From Jan Brewer To Cinco de Mayo: Coffman Whiplash!

As we first reported in this space a week ago, controversial Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer was in Denver last week to host a fundraiser for Colorado GOP Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman. Brewer, best known for signing Arizona's unconstitutional SB1070 anti-immigrant law, defended her decision on SB1070 at Coffman's fundraiser, saying Democrats have "not enforced [the borders] and we know why–they want voters." Given Brewer's strident view on immigration, having her host a fundraiser for any candidate on the ballot statewide in Colorado seems awfully risky–especially given Cynthia's husband Mike Coffman's efforts to reinvent himself on immigration ahead of a tough re-election campaign.

Now, Cynthia Coffman's Jan Brewer fundraising event at The Palm was held a week ago last Friday. On the following Sunday, the Cinco de Mayo celebration was held in Denver's Civic Center Park. And who could you find at the Cinco de Mayo celebration, pressing the flesh with thousands of Colorado Latinos?

coffmancincodemayo

Well gosh, folks, it looks like Cynthia Coffman "wants voters" too!

And there's Mike Coffman! Perhaps he was handing out dictionaries?

We joke, but there's a serious point here. It would be tough to find a politician less welcome at a Cinco de Mayo celebration than Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, and yet Cynthia Coffman had Brewer host a fundraiser less than two days before showing up at Cinco de Mayo to shake hands with Latino voters. Voters who would in many cases be disgusted to learn who Mrs. Coffman was hanging out with the Friday before.

We honestly can't think of a better example of today's utterly hypocritical politics.

Reality Check: Gardner Helped Block Rubio’s Immigration Bill

The Hill's Alexandra Jaffe reports on the other new ad running in Colorado from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

The Chamber of Commerce is launching a $3 million advertising campaign to boost preferred candidates and incumbents in 10 House races nationwide in its first major shift toward the general election.

And in Colorado’s Senate race, the Chamber is spending nearly $660,000 on broadcast and cable ads in the Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction markets on an ad in which Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) touts GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner in Spanish.

A version of the above ad is running in both English and Spanish. It doesn't mention immigration as an issue, but there's a backstory between Rep. Cory Gardner and Sen. Marco Rubio on immigration that ought to be told. Rubio was a key Republican voice, a member of the so-called "Gang of Eight" including Colorado Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, in the passage in the U.S. Senate last summer of the Border Security, Economic Opportunity & Immigration Modernization Act of 2013–a comprehensive immigration reform bill.

Remember what happened to that bill when it reached the U.S. House? Greeley Tribune from last October:

U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., doesn’t know whether U.S. immigration reform will be passed by the end of the year, but he is clear that the House doesn’t support the comprehensive Senate bill. [Pols emphasis]

“I think it was a tweet that I saw today where somebody said the Speaker said he was hopeful that they could address some kind of immigration reform before the end of the year. I have not heard him say that directly, so I don’t want to speak for what they’re saying,” Gardner said in a Wednesday phone interview from Washington, D.C. “There are a number of differences that I have with the Senate bill. I think it’s important not to focus on the Senate bill because that’s simply not going to pass the House.”

"…It’s possible that some portion of those or all of them could come on the House floor, but I’m not sure if leadership will do that or not,” Gardner said. “It’s becoming more and more clear to me that the House is going to have to do it in five or six bills or more, and not one massive comprehensive bill. The House will not pass the Senate bill. It will be done as the House determines appropriate in terms of the way it moves forward."

This was an interesting new position for Gardner, who said only the previous spring:

In an April sit-down interview with The Tribune, Gardner said the Senate proposal was a good start and something needed to be done to fix the system.

“I think everybody agrees that there needs to be immigration reform, but just the detailed part of it is where there’s a big split,” Gardner said back in April. “Trying to provide an educational role in this debate is going to be absolutely critical. We can’t have a rifle approach to immigration, because if you don’t fix all of it together, it’s going to create some problem somewhere else in the system.” [Pols emphasis]

Would the real Cory Gardner please stand up?

Bottom line: Marco Rubio may like Cory Gardner, but Rubio's signature issue isn't the reason why. And we can't help but think that the Spanish-speaking viewers of this new ad…would want to know that.

