Gardner Backs Trump, Backing Coffman Against Wall

UPDATE: Cory Gardner reaffirms he’s all in in a statement today:



Sen. Cory Gardner says he supports Donald Trump for President

Sen. Cory Gardner says he supports Donald Trump for President

Earlier today we noted that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) apparently announced his support of Donald Trump for President over the weekend. Like many Republicans, Gardner had been avoiding questions about his support for Trump — even though he was on record pledging to support the GOP nominee for President — but Megan Schrader of the Colorado Springs Gazette caught Gardner’s admission of support for Trump at the annual El Paso County Republican Party fundraiser on Friday night.

Gardner’s support of Trump is buried deeper than Jimmy Hoffa in Schrader’s story from Friday, which is why this is just now making waves on Tuesday. From the Gazette:

[Darryl] Glenn enthusiastically backed Trump when he addressed the crowd – a sentiment that was echoed by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

“That’s why I’m voting Republican up and down the ticket. A Republican president will make a difference, even a Republican president named Donald Trump,” said Gardner [Pols emphasis], who last year accomplished what Glenn hopes to do this year by unseating one of Colorado’s Democratic senators.

Perhaps Gardner and his staff hoped that they could sweep this under the rug entirely, and they damn near succeeded. Gardner’s admission that he is voting for Trump should have been breaking news, but after lying dormant for a few days, his quote finally got mainstream attention today. This may be hard for Gardner to explain, of course, since he has been so anti-Trump for most of the 2016 election cycle:

Gardner’s public support of Trump creates a new problem for Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), who has been trying to toe the middle line between concern about Trump and concern about losing Republican voters who love Trump.

Coffman has been taking a lot of heat for his wish wash on Trump, and the negative press he has earned as a result has been pretty rough (not to mention the verbal beatdown he received from former Rep. Tom Tancredo, whom Coffman once called his “hero”).

Rep. Mike Coffman

Rep. Mike Coffman

Last week Coffman’s hometown Aurora Sentinel published a strongly-worded editorial calling on Coffman and other Republicans to condemn Trump with no strings attached, which Coffman didn’t want to do. Coffman’s response to the Sentinel editorial was almost a word-for-word copy of a standard Trump talking point:

“What they forget is that Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt and dishonest politician ever to run for the Presidency.”

In the course of just a few weeks, Coffman has run a TV ad saying that he “doesn’t like Trump very much,” which was followed by several interviews in which Coffman refused to rule out voting for Trump. All of this made Coffman look particularly ridiculous, and his waffling no doubt contributed to a growing narrative about Coffman’s inability to stick with a position on anything.

With Gardner’s public support of Trump, Coffman now has to try to explain his position on Trump all over again — and in new detail. Gardner says he will vote for Trump. Will Coffman still try to refuse to answer that question?

Radio Host Would “Rather Have David Duke” than Hillary Clinton

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The collapse of Trump is being taken especially hard by radio hosts who don’t like Hillary. Here, Dan Meurer, who’s heard on KLZ 560-AM’s afternoon drive show, says he’d rather have David Duke as president.

Duke, a former leader of the KKK, a racist, and holocaust denier, is a Republican running for U.S. Senate in Louisiana.

Here’s what Meurer said on KLZ Aug.10:

MEURER (in discussion around presidential race, and Trump and Hillary’s (-10.9)  unfavorability): […] I do NOT want that woman as president, and I don’t know how else to say it.

I would rather have Gary Johnson, but he can’t win.  I would rather have David Duke, but he’s not running.  I mean, I would rather have anybody but her. 

CO-HOST: ANDY PETH:  (scoffing) David Duke!

MEURER:  I’m serious!  I would!  I mean Louis Farakan could be president over Hillary Clinton And she is a criminal!  I mean, he is more than twice – almost three times –.

PETH:  You don’t cast your vote as a statement.  You cast your vote as a number.  Votes are strategic decisions to affect outcomes. [Listen below.]

Asked if he were joking about favoring Duke over Clinton, Meurer told me via email:

MEURER: If you ask me they’re both despicable human beings that are in favor of eugenics and are hardcore racists. One is out in the open with their hate (Duke) the other is as stealthy as possible (Clinton). Hilary is calculating and smart. Duke is not. Duke is less dangerous because he is so far over the top that he poses no threat to the minority population because he could never gain a following of any size, unlike Hilary who has millions behind her. Point being I can’t stand either one. But this whole question of choosing the lesser of two evils… I’m just glad I don’t have to make that choice.

Coffman still supports dropping bilingual ballot requirement

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmansmileIt’s difficult to write about what Rep. Mike Coffman actually believes these these days, because it’s so hard to sort out how he sounds like he’s changed from how he’s actually changed.

