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?

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!!!

Coffman’s “Oversight” of VA Hospital = Too Little, Too Late, Too Partisan

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Joe R*  has to go to the VA hospital for psychiatric care again – the third time this year.  An obese middle-aged man with thick grey hair, Joe wears a Vietnam ballcap,  sunglasses because he’s mostly blind, Tshirt, shorts, and flip-flops. He ‘s off his meds again, belligerent, paranoid, barely coherent. When the police come, they evaluate his condition, and gently talk him into the ambulance. But where will the ambulance take him?

Aerial view of VA Replacement Hospital 10/2015

Aerial view of VA Replacement Hospital 10/2015 – 50% completed after 11 years and $1 Billion

The “old” VA hospital on 10th and Clermont, where Joe has gone for 25 years and where they know him well, no longer has an emergency room for psychiatric triage, and they only have 20 beds in their psychiatric wing.  So the VA farms “psych emergency” patients out  to several area hospitals. Where he’ll end up, nobody knows.

Wherever the ambulance takes him, the new hospital won’t have his medical history. They won’t know what meds he’s supposed to be taking or how long he’s taken them. They won’t know what works and doesn’t work with this particular disabled veteran. So they will trank him up and warehouse him for a few days or a week, and then send him back home. This is how the VA treats those with “mental health injuries” while awaiting opening of the shiny new VA hospital.

What Joe needs, says his case manager, the social worker, and his doctors, is a residential treatment center that specializes in long term psychiatric needs of veterans. The VA had plans for such a facility, as part of the new and improved Denver VA Medical Center. The Veterans Administration has been designing and building a new “Replacement Hospital” for 12 years.  The cost of this facility has gone from $328 million to its current 1.73 billion price tag – and that may not be the final cost, and doesn’t include the psychiatric rehabilitation wing that Joe needs, nor will it have room to accommodate the outpatient caseload expected  when it is slated to  finally be completed 1/23/2018.

(more…)

The Most Transparently Stupid Editorial You’ll Read This Year

Chuck Plunkett looks for a spot on Mike Coffman's soapbox

Sorry, Chuck Plunkett, but there’s no more room on this here soapbox.

The editorial board at the Denver Post has always been an unabashed defender of Congressman Mike Coffman. This is not something that any reasonable person could dispute with a straight face.

There may be isolated instances when Coffman has been slightly dinged in the editorial pages over the years, but by and large the Aurora Congressman is treated as a favorite child by the Post. This was true when Vincent Carroll was the editorial page editor, and it is certainly the case now that Chuck Plunkett is commanding the keyboard.

As we’ve said many times in this space, journalists are not infallible beings who are able to tuck away every inherent personal bias when writing about a particular subject, and it is unfair for anyone to expect otherwise. Everyone is biased, to some degree, about everything. But it is a different thing altogether when “bias” morphs from favoritism into outright prejudice — the kind of indefensible preconceived slants that are not supported by fact or logic and cannot be reasonably explained otherwise.

This is the kind of blind prejudice that drives an editorial such as the one that appeared Friday evening in the Denver Post (“Rep. Mike Coffman Right to Defy Donald Trump”) in which Mike Coffman is inexplicably defended for his ongoing tap dance about Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. This editorial, presumably written by Plunkett, is over-the-top silly, filled with blatant untruths and constructs so illogical that they end up making Coffman look bad by accident. Let’s take a look:

Good for Mike Coffman. On Thursday the Republican congressman from Aurora went farther than other political candidates in his party have gone by attacking Donald Trump in an online ad headed for a small television run.

The very first paragraph of the editorial is factually wrong. Coffman hasn’t gone “farther than other political candidates in his party” in attacking Donald Trump. Despite his criticisms, Coffman still won’t say whether or not he will support the GOP nominee in November; many other Republicans, such as South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, have repeatedly said in public that they won’t even vote for Trump.

But it strikes us as odd for Coffman’s liberal critics to demand for months that he clearly state whether he would support Trump and then cry foul once he does not.

Come again? It’s “odd” that critics would continue to be concerned that Coffman still won’t take a position on Trump even after Coffman has refused to take a position on Trump? This makes no sense whatsoever.

While it’s true that Coffman once maintained he would support whoever won the GOP nomination, he did so in February, when he said he thought Sen. Marco Rubio would get the nod. And Coffman has used much the same language in his ad in recent past statements.

Try to explain this one without getting a migraine. It’s true, says the Post, that Coffman said he would back the Republican nominee for President…but he only said that because he was supporting Marco Rubio at the time, and he thought Rubio would be the GOP nominee.

