Unchallenged on the radio, Cadman claims to have focused on “things that matter to both sides”

(Is that what Tim Neville told him to say? — Promoted by Colorado Pols)

KOA 850-AM Morning News anchor Steffan Tubbs wouldn’t be expected to know all the ins and outs of the state legislative session, which ends Wednesday.

But if you’ve been following Colorado’s Republicans at all over the past three months, you know they’ve used their new-found Senate leadership position to prioritize legislation (anti-woman, anti-immigrant, anti-working class) that’s divisive, at best.

Yet, Senate President Bill Cadman told Tubbs this morning:

“In a split legislature, you have to stay focused on the things that matter to both sides, and frankly to the 5.3 million people  who we represent,” Cadman told KOA at 2:45 below.

But that’s not what Cadman did.

Recall Cadman’s Republicans opened the legislative session by stripping money from the budget for a program to provide drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants–a program widely thought to make driving safer in the state.

Next, Republicans–upset over the use of birth control–deleted funds for an award-winning state-run program that reduced teen pregnancy by 40 percent and teen abortions by 35 percent.

They went on to block legislation to forcing corporations to pay taxes on profits currently hidden in overseas tax havens–and spending this money on schools. Similar legislation received bipartisan support in other states, yet it was torpedoed by the GOP here.

Onward Cadman went, finishing things off by taking advantage of a horrible Longmont murder to introduce fetal personhood legislation, modeled boiler-plate-style, after a bill promoted by a national anti-choice group.

Democrats had partisan legislation of their own, for sure, but for Tubbs to let Cadman say he “focused on things that matter to both sides” defies, for the most part, how Republicans actually used the power handed to them by voters in November, when control of the state senate went to the GOP.

Why Everyone Should Leave the Democratic Party

Sure, they suck, so there’s that.

Sucking less than the other guys is just so disappointing. And a little frightening. My elder son is a socialist, he understands what it means but he also understands why “burn more coal!” is a recipe for not good. What he is only just starting to understand is why science, logic and better ideas don’t win elections as consistently as one might think.

Democrats are really bad at messaging.

I don’t mean avoid getting photographed with Shirley McClain or don’t talk about increasing revenue, talk about a strong economy.  I mean discussing the death tax as not unfair, and trying to win people over on healthcare because access is humane and should be a human right, or even the Christian thing to do. (Who really said if you want to cut Social Security, Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, etc. you have to stop claiming to want to build a Christian nation?)

Let’s talk healthcare. First, “healthcare” has become a conflation of medical insurance and medical services. Lumping them together is bad for the D message. More of the middle could get behind improved access to services, especially necessary services or minimally necessary services (that there is no other kind is not the point), if this did not also mean access to insurance. Insurance, we all fear, that is as good or even better than ours and cheaper due to subsidies.  

It is not and should not be about insurance. Even if it was, Liberals should be talking about tax cuts by making now required medical insurance premiums tax deductible. What?! Liberal tax cuts. Every Budget bill, every Defense bill every everything should have the tax deductibility of health insurance premiums attached.

Public vs. Private Health Insurance on Controlling Spending

Of course, public health insurance does better controlling costs. Lower overhead, better access, better administration. And they have the law on their side.

Of course (as more than one of the commenters points out), Altman leaves a lot out.

Example- Medicare has a bit over 50 million members, and they tend to be sicker, older and the most likely consumers of health services. Even the 10.5 million Medicare benificiaries under 65, are disabled or have ALS or kidney failure.

TRICARE would be a good comparison to the general population – at least based on age and large numbers. But it costs a little less than Medicare to run – and there is less fraud so Altman leaves it out.(I don’t have the data, but I predict it’s because TRICARE contracts out the contact management – call centers and billing and stuff.  $13.50/hr with skimpy benefits vs the federal employees running CMS and Medicare.

