Gardner Backs Trump, Backing Coffman Against Wall

UPDATE: Cory Gardner reaffirms he’s all in in a statement today:

gardnertrump

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Sen. Cory Gardner says he supports Donald Trump for President

Sen. Cory Gardner says he supports Donald Trump for President

Earlier today we noted that Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) apparently announced his support of Donald Trump for President over the weekend. Like many Republicans, Gardner had been avoiding questions about his support for Trump — even though he was on record pledging to support the GOP nominee for President — but Megan Schrader of the Colorado Springs Gazette caught Gardner’s admission of support for Trump at the annual El Paso County Republican Party fundraiser on Friday night.

Gardner’s support of Trump is buried deeper than Jimmy Hoffa in Schrader’s story from Friday, which is why this is just now making waves on Tuesday. From the Gazette:

[Darryl] Glenn enthusiastically backed Trump when he addressed the crowd – a sentiment that was echoed by U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner.

“That’s why I’m voting Republican up and down the ticket. A Republican president will make a difference, even a Republican president named Donald Trump,” said Gardner [Pols emphasis], who last year accomplished what Glenn hopes to do this year by unseating one of Colorado’s Democratic senators.

Perhaps Gardner and his staff hoped that they could sweep this under the rug entirely, and they damn near succeeded. Gardner’s admission that he is voting for Trump should have been breaking news, but after lying dormant for a few days, his quote finally got mainstream attention today. This may be hard for Gardner to explain, of course, since he has been so anti-Trump for most of the 2016 election cycle:

Gardner’s public support of Trump creates a new problem for Republican Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora), who has been trying to toe the middle line between concern about Trump and concern about losing Republican voters who love Trump.

Coffman has been taking a lot of heat for his wish wash on Trump, and the negative press he has earned as a result has been pretty rough (not to mention the verbal beatdown he received from former Rep. Tom Tancredo, whom Coffman once called his “hero”).

Rep. Mike Coffman

Rep. Mike Coffman

Last week Coffman’s hometown Aurora Sentinel published a strongly-worded editorial calling on Coffman and other Republicans to condemn Trump with no strings attached, which Coffman didn’t want to do. Coffman’s response to the Sentinel editorial was almost a word-for-word copy of a standard Trump talking point:

“What they forget is that Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt and dishonest politician ever to run for the Presidency.”

In the course of just a few weeks, Coffman has run a TV ad saying that he “doesn’t like Trump very much,” which was followed by several interviews in which Coffman refused to rule out voting for Trump. All of this made Coffman look particularly ridiculous, and his waffling no doubt contributed to a growing narrative about Coffman’s inability to stick with a position on anything.

With Gardner’s public support of Trump, Coffman now has to try to explain his position on Trump all over again — and in new detail. Gardner says he will vote for Trump. Will Coffman still try to refuse to answer that question?

Larry Mizel Continues To Help Donald Trump. Why?

Larry Mizel.

Larry Mizel.

With Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s next fundraiser in Colorado set for August 25th in Aspen, we just wanted to note again for the record who Trump’s go-to guy for fundraising in our state is once again, not matter what controversy Trump steps in–as the Denver Business Journal reports:

Larry Mizel, CEO of Denver-based homebuilder [M.D.C. Holdings], will host a fundraiser for Donald Trump and the Republican Party at a home in Aspen…

Mizel — a longtime supporter of Republican causes — is co-chair of Republican presidential candidate Trump’s Colorado campaign. He founded M.D.C. Holdings (NYSE: MDC) — which does business as Richmond American Homes — in 1972.

He also reportedly co-hosted a Trump fundraiser in June along with beer executive Pete Coors at the Cherry Hills Village home of former Denver Broncos head coach Mike Shanahan.

As we’ve noted previously, local Republican kingmaker Larry Mizel has a very long history of philanthropy in addition to his support for Republican candidates and causes. Mizel is among other things the founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading international Jewish human rights organization. The Wiesenthal Center has condemned the rhetoric used by Donald Trump on the presidential campaign trail, saying his attacks on Muslims “hurts the legitimate campaign against Islamist Fundamentalism and demeans law abiding American citizens.” Numerous instances of Trump’s campaign and message either being directly influenced by anti-Semitic extremists or at least inspiring them have added to the campaign’s unprecedented appeals to division.