What the Post is actually saying here is that Coffman was lying when he said he would support the GOP nominee for President, because what he really meant was that he would only support Marco Rubio as the GOP nominee. As a defense of Coffman, this is as blatantly illogical as “2+2=5.”

It’s also worth noting here the disservice that Plunkett does to Coffman, albeit on accident. We’re not aware of any other media descriptions of Coffman’s position on the Presidential race that directly implicate the Congressman as saying he would back the Republican nominee for President; it’s usually Coffman’s former spokesperson, Kristin Strohm, who gets the “credit” for saying Coffman would back the GOP nominee.

Another fact that ought to be obvious in considering whether Coffman’s words can be judged sincere: By challenging the shoot-from-the-hip nominee, he exposes himself to Trump’s vicious and vindictive ways. No small consideration, as any number of critics have learned.

Here the Post says that Coffman is definitely sincere in his criticism of Trump because most everyone else is afraid to say anything negative about Trump. This might make a modicum of sense if it were at all true that there was a general reluctance among politicians Americans at large to attack Trump. Plunkett would have you believe that Coffman is on the leading charge of anti-Trump sentiment, when in truth, the Aurora Congressman can’t even keep his narrative straight within the same news cycle.

This editorial by the Post and Plunkett is journalistic jaundice as its worst. We’ve come to expect this kind of editorial prejudice from the likes of the Colorado Springs Gazette, where editor Wayne Laugesen doesn’t even bother to pretend that his wife doesn’t take money from the same Republican politicians upon which the newspaper will heap praise, but the Denver Post didn’t used to be this way. Former Post editorial page editor Vincent Carroll was an unabashed supporter of conservative Republican principles, but he never would have blindly walked into the same logic traps that befuddle Plunkett here. Carroll didn’t hide his own biases, but he didn’t thumb his nose at factual truths, either.

As the writer E.B. White once said, “Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” Maybe Plunkett was just under a tight deadline. Maybe (probably) not. Whatever the reason, the result is an editorial that is so illogical and silly that it damages the credibility of an entire newspaper.

True prejudice and bias doesn’t recognize its own flaws, and neither does the Post in this instance. When your logic in defense of a subject is so terrible that the subject ends up looking worse as a result, you’ve lost the ability to even attempt to appear reasonable. This editorial is just plain silly, and “silly” is about the worst thing that can happen to a news organization.

Mike Coffman Just Imploded

UPDATE #2: Annnnddd….then it gets so much worse:

—–

UPDATE: Story now up from 9News:

We followed up with Coffman on Thursday and found that’s not precisely the case. Instead, Coffman is walking a fine line and saying that he’s undecided in the presidential race.

While the ad is intended to showcase a stance against the leader of his party, Coffman stopped short of disavowing Trump’s candidacy in a telephone interview with 9NEWS.

—–

What's that, now?

What’s that, now?

Remember that story this morning about that anti-Trump TV commercial that features Rep. Mike Coffman? The ad isn’t even on television yet, and Coffman is already backpedaling, as Brandon Rittiman reports for 9News.

You can read our original post about Coffman’s Trump dance for more background, but to really understand how totally bizarre this has become, we thought it would be helpful to give you a quick timeline of the words coming out of Team Coffman today:

1. Mike Coffman, in a preview of his new TV ad released to the press:

“People ask me, ‘What do you think about Trump? Honestly, I don’t care for him much.”

2. A bit later, Coffman’s spokesperson, Cinamon Watson, had this to say about Coffman’s thoughts on the Presidential election:

Watson said Thursday that “Hillary Clinton is not an option” and that Coffman will not vote for her. She did not directly answer whether he has ruled out voting for Trump. He “is considering his options — like a lot of Americans,” she said in an email.

3. And here’s what Coffman apparently just told Brandon Rittiman at 9News:

Rittiman: Would you rule out supporting Donald Trump for President?

Coffman: No.

There you have it, folks. This is how an incumbent member of Congress loses his re-election campaign.

 

 

Spoof Ad Sets Record Straight: Mike Coffman is “One of Them”

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

After a paid television ad for Republican Rep. Mike Coffman has aired for several weeks claiming Coffman is “one of us” and “not like other Republicans,” ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, released a parody of Coffman’s “One of Us” ad to correct the record about what Mike Coffman really stands for.

