Neville Not “Buckpedaling” on Abortion

(Tim Neville aims to dominate Thanksgiving table talk – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

State Sen. Tim Neville.

State Sen. Tim Neville.

“My name is Tim Neville, and I’m THE pro-Life candidate running for the nomination to take on and defeat Democrat Michael Bennet in November 2016.”

That’s how Neville, who’s considered the frontrunner in the GOP Senate primary, describes himself in a recent fundraising email.

And judging from the email (excerpt below), it’s hard to imagine there’s a more anti-choice candidate anywhere on the planet.

Neville even confirms that the Live at Conception Act is a personhood bill, something Sen. Cory Gardner was willfully confused about.

In contrast to Gardner, who was obviously worried women would revolt against his history of Neville-like positions on abortion, Neville brags that “politicians in both parties” opposed his bill that would have “forced abortion providers to offer women the opportunity to see an ultrasound, saving thousands of babies in the process.” (Translation: women would be required to have an ultrasound prior to having an abortion.)

We know Republicans in Colorado like to modify their positions once they face a general-election audience. See, for example, Gardner, Rep. Mike Coffman, Bob Beauprez, Rep. Ken “Buckpedal” Buck.

But unlike those guys, you get the feeling that Neville really  believes he can win over both primary and general election voters by being himself, regardless of the issue. That will set him apart from recent state-wide Republican candidates. That would make things interesting.


Missing The Point, Garfield County Commission Edition

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent’s John Stroud follows up on the amusing unintended consequences of the decision by the GOP-owned and operated Garfield County board of commissioners to cut off a small longstanding grant to the local Planned Parenthood health clinic:

Ashley Johnson never imagined the kind of response she’d get when she launched an online fundraising campaign for the local Planned Parenthood clinic following a politically motivated decision by Garfield County commissioners to cut grant funding.

Her effort that began two weeks ago with a goal of replacing the $1,500 cut quickly gained momentum.

As of Monday, the “Hear our voice. Fund women’s health” site had raised $23,450 among 281 donors. Another $325 was donated via a separate Wells Fargo Bank benefit account, according to Johnson.

That’s right–Garfield County’s decision to cut off a $1,500 grant to Planned Parenthood’s resulted in over fifteen times that amount being donated to the organization as a result of local resident Ashley Johnson’s GoFundMe drive. We’re going to go out on a limb here and suggest that is not the outcome that Garfield County commissioners had in mind when they decided Planned Parenthood Votes’ emails defending itself from a partisan Republican Party onslaught were “too political.”

But to listen to commissioner Tom Jankovsky today, you might think he planned the whole thing:

Jankovsky said Monday that he’s glad private donors stepped up to support a service that he said he also believes provides a valuable service in Garfield County.

“I think it’s great that they’re doing that,” he said. “Our decision on funding didn’t mean we didn’t want Planned Parenthood to continue.”

Rather, he said human services grants are intended mostly for locally based, nonpolitical organizations. He said he and the other commissioners felt Planned Parenthood’s state and national affiliates had crossed that line…

The problem with this lame excuse is obvious: if Jankovsky and his fellow Republican commissioners hadn’t cut off the funding, there would have been no impetus for the fundraising drive. Commissioners’ vote to cut off the county’s nominal grant to the organization is what precipitated this presumably one-time fundraising windfall.

And it’s an overwhelming counterpoint to whatever point they were trying to make.

Politically, this was a foolish mistake for GarCo’s GOP commissioners, whose ham-fisted attempt to insert themselves at the tail end of the summer-long Republican Planned Parenthood grandstand completely backfired. With 2015’s witch hunt by anti-choice usual suspects having mostly fizzled out, this result should serve notice to other bush-league elected officials with fiscal authority that the political damage from petty trolling of an organization that communities really do value outweighs any gains.

Better for everyone, not least themselves, to leave well enough alone.

Oh, You Mean THAT War on Women

Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R).

Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R).

The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reports from yesterday’s standing-room-only “hearing” (parentheses explained below) held by the Republican Study Committee of Colorado at the Capitol. The announced subject of yesterday’s all-day public event was something they called “fetal tissue trafficking,” but the event quickly devolved into a free-for-all anti-abortion speechification exercise:

Colorado Republicans on Monday held a listening session at the state Capitol that quickly turned into a trial of Planned Parenthood.

The Republican lawmakers who spearheaded the six-hour packed listening session said the purpose of the event was strictly “informational” in an effort to guide future policy decisions. It followed similar hearings on the congressional level.

Republicans are considering legislation for next year in an effort to crackdown on Planned Parenthood, though such measures would face a tough climb in a Legislature split between Republicans and Democrats.