It is with all of this in mind that we are obliged to ask the question that no one in the Colorado media seems to be able to ask: why is Larry Mizel backing Donald Trump? It seems to us that if Mizel had a compelling story to tell about his support for Trump, it might help respond to the onslaught of attacks over Trump’s divisiveness. Even if Mizel doesn’t have a good reason for standing by Trump as he offends basically the entire world, the media has an obligation to call him to account as one of the nation’s leading Jewish philanthropists–no matter how influential he may be or what media outlets he furtively buys.

With the media reporting daily now on the massive liability that supporting Donald Trump represents for Republican politicians, it’s time to turn that scrutiny on Trump’s behind-the-scenes enablers like Larry Mizel. Mizel owes the public an explanation for why he, one of the state’s foremost philanthropists and civic leaders, is supporting one of the most divisive politicians in modern American history.

Or perhaps Larry Mizel doesn’t deserve the high status he enjoys.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (August 16)

Get More SmarterDid you remember to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Panama Canal on Monday? It’s time to Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has asked former Interior Secretary and longtime Colorado politico Ken Salazar to lead her White House transition team. From the Denver Post:

As head of a lineup that includes former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and former National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Salazar will be in charge of meeting with Obama administration officials and preparing for a smooth handoff between presidents.

The role has become more official in recent years; transition staff will meet regularly with White House officials and use workspace provided by the General Services Administration.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie was tapped by Donald Trump in May for a similar assignment. “Once Hillary Clinton makes history by being elected as the nation’s first woman President, we want to have a turnkey operation in place so she can hit the ground running right away,” Salazar said in a statement released Tuesday by the Clinton campaign.

By leading Clinton’s transition team, Salazar is in prime position to nab a key role in a potential Clinton Administration. This is a significant development for Colorado, as well, as Salazar has long been rumored to be preparing a bid for Governor in 2018. If Salazar were to land a top job in the Clinton Administration, it would likely preclude him from running for Governor.

 

► Republicans are adopting a strange new strategy when it comes to Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte rolled out the newest talking point on Monday, saying that she will be voting for Trump for President, but vows to “stand up to him” if elected.

 

► It may not qualify as the first rule of politics in Colorado, but it should definitely be in the Top 5: Never use pictures of non-Colorado mountain ranges in literature or video campaign advertisements.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump… (more…)

Coffman’s Trump Triangulation: Just Add “Doublethink!”

UPDATE #2: Check out this Colorado Springs Gazette story from the weekend–even Sen. Cory Gardner has drunk the proverbial Kool-Aid now:

“That’s why I’m voting Republican up and down the ticket. A Republican president will make a difference, even a Republican president named Donald Trump,” said Gardner, who last year accomplished what Glenn hopes to do this year by unseating one of Colorado’s Democratic senators.

—–

UPDATE: Take note of Rep. Mike Coffman’s response to the call from the Aurora Sentinel to take a clear stand one way or the other on Donald Trump:

“What they forget is that Hillary Clinton is the most corrupt and dishonest politician ever to run for the Presidency. “- Mike Coffman

Spoken like a true Trump surrogate–or even something The Donald himself might say! At the very least, this helps illustrate why Coffman needs a different answer (see below).

—–

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

CNN reports on a newly formulated response to the GOP’s oh-so-dreaded Donald Trump question, as floated by New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte:

Sen. Kelly Ayotte has often found herself in a familiar spot with Donald Trump: Keeping her distance.

But in this fiercely independent state, Ayotte is gambling that voters might reward her for rebuking her own party’s nominee. She has criticized Trump and will not endorse him — yet still plans to vote for the billionaire in November.

“I will take on my own party,” Ayotte told CNN in Nashua Monday. “I really believe that this is a big issue in this race — that I am the one candidate that will stand up to whomever is in the White House to do good things when we can work together — also when it’s wrong to stand up to them…”

“While he has my vote he doesn’t have my endorsement,” Ayotte said of Trump. [Pols emphasis]

As the Republican Party continues to grapple with the quite-possibly fatal reality of having handed their nomination for the presidency to a repulsive megalomaniac demagogue, we’re seeing a variety of coping strategies attempted. At this point, the national Republican political coalition has split into two basic camps: those who are embracing Trump either out of genuine support or to preserve party unity, and those who are either hostile to Trump or trying to keep their own races out of Trump’s path of destruction.

