Abortion? Gun Control? Genghis Khan? It Must Be Holocaust Week Resolution Time!

Today, the Colorado General Assembly debated and gave initial passage to House Joint Resolution 14-1015, the annual resolution designating the last week of April as Holocaust Awareness Week. Each year, the debate over this resolution gives Republicans an opportunity to score rhetorical points on a variety of their favorite issues. Last year's memorable tag team on abortion from Sens. Kevin Lundberg and Scott Renfroe was a notable example.

This election year, CD-4 primary candidate Renfroe was muzzled, and Lundberg was a bit more subtle–though the abortion/Holocaust reference is still unmistakable:

LUNDBERG: And I ask all of us, are we still too conveniently numb? I see human life taken, that I believe is immoral and injust, am I too conveniently numb to speak out? [Pols emphasis] I pray that we will all re-evaluate our moral standards in each and every step we take…

Lundberg is known for a lot of things, folks, but failing to speak out about abortion is not one of them.

Not to be outdone, here's Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, making a not-so-subtle reference to the gun safety legislation passed in Colorado in 2013 as he invokes the Rwandan genocide of 1994:


Royal Gorge Tea Party Straw Poll Shows No Clear Favorite

An update from Carrie Canterbury of the Canon City Daily Record:

Tougher laws and harsher penalties to better protect American citizens, limiting control of the federal government and doing away with Common Core were a few of the hot topics discussed during Saturday's Republican gubernatorial candidate forum at Mountain View Core Knowledge School.

Hopefuls Bob Beauprez, Greg Brophy, Scott Gessler, Steven House, Mike Kopp and Roni Sylvester fielded questions during the event hosted by the Royal Gorge Republican Women and the Royal Gorge Tea Party. Tom Tancredo declined the invitation to participate in the forum.

Roxanna Hollabaugh of the Royal Gorge Tea Party said a straw poll following the forum showed 25 percent of the votes went to Gessler; 22 percent to Beauprez; 20 percent to Kopp; 17 percent to Brophy; and 16 percent to House. She said with about 160 possible votes, a little more than half of the audience submitted a straw poll (58 percent).

This straw poll shows that there there are a lot of undecided Republican primary voters–or maybe a large number of unaccounted for Tom Tancredo voters, who wasn't present–but it's still quite striking how evenly divided the support was among all five of these candidates. In the end, we expect that the better name recognition for Scott Gessler, Bob Beauprez and Tancredo will keep them at the top of such polls for the time being.

Two other candidates now more or less on life support, Greg Brophy and Mike Kopp, could see a boost if Tancredo, who is petitioning onto the June primary ballot, chooses to release his delegates ahead of the state convention this weekend. In that event, we suspect those delegates would in large part shift to Brophy as opposed to Gessler or Beauprez. As for Kopp, the state assembly represents a last slim chance at relevancy.

Michelle Malkin Endorses Tom Tancredo (Again)

Michelle Malkin.

Michelle Malkin.

As the Denver Post's Lynn Bartels reports, nationally syndicated conservative columnist and Colorado Springs resident Michelle Malkin is once again endorsing Tom Tancredo for Governor of Colorado. In 2010, Malkin endorsed Tancredo when he ran as the American Constitution Party candidate, garnering 36.4% of the statewide vote:

“He’ll protect gun owners, entrepreneurs, and families from the encroachment of Nanny State bureaucrats,” Malkin said in her announcement supporting Tancredo. “He’ll fight both big government and big business special interests. He’ll turn back Obamacare and Common Core. And he’ll continue to battle the scourge of illegal immigration at our borders, in our neighborhoods, and on our economy.”


A regular figure on FOX News and other right-wing media, Malkin is perhaps most famous for her 2004 book, In Defense of Internment: The Case for 'Racial Profiling' in World War II and the War on Terror. Briefly popular among apologists for the Bush administration's tactics in response to the 9/11 terror attacks, Malkin's book was condemned by, among others, Fred Korematsu of the infamous Korematsu vs. U.S. case:

It is painful to see reopened for serious debate the question of whether the government was justified in imprisoning Japanese Americans during World War II. It was my hope that my case and the cases of other Japanese American internees would be remembered for the dangers of racial and ethnic scapegoating…

If someone is a spy or terrorist they should be prosecuted for their actions. But no one should ever be locked away simply because they share the same race, ethnicity, or religion as a spy or terrorist. If that principle was not learned from the internment of Japanese Americans, then these are very dangerous times for our democracy.