As CBS4 reports, yesterday’s “hearing,” which was a completely nonofficial event that, as Sen. Chris Holbert took pains to note yesterday, will not result in any state staff time or legislator per diem pay, is nonetheless a prelude to what we can expect to see in the 2016 legislative session:

The Republican Study Committee of Colorado met at the state Capitol to discuss video tapes and legislation in response to them. Eight Republican state lawmakers met for what they called an “informational hearing” on fetal tissue trafficking.

“There’s a problem and we’re trying to get down to the essence of what the facts are here in Colorado,” said Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Larimer County.

The meeting comes after a secretly recorded tape showed a doctor from Planned Parenthood of the Rockies talking about fetal tissue donation. Republicans say it shows the doctor trying to sell fetal tissue for profit, which is against the law. But the attorney general and state health department declined to investigate, prompting Republicans to launch their own investigation.

State Sen. Owen Hill.

State Sen. Owen Hill.

As the Colorado Springs Gazette’s Megan Schrader writes, GOP lawmakers busily working on gratuitous Planned Parenthood troll-bills for 2016 are shocked, shocked mind you, that nobody wants to have anything to do with this:

Sen. Owen Hill, R-Colorado Springs, has pulled a bill title to defund Planned Parenthood, a nonprofit that provides abortions in Colorado along with other family planning and health screening services. Hill was not at the meeting, but Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, said he had spoken to Hill about the bill.

Sen. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, said he was concerned about the testimony he heard and had questions for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the research facilities at CSU that procure fetal tissue. He said he was surprised that both organizations declined an invitation to participate in the event.

From Planned Parenthood and their liberal allies, while obviously condemning the entire spectacle, an enthusiastic response that signals a willingness, even eagerness to take Republicans head-on:


Lundberg may try to subpoena witnesses who declined to answer questions at today’s hearing

(Wombghazi! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

Sen. Kevin Lundberg (R).

With witnesses from across the political spectrum refusing to participate in today’s “informational hearing” on alleged sales of fetal-tissue for research purposes, Sen. Kevin Lundberg may request authority to subpoena witnesses for legislative hearings next year.

“I can go to the Senate and seek permission to have that authority for any specific issue,” said Lundberg, who’s the Senate Republican Assistant Majority Leader, on KLZ 560-AM Thursday (at  18:45 below). “And this may rise to that occasion.”

“I have never seen subpoena powers granted to a [Colorado legislative] committee, but it’s within the rules,” said Lundberg on air, citing his position as chair of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee, which would have jurisdiction on this matter.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado State University, Planned Parenthood, and the University of Colorado have refused to attend today’s 9 a.m. hearing at the state capitol to answer  questions from Lundberg and 20 other conservative state lawmakers, Lundberg told KLZ morning host Steve Curtis.

If they refuse to testify again next year, Lundberg said, he’ll consider seeking subpoena power from his Senate colleagues, who hold a majority.

“I haven’t ruled that out at all,” he told Curtis, adding that it will depend on what information is uncovered at today’s hearing. Lundberg believes, for example, that if fetal tissue from Planned Parenthood were used in scientific research at Colorado Universities, it would violate Colorado’s ban on indirect funding of abortion. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains maintains that it has no fetal-tissue donation program.

For background on CSU and CU’s fetal-tissue programs see here and here.


Garfield Commissioners Raise Big Bucks For Planned Parenthood

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

As the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent’s John Stroud reports, the decision this week by Garfield County’s Republican commissioners to eliminate a small grant to Planned Parenthood in support of a health center in Glenwood Springs is…well, it’s tough to imagine this response from the community is what they had hoped for:

A grass-roots fundraising campaign has raised more than $13,000 for the Glenwood Springs Planned Parenthood clinic in response to a politically motivated decision by Garfield County commissioners earlier this week to cut a grant to the organization.

Organizer Ashley Johnson of Carbondale indicated on her webpage that the goal of the campaign is now $15,000. If successful, that would be 10 times the amount of the $1,500 county human services grant that was eliminated by commissioners on Monday.

That decision, led by Commissioner Tom Jankovsky over his concerns about what he referred to as “partisan, political” messages being sent out by Planned Parenthood’s political advocacy affiliate in Colorado, prompted significant public reaction on social media after the story broke in the Post Independent.

The grant that was to go to Planned Parenthood’s Glenwood clinic for cancer screening was part of a package of 2016 county human services grants totaling more than $430,000.

Now, some of you might think, and not without justification, that this successful backlash fundraising drive plays into the hands of Planned Parenthood’s opponents–who argue that the organization “doesn’t need” a dime of public funding for cancer screenings or anything else. But the fact is, these grant funds helped Planned Parenthood perform a valuable service to the local community, which is why they have been distributed to the organization for decades. And without this denial by GarCo county commissioners, there would be no controversy to raise funds off of.

