The Big Tent Collapses: Log Cabin Republicans Booted From Western Conservative Summit

John Andrews.

John Andrews.

A press release from Alex Hornaday of the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans today announces that the group has been disinvited from this year’s Western Conservative Summit at Colorado Christian University:

After being invited and charged a $250 fee, the Colorado Log Cabin Republicans group was disinvited from Western Conservative Summit. Today, John Andrews, the head of Colorado Christian University and Western Conservative Summit, sent the following in response to Colorado Log Cabin Republicans:

“You and your members are very welcome to get tickets and attend, but we can’t officially have the organization as a partner, exhibitor, or advertiser. [Log Cabin Republicans’] worldview and policy agenda are fundamentally at odds with what Colorado Christian University stands for, so it’s just not a fit. [Pols emphasis] I’m sorry it has to be that way.”

“Log Cabin Republicans are known for the hilarious ads painting Jared Polis as a king and the radio ads that aired that featured the ‘Ufestyles of the Rich and Out of Touch’ in an effort to educate Coloradans about Polis’ extremism and hypocrisy. Many of the members of our Colorado chapter are well known conservatives, and one of our board members even ran for the state senate as a Republican,” said Alex Hornaday, spokesperson and vice president.

“At our last meeting we decided we wanted to participate for the first time, have a table, you know nothing huge, but we told we could not participate in any context except as a ticket-buying attendee. Our policy agenda is one that advances a free society, and a freer economy. I think they are missing out.”

“Look, they are a private organization with every right to decide to include whom they wish.” Hornaday clarified, ‘We aren’t going to sue them over this. Nevertheless, a marketplace thrives on information, and this is information that might inform some others’ patronage.”

The Denver Post’s Lynn Bartels follows up this morning with John Andrews:

He reiterated that this morning, telling The Denver Post he was “disappointed” that no one from the Log Cabin Republicans called him to discuss the situation and instead sent out a news release.

“The Log Cabin Republicans exists to redefine the family. Log Cabin Republicans think gay marriage should be the law of the land and Colorado Christian University doesn’t believe it should be,” he said. “They advocate contrary to our agenda and our core beliefs.” [Pols emphasis]

Stay tuned: with the Western Conservative Summit set to host numerous high-profile Republicans including a number of top-tier candidates for president, disinviting the Log Cabin Republicans could become a significantly bigger news story than whoever made this ill-advised decision is expecting. The negative press this move seems likely to generate strikes us as much more damaging to the conference, and the GOP brand in general, than simply allowing the Log Cabin Republicans to be there.

But when you’re blinded by prejudice, you tend to not think about how it looks to others. We’ll update this story as it develops.

Say no to Personhood–again

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

POLS UPDATE: Statement from Cathy Alderman of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado:

A recent bill, SB15-268, “Offenses Against Unborn Children,” would broaden Colorado’s definition of “person” to include an “unborn child at every stage of gestation from conception until live birth.” We are concerned that any law creating fetal “personhood” will impact access to abortion services in Colorado, as well as open a door to allowing prosecution of pregnant women.

Over the last few years Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado has worked with lawmakers to pass laws that punish crimes against pregnant women and their unborn fetuses. In 2013, the Colorado General Assembly succeeded in passing the Crimes Against Pregnant Women Act, which allows for a felony charge in the first degree for unlawful termination of Ms. Wilkins’ pregnancy. This is an addition to charges of attempted murder and use of a deadly weapon. In this case, the accused attacker is facing upwards of 100 years in prison if convicted of all the charges. There is no “gap” in Colorado law for punishing this horrific crime.

And from Karen Middleton at NARAL Pro Choice Colorado:

What happened to Michelle Wilkins was awful, and like all Coloradans our hearts go out to her and her family. We support pregnant women who are the victims of crime, and we support holding criminals accountable under our laws.

But SB 268 isn’t the answer. Under the guise of establishing fetal homicide, Senate Republicans have introduced a bill that will result in establishing fetal ‘personhood’ and outlaw access to safe and legal abortions in the state of Colorado.

SB 268 is a very dangerous proposal for Colorado women and their health. It undermines Colorado law, which is the gold standard for protecting pregnant women. Colorado’s law is carefully balanced, unlike other states where fetal homicide laws have been used to prosecute pregnant women and even put them in jail.

