Fact Check: Gardner opposes Dream Act and blocked immigration reform

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Rep. Cory Gardner continues to misrepresent his record on immigration, and reporters have failed to call him out on it.

During an Oct. 6 debate, Gardner was asked if he'd vote for the DREAM Act, which would grant a path to citizenship for young undocumented immigrants who attend college or serve in the U.S. military.

Instead of answering the question, Gardner used the dodge tactic of stating his opinion on what will happen to the DREAM Act.

"Ultimately, I think the Dream Act will be part of the solution of immigration reform," Gardner said. "It has to be. Look, I believe in immigration reform."

If Gardner had answered the question, instead of predicting the future, he'd have said that he's long opposed the Dream Act.

Gardner: "I think if you pass the DREAM Act today, you’re still not fixing the problem,’ Gardner told the Boulder Daily Camera last year. "I want to create a fair system so people who want to be here legally can be here legally.”

Last year, Gardner even opposed a proposed state law, so-called ASSET, to grant in-state tuition for young immigrants in Colorado.

Gardner: "But we can’t start putting in place in-state tuition, whether it’s other things that are being placed by the states, without actually addressing the root problem that will only continue more illegal immigration into this country," Gardner told KNUS' Steve Kelly last year." And so, that’s why we’ve got to have a policy that actually works, and I believe it starts with border security."

On this very day, as I type this blog post, Gardner's website states that the Congressman opposes "giving those people [who are here illegally] benefits that will only encourage more illegal immigration."

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Survey of Latino Voters Finds Gardner Deeply Underwater

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R) practicing the face that Latino voters make when they hear his name.

Via the Public News Service, a new survey of Colorado Latino voters that every pollster concerned about their sampling of this critical segment of the electorate should take note of:

Latinos now make up 21 percent of Coloradans, and experts forecast this voting bloc could have a significant impact on the November midterm election. 

A survey released on Tuesday by the National Council of La Raza Action Fund and Latino Decisions finds 55 percent of Latino voters support incumbent Senator Mark Udall, and 14 percent support challenger Cory Gardner. The rest said they're undecided. 

Matthew McClellan, executive director of the NCLR Action Fund, says the Latino community appears to be reacting to several years of policy action or on some issues, lack of action. 

"The Latino community has seen a lot of inaction over the last couple years, and they're blaming the Republican party quite a bit more than the Democratic party, and I think that's probably what's hurting Gardner the most," he says.

We haven't seen hard numbers to confirm it yet, but anecdotally we do believe much more attention is being paid to Latino voters in Colorado this year than in prior elections. There is more advertising in Spanish, and more field campaign focus on turning out Latino voters on both sides. Despite well-publicized attempts earlier this year to "reach out" to Latinos by Colorado GOP chairman Ryan Call and others, and even meddling in the primary process to help ensure anti-immigrant poster child Tom Tancredo did not win, there's little to suggest in these numbers that it's helped them. There's just no way you can separate the Republican Party's long hostile record with Latinos, or the anti-immigrant icons like Tancredo who are almost exclusively Republican partisans, from the GOP ticket on the ballot today. Certainly not just with idle platitudes like Cory Gardner, in stark contrast with his record.

Bottom line: yesterday, SurveyUSA released two polls in Colorado with slightly different methodology. One of those polls came up with a Latino sample of only six percent–a ridiculously small figure in a state that is 21% Latino. The other actually showed Gardner with a lead among Latino voters, an inexplicable result that threw the entire poll into question. A fascinating interview by the New York Times yesterday of SurveyUSA's Jay Leve in response to questions about their polling in Colorado reveals that pollsters just aren't any good at sampling for Latino voters–and they know it.

I get that criticism; I understand it. And the Hispanic data that you’re looking at in Colorado, that shows a Republican ahead among Hispanics, is also at odds with common sense. So I can’t defend it except that we give people the opportunity to self-identify as Hispanic, and we record it.

