Holbert stands behind statement likening Hick actions to spousal abuse

(Stay classy, Rep. Holbert – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Chris Holbert (R).

Rep. Chris Holbert (R).

In a Facebook posting yesterday, state Republican Rep. Chris Holbert wrote that Gov. John Hickenlooper "treats us like we are his abused spouse."

In explaining why he'd vote for gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez, Holbert wrote in response to a Facebook post of one of Holbert's Facebook friends:

Because Hickenlooper treats us like we are his abused spouse. He smiles and tells us that things will be better, signs bills into law that trample on the freedom and prosperity of the People, apologizes, becomes angry when we don't forget, swears at us, then promises to abuse us again.

Don't put Hickenlooper back in office for another four years. That ONE person can cancel out anything that a Republican Senate might accomplish. Don't allow ONE Governor to cancel out 18 or more Senators who would work to repeal eight years of Democrat control.

Reached by phone this afternoon, Holbert stood behind the comments.

Asked if he thought his comparison to spousal abuse could be offensive to actual abused spouses and others concerned about domestic violence, Holbert said:

Holbert: "I think there are various kinds of abuse, and what I am pointing to is verbal. I’m not comparing it to physical abuse. People would have greater respect for the governor if he would have one story and stick to it."

"He tells us one thing and tells his supporters another thing," Holbert said, explaining his Facebook post further. "He suggested to the sheriffs that he didn’t talk to Bloomberg and records show he did. He apologized for signing bills that he claims he didn’t understand were so controversial. And then he talked to Eli Stokols, I believe, and says he’d sign the bills again. So which does he mean? I feel that’s abusive to the people of Colorado who look to him for leadership."

Immigration Reform Protesters Swamp Denver GOP Offices

seiuprotest2

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

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

 

Selling Fracking–With Xenophobia?

There's a new "guerilla marketing" campaign underway in Colorado on behalf of the oil and gas industry, produced by a group calling itself Friends of Safe Energy, which has no filing we can find in the Colorado Secretary of State's website either as a political committee or a business. The campaign is circulating well-produced viral videos like the one you see above–so well produced, in fact, it's a dead giveaway that this is not a "grassroots" effort of any kind. In addition to the videos, the campaign is putting up wheatpaste posters like this cluster we found on East Colfax in Denver today:

putinwheatpaste

It's easy to see what they're getting at, but this campaign openly deceives on crucial details–like the fact that the United States is already a net exporter of petroleum products, or that more of our imported oil comes from Canada, Venezuela and non-OPEC nations today than either the Middle East or Russia.

Also, we're pretty sure that money spent on imported petroleum does not ipso facto go to fund terrorists getting ready to execute a fair-skinned hostage.

This campaign's ability to nail just about every xenophobic Arab stereotype in only one minute of video shows you've got an ad agency that really managed to think outside the proverbial box. Perhaps only for the purpose of offending people, but in the right focus group, that's more than enough. Perhaps at some point we'll find out who paid for this campaign, and whether they like having their names publicly linked with it.

In the meantime, just sit back and enjoy the jingoism we guess.

Randy Baumgardner: Native Americans Liked their Water to be Burning

FireWater

Hooray!

The Western Conservative Summit in Colorado is an annual event hosted by Colorado Christian University in which conservative Republicans of varying degrees of partisan fame descend on Denver to say weird things about important issues. The Summit never fails in producing gems of ridiculousness, and the conversations and events that take place in Denver are so multi-layered that they often provide stories for the media and blogs long after the event has ended.

It is from July's Western Conservative Summit that we bring you, via Raw Story, this absurd discussion between State Sen. Randy "The Mustache" Baumgarder (who was an honest-to-goodness candidate for U.S. Senate for a time) and Republican activist (and likely the newest Representative from HD-15), Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt. Baumgardner was a guest on Dr. Chaps' "Pray in Jesus' Name" radio show, and this happened:

“I’ve been doing a lot of the fracking seminars,” said Baumgardner, “and if people haven’t been, then they really don’t understand it.”