For these reasons, the political damage to Garfield County’s Republican commissioners far outweighs any actual harm done to Planned Parenthood. The cornball excuse from GOP commissioner Tom Jankovsky that Planned Parenthood is sending out “partisan” emails, which he then uses to justify doing exactly what those emails say Republicans do, simply protests his own guilt. And once you factor the community rising up and raising ten times the amount of the grant that was eliminated?

Like the entire summer of “Fetuspalooza,” we just don’t see how any of this is helping the GOP.

Unless their goal really is to help Planned Parenthood.

GarCo Commishes Determined To Troll Planned Parenthood

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

Garfield County commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin, and Tom Jankovsky.

As the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent’s John Stroud reports, Republican commissioners in Garfield County are determined to be part of the not-really-existent Planned Parenthood “backlash” story, and don’t you dare tell them they can’t be:

Citing what one Garfield County commissioner called “partisan emails” from political action groups advocating for Planned Parenthood, commissioners Monday eliminated 2016 grant funding for the local clinic.

“Our human services grant recipients are not supposed to be political, and this group is very political,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said…

“I receive emails that I find to be very partisan, and very political, and I’m no longer comfortable with this organization,” Jankovsky said, referring to the political action group Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.

“I understand how important Planned Parenthood has been for women’s health … but I have to take a stand on this,” he said.

As Stroud reports, the Garfield County board of commissioners voted yesterday to take away a $1,500 grant to Planned Parenthood’s Glenwood Springs Health Center. Apparently, the GOP-controlled GarCo board of commissioners has been “concern trolling” the local Planned Parenthood clinic for several years, having cut off and reinstated funding in 2012-13 after receiving redundant assurances from the organization that no, they’re not “paying for abortions” with your tax dollars.

Obviously, the biggest problem with the stated rationale for this action by Garfield County’s Republican commissioners is that Planned Parenthood is under attack by the same party they belong to. One need look no further to discover why Planned Parenthood is obliged to defend itself from one side of the political spectrum than the Republican Study Committee of Colorado’s upcoming all day kangaroo-court “hearing” scheduled at the Colorado Capitol for next week. The entire summer-long campaign against Planned Parenthood using doctored undercover videos from usual-suspect anti-abortion types has played out as a partisan political exercise. But don’t tell any of that to GarCo’s Republican commissioners:

Jankovsky also acknowledged that Planned Parenthood “does many good things, and has been very positive in what they have done here in Garfield County.” [Pols emphasis]

“Because of the politics of it, I can’t continue to support it,” he said.

To whatever extent Planned Parenthood’s self-defense comes across as “partisan,” that’s simply because the attacks on Planned Parenthood are 100% partisan Republican in nature. Of course, you and Republican Garfield County commissioner Tom Jankovsky already know that. And as long as you know that Planned Parenthood is under attack by the GOP as a partisan exercise, necessitating a defense that inevitably has some degree of partisan undertones due to the partisan nature of the attack, a defense which is then itself condemned as “partisan” by partisan Republicans with a history of attacks on Planned Parenthood…

Good Lord, this is so damned stupid. Just admit you wanted a piece of the action, boys.

Planned Parenthood Declines To Waste Your Time

komen-planned-parenthood4-1As the Grand Junction Sentinel’s Charles Ashby reports:

Planned Parenthood of Colorado told a group of conservative state legislators last week to take a hike over its planned hearing on fetal tissue trafficking.

The group, called the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, announced plans to hold a six-hour “informational hearing” Nov. 9 on the so-called practice of selling fetal tissue, and invited several people and groups to testify on the matter.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

Sen. Laura Waters-Woods.

The response from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is…well, it’s more polite than we would have been:

Planned Parenthood told the unofficial legislative committee that it was declining its invitation to appear before the panel, which is made up of 21 of the most conservative Republican representatives and senators in the Colorado Legislature.

“Their so-called hearing is nothing but a political sham to boost the profile of politicians like Sen. Tim Neville, who had the worst record in the Legislature last year on women’s reproductive rights, and Laura Woods, who has almost as extreme an agenda as Neville,” said Cathy Alderman, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado.

The problem is, this Republican-manufactured “committee” has no mandate or authority to investigate Planned Parenthood–let alone enforce any judgment that might result from their “investigation.” Ashby reports that the only people who have agreed to “testify” before this “hearing” are usual-suspect pro-life groups like Mike Norton’s Alliance Defending Freedom. Because both the Colorado Department of Public Health and even anti-abortion Attorney General Cynthia Coffman have refused to humor legislative Republican demands for an investigation into throughly-discredited allegations that the organization “sells baby body parts,” a kangaroo court to self-injuriously reaffirm the Republican Party’s opposition to abortion is all that’s left.