We have been accused in the past as having blacks who are not “black enough.” I get that criticism. Our black respondents, instead of being 90-10 Democratic, are sometimes 67-33. Do I think it turns out that way on way on Election Day? No, I think we’re too Republican on black voters, just as we are sometimes too Republican on Hispanic voters. This is not unique to SurveyUSA. [Pols emphasis]

Are there people who specialize in Latino polling who conduct elaborate studies and then in turn prove, to their satisfaction and probably mine, that the Latino population is overwhelmingly Democratic? Yes. Is there something that we can do better? I’m sure that there is. At the moment, though, it is what it is.

That's a very candid admission–and if this survey of Latino voters is right, it's a huge blind spot for anyone trying to understand what's really going to happen in Colorado on Election Day.

Gardner Moves Greeley Office Behind The Wire

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

As the Greeley Tribune's Bridgett Weaver reports, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner has moved his congressional Weld County service office inside a county court house annex building, citing protest activity this summer by immigration reform proponents:

Jennifer Finch, county spokeswoman, said Gardner’s move into a county building does not mean the county is taking a position on the Senate race.

“The decision was not based on politics,” Finch said. “It was based on assisting a government office that was in need of temporary space in order to continue to offer needed services to the constituents of Weld County. The county is not endorsing any political candidate for any political office.”

Protesters disrupted the building in which Gardner’s former office was located and that was a cause for his move but Finch said Gardner moving his office to a county building does not thwart free speech…

Chuck Poplstein, Gardner’s district director, said the move was amicable.

“After numerous discussions with our landlord we decided the best course of action would be to relocate to a space where protesters will not disrupt private business.”

The problem is, the Weld County Centennial Building, located adjacent to the county courthouse, has court house security–metal detectors, armed guards, and (we assume) prohibitions on mariachi bands. The solidly Republican Weld County government might say this wasn't done to put a stop to politically troublesome demonstrations ahead of November's elections, but that's obviously the effect. Gardner's three-month lease on the office space in the Weld County Centennial Building is $1–to "save taxpayer money," of course.

Can they do this if all parties want? Sure. Does it look bad for Gardner? Definitely.

Republican “Study Committee” Heads For The Border (Again)

UPDATE: Bonus round–check out this photo from 2010's "fact-finding tour" and tell us how many guns you see.

ColoGroupBorder
From left: 2010 House candidate Chris Holbert, then-Rep. Kent Lambert, Sen. Scott Renfroe, then-Rep. Laura Bradford, 2010 House candidate Janak Joshi, then-Rep. Randy Baumgardner.

A press release this week from the arch-conservative Republican Study Committee of Colorado, a social club for the more right-leaning among Republican legislators in this state, announces they are taking another field trip to the Mexican border. In 2006 and 2010, both years like 2014 when immigration was in the headlines, a gaggle of Republican elected officials and candidates undertook similar border "fact-finding tours."

The Republican Study Committee of Colorado (RSCC) has planned a fact-finding trip to Texas to gain firsthand knowledge of the situation with respect to U.S. border security in southern Texas. In just a few weeks (October 5-7), Colorado legislators plan to meet with representatives from the Texas State Legislature, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Military Forces (Texas Army National Guard, Texas Air National Guard, Texas State Guard), and perhaps even some local citizen groups during a brief three-day visit.

"With all of the information and misinformation that we see on the topics of immigration and border security, and what they mean to Colorado citizens, we thought that the best approach would be to go gather some real-time information for ourselves," said RSCC Chairman and State Senator Kevin Lundberg, representing Colorado Senate District 15. 

No taxpayer funds will be used for the trip. 

Republican legislators have a history of traveling to the southern border, having made similar visits in 2006 and again in 2010. For legislators, there have been some things that have changed dramatically, and some that haven't changed much at all. The 2010 trip revealed a porous border, some unsettled locals, increasing criminal activity, and frustrated officials. Local ranchers, veterinarians, and others who used to work regularly with their neighbors on the border had seen a dramatic shift in the nature of activity over the years. 