Romanoff Fires Back At Misleading Pro-Coffman Ad

The Washington Post reports today on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's new ad campaign in support of Republican candidates, including Colorado's Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman:

Chamber of Commerce: The Chamber will start running 13 new ads today on behalf of Senate and House Republicans in what spokeswoman Blair Holmes described as a "massive campaign." The chamber on Tuesday dropped almost $660,000 on broadcast and cable ads in the Denver, Colorado Springs and Grand Junction markets on behalf of Senate candidate Cory Gardner. They'll feature a small business owner in a new ad for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, too.

– The Chamber is spending on behalf of former Rep. Doug Ose (R-Calif.), Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.), Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), former Rep. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), former Massachusetts state Sen. Richard Tisei (R), Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.), businessman Stuart Mills in Minnesota's 8th District, Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) and Rep. Chris Gibson (R-N.Y.).

We'll get to the U.S. Chamber's ad for Cory Gardner in due course. You can see the Chamber's ad running on behalf of Rep. Mike Coffman at the top of this post, an over-the-top fluffy, positive 30-second spot–check out the incredibly cheesy grin on the photo of Coffman at 0:13 if you don't believe us. Nonetheless, Coffman's Democratic opponent Andrew Romanoff was quick to respond in a release a short while ago that the ad is seeking to "erase" Coffman's record on immigration:

A new television ad released today by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce attempts to recast one of Colorado’s leading opponents of immigration reform. The ad describes Congressman Mike Coffman as a fighter for “bipartisan immigration reform,” a fabrication at odds with Coffman’s long record of opposition to reform.

“Congressman Coffman has voted against immigration reform at every turn, and no amount of special-interest money can erase his record,” Romanoff spokeswoman Denise Baron said in response to the ad. “Congressman Coffman called the DREAM Act a ‘nightmare’ and voted twice in the last year to resume deportation of 800,000 DREAMers. Congressman Coffman cosponsored a proposal to deny U.S. citizenship to the American-born children of undocumented residents.

“Andrew is the only candidate in this race who supports a comprehensive measure to reform our broken immigration system. Unlike his opponent, Andrew has endorsed the bipartisan Senate bill and has called on Speaker Boehner to allow a vote on that bill in the House.”

As we've discussed in this space at length, all salient points. The fact is, Coffman has not signed on to the bipartisan immigration reform bill in the House, H.R.15, though other "pro-immigration" Republicans like Rep. Jeff Denham have done so. That's what most people would think about a supporter of "bipartisan immigration reform," after all–that the "supporter" in question has actually signed on to a bipartisan immigration reform bill.

As of now, Coffman's support for "bipartisan immigration reform" exists only in the form of lip service.

Gov. Jan Brewer: Never Mind Those Silly Political Blogs

Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ).

Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ).

The Colorado Statesman's Jody Hope Strogoff follows up today on last Friday's fundraiser, first reported by Colorado Pols, for Colorado GOP Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman starring controversial Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

We're very pleased to learn that Gov. Brewer is a reader!

Brewer candidly acknowledged that — to the mild chagrin of her staff — she typically peeks at blogs and political news sites in the middle of the night so she can monitor what they’re saying about her.

She was well prepared to counter the numerous inaccuracies she alleged in Colorado’s collective local media and blogosphere.

Brewer explained that the firestorm surrounding one of the much criticized bills on domestic partners rights had nothing to do with any hatred on her part of the lifestyles of gays; rather, she insisted, her state was undergoing a severe financial crisis at the time and Arizona could not afford to pay for the measure.

Senate Bill 1070, a controversial immigration bill, likewise ignited another firestorm, Brewer admitted, but she staunchly defended it. “We are a border state,” Brewer said, “and we have borders for a reason.”

