheduling excuses, he can just flatly tell the local paper that he's not going to debate his opponent because the guy is a big, bad, meanie liberal–and Doug Lamborn need not descend from his safe-seat ivory tower to even give Gen. Halter the time of day.

In a way, Lamborn's arrogant refusal to debate his Democratic opponent is a metaphor for his entire political career. The 5th Congressional District was Colorado's model safe Republican seat until the 2011 redistricting cycle made Rep. Cory Gardner's CD-4 an ultra-red bastion in its own right. Lamborn's principal competition for the seat has always been during Republican primaries, and Lamborn has faced heated primary challenges repeatedly since winning his seat in 2006. A reliable placeholder vote for the Republican majority and defense contractors, Lamborn has done almost nothing else to distinguish himself in office. His constituent services are by all accounts an afterthought compared to his predecessor Rep. Joel Hefley. And when Lamborn does make headlines, it's usually for something ridiculous he says like his Obama "tar baby" gaffe.

Given the right combination of circumstances, we can envision a Marilyn Musgrave-style pickoff of Lamborn, based solely on Lamborn's ineptitude, in any given election. His replacement might not last in office longer than Musgrave's successor did, but in terms of personal skill as a candidate and politician, Lamborn is a joke–propped up artificially by his safe Republican seat.

In a perfect world, incompetence should always be a vulnerability.

Tuesday Open Thread

"Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters."

–Albert Einstein

Live Blog (Sort Of): Mark Udall vs. Cory Gardner, U.S. Senate Debate

GardnerStache

Perhaps Cory Gardner could have formed a better connection with the Western Slope by borrowing Randy Baumgardner’s mustache.

It’s time to fire up the Colorado Pols Debate Diary once again. That's right, friends: It's live-blog time!

It has become something of a tradition here at Colorado Pols for us to give you, our loyal readers, a live blog, play-by-play of political debates in Colorado. This afternoon we are live-blogging a video replay of Saturday's first U.S. Senate debate between Sen. Mark Udall and Rep. Cory Gardner. You've seen some clips from Saturday's Club 20 debate in Grand Junction, and you may have followed some of the action on Twitter.

We didn't go to Grand Junction on Saturday evening, but we were able to get our hands on a full recording of the Udall/Gardner debate. Since this is the first time we are watching the debate as it unfolds, this really is live in one sense of the word; we'll be updating the diary below in real time as we watch the video. In other words, the debate isn't "live," but our "live blog" is "live." Whatever — you get the point.

We will provide a link to the full debate video as soon as a public version becomes available (we don't want to download and host the entire video ourselves because of space limitations).

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

 

FINAL IMPRESSIONS
While neither Mark Udall nor Cory Gardner was particularly impressive during their first debate, there were clear contrasts drawn on Saturday. Gardner seemed to stick to a pre-debate strategy that revolved around saying "Obama" as many times as possible and otherwise dancing around any specific question. Udall was not as commanding as he has been in the past, but he was devastatingly effective when he calmly pointed out inconsistencies in Gardner's record or his refusal to answer direct questions. Gardner clearly wants to stay out of the weeds on specific policy questions, and that's a reasonable strategy, but he needs to recognize when his "strategy" is starting to backfire; Gardner is painting himself into a corner by repeatedly offering up answers of little substance, because it doesn't take long before it becomes more theme than strategy. This was also — theoretically, at least — friendly territory for Gardner, but he failed to take advantage of that atmosphere by not adjusting and adapting his strategy during the debate. Gardner needed a 'Win" here; there was less at stake for Udall, but he pulled out the victory anyway. We're very interested to see how each candidate changes their approach heading into the next big debate.

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New Romanoff Ad Rips Coffman on Abortion

A press release from Democratic CD-6 candidate Andrew Romanoff puts incumbent Rep. Mike Coffman on the hot seat over banning abortion and the Personhood ballot measures:

Romanoff's third TV ad, released today, focuses on Congressman Mike Coffman's long history of denying women the right to choose, supporting the Personhood amendment, and restricting reproductive rights. The ad features Karen, a resident of Colorado's 6th Congressional District, who emphasizes the personal nature of making these decisions and the importance of these rights.

"This is a matter of fundamental freedom.  Women should have the right to make their own health care choices," said Romanoff. "No one should have to surrender her most personal decisions to a politician, an employer, or anyone else."