For some legislators, the place to start is to define just what the issues are. "When people talk about immigration', I think it's important to define what we're talking about. Does that mean Naturalization and citizenship? Does it refer to the movement of labor and capital? Does it refer to national security? Does it refer to criminal activity, particularly in drug, slave or sex trafficking? Does it refer to the availability of entitlement programs? Defining and parsing out the issues is an important place to start before we can craft good policy for Colorado," stated Senator Lundberg.

During their 2010 trip to Arizona, RSCC members were "briefed" on that state's new anti-immigrant law SB-1070 by its principal backer, then-Sen. Russell Pearce. Pearce enjoyed brief popularity for his role in passing SB-1070, but within a few years his political career had completely unraveled. Pearce was ousted from his seat in 2011 is Arizona's first-ever successful recall of a sitting legislator. Then just this week, Pearce resigned as vice chairman of Arizona Republican Party after saying this on a local radio show:

"You put me in charge of Medicaid, the first thing I'd do is get [female recipients] Norplant, birth-control implants, or tubal ligations,” Pearce said, according to the Phoenix New Times. “Then, we’ll test recipients for drugs and alcohol, and if you want to [reproduce] or use drugs or alcohol, then get a job."

We assume the RSCC will not be meeting with Mr. Pearce during their trip to the Texas border. With that said, RSCC members who took the trip to see Pearce in 2010 introduced numerous pieces of legislation the following year–both mimicking Arizona's SB-1070 anti-immigrant law, along with other ideas they had heard about on their "fact-finding tour." In the summer of 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down most of SB-1070 as unconstitutional in the landmark case of Arizona vs. United States.

And of course, in the fall of 2012, Democrats retook the Colorado House from the GOP, crushing that party's single-seat, single-term majority in the one chamber they had managed to wrest control of in 2010–and helping lock down what has been the state of affairs in the General Assembly for going on a decade. Immigration wasn't the only factor in the GOP's significant legislative defeats in Colorado last election, but we can safely say that the Colorado GOP's image was not helped by the RSCC's antics in any way. Whatever disappointment Latino voters feel with Democrats for being unable to pass immigration reform, this is the stuff that reminds America's fastest growing bloc of voters who their enemies are in the starkest possible terms.

So, you know, take lots of pictures in Texas.

Pueblo Chieftain Smears “Bo” Ortiz for Political Revenge

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Poor Bo. He just can't catch a break from the Pueblo Chieftain.  To inform the public,  Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz voluntarily advised the Pueblo Chieftain about  faulty driver's licenses distributed by  a Colorado Revenue Department vendor, MorphoTrust. The state IDs and licenses were supposed to have a black band across the top, identifying those ineligible to vote, but 524 of these IDs were sent out without the flag. 

The Chieftain chose  to run the ID story on page one, next to a photo of Ortiz, with the banner headline, "Faulty ID Cards Issued", on September 16, 2014. . The teaser subheading on the online edition read, "No concern for voter fraud." Who issued the faulty IDs? Who is unconcerned about voter fraud?  Judging by his photo under the headline, a reasonable reader would infer: Gilbert "Bo" Ortiz.

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Boyles says “illegals” bring “bed bugs” and “weird” disease to America

(The always classy Peter Boyles – promoted by Colorado Pols)

KNUS talk-show host Peter Boyles continues to find new ways to bottom feed on KNUS 710-AM in the mornings, saying Thursday that "illegals" are bringing weird "respiratory diseases" and "bed bugs" into America.

Boyles: I am not convinced this weird disease that’s hitting the little kids across the country. There’s stuff that hasn’t been—like bed bugs. That stuff hasn’t been in this country. Bed bugs are back. This disease. Respiratory diseases. And it’s coming in with the illegals. Of course it is.

Caller: And our kids are not used to that—

Boyles: Of course they’re not—

Caller: Because they haven’t grown up with those viruses. And their bodies haven’t had the chance to react.