“They talk about methane in the water and this, that, and the other,” Baumgardner went on, “but if you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the ‘burning waters.’ And that was methane in the waters and that was for warmth in the wintertime.” [Pols emphasis]

“So a lot of people,” he said, “if they just trace back the history, they’ll know how a lot of this is propaganda.”

Randy Baumgardner.

Randy Baumgardner and Mustache

Um, what?

We're not sure what this particular line of "thinking" has to do with fracking, but it is one of the dumbest things we've heard on the topic in quite some time. Sure, maybe the "Indians traveled…to the 'burning waters,'" but what the hell does that have to do with fracking? The fracking argument is primarily about the safety of DRILLING for oil and gas on lands that are surrounded by homes and schools, which has nothing to do with Native Americans and burning lakes and whatever else The Mustache is talking about.

What is most disturbing here is that we have an elected State Senator (and former State House member) who is wandering around Colorado talking about 'burning waters' and 'Indians.'

Why is Baumgardner doing "fracking seminars" when he obviously has no idea what he's talking about?

Or did we just answer our own question?

Beauprez threatens to sue feds if immigration laws not enforced

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

beauprezdemsfear

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

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

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

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

Listen to Beauprez on KNUS Kelley and Company 08-12-14

Beuprez stated last month that states should enforce federal immigration law themselves, in the absence of federal action, “as Jan Brewer tried to do in Arizona.”

He later told the Colorado Statesman that his point wasn't "as much about Jan Brewer's policy as much as Jan Brewer standing up for her citizens and saying if the federal government’s not going to protect them, somebody needs to.”

He did not directly denounce an Arizona law, signed by Brewer and later overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, that allowed Arizona police to detain any person suspected of being an undocumented immigrant.

Tom Steyer’s Mission To Stamp Out Climate Denialism

steyer

A story from FOX 31's Eli Stokols looks in detail at billionaire Tom Steyer, who was in Aspen yesterday for the American Renewable Energy Day summit conference–talking about his ambitious plans to aggressively take on politicians in 2014 and beyond who deny the general scientific consensus that human activity is contributing to global climate change:

Steyer’s plan mirrors that of mega-donors on the right — leveraging his personal fortune on behalf of candidates who support his agenda: supporting Democrats who will push for action to combat climate change and going after Republican incumbents who deny climate science…

Steyer, who has come under fire of late amidst disclosures that much of the fortune he amassed at Farallon Capital Management came in part from investing in companies that operate coal mines, is supporting Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall in his reelection bid against Republican Congressman Cory Gardner, who has denied that climate change is impacted by human activity.

“We tried to go into states where there is a big difference between the candidates,” said Steyer, who explained that the 2014 strategy is more about turning out pro-environment voters than persuading swing voters to care more about the issue of climate change.

“A lot of people who support pro-environment candidates like Mark Udall are some of the likeliest drop-off voters. [Pols emphasis] So we are focused not so much on TV ads but on the things that will be old-fashioned, 18th- century politics, trying to get local people to talk to local voters and citizens and why it’s important enough for them to get off the couch and go down to the polling place in the second Tuesday in November,” Steyer said.

As Stokols reports, Tom Steyer has announced his intention to spend $50 million this year to elect pro-environment candidates who acknowledge the role of industry and carbon energy sources in global climate change. Objectively speaking, compared to the amount of money conservative mega-donors like the Koch brothers have invested in American politics over the years, this isn't that much. Liberals also have many other well-established channels for aggregating and strategically spending money like the national Democracy Alliance. What makes Steyer's push different is the electoral focus on the environment. Not to change minds on the issue, but to motivate voters already responsive to the issue to get to the polls.

What Steyer wants is simple: for the voters who turn out in presidential election years to show up this November. Obviously, all Democrats are looking for the key to doing just that: it could help put a stop to the damaging recent cycle of political representation in the United States swinging drastically from left to right between presidential election years and midterm election years. In the polling done by backers of this year's abortive local control ballot initiatives showing enduring public support for locally regulating oil and gas drilling, you can see the electorate Steyer wants to reach clearly. It's a major reason why we believe those measures could not only have passed, but could have helped Democrats at the polls even if Democratic politicians steered clear.