"These are incredibly personal decisions that every woman must make for herself, but Congressman Coffman has pushed an agenda that takes these decisions out of our hands and puts them into his," said Denise Baron, spokeswoman for the Romanoff campaign.  "For 25 years, he's attempted to restrict our rights by voting to criminalize all abortions, outlaw common forms of birth control control, and restrict access to health care."

Last week, Congressman Coffman launched the first TV ad of his campaign, a brazen attempt to whitewash his decades-long opposition to women’s equality. The Romanoff campaign, along with state leaders, local activists, and CO-06 voters, launched a social media campaign to highlight the more than 50 votes the congressman has taken in the past four years to perpetuate gender discrimination and restrict women's rights.  Romanoff's new ad highlights Rep. Coffman's votes and actions to restrict women's reproductive rights. 

A big research dump of Coffman's anti-choice votes follows after the jump. Republicans surely aren't happy to see this ad, hitting on an issue they're as tired of as they are fearful: but there's a distinct lack of angry responses as of this writing from Coffman's campaign.

The reason may be simple: drawing further attention to this issue just makes it worse.

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Sen. Ted Harvey Goes Bonkers Over Benghazi

Sen. Ted Harvey (left).

Sen. Ted Harvey (left).

The New York Times reported Friday about a new book forthcoming about the September 2012 attack on the American diplomatic consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The book 13 Hours, co-written by CIA contractors involved in the response to the attack on the Benghazi consulate that resulted in the death of the American ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and several other Americans, sheds some new light on the events of that day:

The book, titled “13 Hours,” is the first public account of the night’s events by any of the American security personnel involved in the attack. The accusation that the base chief, referred to in the book only as “Bob,” held back the rescue opens a new front in a fierce political battle over who is at fault for the American deaths.

Republicans have blamed President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton, then the secretary of state, for the security failure.

American officials have previously acknowledged that the Central Intelligence Agency security team paused to try to enlist support from Libyan militia allies. But the book is the first detailed account of the extent of the delay, its consequences for the rescue attempt, and who made the decisions.

The commandos’ account — which fits with the publicly known facts and chronology — suggests that the base chief issued the “stand down” orders on his own authority. [Pols emphasis] He hoped to enlist local Libyan militiamen, and the commandos speculate that he hoped the Libyans could carry out the rescue alone to avoid exposing the C.I.A. base.

Hillary Clinton Newsweek

​In the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, Republicans have strained credibility to make a connection between high-level Obama administration officials and the decisions made on the ground that may have contributed to the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans. This latest version of events from the CIA contractors who responded has reinvigorated those questions from Republicans, despite the fact that they at least partly exonerate the administration–it wasn't then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or anyone in Washington who ordered those operatives to "stand down," it was the CIA's station chief in Benghazi acting on his own authority.

Which beings us to Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey, who runs the national Stop Hillary PAC–and has been beating the Benghazi drum as loudly as anyone. Don't pester Harvey with any of your silly details:

This is an emergency. We just learned the damning truth about Benghazi — the loss of 4 American lives was COMPLETELY AVOIDABLE. 

The key U.S. security team in Benghazi was FORBIDDEN from immediately responding to the attack on the American diplomatic mission. 

That's right…their inside account of what happened the night of the September 11, 2012, Benghazi attack is proof that Hillary Clinton had the means to save her diplomatic team…

Hillary Clinton is guilty of more than just lying. Crippling indecision, or worse, willful inaction were Hillary's death sentence for those 4 Americans who died September 11, 2012. [Pols emphasis]

And that, dear reader, is how the deed gets done. The facts that undermine Harvey's insistence that Clinton has blood on her hands? Forget those facts. Harvey never bothers to mention that it was the CIA station chief in Benghazi who the contractors say "forbade" them from going in. And it doesn't matter than a bipartisan House investigation determined there was no intentional wrongdoing by anyone in the administration.

Of all the attacks that have been leveled against the Clintons in their many years in politics, the Benghazi attack probably isn't the worst. But the disregard for the facts in this case, even after they are refuted by credible investigations, is a good lesson in how for many in politics today, facts just don't matter.

Colorado Sen. Ted Harvey fits that description perfectly.