Boyles: It’s like introducing alcohol to the Native Americans. They didn’t have it. It killed them. Bob, I love your call. This is insanity. It’s absolute insanity.

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Countdown Coffman: Mike Coffman Likes Saying Words

Jorge Ramos Rep. Mike Coffman

Jorge Ramos, left, and Rep. Mike Coffman (not left)

Colorado's Sixth Congressional District was the focus of a piece that appeared on "America With Jorge Ramos" on Fusion TV. For those unfamiliar with Jorge Ramos, he is often cited as the most popular Hispanic news anchor in America, in part due to his position as lead anchor with Noticero Univision. Ramos has a very direct interview style that attempts to get right at an issue, and those skills were on display during interviews with both Rep. Mike Coffman and Democrat Andrew Romanoff.

The "America With Jorge Ramos" story includes both interviews as well as a feature-style look at the race in CD-6. There are interesting moments in each interview — particular the confidence shown by Romanoff when asked about the race overall — but the standout once again is Coffman (and not in a good way). Whether it is during a debate or in video segments that show the candidates side-by-side, Romanoff comes off much more personal, engaging, and honest. Coffman, by comparison, appears fidgety and uncomfortable with his own words, as you can read from an early exchange in the Ramos interview:

Ramos: Do you support, right now, immigration reform in the House?

Coffman: "I do. I just think there's gotta be a middle path to this. I believe in a step-by-step process. We can have a comprehensive approach without having one massive bill. But we've got to move forward."

Good Gravy! Is there a better example of parsing phrases — not even just words — in a more meaningless fashion? Last July, Coffman wrote an Op-Ed for the Denver Post in which he said, "The time has come for comprehensive immigration reform." Coffman now says that comprehensive immigration reform is bad, which is a complete reversal. Ramos did his homework on this issue and was aware of Coffman's changing rhetoric, which came to a fantastic conclusion above when Coffman just tried to fit every buzzphrase he could think of into one answer…saying absolutely nothing in the process.

Coffman looks much better when he just gives a straightforward answer to a straightforward question a little later in the interview:

Ramos: So did you change your mind on immigration?

Coffman: "Yes."

Of course, this is a very truthful answer to a somewhat limited question. The question should have been, "So are you still changing your mind on immigration? Coffman could still have truthfully answered 'Yes,' though that is exactly his problem right now. Mike Coffman is saying anything about everything (or everything about anything, if you prefer), and he's clearly hoping that voters are too stupid or too preoccupied to notice. It is often a telling sign about the direction of a race when incumbent candidates such as Coffman just start taking every position on an issue; that means you're (a) not confident about what you're selling, and/or (b) not confident that voters like how you are selling it. But what if voters do see what's happening?

Candidates that have discovered their path to victory don't usually find it necessary to reach out in every direction at once.

 

Coffman again opposes Obama’s order deferring deportation of Dreamers

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In interviews aired over the weekend, Fox 31 Denver’s Eli Stokols tried hard to clarify Rep. Mike Coffman’s squirrelly positions on immigration reform, but unfortunately, after you watch the interviews, you’re left scratching your head on key points.

For example, in a surprising admission during Stokols’ Sunday show, #CoPolitics from the Source, Coffman reiterated his opposition to President Obama’s executive order allowing young undocumented immigrants, brought here illegally as children, to defer deportation for at least two years.

“I certainly don’t support it being done by executive order,” Coffman told Stokols, which makes sense because Coffman voted to defund Obama’s order this summer. “I believe it should be done legislatively.”

So you have to assume that, as of now, in the absence of DACA legislation, Coffman believes the dreamers should be deported.
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Gardner Breaks Out The Whitewash on Immigration

Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

A fascinating new story from MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin documents Colorado GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner's continuing attempts at "evolution" on the issue of immigration reform as disaffection with reform advocates grows–this time, making an assertion about his record that appears to contradict, well, the record.