Colorado’s most vulnerable member of Congress, GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, earned a fair amount of press as the first Republican downballot candidate to run an ad openly critical of Trump. Unfortunately, Coffman was totally unprepared to answer the next logical question from inquiring reporters: will you vote for him?

Coffman’s inability to answer the straightforward question of who he plans to vote for in the presidential race, explicitly leaving the door open to vote for Trump while declaring he would never vote for Hillary Clinton, severely undermined the legitimacy of Coffman’s attempt to triangulate off Trump in his swing district. And then two stories in the New York Times and Denver Post this weekend took a long-overdue look at Coffman’s “Trump-like” record–and it did not go well for him.

It’s important to keep in mind that Coffman’s decision to go “Sister Souljah” on Trump came shortly after a conference in Colorado Springs of top-level Republican donors and strategists convened by the Koch brothers. That conference was widely reported to be focused on Trump “survival strategies” for vulnerable Republican politicians. After Coffman’s stumble trying and failing to have it both ways, now we have Sen. Ayotte and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida publicly reaffirming both their criticism of Trump and their intention to vote for him. George Orwell famously described this with the word “doublethink”–the simultaneous acceptance of two contradictory opinions.

Coffman will almost certainly adopt this approach sooner or later, but we have serious doubts that it will work. We may be reaching a point where the farce can simply no longer be maintained–and neither Coffman nor any other Republican up for election in 2016 can talk their way out of their party’s fate.

Tuesday Open Thread

“I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect.”

–Edward Gibbon

Radio Host Would “Rather Have David Duke” than Hillary Clinton

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The collapse of Trump is being taken especially hard by radio hosts who don’t like Hillary. Here, Dan Meurer, who’s heard on KLZ 560-AM’s afternoon drive show, says he’d rather have David Duke as president.

Duke, a former leader of the KKK, a racist, and holocaust denier, is a Republican running for U.S. Senate in Louisiana.

Here’s what Meurer said on KLZ Aug.10:

MEURER (in discussion around presidential race, and Trump and Hillary’s (-10.9)  unfavorability): […] I do NOT want that woman as president, and I don’t know how else to say it.

I would rather have Gary Johnson, but he can’t win.  I would rather have David Duke, but he’s not running.  I mean, I would rather have anybody but her. 

CO-HOST: ANDY PETH:  (scoffing) David Duke!

MEURER:  I’m serious!  I would!  I mean Louis Farakan could be president over Hillary Clinton And she is a criminal!  I mean, he is more than twice – almost three times –.

PETH:  You don’t cast your vote as a statement.  You cast your vote as a number.  Votes are strategic decisions to affect outcomes. [Listen below.]

Asked if he were joking about favoring Duke over Clinton, Meurer told me via email:

MEURER: If you ask me they’re both despicable human beings that are in favor of eugenics and are hardcore racists. One is out in the open with their hate (Duke) the other is as stealthy as possible (Clinton). Hilary is calculating and smart. Duke is not. Duke is less dangerous because he is so far over the top that he poses no threat to the minority population because he could never gain a following of any size, unlike Hilary who has millions behind her. Point being I can’t stand either one. But this whole question of choosing the lesser of two evils… I’m just glad I don’t have to make that choice.

“End of Life Options” Qualifies For 2016 Colorado Ballot

UPDATE: Statement from Yes on Colorado End of Life Options:

The Yes on Colorado End-of-Life Options campaign today was notified that Coloradans will be able to vote for the measure on their November ballots. The measure will allow terminally ill, mentally capable adults who are Colorado residents access medication to that would allow them to shorten the dying process if suffering becomes unbearable.

“Today we are one step closer to ensuring that Coloradans have control over all of their health care decisions when facing terminal illness,” said Julie Selsberg, co-petitioner of the measure. “End of life decisions are very intimate and personal. This proposal encourages more discussion between patients and doctors about the patient’s end of life wishes and allows doctors who wish to provide this very compassionate care the ability to do so. “

Selsberg was at her father’s side as he slowly died from Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS) and helped him write an open letter to Colorado lawmakers asking them to authorize medical aid in dying…

The measure is modeled after Oregon legislation that has been in place for nearly 20 years without any proven instances of abuse or fraud. Like Oregon, the Colorado measure includes precautions to protect patients.