“From his attacks on Social Security, abortion rights, immigrant voting rights, and even questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship and allegiance to our country, we know that Mike Coffman is not ‘one of us’–he’s ‘one of them,’” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. “Coffman is running scared from his long far-right record because he understands that the voters are tired of Donald Trump, and the backward far-right agenda Trump and Coffman have always shared for our country.”

Watch ProgressNow Colorado’s parody ad here. To see Coffman’s original ad, click here.

ProgressNow Colorado’s video parody, which is running now as an online advertisement on major social media and news sites, recounts numerous moments from Coffman’s long record in Colorado politics, including:

  • ∙ Mike Coffman once introduced himself to a crowd at a Tea Party rally as “a proud member of the Party of No.” [1]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman supported legislation in Congress to “redefine” the crime of rape to make it harder for rape victims to get an abortion. [2]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman agrees with former Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry that Social Security is a “Ponzi scheme.” [3]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman said “the DREAM Act will be a nightmare for the American people.” [4]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman told a group of Republicans that President Barack Obama “is not an American.” [5]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman told bilingual voters to “get a dictionary” while trying to restrict access to bilingual ballots. [6]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman doesn’t believe in climate change. [7]
  • ∙ Mike Coffman didn’t take action on the Aurora VA hospital cost overruns for years while the problem got worse. [8]

“Mike Coffman has built his political career on appealing to the same ugly elements of American society that Trump is motivating for his presidential run,” said Silverii. “Coffman can’t claim to be ‘not like other Republicans’ after he spent years proudly advancing the far right’s agenda in Congress like every other Republican. Now that Trump is destroying the Republican brand, Coffman must own his appalling true record–and face the consequences in November.”

Denver Post Deletes Mike Coffman Quote About His Marriage in Archives

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Of all the crazy stories we heard last summer about the GOP efforts to depose Colorado Republican Party Chair Steve House, this snippet from the Washington Post’s Ben Terris was perhaps the most shocking.

… House arrived the night of June 15 to find himself outnumbered — and on the defensive. [Colorado Attorney General Cynthia] Coffman was joined by Tom Tancredo, a firebrand former congressman, and Becky Mizel, a Pueblo County chairwoman. Three months earlier, these three had been his biggest supporters when he challenged and beat the incumbent party chairman — but now, suddenly, they wanted him out.

They ticked off a litany of grievances: House’s bookkeeping habits, his communication style, his refusal to hire one of their allies as executive director.

“Is that all?” House asked after each point, in an exchange recalled by Tancredo and confirmed by House’s office.

“Well, there’s Julie,” Coffman said.

“I know three Julies,” House said.

Come on, said Coffman — who was he trying to kid?

“Are you accusing me of having an affair?” House asked.

“Well,” Coffman said, “are you?”

All of us have dirt to be uncovered, and you hate to see it trotted out in the media, but this story is an absolutely legitimate invitation for  reporters to take a look at Cynthia Coffman’s own house, literally, the one she lives in alone, separate from her husband, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.

But it appears that the only public statement Mike Coffman has made about his marriage has been expunged from the public record by The Denver Post.

In an article last June, then ace political journalist Lynn Bartels reported Mike Coffman as saying:

Mike Coffman: “The fact the we’re married in this day and age is a success story in and of itself.”

But if you look for that quote in The Post’s archives now, you find it gone, disappeared.

Bartels tells me the quote is accurate, as recorded by her from Mike Coffman.

(more…)

Colorado Republicans Flop Like Fishes As Trump Rolls On

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

In the last few days, our local media has turned its attention to the increasingly urgent question of whether local Republicans, from Sen. Cory Gardner all the way down through the ranks of elected officials, would support Donald Trump in the event he wins the Republican nomination for President.

Trump’s insurgent presidential campaign has resulted in perhaps unprecedented division within the Republican Party, even as he rolls to victory after victory in Republican primaries. Certainly Trump’s dominance of the GOP primary so far over the objections of that party’s entire establishment has no precedent we can think of in our lifetimes, and the long-term consequences for that party are difficult to fully comprehend–but very, very significant.

Yesterday, 9NEWS gave us a fairly definitely roundup of Colorado’s federal elected Republicans on the question, with one significant caveat:

None of Colorado’s GOP members of Congress took an anti-Trump stance when asked by 9NEWS whether they would support the billionaire’s insurgent bid for president if he ends up winning the Republican nomination.

National GOP leaders have grown increasingly leery of Trump, with past Republican nominee Mitt Romney going so far as to call the reality-TV star turned politician as a “phony” and a “fraud” who must not become the party’s standard-bearer.

The five Republican members of Congress from Colorado were split along two positions: refusing to answer the hypothetical and saying they would support the eventual GOP nominee.