Bottom line: Colorado environmental liberals who are upset by the resolution to the local control debate this year are about to see the issue clarified in the form of a straight-up climate change denier, GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner. The intra-Democratic debate over fracking in our energy producing state will take an inevitable back seat to a much more fundamental question: does Colorado want to be represented in the U.S. Senate by a man who simply rejects out of hand the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are contributing to climate change?

That message, with a few million dollars behind it, could honestly be a game-changer.

Both Ways Bob: Greatest Lede Ever

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

Our hats are off to the Grand Junction Sentinel's Charles Ashby, who kicks off today's story about GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez's visit to Grand Junction yesterday with an inside joke for all of us in the political chattering class:

Gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is glad the two anti-fracking ballot measures won’t be placed before voters this fall.

But then again, he isn’t. [Pols emphasis]

The rest of the story is worth reading, and we promise to do so right after we stop laughing. Well played, Mr. Ashby.

Wednesday Open Thread

"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month."

–Theodore Roosevelt

Hemp Producers

Someone posted a meme at Facebook recently that showed a Henry Ford car made entirely of hemp. I’ve known for a long time that our constitution was printed on paper made of hemp, but it never occurred to me that it was strong enough to manufacture things like cars. Since then I’ve seen all kinds of memes promoting the value of hemp, which is not legally grown in the U.S., but legally grown in every other first world country.  Just as Colorado is blazing a new trail by being one of the first states in the nation to legalize marijuana, it is also now legal to grow hemp in the state.

But nothing about growing hemp is easy. First it is illegal to import any of that hemp seed into the US, or to transport it across state lines. So hemp farmers such as Adam have to find seed suppliers within the state in order to grow their product.

I first met Adam at what looks like a farmer’s market booth, but is not on Main Street with the rest of the booths. Instead it is at a coffee shop popular with young, trendy adults. He was selling ice cream sandwiches, where the cookie’s ingredients included hemp. They are pretty tasty. Adam gets excited when he talks about the possibilities for hemp. “Imagine a landfill where everything, all the plastics, are biodegradable” he gushes, as his blue eyes sparkle.

I asked Adam what kinds of hassles he had with getting in on the ground floor of an industry that is as yet only quasi-legal, and he immediately mentions getting set up as an LLC, not the regulatory burdens that I expected. He is growing hemp on a 3 acre plot of land where he plans a three year crop rotation, with alfalfa growing on two acres and hemp growing on one. He has a license to plant one acre in hemp. The problem is that he really doesn’t have a market for anything but the seeds. The fiber, the stuff out of which Henry Ford made plastic for his car, has no market because there are no commercial processing facilities in the U.S. Adam can’t transport it across state lines without it being fabricated into something, and there are no local manufacturers needing his product. He’s experimenting with fodder and paper, but for now he’s a commercial seed grower hoping that lots of farmers will join him in growing the renewable and biodegradable products of the future.

He also proudly tells me that the labs that have tested his product have detected zero THC, the component in marijuana that is psychoactive. However, his plants have 3% CBD, which is the component in medical marijuana that has the most medicinal applications.

Certainly there needs to be a future for a product that can replace fossil fuel based plastics with hemp based plastics that are biodegradable and don’t involve chemicals any more toxic than fertilizers. I applaud risk takers like Adam and his partners. They are blazing a way for a greener future for all of us.

Now, if only we could get rid of the regulatory restrictions that Adam shrugs off.   

Homework:

Images of Henry Ford's Hemp Car

Canadian hemp trade

Colorado's Regulations

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About TCH

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About CBD

Say it ain’t so, Andrew, say it ain’t so!

Oh boy, the thoroughly discredited and Colorado-Tried-and-Failed strategy whereby a Colorado Dem tries to run and govern like a Republican will never die:

So which is it? Are Dems tacking left or veering right? The answer isn’t clear yet. But Isenstadt offers some worrisome anecdotes. He points to several Democratic candidates who are recycling Republican rhetoric, even in districts that went for Barack Obama in the 2012 election.

Isenstadt highlights, for example, a campaign video and accompanying material from Colorado Democrat Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff’s video is indistinguishable from a Republican’s, complete with a Paul Ryan-style graph of “soaring” federal debt and admonitions that “you don’t buy things you can’t pay for.”