So a tip of the hat to The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch, who did a good job sorting through some of Coffman’s stances, such as they are, over the weekend.

One item deserves clarification.

FBunch reports, accurately, of Coffman:

This is a candidate who in 2011 introduced legislation to repeal portions of the 1973 Voting Rights Act to permit local jurisdictions to decide if ballots could be printed in English only. He noted that English proficiency is a requirement for citizenship. Immigrant advocates saw it as a way to disenfranchise voters.

As of the last election, that’s still Coffman’s position. He still wants to repeal portions of the Voting Rights Act that require bilingual ballots to be provided in areas with large percentages of voters who are not proficient in English.

Saying it’s too expensive, Coffman would eliminate the requirement for offering ballots in languages other than English and, instead, trust local officials to decide whether bilingual ballots are needed, even though the shallowest reading of American history (including a cursory understanding of politics today) reveals that local officials should not be trusted with this decision that affects the basic right to vote.

Coffman once suggested that immigrants “pull out a dictionary” if they’re having trouble understanding an English ballot.

Now, in a classic example of how he’s sounding nicer without changing his policy stance, Coffman is saying he “would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”

But the Voting Rights Act? Coffman doesn’t think we need it telling people what to do on bilingual ballots.

Who gets to be on Colorado political television?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

ProgressNow Colorado is always interested in the voices that speak for us. Those voices most commonly are the ones elected to represent us, but they can also include those in the media. In this case, we took a look at the media and at political punditry in Colorado in a project we are calling the Colorado Pundit Project.

The project outlines the results of the project and what we found after documenting all of the appearances on Colorado television and radio by political pundits over the last couple of years as well as looking at their demographics.

The study examines the demographics of pundits appearing on Colorado political media through the lenses of race, gender, age, political party, highest level of education attained, and occupation.

Even we were surprised by the results. Check out the full infographic below to see what we found.


Get More Smarter on Friday (August 12)

Get More SmarterRepublicans, you have a problem. Well, several problems. It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► A new poll of Colorado voters shows that Democrats Hillary Clinton and Michael Bennet have opened up substantial leads over their respective Republican opponents. According to NBC/Marist, Clinton leads Donald Trump by 14 points in Colorado, while Bennet holds a 15-point lead over Republican Senate challenger Darryl Glenn.


► Republicans are starting to seriously panic over the 2016 election cycle. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell conceded on Thursday that he “might not be Majority Leader next year” during an address in Louisville, Kentucky. Even Donald Trump is starting to falter in his belief that he will become the next President of the United States:

“At the end, it’s either going to work, or I’m going to, you know, I’m going to have a very, very nice, long vacation,” Trump told CNBC.

Assuming he’s not on vacation at the end of this month, Trump will stop in Aspen on August 25 for a fundraiser hosted by Denver Republican Larry Mizel.


► Trump is now reversing course on earlier statements — comments that he had already gone out of his way to confirm — that “President Obama founded ISIS”:

Donald Trump on Friday backpedaled on his assertion that President Barack Obama founded the Islamic State, blasting the media for seriously reporting what he suggested was a sarcastic comment.

“Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) ‘the founder’ of ISIS, & MVP,” Trump tweeted Friday morning. “THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?”

Perhaps Trump’s entire campaign for President is just one big sarcastic joke. Trump’s reversal on his own statements also made an ass out of his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who appeared on 9News Thursday via satellite to defend the remarks that Trump walked back today.

“The one thing about Donald Trump is he doesn’t go tip-toeing around the rules, the semantic rules, of political correctness,” Pence said when pressed about the factual inaccuracy of Trump’s words. “Everybody in the country knows exactly what Donald Trump means.” [Pols emphasis]

Um. Not so much, no.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Coffman’s Vision of Aurora with Planned Parenthood De-funded

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman's 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood's logo.

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman’s 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood’s logo.

U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman is telling reporters again this week how he’s standing up for “vulnerable and underserved” people who need health care.

But as they contemplate Coffman’s news release, reporters should recall that the Aurora Congressman voted six or seven times, depending on how you count, to defund Planned Parenthood.

Those votes are, at the end of the day, less about Planned Parenthood than about the low-income women the organization serves, because, dah, if you defund a healthcare organization, you’re pushing its patients out the door too.

To bring the point home, if it lost federal funds, the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own district of Aurora would have to turn away 2,200 patients who currently rely on the clinic for basic health care services like HIV and STD tests, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings and more, according to a Planned Parenthood.

These are low-income women and men on Medicaid and women who are part of a federal cancer-screening program. So Planned Parenthood would have to raise private money to continue serving them.