According to this latest 9NEWS report, Rep. Mike Coffman says he won’t answer a “hypothetical” question since Trump is not yet the nominee. But we’re obliged to note that contradicts what Coffman’s spokesperson told Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman in February when asked the same question:

“Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary?” said campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm. “The answer is obviously yes. [Pols emphasis] And he believes strongly it is going to be Marco Rubio.”

As of today, the informed speculation is whether Marco Rubio will drop out before the March 15 Florida primary, or after he loses his home state to Trump as all the polls show him destined to do. Rubio’s total collapse in the last couple of weeks should have already made this deflection an unacceptable answer to inquiring reporters. But either way, Coffman’s flopping to and fro the biggest political news story of the year is a story all by itself.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

And as 9NEWS continues, surprise! Sen. Cory Gardner is flip-flopping too, after a disastrous interview with the Wall Street Journal last week that became the butt of innumerable weekend jokes:

After being pressed seven times to answer the question by Wall Street Journal, Gardner did say “I will support the Republican nominee” on Friday, saying he didn’t believe Trump would end up with the nomination.

On Monday, Gardner walked that back, telling 9NEWS via email he “will not engage in hypotheticals,” and stating that he believes Marco Rubio is the only person in the race who can prevent Democratic front runner Hillary Clinton from winning the White House.

Gardner’s backpedaling may have something to do with a secretive conference he attended over the weekend at a swanky Georgia resort hosted by the American Enterprise Institute, at which Karl Rove reportedly outlined the GOP establishment’s last-ditch plan to stop Trump. Obviously, if you’re still entertaining any hope of stopping Trump, saying you’re ready to support him if he wins the nomination is not helpful.

Bottom line: if you’re a Republican not on the “Trump Train,” this is a slow-motion train wreck of epic proportions–from which it is not hyperbole to suggest the GOP as we know it may never recover. If you’re a Colorado Democrat, you’re positively gleeful watching this Republican civil war play out, from Donald Trump to Tim Neville.

And it’s only going to get worse/better, folks.

Donald Trump CAN Be the GOP Nominee; What Does That Mean for Colorado?

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

Hair by Donald, head by Coffman.

Republican critics of Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump have often used some variation of the line that “Trump won’t be the nominee” as an excuse to avoid offering an opinion on some of the more bombastic statements from His Hairness.

Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) — who for some reason is absolutely terrified of saying anything about Trump — has used this very excuse himself as he ducks and dodges repeated attempts by reporters to get him to talk about Trump. This is odd for a number of reasons, as we’ve written before, not the least because Coffman has already publicly endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for President. As our friends at “The Fix” reported over the weekend, not only can Trump win the GOP nomination for President…recent history suggests he’s in the catbird’s seat:

But the fact that Trump is ahead nationally and that he is running first or second in Iowa and New Hampshire is meaningful, argues Sam Wang over at the Princeton Election Consortium.

Wang’s argument is that based on recent electoral history and where Trump stands in polling today, the real estate billionaire actually has a very good chance at being the Republican nominee.

Here’s the historical comparison from Sam Wang, with Trump’s current poll positions factored into the equation:

SamWang-Chart-Jan2016

As Wang says about the numbers: “This emphasizes the fact that based on polling data, Donald Trump is in as strong a position to get his party’s nomination as Hillary Clinton in 2016, George W. Bush in 2000, or Al Gore in 2000.”

State Sen. Tim Neville.

State Sen. Tim Neville.

Trump “won’t be the nominee?” We’ll see — history would seem to suggest otherwise. If Trump is the GOP nominee, it’s going to make things mighty awkward for Coffman when if reporters ask why he ducked Trump questions for so many months.

Should Trump capture the Republican nomination for President, it will also have a significant effect in Colorado’s increasingly-crowded GOP Senate Primary. The main argument that critics make against Sen. Tim Neville — still the odds-on favorite to win the June Primary — is to question Neville’s “electability” in a General Election matchup with incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver).

National polls have shown that potential GOP voters aren’t concerned about the question of “electability” in a General Election, and a Trump victory would prove that point. If “electability” doesn’t hurt Trump, it becomes a much weaker argument to use against Neville in advance of the June Primary.

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (Dec. 9)

Get More SmarterOn the plus side, it’s not so windy today. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example).

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump says he stands by his comments that the United States should temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the country. In the 36-48 hours since Trump announced his newest foreign policy idea, politicians on both sides of the aisle have strongly condemned The Donald; Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) called Trump “a buffoon,” and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) said that Trump was “a fraud.”

