Bob Beauprez Breeds Idiocy

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

There was a school of thought leading into the June Primary that Democrats were better off with Tom Tancredo as the Republican nominee for Governor, mostly because Tancredo was thought to be particularly poisonous for Republicans across the ballot. While we certainly understood the logic behind that premise, we'd always believed that Bob Beauprez was just as problematic for Republicans, if not more so, because of his incredible penchant for saying ridiculously stupid things. For all of Tancredo's problems as a candidate, he at least seemed to have figured out how to keep his own feet out of his mouth lately.

Beauprez? Not so much.

As the Denver Post reports today, Beauprez's foolhardy nature seems to infect everyone around him; his campaign can't even put out a prepared statement that doesn't say something dumb:

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez on Tuesday said calling a special legislative session to forge a compromise on local control over oil and gas drilling in Colorado is not in the best interests of the state.

In a statement sent in response to Denver Post questions, Beauprez called on his incumbent opponent Gov. John Hickenlooper to " reject calls for a special legislative session that would serve as little more than a tool to force ill-advised policies on the people of our state without debate, deliberation, or discussion."…

…Beauprez wrote that the issue should be resolved during the normal legislative session.

"The governor and the legislature have 180 days to deal with issues they determine to be important enough to warrant new laws. [Pols emphasis] The Colorado taxpayer should not have to finance a special session, just so a bill can be passed that would strip citizens' property rights, and create a chaotic patchwork of different regulatory environments around the state, which would remove any remaining shred of certainty — especially on the heels of six consecutive years of rule changes."

Colorado's normal legislative session is 120 days. [Pols emphasis]

As Post reporter Bruce Finley noted, Colorado's legislature is not in session for 180 days — or anywhere close to that number. The normal legislative session runs from early January to early May, but in recent years has been concluded early as legislative leaders seek to save the state a little money.

How on earth does Beauprez's campaign make such a stupid mistake? It's not like this is just Beauprez talking off the cuff and saying something ridiculous, as he is wont to do. This is a prepared statement that included a foolish error that went completely unnoticed by anyone on Beauprez's staff. This is the Republican nominee for Governor who seems clueless to something as simple as how often the legislature convenes.

Is Beauprez's own peculiar brand of idiocy just infecting everyone around him? Has he had trouble finding staff who actually live in Colorado? What's going on here?

Obama Likes LoDo, LoDo Likes Him Right Back

UPDATE #2: FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports on the President's just-concluded speech:

“We have come farther and recovered faster than almost any advanced nation on Earth,” Obama said. “We know we’ve still got a long way to go.

“More jobs have been created in the first half of this year since 1999, but many families barely earn what they earned in the nineties. Too much improvement goes to the folks at the top, and not enough of it is making a difference in the lives of regular Americans.”

As he has since his State of the Union address in January, Obama positioned himself as a president of action who’s done waiting for a do-nothing Congress.

“These days, basic common sense ideas cannot get through Congress,” he said. “They’ve said no to raising the minimum wage. They’ve said no to equal pay so women can get paid the same as men. They’ve said no to unemployment insurance for working Americans. Congress just said no to fixing our broken immigration system.

“If Congress won’t act, I will.”

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UPDATE: Watch President Barack Obama's Denver speech today in its entirety:

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obamahickpool

Photos via White House photographer Pete Souza

obamalodo

The Denver Post reports, apparently Gov. John Hickenlooper isn't afraid to be seen with Barack Obama after all! Though we haven't heard who won their game of pool:

President Barack Obama opened his Denver trip Tuesday evening by dining with five Colorado residents who wrote the White House and shared their stories of trying to make it in today's economy.

Then he strolled Lower Downtown, shaking hands and eventually playing pool with Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The conversations over pizza at the Wazee Supper Club in LoDo are meant to reinforce the main thrust of a speech Obama is expected to deliver Wednesday in Cheesman Park — that Congress, in particular Republicans, aren't doing enough to "expand opportunities for the middle class," said Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, in an interview.