New Marist, Rasmussen Polls Show Enduring Udall Lead

UPDATE: Another poll this weekend from CBS/New York Times: Mark Udall 46%, Cory Gardner 43%.

—–

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Noting two polls that came out over the weekend in the Colorado U.S. Senate race, the first polls in several weeks. First, from Marist College Institute for Public Opinion for NBC News, showing incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall up six points over GOP challenger Cory Gardner:

In the contest for U.S. Senate in Colorado, Democratic incumbent Mark Udall leads his Republican challenger, Cory Gardner, by six points among likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate.  Udall’s advantage is due to his support among Latinos, independents, women, and young voters…

“Right now, Udall is disrupting GOP plans to add Colorado to its victory column as they seek a Senate majority,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “To seal the deal, Udall needs to mobilize young voters and Latinos who boosted Barack Obama in his presidential wins.”

…A plurality of Colorado likely voters including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate, 48%, supports Udall in the race for U.S. Senate in Colorado.  Gardner garners 42%.  Nine percent are undecided. Udall is bolstered by Latinos likely to participate.  He receives 60% compared with 27% for Gardner. 91% of Democrats likely to vote are for Udall while 87% of Republicans favor Gardner.  Among likely independent voters, Udall has 49% to 34% for Gardner. Udall is strongest among single women where he outpaces Gardner by 29 points, 56% to 27%.  Udall has a 16 point lead among single men. Udall and Gardner are competitive among married women, 46% to 45%.  Gardner has a strong lead against Udall among married men, 55% to 36%.

Here's the full memo on the Marist poll. It's worth noting that Marist showed Udall with a bigger lead in the last round of polling back in July–we'll want to see more polls to know if this is an outlier, or a sign that Udall is starting to pull away. Another poll from historically conservative Rasmussen Reports out Friday has Udall with a much smaller two-point lead over Gardner, 44% to 42%–still ahead after millions in negative advertising dollars expended, but remaining a tight race (and frankly closer to our gut feeling). In the gubernatorial race, Marist has incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper leading GOP challenger Bob Beauprez 43% to 39%, while Rasmussen has the race in a dead heat–with Beauprez up 45% to Hickenlooper's 44%.

After a curious dearth of polling during the month of August, we expect a flurry of results in the coming days to give us a clearer picture of where these two races are headed.

Video: Cory Gardner’s Epic Abortion Pivot Fail

We've got several clips of video from yesterday's debates in Grand Junction hosted by civic engagement group Club 20 to share, but one particularly noteworthy exchange between incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and GOP challenger Cory Gardner last night needed to get in the record right away. In this truly remarkable clip of video, Udall hammers Gardner over his longstanding support for banning abortion, including making abortion a class 3 felony–which could result in health care providers receiving harsher prison sentences for performing abortions than persons found guilty of rape.

Gardner's attempt to pivot away from this issue, as you'll see, did not go well:

UDALL: Congressman. When it comes to a woman's reproductive rights and women's health, how can women and families trust you? You voted for a class 3 felony bill that would punish doctors more than rapists, you voted against providing emergency contraception to rape victims, you supported a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. After you told the, uh, Colorado, the Fort Collins newspaper that you would not do anything of that sort. How can families and how can women trust you when it comes to staying out of their personal health care decisions?

GARDNER: Senator Udall, I look forward to growing an economy that makes sure that women have jobs in this country, the kind of jobs that they are lacking right now. I look forward to putting economic policies together that keep women in this country from struggling to make ends meet as they are under Barack Obama's failed economy. And look, I understand, I understand that you have a concern with my position, I'm pro life, and I believe every life is precious, and I understand that you do not support that policy…

UDALL: Congressman, you didn't answer my question.

GARDNER: But what I think we ought to do is recognize that women around this country deserve a growing economy.

MODERATOR: You should answer his question.

UDALL: Would you answer my question? Would you answer my question?

GARDNER: I answered your question about…

UDALL: How can women and families trust you?

GARDNER: Because I…

(Applause grows)

UDALL: Why are you getting between women and their doctors? Why are you asking, women… (unintelligible) …why should just Washington businessmen, Washington congressmen tell women what they should do?