Andrew Romanoff was one of the few candidates I've given money to the last few years. D's just can't seem to quit this congenital need to pretend they are Republican, or to pretend that some kind of High-Minded Bipartisanship will be met with the same by our Tea Party counterparts. 

RJ Eskow is really an excellent writer, and here's a bit more of his analysis regarding our good friend Andrew:

The game plan for candidates like Romanoff appears to be: Adopt your competition’s failed economic agenda, make yourself your opponent’s pallid shadow, and base your campaign on issues, positions and priorities that have little or no support among voters.

That’s not just a bad strategy. It will also be very difficult to execute. As will inevitably happen in many Democratic races, the National Republican Congressional Committee pointed to Romanoff’s past support for the stimulus and said, “It’s dishonest for Andrew Romanoff to criticize the mountain of government debt he helped create.”

The “government debt” canard is a silly critique, one that Romanoff could easily refute – if he hadn’t already abandoned his ideological post by running away from much-needed government investment. The stimulus didn’t create debt. It helped reduce long-term debt by spurring modest growth and offsetting the job losses caused by the financial crisis. What’s more, its objectives were consistent with the electorate’s priorities. Its only problem, as any good economist will tell you, is that it wasn’t large enough.

Candidates like Andrew Romanoff could choose to campaign on jobs and growth. That would be a winning approach, even in red districts, with voters who are fearful of the economic future. But when they choose to echo Republican messaging instead, they leave themselves defenseless against attacks like the one Romanoff is facing.

It won't work. He might get elected, as Salazar and Markey did, but if he carries it through a bland and unproductive first term, he'll end up exactly as they did.

And Harry Truman's aphorism will remain as true today as the day he said it:

Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for the real Republican all the time.

- Harry S. Truman, 33rd President of the United States and Homespun Political Genius

Under Gardner’s abortion bill, doctor could have faced more jail time than rapist

(Collateral damage in the "War on Women" – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

It's been widely reported that Colorado Senate candidate Cory Gardner sponsored a bill in 2007 that would have outlawed all abortion in Colorado, including for rape and incest.

But there's a detail about the ramifications of Gardner's legislation that's gone unreported, and it's important because it illuminates, in a tangible way, just how serious his bill was about banning abortion.

Let's say a woman was raped, became pregnant, and wanted to have an abortion.

Under the Gardner's proposed law, a doctor who performed her abortion would face Class 3 felony charges.

If the raped woman found a doctor willing to break the law and perform an illegal abortion, and if both the rapist and the doctor got caught by police, what would have been the potential charges and punishments against the rapist and the doctor?

I put that question to Mark Silverstein, Legal Director of the ACLU of Colorado.

"A class 3 felony is punishable by 4-12 years in the penitentiary," Silverstein told me via email. "Sexual assault is at 18-3-402 of the criminal code. It is a class 4 felony (18-3-402(2)), except when it is a class 3 felony (18-3-402(3.5)), or when it is a class 2 felony (18-3-402 (5)).

"When sexual assault is a class 4 felony, it is punishable by 2 to 6 years in the penitentiary.

"A class 2 felony is 8 – 24 years in prison. These penalties can be found at 18-1.3-401 (1)(a)(III)(V)(A).

"It looks like to get sexual assault into the class 2 category, there has to be serious bodily injury to the victim or the crime has to be carried out with use of a deadly weapon, or the assaulter made the victim believe there was a deadly weapon (even if there was not one)."

So, as I read Silverstein's answer, it looked to me like a doctor who performed an abortion on a raped woman could actually have gotten in more serious legal trouble than a rapist.

To make sure I had this right, I asked Silverstein if he agreed with me that under Gardner's bill, the doctor could have faced a more serious charge than the rapist, though this would not always be the case.

"Yes," replied Silverstein, "the least aggravated category of sexual assault is a lesser category of felony."

(An early version of this story stated that the hypothetical rape was also incest.)

I See Your Horse’s Ass and, Uh, Raise You One

“Both Ways” Bob Beauprez (right).