Despite President Obama's warm reception in Lower Downtown Denver last night, the media remains focused on the question of whether local Democrats are "steering clear of the President" due to Obama's soft approval ratings going into his second midterm election. The AP reports that Sen. Mark Udall, in a last-minute change, is remaining in Washington today in order to vote on the new Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Udall was already going to miss Obama's speech this morning in Cheesman Park, but this latest announcement has led to yet another round of speculation that Udall is "afraid" of getting his picture taken with Obama.

This would seem to ignore the fact that cameras aren't allowed at the fundraiser, but don't let that get in the way of a good story.

We'll say this much: if these scheduling conflicts were intended to put distance between Obama and local Democrats, the strategy failed dismally–drawing more press speculation and Republican crowing to this event than would have existed had they simply appeared at Cheesman Park. But isn't it just possible that Udall and anybody else who can't make it really were already booked? Obama's Cheesman Park speech was only arranged last Monday according to all news reports, and it's not like the business of the U.S. Senate stops for a fundraiser. There's at least enough of a chance that the mundane explanation is right to reasonably consider the possibility.

But especially in an election year, nobody wants to read mundane explanations.

When Koch Front Groups Collide

Americans For Prosperity, the big-spending conservative "grassroots" group already criticized this year for misleading campaign ads in Colorado, is out with a new TV spot this week attacking three Democratic Colorado Senators up for re-election. From the group's press release yesterday:

Colorado’s largest grassroots free market group, Americans for Prosperity-Colorado, today announced a major expansion of its efforts to hold politicians accountable for ObamaCare. That effort starts today, when the group will use cable television spots, a direct mail campaign and neighborhood walks to hold accountable three Jefferson County lawmakers: Sens. Andy Kerr, Cheri Jahn and Jeanne Nicholson for supporting ObamaCare in Colorado.

The cable spots, which will run July 7 through 28, call out “The Obamacare Three” for helping President Obama’s unpopular health law take hold in Colorado, through expansion of the federal Medicaid program and creation of a state health exchange that’s already fraught with problems. The ads encourage their constituents to call their senator and tell them to stop supporting the failed policy…

What's interesting about this ad is that it goes all the way back to Senate Bill 11-200–the bipartisan legislation that originally created the Connect For Health Colorado insurance marketplace. SB11-200, as our readers know well, became known as the "Amycare" bill after its principal Republican sponsor in the Colorado House, Rep. Amy Stephens. Other Republican sponsors of SB11-200 included Reps. Tom Massey and Ken Summers. On final passage in the Colorado House, Republican "yes" votes on Senate Bill 11-200 included then-House Speaker Frank McNulty, Larry Liston, Cheri Gerou, Carole Murray, Kevin Priola, Robert Ramirez, among others.

So there's that, and for a lot of viewers, omitting the major Republican role in passing SB11-200 is enough to flatten AFP's credibility–assuming, of course, they ever hear the rest of the story. But here's perhaps an even more interesting twist for political junkies: AFP receives a large portion of its funding from influential conservative donors Charles and David Koch, known together as the "Koch brothers." One of the biggest conservative-leaning proponents of Colorado's health insurance exchange legislation, a big reason why there was bipartisan support for the exchange to begin with, is the National Federation of Independent Business. NFIB supported the Colorado exchange because the exchanges were, at one time, anyway, considered a "free market" way of expanding access to health care:

NFIB supported the concept of exchanges long before Barak [sic--Pols] Obama was elected President. The exchange concept was not unique to the Patient Protection and Affordability Care Act.

Do you think NFIB should tell that to AFP? Especially since they've both taken millions of dollars from the Koch brothers?

In all likelihood, the Koch brothers couldn't care less if these two organizations they fund are working at cross purposes. But the NFIB's support for the very thing that AFP is attacking these Democrats for, with no mention of the many Republicans who helped pass it, underscores what an illegitimate pile of crap this whole attack from AFP is. This one group, Americans For Prosperity, has accounted for a disproportionate share of the "Obamascare" mendacity we've seen on the air this year in Colorado–and so far, blistering fact-checks from the media haven't fazed them.

For anyone who knows the facts that AFP twists, it's outrageous. But how many will find out before the election?

Sad Rural Republicans Suspend Sad Plan to Change Legislature

State of Northern Colorado

It’s not over yet, non-rural people.