Annnddd…then there’s Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), who whiffed not once, but twice in attempting to respond to Trump’s comments by trying not to respond to Trump’s comments.  As Colorado Pols wrote earlier today:

In the last week, Coffman has also refused to condemn the remarks of State Rep. JoAnn Windholz, whose Commerce City district is within the boundaries of CD-6, even though his hometown paper called for Windholz to resign over her disgusting comments in the wake of the Planned Parenthood terrorist attack. Coffman had plenty of cover here, too, to speak out about Windholz’s statements, and he just skipped right along in silence.

Does Mike Coffman believe that Donald Trump is right in saying that the United States should temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the country? Does Mike Coffman believe that the Planned Parenthood attacks were the fault of Planned Parenthood (which is Windholz’s belief)? We don’t know, because he won’t say.

And it speaks volumes.

► Love him or hate him, you’ve got to give this to Donald Trump: The man understands the principle of leverage. While (most) Republican elected officials were being openly critical of Trump’s Muslim comments, Trump once again dangled the “I-word” on Tuesday:

Republicans don’t have any good options for dealing with Trump right now. If Trump ends up becoming the GOP nominee for President, his litany of offensive comments will be the albatross that hangs from every Republican neck in 2016. If Trump decides to leave the GOP and run for President as an Independent, he will suck enough votes away from Republicans to make it impossible to defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in the General Election.

Thus, many Republicans have resorted to crossing their fingers and repeating the mantra, “Trump will not be the Republican nominee.” But his Hairness isn’t going anywhere: “I. Will. Never. Leave. This. Race.”

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Colorado GOP Critical of Trump Muslim Comments…Except for Mike Coffman

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) won't diss the Donald.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) won’t diss the Donald.

The political world this week is still rotating around Donald Trump’s statements on Monday that the United States should temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the country — even if they are American citizens (though Trump later clarified this part). As the New York Times reports, Trump is standing firm by his comments as Republicans and Democrats alike have strongly condemned his words:

Repudiated across much of the political spectrum but defended on conservative talk radio, Donald J. Trump on Tuesday stood by his call to block all Muslims from entering the United States. He cast it as a temporary move in response to terrorism and invoked President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s authorization of the detention of Japanese, German and Italian immigrants during World War II as precedent.

Critics including both the House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, a Republican, and the Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, a Democrat, assailed Mr. Trump’s proposal as self-defeating and un-American.

“Tell Donald Trump: Hate is not an American value,” Hillary Clinton wrote on Twitter. The “super PAC” supporting Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor, unveiled its first ad attacking Mr. Trump, and the White House said Mr. Trump had disqualified himself from serving as president.

Here in Colorado, Shaun Boyd of CBS4 Denver tracked down various elected officials in our state and found near unanimous condemnation of Trump’s comments:

“There’s a legitimate debate over President Obama’s weak and failed policies on dealing with terrorism and the Islamic state, but that debate gets totally derailed when Donald Trump says these highly irresponsible and inflammatory things, like banning all Muslims from entering the United States,” says Dick Wadhams, a veteran republican consultant and the former head of the Colorado Republican Party…

…Republican members of Colorado’s congressional delegation also weighed in with Sen. Cory Gardner calling Trump a “buffoon.”

Rep. Scott Tipton said, “This is not conservatism. It’s not what this country or this party stands for. Those who are calling for our country to ban refugees who practice the Muslim faith couldn’t be more wrong and have no place in the discussion. I will remind them that we are a nation founded on the principle of religious liberty for all, and that is sacred.”…

…And, Rep. Ken Buck said Trump shouldn’t even be running for president.

“Trump’s proposal violates the Constitution, the values of our nation, the Republican Party platform, and my conscience. He should withdraw from the Presidential race. He is a fraud,” said Buck.

Head by Coffman, Hair by Trump

Head by Coffman, Hair by Trump

Colorado is not home to a very large Muslim population, but the majority of them live in Congressional District 6 — the home of Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora). According to CBS4 Denver, Coffman issued his own statement responding to Trump’s comments…sort of:

“As a Marine Corps combat veteran, I know what it takes to protect our country and as a member of Congress, I always have and always will represent all of the citizens of my district, regardless of their religious affiliation, and protect their constitutional rights.” [Pols emphasis]

Mike Coffman was in the Marines and he promises to represent all of the citizens of his district. That’s nice. What Coffman does not say, however, is anything that sounds even close to a repudiation of Trump’s comments. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Preibus both came down hard on Trump. Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) calls Trump “a buffoon”; Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez) says that Trump’s comments are “not what this country or this party stands for”; and Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley) flat-out calls Trump a “fraud.”