Enter Colorado, which may be reformers’ last chance to prove they can make the GOP pay a price for their intransigence before the next presidential election. There, activists are organizing to defeat three-term Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in his re-election bid and, more importantly, working to thwart GOP Rep. Cory Gardner in his campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Udall…

“I will do everything in my power, my community will do anything in our power, to make sure [Gardner] is not elected,” Sonia Marquez, northern director for [Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition Action Fund], told msnbc. 

This wasn’t the role immigration groups hoped to play at the outset of the election cycle. In fact, activists originally saw Gardner and Coffman as promising candidates to help put reform over the top in the House. 

Marquez personally spent more than a year trying to win Gardner’s support for immigration reform. Under her guidance, activists met with him personally, held rallies across his district, and organized roundtable discussions with supportive local businesses, all with the goal of making Gardner comfortable with legislation granting legal status to undocumented immigrants. Gardner offered them encouraging words throughout and his staff was friendly and accessible, but he never quite took the leap, always telling constituents that while he wanted the GOP to address immigration he opposed the Senate’s bipartisan plan…

Finally, Marquez gave Gardner an ultimatum: Either release your own plan for the undocumented or face the consequences. The deadline passed and Marquez and her fellow activists occupied Gardner’s office with a mariachi band to mark the point of no return.

This is a fact that needs to be driven home: even to the point of annoying partisan Democrats, immigration reform proponents were genuine in their attempted engagement of Reps. Gardner and Mike Coffman. Both Gardner and Coffman had every chance to meaningfully get behind any number of immigration reform proposals, only to see even baby steps like Coffman's bill for immigrants who enlist in the military stalled out by GOP House leadership. Eventually, it became clear to immigration reform advocates in both Coffman and Gardner's cases that the rhetoric just doesn't match their actions–and a small gesture on a pet issue like military service is no substitute for the broad reforms needed.

With all of that said, check out Gardner's attempt to extricate himself from the wrath of activists who gave him every chance, but understand now that he was playing them the whole time:

Gardner said he was disappointed with how things turned out as well. Despite reports to the contrary, he told msnbc he had tried to sell his colleagues on the House GOP’s ill-fated immigration principles and shared activists’ goals of passing significant legislation. 

“It’s a shame, I thought we were working very well together,” he said of his relationship with pro-reform groups. “I would like to see them work with people opposed to immigration reform instead of trying to play politics with people who support immigration reform.”

Gardner's opposition to the moribund House GOP "immigration reform principles" was documented by Roll Call back in March. We'll be happy to note for the record if Roll Call updates that whip count six months later to reflect Gardner's new version of events. Until then, we have to assume that Gardner simply hadn't made up his mind where to position himself on immigration for this race yet. Now that he has a better sense of where he needs to be–that is, as far from his previously anti-immigrant politics as he can–a clear need to revise that history presents itself.

You know, like he did with Colorado's Personhood abortion bans on another Friday not so long ago. Or a few Fridays after that, when he did a 180 on the issue of child adoptions by gays and lesbians. Or just a couple Fridays ago, when Gardner claims to have "never supported the shutdown" despite a wealth of evidence that he did. In all of these cases there is a common thread of not just reversal, but an attempt by Gardner to revise the record in the face of documented evidence to the contrary. With Personhood, Gardner claimed to have begun reconsidering years ago–but his continued sponsorship of equivalent federal legislation makes a liar out of him. Same with LGBT adoptions and now immigration: there's what Gardner says today as he runs for the U.S. Senate, and then there's a longstanding record that makes it very difficult to believe him.

The best rejoinder for any of these would be action: but whether the result of their own failings or the intransigence of GOP House leadership, that's the one thing we can feel pretty confident isn't going to happen before the election.

Beauprez says Colorado shouldn’t house child migrants because of our “inland” location

(Babblin' Beauprez strikes again – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

As reported by The Denver Post Wedneday, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez told KNUS-radio yapper Peter Boyles that he would not allow young immigrants from poverty-stricken Central American countries to be housed anywhere in Colorado while they await deportation decisions.