The Grand Junction Sentinel follows up on a press release sent over the weekend announcing that the "Restoring Colorado" (Secession 2.0) movement was being suspended on account of nobody cares.

Ballot Initiative #111 sought to re-allocate seats for the State House on the basis of land size — rather than the far-more appropriate method of population size — but organizers of "Restoring Colorado" announced in an email on Saturday that they were "suspending" the campaign. From "Restoring Colorado":

It is with a sad heart that we ask you to suspend your efforts to get Ballot Initiative #111 on the November 2014 ballot to redesign the Colorado House of Representatives.  Even taking into account our Fourth of July push, we simply do not have enough petitions out in the hands of volunteers to make the goal of 86,105 signatures in the next 26 days.

We had hoped, in late June, that parties might step up to fund paid circulators to get us over the top, but that did not materialize.  It will take time to build that financial foundation.

Since state statutes allow only tax issues on the ballot in 2015, our plan is to use the next eighteen months to build a stronger network across the entire state.  We welcome—and need—your help in that.  In January of 2016, we plan to go through the initiative process at the state level to begin the petition drive again, with much more time and a wider support base.  Our new goal is to have this issue on the November 2016 ballot. 

"Restoring Colorado" plans to return in 2016 with a similar ballot measure, though by then enough time will have passed since the 2013 Secession debacle that potential supporters may be inclined to just move along to something else. But that doesn't mean that this issue won't still have ramifications in 2014. Remember, Rep. Cory Gardner — the GOP nominee for U.S. Senate (in Colorado) — is one of the few Northern Colorado politicians who has somehow managed to avoid taking a position on the idea of seceding from Colorado. The Editorial Board of the Denver Post called out Gardner last November for repeatedly ducking the issue. As the Post wrote on Nov. 1:

"When asked about the 51st state initiative previously, Congressman Gardner has said that he loves Colorado," [Gardner spokesman Alex] Siciliano added.

OK, but does he love Colorado enough to stay a part of it?

By choosing to "suspend" its campaign rather than just give it up altogether, "Restoring Colorado" is leaving this big 'ol matza ball hanging in the air for Gardner. The discontent among rural Republicans with their "big city" neighbors continues to fester, with State Sen. Ellen Roberts recently bemoaning the plight of rural Coloradans. And in an interview on KOA's Mike Rosen Show in late June. "Restoring Colorado" organizer Randy Schafer (who is also a Phillips County administrator), really upped the rhetoric:

"Rural people are the new disenfranchised minority."

          — Randy Schafer, on the Mike Rosen Show in June 2014.

Last November's vote on secession failed miserably, and ever since, the 51st State movement has become increasingly absurd. But they haven't yet become irrelevant — not when the Republican candidate for Senate is still silent on whether or not he would prefer to serve as Colorado's Senator or as the first Senator of a new Northern Colorado state. It's worth noting, after all, that the man who will succeed Gardner in Congress — Ken Buck was openly opposed to the idea of secession even before ballots were cast last fall.

Complete email announcement from "Restoring Colorado" follows after the jump.

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Tuesday Open Thread

"He that cannot reason is a fool. He that will not is a bigot. He that dare not is a slave."

–Andrew Carnegie

Udall And Obama: Damned if You Do, Damned if You Don’t

President Barack Obama, with close ally Satan (right).

President Barack Obama, with close ally Satan (right).

As 9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman reports, the non-troversy over President Barack Obama's upcoming visit to Colorado this week goes on–at least in the minds of Republicans, desperate to extract larger meaning from, well, any silly little thing they can:

When Air Force One touches down in Denver on Tuesday night, Sen. Mark Udall won't be on board nor will he be on the tarmac to greet the president.

Likewise, the Udall campaign told 9NEWS the senator will not attend an official speech the president plans to give Wednesday, which will be open to the Denver news media.

Instead, Udall will be on a flight from Washington DC that's scheduled to land in time for the senator to attend a closed-door fundraiser for his re-election campaign, headlined by the president.