—–

euthanasia-supporter-speaks-with-other-supporters-outside-scottish-parliamentA release from Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announces that a statewide ballot measure to allow certain terminally ill patients in Colorado to receive physician assistance with ending their own lives has qualified for the 2016 ballot:

Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams announced today that a proposal that would allow terminally ill Coloradans to obtain a prescription drug to bring about their deaths will be on the ballot this November.

Backers of the “Medical Aid in Dying” proposal on Aug. 4. submitted their signatures. A 5-percent random sample of the submitted signatures projected the number of valid signatures to be greater than 110 percent of the total number of signatures required for placement on the ballot.

The “aid in dying” measure, which would change state law, is the third citizens’ initiative to successfully make the ballot. Initiative No. 145 permits” mentally capable” Colorado adults who have been diagnosed with an illness and have less than six months live to self-administer a drug that would cause their death.

Euthanasia opponents are frequently, though not always, motivated by similar “sanctity of life” religious arguments that we’ve seen used in long-running debates over reproductive choice. The issue has gained prominence in recent years, especially after a young California woman with an inoperable brain tumor named Brittany Maynard put a human face on terminally ill Americans seeking a compassionate end to their suffering in 2014. Maynard moved from California to Oregon specifically to take advantage of that state’s “death with dignity law.” Five states including California now have such a law on the books.

Should Colorado be next? We expect this to be a debate that plays out both in the public and most private of spheres.

Get More Smarter on Monday (August 15)

Get More SmarterNo, it’s not November yet. But it can’t come soon enough–and in the meantime, you can Get More Smarter with Colorado Pols! If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The disastrous presidential campaign of Republican nominee Donald Trump is fast approaching the point of no return, with new damage that would end most political campaigns being inflicted on a practically hourly basis:

Since formally claiming the Republican nomination last month, Trump has committed a series of potentially self-destructive blunders, dominating the news cycle with a succession of negative headlines.

The real estate mogul encouraged espionage by inviting Russia to hack Hillary Clinton’s emails; sparred for days with a Gold Star family who spoke out against him at the Democratic National Convention; refused — albeit temporarily — to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan and Arizona Sen. John McCain in their reelection bids; suggested the November election will be rigged against him; seemingly incited violence by remarking that “Second Amendment people” may be the only ones able to stop Clinton; and claimed President Barack Obama and Clinton were founders and MVPs of the Islamic State — a comment he insisted was sarcasm, though hours afterward he said it wasn’t “that sarcastic, to be honest with you.”

Trump’s self-inflicted wounds have gashed his polling numbers, as recent surveys show Clinton leading in a series of battleground states, and sparked defections from GOP lawmakers like Maine Sen. Susan Collins and New York Rep. Richard Hanna and dozens of former Republican administration officials.

► Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton continues to show dominance in key state polls after posting a 14-point lead over Trump in Colorado last Friday. And at this weekend’s RedState Gathering in Denver, Trump’s foundering campaign made for a most depressing party.

► Trump says that Clinton lacks the “stamina” to be president–unlike Trump and his big hands!

► Meanwhile, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani says that there weren’t any terror attacks in the eight years before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton! You know, except that really big one.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Coffman still supports dropping bilingual ballot requirement

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

coffmansmileIt’s difficult to write about what Rep. Mike Coffman actually believes these these days, because it’s so hard to sort out how he sounds like he’s changed from how he’s actually changed.

So a tip of the hat to The Denver Post’s Joey Bunch, who did a good job sorting through some of Coffman’s stances, such as they are, over the weekend.

One item deserves clarification.

FBunch reports, accurately, of Coffman:

This is a candidate who in 2011 introduced legislation to repeal portions of the 1973 Voting Rights Act to permit local jurisdictions to decide if ballots could be printed in English only. He noted that English proficiency is a requirement for citizenship. Immigrant advocates saw it as a way to disenfranchise voters.

As of the last election, that’s still Coffman’s position. He still wants to repeal portions of the Voting Rights Act that require bilingual ballots to be provided in areas with large percentages of voters who are not proficient in English.

Saying it’s too expensive, Coffman would eliminate the requirement for offering ballots in languages other than English and, instead, trust local officials to decide whether bilingual ballots are needed, even though the shallowest reading of American history (including a cursory understanding of politics today) reveals that local officials should not be trusted with this decision that affects the basic right to vote.

