“Birther” Crap Won’t Stop Trump: Just Ask Mike Coffman

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

CNN reports this weekend with hand-wringing concern:

Donald Trump declined to use his Sunday show opportunities to clarify his thoughts on President Barack Obama’s birthplace and repeatedly avoided direct answers on the subject.

One explanation: Those at the base of his support are the same who question the president’s legitimacy — and playing to that fringe has been Trump’s ticket to success so far.

He stoked those inaccurate beliefs on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” when he was asked whether he’d be comfortable with a Muslim president.

“Some people have said it already happened, frankly,” Trump responded in a clear reference to Obama. [Pols emphasis] “But of course you won’t agree with that.”

Donald Trump.

Donald Trump.

Given Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump’s willingness, even eagerness to offend just about anyone–and lest you quibble with the designation “frontrunner,” here’s the latest poll–it’s really no surprise whatsoever to see him unapologetically courting the persistent segment of Republican primary voters still unconvinced that President Barack Obama is a religious Christian and a natural-born citizen of the United States.

After all, Trump makes jokes about Megyn Kelly’s menstrual cycle and his numbers go up.

Everybody is watching to see what the straw to break the proverbial camel’s back will be in terms of Trump finally saying something to disqualify himself in the GOP presidential primary. In any general election sense, he arguably has done so over and over–but Trump has proven dismayingly resilient in polling through the summer, keeping well ahead of all the “legitimate” Republican presidential primary candidates.


If local experience is any guide, it won’t be “birtherism” that knocks Trump out of contention for the GOP presidential nomination. In 2012, Rep. Mike Coffman was caught on tape flatly asserting at an Elbert County GOP fundraiser that President Obama “is just not an American.” Coffman compounded his optics problems days later when he went robotic on a reporter who cornered him on the subject, reciting his canned “I misspoke” apology over and over like he was being interrogated at Camp Bucca.

It shouldn’t be necessary for us to point out that Mike Coffman is still a Congressman. To be fair, Coffman did apologize fairly quickly after the comments were exposed by news media, saying he “misspoke” when he very unambiguously stated that President Obama “is not an American.” We expect that as soon as Trump starts to feel pain in the polls (if ever) he’ll issue some kind of statement that he too, you know, “misspoke.”

If you’re looking for some kind of “long arc of justice” ray of hope here, we don’t actually have one for you. It may not say much about our collective character, but in today’s Republican politics, which is granted seemingly endless leeway from the press to make racially, culturally, and religiously bigoted statements about the first black President of the United States, you really apparently can get away with it.

At least they have so far.

Code Orange: Will Colorado Delegation Back Boehner as Speaker?

Sad John Boehner

Sad John Boehner

Ohio Republican Rep. John Boehner is facing a critical time in his fifth year as Speaker of the House, and there are persistent rumors out of Washington D.C. that the right-wing of the Republican Party has had their fill of his Orangeness. As Politico reports today, the constant speculation about Boehner’s political future may be exacting a heavy toll on Congressional Republicans:

The only two viable potential replacements for John Boehner as speaker of the House say they back the Ohio Republican and will oppose any effort to remove him from power. But other high-ranking Republicans are testing the waters should the embattled speaker be forced out.

In a pair of statements to POLITICO, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) forcefully backed Boehner and called for an end to the intraparty warfare crippling the House Republican Conference as it faces a possible government shutdown on Oct. 1…

…Boehner’s tenuous hold on power, exacerbated by conservative demands to cut off federal funding to Planned Parenthood, has set off some jockeying for position in the upper ranks of the House GOP hierarchy should he fall.

Several GOP lawmakers have approached McCarthy, majority leader since mid-2014, to discuss Boehner’s fate. The California Republican isn’t entertaining that talk or planning a run, but a number of other Republicans in leadership have started to formally test their own political viability inside the GOP conference in the event that Boehner is forced to give up his post.

Of course, this isn’t the first time that Boehner has been rumored to be on the way out as Speaker, though the rumblings seem more persistent than ever. If disgruntled Republican lawmakers decide to file a motion to “vacate the chair,” Boehner’s fate could rest in the hands of Democrats. If such a motion is filed, Democrats could choose to stay out of the fight by voting “present,” at which point Boehner could hold onto his Speaker’s gavel with a simple majority of Republican votes. If every Republican House member casts a vote, Boehner would need 124 votes to remain Speaker.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R) could end up being a swing vote for the GOP caucus.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R) could end up being a swing vote for the GOP caucus.

