Former Olympian Throws Himself into GOP Madness

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

bremerx

The mud wresting is so intense in the battle to lead the state GOP that Republicans may now think that candidates with brute strength, rather than intelligence, are needed to put down their opponents and win.

Enter former Pentathlete Eli Bremer. Pointing to his he former Olympic prowess, the former El Paso Republican Chair announced today that he's running for vice chair of the Colorado Republican Party.

Unfortunately, Bremer is probably too weak to overpower current vice chair, Mark Baisley, a tea-party candidate who shocked his talk-radio supporters when he aligned himself with current GOP chair Ryan Call, who's seeking his third term.

But who knows? What we do know is the craziness of the characters involved in the race, no matter who wins, has probably already scared big-time GOP donors to such a great extent that they'll be sending their money to outside 527's, forsaking the state party altogether and relegating it to irrelevancy.

In a letter formally announcing his long-rumored candidacy, Bremer wrote:

I spent 12 years competing at the international level representing the United States around the globe and at the Olympic Games.  One of the greatest lessons I learned is that success takes years of preparation and hard work.  It took me over a decade training at an elite level before I qualified for the Olympics.  It was a difficult journey and required constant dedication and sacrifice.  In the same way, the next five years will be incredibly important for Colorado Republicans; but we will work together to achieve our goal of unifying for conservative governance of our great state and nation….

Four years ago, I was elected GOP Chairman in El Paso County.  My prior political experience was as a grassroots organizer founding a Young Republican club that rapidly grew to one of the largest grassroots clubs in the state.  I was the youngest chairman in the state, and I was tasked with overseeing the largest party in the state, serving roughly 20% of all Republicans in Colorado.  I took over an organization bruised by a difficult election, torn by conflict, and sitting on the verge of collapse.  

 In two short years, I got our party out of debt, standardized and professionalized our operations, overhauled our IT system, and grew our fundraising by nearly 10 fold.  Because of our success, I was asked by and assisted numerous other local county parties with fundraising and organizational development.  When my successor took office, he assumed control of an organization ready to perform and grow which it does to this day….

Politics are also about results, and it is important to always see if actions lead to results. Despite nationally abysmal showings by Republicans in 2012, El Paso delivered strong numbers for all our Republican candidates. The true organizational strength was demonstrated the following year when we successfully recalled State Senator John Morse. In a carefully choreographed effort, El Paso County Republican Party played an enormous role in electing Bernie Herpin to replace John Morse and showed that the campaign machine my staff and I created was working as designed. In recognition for our efforts in the recall and the turnaround I conducted in El Paso that helped breed a culture of success, Bernie Herpin has enthusiastically endorsed me.

 

Colorado PERA: Forcing Retirees to Eat 90 Percent of Pension Reform Costs was “Sensitive” and “Equitable.”

Yes dear reader, in 2010, a juggernaut of 27 Colorado statehouse lobbyists "sensitively" forced the PERA reform bill (SB10-001) through the legislative process.

The propaganda produced by our Colorado state pension administrative agency, Colorado PERA, simply boggles the mind. It is boundless . . . and unconstrained by normal human decency.

Allow me to translate this recent Colorado PERA propaganda piece: Colorado PERA officials recently argued, on their website, that using PERA trust funds (in part, the property of PERA retirees) to pay for public relations, lobbying, and legal campaigns to take the retirees' accrued statutory PERA benefits (benefits that PERA officials have, in legislative testimony, confirmed as PERA contractual obligations) and thus push 90 percent of the cost of the 2010 PERA reform bill onto the backs of these elderly PERA retirees, was "sensitive," and an "equitable distribution of costs."

Elderly PERA retirees eat 90 percent, PERA employers and taxpayers, who actually owe the debt, bear ten percent of the burden. This is the Colorado PERA definition of "equitable"?