And no, our local Planned Parenthood is under absolutely no obligation to dignify that with a response.

Planned Parenthood: The Needle Mike Coffman Can’t Thread

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.

The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch reports:

Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora said Saturday he supports women’s healthcare but not abortion practices that “fly in the face of human decency,” and that’s why he joined other House Republicans to vote for a budget bill Friday that defunds Planned Parenthood for one year…

“Many longtime supporters of Planned Parenthood are not only shocked by what’s been revealed, but also by Planned Parenthood’s arrogant response. 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.”

The react from Coffman’s Democratic opponent Morgan Carroll was swift:

“It is appalling to see people playing political games with women’s lives, bodies and personal freedoms,” Carroll said in a statement Friday evening. [Pols emphasis]

Last year, as has recently drawn much attention from us and others, Coffman used Planned Parenthood’s logo in a campaign ad, noting that the organization had praised a vote he cast in favor of a bill to combat violence against women. That hasn’t stopped Coffman from joining in on the GOP’s pile-on against the organization after the release of heavily-edited videos this summer attacking the organization’s fetal tissue donation practices for medical research. But in recent weeks, the campaign against Planned Parenthood by congressional Republicans has lost much momentum after a hearing to confront the organization’s director Cecile Richards backfired in spectacular fashion, with even the ambitious young chair of the committee Rep. Jason Chaffetz admitting there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

But again, and unfortunately it has to be said again and again, that’s reality. In the bubble of conservative media culture and the “grassroots” they keep in a constant state of slow-boiling panic, none of this factual stuff matters. Planned Parenthood will always be the ghoulish agency of evil where baby brains and still-kicking little disembodied limbs are kept alive in petri dishes for sale to the highest bidder, most likely some sleazy Eurotrash Bond villain type (George Soros) who wants to clone an army of fetus Frankensteins for world domination.

Have we mentioned recently that the people who believe this stuff make up Coffman’s base?

You see, folks, the reason that this keeps happening over and over again, necessitating long-winded explanations from Coffman about how he doesn’t really oppose women’s health care but has to vote like he does out of “conscience,” is simple: Coffman is trapped between the swing votes he has to hold onto in order to stay in office in a highly competitive district, and the Republican base votes he cannot afford to alienate. Just like the issue of immigration reform, as much as Coffman would like to, he will never be able to appeal to authentic moderate and left-independent voters more than his Democratic opponents–but he also can’t make too much of an effort to appeal to them without upsetting the conservative Republican base that has to be there for him in order to get re-elected.

Unlike immigration reform, an issue politically-savvy Republicans are happy to see ignored between now and the 2016 elections, Planned Parenthood is the subject du jour for the conservative wing of the Republican Party today. Holding endless show trial hearings, staging vote after vote to give safe-district Republican politicians multiple opportunities to lodge their vilification of Planned Parenthood in the permanent record, is what they want to be doing with their time.

If Mike Coffman does possess any political sense, he knows this is a huge mistake for himself politically–even if it’s not for some others in his party. But even if he does know, he’s powerless to change course.

Latest Planned Parenthood Witch Hunt Fizzles

komen-planned-parenthood4-1Huffington Post reports–remember that crazy hearing in Congress a little over a week ago that featured a bunch of Republicans practically leaping over the rail to attack Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood? A hearing so ugly to watch than even Glenn Beck wingnut and ex-Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi was unable to defend it?

The Republicans in charge of that hearing hope you forget it:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Thursday that the GOP’s investigation into Planned Parenthood’s use of federal funds hasn’t turned up anything.

“Did I look at the finances and have a hearing specifically as to the revenue portion and how they spend? Yes. Was there any wrongdoing? I didn’t find any,” he said during a Judiciary Committee hearing on the family planning provider.

Chaffetz, a candidate for House speaker, grilled Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards during a five-hour hearing last week. He questioned her salary, asked about the organization’s expenses and revenues, and pressed Richards on why the group had revenue of $127 million last year if it’s a nonprofit. (Nonprofits put their revenues back into their programs.)

But after all that, he concluded that Planned Parenthood isn’t doing anything sketchy with its money. “Did we find any wrongdoing? The answer was no,” Chaffetz said. [Pols emphasis]

After the spectacle of this much-hyped hearing, in which an unflappable Richards was personally lambasted over a range of allegations against Planned Parenthood both related and separate from heavily-edited videos released over the summer, Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s anticlimactic admission that there’s no “there” there in any of this latest trolling of Planned Parenthood makes us wonder what the plan ever was. Numerous local investigations of Planned Parenthood in the wake of those videos have turned up no violations of the law. Here in Colorado, our GOP attorney general has declined to go after Planned Parenthood despite considerable pressure from legislative Republicans.