If Boehner is indeed challenged as Speaker, how would Colorado’s Congressional delegation vote? We won’t try to guess as to what Democrats might decide, so we’re really talking about 4 votes: Reps. Scott Tipton, Ken Buck, Doug Lamborn, and Mike Coffman. 

Congressmen Ken Buck (Greeley) and Doug Lamborn (Colorado Springs) are not big Boehner fans, and both would likely vote for a new House Speaker if Boehner is challenged.

On the other side, Rep. Scott Tipton (Cortez) and Rep. Mike Coffman (Aurora) would likely support Boehner. Coffman’s decision is perhaps the most interesting to watch in this case; Coffman needs the GOP establishment to stand behind him in his own race for re-election in 2016, which is why he eagerly signed up for the controversial “Patriot Program” organized by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). However, Coffman has started to take public shots at Boehner over the scandal-ridden Aurora VA Hospital project, and there’s no guarantee that he would stick with Boehner if a strong GOP challenge was organized to take him down.

Republican leaders are well aware of the distraction of ongoing speculation about Boehner’s future, but right-wing leaders may not back down from their commitment to defunding Planned Parenthood — even if it leads to the second government shutdown in three years. Coffman has flipped and flopped on virtually ever major issue since he was first elected to Congress in 2008, so if he ends up as a targeted swing vote in an election for Speaker, all bets are off.

Call For Mike Coffman To Fight For Planned Parenthood, Against Shutdown

As Republicans in Congress prepared to vote on legislation to defund Planned Parenthood this week, setting up a confrontation that could result in a shutdown of the federal government, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, called on Rep. Mike Coffman to fight against any attempt to either defund Planned Parenthood or endanger continued construction of the VA medical center in Aurora.

“Last year, Mike Coffman used Planned Parenthood’s logo in his own campaign ads to falsely imply they supported him,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “But when anti-abortion activists started circulating misleading, doctored videos attacking Planned Parenthood this year, Coffman went on talk radio to pile on the baseless criticism. Now, Coffman’s colleagues are threatening to shut down the government to attack Planned Parenthood’s funding, which could once again endanger the VA Aurora hospital construction project. How many times will Coffman’s Republican colleagues in Congress threaten to punish our veterans to score political points before he says enough?”

“Mike Coffman has tried to have it both ways for years, but he finally has to take a stand now to avoid political catastrophe,” said Runyon-Harms. “It’s time for Rep. Coffman to denounce any attempt by his colleagues to defund Planned Parenthood, and to make clear that any legislation that would threaten completion of the Aurora VA medical center is a nonstarter. The voters in Coffman’s district deserve better than empty posturing and excuses.”

Shutdown’s Vise Grip Closes Around Coffman (Again)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews put out a major story this weekend about the renewed battle over federal funding for Planned Parenthood in Congress, and the possibility of a shutdown of the federal government precipitated by a refusal by conservative lawmakers to approve any funding bill that includes funding for the organization.

Such a shutdown would, among many other damaging effects, once again imperil construction of the troubled VA medical center in Aurora:

The added $625 million in federal dollars is crucial for the unfinished veterans hospital. If Congress doesn’t agree to a funding boost by the end of September, prime contractor Kiewit-Turner is at risk of suspending work at the site because of a lack of cash — further delaying a project that is expected to cost at least $1.67 billion.

For now, there is a general agreement between Congress and the administration on how to drum up money for the hospital. But an unrelated fight over abortion, government spending and Planned Parenthood could complicate the effort.

With the end of the federal fiscal year looming, Congress must pass a temporary budget in order to keep the entire government running past Sept. 30.

This must-pass legislation likely will be the vehicle in which allies of the VA hospital plan to attach the $625 million, an amount the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has said is the final amount needed to complete the hospital, planned to be open by the end of 2017.

Interestingly, the early revisions of this story contained no comment from the member of Congress with arguably the biggest stake in successful completion of the Aurora VA hospital–Rep. Mike Coffman, who serves as chairman of the House VA Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee and whose district includes the construction site. A subsequent update to the story added a statement from Coffman that he opposes a shutdown of the federal government to attack Planned Parenthood. This is the same Mike Coffman who has appropriated Planned Parenthood’s name in ads when it suited him (above right), though he eagerly joined in the bashing of the organization this year after it again became fashionable for Republicans to do so.