In my opinion, Colorado PERA officials are now capable of writing anything, even the most outrageous lies, without compunction. No other Colorado state agency can approach the Colorado PERA talent for propaganda.

http://coloradopols.com/diary/64487/the-colorado-supreme-court-politicians-in-black-robes-as-it-turns-out

A few days ago this statement was posted on Colorado PERA's website:

"The goal of the General Assembly’s reforms enacted in 2010 was for PERA to achieve fully funded status – thus ensuring retirement security – WITH SENSITIVITY TO THE EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF COSTS AND BURDENS ASSOCIATED WITH THE REFORMS." (My emphasis in caps.)

https://www.copera.org/about/pera-on-the-issues/conversations-about-colorado%E2%80%99s-public-employee-retirement-system-should

Implicit in this Colorado PERA statement is a belief that accrued Colorado PERA ABI (COLA) benefits ARE NOT a Colorado PERA contractual obligation. Surely, Colorado PERA officials do not believe that the breach of a public pension contract can be "equitable," or "sensitive."

But, if Colorado PERA officials believe that the statutory PERA ABI benefit is not a Colorado PERA contractual obligation, then why did they provide this perfectly contradictory legislative testimony in 2009?

December 16, 2009

Colorado PERA officials in written testimony to the Joint Budget Committee: “The General Assembly cannot decrease the COLA (absent actuarial necessity) because it is part of the contractual obligations that accrue under a pension plan protected under the Colorado Constitution Article II, Section 11 and the United States Constitution Article 1, Section 10 for vested contractual rights.”

http://www.kentlambert.com/Files/PERA_JBC_Hearing_Responses-12-16-2009_Final.pdf

COLORADO PERA OFFICIALS AND SB10-001 SPONSORS: PERA RETIREES WILL EAT 90 PERCENT OF THE COSTS OF THE 2010 REFORM:

January 22, 2010

SB10-001 co-prime sponsor Senator Josh Penry and bill sponsor Senator Greg Brophy: “Fully 90 percent of the PERA fix comes from benefit cuts to current and future retirees.”

http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_14242354

January 26, 2010

"The difference between the past approach and SB1, Penry said, is that the new plan boldly tackles benefit reductions, which he said will constitute 90 percent of the PERA fund's recovery and generate plenty of opposition along the way."

http://www.chieftain.com/news/local/legislators-pera-changes-will-be-painful/article_b82cee28-328f-59ba-91c0-a480e5f719c8.html

October 26, 2011

Colorado PERA Executive Director Greg Smith, at the “Fall 2011 PERA Shareholder’s Meeting,” (thirty-six minutes into the video):"‘Only ten percent of the fix” of the [SB10-001] reforms in 2010 came from additional employer contributions."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F8LB7t5HMBo

April 17, 2011

Senator Brandon Shaffer, co-prime sponsor, SB10-001, Denver Post: “I sponsored last year's legislation, known as Senate Bill 1, to protect PERA. The bill required shared sacrifice, but frankly most of it — 90 percent of the burden — falls on the shoulders of PERA's current and future members and retirees.”

http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_17858107

May 29, 2011

Colorado PERA Executive Director Meredith Williams, Pueblo Chieftain:

“In fact, about 90 percent of the changes enacted by Senate Bill 1 are falling on the shoulders of current and future PERA members and retirees — not other taxpayers.”

http://www.chieftain.com/opinion/ideas/legislative-changes-have-put-pera-fund-on-a-solid-footing/article_3080a01c-88cd-11e0-ad01-001cc4c03286.html

We see above that Colorado PERA officials have testified that the PERA statutory ABI (COLA) benefit is a Colorado PERA contractual obligation. (For the record, this evidence was conveniently ignored by the Colorado Supreme Court in its 2014 Decision in the case, Justus v. State.) In 2014, Colorado state government CONVENIENTLY forgave Colorado state government debt (violating federal case law, US Trust.)

"The Colorado Supreme Court: Politicians in Black Robes."

http://coloradopols.com/diary/64487/the-colorado-supreme-court-politicians-in-black-robes-as-it-turns-out

It is critical to the proper functioning of a democratic republic that truth be widely disseminated. "Friend" Save Pera Cola on Facebook.

Political Trivia – Presidential Last Names

Ok, here's another for you. Name all presidents that shared a last name. And for each pair, their relation, if any. Memory only – no searching!

Extra credit – name the first American born president (the first several were British citizens when they were first born).

Local Control Task Force About To Flunk Miserably?