…Arizona’s HB 1070 simply and very clearly mirrors the federal law that has not been enforced, Brewer maintained. The borders have been secured in other states, such as in Texas and California, but Brewer said illegals have been allowed to cross into Arizona. “They have not enforced [the borders] and we know why,” Brewer said. “They want voters.” [Pols emphasis]

Wow! We stand…well, not so much corrected as, you know, validated--but thanks for the candid opinion, governor. For the record, she also says that the "religious freedom" bill sanctioning discrimination against LGBT Arizonans, which she vetoed after a considerable degree of hemming and hawing (not to mention lots of staff time from her office) was never a good idea.

Strogoff's whole story is certainly worth reading–though in the likely event that Jan Brewer becomes a nationwide political liability once again to her fellow Republicans before Election Day, Cynthia Coffman might prefer you skip it. Whatever talking points Coffman and her emcees respond with, there's nothing about Jan Brewer politically that helps any Colorado Republican.

Bob Beauprez Declares War on Snowboarders

As live-Tweeted by the Bob Beauprez campaign from yesterday's GOP gubernatorial primary debate: 

beauprezimmigration

Keeping up a trend we've seen a lot lately, Beauprez's campaign deleted this Tweet some hours later. We suppose it might have been due to the misspelling of "border," which saw some lampooning after it was Tweeted, but the "anchor baby" stuff went out with the proverbial bathwater.

To be clear, the "anchor baby amendment" is more correctly known as the 14th Amendment, which covers a lot more than so-called "anchor babies." Tom Tancredo was once again a no-show for yesterday's debate–but no worries, Tancredo's hard-line action plan for "anchor babies" and other brown people, which as we all know is exactly what Republicans need to win over Colorado's Latino voters, was ably represented by Bob Beauprez.

But for perhaps the first time ever, we do agree with Beauprez about one thing: something has got to be done about these infuriating boarders flattening mogul runs, bulldozing everybody's fresh powder, and generally acting like damned hooligans. If Beauprez runs on a campaign of finally dealing with Colorado's out-of-control boarder problem, he might actually scare up some votes for that.

Arizona’s Jan Brewer To Headline Cynthia Coffman Fundraiser

FRIDAY UPDATE: Cynthia Coffman claims that she's not "endorsing" Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's agenda, but as the Phoenix metro area East Valley Tribune reports, somebody might want to tell that to Jan Brewer!

Brewer just returned Monday night from Georgia where she helped raise money for U.S. Senate hopeful Karen Handel. And today she is in Colorado to aid Cynthia Coffman in her bid for state attorney general….

“I'm going to participate in any manner I can to help those candidates that I believe that are aligned with me philosophically, [Pols emphasis] and that they are pragmatic and that they will get the job done,” Brewer said.

Oops.

—–

UPDATE: The Denver Post's Lynn Bartels:

“Is Cynthia Coffman wanting to turn Colorado into Arizona?” One Colorado, the state’s largest gay-rights organization, asked. “Colorado is not Arizona. We respect our neighbors and embrace diversity as a strength. Let’s stand together, and send a clear message that Jan Brewer’s extremism has no place in Colorado politics.”

Coffman agreed that Colorado is not Arizona.

“The fact that she’s going to come and do an event with me for 90 minutes doesn’t mean I agree with her on everything,” Coffman told The Denver Post. “It’s not about me endorsing her agenda. It’s about her doing something for me as a successful elected Republican woman. There aren’t that many as you know.”

—–

Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ).

Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ).

Here's something that popped up on our Google Alerts, as posted to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's public calendar for this week:

Friday, May 2, 2014 

• Governor Brewer to speak at event for Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman 

Denver, Colorado

We don't have a time yet for GOP Colorado Attorney General candidate Cynthia Coffman's fundraiser, but sources tell us it's being held at The Palm, one of the swankier political-class haunts in downtown Denver. Other than this announcement via Gov. Brewer's calendar, we've seen no publicity for this fundraiser–much like Cynthia's husband Mike Coffman's recent Brown Palace fundraiser starring Karl Rove.

(more…)

“You Can’t Trust Coffman”–Inglés y Español

coffmantrust

The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reports on a new web campaign targeting Rep. Mike Coffman in English and Spanish:

Liberal politics site ProgressNow Colorado on Monday launched an ambitious bilingual social-media campaign targeting Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman.