Would safety-net organizations in Aurora be able to absorb all these patients, who’d be joining about 80,000 other low-income people statewide that Planned Parenthood could no long serve?

It’s a complicated question, and it’s one you’d think Coffman would have figured out in detail before his multiple votes against Planned Parenthood–and run his plan by his affected constituents to get their feedback. But he didn’t, so I’ll outline some of the issue for reporters.


Trump Confirms Remarks: “No, I Meant He’s the Founder of ISIS”

Donald TrumpThere’s just no helping Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, it seems. As CNN reports, Trump on Thursday made sure to clarify his remarks that President Obama “founded ISIS” — just, not in the way you might have thought:

Donald Trump said Thursday that he meant exactly what he said when he called President Barack Obama the “founder of ISIS” and objected when a conservative radio show host tried to clarify the GOP nominee’s position.

Trump was asked by host Hugh Hewitt about the comments Trump made Wednesday night in Florida, and Hewitt said he understood Trump to mean “that he (Obama) created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”

Trump objected.

“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS,” Trump said. [Pols emphasis] “I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”

Hewitt pushed back again, saying that Obama is “not sympathetic” to ISIS and “hates” and is “trying to kill them.”
“I don’t care,” Trump said, according to a show transcript. “He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay?”

Okie, dokie.

Does Woods Really Want Soros Turned Over to Russia?

Does Woods Want Soros Turned Over To Russia?(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I’m constantly telling my wife there’s no way Trump can win in Colorado, and she tells me I have no credibility, because I’ve said for the last year that Trump won’t win anything, here or anywhere.

How that ruins my credibility, I don’t know, but anyway, it’s a useful exercise to look for examples of politicians who’ve won in Colorado, despite exhibiting Trump-like behavior.

I’m not talking about talk-radio hosts, some of whom are deep on the Trump spectrum. Like Peter Boyles. And I’m not referring to politicians in deep red districts.

I’m talking about politicians from purple districts.

Who comes to mind? State Sen. Laura Woods, who has that same erratic quality as Trump. Woods won once by 650 votes. But can she win again, if she behaves like Trump?

Case in point, Woods recently shared an article on Facebook about billionaire Steyer’s political donations in Colorado, as part of his evil agenda to stop global warming, as well as donations by George Soros.

Woods’ Trumpish behavior came out in the comments, where she “liked” this:

“Russia has a bounty on his head and an arrest warrant in place for Soros. We need someone to turn them over to them.”

Does Woods want Steyer to be turned over to the Russians to be killed? Seriously? Does she think there’s an actual factual bounty? Does she think Soros chould be shipped out? Is this a joke?

Woods and Trump are similar on a lot of issues (guns, immigration, choice), but “liking” the bounty comment is the kind of Trump behavior I’m talking about. Throwing something out there that raises a ton of questions.

In Woods’ case, however, despite the fact that her race against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger is probably the most important contest in the state, few reporters are asking Woods to explain herself. And she’s not talking to me.

Of course, Woods has been loving Trump since she first heard him speak at Boulder’s Republican presidential primary debate—and just she recently told The Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning that Trump is “the people’s candidate.” That’s high praise. Is she modeling herself after him?

Get More Smarter on Wednesday (August 10)

Get More SmarterNever look a bear in the eyes…or Michael PhelpsIt’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► Critics across the country are aghast at Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump’s latest controversy. Speaking at a campaign event in North Carolina, Trump all but suggested that someone should assassinate Hillary Clinton or potential Supreme Court nominees if Clinton ends up winning the race for President. As the Washington Post reports, Trump’s increasingly-controversial rhetoric is starting to wear on the American public:

But Trump’s rhetorical asides appear to be taking a toll among the electorate overall. Many voters find his remarks distasteful, even given his explanations. The possibility that he was joking or being sarcastic, or that he meant something other than what some people heard, doesn’t alter the growing view that Trump is reckless with his words.

Each day brings new polls showing the Republican nominee lagging Clinton nationally and in several key battleground states. The surveys show widespread uncertainty about whether Trump has the temperament to serve as president — a doubt that his ever-replenishing supply of rhetoric continues to feed.

“Don’t treat this as a political misstep,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a Clinton supporter and a staunch gun-control advocate. “It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.”

ProgressNow Colorado wonders what Trump would need to do to finally convince Colorado Republicans to say they will not vote for him this fall. You probably won’t be too surprised to learn that NO COLORADO REPUBLICAN POLITICIAN has responded to Trump’s suggestions of violence. Around the country, Republican officials are struggling to explain Trump’s latest — and most dangerous — rhetorical bomb.