Of course public plans that can set their own payment schedule can control cost better. Of course,  a private self contained plan (like Kaiser or other HMO) can do the same but health plans that do not employ their own providers are stuck paying whatever rates they can. And public plans have no shareholders or profit seekers to satisfy. Of course, there are private non-profits too. But they still cost more and do worse controlling costs.

But here is the real dilemma: descriptors like “private” and “competition” assume a free market.  Health insurance is not a free market.  They also assume consumers can choose rationally based on price – and we cannot. 

If I go to the Cell Phone store I get some choice.   If I can get unlimited domestic voice and text with some data for $50/mo with a reasonably current and efficient smart phone or I can get the Gordon Gekko brick phone, and pay$200/mo and $1.00/min with no data or text – I know which to choose.  

But if I am shopping health insurance, and I can get plan A for Premium X with high deductible, low copays and thin network or Plan B with Premium (X*1.5), lower deductible, higher copays, and broader network – which is a better purchase? What about Plan C with Premium 2*x, higher deductible, higher copays, very thin network, but I can add my spouse and unlimited dependent family members for the same premium.

Maybe I can get something like Senator Gardner’s Golden Unicorn plan, low premium, no copays, and broad network. But what if it only covers “catastrophic” events and excludes a ton of stuff that I don’t understnd or care about.  And the only providers are located far from me.

The point is this – free markets work great when service providers and consumers can understand the services being exchanged through price.  I’ll take the small phone with tons of service for $50/mo onver the 1980’s style brick with no service. (Though I would like to have a Gekko brick.)  But markets fail when price fails to convey the necessary information for consumers to choose how much to demand or to communicate to providers how much to supply.

Markets fail for other reasons too – and if the market is for something “necessary” or a general good, then we (USA) regulate the markets and try to allow private (shareholder owned or mutal assocaitions) deliver, with subsidies and regualtions. Sometimes it has to be governement providers because there really is no private market.    Electric. Gas. Air traffic Contral and other safety for Commercial aviation. Used to be telephone – but the market evolved and Judge Green gave us a whole new world of telecom.

Health insurance for sure, and medical services possibly, as a for profit, private market have failed. We should regulate them like we do for the utilities (and other markets) unless or until providers invent or innovate a new product that supercedes the need.

Should we have single payer? Of course. Not like Canada or the UK or Germany.   A distinctly U.S. market, closer to the Swiss, with no restriction on supply.  

But the argument, the message, to get support of we the people – mostly the center – is not, cannot be because it’s the right thing to do, because it’s humane, because human rights, because fairness and justice,  yada yada yada… 

The winning argument – the ony argument – is the market has failed – and single payer will cost less and deliver better. 

Could be government run – just open Medicare, lowering the eligiblity age a few years at a time, charging market rates and watch Medicare outcompete every plan out there. It could be a regulated like a shareholder owned utility – like Excel or the old AT&T.

Here’s one more health insurance related example of Democratic party messaging sucks.  Medicare beficiaries who oppose insurnce and health care access for others are confident in their conviction that their Medicare should be inviolate and untouchable because they earned it, they paid for it. But the current FICA  taxes are NOT premiums that pay for the contributor’s future coverage.  They are the taxes that earn the payor’s (and their spouses’) future eligiblity and pay for current beneficiaries’ coverage.  In the future, future contributors  pay for the future beneficiaries.   No one messages on this. And that allows the myth to perpetuate.   It solidifies the current state of Medicare  – Ike was right only the stupid believe the voters will allow it to be repealed.  But it is the wrong message and it allows the U.S. to continue down a stupid path.

To be continued…

 

 

Are Colorado PERA Negotiations Being Influenced by Federal Politics?

(clockwise from top): U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, State Sen. Bill Cadman, State Sen. Owen Hill

(clockwise from top):
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, State Sen. Bill Cadman, State Sen. Owen Hill

Lynn Bartels of the Denver Post reported late yesterday on a troubling political strategy from Republicans that intertwines state and federal politics:

Intense negotiations are underway at the state Capitol to try to revive a Denver Public Schools pension bill that critics claim was killed by Republicans because of former DPS Superintendent Michael Bennet’s Senate re-election bid.