The group’s website appears in Spanish- and English-language versions (“Can’t Trust Coffman,” “No Confiar Coffman“) and is chock full of background material hitting Coffman for past ethics charges and position changes on issues sure to resonate in his district — mainly on policy stands he has taken related to women’s health care — including abortion and so-called personhood — immigration and safety-net or entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

The site is built for today’s mobile-social Web. It’s essentially a hyper-digitized mail campaign, where voters do the mailing and do it in a much more targeted fashion. They are encouraged to share with their friends — and neighbors, relatives, fellow voters — images of the Congressman — hand raised by the side of his face, lips pursed on the edge of a phrase — apparently about to articulate a position. But which position?

On the Dream Act, which aims to grant residency to young undocumented people brought to the country by their parents: “The Dream Act will be a nightmare,” Coffman is quoted to say in 2010. “These young people should be afforded a pathway to citizenship,” he is quoted to say in 2014.

Looking at the "All The Bullshit" page (yes, that's really what it's called), we can see many points in Coffman's record we've discussed in this space–from the "Social Security is a Ponzi scheme" business to Coffman's infamous 2012 statement that President Barack Obama "is just not an American." In addition, there are a number of items we either haven't talked about in some time or honestly had forgotten, like Coffman's violation of the Fair Campaign Practices Act back in 2000 campaigning against Amendment 23.

But above all, it's the parallel website in Spanish that makes this effort unique. We've talked about the vulnerability Coffman has faced since redistricting in 2011, and how the ethnically diverse and competitive district Coffman now represents is a minefield considering Coffman's long record as an arch-conservative in the Tom Tancredo mold. This is the story that most of Coffman's new constituents still don't know after he barely survived the 2012 elections. Most of what voters know about Coffman they are reading right now, as he attempts to pull of an extreme makeover into a totally different candidate.

If we were Coffman, a campaign to expose that long history, especially one targeting the very same Latino voters Coffman needs to win over to remain in office, is exactly what we'd be most afraid of.

ICYMI: Another Massive Friday News Dump For Cory Gardner

Personhood was just the beginning.

Personhood was just the beginning.

Just over one month ago, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner shocked Colorado politics by abruptly reversing himself on his longstanding and public support for the "Personhood" abortion bans, which were rejected overwhelmingly by voters in 2008 and 2010. Gardner attempted to pull this reversal off with a minimum of press coverage though a time-honored strategy known as the "Friday News Dump"–releasing uncomfortable or controversial news late on a Friday in hopes that no one is paying attention.

As the subsequent month of damaging press coverage has demonstrated, Friday News Dumps aren't very effective for minimizing unwanted coverage in the 24/7 news cycle we live in today.

But folks, if you're Cory Gardner, with a career built on taking a hard conservative line on every issue from a safe Republican seat, Friday News Dumps are just about the only chance there is to ditch positions that could disqualify you in a statewide general election. The incrementally fewer eyeballs looking at the news late on a Friday, for the purposes of doing something sure to result in blowback, are worth exploiting.

And yesterday evening, in an interview with CBS4's Shaun Boyd, Gardner kicked the flip-flopping into overdrive:

On abortion, Gardner has voted for bills with and without exceptions for rape and incest. He also sponsored the “Life Begins At Conception Act” and once supported Personhood in Colorado, something he no longer supports.

“In the State of Colorado, the Personhood Initiative I do not support,” said Gardner. [Pols emphasis] “I came to that opinion because of a number of issues including the fact that it would ban common forms of contraception.”

Note Gardner's very careful choice of words here, "in the State of Colorado, the Personhood Initiative I do not support." The "In Colorado" qualfiier is extremely important, since Gardner is still today a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act–written in similarly vague and broad language to the Personhood abortion bans in Colorado, with the same verbiage that could outlaw common forms of birth control. This is the first time we've seen Gardner attempt to reconcile his flip-flop on Personhood with his continuing sponsorship of similar legislation at the federal level–and the distinction makes no sense.

But that's the flip-flop you know. Here's this Friday's News Dump:

His position on gay rights has evolved like many on both sides of the aisle. Seven years ago in the state House he opposed a bill allowing gay couples to adopt and also voted against adding sexual orientation to state anti-discrimination laws.