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is hoping to shake off the many, many, many errors that led to his historically-bad campaign in 2006, but whatever happens in 2014, he now has a friend in infamy.

One of the enduring images of Beauprez's 2006 debacle of a campaign is the candidate himself, standing next to a horse's ass. Beauprez's TV ad was supposed to highlight the "crap" in politics, or something, but it ended up just being a perfectly symbolic image of what was likely the worst statewide campaign in Colorado history.

Down in Arizona, Republican congressional hopeful Gary Kiehne now has his own horse-based campaign ad to rival Beauprez. As the Tucson Weekly reports, Kiehne's new campaign mailer/handout was not copy-edited very well:

Did Kiehne just not see the giant horse penis in the background, or is he trying to tell us something?

We all know what Janet Rowland would think of this. Enjoy!

Kiehn-Horse

Don’t look directly at it

 

Nationwide Comcast Outage Affecting Site Access

Just a quick update to apologize for difficulty many users are having accessing our site right now. Comcast, a major ISP for the Denver area, is experiencing partial internet connectivity outages across the nation, and Colorado Pols appears to be inaccessible to Comcast users at the moment. We expect the issue to be cleared up soon, but it's well upstream of anyone we can yell at presently (we've tried).

Thanks for your patience while the series of tubes gets unkinked.

Rep. Jared Polis Pays Tribute To Robin Williams

Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulder) perfectly in the moment–as perhaps only he can be–as the world mourns the passing of beloved comedian Robin Williams yesterday. As photographed in from of the Boulder house made famous by Williams' hit comedy show Mork and Mindy.

Worth posting on general principles.

Gardner Tries, Fails To Buzzsaw Abortion Questions

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

A surprisingly good story today from the Pueblo Chieftain's Pete Tucker draws GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner out once again on the issue of his longtime, recently-reversed support for the "Personhood" abortion ban ballot initiatives in Colorado. Much of this story is behind the Chieftain's paywall, but we strongly encourage a read if you have access. In today's story, conversation turns once again to Personhood, and Gardner tries…well, you tell us what the best term is to describe what Gardner tries to do here:

Udall’s recent advertisements have criticized Gardner’s position on the so-called “personhood amendment” and attacked him as a candidate who wants to outlaw birth control.

Gardner said both assertions are false. He said he doesn’t support the personhood amendment and said he does support women’s rights to birth control, calling the accusation “nonsense.” [Pols emphasis]

What Gardner's campaign wishes more than anything is that this conversation would stop right there. Gardner would prefer the statement that he "doesn't support Personhood" to end all discussion about this issue, except maybe with a brief segue into birth control so Gardner can burnish his "women's issue" credentials with his come-lately proposal to make the pill available over the counter.

But unfortunately, as Tucker continues, the conversation doesn't end there:

Udall’s campaign said Monday that its point is that Gardner remains a sponsor to the federal personhood amendment and that his reversal on a state law was one of political expedience. Gardner said he won’t respond in ads to Udall’s attacks, saying a tit-for-tat advertising war prevents him from focusing on his own message. He also said Udall can’t campaign on the economy or health care.

But Udall’s staff noted Gardner already has run an ad responding to the accusations over women’s issues.

In the ad, Gardner responds to the personhood issue, noting he reversed his decision on the state proposal, [Pols emphasis] then goes on to attack Udall’s support for Obamacare.

And folks, one more time–why did Gardner reverse his position on the Colorado Personhood ballot measures right after getting in the U.S. Senate race? Because he had apparently "just discovered" that Personhood could outlaw common forms of birth control! And why is his continued cosponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act a problem? Because it has the same language as Colorado's Personhood amendments!

If you're looking for the part of this story where Gardner says the perfect thing to defuse this obvious contradiction and comes out looking trustworthy…we're sorry to tell you, it doesn't exist. Gardner cannot truthfully reconcile his message on abortion with his stridently anti-choice record in politics, because it would be politically suicidal to do so. Gardner calls these attacks the product of a "tired playbook," but he has no defensive play–and every story that honestly explores the question makes that more glaringly obvious.

And when even a friendly newspaper like the Pueblo Chieftain can't hide that, he's got a problem.