But Beauprez's explanation for his young-migrant ban, which wasn't picked up by any news outlet that I can find, is just as newsworthy as his position itself:

BOYLES (Aug 27 at 5 minutes): We know that Hickenlooper has welcomed these illegal children who have come into this country.  Would you allow Colorado to continue to receive these, quote, undocumented whatever-they-are, fill-in-the-bland, no matter how old they are or how young they are. Would you stop that?

BEAUPREZ: They've got to stay on the border, Pete. They shouldn't even be allowed in the border, but to bring them this far inland makes it that much more difficult to send them back home.

BOYLES: Thank you!

BEAUPREZ: Yep. Done.

This far inland? I listened three times to make sure he said it. He did. Then I checked to see if these children ride on horseback to their deportation hearings, making it difficult to send them home from a inland location. They don't. They ride in modern planes and buses, some of which have been blocked by anti-immigrant protesters.

Transportation logistics are irrelevant to Boyles' agenda of ridding Colorado of immigrants, no matter how small or vulnerable. Or no matter the horror they've fled. He wants them out, and he's not scared to say that housing and caring for undocumented children isn't our job.

Yet Boyles didn't ask Beauprez for a real reason for banning child migrants from Colorado.

So we're left to speculate that Beauprez's thinking is probably along the lines of, someone else will be compassionate toward them, and it's messy for Colorado to chip in. And that's a charitable interpretation.

Gardner Goes Full “Con Man Cory” In Aspen Times Interview

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner sat down with Aspen Times reporter Rick Carroll this week, and was subjected to a lively battery of questions ranging from his views on abortion and contraception to local control over oil and gas drilling. Gardner’s answers are in some ways tellingly evasive if you know the facts, while others could come back to haunt him in very straightforward ways between now and Election Day. Here are some excerpts, make sure you click through to read the whole thing.

On birth control:

AT: During this campaign you have said you favor over-the-counter birth-control pills. Is it fair to say you have changed your mind and how do you explain that?

Gardner: Sen. Udall’s lying and because Sen. Udall can’t run on the economy, on energy, he can’t run on health care, he’s got to run away from those issues. He’s running a very negative and deceptive campaign full of untruths…the fact is I support contraception available over the counter without prescription.

AT: Without prescription?

Gardner: Yes, and that’s the key part and we need to fix Obamacare to allow that to happen… [Pols emphasis]

On abortion:

AT: Do you believe that women have their own right to make their own choices about health care, specifically abortion?

Gardner: I am pro-life and I have voted for measures that have exceptions. [Pols emphasis] I think Sen. Udall wants to divide the state of Colorado and not focus on issues of the economy or health care or energy. In fact, I would say this: When it comes to health care, Sen. Udall has said that people shouldn’t be making their own health-care choices. He cast one of his votes on Obamacare, a bill passed that took 335,000 Coloradans off the insurance they were promised they could keep…

On immigration:

AT: Earlier this month you broke rank with the Republicans by voting against a bill that would have dismantled the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival. But in 2013 you voted in favor of a bill that would have ended it. Can you explain your change of heart?

Gardner: Those were two different pieces of legislation at different times… [Pols emphasis]

On oil and gas drilling and climate change:

AT: Do you support Udall’s legislation to protect the Thompson Divide area from drilling?

Gardner: I know the legislation that Sen. (Michael) Bennet has introduced and Congressman (Scott) Tipton has obviously been working on this issue. … Federal legislation that affects a local issue, those discussions ought to be led by local stakeholders… [Pols emphasis]

AT: Do you believe in climate change?

Gardner: Well, I have said that the climate is changing. I’ve said that before but I’m very concerned that the revenues for it would destroy our economy, like Sen. Udall’s idea to place a carbon tax, driving up the cost on low-income earners, on people with fixed income and they would destroy our economy.