Coffman? He was in the Marines.

And here’s the worst part for Coffman: He swung and missed twice on this question. Coffman had at least two different opportunities to criticize Trump and to say that his comments don’t represent Republican/Colorado values. Coffman whiffed on the question on Monday, as Marc Stewart of Denver Channel 7 Tweets:

Using a lot of words to say a lot of nothing is a pretty standard approach for Coffman — on any issue — but there’s no reason for him to refuse to condemn Trump unless he just flat-out agrees with the Republican Presidential frontrunner. With so many other Republicans coming out in force against Trump, Coffman has plenty of cover to say whatever he wants. He. Just. Doesn’t.

What makes Coffman’s silence all the more damning are comments he made last week at a luncheon in Washington D.C. when describing his district:

“I have one of the most diverse districts in the United States,” Coffman stated.  “It has a very large Hispanic population of 20 percent.  It has a very large Asian immigrant population and a very large African immigrant population.  I probably have the third largest community of Ethiopians in the United States, not to mention the other African immigrant communities within my district.”

Coffman is very aware of the diversity of his district and the fact that CD-6 is home to perhaps the largest Muslim population in Colorado. We know he knows this; he just doesn’t care.

In the last week, Coffman has also refused to condemn the remarks of State Rep. JoAnn Windholz, whose Commerce City district is within the boundaries of CD-6, even though his hometown paper called for Windholz to resign over her disgusting comments in the wake of the Planned Parenthood terrorist attack. Coffman had plenty of cover here, too, to speak out about Windholz’s statements, and he just skipped right along in silence.

Does Mike Coffman believe that Donald Trump is right in saying that the United States should temporarily bar all Muslims from entering the country? Does Mike Coffman believe that the Planned Parenthood attacks were the fault of Planned Parenthood (which is Windholz’s belief)? We don’t know, because he won’t say.

And it speaks volumes.

Mike Coffman Has Now Voted Six Times to Defund Planned Parenthood

(But that doesn’t mean he won’t still use their logo in a campaign ad! Promoted by Colorado Pols)

If you read Rep. Mike Coffman’s recent explanations for his votes to defund Planned Parenthood, and you also know he used a Planned-Parenthood logo to promote himself in a political advertisement during his last election campaign, you might conclude that Coffman’s turn against Planned Parenthood is a recent change-of-heart.

But left out of media coverage of Coffman’s votes is the fact that he’s voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood over the past eight years, culminating in October’s defunding vote, which he explained by saying:

Coffman: “Until they clean up their act, we should fund critical women’s services through the many other community health partners that operate across my district, the state and all across this country in a way that doesn’t fly in the face of human decency.”

Until they clean up their act? There’s nothing in Coffman’s record of six defunding votes to suggest he’d ever support Planned Parenthood. That’s why everyone was surprised that he’d used a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign ad last year.

But, apparently, not a single reporter asked Coffman about his use of the logo until after Coffman voted in Sept. to defund the organization.

“Using Planned Parenthood’s expression of support is not the same thing as saying it’s a good organization,” said Coffman’s spokeswoman Cinamon Waton told 9NEWS.

This leaves the question of why Coffman used the logo unanswered, but at least Watson confirmed that her boss thinks Planned Parenthood is a bad organization, as he said in July on conservative talk radio.

“It’s just one thing after another with Planned Parenthood,” Coffman told KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis.

That statement of  longstanding opposition to Planned Parenthood is consistent with his record of six defunding votes, the first of which occurred in 2007, when he voted for an amendment, offered by  Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, to a federal budget bill. Pence offered a similar amendment in 2009 to a federal budget bill, and Coffman voted in favor.

Coffman’s next vote to defund Planned Parenthood came in 2011, after House Republicans added a resolution to a federal budget bill, HR 36, stating that funding in the legislation “may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.” Also in 2011, House Republicans added amendment 95 to H.R. 1, allowing Coffman to vote again to defund Planned Parenthood.

Coffman’s next opportunities to defund Planned Parenthood came this year, in September and October, and he took advantabge of them by voting again to rescind federal money.

This issue will clearly return as the election season heats up, and there are still questions left hanging, including the basic question, which Coffman’s spokesman dodged earlier this year, of why such an ardently anti-choice and anti-Planned-Parenthood Congressman would use the organization’s logo in a campaign ad. But more broadly, why has Coffman opposed Planned Parenthood for so long? And with such fervor?