In our experience, the Republican Party’s recurring war on legalized abortion, which is sometimes identified as part of a larger “war on women” by Democrats, is much more of an off-year pursuit than something seen during election years. Supporters of so-called “Personhood” abortion bans keep trying regardless of the season, of course, but by and large Republicans tend to put abortion on the back burner during contested elections–even to the point of shamelessly flip-flopping, or dissing their erstwhile allies who aren’t smart enough to know when this issue is useful politically to the GOP and when it needs to be squelched. After all, who wants to be the next Todd Akin?

Well, folks, it’s mid-October in an off year! So it’s just about time for abortion to go back on the proverbial shelf. There’s always the chance that this time, our media and pundit class will figure the game out and not get played like a fiddle in 2016 like Cory Gardner did to them in 2014. We hope so, but based on experience, we can’t count on it.

Even David Harsanyi Can’t Defend It

David Harsanyi.

David Harsanyi.

David Harsanyi was a conservative columnist for the Denver Post for many years. Up until his departure from the Post to take a job with Glenn Beck’s budding media empire in 2011, we had a few occasions of fun times calling out Harsanyi for making silly factual errors and living a life of walking, talking hypocrisy. And of course, once he went to work for Glenn Beck, we pretty much stopped whatever residual taking seriously of him we had ever engaged in.

But we will take note of Harsanyi’s column in The Federalist yesterday, in which he almost rips apart the House GOP’s embarrassing show trial of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards this week. It begins promisingly enough:

If for some reason you needed additional evidence that the Republican Party was deeply incompetent, unprepared, uncoordinated, inexcusably lazy, then try watching Cecile Richards’ appearance in front of congress yesterday.

Zing! But this is David Harsanyi, so don’t let that initial red-on-red snarkiness fool you:

Now, I get that these kinds of hearings are normally a waste of time, but in this instance the GOP had some good reasons to project competence. This is, after all, the issue that’s generated so much tension within their party of late. An effective showing—something resembling a smart prosecution—might have allayed a bit of the percolating discontent. Yet there they were, facing a CEO whose organization performs vivisections on humans and harvests baby brains, and the best they could do most of the time was throw her softballs or ensure her martyrdom…

It’s worth pointing out that, unlike most of the GOP members of the committee, Richards actually earns her salary. She exhibits impressive composure and rhetorical discipline, never wandering off her chosen focus for too long, and basically does everything someone like Jim Jordan does not. The Ohio rep looked like he was about to hop over the podium grab her by the arms and demand answers. The optics were horrible, and the trivial gotcha that made him act like a transmuting Bruce Banner—whether Richards had actually apologized for the video tapes or not— was also irrelevant.

He could have tricked Richards into acknowledging she had lied when she said that Planned Parenthood “never claimed” to offer mammograms? That would have taken preparation and research rather than yelling. Republicans never, setting aside all the hysterical parsing of the media, got Richards to admit that Carly Fiorina’s comments regarding human fetuses being delivered intact and alive during abortions was irrefutable.

To be clear, this “criticism” is loaded up with pseudo-extenuating hooey. Planned Parenthood conducts breast exams and files the necessary referrals for mammograms–which means that cutting off their funds could certainly cut off access to that procedure if even they’re not done in Planned Parenthood’s offices. And while David Harsanyi may have an interest in running cover for Carly Fiorina’s blatant falsehoods regarding the content of doctored undercover videos attacking Planned Parenthood, basically nobody else does.

Overall, though, reading Harsanyi’s column on Tuesday’s disastrous hearing evoked sympathy from us. It must indeed be frustrating to watch your partisan allies make such profound fools of themselves on national television, then be required to opine about it in a way that preserves at least some of their collective dignity.

We couldn’t do it.

Neville Rallies GOP Base Against Planned Parenthood

Sen. Tim Neville.

Sen. Tim Neville.

A strongly-worded letter sent to Colorado GOP Reps. Scott Tipton, Doug Lamborn, and Mike Coffman today urges them to resist any attempt to preserve funding for Planned Parenthood–implicitly giving them cover to shut down the government in order to force the Obama administration to the bargaining table. Excerpts:

As members of the governed, we are asking you to put politics aside and focus on the unalienable right to Life. Today, 3000 unborn babies will die due to the butchering effects of abortion. At conception, they are American citizens that require their life to be protected by our government. We ask that you focus on those children and remind yourself of the evil you have witnessed in the ten undercover videos to date.