"The public is not only barred from attending the president's speech in Denver, but now Sen. Udall has announced he will not appear with the president either," said Alex Siciliano, spokesman for congressman Cory Gardner, Udall's Republican challenger. "Sen. Udall's message to the president is clear: help me rake in campaign cash behind closed doors, keep the media from capturing photos of us together and avoid real Coloradans at all costs."

Yes, everyone HATES Obama. We know.

Yes, everyone HATES Obama. We had not heard that recently.

​​To some extent, Sen. Mark Udall earned the extra bit of scrutiny over relations with President Obama when he bungled the response to questions about whether Obama would be a good choice to campaign with in January. That said, the speculation about whether Udall would fundraise with Obama was always silly in our view, because even with approval ratings for President Obama a little underwater, he's still quite valuable to Democrats for motivating the party's base. Obama's "toxicity" is, more than anyone in either the GOP or the media wants to admit today, a myth of hyped partisan predisposition–and outside a conservative core that will never vote for Democrats anyway, its existence should not be presumed. The last time it was, in 2012, the mythmakers were proven wrong.

And in the case of Obama's visit to Colorado this week, there's actually a simple and entirely reasonable explanation for why Udall won't be on hand until later in the day on Wednesday:

Udall has votes to take on Tuesday in the Senate and will catch a morning flight to Denver on Wednesday. [Pols emphasis]

"We're happy to have [President Obama,]" Udall campaign spokesman Chris Harris told 9NEWS. "I think too much has been placed on the minutiae here."

Think about this, folks: if Udall had flown home early to appear with President Obama in Cheesman Park Wednesday, Cory Gardner's surrogates would have a field day with Udall "skipping votes to campaign." But with Sen. Udall staying in Washington to cast his votes Tuesday, which most constituents would agree is the better decision, he's "avoiding President Obama!" If you're starting to think that no matter what Udall does, Republicans will find a way to claim it portends disaster, you may be closest to the truth.

We realize that won't even slow our local talk radio hosts down, but somebody needed to say it.

Gardner Recites Every Fracking Fallacy In The Book

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

As the Durango Herald's Brandon Mathis reports, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner has got his talking points on energy down pat.

It's total BS, of course, but he's got great delivery:

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, seeking to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, defended hydraulic fracturing as a job creator and said bans of the practice would kill thousands of jobs “overnight” in a visit to Durango on Sunday.

His “all-of-the-above energy policy” relies on fracking. [Pols emphasis]

“If an energy ban were to take place in this state, you would lose 120,000 jobs overnight,” he said. “Twelve billion dollars in economic activity would walk away and $1 billion in tax revenues that builds roads and schools in this state.

Colorado has some of, if not the most, stringent regulations in place. A hydraulic fracturing ban on the ballot would be devastating to our economy.”

As our readers know, there is no statewide "fracking" ban proposed by anyone in Colorado for the 2014 elections. Because there is no statewide ban proposed, there is no danger of Colorado "losing 120,000 jobs overnight"–not to mention that the "120,000 jobs" figure has been inflated to the point of total absurdity. Does Gardner really believe that every gas station in Colorado would close "overnight" if his fictitious "fracking" ban were to pass?

The only thing more frustrating than hearing this nonsense from a "competitive" U.S. Senate candidate is a reporter who reprints it without even two seconds of critical thinking. This issue deserves better. Voters deserve better.

Monday Open Thread

“There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems.”

–Henry Ford

Congratulations, Again, To Rep. Jared Polis

Rep. Jared Polis and partner Marlon Reis welcome the latest member of their family this holiday weekend, Cora Barucha, via Facebook (photo right). The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels reports:

The couple already has a son, Caspian Julius, who is 2½ years old and is nicknamed “CJ.”

As with CJ’s birth, Polis is revealing few details, saying the birth would remain a private family matter.

Rep. Polis’ sister Jordanna Schutz explains the origins of the family name “Barucha”:

My great-great aunt, Kasha Barucha, fled to the U.S. to protect her family after being active in the movement for increased civil rights & liberties and democratic representation during the 1905 Russian Revolution. Barucha means blessing. It is a good day to celebrate two blessings: my new niece, and the promise of “Inalienable Rights” to “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”- Happy 4th!*

*(To Boston people, happy belated 3rd!)