The recognition that another shutdown over Planned Parenthood would be both politically and practically harmful for the GOP is not at all unanimous, however. The hard-right Freedom Caucus, which includes Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, has vowed to fight against any spending bill that includes support for Planned Parenthood.

Even as the manufactured outrage from a series of heavily-edited undercover videos circulated by an anti-abortion group fades for most of the country, pressure remains very high in information-siloed pro-life conservative circles to take some kind of punitive action against Planned Parenthood. For the organization’s intractable opponents, the videos are just the latest pretext to attempt what they always wanted anyway. But no one has told the pro-life grassroots that there’s no “there” there with these doctored videos, videos that have consistently failed to demonstrate any of the alleged crimes–and the gap between incendiary perception and reality is so wide that the grassroots is guaranteed to be disappointed in the end.

Between now and then, as Mike Coffman is doubtless aware, there’s time for a lot of damage to be done. Coffman may not personally want to see the government shut down over Planned Parenthood, but if it happens, he and his party will nonetheless take the blame. Just like Coffman reminds us every time he invokes Nancy Pelosi in an ad, running for Congress is about more than one’s own assets and liabilities.

It’s about the team you’re on. It’s about what your team does. And it always will be.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Sept. 11)

Get More Smarter

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost 15 years already. 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).


► Republican efforts to scuttle President Obama’s foreign policy deal with Iran have officially failed, so apparently it’s time to put all of the stupid chips on the table. Republicans are now attacking Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Denver) over his support for the Iran deal with one of the more ridiculous arguments we’ve seen in some time:

An Associated Press report yesterday noted that embattled U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet was one of two Senators supporting the Iran deal whose family members were victims of the Holocaust. It’s almost as if we are expected to excuse Bennet his bad policy decision that would empower Iran, which has threatened to obliterate Israel, because his family experienced the Holocaust.

Uhhhhhh…we’d try to walk you through this logic if we could, but we can’t help you here. It’s not easy to be this dumb and so horribly insulting.


CNN announced yesterday that they have decided on the 11 candidates who will get to participate in the Varsity version of the Republican Presidential Debate next week. CNN used some sort of formula based on combined national polling averages over the last two months, and somehow Carly Florina made it into the Final 11. According to CNN, famous rich person Donald Trump is now polling at 32%, making him the Republican frontrunner by a very large margin (Ben Carson is next at 19%, with Jeb! Bush a distant second at 9%).

As usual, we’ll be live-blogging the GOP Presidential debate(s) next Wednesday, Sept. 16.


► Congressman Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) stepped in quite the political turd when he signed onto the NRCC’s “Patriot Program” and promised to divulge his policy positions in exchange for top-tier incumbent support.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Patriot Program a Political Problem for Coffman

Rep. Mike Coffman (R)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R)

All of politics is “inside baseball”…until it isn’t “inside” anymore.

As Roll Call reports, fallout from a leaked document related to the National Republican Congressional Committee’s (NRCC) so-called “Patriot Program” is becoming a significant headache for incumbent Congressmen such as Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora):

leaked internal document from the National Republican Congressional Committee is causing headaches for some of the House GOP’s most vulnerable incumbents.

The document — a memorandum of understanding to be included in the NRCC’s Patriot Program, which supports some of the House’s most endangered Republicans — includes a provision that requires members to submit a “written legislative strategy” to the committee. That legislative strategy must also detail “political justifications” in order to be part of the program, which provides fundraising and organizational support to its members.

…In Colorado, GOP Rep. Mike Coffman’s Democratic opponent pounced to try and say Coffman traded his independence for the promise of campaign cash.

We wrote earlier this week about state Sen. Morgan Carroll’s swift swipe at Coffman over his decision to join the “Patriot Program.” We don’t see this as the issue that ends up costing Coffman his seat in Congress, but it’s not as harmless as Republican operatives would like you to believe. Roll Call reporter Emily Cahn includes her own analysis in the story —  “the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee almost certainly has a similar memo to for candidates to sign to be part of its Frontline Program” — but if that sounds like frantic NRCC spin control, there’s good reason for it.

As we discussed on Tuesday, there is always a tendency with this sort of thing to dismiss the “Patriot Program” as something that both Republicans and Democrats tend to deploy…but the “Patriot Program” appears to be an exception because of its “legislative strategy” section. Vic Vela of the Colorado Statesman asked the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) if they had a similar clause for their top-tier incumbents, and he received a straightforward response:

But DCCC national press secretary Meredith Kelly said financial support programs for Democratic candidates do not require what is spelled out in the Patriot Program contract.