Morgan Carroll Stands Up For Refugees In Diverse CD-6

Rep. Mike Coffman (R), Sen. Morgan Carroll (D).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R), Sen. Morgan Carroll (D).

An important sidebar to the raging controversy over allowing Syrian refugees into the United States, and in turn Colorado, is the potential significant impact the story may have on Colorado’s hottest 2016 congressional race–the showdown between incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Coffman and by far his greatest challenge, yet former Senate President Morgan Carroll in the swing Sixth Congressional District.

As the Aurora Sentinel reports, Carroll and Coffman are polar opposites on this defining issue:

Shortly after multiple Republican governors across the country announced they would be doing what they could to prevent Syrian refugees from being resettled in their states, Rep. Coffman joined them in announcing that he opposed resettling Syrian refugees in Colorado.

“I’m opposed because we simply have no way of conducting background checks for screening Syrian refugees,” he told the Denver Post earlier this week…

Carroll, his likely challenger in the 2016 general election, put out a statement Wednesday afternoon in support of efforts by President Barack Obama and Gov. John Hickenlooper to take part in joining European allies and other nations in finding shelter for refugees within our borders.

From Carroll’s statement yesterday:

“ISIS is inflicting terror on innocent people from Syria to Paris and now they have their targets set on the U.S. We must take down these terrorists and protect innocent people who desperately want freedom, whether they are refugees or good people still living in Syria.

The U.S. has the most rigorous screening of refugees in the world, far more stringent than Europe. We need to join our allies in the world and do our part to stand with those who have been ravaged by ISIS terrorists. As such, I support the Commander in Chief and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in rigorously screening refugees and helping those who pass the screening to find a better life, rooted in freedom and democracy, in America.”

The thing to understand here is that since redistricting in 2011, CD-6 is centered on the large and culturally diverse suburban city of Aurora. Aurora was described in a 2013 Denver Post story as the “port of entry” for refugees being resettled into Colorado from all over the world. Today, the city boasts sizable populations of Ethiopian, Eritrean, Nepalese, and many other refugee and immigrant communities. More than one in five Aurora residents was born abroad, the highest percentage in Colorado.

With that in mind, Coffman’s party-line opposition to Syrian refugees comes across as grossly at odds with the interests and values of the district he represents in Congress. Aurora has no reason to fear refugees, because they are already there in large numbers. Regardless of where they may hail from, no one knows better than fellow refugees and immigrants the prejudice faced by Syrians fleeing the civil war raging in their homeland.

And yes, folks, a lot of them are American citizens now. Natural-born Americans in CD-6 who live and work with refugees every day know this xenophobic outburst from the right following last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris is misguided and wrong.

Who speaks for them today? Morgan Carroll speaks for them.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this. More than anywhere else in Colorado, it’s going factor in 2016.

Mike Coffman: All Over The Map on ISIS

Rep. Mike Coffman.

Rep. Mike Coffman.

With last week’s terrorist attack in Paris, France still dominating the news today, we wanted to take a closer look at the statements of Colorado’s foremost member of Congress on matters of foreign policy, Rep. Mike Coffman, and figure out what his position on how best to confront the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, you know, really is. Over the weekend, Coffman made it clear that he blames the Obama administration in some measure for the Paris attacks:

Looking back at Coffman’s public statements as the civil war in Syria slowly evolved into a multinational war against ISIS, though, it’s a lot harder to understand exactly what Coffman means in terms of the United States failing to show “leadership.” In fact, President Barack Obama has apparently tried to do just that on numerous occasions, but Coffman’s response has consistently been to oppose Obama’s actions–even at the risk of contradicting himself. Back in 2013, Coffman was interviewed by the Denver Post’s Tim Hoover on the subject of intervening militarily in Syria:

On this week’s edition of The Roundup, editorial writer Tim Hoover interviews U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora. Coffman explains why he has so far opposed military intervention in Syria, calling the conflict an “intractable” and “sectarian” civil war…

In January of 2014, as ISIS began to loom larger than the pariah Syrian government as a threat, Coffman told local radio host Dan Caplis he would not support anything beyond advisors to combat either:

Certainly an advisory role, but certainly not anything beyond that. And that’s if requested. I think we have to be very careful once out about reentering that particular conflict. I would say, in terms of regular troops on the ground, absolutely not.