We'd say that apologetics for the internment of Japanese Americans is about as bad as it gets in American history–but if you agree, you were probably never going to vote for Tom Tancredo anyway.

Gardner’s attempt to compare his abortion stance to Schaffer’s doesn’t make sense

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner, Bob Schaffer.

Cory Gardner, Bob Schaffer.

In a blog post Friday, I tipped my hat to a Greeley talk-radio show for being the first media outlet to report that Cory Gardner's new position on abortion, in the wake of his un-endorsement of the personhood amendment, aligns with dogmatic religious views against abortion, even in the case of rape and incest.

But KFKA hosts Tom Lucero and Devon Lentz let me down by not questioning Gardner when he told them he holds the same position on abortion as "many pro-lifers in Colorado, including Congressman Bob Schaffer."

But Bob Schaffer never endorsed the personhood initiative at all, much less collected signatures for it. Personhood leaders would never have called Schaffer one of their "main supporters."

In Congress, Schaffer never co-sponsored federal personhood legislation, which would have banned all abortion, even for rape and incest, like Gardner did less than a year ago.

You can bet Schaffer never sent a constituent a letter saying, "Throughout my life, I've been committed to protecting human life, beginning at conception." Gardner wrote this just last month.

So, actually, Gardner's abortion position is significantly to the right of Schaffer's, which obviously carries serious political baggage for Gardner, as Lucero and Lentz should have pointed out.

On abortion policy and politics, Gardner is much more like Ken Buck. Afrwe being an enthusiastic supporter of the personhood amendment, Buck un-endorsed the measure in much the same way Gardner did, saying he still supported it "as a concept" but he hadn't fully understand it. Gardner, you recall, said the personhood initiative was motivated by "good intentions."

Buck's flip did nothing to stop him from, arguably, losing the election due to his position on women's issues. Schaffer would neither have been as vulnerable as Buck was or as vulnerable as Gardner remains.

These are the issues that should be raised, if Gardner continues to downplay his personhood flip flop by comparing himself to Schaffer.

Monday Open Thread

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

"Surplus wealth is a sacred trust which its possessor is bound to administer in his lifetime for the good of the community."

–Andrew Carnegie

Eating Dangerously at Safeway

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

I just went to Safeway after reading Eating Dangerously, by Denver journalists Michael Booth and Jennifer Brown.

I have to admit, the produce aisle was scary. The cantaloupes brought flashbacks from the book’s detailed recounting of the deaths of 33 people who ate Colorado cantaloupe in 2011. The shiny apples didn’t look clean. The bagged greens, which I love, bothered me. But I found a deceptively clean-looking bag and tossed in in my cart.

I moved on, just trying to implement some of the book's ideas to protect myself.


Buck, Like Gardner, Says No To Covering Pre-Existing Conditions

This week, Republican U.S. Senate candidate-turned CD-4 primary contender Ken Buck released his "plan" for what to do about health care once the historic calamity and grave injustice that is Obamacare (hopefully we hammed that up sufficiently) is repealed. Buck's three-page plan, with large pictures on two pages, doesn't reveal much in the way of a functional replacement for the Affordable Care Act's reforms. In fact, under the section titled "Deregulating the Insurance Market," Buck says one of the biggest changes Obamacare brought to the health insurance system isn't needed at all:

Allowing insurance to be purchased across state lines will increase competition and lower costs. But doing so requires the federal government to repeal coverage mandates that require most plans to offer the same services. Also, repealing the “guaranteed issue” mandate in Obamacare, which forces insurers to provide insurance to anyone regardless of their risk level, would lower premium costs. [Pols emphasis]

This is the nice way of saying exactly what now-U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner bluntly concurs with in the video above: coverage of pre-existing conditions should not be part of health care reform. As a substitute, Buck calls for expansion of state high-risk pools, and suggests individuals buy insurance against "health status changes." High-risk pools are not new, but persistent issues with very high costs and waiting periods make them an unpopular last resort–a problem that needed to be solved by reforming the system.