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

Photo courtesy Rep. Jared Polis

As the Denver Post's Mark Jaffe reported this week, the task force appointed last year to study and recommend proposals to improve local control over oil and gas drilling is wrapping up its work–but it's a big and open question what kinds of recommendations the body ultimately plans to make:

After deliberating for nearly five months, the governor's oil and gas task force is still marked by divisions between members seeking more local control of drilling and those representing industry.

A review of the straw-poll voting during the Feb. 3 meeting on 53 proposals made by members shows the six task force members representing industry opposing almost all local-control recommendations.

At the same time task-force members representing local interests pressed for proposals giving communities a greater role in locating oil and gas operations.

Although the panel has been able to unify around a few comparatively minor proposals to make local input on oil and gas permitting decisions a more timely part of the state's existing process, the bigger question of giving local governments a direct role in that decisionmaking has been flatly opposed by the industry's representatives on the task force. We have heard that the recommendations for Gov. John Hickenlooper coming out of this commission may not involve legislation at all, just rule changes to be carried out by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC)–which would be much more limited in scope than statutory changes, and very likely will not satisfy conservationists and local governments who want a meaningful role in these important land use decisions.

We want to stress that until the task force delivers its recommendations, nothing is certain. There's a possibility that the stakeholders can still come together on a substantive proposal, operating on the good-faith assumption that the industry ever had any legitimate desire for that. But from the point of view of anyone but the oil and gas industry and their immediate circle of support, disappointment is increasingly likely based on what we're hearing.

And that means you might be voting on local control next year after all, Colorado! Stay tuned.

Get More Smarter on Friday (Feb. 20)

MoreSmarterLogo-Hat1

The Colorado Pols Quadruple Doppler (with cheese) predicts anywhere from 2 inches to 17 feet of snow this weekend. 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).


TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► The Denver Post editorial board thinks that Colorado Republican legislators are playing "a dangerous game that must stop" by using the budget process in an attempt to derail legislation they don't like but don't have the votes to defeat outright:

Republicans should keep in mind that history has a way of turning the tables, particularly when it comes to political power.

The tactics they are using to thwart policies they disagree with could well come back to haunt them.

Jefferson County students are not convinced that the conservative school board is really retreating on their attempts at rewriting history curriculums.

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

SHOULD YOU FIND YOURSELF STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

► Congressman Jared Polis (D-Boulderish) is expected to be appointed to the House Natural Resources Committee next week, which should strengthen Colorado's voice on federal land issues.

Legislation that would make it a felony to repeatedly drive drunk is a priority for Gov. John Hickenlooper as it makes its way through the State Capitol. As Hickenlooper tells the Denver Post,"I think the basic principle of people having repeated DUIs and not having consequences — we are overdue at addressing that."

► Former State Sen. Steve King seems to be rather lost in addressing yet another ethics investigation regarding double triple-dipping with various state jobs. As the Grand Junction Sentinel reports, things are not looking good for "The Walking Ethics Violation." As we've noted in this space before, this story will likely only get worse for Republicans connected to Colorado Mesa University.

► The Colorado Springs Independent takes a look at the bizarre story surrounding the attempted recall of Colorado Springs City Council Member Helen Colins. If it involves Colorado Springs, Doug Bruce is connected somehow (of course he is):

First, there was the still-unsolved mystery about where money came from to pay out-of-state petition circulators. Then, early last week, an anonymous tipster delivered the Independent documents showing that Collins and anti-tax activist Douglas Bruce engaged in a land deal that neither will explain. Then, later in the week, an ex-con emerged as Collins' only potential replacement on the ballot — only to be disqualified because he's still on parole.

Speaking of Doug Bruce, he filed a campaign finance complaint that involves the wife of the Opinion Page Editor of the Colorado Springs Gazette.

► According to Politico, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is no longer a top-tier Republican Presidential candidate. Multiple news outlets are reporting that Christie is fading fast.

► Republican State Sen. Laura Waters Woods is widely considered the top target for Democrats as they look to take back control of the State Senate in 2016…but will the GOP get rid of her first?

 

OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK

Ernest Luning of the Colorado Statesman has the most detailed look yet at the campaign finance scandals surrounding the State Republican Party.