ElsewhereThe New York Daily News calls on Trump to drop out of the Presidential race in a front-page story. Former Republican Congressman and TV personality Joe Scarborough says its time for the GOP to drop Trump. One former Republican Senator is pushing for Trump to be removed from the GOP ticket through formal Party channels.


CNN is keeping track of Republican elected officials who have disavowed Trump and indicated they will not vote for His Hairness this fall. The list is at 87 names and growing.


► According to Kimberly Railey of the National Journal, an internal memo from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) shows polling numbers that have Democrat Hillary Clinton beating Donald Trump by 14 points in CO-6. If these numbers are anywhere close to accurate, it means that Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) probably cannot win re-election in CO-6.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 9)

Get More SmarterJust when Donald Trump supporters thought last week was the worst it could get… It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.


► Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump is trying to hit refresh after an awful week on the campaign trail, but things aren’t looking much better for His Hairness after a tough day on Monday. Democrat Hillary Clinton is consistently extending her polling lead to double-digits now as high-profile Republicans are increasingly finding their voice of opposition.

Colorado Republicans in high-profile races — such as Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) and state Sen. Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada) — may soon have to pay the political piper when it comes to their statements about Trump. The Aurora Sentinel published an editorial today calling on Colorado Republicans to immediately and irrevocably denounce Trump:

Either GOP elected officials have such poor judgment that they cannot themselves be trusted to represent their more rational constituents, or they are so cowardly that they will not risk their own political jobs by angering the tea party inmates that are now running this surreal GOP asylum. It is this very same cowardice and poor judgment that allowed for segregation and Jim Crow laws in the South, the Holocaust, apartheid and a long list of odious regimes in places like Russia, China and all over the Middle East.

Don’t miss former Rep. Tom Tancredo’s biting criticism of Coffman’s Trump dance.


Donald Trump says he doesn’t plan to change anything about his campaign, including his awkwardly-received economic policies. At least he knows he can count on the “Balloon Boy” family.

ICYMI, Trump did not show up in Colorado on Monday.


► Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton continues to rise in national polls, and her campaign is expanding its list of battleground states to include Arizona and Georgia.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Coffman, Woods Missed Their Exit on Trump

Mike Coffman, Donald Trump, Laura Woods (not actual size)

Mike Coffman, Donald Trump, Laura Woods (not actual size)

August 8, 2016. Mark it down.

History will record Monday as the moment when the full-scale revolt against Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump began in earnest. Trump had an absolutely terrible week of campaigning last week, causing collateral political damage across the country and here in Colorado as well. If Monday is any indication of how the rest of the election cycle will unfold, things are going to get a whole lot worse for Trump and Republicans.

On Monday, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) penned a strongly-worded editorial for the Washington Post to explain why she cannot, and will not, vote for Trump for President. As CNN explains:

“With the passage of time, I have become increasingly dismayed by his constant stream of cruel comments and his inability to admit error or apologize,” she said.

However, there were three incidences in particular that led her to make her decision: when Trump mocked a disabled reporter; when he said Judge Gonzalo Curiel could not be fair about Trump University because of his Mexican heritage; and when he attacked a Gold Star family, the Khans, after they spoke out against him at the Democratic National Convention.

The editorial from Sen. Collins came on the same day that a group of 50 former Republican intelligence and military staffers made their opinions known that Trump is unfit for the Presidency. From Politico:

Donald Trump’s effort to appeal to establishment Republicans suffered another setback on Monday as 50 senior GOP national security officials warned in a new letter that Trump would “risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

The signatories of the letter, which was first reported by The New York Times, all worked in Republican administrations, with many serving as top aides to President George W. Bush. They said none of them would be voting for Trump.

“Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President,” they wrote. “He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.”

Here in Colorado, the Aurora Sentinel published a blistering editorial calling on Republicans like Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) to finally dismiss Trump once and for all:

The moment of truth, and I do mean truth, for Colorado Republican elected officials is now as they must either unequivocally denounce the catastrophic candidacy of Donald Trump or suffer the inevitable consequences.



For many Colorado Republicans, including Coffman and state Senator Laura Waters Woods (R-Arvada), it may be too late to abandon Trump now. We should clarify: It may be too late politically to abandon Trump, though there are still plenty of moral reasons to make the switch.

Coffman’s half-assed attempt last week to kinda, sorta distance himself from Trump was widely panned; Coffman took withering fire from the likes of former CD-6 Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo, who said of Coffman that “The only thing authentic about him is his passionate desire to keep that House Member pin on his lapel.” As the New York Times wrote over the weekend, Republican officials are not happy with how Coffman completely botched his #MaybeTrump rollout:

In the past week, the campaign of Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado, who represents suburban Denver, began airing a television ad in which he pledges to stand up to Mr. Trump if he becomes president. Other Republicans are expected to follow suit as early as this month.