“If a family wants to have children they should have children,” said Gardner.

When asked if that was regardless of sexual orientation, Gardner replied, “I think they should have children.” [Pols emphasis]

We invite readers to check us on this, but we can't find any record of Gardner softening on the issue of gay rights in the least before this interview. Gardner didn't merely vote against single-parent adoption as a state legislator, he actually campaigned for Congress in 2010 promising the Christian Family Association that he would oppose gay adoption and other "homosexual special rights." Gardner's answer on the related issue of businesses denying services to gays and lesbians is also much softer, paying lip service to "religious freedom" but now saying "we have to…make sure we’re not allowing that to turn into some kind of hidden discrimination." The fact is, this is at least as big a reversal as Gardner's flip-flop on Personhood. As Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's successor in Congress, the implications of this flip-flop are potentially quite serious for Gardner's relationship with the Christian right.

And if that's not enough for you, check out the New Cory Gardner® on immigration!

On immigration, Gardner opposed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and amnesty.

“The DREAM Act alone isn’t going to solve our immigration challenges. That’s why we have to look at border security, a guest worker program, E-verify and fixes to visas,” said Gardner. “What to do with people without documentation. There are between 11 and 12 million people here without documentation.”

When asked if they should be sent back to where ever they came from, Gardner replied, “I don’t think you can do that. I don’t think that’s what will happen or should happen.” [Pols emphasis]

Based on this interview, Gardner has evolved from blanket opposition to the DREAM Act to the milder view that "the DREAM Act alone isn’t going to solve our immigration challenges"–which could be read to mean the DREAM Act is part of a solution! And correct us if we're wrong, but if Gardner says we can't send undocumented immigrants back to wherever they came from, that indeed he doesn't "think that's what will happen or should happen"–hell, Gardner's just come out in favor of "amnesty," hasn't he? As for a "guest worker program," which Gardner apparently supports today, he voted against it in 2008 as a state legislator. We're given no explanation for Gardner's change of heart here either.

Perhaps the only issue on which Gardner is consistent in this truly remarkable interview is–you guessed it–Obamacare. We've discussed at length how Republicans are on the losing side of that debate, especially now that the scare tactics used for years against health care reform are being widely discredited. But if we're awarding points for consistency anywhere, there you go.

Bottom line: it's nothing short of stunning to see all of these newsworthy developments packed into a single local television interview, but it occurs to us that was most likely Gardner's very deliberate objective. Having already been painted as a flip-flopper for the last month over Personhood, it looks like Gardner is going all the way–flip-flopping on everything he can, as quickly and early in the race as possible.

Folks, it's not going to work. In fact, we increasingly foresee disaster, as Gardner richly earns the Mitt Romney Etch-a-Sketch prize and begins to repel voters of all stripes. Voters, regardless of their own views on the issues, learn from flip-flops like these that they can't trust Cory Gardner either way.

And that's the worst possible place to be as a candidate.

Coffman To Minority Language Voters: “Pull Out a Dictionary”

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).

​Rep. Mike Coffman has spent a great deal of time in recent months "reaching out" to the many ethnic groups in the new Sixth Congressional District, working hard to burnish his credentials with Asian and African immigrants in addition to his now-famous reversals on immigration policy–all directly intended to appease the large percentage of immigrant and ethnic minority voters in his district.

But as we've explored at length since Coffman began his transformation from Tom Tancredo's firebrand successor to embattled incumbent desperately trying to win over constituencies he routinely disparaged before redistricting, Coffman wasn't always such a nice guy to immigrants–especially where it concerns duties of citizenship like voting rights. Back in the summer of 2011, "Old Coffman" actually proposed the repeal of a section of the federal Voting Rights Act that requires bilingual ballots be distributed to qualifying minority language populations.

It's hard to imagine today's Mike Coffman seriously proposing to repeal part of the Voting Rights Act to make it harder for some of the very same immigrant communities he's courting today to vote, but in 2011, Coffman defended his "cost saving" proposal in surprisingly blunt terms. Here's a video clip from Spanish-language Univision News where Coffman explains his 2011 position–with translation below:

OLIVIA MENDOZA: To me, this is a big step backward. 
 