A remarkable interview for the sweeping ground it covers–and the sweeping reinventions Gardner is trying to make from his former staunchly conservative self on display. But beyond that, there’s an audacity to Gardner’s deceptive answers that’s really quite extraordinary. When Gardner says he has voted for abortion ban “measures that have exceptions,” meaning exceptions for victims of rape or incest, he avoids saying that he has also voted and even sponsored abortion bans that do not contain any such exceptions. Gardner’s talk of “fixing” Obamacare is plainly meant to deflect from Gardner’s dozens of unpopular votes to repeal Obamacare. Gardner’s answer on immigration, for its part, is laughably weak, and won’t mollify critics in the least.

But the real shocker in this interview could be Gardner’s lip service to local control over oil and gas drilling. After weeks raking opponent Mark Udall over the coals, demanding Udall publicly come out against ballot initiatives for local control of oil and gas drilling that Gardner falsely characterized as an “energy ban,” what is anybody supposed to make of Gardner saying now that local stakeholders should “lead discussions?”

Even with no knowledge of Gardner’s record and the issues that have been animating this race so far, the responses in this interview raise questions–it’s obvious he’s not telling the whole story, and that he’s responding to allegations the reader can’t fully appreciate without more context. Those who take that next step to get that context will discover pretty easily just how deceptive Gardner was in this interview.

And it’s difficult to see how that ends well for Gardner.

Tancredo: Impeach Obama Over Immigration. Just Do It!

tancgov

Talking Points Memo caught up with former Congressman and Colorado gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, to ask him what Republicans should do in the event that President Barack Obama takes executive action on immigration–the suddenly burning issue Republicans left hanging as they left Washington for the August recess:

If President Barack Obama takes unilateral steps to grant “amnesty” to people living in the U.S. illegally, the House of Representatives must impeach him, former Rep. Tom Tancredo told TPM in an interview.

“It’s unconstitutional. He should be impeached if he tries it,” Tancredo, a Colorado Republican and outspoken immigration hawk in the House from 1999 to 2009, said Wednesday evening by phone from his home in Denver…

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and his allies emphasize that they have no plans to pursue impeachment. Even some conservative House lawmakers say it’s impractical because there won’t be the two-thirds Senate majority needed to convict and remove him from office.

Tancredo’s message Boehner: do it anyway. [Pols emphasis]

“Do you do what’s right or do you look at it from a political standpoint? You can say, gee, we probably couldn’t convict him,” he said. “Of course, Democrats will take full advantage of this and say it’s because he’s black. But if it’s the right thing to do it’s the right thing to do. But if you don’t do it then all of a sudden you have set a precedent for future presidents to violate the Constitution. You’ve raised the bar — you’ve made it harder to impeach somebody. It’s a very dangerous thing.”

At this point, it’s a fair argument that Tancredo really is speaking for the Republican base–just not its leadership, which has no interest in talking about something as radical as impeachment with elections around the corner. TPM cites a CNN poll last month in which fully 57% of Republicans support impeaching the President. Outside the Republican base there is nothing like this level of antipathy toward Obama, which demonstrates the effectiveness of conservative media in both radicalizing and insulating the Republican base from mainstream public opinion. This last point is critical to understand: if the idea of impeaching Obama seems absolutely insane to you, you’re simply not getting the right programming.

The proof is on FOX News every night, where the impeachment drumbeat is loud and proud.

This is how, even as the party’s leadership insists to undecided voters that there is no appetite for throwing our already divided politics into yet more chaos, the GOP grassroots is kept at the fever pitch Republicans need to win elections. It’s a delicate game, but we submit to you that Tancredo knows exactly what his role is: and somewhere in Washington, a Republican strategist is fine with it.

Any who care about the GOP’s long term future are horrified, but without the base, there’s no midterm victory.