Coffman once suggested that immigrants “pull out a dictionary” if they’re having trouble understanding an English ballot.

Now, in a classic example of how he’s sounding nicer without changing his policy stance, Coffman is saying he “would hope that every voter will be able to get the information that he needs in a language he can understand.”

But the Voting Rights Act? Coffman doesn’t think we need it telling people what to do on bilingual ballots.

Sen. Laura Woods Joins “Moving Mountain Hall of Shame”

UPDATE: Jeffco residents will get the joke:

woodsjeffcogreatagain

westminstergreat

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The spectacular mountain vistas we enjoy as residents of the great state of Colorado are some of the most popular visual symbols used in advertising–from Coors beer bottles to the iconic silhouette of the Rockies that has decorated our state’s license plates for many decades. And of course, Colorado politicians make regular use of Colorado mountains as a backdrop or other visual subject in their own advertisements and literature.

In our over a decade of covering Colorado politics, one of the more embarrassing gaffes we’ve seen committed by political campaigns is the appropriation of mountains not located in Colorado for use in Colorado political materials. Back in 2008, U.S. Senate candidate Bob Schaffer was lampooned ferociously after a TV spot substituted Alaska’s Mount McKinley for Pikes Peak. Other big-name candidates from Scott McInnis to Bob Beauprez have similarly been taken to task in major media for screwing this up, not to mention the Colorado Republican Party and right-wing message group Citizens United. It’s always our hope when this happens that the resulting ridicule will encourage the next election cycle’s graphic designers to, you know, be more careful.

Unfortunately, it’s too late for Colorado’s most competitive state senate race! Here’s the “walk piece” being used by Sen. Laura Waters Woods’ campaign in swing SD-19, sent to us this past weekend:

Woods-walk-1

That’s a lovely alpine lake and range of mountains Sen. Woods is standing in front of, isn’t it? A shot right out of a tourism brochure, right? We’d love to take a weekend drive to this beauty spot.

winter_moraine_lake_alberta_canada-wallpaper-1152x720

Unfortunately, it would take just about the whole weekend to get there, because it’s not in America. The lake and mountain range Sen. Woods is depicted in front of is in fact located in Alberta, Canada’s Banff National Park.

This isn’t the first time Banff, Canada’s mountains have been substituted for Colorado mountains, in fact the Citizens United movie Rocky Mountain Heist we noted above used either the exact same photo or one very similar for the video’s cover. But for proud Colorado locals who know our mountains well, this really is a major insult to our collective intelligence. There are so many authentic Coloradan picturesque mountain ranges that political graphic designers could use, from the Maroon Bells to the Sneffels Range to the Indian Peaks within easy sight of Denver. Why fake the beauty of Colorado?

In a race as close as Woods’ is expected to be, don’t make unforced errors like this.

The Weekend Mike Coffman’s Luck Ran Out

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman's 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood's logo.

Still from Rep. Mike Coffman’s 2014 ad using Planned Parenthood’s logo.

Colorado’s most vulnerable Republican incumbent in this crazy 2016 election season, Rep. Mike Coffman of Aurora, is without question our state’s greatest political survivalist. Few politicians in our state’s history have had their political constituencies as dramatically reshaped out from under them as Coffman, who was originally elected in 2008 to succeed the hard-right anti-immigrant firebrand Rep. Tom Tancredo. After several years representing Tancredo’s accommodating staunch conservative Republican constituents, Coffman’s congressional district was redrawn to include the highly diverse suburban city of Aurora, and went from an ultra-safe Republican seat to one of the nation’s most competitive.

Coffman’s up-to-now successful ability to re-invent his political image in wholesale terms, winning re-election twice in his new diverse and competitive battleground, stands today as perhaps the biggest disappointment for Colorado Democrats in the twelve years they have enjoyed resurgent control in this state. In 2012, Coffman faced an underfunded challenger who came nonetheless unexpectedly close to unseating him. In 2014, Coffman actually ran to the left of his Democratic opponent Andrew Romanoff on certain issues like immigration, and audaciously used Planned Parenthood’s logo in positive ads despite his repeated votes over the years to cut off the organization’s funding.