Congratulations to Rep. Polis and his growing family. We’d send flowers, but being the 3rd wealthiest member of Congress (and founder of ProFlowers.com), they’re probably good to go.

Suthers Files Suit To Stop Boulder Same-Sex Marriages

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall.

Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall.

A press release this afternoon from the Colorado Attorney General’s office announces “regretful” legal action to stop Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples:

This action comes after attempts over the past several days to resolve this issue directly with the Boulder County Attorney and Clerk and Recorder were rejected. Boulder District Court Judge Andrew Hartman has set the matter for expedited briefing and a hearing on July 9, 2014 at 9:00 a.m.

“Regretfully, our office was forced to take action against Boulder County Clerk Hillary Hall due to her refusal to follow state law,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “While we would prefer not to sue a government official, Ms. Hall’s actions are creating a legal limbo for both the state and the couples whose relationships she wants to champion. That limbo could have tangible and unintended consequences.”

Today’s action follows a filing yesterday in federal court in which the Attorney General’s Office and the Governor’s Office asked a judge to suspend trial court litigation until the federal appeals court or the U.S. Supreme Court resolves the issue. Contrary to some news coverage and comments by public officials, yesterday’s federal filing is wholly consistent with the attorney general’s obligation to defend the constitutionality of Colorado’s marriage amendment. That position has not changed.

The current legal landscape is that Colorado’s marriage laws are still binding and in effect. Upon the decision of the 10th Circuit in the Kitchen case out of Utah becoming final and going into effect that position could change. The outcome of that case, most likely in the U.S. Supreme Court, will determine the fate of Colorado’s laws. For that reason, the Attorney General’s Office is attempting to suspend all the divisive, costly and unnecessary trial court litigation in Colorado while the appellate case reaches its conclusion.

Yesterday, as this statement explains, Attorney General John Suthers filed a joint motion with Gov. John Hickenlooper to halt legal action, including cases filed in Colorado to overturn our state’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban, and request a ruling on Colorado’s law specifically from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. That means Suthers’ office would no longer be required to argue its fairly embarrassing case in favor of banning same-sex marriage, which is increasingly a lost cause, but would also put a more legally specific halt to Boulder County’s issuance of same-sex marriage licenses–since the court would like stay its ruling for Colorado in the same manner as it did for Utah. That distinction, as those following this story know, is what Clerk Hillary Hall is relying on in continuing to issue these licenses.

We’re not lawyers, but as it’s been explained to us, as well as Democratic county clerks in Denver and Pueblo, the legal judgment employed by Boulder to issue these licenses is questionable. From the point of view of gays and lesbians who are fighting the end stages of a long struggle for marriage equality, though, what incentive is there to not push the boundaries? Same-sex marriage bans are falling across the nation as courts rule them a violation of basic constitutional protections. With a year, two at most, this will all be over, and Suthers will face the unkind judgment of history. On the other side, Clerk Hall, newly married Sen. Jessie Ulibarri, and everyone else who joined in this act of civil disobedience will be the heroes.

For the sake of an orderly transition, the courts may slow things up a little. But they can’t stop it.

Sarah Palin and Friends: A Star-Studded Gala of Crazy at the 2014 Western Conservative Summit

The Centennial Institute, which bills itself as Colorado Christian University’s “think tank,” is hosting a veritable who’s who of the conservative glitterati at this year’s Western Conservative Summit. In the past, the WCS has featured such luminaries as Dutch anti-Muslim politician Geert Wilders and conspiracy theorizing right wing uberpundit Glenn Beck. The WCS is reliably well to the right of the political mainstream, and that’s by design.

This year’s roster of conservative stars, from ex-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin right on down, is sure to make poor Ryan Call blush as well:

We hadn’t heard that Ralph Reed had been rehabilitated yet from the Jack Abramoff era, but there you go! Put all of these trash talking conservative icons in one room, and if news doesn’t come out–probably bad news for local Republicans in a general election–it’s just because nobody is paying attention.

So naturally, Democrats ought to be paying attention.

Colorado Pols, Pinterest, and Yard Signs

Pols on Pinterest!