Sen. Udall's words at the very end of the clip are tougher to understand, mostly because the raucous applause from the audience was drowning him out–please help us correct this transcript if you find any errors. But by that time, Gardner's attempt to pivot off the issue had done more than just fallen flat. Gardner revealed himself as totally unprepared to answer questions about his record on reproductive choice. Gardner's answers up to now to straightforward questions about his record are simply not backed by the facts, and Udall would have been ready for any of them.

So the only choice Gardner has is to pivot to something else. Even when doing so is disastrous all by itself.

Weekend Open Thread

"A hero is someone who understands the responsibility that comes with his freedom."

–Bob Dylan

Bob Beauprez Returns to Face Referendum A

Referendum A

That’s one prickly letter.

The first General Election debate for Governor (and U.S. Senate) will be held tomorrow at the Club 20 annual event in Grand Junction. For Republican Bob Beauprez, it will also mean a return to the question of (eek!) Referendum A.

Referendum A is a 2003 ballot measure, endorsed by Beauprez, that aimed to divert a sizable chunk of Western Colorado water supplies to the Front Range of Colorado at a massive cost of $2 billion (the equivalent of $2 billion in 2003 would be…probably a lot in 2014. We're not going to look that up.) Now, there are couple of things for the uninitiated to understand about Referendum A before we proceed:

First of all, Referendum A was a stupid idea. Anyone who tells you otherwise is someone you don't need to be having conversations with any longer. Referendum A sought a ridiculous amount of money in order to maybe build some unspecified water projects that would take water from the Western Slope and pipe it to the Denver Metro area. Voters thought it was stupid, too. Referendum A was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin; there wasn't a county in Colorado that approved of Referendum A.

That such a bad idea would be so soundly rejected by Colorado voters created a lot of questions for politicians who supported the measure and campaigned for its passage. Several years later, in 2010, longtime Denver Post columnist Ed Quillen wondered if there was a Referendum A curse taking down Republican politicians who once supported the idea. Beauprez didn't lose the race for Governor in 2006 because of his prior support for Ref. A, but it didn't help his case with rural Colorado voters who will forever be angry at anyone who supported the water measure.

Which leads us back to Saturday's Club 20 debate. The anti-Beauprez group Making Colorado Great sent out a press release today (full text after the jump) as a reminder that Beauprez was a supporter of Ref. A. Ordinarily it wouldn't seem particularly important to bring up a 2003 ballot measure at a debate for Governor, but Beauprez's presence as the GOP nominee makes it relevant again; he is one of the few remaining Ref. A supporters who is still kicking around public office, and this debate is in the heart of the Western Slope community that fought against Ref. A more than a decade ago.

Like it or not, the question still matters for Beauprez because water rights are such a critical issue in most of Colorado.

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Countdown Coffman: Mike Coffman Likes Saying Words

Jorge Ramos Rep. Mike Coffman

Jorge Ramos, left, and Rep. Mike Coffman (not left)

Colorado's Sixth Congressional District was the focus of a piece that appeared on "America With Jorge Ramos" on Fusion TV. For those unfamiliar with Jorge Ramos, he is often cited as the most popular Hispanic news anchor in America, in part due to his position as lead anchor with Noticero Univision. Ramos has a very direct interview style that attempts to get right at an issue, and those skills were on display during interviews with both Rep. Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff.

The "America With Jorge Ramos" story includes both interviews as well as a feature-style look at the race in CD-6. There are interesting moments in each interview — particular the confidence shown by Romanoff when asked about the race overall — but the standout once again is Coffman (and not in a good way). Whether it is during a debate or in video segments that show the candidates side-by-side, Romanoff comes off much more personal, engaging, and honest. Coffman, by comparison, appears fidgety and uncomfortable with his own words, as you can read from an early exchange in the Ramos interview:

Ramos: Do you support, right now, immigration reform in the House?

Coffman: "I do. I just think there's gotta be a middle path to this. I believe in a step-by-step process. We can have a comprehensive approach without having one massive bill. But we've got to move forward."

Good Gravy! Is there a better example of parsing phrases — not even just words — in a more meaningless fashion? Last July, Coffman wrote an Op-Ed for the Denver Post in which he said, "The time has come for comprehensive immigration reform." Coffman now says that comprehensive immigration reform is bad, which is a complete reversal. Ramos did his homework on this issue and was aware of Coffman's changing rhetoric, which came to a fantastic conclusion above when Coffman just tried to fit every buzzphrase he could think of into one answer…saying absolutely nothing in the process.