And Coffman won. Coffman just kept winning, as Democrats fumed over what they viewed as blatant political opportunism and shameless flip-flopping on formerly core issues for pure political survival. In 2014, the successful U.S. Senate campaign of “Con Man Cory” Gardner, along with Coffman, created something like real despair for Democratic strategists that factual positions, statements, and other such “reality based” lines of attack were losing their efficacy in politics. Here were politicians who lied right through the fact-checking and in the end did not pay a price.

This weekend, though, something happened that we may look back on as the moment Coffman’s audacious political re-invention finally broke down. Two major stories, one in the New York Times and the second in today’s Denver Post, take a second look at Coffman’s changing politics–and in doing so, de-legitimize the whole effort with surprising ease. Here’s the New York Times’ Emmarie Huetemann, with her devastating headline “A Congressman Slighted Immigrants, Then Embraced Them. Now He Runs From Trump.”

He started learning Spanish in 2013, he said, shortly after being re-elected to a redistricted House seat whose constituents bore little resemblance to the far more conservative ones who sent him to Congress in 2008. Mr. Coffman, a retired Marine who co-sponsored a bill to make English the nation’s official language and suggested that Hispanic voters who could not understand their ballots should “pull out a dictionary,” suddenly represented the most diverse district in Colorado…

Mr. Coffman’s detractors see him as another pandering politician, willing to do anything to get re-elected. Another of Mr. Coffman’s ads — in which a handful of people of different ages and ethnicities say he is “not like other Republicans” but “one of us” — draws bitter laughter at Ms. Carroll’s campaign office.

“He didn’t find religion until he got redistricted,” said Tim Sandos, a former Denver city councilman who is now the chief executive of the National Hispanic Voter Educational Foundation. “And now all of a sudden he’s ‘one of us.’” [Pols emphasis]

Tom Tancredo, Mike Coffman.

Tom Tancredo, Mike Coffman.

Meanwhile, over Denver Post, reporter Joey Bunch gives Coffman’s long and changing record exactly what Coffman doesn’t want: a thorough and impartial examination.

Opponents concede the congressman has distanced himself from Trump, the candidate, but contend he cannot credibly deny his history of Trump-like statements and Trump-like positions.

The Denver Post analyzed the most common talking points Democrats use to link Coffman and Trump. The Post found that most have some basis in fact, but they lack context to give a better understanding of the issues.

From there, readers are treated to a pretty good summary of what swing voters in Coffman’s district will consider the worst things Coffman has said and done, like claiming President Barack Obama “is not an American” and saying the DREAM Act for undocumented students “will be a nightmare for the American people.” In each case Bunch dutifully includes Coffman’s apology, subsequent policy change, or other “context” as applicable. One item missing from Bunch’s list is the above mentioned use of Planned Parenthood’s logo in Coffman’s campaign ads, which has merited its own story on other occasions.

The context doesn’t help, folks. The aggregate weight of all of Coffman’s reinventions in one place is simply too much. Taking all of Coffman’s “changes of heart” in the only context that matters–Coffman’s quest for political survival–makes the whole exercise look fraudulent. The fact is that none of this is new information, and this is a case that Coffman’s opponents could have made in 2014 with most of the same material. But it’s impossible to read these long form examinations of Coffman’s shifting positions and not conclude that, as Tancredo himself recently said of Coffman, “the only thing authentic about him is his passionate desire to keep that House Member pin on his lapel.”

The difference may be that in this calamitous year for Republicans, Coffman’s reinvention just stands out more. Donald Trump has created a political world of black and white choices for Republicans — a world where it’s next to impossible to be a Republican in the gray area. As we’ve said before, you cannot be publicly ambivalent about Trump, and the GOP Presidential nominee’s line-in-the-sand approach provides little room to maneuver for Republicans such as Coffman.

Coffman’s 2016 campaign is fairly similar to what he’s always done; but by changing the context of this election, Trump is making Coffman’s strategy untenable. There was another way for Coffman, but he missed his exit, and after years of watching Coffman brashly outmaneuver his fate for two election cycles, this feels different to us.

It feels like the beginning of the end.

RedState Gathering: The Saddest Convention In The World

Glenn Beck.

Glenn Beck.

It doesn’t seem to be making the same splash as the recent Western Conservative Summit, but another high-profile conservative political activist conference is underway this weekend, this time at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Denver–the 2016 RedState Gathering. You might consider the RedState conference to be an analogue to the left’s annual Netroots Nation conferences.