Pols on Pinterest!

Several years ago, we posted a bunch of yard signs from around the state that were emailed to us by Pols readers. It was fun to compare and contrast various yard signs and to attempt to rank them in order of effectiveness…but it got to be a little too time-consuming.

Thanks to the Internet Tubes and social media, we're going to give the Yard Signs Database another try using Pinterest.

Please keep taking those yard sign pictures, but instead of emailing them to Pols, follow us on Pinterest and we'll invite you to pin images to our yard sign collection page. Remember, you have to follow Colorado Pols' Pinterest page before we can invite you to pin images to our page; but as soon as you do that, we'll send you the invitation and we can once again get down to building an entertaining montage of political yard signs from Colorado. Hooray!

Follow Colorado Pols on Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/coloradopols/

Check Out Our Yard Signs Page: http://www.pinterest.com/coloradopols/political-yard-signs/

BREAKING: Bob Beauprez’s 47% Moment

“There’s that smell again.”

THURSDAY UPDATE: The Washington Post's Paul Waldman writes this morning, as this story catches on nationally with a swiftness that can only be explained by the prophetic similarity to Mitt Romney's subsequent and ill-fated 47% speech:

The Beauprez video was taken in 2010, in an appearance before a Rotary Club, and it’s familiar by now — the 47 percent figure, the assurance that those in the room are not part of the moocher class, and the conspiratorial theory that Democrats have created this situation for political ends…

If you want a refresher on the 47 percent claim, The Post’s Fact Checker did one in 2012, but the short version is that while approximately that many people don’t pay federal income tax (credit to Beauprez for being specific about that), many of them are elderly people no longer working, and most of the rest pay substantial payroll taxes, not to mention all the other kinds of taxes we all do, such as gas taxes and sales taxes and property taxes.

But what’s revealing about this factoid is that when it is offered, you almost never hear it followed by a particular policy argument about taxes. Neither Beauprez nor Mitt Romney raised the 47 percent claim and then said that in response we ought to raise rates on the working poor or cut the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is what brings the federal income tax bill for so many of them down to zero (and, by the way, was once something Republicans championed). That’s because the 47 percent argument isn’t really about tax policy. It’s about aiming resentment downward, dividing Americans into the virtuous and the contemptible.

MSNBC's Steve Benen:

​Beauprez continues to believe exactly what he said in 2010. Indeed, the Denver Post report added, “Reached while traveling, Beauprez’s campaign stood by the remarks.”
 
And that’s the problem.
 
Ed Kilgore noted in response, “Lord knows how many of these ‘47 percent’ videos are floating around, or will yet be made. Truth is, this line of ‘argument’ is like a bottomless crack pipe for Republicans, flattering their ‘base’ as the people actually doing all the work in our society and blasting those people as not only lazy and worthless but as dupes of a shady vote-buying elite.”
 
I’d just add that Beauprez’s perspective appears to be based, at least in part, on some basic confusion about tax policy. The Republican is concerned about the “47 percent of all Americans [who] pay no federal income tax,” but this is an incomplete look at a larger picture.
 
As we’ve discussed before, millions of Americans may be exempt from income taxes because they simply don’t make enough money, but they still pay sales taxes, state taxes, local taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare/Medicaid taxes, and in many instances, property taxes. It’s not as if these folks are getting away with something – the existing tax structure leaves them out of the income tax system because they don’t make enough money to qualify. Indeed, many are retirees who can’t earn an income because they’re no longer in the workforce.

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UPDATE: As it turns out, the video below isn't the only time Bob Beauprez invoked the so-called "47%" to erroneously disparage millions of working class Americans like Mitt Romney did in 2012. Check out this April 2010 blog post, recovered from Beauprez's now-moribund A Line of Sight blog:

The Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute determined that nearly half of tax filers in America, 47%, in 2009 will pay no income tax. The rest get the whole bill. In fact, many of those that pay no income tax will actually receive checks from the government who got it from the other half of the American taxpayers – consistent with Obama’s “spread the wealth” ideology.

Don't try to reconcile this with Beauprez's civil war "worries," because the two put together sound most unpleasant.

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