Polling consistently shows that the ACA's guaranteed issue mandate is one of the most popular, and also least publicly understood, parts of the new law. This despite the same polling consistently showing public discontent with "Obamacare" as a whole:

[R]oughly four in ten adults overall, and about half of the uninsured, are not aware that the law provides financial help to low- and moderate-income Americans to help them purchase coverage, gives states the options of expanding their Medicaid programs, and prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

Bottom line: flatly rejecting one of Obamacare's most popular provisions won't hurt Buck in his CD-4 primary, which is all about who can out-conservative the pack in front of an unquestioning and deeply radicalized rural Republican base. But with the playing field over the ACA shifting back toward Democrats as a belated, longsuffering, but increasingly undeniable success story begins to emerge, we believe that this blunt rejection of such a basic and popular tenet of reform could seriously harm Cory Gardner–especially if his campaign continues making Obamacare his central campaign issue.

In Gardner's statewide race, that answer just won't be enough.

Even More Bob Beauprez Muslim Conspiracy Theorizing

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

The Colorado Independent's John Tomasic reported yesterday evening on yet more bug-eyed wackiness from 2006 2014 GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez:

Last January, [Beauprez] wrote a 1,500-word column for Townhall entitled “Muslim Brotherhood in the White House,” in which he embraced and promoted reports citing vague sources who implied that the Obama administration had been infiltrated by “six American Islamist activist… Muslim Brotherhood operatives.” There is a lot of block quoting in the piece and talk of terrorism and Hamas and power grabs. In short, there is the general whiff of political fever swamp about the entire column. (It was recommended on Facebook 771 times.) It comes off as not the kind of thing the head of a purple state would be expected to author, at least not under his or her own name. [Pols emphasis]

Beauprez concluded the piece by telling his readers that Egypt is “being transformed into a theocratic Islamic fascist country” and that “with the U.S.-Brotherhood relationship in Egypt as the obvious example, Islamists in Iran, Syria, Palestine, Libya, Afghanistan – and, yes, even in the United States – can only be encouraged by the thought of a second term for Barack Obama.”

Beauprez's January 2013 column relies on a report that Beauprez admits is unsourced, and another based on the account of a disgraced former FBI agent named John Guandolo. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nationwide watchdog tracking extremist figures and organizations, has this to say about Guandolo:

Guandolo is vice president of Strategic Engagement Group, a nonprofit organization that says it was formed in 2010 “for the purpose of exposing and defeating efforts to subvert the United States Constitution and subjugate the American People.” He has stated in training sessions around the country that Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything,” [Pols emphasis] according to news reports.

Reportedly, Guandolo believes (among many other things) that CIA Director John Brennan was converted to Islam after a "counterintelligence operation" against him in Saudi Arabia many years ago. Our readers know Brennan is not the most popular guy right now with Colorado's own Sen. Mark Udall, but the idea that Brennan, chiefly controversial for his support of drone strikes and (at least past) support of harsh interrogation methods against Muslims is one seems very distant from reality as we understand it. There's no legitimate evidence to support this allegation that we can find, but Guandolo's theories were enthusiastically regurgitated for a while in early 2013 by right wing media outlets like World Net Daily and Glenn Beck's The Blaze.

For those just joining us, since launching his campaign a month ago from Washington, D.C., Beauprez's time "in the wilderness," in between his campaigns for public office, has emerged as a veritable treasure trove of loony-tunes allegations and conspiracy theories: including such topics as the "giant hoax" of climate change, how Muslim Sharia Law is "creeping in" right here in Colorado, and how President Barack Obama is "pushing the boundaries" toward "civil war." All of which is, of course, the perfect segue into Obama's birth certificate.

If Beauprez's free-ranging embrace of such a multitude of chain email conspiracy theories seems disqualifying to you, you're probably right, setting aside the GOP primary of course.

Weekend Open Thread

You have to be trusted
By the people that you lie to
So that when they turn their backs on you
You'll get the chance to put the knife in

–Pink Floyd, from Dogs

Former CD-4 Candidate With Prophetic Words for Cory Gardner’s U.S. Senate Bid

Cory Gardner.

F*** off, Doug Aden

The Colorado Independent published a story this week about Republican Cory Gardner's bid for the U.S. Senate and his highly-publicized Personhood flip-flop. The story includes some interesting quotes from Doug Aden, the American Constitution Party candidate in CD-4 in 2010 (the year Gardner was first elected to Congress). As Tessa Cheek reports:

In Weld Country, the conservative heart of Gardner’s congressional district, Doug Aden is less sure that Gardner’s flip will win him the votes he needs to defeat Udall. Aden ran against Gardner in the Tea Party wave-year 2010 as the libertarian American Constitution Party candidate. He said he first heard of the flop when Weld County voters started badgering him to hop into the Senate race.