House Bill 1251 is important for DPS because it would allow the district to quit paying around $23 million more a year into the state pension fund than other school districts…

Three people with knowledge of the bill told The Denver Post that they talked about it with Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, who said national Republicans didn’t want to see a bill passed that potentially could help Bennet. Hill briefly ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014. [Pols emphasis]

Hill responded Thursday that his chief concern is that PERA is a “real ticking time bomb,” but he acknowledged people told him they had concerns about “some bad deals that were cut” when Bennet oversaw Denver schools.

Bennet’s financial dealings at DPS were an issue in his 2010 Senate primary. “Exotic Deals Put Denver Schools Deeper in Debt,” read a headline in The New York Times. Republicans have said they plan to revisit the issue on the campaign trail next year.

For his part, State Senate “PresidentBill Cadman says that he has “never” talked to the Republican Party or “anyone in Washington” about HB-1251, although it’s difficult to say how much people are really listening to Cadman anyway.

We won’t get into the policy discussion of the relative merits of HB-1251 and PERA reforms here (Colorado Pols is a political blog, after all), but the idea that Colorado legislation might be torpedoed because of how it might harm the re-election chances of a U.S. Senator is more than a little troubling. It also speaks, again, to the leadership structure surrounding Colorado Republicans. If this story proves true, it seriously calls into question how much Senate Republicans are even making their own decisions locally.

Vice Chair of Colorado Republican Party: “We stand at the top of a very slippery slope”

Friday Update: Right Wing Watch picked up this story here.

——

On Facebook Saturday, Derrick Wilburn, who’s Vice Chair of the Colorado Republican Party, linked to a New York Times opinion article suggesting that pedophilia may have “neurological origins” and may not be “a choice.” The piece suggests ways to treat people with pedophilia to stop them from molesting children.

Wilburn posted the following comment about the article on the American Conservatives of Color Facebook page:

Wilburn: And here we go. I have discussed many times in the past how we stand at the top of a very slippery slope. The LBGT community itself readily admits that “marriage is just the beginning.” The “I was born this way” label is one they apply to any and every form of sexual behavior – multiple partners, cross-dressing, beastialty, you name it. Including pedophilia. “I’ can’t help it, I was born this way. I’ve just always been sexually attracted to children.” This reasoning is the doorway to acceptance. Why should we have laws & punishments in place for people who have/had no control of the way they’re wired? It’s not fair. It’s discriminatory. Yadda.

It’s coming, folks. Just as sure as the sun rises in the east, it is coming.

I called Wilburn to confirm that he was comparing gays to people with pedophilia:

Wilburn: “I wasn’t saying the two are comparable,” he said. “What I’m saying is, as a society, we are moving in the direction of, ‘how I believe I was born makes my behavior normative and therefore acceptable.’ We have to be very careful. At what point do we, as a society draw a line, or is there no line? I try to post stuff more as a topic of conversation than as my personal viewpoints, though of course I do have my views. If you read it like that, it’s really just more, this is something we need to talk about. “People are already saying, ‘Look, I was born with a genetic disposition to sexual attraction toward other men,’ if I’m a male. ‘That’s just how I was born.’ Okay, I’m not going to make that a point of dispute or argument. But then what do we do when someone ways, ‘I was borwith a propensity toward being attracted to children. I was born with a propensity toward being attracted to German Shepherds’.’

To me, by trotting out the slippery-slope argument, Wilburn is actually comparing pedophilia (described as a mental illness in the article posted) to a healthy form of sexual behavoir. The two are not on the same slope! They’re on different mountains.