Then in June of 2014, Coffman again urged President Obama not to send even advisors to assist the Iraqi Army fighting against ISIS:

Today, U.S. Representative Mike Coffman sent a letter to President Barack Obama requesting that he suspend sending any U.S. military personnel to assist the Iraqi Army until the U.S. is successful in putting pressure on the Iraqi government to establish a process of political reconciliation with the disaffected Sunni Arab and Kurdish minority populations in Iraq. Last week, President Obama put forward a plan to send up to 300 U.S. military advisors to assist the Iraqi army and to assess the situation on the ground with the Iraqi army and their ability to fight Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) led opposition forces. Coffman is a Marine Corps combat veteran and is the only member of Congress to have served in both Iraq Wars.

“The only feasible solution is a political reconciliation. Any further U.S. military assistance must be strictly preconditioned on a fundamental change in the Iraqi government, which will send a clear message to both the Sunni Arabs and the Kurds that they will have a voice in the formation of a new government and their respective provinces will receive an equitable distribution of the oil wealth of the country,” wrote Coffman in his letter.

But by September of 2014, Coffman had turned hawkish once again, claiming without much elaboration that President Obama had done “too little” to “take the fight” to ISIS:

“President Bush did too much, getting us involved in a costly and unnecessary occupation, but President Obama has done too little to take the fight to those who seek to do us harm. [Pols emphasis] I agree with President Obama that a political solution is necessary to dismantle ISIS and know how hard that will be from my time in Western Iraq with the Marine Corps in 2005 and 2006. But we have ignored this threat for far too long. We cannot continue leading from behind.”

A day later, Coffman appeared to contradict himself once again in an interview with Bloomberg News:

“There has to be a political solution; there’s not a military solution alone for this,” Representative Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican, said in an interview today with Bloomberg Television. He said he doesn’t support U.S. troops on the ground.

By February of this year, though, Coffman was changing his tune again. Are we the only ones who smell an “evolving” position that is consistent only insofar as it is inversely proportional to the Obama administration’s position?

Certainly, as an Iraq war veteran, I wouldn’t want to see U.S. forces on the ground as the maneuver ground element. I want I want to see indigenous forces on the ground, but we’re going to need special operators from time to time to take out high-value targets. We are going to need to give them air logistical and advisory support, and that is going to take some elements of boots on the ground. [Pols emphasis]

Bottom line: what we see from Coffman in his “evolution” on confronting ISIS is not a well thought-out process, but an opportunistic game meant to oppose whatever the Obama administration supports at any given time. There is no question that Coffman has opposed taking military action against ISIS in the past, even opposing reinforcing the Iraqi government with American advisors as you can plainly read above. If Obama announced today, for example, that he was sending more advisors to help the Iraqis fight ISIS, it’s easy to see Coffman going right back to complaining.

Because Coffman’s statements appears to only be consistent in that they oppose Obama. There’s nothing you can extract from Coffman’s own statements on this issue that even look coherent, let alone like “leadership.”

As much as any other angle, that should be the story whenever Coffman opens his mouth.

Terror Grips Colorado Republicans

eiffel-111415As the world comes to terms with the horrific terrorist attacks on Paris, France this past Friday evening, responses from Colorado Republicans run the gamut from level-headed to…well, not so much. We’ll start with a rare moment of praise for Sen. Cory Gardner, whose statement in the immediate wake of the attacks showed commendable restraint:

“The people of Colorado and the United States stand firmly beside our oldest ally, France. We mourn those lost and pray for their families. And we are united with all Parisians as they unite against this senseless violence.”

Rep. Mike Coffman, unfortunately, couldn’t resist taking a potshot at the Obama administration on FOX News:

From Sen. Laura Woods, set to compete in Colorado’s hottest state senate race next year, more or less full-blown panic:

And don’t even get Jonathan Lockwood of leading local conservative group Advancing Colorado started:

Really, please don’t get him started:

It should be noted that the latter outburst from Lockwood is apparently in response to President Barack Obama arriving a few minutes late for a moment of silence in honor of victims at the G-20 conference in Turkey. To characterize Mr. Lockwood’s reaction to that minor infraction as over the top is a considerable understatement.

It’s not our intention to belittle any genuine shock felt over the terrorist attacks in Paris, which given the nature of events there is to a significant degree completely understandable. We understand that an attack of this magnitude will certainly be a factor in many debates about American policy, and the role of Colorado politicians in shaping that policy. The number of current stories this event affects that we’ve been talking about in this space range from the debate over the threat posed by ISIS to the transfer of detainees from the Guantanamo Bay prison to facilities in Colorado.

But there is some rhetoric that, we should all be able to agree, simply does not help anybody.