“It’s not whether this is a smart move to appear more moderate in his position; obviously that’s what Gardner is counting on. Unfortunately, you really want to count on your base,” he said, adding that he doesn’t know many strong pro-life folks would feel comfortable voting for a candidate they see as soft on personhood.

“A lot of these people will still say in the polls that he’s their choice or whatever, but when it comes down to actually voting, a lot will under-vote or else not go to the polls at all,” he predicted.

Even so, Aden said he has no plans to jump into the race to capture the pro-personhood voting bloc.

“I wouldn’t try to run a statewide race, because I don’t think I reflect the views of the whole state of Colorado,” Aden said. His answer raises the question at the heart of the flop: Will enough people across the state look past Gardner’s voting record to feel his views reflect their own? [Pols emphasis]

As far as political strategists go, nobody is going to confuse Doug Aden with Karl Rove anytime soon. But Aden's words may prove prophetic when it comes to the difficulty of moving from the far-right in CD-4 to a much more moderate group of statewide voters. We've pondered this question ever since Gardner first announced his intentions to run for Senate: How do you convince voters statewide that you are not the same person who is also the 10th most conservative member of Congress?

Wingnut Jeffco School Board Controversy Escalates

Last night, a marathon public session of the Jefferson County Board of Education illustrated the controversy being stoked by three new conservative board members, Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams, who are forging ahead with a stridently ideological agenda–and perhaps doing major harm to the district's reputation in the process. 9NEWS reported on events last night:

Charter schools have to take money out of the classroom budgets to pay for building expenses. Charter schools have to pay the Jefferson County School District fees for various services taking away from the estimated $7,000 per pupil district schools typically receive to use for classroom expenses…

The school board is considering adding an additional $100 per pupil to charter schools to help make up the difference in funding between charter and district schools.

[Parent Nicole] Dominic says this is an exciting new direction proposed by newly elected school board members Ken Witt, John Newkirk, and Julie Williams.

As this story explains, charter schools are obligated to pay for a variety of services provided by the district. That makes sense given that those services cost the district money, and doesn't mean that a net difference between neighborhood schools and public schools is "unfair." For one thing, charter schools commonly receive lucrative grants to offset their expenses that neighborhood schools can only dream of. But there's a much more basic reason not to divert this estimated $3.5 million from neighborhood schools to charter schools: it breaks the promises the district made in 2012 to persuade voters to raise property taxes.


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.

Talk-radio scoop: Gardner says his abortion position is same as Archbishop Chaput

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner Flip Flops

When Rep. Cory Gardner dumped his longstanding support of the Personhood amendment two weeks ago, reporters failed to tell us about Gardner's new position on abortion.

It turns out, Gardner now holds the same abortion stance as Archbishop Charles Chaput, who left Denver for a Vatican post in Philadelphia in 2011.

That's what Gardner told KFKA (Greeley) talk-show hosts Tom Lucero and Devon Lentz March 27. They get the intrepid-talk-show-host prize for being the first to ask Gardner the logical follow up to his March 21 bombshell about ditching personhood:

LUCERO:  So, Cory, has your position on life changed, or just your position on – with regards to the Personhood initiative?

GARDNER:  Yeah.  I mean, if you look at my record, it still is a pro-life record.  And many pro-lifers in Colorado, including Congressman Bob Schaffer, the Archbishop Chaput of the Catholic Diocese, hold the same position.

LENTZ:  So, it’s really, it’s more along the lines, if I’m understanding correctly, on what contraception is available for women, not – not abortion — for being abortion– it’s just more having the choice of birth control itself.

GARDNER:  Well, that’s one of the consequences that we looked at in terms of contraception, but this issue [personhood] is, I think, a settled issue in Colorado and something that pro-lifers – you know, like I respect peoples’ difference of opinion on this, and I think there are a lot of differences of opinions on this, but I happen to agree that, with the things that I have learned, that I did something that was the right position to take.


Friday Open Thread

It's like a planetwide spell was cast
Everyone I asked, accepted the baloney and trash
And it's only a mask
Worn by a character who wants what you have

–Del The Funky Homosapien