Steve House is challenging incumbent Ryan Call to become the new Chair of the State Republican Party, and the fact that the Coffmans are splitting their support has become a hot topic among Republicans. Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is backing House, while her husband, Rep. Mike Coffman, is standing behind Call. It's almost like Cynthia and Mike don't really talk to each other.

►Lawmakers in the Colorado State House passed legislation to make cyber-bullying a misdemeanor crime.

► At least one national conservative group considers former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush "unelectable" as a Republican candidate for President.

 

ICYMI

► The Colorado Secretary of State's office will be shutting down many of its online services this weekend in order to implement a complete system upgrade. Everything should be back online by 8:00 am on Monday.

► Jefferson County School Board Member Julie Williams thinks that it should be okay to carry concealed weapons in public schools. The other four board members disagree.

Colorado Week in Review: February 20th, 2015

Colorado Week in Review

Coffmans’ split endorsements in GOP-state-chair race titillate Republicans on the radio

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Mike and Cynthia Coffman. And dog.

Mike and Cynthia Coffman. And dog.

Conservative talk radio is the front line in the battle over who will be the next chair of the Colorado Republican Party. (That is, for the tea-party wing of the party. The front line for the moneyed side of the party might be in buildings on 17th street or something.)

In any case, Steve House, who's challenging current GOP chair Ryan Call, has appeared on at least nine shows over the past few weeks, including programs on KNUS (Peter Boyles), KLZ (Randy Corporon, Ken Clark, Kris Cook) and KFKA (Amy Oliver).

In contrast, I can't find a single appearance by Call on conservative talk radio in the past month.

Even when the candidates themselves aren't on their shows, the conservative yappers talk on and on about race to be the GOP chair, as if it's the epic battle that will decide the future of the Republican Party in Colorado.

One of the developments in the race that titillates the Republicans is the split endorsements of Mike and Cynthia Coffman. Congressman Coffman is backing Ryan Call, the current chair. And his wife, Cynthia Coffman, who's Colorado's Attorney General, has thrown her weight behind challenger Steve House.

Below is an example of the kind of erudite discussion you find on conservative radio about the Coffman situation and relationship, such as it is. (Recall that they apparently don't live together.) It occurred on Valentine's Day on KNUS'  "Weekend Wake Up" Show with Julie Hayden and hubby Chuck Bonniwell. The guest is conservative political operative Laura Carno (who's been crusading for powdered alcohol recently):

 Bonniwell: This leadership race for the chairmanship of the Republican Party is going wild! It's just going wild out there. And you can read all about it in ColoradoPols, which is sad because it's a left-wing site… It's a battle royale with Cynthia Coffman, who's the Attorney General, urging Steve House to run, and then her husband, Congressman Coffman, opposing him, saying, 'Re-elect Ryan Call.' It's just an amazing fight.

Carno: Yeah. It's going crazy. …I thought that the Coffman angle was absolutely fascinating.

Hayden: You have to wonder!

Carno: Cynthia Coffman is backing one guy. Congressman Coffman is backing another guy. And what does that household look like?

Bonniwell: It's one of two things: They say, 'You go on one side. I'll go on the other side. And we'll all be covered.' Or they're screaming at each other. One of the two.

Carno: Right. It's a house divided, in some manner. It would just be interesting to be a fly on the wall with those conversations. Interesting Valentine's Day.

Republicans Already Plotting Laura Woods Replacement?

uncommittedwoods1

One of the closest Republican victories in the 2014 elections in Colorado was the extremely narrow win by Sen. Laura Waters Woods over appointed Democratic Sen. Rachel Zenzinger in SD-19. By fewer that 700 votes, Woods ousted the former Arvada councilwoman appointed to replace Sen. Evie Hudak, who resigned rather than face a recall campaign principally organized by Woods.

Even after Hudak's resignation, Woods did not have a clear path to the GOP SD-19 nomination. Concerned about Woods' long-term viability for holding this critical swing seat, establishment Republicans fought hard to defeat Woods and put Lang Sias in this seat. Sias lost out to Woods in the SD-19 primary after Rocky Mountain Gun Owners rallied its supporters behind Woods' campaign.