“The DCCC works with incumbents to make sure they are running smart campaigns as effectively as possible, but would never require submission and approval of a legislative agenda — especially not in exchange for financial and political support,” Kelly said in an emailed statement. [Pols emphasis]

Groups such as ProgressNow Colorado have called out Coffman for signing onto the “Patriot Program,” and asking Coffman to be transparent with the information he sends to the NRCC is not an unreasonable request. We’d guess that Coffman’s campaign will try to skip over the “legislative agenda” question, but it’s a little late for that with Coffman’s signature on the document as a whole. Average voters aren’t paying attention to this now, but you can be certain that this will come up again (and again) as the 2016 election cycle heats up.


The Donald again sounding a lot like Mike Coffman, this time on debt limit

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmantrump3The Donald, whose trick to political success is never playing defense, continued his offensive stance (pun intended) this week telling Bloomberg TV that congressional Republicans should fight to stop an increase in the debt limit.

And in doing so, The Donald sounded almost exactly like … Rep. Mike Coffman.

You may recall that the last time Republicans fought an increase in the debt limit, the economy teetered and America’s credit rating was actually factually downgraded by Standard and Poor’s for the first time, mostly because of the political sparring, not the state of our economy.

But no mention of these little problems by Trump and Coffman:

First, The Donald this week:

Presidential candidate Donald Trump on Wednesday said he thought it was “worth the fight” for congressional Republicans to threaten not to raise the U.S. debt limit as a way to pressure the Obama administration to agree to spending cuts.

“I would say that it’s worth the fight,” Trump said on Bloomberg TV. “Honestly there is so much fat in Washington that if you had the right people in there you could cut it.”

Next Coffman in 2013, as reported by Fox 31’s Denver’s Eli Stokols at the time:

But Republicans, having agreed to put off decisions about spending cuts, now view the looming debt ceiling as leverage — and they’re promising to use it….

Coffman: “I don’t think going over the fiscal cliff would have been a huge deal. Temporarily, the markets would have been aggravated until the next Congress could have passed new tax cuts and ironed things out.

“But the real big deal is what’s upon us and going past the debt limit. I have to see a way out of this, real spending cuts, before I vote to raise the debt limit.”

Sounds a lot like Trump, doesn’t he? So did Sen. Cory Gardner.

As I reported before, the two sound a lot alike on immigration (here and here) as well.

I know reporters don’t have time to hook every national political development to our humble locale. But they should give it their best shot, because the stakes are so high.

Republicans and Democrats increased the debt limit over 100 times (Bush and Reagan did it) until 2011, when disaster struck.

Trump gives us a chance to air the issue out again, in advance of the crisis and in front of the public.

Get More Smarter on Monday (Aug. 24)

Get More Smarter

If the kids aren’t starting school this week…have fun with that. 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).


► Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is the chief law enforcement officer for the State of Colorado. With any luck, Coffman will eventually decide that it would be a good idea to, you know, learn the law. Here’s the money quote from the Colorado Independent on claims that Coffman tried to convince Durango elected officials to participate in a closed-door meeting about the Animas River mine water spill (such a meeting would violate Colorado’s “sunshine” laws):

Talk about awkward – being asked by the attorney general herself to violate the law,” Mayor Dean Brookie told The Colorado Independent. “We were all pretty taken aback that she would have created that situation.” [Pols emphasis]


► Enjoy it while it’s happening before your very eyes, Polsters: The Coffmangate Scandal may very well be the most inexplicably ridiculous political scandal you are ever likely to witness. The group of Republicans who allegedly tried to blackmail State GOP Chair Steve House decided to throw a party for themselves on Friday — and, naturally, somebody thought it would be wise to take a bunch of pictures. Cynthia Coffman was either not invited, or was at least wise enough to not show up in the photos.


Get even more smarter after the jump…


Coffman Goes Negative Early: Strength or Desperation?

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

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

The Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning offers a preview of the message incumbent GOP Rep. Mike Coffman intends to use against what’s expected to be his toughest challenge ever from former Colorado Senate Minority Leader Morgan Carroll–and it’s all negative all the time:

Coffman acknowledged that it was “going to be a tough race.” His opponent, he said, was Carroll, “a personal-injury attorney.” As the crowd groaned, he quickly added, “and there’s nothing wrong with that. I think that industry, or that profession, has an important role to play in our society. But there are bad apples within that profession, and Morgan Carroll has done her best to represent those bad apples in the State Legislature.”