Therefore, we write to you with great urgency concerning the upcoming Continuing Resolution which includes continued funding for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. As you may be aware, Planned Parenthood performed 327,000 abortions in the last year and has been the subject of many unspeakable undercover videos displaying the sale of fetal body parts for profit. Last year alone, Planned Parenthood received $528 million in taxpayer dollars.

As constituents and leaders in the conservative movement and Republican Party in the state of Colorado, we urge you to stand up for the rights of the preborn, to stand up to our pro-abortion president, and to sign the Mulvaney letter, committing to fully defund Planned Parenthood and oppose any continuing resolution that does not.

Congress must act now with the full power of the purse, draw a line in the sand, and let the Democrats in Congress and President Obama explain to the American people why our tax dollars go to support an organization that will commit more than 70,000 abortions between now and December 11 and deals in trafficking fetal body parts. We cannot, as conservatives and Republicans, allow the President to force our hands and accept continued government funding of abortions in the name of ‘getting something done’ or ‘woman’s health care’.

The letter is signed first and foremost by U.S. Senate candidate Tim Neville and his son Colorado Rep. Patrick Neville. From there, it’s a who’s-who of Colorado Republican Party county chairs, local talk-radio hosts, and grassroots activists.

Because recent events have significantly reduced the threat of a shutdown, with a vote on a continuing resolution to fund the government until December coming later today, this letter underscores Neville’s position as a grassroots leader whose positions naturally align with that of the GOP rank-and-file. John Boehner’s decision to fall on his sword has only delayed the confrontation over Planned Parenthood’s funding until December, after all–and between now and then, Neville can use language like what you read above to whip the Republican base into a heady froth. By December’s vote on the next continuing resolution, Neville will be in a prime position to either triangulate off backsliding Republicans, or take credit for their actions if the government shuts down.

Either way, Neville is rocking the cradle that rules the world. And the 2016 GOP Senate primary.

PPP: Planned Parenthood Crusade Political Suicide In Colorado

komen-planned-parenthood4-1A new survey from Public Policy Polling on behalf of Planned Parenthood of Colorado voters says that the Republican Party’s war against Planned Parenthood underway at the state and federal levels is a big, big mistake:

A new Public Policy Polling survey of Colorado voters find that voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood and oppose shutting down the government over the issue. Voters would be less likely to vote to re-elect Representatives who supported shutting down the government to block Planned Parenthood funding.

Key findings from the survey include:

-55% of voters say they would view shutting down the government to block Planned Parenthood funding unfavorably. Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the idea- 72% of them oppose it, compared to only 23% who say support the idea. And it has opposition from critical independent voters- 55% are in opposed to 38% in favor. Overall 52% of voters oppose defunding Planned Parenthood whether or not a government shutdown is in play. [Pols emphasis]

-Voters would be less likely to vote to re-elect Representatives who voted to shut down the government to try and defund Planned Parenthood. 48% of voters say they’d be less likely to vote to re-elect those who stage a government shutdown, including 66% of Democratic voters and 52% of Independents. Just 35% of voters say they’d be more likely.

-Majorities of voters agree that attempting a government shutdown would reflect badly on the Republican Party. At least 50% of voters agree with each of the following statements: Shutting down the government to block any funding for Planned Parenthood would show that the Republicans in Congress put partisan politics ahead of what’s best for the country, that Republicans in Congress would go too far in catering to the extreme anti-abortion elements in their party, that Republicans in Congress are out of touch with the needs and concerns of women today, and that Republicans in Congress are too extreme in their policies and tactics.

Here’s the poll memo from PPP. It’s an obligatory caveat to note that PPP is generally considered a Democratic-aligned polling outfit, but they’ve received much praise over the years for accurately polling our state–including nailing last year’s U.S. Senate race as a two-point win for Cory Gardner in late September.

Given our state’s experience in the last government shutdown, which came just following devastating floods that impacted the Front Range and cost Colorado tourism towns millions after national parks and monuments closed, it’s no surprise to see local voters taking a dim view of another potential shutdown. But in addition to that, this poll shows truly resilient support for Planned Parenthood in our state–despite the release of numerous doctored undercover videos attacking the organization’s fetal tissue donation practices. Even after some of the videos depicted local Planned Parenthood employees with unflattering selective edits to their comments, a majority of Coloradans still oppose any attempt to cut off the organization’s funding.

That’s good news for all of you wondering if the onslaught of misleading videos was really moving public opinion–they’re not, at least not here–and bad news for Republicans who invested precious political capital in the hope that these videos would change the game on reproductive choice.

They didn’t. And Republicans are making the same old mistake once again.