Here are a few of the comments on Wilburn’s Facebook post:

Jim Maerk Pandora’s box was opened with society’s approval of Homosexuals as a special class of people and now, the Demons are coming!

Emily Cantrell It seems like you are saying homosexuality and pedophilia are the same. Two things: 1)Those are not the same. And 2)Being hateful to gay people is going to lose us the election in 2016 so quit it!

Nick Bosco Did anyone actually read the article? Nowhere in it was there any suggestion, or even allusion, that child molesters should not be punished “because they can’t help it”.

Jeffrey Hickey And this is why liberals have as much power as they do; you conservatives prove them right every time you open your ignorant, bigoted mouths. Equating Homosexuality to Pedophilia and Bestiality is just pure and utter ignorance

Trish Mann Herbert Wow, comparing Pedophilia to homosexuality is ridiculous. One is between two consenting adults the other is preying on children who have no choice. You are relying on fear to perpetuate your idealolgy

Carla Salomone Rowland Then there should be no punishment for murderers because they can’t help them selves…they were born with a disorder..right?

Get More Smarter on Friday (May 1)

May Day! May Day! 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…

► So, Thursday was a weird day. There was an Ultrasound Bus outside the State Capitol, lots of terribly insensitive things were said in a Senate Committee hearing over the surprise abortion bill (SB-285), and in a move nobody saw coming, Senator Tim Neville’s last-minute legislation failed to even make it out of committee. Check out the Durango Herald for a good summary of yesterday’s events.

 ► Oversight on the VA Hospital construction in Aurora was virtually nonexistent, according to a new report. Let us remind you, again, that Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) is the CHAIR OF THE OVERSIGHT AND INVESTIGATIONS SUBCOMMITTEE for the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

Six Baltimore police officers are being charged in the death of Freddie Gray, which prosecutors have ruled a homicide. Gray’s death was the prime spark that kicked off riots and violence in Baltimore.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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All Aboard the Super-Friendly Ultrasound Bus!

Tim Neville Bus

The Neville Nutters — State Sen. Tim Neville and his son, Rep. Partick Neville — really don’t understand why anybody would be upset with their last-minute legislation to regulate abortions. Via John Frank of the Denver Post:

Sen. Tim Neville, the bill’s sponsor, called it a common-sense bill to provide women more information about their decision and rejected the idea that it would spark rancor.

“I don’t think it has to be a divisive issue,” the Littleton Republican said. “I can’t pick what’s going to be divisive or not.”

His son, Rep. Patrick Neville, who is the House sponsor, said he began working on the bills months ago. “I think women have a right to view an ultrasound, and it’s also a safety issue, too,” the Castle Rock Republican said.

That’s right, folks. And what could be safer than getting an ultrasound on a weird bus parked across the street from the State Capitol? The flyer you see here was distributed to State Senators this morning by Tim Neville himself (who cleverly rhymed “bus” with “fuss”). We are not making this up.

Get More Smarter on Thursday (April 30)

The first round of the NFL Draft is tonight; are you excited for the Denver Broncos to draft an offensive lineman? 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…

► There are just five days to go in the 2015 Colorado legislative session, and the end couldn’t come quicker for Senate puppet President Bill Cadman. Maybe Sen. Tim Neville will let him leave early now that he’s done the bidding of the far right and allowed a late bill exemption for a big abortion bill. John Frank of the Denver Post has more on the biggest matsah ball under the golden dome:

The measure gets its first hearing Thursday and probably will land on the Senate floor for a vote and heated debate in the final days before Wednesday’s adjournment.

It will bookend a session that began with a partisan tone in the Senate, where Republicans used their newfound majority to push a conservative agenda that generated controversy.

“It’s an unfortunate way to define a whole session,” said Senate Democratic leader Morgan Carroll of Aurora.