But this year, with the Republican Party having nominated megalomaniacal businessman Donald Trump for what increasingly appears to be one of the most disastrous presidential campaigns in any major political party’s history, RedState is by most accounts a really weird place to be right now.

We can probably start with last night’s keynote speaker, multimedia conservative pole star Glenn Beck. For reference, this is the guy who has already said “it will be a ‘gigantic mistake if this country chooses Donald Trump’ as its next president.” CBS4:

“The GOP is over,” said Beck, hours before his keynote speech that was supposed to unify conservatives at the conference… [Pols emphasis]

“He’s absolutely uncontrollable. So now that they realize, ‘Oh, crap. He won’t listen to us’ now suddenly they’re against him,” said Beck. “You made your bed. Enjoy it while it lasts.”

FOX 31’s Joe St. George:

With less than 90 days out – you might suspect there to be a lot of support for the GOP Nominee – that however was not the case on Friday.

Speakers barely mentioned Trump during their addresses and no picture of Trump was present in the summit’s lobby.

In fact on Friday, the keynote speaker was Glenn Beck who told the crowd gathered that “Trump is a liar” and that he is “wholly unqualified” to be President. [Pols emphasis]

Donald TrumpThe Denver Post’s Joey Bunch reports that even hard-right stalwart Rep. Ken Buck is in triangulation mode:

After his prepared remarks at the Red State event Friday, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Greeley, a member of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus, was asked from the floor about his opinion of Trump.

“Yeah,” he said before a pause that drew laughter from the floor. “I don’t think I mentioned the Broncos to you.”

Among the speakers at this year’s RedState gathering, you’ve got a very large number of conservative pundits and candidates who have disparaged Trump–mostly before he won the Republican presidential nomination, of course! Like Erick Erickson, the former editor of RedState, who calls Trump “just another Fascist with an enemies list.” Or Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina, who says Trump is “everything a governor doesn’t want in a president.” Or columnist Hugh Hewitt, who compared Trump to “stage four cancer.”

For so many of these ideological thought leaders on the political right, Trump’s takeover of their party of “values”–family values, supply-side economics values, whatever–and substitution of his own amoral cult of personality for those values, is a very real and personal defeat. One’s sympathy for their plight must however be tempered with the knowledge that they did this to themselves. Years of deliberate inculcation of contempt within the Republican base for anything inconvenient to the party’s agenda, from public institutions to the “mainstream media” to reason itself, more than any other factor, is what enabled Trump’s low-information rise to power. And the “thought leaders” of the right like Glenn Beck and Hugh Hewitt led the way.

Sorry to dump on them when they’re already feeling down. But please, at long last, let’s get real.

Weekend Open Thread

“It is the still, small voice that the soul heeds, not the deafening blasts of doom.”

–William Dean Howells

Anti-Vaxxer PAC Registered in Colorado (Oh Boy!)

antivaxpac

Measles.

Measles.

Here’s a newly-registered political committee to keep on the radar: the Colorado Coalition for Vaccine Choice Political Committee, created “to support or oppose Colorado state and local political candidates based on their views on protecting medical informed consent, vaccine exemptions provided in Colorado Revised Statutes 22-32-140, C.R.S. 25-4-903, and C.R.S. 25-4-902.”

In other words, the “anti-vaxxer PAC!” There’s no money or expenditures to report yet, but election season is still very young.

Our readers will recall that the last couple of years have seen a significant upsurge in “anti-vaxxer” political organizing among Colorado Republicans, in particular the 2015 “Parents Bill of Rights” sponsored by Sen. Tim Neville and backed by Sen. Laura Woods that created a very serious public relations problem for the Colorado Senate GOP majority.

In light of recent outbreaks of preventable diseases like mumps and measles, and polls showing overwhelming public support for vaccinations, “anti-vaxxerism” is a risky stand to take for any politician. It should be noted that even though anti-vaxxer sentiment doesn’t always break cleanly along partisan lines, the fight over the “Parents Bill of Rights” framed the debate in Colorado as red vs. blue.

Anyway, here’s a committee you’ll want to watch closely to know who the “anti-vaxxers” believe speak for them.

Remember to keep some hand sanitizer close by in case you meet up.

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