Reporters don’t correct Coffman’s assertion that Reid blocked GOP immigration bills

(Reporters: time to ask the next question – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

CORRECTION: At least two immigration-related bills cleared the GOP-controlled U.S. House this session, so I erred below in writing that none did. One responded to the crisis created by the young migrants crossing the border. It would have boosted border security, legal processing, and support. Another would have provided more visas for immigrant students with math and science skills and reduced the number of visas for other immigrants. Sorry for the mistake.
—————–

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).

It's tough to fact-check an entire debate, if you're an increasingly lonely reporter at a shrinking news outlet, but a reporter somewhere should have corrected Rep. Mike Coffman's assertion, in his debate last week against Democrat Andrew Romanoff, that immigration bills cleared the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

In explaining his opposition to a bipartisan immigration bill passed by the U.S. Senate, Coffman said (@21:45):

“I think both parties have it wrong right now. I think on the left it's, unless we get everything, then nothing will move. And in fact, individual bills have moved over to the Senate. And Harry Reid would not take it up because it was not quote-unquote comprehensive. And then on my side of the aisle, you know, we've got to get moving. And I've worked with my folks on the Republican side to get them moving. And so I think there's got to be a middle path. And that middle path is a step-by-step approach.” [BigMedia emphasis]

Coffman would have had a complete and total brain freeze if he'd tried to remember how he voted on these immigration "bills," because they don't exist.

He'd have been wrong even if he'd said a singular immigration bill cleared the U.S. House. But he said "bills" plural, multiplying his apparent mistake.

A phone call to Coffman's spokesman, Tyler Sandberg, seeking clarification was not immediately returned.

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Immigration Reform Protesters Swamp Denver GOP Offices

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Release from Service Employees International Union Local 105 on a protest against inaction on immigration reform by Colorado Republicans in Congress–especially U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner–held outside the Cherry Creek offices of the Denver Republican Party today. Video clips from the protest after the jump:

Immigration advocate voters, immigrants and community leaders marched on the Colorado & Denver Republican party headquarters today calling on Cory Gardner to clear his record on Immigration Reform.
 
"We know Gardner's anti-immigrant record and won't let him hide from it," said Jennifer Rodriguez, a member leader with the Service Employees International Union Local 105 and a Colorado voter. "We will be actively educating and turning out voters in the next few months so they know the truth about who Gardner is. We will hold him accountable at the ballot box."
 
Gardner was one of only a handful of Republicans in the House of Representatives including Michelle Bachman who opposed Speaker Boehner's principles on immigration reform in January of this year. Due to this opposition, Boehner pulled his commitment to the principles just a short week later. The result? Comprehensive Immigration Reform was never allowed a vote in the GOP controlled House this year.
 
"The majority of Coloradans support comprehensive immigration reform and fixing our broken system, Gardner's time to show us he truly believes in a comprehensive solution and not just border security is over," said Yemane Woldesilassie, an Aurora voter and Ethiopian immigrant.
 
The march on the Colorado/Denver GOP offices culminated when Denver police were called to dispatch the crowd.
 
Woldesilassie added, "They can make us leave today but they can't keep us at home come Election Day." [Pols emphasis]

 

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Beauprez threatens to sue feds if immigration laws not enforced

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

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Speaking on a Denver radio show yesterday, gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez threatened to sue the federal government if it doesn't enforce the nation's immigration laws.

Asked by KNUS host Steve Kelley whether he'd "build a coalition with the Jan Brewers and the Rick Perrys" and "put this state on the line if it requires a lawsuit" to enforce immigration laws, Beauprez replied, unequivocally, "yes."

Beauprez, who's facing Democrat John Hickenlooper, added that he'd sue the federal government on other issues as well, such as federal lands.

Beauprez said he'd seek a "coalition" of governors to demand that the "federal government, one, enforce the laws, in this case secure the borders, modernize legal immigration so people can get an answer and so that we can enforce employment laws in Colorado and in America, and that we know who's here, that they're legally here and what they are doing here; that's why you have rule of law."

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