 

► While Colorado Republicans make a last-ditch effort to pass legislation restricting abortions, they also made sure to kill a bill that would have continued a very successful program aimed at preventing teen pregnancies. But wait, there’s more irony! As Think Progress notes:

Colorado Republicans have officially voted to eliminate funding for an award-winning family planning program that has contributed to a staggering 40 percent drop in the state’s teen birth rate over the past five years.

Ironically, the vote to deny funding from the program came just one day after it received a prestigious award from the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), which periodically honors particularly effective reproductive health initiatives at its annual conference.

► The Aurora Sentinel sums up Day 3 of the Aurora Theater Shooting Trial.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Tim Neville is the Real Senate President

Things could be worse for Senate President Bill Cadman; at least he's not a hand puppet.

Things could be worse for Senate President Bill Cadman; at least he’s not a hand puppet under Tim Neville.

THURSDAY UPDATE: Senator Tim Neville may be good at manipulating fellow Republicans, but he still can’t make this logic work:

Sen. Tim Neville, the bill’s sponsor, called it a common-sense bill to provide women more information about their decision and rejected the idea that it would spark rancor.

“I don’t think it has to be a divisive issue,” the Littleton Republican said. “I can’t pick what’s going to be divisive or not.”

No, no, you can’t. You just make Bill Cadman do it.

—–

The State Capitol is abuzz over the surprise move from Senate Republicans to introduce a last-minute bill to regulate abortions out of existence — and what this unexpected move tells us about who is really running the show for the GOP. 

There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking in the text of Senate Bill 285; requiring women to undergo an ultrasound and a 24-hour waiting period before a procedure is an approach that we have seen from anti-choice groups around the country for many years. Similar legislation was nearly passed in Virginia in 2012 until then-Gov. Bob McDonnell realized that it was obscene to suggest that women could be “forcibly penetrated” via ultrasound (for more background, check out this 2012 story in Slate magazine).

The big surprise, of course, is that SB-285 would be introduced in the State Senate just one week before the 2015 Colorado legislative session is scheduled to come to an end…and right on the heels of the GOP’s “Personhood” debacle. Even if Republicans controlled both chambers of the Colorado legislature, it would take a minimum of three working days to get a bill through the Senate and the House (we know this little fact because that’s what Republicans tried to do with their infamous “Midnight Gerrymander” back in 2003). As it stands now, there will barely be enough time for a House committee to spike the bill — should the GOP even manage to get it out of the Senate quickly — so how did this strange maneuver even surface?

First off, SB-285 could not have been introduced this late in the legislative session without the approval of Senate “President” Bill Cadman. Legislators can’t just toss out a new bill whenever they choose; if this were the case, the legislative session quite literally would never end. If you want to introduce a new bill later in the session, you must secure a “late bill exemption” from House or Senate leadership. That Cadman would grant late bill status for anything is a contradiction of his own words from the opening day of the session (Jan. 7, 2015), when he said in a floor speech “stop asking for ‘late bills'; I’m not kidding.”

Sen. Tim Neville.

Sen. Tim Neville (R-Jefferson County)

Now, Cadman is no dummy (figuratively speaking, anyway). He knows good and well that SB-285 has zero chance of making it into law. He knows that this move will be used as negative advertising fodder against Republicans in 2016. And he’s also smart enough to understand how badly this undermines his title of “Senate President.” Obstensibly, Cadman is the leader of his caucus and responsible for making sure that things like this do not happen. From what we’ve heard today, there is a growing consensus that Cadman got rolled by the right-wing of his own party — and by Senator Tim Neville specifically.

Neville has emerged as the most prominent Republican of the 2015 legislative session, leading the charge on the controversial anti-vaxxer “Parent’s Bill of Rights,” among other lost causes. The Neville Nutters have been positioning themselves as something of a political “dynasty” in recent years, including Tim’s sons, Rep. Patrick Neville, and Joe Neville, a top lobbyist for the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (whose Executive Director, Dudley Brown, thinks he owns the Senate); as well as sister-in-law Julie Williams of the Jefferson County School Board. It’s probably not a coincidence that all of the sponsors of SB-285 are also known backers of RMGO.