“She wants to do to America what she’s done to Colorado,” Coffman continued. [Pols emphasis] “What she needs to do in Colorado is help clean up the messes that she’s created here, that have hurt this economy, that have hurt jobs, that have hurt Colorado’s working families. I look forward to a spirited race,” he said, and then repeated his characterization: “Because Morgan Carroll, representing the bad apples of that industry has created a lot of IOUs there and you can bet she’s going to raise a lot of money from them, so I need all your help.”

That Coffman is centering his message on Carroll’s career as (Coffman’s words) a “personal injury attorney” is not unexpected, since “trial lawyers” have been employed as a universal boogeyman for Republican politicians since time immemorial. While that may be an effective message in safely Republican areas dominated by business interests, we have real questions how effective attacking Carroll for being someone who ordinary citizens turn to for justice will prove in swing CD-6–one of the most economically and ethnically diverse districts in the state today.

As for “doing to America” what Carroll “did to Colorado?” All we can assume here is that Coffman must have forgotten about Business Insider’s ranking last year of Colorado as the #1 state in America for economic growth. And Forbes’ ranking of Denver as the best place to do business in America. And Colorado’s unemployment rate that’s a full percentage point below the national average. These facts make exporting whatever we’re doing in Colorado to the rest of America sound, well, pretty good.

Bottom line: in each of Coffman’s last two campaigns in the redistricted swing CD-6, Coffman has opted for a strategy of going harshly negative right out of the gate against his opponents. Victories in 2012 and 2014 against an underfunded and overcautious challenger respectively have almost certainly validated this approach in Coffman’s mind.

But for a host of reasons, Coffman’s hard-charging negativity–we’ll refrain this once from calling it “shrill”–could backfire in 2016.

Trump’s stance against birthright citizenship mirrors Coffman’s

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Donald Trump sort of clarified some aspects of his immigration position over the weekend, giving local media a chance to educate us about the illusory stance of Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora.

Trump released a document outlining a number of ideas, but the headliner was his newly articulated opposition to “birthright citizenship,” the longstanding U.S. law granting citizenship to people born on American soil, even if their parents are not citizens.

Coffman has been way ahead of Trump on this one, reaffirming his opposition to birthright citizenship in a Denver Post interview in 2013.

Coffman: You know, I think we should probably adopt the policies of other countries, that you are a citizen of your parents. But the fact is, that we have children who were born under current U.S. law. And therein lies the challenge that I have, particularly in meeting families up in what is a very new district. And that –

Denver Post: You’d see that changed, right? Is that what you’re saying?

Coffman: Sure. I mean, I think we ought to look at that. But , the fact is, what we have to understand, the fact is, we don’t revoke citizenship once it’s given. [BigMedia emphasis]

Trump’s immigration paper, which received substantial attention, also renewed his call for deporting all undocumented immigrants, cattle-car style, back to their country of origin. And then expediting the return of the good ones, but not granting them a path to citizenship.

Like Trump, Coffman has also called for giving a vague “legal status” for adult immigrants, without a path to citizenship. He hasn’t said whether he’d require cattle-care deportation first. Either way, Coffman appears to be aligned with Trump on creating an underclass of workers, in the great tradition of taxation without representation.

High-profile policy pronouncement by celebrity presidential candidates continue to offer a great avenue to educate the public about the positions of their local politicos. I’m hoping reporters jump all over these local angles as we get closer to next year’s election.

Coffman and Rubio’s path away from immigration reform

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), left, with anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), left, with anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

A good way to understand (or get further confused) about Rep. Mike Coffman’s illusive position on immigration is to compare it to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio’s. And reporters should consider using this comparison to help explain Coffman’s (non)position to voters.

Back in 2013, Rubio was part of the “Gang of Eight” Senators (including Michael Bennet) who pushed a comprehensive immigration bill that, miraculously, passed the U.S. Senate. It offered major border security, along with a long path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants in America.

Despite claiming to be for “comprehensive immigration reform,” Rep. Coffman opposed the Rubio bill and its path to citizenship. And House Republicans, with Coffman’s blessing, never voted on the Rubio bill, and it died a truly tragic death.