But even that approach may be insufficient. House Republican officials were furious at Mr. Coffman for not being prepared to answer predictable follow-up questions about whether he still supported Mr. Trump. [Pols emphasis] Democrats responded with an advertisement showing photos of Mr. Coffman and Mr. Trump side by side and urging voters to reject them both.

As we’ve discussed before in this space, Coffman has been trying to walk a fine line between showing manufactured disdain for Trump while refusing to say whether or not he’ll actually support the Republican nominee (lest he anger constituents in CD-6 who are staunch Trump supporters). Obviously, this approach is not working.

With support for Trump now in rapid decline, it’s clear that Coffman, Woods, and other pro-Trump Republicans such as Rep. Clarice Navarro miscalculated in their efforts to stand next to Trump and still emerge unscathed in a General Election. Republicans are terrified that Trump’s plummeting support will cost them — at the very least — control of the U.S. Senate.

Losing just the Senate may have been a best-case scenario for the GOP.


Coffman doesn’t make an ad when he goes along with the right-wing status quo

The Olympics are making lots of people think again about the Zika virus, and this, in turn, should give Rep. Mike Coffman a small slice of the media spotlight.

In a June vote that was ignored by local reporters, the Aurora Republican backed a House GOP bill that actually factually aimed to block the United States’ Zika-response funds from going to groups (like Planned Parenthood) for birth control and family planning programs—even though Zika affects the developing fetus and appears to be sexually transmitted.

Hence, birth control is obviously part of the response to Zika!

Yet, the GOP’s anti-birth-control sneaks slipped language in the Zika bill (See Zika Response Appropriations here) stating that money “related to patient care associated with the Zika virus” could only be spent on “prenatal care, delivery care, postpartum care, newborn health assessments, and care for infants with special health care needs.”

No money birth control. None for family planning. Nothing for anything pre-sex or pre-zygote.

As the Huffington Post reported at the time:

[Democrats] are particularly upset that the bill excludes $50 million in requested funds for maternal and child health and blocks supplemental funds from going to Planned Parenthood for birth control services. The bill mandates that the Zika funds be prioritized for mosquito control programs, vaccines and diagnostics, leaving no resources for contraceptives or condoms.

After Coffman voted for the GOP legislation along with House Republicans, U.S. Senate Democrats blocked the bill.

The Zika vote is also newsworthy now, because Coffman is making a big deal of promising to “stand up” to Trump, even though he still may vote for the mogul. As part of this, Coffman is claiming to be a different kind of Republican. But where was the different kind of Republican on the Zika vote a few short months ago, and so many other votes where Coffman slides under the radar with the GOP conservative majority.

And, no, when Coffman votes against birth control and Planned Parenthood, he doesn’t make an ad saying he’s going along with the Republican conservative status quo. That’s not news, but it should be.

For example, Coffman’s vote in June was his latest in a long list of attacks on Planned Parenthood and family planning. Depending on how you count, he’s voted six or seven times to completely defund the women’s health organization, a move that would stop about 2,200 low-income women from going to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own Aurora district.

I don’t recall Coffman making an ad saying he’s voting again against Planned-Parenthood funding, do you?

Coffman’s Democratic opponent in this year’s election is State Sen. Morgan Carroll.

Will Trump help flip the Colorado state senate?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

Donald Trump, Sen. Laura Woods.

This is the moment for reporters to dig into Donald Trump’s impact on state legislative races in Colorado, and no races are more important than those in swing state senate districts, like Republican Laura Woods’ contest against Democrat Rachel Zenzinger and the race between GOP Arapahoe County Commissioner Nancy Doty and Democratic state Rep. Daniel Kagan.

Both Woods and Doty have said they’ll back Trump, with Woods enthusiastically calling Trump the “people’s candidate.”

But reporters have yet to question Doty in any substantive way about her support for Trump. We have more than a hint that Doty thinks highly of Trump, because Doty called Sarah Palin’s July 12 endorsement speech of Trump “spot on,” and Doty said she “really enjoyed hearing Trump himself speak.

“I thought Sarah Palin was right on, just spot on! She was very, very good – brought a clear message that people need to get on board.  And I really enjoyed hearing [Donald] Trump,” Doty told KNUS 710-AM host Julie Hayden when asked for her “thoughts” on the speeches.

If Republicans lose their one-seat majority in the state senate, Democrats will likely control state government. So the stakes are high for Doty and Woods.


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.


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.