Sias finally won an appointment to the Colorado House in overlapping HD-27 this year, but from what we've heard, Republicans are still very concerned that Woods will be unable to hold the SD-19 seat against a strong Democratic challenge. Even though Woods won in last year's election, she doesn't get a full Senate term before running again: in order to realign this seat with its usual election interval, Woods will be back up for election next year.

Assuming she makes it that far. Sources tell us that Woods is being watched very closely by Republican minders this year in the Senate, and is on a short list of potential GOP establishment primary targets in 2016. Because this seat is considered pivotal to control of the Senate by both parties, there is no margin for error: and Woods by most accounts hasn't impressed upper-echelon Republicans who will map their playing field next year.

woodsmailer2

During last year's primary, one of the major attacks on Woods from fellow Republicans pertained to her "retirement" in the 1990s, claiming disability for carpal tunnel syndrome. Now, we certainly aren't going to speculate on whether or not Sen. Woods was legtimately disabled by carpal tunnel syndrome, but she does note on her website that her disability was positive insofar as she was able to raise her children at home. As you can see in the mailer above, fellow Republicans used her description of her condition to raise questions about Woods "contributing to the growing epidemic of disability fraud."

If that sounds thin to you, bear in mind that you're not the target audience–Republican primary voters in SD-19 are. And don't get us wrong, depending on how Sen. Woods acquits herself in the next few months, Democrats may prefer she be the general election candidate. Either way, if Republican brass does decide to pull the proverbial trigger on Woods, this disability business will just be the opening salvo.

Stay tuned–control of the Colorado Senate may well hinge on what happens here.

Jeffco School Board Revises Own History, Drops Plans for AP Course Review

Julie Williams of the Jefferson County School Board.

Julie Williams of the Jefferson County School Board.

Well, that sure took them long enough. Perhaps Julie Williams and the rest of the conservative Jeffco School Board finally got around to reading those History textbooks after all. From TPM:

Get More Smarter on Thursday (Feb. 19)

Get More Smarter

Don't answer your phone before 3:00 pm (EST) today; the Denver Nuggets can't trade you if they can't find you, right? 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).


TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► Colorado Republicans continue to take their cue from Washington D.C. in using the state budget process to muddle legislation that they don't have the votes to actually defeat. As John Frank of the Denver Post explains, funding for necessary public safety issues is now being held hostage by Senate Republicans:

The party-line Senate vote against a bill that won unanimous approval in the House puts in jeopardy more than $2 million for the Colorado Department of Public Safety and escalates a political tension at the General Assembly that is drawing comparisons to a gridlocked Washington.

► Legislation to allow Coloradans to carry a concealed weapon without a permit gained approval in the State Senate yesterday. Senator Vicki "Lost" Marble, the sponsor of SB-032, needs some better talking points, which is clear after reading this story by Kristen Wyatt of the Associated Press:

The requirements, passed in 2003, also bar concealed-carry permits to anyone who “chronically and habitually uses alcoholic beverages to the extent that the applicant’s normal facilities are impaired.”

“I think it’s insulting to the people of Colorado,” said Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins and sponsor of the bill.

In related news, Marble is a lock to receive the endorsement of the fictitious group "Alcoholics with Guns."

Get even more smarter after the jump…

 

SHOULD YOU FIND YOURSELF STANDING NEAR A WATER COOLER…

► Democrats in the State House put the kibosh on two bills that sought to require a photo ID for voters. Republicans have promised to continue searching for solutions as soon as they figure out a problem.

► The State Senate gave initial approval to legislation sponsored by the "Neville Nutters," Senator Tim Neville and his son, Rep. Patrick Neville. Senate Bill 18 would eliminate late fees for failing to register your vehicle on time. Yeah, rules are dumb.

► A Washington D.C.-based group has announced plans to sue the State of Colorado for legalizing marijuana. The lawsuit from the "Safe Streets Alliance" proves that you don't need to smoke weed in order to forget to do stuff in a timely manner.

Colorado ranks near the bottom on a list of the most religious states in America. Outside of Utah, the Top 12 most relgious states are all in the South.