Coffman looks much better when he just gives a straightforward answer to a straightforward question a little later in the interview:

Ramos: So did you change your mind on immigration?

Coffman: "Yes."

Of course, this is a very truthful answer to a somewhat limited question. The question should have been, "So are you still changing your mind on immigration? Coffman could still have truthfully answered 'Yes,' though that is exactly his problem right now. Mike Coffman is saying anything about everything (or everything about anything, if you prefer), and he's clearly hoping that voters are too stupid or too preoccupied to notice. It is often a telling sign about the direction of a race when incumbent candidates such as Coffman just start taking every position on an issue; that means you're (a) not confident about what you're selling, and/or (b) not confident that voters like how you are selling it. But what if voters do see what's happening?

Candidates that have discovered their path to victory don't usually find it necessary to reach out in every direction at once.

 

GOP’s Super Saturday: Sure Looks “Authorized” To Us

Candidates across the state will be out in force this weekend as field campaigns begin in earnest. For the Colorado Republican Party, tomorrow is "Super Saturday"–a coordinated door-knocking and phone banking campaign by the party and targeted Republican candidates.

The interplay between "independent" efforts and official campaign activity, and the disclaimers needed to differentiate between them, can sometimes lead to confusion for individual voters. Case in point is an email we got from Bob Beauprez's campaign, inviting us to join Super Saturday:

bobsupersaturday

Got that? The Colorado GOP's Super Saturday is "not authorized by an candidate or candidate's committee."

Except in Beauprez's case, Super Saturday appears to be very much authorized! And the message announcing it, for us anyway, was "paid for by Beauprez for Colorado." Do you see how that might be a little confusing? Don't get us wrong, we're not alleging any violation here–in fact, the "independent" disclaimer for the party's event and Beauprez's "paid for by" on his email are both likely necessary to ensure compliance for the respective entities.

So maybe the real problem is the legal fiction that a party's activities are not "authorized" by the candidates they're obviously working to benefit–to the point that the candidate is promoting their "independent" efforts? As Beauprez's email demonstrates, the whole pretense is kind of silly.

But to acknowledge that would open up its own can of legal worms…

You Can’t Do That, Major Coffman

Maj. Mike Coffman, USMC (retired).

Maj. Mike Coffman, USMC (retired).

The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic catches GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, who touts his military service as a central campaign theme, apparently in violation of Department of Defense regulations regarding display of military uniforms and insignia in campaign literature:

[Coffman] made headlines in 2012 when he called the appearance in uniform of Army Cpl. Jesse Thorsen at a Ron Paul campaign rally an ethical lapse that represented a “grave failure in leadership.”

The comments came in a scolding letter Coffman wrote to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, saying that he thought the troops needed to be reminded about the rules governing participation in politics by active-duty, reserve and retired military personal.

“The soldier’s activities not merely skirted the margins of what is acceptable behavior, but demonstrated either a complete contempt for the standing policy or an unconscionable ignorance of it,” Coffman wrote. “I believe the existing regulations are appropriate policies that clearly express the intent of the Department of Defense. However, I see a grave failure in leaders in the chain of command’s ability to communicate and enforce them.”

Coffman wrote that the Pentagon must “reinforce what the regulations are and issue a warning to the respective service chiefs to ensure that this type of activity does not occur in the future.”

Tough talk. But as Tomasic continues, there's a budding hypocrisy problem here:

So, why then is Coffman now apparently violating those same policies? a Democratic source asks.

A Coffman campaign four-page fold-out flyer (pdf) disseminated to district residents includes images of the Congressman in uniform as the “primary graphic representation” (there are no non-military images of Coffman in the flyer) and make no mention of the fact that Coffman retired from the service years ago. That’s a clear violation of at least one and maybe two of the same Defense Department Directives Coffman railed about Army Cpl Thorsen being contemptuous toward or unconscionably ignorant of…

The directives in question:

dod-text

The mailer says it was produced by the Colorado Republican Committee, but "authorized" by Coffman for Congress. We haven't seen a response yet from either Coffman's campaign or the state party, but it seems like somebody should have known this mailer could be a problem–especially since Coffman himself has made such a matter of honor out of similar situations.

Unless there's something we're missing, Coffman ought to be collecting heads over this–right after issuing an apology.