Asked why he wouldn’t support the comprehensive-immigration-reform legislation, after he’d thumped his chest in The Denver Post in favor of the idea, Coffman said he didn’t want it all in one bill.

Instead, Coffman said he wanted a “step-by-step,” multiple-bill strategy, telling the Aurora Sentinel that a “comprehensive approach doesn’t have to be a comprehensive bill.”

And Coffman scrubbed the phrase “comprehensive immigration reform” from his website.


Recalling Coffman’s proposal for English-only ballots, as the Voting Rights Act turns 50

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmantrump3Over the weekend, I enjoyed reading Jim Rutenberg’s piece in the New York Times magazine on how conservatives have methodically dismantled the Voting Rights Act, which turns 50 on Thursday, culminating in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision gutting major provisions of the law.

Here at home, one conservative who’s thrown his congressional spear at the Voting Rights Act, widely credited for finally giving African-Americans actual factual access to the voting booth, is Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora.

Coffman, you recall, introduced legislation in 2011 repealing the law’s requirement that bilingual ballots be provided in areas with large numbers of voters don’t speak English very well.

In other words, Coffman wanted to leave the decision about whether to provide bilingual ballots to local authorities, and if you take the time to read Rutenberg’s article, you’ll see that, as much as we’d all like to believe otherwise, local politicians are apparently still trying to keep black Americans from voting. That’s why we need federal requirements for stuff like bilingual ballots–to make sure everyone can participate in democracy, such as it is.

But Coffman, who once suggested that immigrants “pull out a dictionary” if they’re having trouble understanding an English ballot, doesn’t see it that way.

Coffman: “Since proficiency in English is already a requirement for U.S. citizenship, forcing cash-strapped local governments to provide ballots in a language other than English makes no sense at all,” Coffman told the Denver Post in 2011.

Last year, Coffman doubled down on his support for English-only ballots, saying during a Univision debate that he still opposes the Voting Rights Act’s requirements for mailing Spanish-language ballots, because it’s expensive.

But Coffman said it in a more friendly way, “I would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”

Again, most of us have to share Coffman’s hope, but there’s also reality lurking out there, embodied in politicians who care more about self-preservation than democracy. And you can read about it in the New York Times.

Trump sounds like Coffman on immigration, but (surprise) we don’t know the details

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Reflecting yesterday on Donald Trump’s recent pledge to deport, cattle-car style, each and every one of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America–and then expedite the return of the “good ones”– the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent called on reporters to extract detailed plans from the herd of Republican presidential candidates regarding their positions on immigration.

Indeed, one hopes that the moderators of the upcoming GOP debate will see an opportunity in Trump’s cattle car musings: why not ask all the GOP candidates whether they agree with him? And if not, where dothey stand on the 11 million exactly? Remember, Mitt Romney’s big “self-deportation” moment came at a GOP primary debate…

The point is that eventually, we’ll need to hear from all the GOP candidates as to what they would do about the 11 million — beyond vaguely supporting legal status, but only after some future point at which we’ve attained a Platonic ideal of border security. Trump may have just made it more likely that this moment will come sooner, rather than later. One can hope, anyway.

It’s a good idea and has direct application here in Colorado, where Republicans, like Rep. Mike Coffman, continue to slide by journalists with vague and shifting statements about immigration.

Like Trump, Coffman has said he favors some sort of “legal status” for adult undocumented immigrants, but it’s not clear whether he’d boot out everyone first, and then allow the good apples to return–or if he’d skip the cattle-car phase and grant “legal status” to the immigrants here.

Either way, would he wait for seamless border security? And what’s good enough, when it comes to the border?

And then, assuming the border is sufficiently seamless, and whether he chooses the cattle-car or no cattle-car opition, does Coffman really want t0 create an underclass of millions of noncitizens in America, with no voice in government? Would we be looking at good old fashioned taxation without representation? What rights (voting?) and responsibilities (military service? taxes?) would be denied? Even Helen Krieble, a Colorado resident who first proposed the cattle-car option, advocates giving a political voice to undocumented immigrants through citizenship.

Details, details. I wouldn’t want to go there either, if I were Coffman–because he’d get bitten by both progressive and conservative sharks. But that’s not a problem for journalists who should be asking him the questions.

New Coffman® Trumped By Knee-Jerk Immigration Vote

Mike Coffman gets Trumped.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

As the Washington Post reports, don’t ever let it be said again that Republicans can’t get an immigration bill passed:

The House voted Thursday to punish local jurisdictions — known as “sanctuary cities” — that defy federal immigration authorities in order to protect immigrants living illegally in the United States.