DANIEL TUCCIO: Disagreement was to be expected by pro immigrant rights advocacy groups  who are angry over the Congressman's position.
 
MIKE COFFMAN: One thing they ought to do is pull out a dictionary when they are at home, because the ballots have been sent to them a long time in advance. [Pols emphasis] They can seek help from friends who speak English, look up words they do not know; sometimes you have to put a little more effort to assimilate into our culture.
 
TUCCIO: Olivia Mendoza disagrees.

MENDOZA: The foundation of this country is the participation of citizens of the United States in our democracy. When we begin to say that it costs us too much to have citizens engaged…what country are we going to become?

"What country are we going to become?" If "Old Coffman" had gotten his way, it seems we'd be a nation where immigrants who want to vote "pull out a dictionary!" Nobody's going to argue that immigrants should never bother to learn English, but English proficiency is not a requirement for citizens to vote in America. That's why we have a Voting Rights Act to help make sure it doesn't become a requirement, de facto or otherwise.

Bottom line: "New Coffman®" should be really upset at "Old Coffman" for this one.

Immigration Rights Activists Rally in Pueblo – and Everywhere

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Republican and Democratic politicians alike were denounced by the 50 activists rallying at Bessemer Park in Pueblo on April 5, 2014, as part of a national Day of Action on Immigration. Barack Obama has deported more immigrants than any other President; Cory Gardner, Scott Tipton, and Mike Coffman have all voted to defund programs to make it easier for undocumented "Dreamers" to stay in the USA, and have repeatedly voted against comprehensive immigration reform.  Ken Buck and Tom Tancredo were also called out for their unrelenting history of opposition to not only immigration, but immigrants. All of the Republicans have opposed a path to citizenship, calling it "amnesty".

In Denver, activists rallied in Civic Center Park and on the 16th St. Mall (below): (Photo by Ray Rodriguez)

Elsewhere in Colorado, Summit County, and  Durango, saw rallies,waves of protests, support for youth and families facing deportation proceedings. On Saturday, the call across Colorado and the United States was  "Not one More Deportation!"

 

Under the Obama Presidency, more than two million people have been deported, most of them for low-level crimes, such as traffic offenses. Sunday talk shows debated whether or not Obama really is the "Deporter in Chief" On  Steve Kornacki's show, "UP", the focus was on how Obama's high deportation numbers may affect Latino voter turnout in upcoming elections.

Victoria De Francesca-Soto posited that the immigration numbers may be exaggerated statistically, as now everyone who is caught near the border, but turned back immediately,  is counted in deportation numbers. De Francesca also pointed out that immigration reform may not necessarily be the top issue among all Latino voters; for most, jobs and health care reform are higher priorities.

Yet, Gabriella Domenzain, another guest on Kornacki's show, said. "Four out of ten Latino voters have a personal relationship with someone who is being deported, and that changes you." People point to the unequal enforcement of immigration law – Canadian citizen Justin Bieber was convicted of driving drunk; yet he is not being deported, and, every year 400,000 Latinos, with similar or lesser convictions, are formally deported, for a total of two million under Obama.

(more…)

New Coffman® Triangulates Off Best Buddy Steve King

UPDATE: Democrats work to deny Coffman any room to maneuver on immigration, The Hill's Alexandra Jaffe:

The House Majority PAC ad, shared first with The Hill, highlights the fact that Coffman has not yet signed a discharge petition aimed at forcing a vote on a comprehensive immigration reform bill. 

Though nearly every Democrat in the House has signed the discharge petition, no Republicans have, and many in the GOP have indicated no desire to tackle the controversial issue in an election year…

Democrats see the issue as potent in the district, which is about 20 percent Hispanic, especially against Coffman, who was previously staunchly opposed to immigration reform before shifting early last year.

—–

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

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

FOX 31's Eli Stokols reports:

Congressman Mike Coffman called out a fellow Republican for opposing his proposal to allow undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship by serving in the military on Thursday.