Orange Era Ends: Boehner To Resign

UPDATE #4: Rep. Mike Coffman sounds much more conciliatory today with John Boehner than when he complained earlier this year about House leadership foot-dragging on funding for the Aurora VA hospital:

“Speaker John Boehner was under constant attack from conservatives who thought he did not do enough and from liberals who thought he did too much,” Coffman said.

Which one was Coffman, you ask? He’d rather not say.


UPDATE #3: Hard-right GOP Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado Springs says “don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you” to John Boehner:

“Although we did not always agree on tactics and methods, I appreciate that Speaker Boehner did his best to serve the American people,” Lamborn said. “I wish him well in the future and look forward to assessing the candidates who will step forward as the next nominees for speaker.”


UPDATE #2: We are working to confirm a report that now-outgoing Speaker John Boehner will appear at a fundraiser with Rep. Mike Coffman next Tuesday:

House Speaker John Boehner will campaign in Denver Tuesday for U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora.

This was reported prior to Boehner’s announcement today that he will resign, so we have no way of knowing if this event will still happen. But Coffman’s difficulty juggling clear obligations to his district, from immigration reform to trying to get the wildly overbudget VA medical center in Aurora completed, with the often opposed interests of Boehner and GOP House leadership, has arguably been his greatest liability as he tries to hold on to one of the nation’s most competitive House seats.

And a visit from Boehner next Tuesday could throw that conflict into very harsh relief indeed.


UPDATE: Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado effusive in his praise for John Boehner:

“John Boehner is a devoted family man, an exceptionally talented public servant, and one of the proudest Americans I know. One of twelve children, he went from sweeping the floors at his father’s Cincinnati bar to walking the halls of the Capitol as the highest ranking official in Congress.”

“He has lived the American dream, and been an inspiration to many, including myself,” Gardner wrote. “From my time in the House to the current day, I am proud to consider John Boehner a friend and ally. I will miss his steady leadership — our country is better off for his service.”

We’re watching to see who else in our delegation agrees.


House Speaker John Boehner (R).

House Speaker John Boehner (R).

Stunning news out of Washington, D.C. this morning, The Hill reporting:

Speaker John Boehner told GOP lawmakers on Friday he will resign at the end of October.

The embattled Ohio Republican will resign from both his Speakership and his House seat, he told GOP lawmakers at a closed-door conference meeting…

“He is proud of what this majority has accomplished, and his Speakership, but for the good of the Republican Conference and the institution, he will resign the Speakership and his seat in Congress, effective October 30.”

Boehner’s decision comes as Congress struggles to find a way to fund the government.

Most sources report that Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California is the likely successor. With the dust still settling from this huge Friday announcement, we have yet to see reaction from our local Republican members, or any firm reports about what this means for the unresolved battle over funding the federal government past the looming October 1st shutdown deadline. Did John Boehner just defuse a metaphorical time bomb, or get himself out of the way of an impending train wreck? We’ll know soon.

Watch this space for updates on both of those angles as they come in.

Gardner Abortion Votes Slaughter Denver Post’s Credibility

Senator Cory Gardner.

Senator Cory Gardner.

CBS News reports on the latest attempt in the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate to ban abortions after 20 weeks, a number considered arbitrary by experts and an incremental step toward outlawing all abortions by pro-choice advocates:

Senate Democrats thwarted a Republican effort to ban late-term abortions on Tuesday as GOP leaders strained to avoid a government shutdown in eight days over the dispute – all against a tangled backdrop of presidential politics…

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats blocked a GOP measure to prohibit most late-term abortions. The Senate voted 54-42 to move ahead on the legislation, but that fell six votes short of the 60 needed to crack a filibuster mostly led by Democrats.

Tuesday’s vote was the second time since this summer’s release of videos involving Planned Parenthood that Senate Democrats have derailed an abortion-related drive by the GOP. It was held less than 48 hours before a first-ever papal address to Congress by Pope Francis, who leads a Roman Catholic Church that rejects abortion…

“We should stand for our principles, and our principles should not be surrendering to the Democrats,” another presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, said Tuesday.


Republican Senators Susan Collins and Mark Kirk joined with Democrats in voting to block the 20-week abortion ban bill, a similar version of which had already passed the Republican-controlled Congress. The vote on the 20-week abortion ban is just one of several attacks on reproductive rights moving forward in the wake of the heavily edited undercover videos released over the summer attacking Planned Parenthood over fetal tissue donations for medical research.

Reading today’s Denver Post, you might get the impression that no Colorado Senators took part in yesterday’s vote at all. The Post ran an AP wire story that made no mention of how Colorado’s two Senators voted on the 20-week abortion ban. But for the record, Sen. Michael Bennet (D) voted no, and Sen. Cory Gardner (R) voted yes.