► The Denver Post picks up on the campaign finance scandals that could lead to the undoing of Republican State Party Chair Ryan Call.

Aurora City Council members want to remove the unfortunately-named City Manager Skip Noe.

► Sen. Cory Gardner spoke to small business owners in Ft. Collins yesterday. Gardner backed off a bit from his past support for new water storage projects such as the Northern Integrated Supply Project (NISP), noting that it will take more than new storage to meet water demands in 2050.

 

OTHER LINKS YOU SHOULD CLICK

► Democrat Hillary Clinton holds a slight lead in Colorado in a Presidential matchup poll released by Quinnipiac University. Of course, the poll was done by Quinnipiac University, so for all we know, Jimmy Carter was included on the list of candidates.

RTD plans to survey Denver Metro residents on the possibility of raising rates; they will later pretend to be surprised about the results.

► County Commissioners in Scottsbluff, Nebraska aren't happy about a plan to dump fracking water in Western Nebraska. Fracking sure is swell…until it becomes your problem.

 

ICYMI

► Denver City Councilwoman Jeanne Faatz has endorsed Republican John Kidd to succeed her in District 2. Faatz has been one of the rare conservative voices on a City Council dominated by progressives, but it would be a surprise if Kidd could pull off a win in Southwest Denver. CLICK HERE for more on the Denver municipal races.

Mad Mike Coffman might want to consider not talking about VA Secretary Bob McDonald for awhile.

 

 

Senate GOP Plays Budget Games…With Concealed Weapons?

Concealed handgun.

Concealed handgun.

The Denver Post's John Frank reports on an escalating budget battle in the Republican-controlled Colorado Senate revealing some very interesting ulterior motives:

In what critics call a "high-stakes game of chicken," Republican lawmakers Wednesday rejected a spending bill that included money to reduce wait times for background checks for concealed-handgun permits — a move that also threatens funds for child abuse cases and testing evidence collected in rape and drunken-driving investigations.

The party-line Senate vote against a bill that won unanimous approval in the House puts in jeopardy more than $2 million for the Colorado Department of Public Safety and escalates a political tension at the General Assembly that is drawing comparisons to a gridlocked Washington.

"It amounts to government shutdown of one department on things that are very critical to public safety," said Senate Democratic leader Morgan Carroll of Aurora, referring to the Senate vote that may kill the bill.

Tensions have been escalated over normally routine appropriations bills this year after Republicans on the Joint Budget Committee led by Sen. Kent Lambert used the committee's power to cut off funding for a program to license undocumented drivers. As we discussed a few weeks ago, using the JBC to curtail funding for a program that isn't repealed legislatively results in major problems, and is considered an abuse of of the JBC's power. In the case of the driver license program, it means month-long delays for appointments will now stretch into next year, and only a single driver license office in Denver will be able to handle these applications–resulting in a more or less nonfunctional program that nonetheless remains on the books.

Of course, Republicans are fine with the driver license program for undocumented immigrants not working.

And that's the point to keep in mind as the Post's John Frank continues:

The public safety spending dispute focuses on an amendment that House Democrats added to the bill giving Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper's administration the authority to spend $370,000 to hire eight technicians to reduce the wait time for concealed-carry background checks.

The provision is tucked into a larger spending bill that includes $300,000 for the state's toxicology lab, $100,000 for child abuse investigations and $20,000 for law enforcement training on cold-case homicides and missing-persons cases, lawmakers said.

Republican lawmakers oppose the required background checks [Pols emphasis] and don't believe the estimates from Hickenlooper's administration about a backlog.

This morning, Senate Republicans gave final passage to a bill that would eliminate background checks and gun safety training required to obtain a concealed weapons permit in Colorado. A total of five states have eliminated permit requirements for concealed weapons, and the Rocky Mountain Gun Owners-controlled Colorado Senate wants Colorado to be the sixth. The bill has basically zero chance of passing the Democratic-controlled House, however, let alone being signed into law by Gov. John Hickenlooper. With legislation to repeal the gun safety bills passed in 2013 already headed for defeat, the idea that a bill to dramatically weaken gun laws could pass is simply not realistic.