Coffman, R-Aurora, called out Congressman Steve King, R-Iowa, a noted illegal immigration firebrand who Democrats have tried to sought to portray as a Coffman ally in an appeal to Hispanic voters.

“With all due respect, Steve King is dead wrong on the Military Enlistment Opportunity Act,” Coffman said in a statement, responding to King’s contention that his bill amounts to “amnesty.”

…Coffman, who faces a tough challenge from Democrat Andrew Romanoff in a re-drawn 6th Congressional District that now includes Aurora, supported a King proposal last year that would have ended deferred action, President Obama’s executive order sparing young people in the country illegally from immediate deportation. [Pols emphasis]

The context for this public-facing "disagreement," which Stokols notes embattled Rep. Mike Coffman's re-election campaign was quick to publicize, is a group of conservative House members who have announced their opposition to any "immigration riders" to the National Defense Authorization Act. That's the larger bill being debated, which Rep. Jeff Denham of California, supported by Coffman, hoped to amend. Politico:

“I oppose using the NDAA to push any immigration agenda,” [Rep. Mo] Brooks wrote in the letter asking colleagues to join his effort. “That is why I ask you to sign a letter to House leadership informing them that you oppose using the NDAA to push an immigration agenda of any kind.

“If immigration legislation is addressed by the House, it should be done so via the proper process, not by attaching it to must pass legislation,” the letter continues.

As you can see, the opposition to this amendment allowing some illegal immigrants who enlist in the military to gain citizenship is made up of a lot more Republicans than Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Congress' foremost anti-immigrant hardliner after Tom Tancredo left the building. The moderate California Republican Coffman is siding with in this dispute, Rep. Denham, is also a co-sponsor of the Democratic comprehensive immigration reform bill (H.R. 15)–which Coffman opposes.

With all of this in mind, it's quite clear that Coffman is using this intra-Republican disagreement to manufacture daylight between himself and unsightly erstwhile allies like Rep. King (see photo). The policy change Coffman is making a stink about, a path to citizenship for immigrants who join the military, is really quite narrow. Coffman's vote last year with Rep. King against the President's temporary reprieve granted to "DREAMer" undocumented students would have affected many more people, and stands in stark contrast to the impression Coffman wants this latest spat to leave. That vote was a major stumble for Coffman in his quest to reinvent his conservative image, and we don't see how his support for this much narrower proposal rights that wrong.

Especially since Coffman's friend Steve King, and lots of other Republican colleagues, mean to scuttle it.

“Moderate” Republican Endorses…Tancredo?

Norma Anderson.

Norma Anderson.

We wanted to make note of a blog post from the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels last Friday:

Former lawmaker Norma Anderson, known for wielding clout during her days at the legislature, said today if former Congressman Tom Tancredo makes the ballot for governor, she’s voting for him in the June 24 primary.

“Right now Tom is the best candidate,” she said, referring to the seven-person field of GOP hopefuls who want to unseat Democrat John Hickenlooper in November…

That former Sen. Norma Anderson, one of the more moderate elder statespersons in the Colorado GOP ranks, would endorse Tom Tancredo, one of the most polarizing hard-right politicians in our state's politics, is truly a fascinating development. Just as one example, Anderson is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit underway against the 1992 Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, arguing that it unconstitutionally undermines legislative power–most likely not a message Tancredo wants attached to his campaign in a Republican primary. But perhaps strangest of all?

Anderson, a Lakewood Republican, added she disagrees with Tancredo on immigration, a subject that defined him in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail in 2007. [Pols emphasis]

That's right, folks! Norma Anderson is endorsing a single-issue candidate, while "disagreeing" with said candidate on that single issue. The best explanation we've heard is that this odd move is legacy protection for Anderson and her family from the taint of being a so-called "RINO" (Republican in name only). The fact is, Tancredo is irrevocably linked to his hard-line stand on immigration. By endorsing Tancredo while disagreeing with him on his principal issue, this seems to be an attempt to make voters think that Tancredo's view on other issues matters.

To which we can only say, good luck with that.