We know some of our readers will be less than happy about us once again calling out Colorado’s newspaper of record, The Denver Post, for their endorsement last October of now-Sen. Cory Gardner for election over Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall. But as everyone who lived and voted in Colorado last year is aware, abortion played an outsize role in last year’s U.S. Senate election in Colorado. Within weeks of entering the U.S. Senate race, Cory Gardner publicly renounced his support for the so-called “Personhood” abortion ban ballot measures that Coloradans have rejected at the polls over and over in recent years. Democrats seized on Gardner’s flip-flop on “Personhood” to paint Gardner as untrustworthy, highlighting his continued sponsorship of an equivalent “Life at Conception Act” that contained the same language as the “Personhood” abortion bans.

With only a few exceptions, the remainder of the Senate race in 2014 became a farcical exercise in which Udall, and belatedly some members of the local press, did everything they could think of to force Gardner to acknowledge the clear conflict between his abandonment of “Personhood” and his continued support for functionally equivalent abortion bans in Congress. Gardner’s response to this onslaught was to unflappably deny and deflect, while surrogates loudly complained about the “single social issue” attack on Gardner from Udall’s campaign.

Vince Carroll of the Denver Post editorial board.

Vince Carroll of the Denver Post editorial board.

Gardner’s two-pronged response of denial and affected exasperation by surrogates and friendly pundits received its biggest boost by far from the Post’s endorsement of Gardner, which dissed Udall’s “tedious” abortion attacks in the harshest possible terms, and asserted bluntly for the record that “Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.” The endorsement thrilled Republican backers of Gardner but shocked and dismayed Democrats, who viewed it as a devastating and fundamentally dishonest blow to their central campaign theme. And again: it wasn’t the theme that Democrats chose, Gardner chose it himself by flip-flopping on “Personhood” in a fake attempt to moderate on the issue.

It’s necessary to understand all of this in order to realize why the Colorado pundit class’ defense of Gardner last year, which culminated in the Denver Post’s dishonest endorsement, has proven so persistently galling to women and reproductive choice advocates. We haven’t seen it officially confirmed and probably never will, but there is evidence to suggest that the endorsement of Gardner has seriously damaged the Post’s credibility with readers in the long term–as well as its bottom line following a rash of subscription cancellations that reportedly occurred after that endorsement. The Post has been in a financially declining position for years, like so many newspapers around the country. But the Gardner endorsement was an unforgivable breach of faith, relying on a demonstrable falsehood that is playing out in national news less than a year later.

At the very least, an acknowledgement of what Gardner is actually doing as a Senator would be a start. But by negating the issue on the campaign trail and now ignoring Gardner’s actions that prove them wrong, the Denver Post is utterly failing in its duty to inform the voting public–from the newsroom to the editorial board.

CU tops CSU when it comes to responding to pressure from GOP Congressman

(Credit where due – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

CSU President Tony Frank.

CSU President Tony Frank.

Reporters should take note of the different responses, one by Colorado State University and the other by two University of Colorado campuses, to Rep. Doug Lamborn’s pressure to halt the acquisition of fetal tissue by two companies–as well as to the GOP Congressman’s demand that all NIH-funded research using fetal tissue be stopped.

Back in July, under pressure from Lamborn, Colorado State University President Tony Frank embarrassed his institution by suspending the purchase of fetal-tissue from two suppliers until vague “congressional investigations are concluded.” Never mind that such investigations rarely have anything to do with guilt or innocence–and everything to do with politics. And no evidence of wrongdoing had been produced.

In Aug., Lamborn turned his attention to the University of Colorado at Denver, demanding information on whether it also uses two fetal-tissue suppliers, StemExpress and Advanced Bioscience Resources, both of which are under attack by the anti-choice Center for Medical Progress for obtaining tissue from Planned Parenthood.

In response, the University of Colorado Medical School and the University of Colorado at Denver, in a joint response, stated that they did not obtain fetal tissue from those the two companies.

And if they did, they wouldn’t stop without evidence of wrongdoing. As Richard Traystman, the University of Colorado Medical School’s Director of Research, told me, for an RH Reality Check Post:

“At this moment we’re not [using those companies], but we will if we need to. We do have other sources, as I’ve said, but those are the two major companies that many investigators order from.”

Both CSU and the CU campuses told Lamborn they would not halt NIH funded fetal research. As Traystman put it:

“It’s not acceptable to stop research using cells from fetal tissues. In my letter, I gave examples of where these sorts of fetal cells are used in research on certain diseases. They are very often used in research on diseases of the central nervous system, the brain, the spinal cord, a variety of diseases that involve brain abnormalities and diseases, like Parkinson’s disease, for example. They are also used in research on the heart and cardiac tissue and to create vaccines. I could go on.”