So what does Cadman get out of all this? By doing the bidding of the Neville Nutters, does he avoid a challenge from his own caucus in the fall so that he can remain “Senate President” in title only? Was Cadman subtly promised more business for his political consulting firm, Advantage Marketing? Or is there another political deal in the works, whereby the term-limited Cadman is backed by prominent anti-choice groups in a potential Congressional Primary against Rep. Doug Lamborn?

Of course, it is entirely possible that Cadman just “gave up” on trying to hold the line against the right-wing fringe of his party. He hasn’t been very good at keeping the trains running on time anyway, so perhaps this weakness in leadership should be expected.

Senate Bill 285 is not going to become law in 2015, but the political ramifications of this bizarre last-minute legislation will likely reverberate throughout 2016 and beyond. Consider the floodgates open.

One Down, One to Go In Public Lands Debate

Republicans in the Colorado legislature have been trying to figure out how to seize control of national public lands in Colorado, but they’re not having much success. 

One such effort, SB-232, failed to make it through the State Senate last night when Republicans couldn’t keep their votes intact; sponsored by Sen. Randy Baumgardner, SB-232 would have created a “Federal Land Management Commission” that would try to figure out how the state would manage federal lands. Sportsmen were not big fans of this bill, as the Denver Post’s Scott Willoughby pointed out last week:

With the clock winding down on the 2015 Colorado General Assembly calendar, the prophesy foretold by wary sportsmen alarmed by an increasingly radicalized contingent of elected officials in the West has entered the rudimentary stages of reality. To the fear and dismay of many who value the wide-open spaces intrinsic to Colorado — not to mention their tax dollars — the widely unpopular yet enduring attempt by this faction of officials to wrest control of federally managed public lands will move one step closer…

Let's start the bidding for these mountains at $100.

Let’s start the bidding for these mountains at $100.

The fight over federal lands isn’t over entirely — not yet, anyway. There’s still the matter of SB-39, sponsored by part-time militia-dude Sen. Kent Lambert and Senate President Bill Cadman. This bill, which will likely be defeated in the State House before the 2015 legislative session ends next week, seeks to give Colorado “concurrent jurisdiction” over certain federal lands. As part of an effort to draw attention to these bizarre efforts to “claim” national public lands, Conservation Colorado staged a clever “mock auction” of public lands this morning. From a press release (full text after the jump):

The auction served as a warning of the potential for public lands to be sold after the state assumes control and discovers it does not have the financial resources to properly manage current national public lands.  

“We don’t need to study or spend one moment more thinking about squandering our birthright, our shared inheritance of public lands.  We have a responsibility to preserve our outdoor heritage for future generations and not lose access to lands that support outdoor recreation, hunting, and fishing,” said Pete Maysmith, Executive Director, Conservation Colorado.

Full disclosure: We bid $437 for Dinosaur National Monument.

(more…)

Senate Republicans Drop Surprise WTF Bill on Abortion

Senate President Bill Cadman (R).

Senate President Bill Cadman (R), in a photo taken sometime before he went completely bonkers.

We wrote yesterday that Senate President Bill Cadman had completely hosed his fellow Republicans by pushing through a fetal homicide Personhood bill that will come back to haunt the GOP in 2016.

Guess who just doubled-down on teh stupid?

As John Frank of the Denver Post tweeted last night, Senate Republicans are rolling out a new abortion bill that seems about as pointless as an eraser:

Sen. Tim Neville, Rep. Patrick Neville.

Sen. Tim Neville and his son, Rep. Patrick Neville.

Senate Bill 285, sponsored by The Neville Nutters, is an “informed consent/right to know” bill that would essentially get rid of abortion in Colorado by creating a laundry list of barriers and red tape for anyone considering an abortion. The legislation has a lot of similarities to a failed bill back in 2008 (SB08-095), which was sponsored by former Sen. Dave Schultheis and then-Rep. Kevin Lundberg; that Schultheis and Lundberg were involved should tell you everything you need to know about that bill.