Limited Immigration Reform May Be A Go – Nativists Have Already Conceded That It Would Not Be Amnesty

According to Alex Nowrahsteh of CATO, bipartisan immigration reform of the infamous 3/10 year bar may still be passable this year.  As described in the linked article, the three and ten year bar:

"requires that any immigrant who stays in the United States illegally for more than six months but less than one year may not leave and reenter for three years. Any immigrant who illegally stays for more than a year may not leave and reenter for 10 years. Also known as the 3/10-year bar, any immigrant who violates it triggers a twenty-year ban from reentering the United States – for any reason. Some unauthorized immigrants, mainly the spouses and parents of U.S. citizens, can currently apply for a green card. However, they can only do it after leaving the country. Since most unauthorized immigrants have been here for more than a decade and leaving would make the 3/10-year bar apply to them, this legislative catch-22 prevents current law from legalizing many of them."

So one would expect the anti-immigrants to immediately start crowing about this.   However, they have a small problem: one of the chief restrictionists, Mark Krikorian of Center for Immigration Studies, has already conceded that drastically reforming this bar would not be amnesty.  I have attached linked audio from the Spring of 2010 when I had the chance to get Krikorian on the record on Ross Kaminsky's radio show.  In it you can clearly hear Krikorian declare that allowing the spouse of a US citizen to stay in the country after a very minor penalty for overstaying would not be amnesty and also that he is not a "big fan" of the bar in the first place.  In fact, Krikorian stated he would support replacing the 3/10 year bar with a 6 months/1 year bar.

So how will the anti-immigrants handle the latest proposal?  My prediction: they will pretend Krikorian never conceded that it would not be amnesty.  Any bets on whether I am right?

This was originally posted by me at the Colorado Independent

On radio, Tancredo acknowledges “hardships” for immigrants under his self-deportation proposal

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Just after gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo departed from from KNUS' Peter Boyles show this morning, where Boyles told his listeners, "If there's a god, [Tancredo] becomes governor," Tancredo talked about immigration with Dan Caplis, whose KNUS radio show starts right after Boyles'.

Caplis: If you had that power, right now, what would you do with the folks who are already here?

Tancredo: …I think everyone who applies for a job in this country should have to be here legally and should have to prove that. Now, certainly, would there be hardships? I have no doubt. But a decision was made when the person came here illegally. I mean, that decision brought with it a lot of ramifications. One is that indeed you may end up having to leave at some point in time. And that means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Leave I-don't-know-what behind, you know, familiar relationships and all that sort of thing. But you have to determine that you are ok with the idea that people who are here illegally would have to go home. [BigMedia emphasis]

Tancredo isn't shy about discussing his proposed e-verify solution to the immigration problem, whereby employers would have to run the Social Security numbers of potential employees through a national database prior to hiring them, but Tancredo usually doesn't mention the "hardships" involved for the undocumented immigrants.

Below, in a 2011 video shot during Tancredo's 2011 presidential run, Tancredo said, "All you have to do is restrict the ability of an employer to give a job to somebody who is here illegally. People self deport when that happens. It happened in Arizona."

(more…)

Caption This Photo: Tancredo’s “Pheasant Outreach Program”

tanccruzking

Apropos, the Pueblo Chieftain reports today:

Former Rep. Tom Tancredo, one of the Republicans running for governor, is bringing Cuban-American singer Jon Secada to Memorial Hall on April 11 for a fundraising concert…

Tancredo earned a national reputation while serving in Congress for opposing any legal residency for undocumented immigrants. In this year’s campaign, he’s been touting his appeal to Hispanic voters.

Secada first began his show business career as a backup singer to Gloria Estefan. He reportedly has sold over 20 million albums.

Well, to balance out Tom Tancredo's "Hispanic outreach event" in Pueblo with Cuban-American heartthrob Jon Secada, here's a picture of Tancredo with a virulently anti-immigrant Cuban-American, Sen. Ted Cruz, and America's most virulently anti-immigrant member of Congress, bar none now that Tancredo's not there, Rep. Steve "Cantaloupes" King of Iowa!

And with that, Tancredo's "Hispanic outreach efforts" incur a bit of a setback.