So what's the next best option? Starve the Colorado Bureau of Investigations of funds to do the job! It's true that this will inconvenience the very same gun owners Republicans say they're looking out for, but who do you think they're going to blame? Certainly not Republicans.

The bigger problem is that by rejecting this spending bill, Republicans are playing games with the entire state Department of Public Safety. Much like the way budget games are played in Washington D.C. these days, large priorities are being held hostage to satisfy niche interests: in his case, the most extreme wing of the gun lobby. Ultimately, a concealed weapons permitting process that bogs down due to insufficient resources plays into the gun lobby's argument that permits should be eliminated–making it a worthwhile long-term goal to counterintuitively stand against properly funding CCW permits today.

It seems like this whole strategy depends on the press not reporting the details of what's happening here, which unfortunatety for Senate Republicans, John Frank has done admirably in this front-page story. We believe it's very unlikely that the voting public will look kindly on Republicans risking funding for things like child abuse investigations in order to strike a blow, however circuitous, against concealed weapons permits.

Which means that as long as the lights stay on and Democrats stand firm, this isn't going to end well for the Senate GOP.

Coffman blames Obama for ISIS; calls for “boots on the ground” against ISIS

(Wait, what? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

Rep. Mike Coffman (R).

When U.S. troops were withdrawn from Iraq in 2011, Rep. Mike Coffman called it a "great day," but in the ensuing years, he's complained that America shouldn't have withdrawn all its forces from Iraq.

This line of thinking reached a crescendo Saturday, when Coffman appeared on a Denver radio station and blamed Obama for creating "the situation with ISIS in Iraq" by withdrawing American troops too early (audio below).

Coffman: The fact is, the President has created the situation with ISIS in Iraq, because what he did against recommendations of the Pentagon was he left no residual force whatsoever in Iraq in 2011 because he was so desperate for the political narrative going into the 2012 election that he'd ended the war in Iraq. And by not having any residual force, we lost that military-to-military relationship with the Iraqi security forces. And in doing so, we also lost that government-to-government relationship. And we had no influence. And as a result, the roots of representative government weren't deep enough. And the Al-Abadi government out of Baghdad reverted to their worst sectarian tendencies, pushed the Sunnis out of the government, and essentially created the opening for ISIS, for this jihadist element to come in and fill that void. And they did.

KNUS host Jimmy Sengenberger missed a chance to make things interesting by arguing that, if anything, Bush is responsible for ISIS.

But Obama? Even if you accept the premise, which I don't, that the absence of a U.S. "residual force" in Iraq created ISIS, the fact is that Obama actually tried to negotiate an agreement allowing U.S. forces to remain.

Respected New York Times reporter Michael Gordon summarized what happened:

Mr. Obama sought to negotiate a Status of Forces Agreement that would have allowed United States troops to stay in Iraq after 2011. Initially, the Obama administration was prepared to keep up to 10,000 troops in Iraq. Later, the Obama administration lowered the number to about 5,000.

Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki indicated that he might be willing. But the Iraqis did not agree to an American demand that such an agreement be submitted to their Parliament for approval, a step the Obama administration insisted on to ensure that any American troops that stayed would be immune from prosecution under Iraqi law….

After the talks broke down, the Obama administration withdrew the remaining American troops in December 2011, the deadline set for withdrawing all American forces from Iraq under the Status of Forces Agreement.

Blame game for ISIS aside, Coffman is so mad about the situation he's ready to put "boots on the ground" against ISIS –even though about a year ago he was for U.S. advisers in Iraq but dead set against the boots idea, telling KNUS' Dan Caplis, "I would say, in terms of regular troops on the ground, absolutely not.”

Now Coffman is saying U.S. soldiers on the ground in Iraq are required:

Coffman: Certainly, as an Iraq war veteran, I wouldn’t want to see U.S. forces on the ground as the maneuver ground element. I want I want to see indigenous forces on the ground, but we’re going to need special operators from time to time to take out high-value targets. We are going to need to give them air logistical and advisory support, and that is going to take some elements of boots on the ground. That’s just the way it is. And he’s trying to make everything fit into a political narrative. And it's insane…I’m going to fight him on closing Guantanamo Bay as well.