This is a “late bill,” because it is being introduced well after the midpoint of the legislative session; in fact, we might need a new term for this, because the legislature is supposed to wrap things up one week from today. Sen. Cadman is not listed as an official sponsor, but because he is the Senate President, SB-285 could not have been introduced this late in the session without Cadman’s approval.

To recap, Senate Republicans just spent weeks prattering on about how SB-268 (the fetal homicide/Personhood bill) was about “justice” and not about abortion or Personhood or anything else. Cadman completely lost control of SB-268, to the point where Senators Ellen Roberts and Kevin Lundberg finally just admitted that this was an abortion bill. The legislation passed out of the Senate and will almost certainly come to a screeching halt in the State House, so the only thing that Cadman succeeded in doing was getting his caucus on-record about Personhood and making the anti-abortion group Americans United for Life fairly happy.

To follow up on that disaster, Cadman allowed a new abortion bill to be introduced that has no chance whatsoever of making it through the legislature; even if Cadman somehow picked up enough votes to move SB-285, there is no time left in the session to do it.

Is Cadman trying to sabotage Republicans, or has he just given up on trying to control the fringe elements of his caucus? Given what happened last week, it’s possible that Cadman just threw up his hands and said, “do whatever you want” to the extremists running around the Senate chamber. This will not end well.

Bernie Sanders will Run for President

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is a registered Independent, will seek the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016.

Sanders likely doesn’t really think he can defeat the young whippersnapper Hillary Clinton (Sanders is about 6 years older than Hillary), but by entering the race, the hope is that he will serve as something of a policy magnet to bring Clinton closer to “left-center” rather than “center-center.” As NPR in Vermont reports, “His opposition to a proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal (T.P.P.) shows how he plans to frame this key issue of his campaign.”

 

Bill Cadman Leads Republicans Over the Cliff on Personhood

Senate President Bill Cadman leads Republicans off a cliff once again.

Senate President Bill Cadman should have hit the brakes earlier.

“Justice.” Senate President Bill Cadman said it again…and again…and again in discussing SB-268, the fetal homicide/Personhood legislation he crammed through the State Senate despite objections and proposed amendments from Democrats. Cadman has repeatedly said that his legislation, which was introduced in the aftermath of a brutal crime against a pregnant woman in Longmont in March, is about “justice” in allowing prosecutors to seek murder charges in the death of an unborn child.

But SB-268 is really a bill about “Personhood,” which would change the definition of a “person” to include “an unborn person at every age of gestation.” We’ve said it before in this space, and Cadman and his fellow Republicans proved Monday that SB-268 was always about Personhood, first and foremost. As John Frank of the Denver Post explains:

In the Senate debate, Democrats unsuccessfully sought to amend the bill to take out the language defining a person as an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth.” Another amendment that failed would have gutted the measure to only increase the penalties in attacks on pregnant women under Colorado’s current law.

The critics cited concerns that Senate Bill 268 included verbatim sections from model legislation proposed by Americans United for Life, an anti- organization, and cited similar laws in other states where district attorneys prosecuted pregnant mothers for endangering the child.

As any political observer with half a brain could have forseen, Senate Democrats offered up amendments Monday that would have removed the “Personhood” language from SB-268. Cadman had Republicans entrenched by now, however, so the GOP refused to accept the amendments…and things got worse in the process.

CMurphyTweet

Former Denver Post editor Chuck Murphy was among those (via Twitter) who noticed the GOP’s problem with SB-268.