The 241-to-179 vote, which was backed by Republican leaders and fell largely along party lines, is the most dramatic action taken by Congress after a spate of new attention on illegal immigration sparked by the July 1 killing of a 32-year-old California woman…

Some law enforcement organizations, civil rights groups and the U.S. Conference of Mayors have pushed back on efforts to crack down on sanctuary cities, arguing that new policies would be counterproductive by undermining the trust between local law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve.

In the wake of the tragic killing of Kathryn Steinle by an undocumented immigrant who had been deported from the United States several times, the GOP-controlled House of Representatives rushed a bill to the floor bypassing the normal committee process to punish so-called “sanctuary cities”–jurisdictions that don’t investigate immigration status when working with residents or taking reports of crimes. Supporters of local governments who have made that policy decision say immigrants are more willing to cooperate with law enforcement in investigations of serious crimes if they don’t fear automatic arrest over their immigration status.

City governments, local law enforcement, not to mention millions of undocumented immigrants in the United States are waiting for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level to resolve the conflicts between federal and local policy, rationalize the broken status quo, and restore functionality to a system that hasn’t served the needs of the nation or immigrants wanting to come to American in many decades. Until then, knee-jerk retaliation against the headlines of the day are all we get on this issue from the Republican-controlled Congress.


That includes Rep. Mike Coffman, whose “reinvention” on the issue of immigration since being redistricted out of his formerly safe GOP seat into a diverse battleground has once again been “Trumped” by his actual vote. Despite Coffman’s repeated attempts to cast himself as a “moderate” on immigration since redistricting, this vote has yet again failed to square with his newfound rhetoric. A good example of this delicate posturing came right after President Barack Obama’s executive order to halt deportations of DREAMer students–when Coffman voted to defund the program, claiming it gave prosecutors “too much discretion.”

Defending Thursday’s vote, Coffman said “it cannot be seen as anti-immigrant, as anti-Hispanic.” But with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump demagoguing the tragic yet anecdotal incident universally cited as the reason for rushing this bill through the GOP-controlled House, making this a focus of a campaign that has already outraged Hispanics over Trump’s unapologetic racist overtures…how can it possibly be seen as anything else?

Give the way Trump is dominating Spanish language news coverage of the 2016 presidential race, it’s an easy guess who Hispanic voters will identify this action with. Donald Trump is driving the agenda in today’s Republican Party–and in Colorado’s most competitive congressional race, Mike Coffman is happy to help him.

Who’s Perry Haney, Again?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Perry Haney, running again to be a “career politician”.

So who is this Perry Haney guy who’s going to challenge Morgan Carroll for the CD6 Democratic nomination?

1. A Chiropractor, who has had his medical license restricted in two different states (IA and CO) because of unnecessary massage therapy, and overcharging patients. Pols, 12/13/1, quoting from the IA board findings.

2. A “moderate Democrat” who has donated $16,000,mostly to Democratic legislators or committees since 2009. He contributed to Scott McInnnis’ run for Governor in ’09. TRACER, contribution search.

3. Someone with no facebook presence at all, as Nancy Cronk noted in the #1 post. He seems to get around to Democratic fundraisers, and is mentioned by others, but has no social media presence of his own. This always raises a red flag for me; I interpret it as the track of someone who doesn’t want to be bound by past history. Facebook search

4. A perennial candidate for CD6,  Perry ran in 2012, and loaned himself $370,000 to do so. Pols, 2/2012 article

5. Haney flirted with the idea of running in CD3 in 2012. He ended up running, then dropping out of the running for CD6 , after he received a campaign finance complaint from Call’s CRCC . Haney had  raised substantial monies without committing himself as a candidate. Pols, Legal briefs on file with FEC.

6. A guy with good credit, apparently, as he took out a $1 million loan to self-finance the CD6 campaign. FEC page for Perry Haney. Morgan Carroll has no finances on file with the FEC as of July 17, 2015.

7. A candidate that Colorado Republicans love to write about (because otherwise, you see, they would have to write about Morgan Carroll). Colorado Peak Politics.

8. A candidate with no identifiable issues or positions, except that he’s “tired of career politicians in Washington”, and “thinks CD6 deserves better”. I agree.  To start with, we need a real Democrat, not just a Republican Lite contender like Perry Haney.