Republican Sen. Ellen Roberts actually conceded that the real point of SB-268 was to declare a fetus a person, and Assistant Majority Leader Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) began droning on about the importance of extending constitutional rights to the unborn. In voting down the proposed amendments, Senate Republicans are now on record in support of Personhood, which Colorado voters have flatly rejected every time it has appeared as a ballot measure. These votes will be used often in 2016 against Republicans seeking re-election, and it’s gonna sting. The advertisements write themselves: “When Republicans gained control of the State Senate, they pushed a Personhood bill that contained similar language to ballot measures that Colorado voters have opposed on three separate occasions.”

There was never any real chance that SB-268 would make it out of the State House, and Monday’s actions only ensured as much. But Cadman’s “leadership” here may very well give Democrats everything they need to re-take control of the State Senate in 2016. This bill was going to be stuck with the “Personhood” tag no matter how many times Cadman said the word “justice.”

Colorado already has the “Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act” on the books — and has since 2013 — so there was no real practical need for Cadman to rage around the State Capitol for the last month. If Cadman truly didn’t realize that he was walking his caucus into a Personhood debate, then he is in no way capable of leading Senate Republicans in 2016.

If Cadman did realize this problem ahead of time, but pushed forward anyway…well, he is in no way capable of leading Senate Republicans in 2016.

 

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 28)

Hey, there it is! Welcome back, Sun. 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…

► Prosecutors are scheduled to call their first witness today in the Aurora Theater Shooting trial. The Aurora Sentinel provides a handy update for Day Two.

► As the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments over same-sex marriage, experts on both sides of the argument seem to think equality is a foregone conclusion. Or…maybe not?

► So-called fetal homicide Personhood legislation limped out of the State Senate yesterday. Senate Bill 268 is unlikely to make it through the State House, especially after running into all manner of political problems in the Senate. 

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Buck Wants to Weaken DC Gun-Safety Laws, Calls Colorado Pols “Knuckleheads”

(Eh, we’ll take “knuckleheads.” — promoted by Colorado Pols)

After being investigated by Washington DC authorities for having an AR-15 assault rifle in his Washington office, freshman Republican Congressman Ken Buck said he intends to use his congressional committee assignments to weaken DC gun-saftey laws, which are among the nation’s toughest.

Asked on NRA News’ “Cam and Co” Show April 23 if he now has “added impetus” to address DC’s gun laws, Buck replied, “Yes, it does,” noting that the issue falls under the jurisdiction of two committees on which he sits: the Judiciary and Oversight and Government Reform Committees.

“It’s something I will look at,” said Buck on the podcast, noting that it’s not “on the top of the heap,” but he’s already talked to other Members of Congress about it.

“There is going to be an effort to look at what DC does and to try to rein in the really irrational–if you’re an honest law-abiding citizen, you want to have a means to protect yourself,” Buck said on air, discussing Washington’s gun-safety laws. “And it’s just unbelievable that people in DC believe that honest people should not be able to protect themselves. They should be victimized.”

Buck revealed the presence of the assault weapon in his office last week, when he tweeted a photo of it along with: “My friend Trey Gowdy stopped by the office — had to show him my AR-15 to commemorate the occasion.”

The tweet was first reported by the progressive blog ColoradoPols, which Buck referred to as “knuckleheads” in his NRA news interview.

“There were some knuckleheads back in Colorado that decided they wanted to cause some problems, and so they forwarded the picture to the Attorney General here in DC,” Buck said, when asked how Washington authorities became aware of the assault weapon in his office.

It appears that Buck did not break Capitol-Police rules by having the weapon in his office, but the Metropolitan DC Police have apparently not commented. The Washington DC Attorney General looked into the matter and referred it to the DC police,

“As conservatives, we are more cautious [with their weapons], because we understand that there is a double standard,” Buck said on air. “But in this case they ate crow, and I hope they continue to eat crow for a long time. I hope other Congressmen see that they can have a gun in their office and follow the lead.”

“I have a very patriotic AR15 hanging in my office. It hangs directly above my Second Amendment flag,” Buck said in a statement, as reported by The Denver Post.