—–

Like us, you have probably heard about the horrifying attack suffered by Michelle Wilkins of Longmont. She was violently assaulted by another woman who attempted to steal her unborn child. The alleged perpetrator of this awful crime has been charged with multiple counts of felony criminal behavior, including attempted first degree murder and first degree unlawful termination of pregnancy. If convicted, the assailant will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Michelle Wilkins’ attack is a heartbreaking situation. We are deeply saddened for the loss she and her family have suffered. Rightfully the public outcry for justice is great. 

However, there are some who want to use this tragedy for political gain to attack access to safe abortion services in Colorado. Yesterday, anti-abortion extremists in the Colorado legislature introduced a bill, SB-268, “Offenses Against Unborn Children.” The legislation seeks to create new criminal charge of fetal homicide, which would result in a new definition of a “person” in Colorado law to include an “unborn child at every state of gestation from conception until childbirth.”.  In other words — creation of “personhood.” 

This bill goes against Colorado values. Colorado voters have wisely rejected “personhood” time and time again. They understand creating “personhood” in Colorado law is dangerous and could criminalize Colorado women and their doctors, who need access to safe abortion services. This past November   voters overwhelming rejected the personhood Amendment 67 on the ballot by 64%. Furthermore, SB-268 could put women who have suffered their own loss of a miscarriage or stillborn birth at risk of being prosecuted. SB-268 is a very dangerous proposal for Colorado women and their health.

With our serious and punitive laws in place, Colorado does not need “personhood,” as SB-268 seeks to create. Colorado’s legal system already has the tools to respond and punish criminals who attack pregnant women.  

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Wednesday Open Thread

“Tolerance is you saying something crazy and me smiling and saying, ‘That’s nice.'”

–Penn Jillette

Rep. Ken Buck Gets His ISIS News from the Internet Tubes

So, Rep. Ken Buck (R-Greeley)…

Yeeaahhhhh.

Today Buck tweeted one of the more ridiculous things we’ve seen in quite awhile. His official Twitter account sent out a headline and link to a story that says “ISIS is operating a camp…just 8 miles from the U.S. border.”

Buck will probably say that he didn’t do this himself (the infamous “rogue staffer” excuse) or that his Twitter account was hacked (a favorite excuse from entertainers), but none of that really matters because the regrettable tweet in question came from his “official” Twitter account. If Rep. Buck does decide to take the blame credit for this re-tweet, he’ll probably say something like, “I thought it was interesting…it’s worth discussing even if it is far-fetched…” etc., but that won’t excuse this one bit.

Ken Buck, U.S. Congressman, just tweeted out a link to a story that says ISIS is operating a camp in Northern Mexico, just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, and that terrorists are being smuggled across the border into New Mexico.

Finger on the button.

Do not press send, Ken.

We should remind you here that Rep. Buck should have access to some fairly decent information about this subject; his official Congressional bio notes that Rep. Buck is a member of Judiciary Subcommittees on Immigration and Border Security and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations. So, either Buck is grossly under-informed, or he knows damn well that this story is a pile of crap but wants to stir up some fear nonetheless.

It is pretty silly on its own when a right-wing news “article” (The Judicial Watch Blog) reports a ridiculous story and eventually lands (some) credibility when a right-wing “newspaper” (The Washington Times) cites it as a reliable source in a subsequent article. But by Tweeting it out from his official account, Buck gives the story credibility it should not have.

Does anyone honestly believe that ISIS is operating a terrorist camp just outside of El Paso, Texas, and nobody knows except for The Judicial Watch Blog??? (Anyone, that is, aside from State Rep. Kathleen Conti, who is pretty sure that Al Qaeda is operating training camps in Colorado).

Anyway, really cool move, Ken Buck. You are quite the statesman.

New Poll Shows Voters Don’t Like Either Coffman

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

A good 3 out of 4 Colorado voters have no idea who this is (hint: Attorney General Cynthia Coffman).

Okay, that headline is a bit misleading, but that was the point; when you’re 18 months from the next election, you can find anything you want from polling a largely uninformed and indifferent public.

There are a few interesting nuggets in the latest poll results from Quinnipiac University’s dart-throwing public polling outfit, but for the most part, results from a new “swing state” poll feature a bunch of different names and numbers that don’t mean much of anything. Let’s take a look at the new updates from Quinnipiac, shall we?

In an early look at the 2016 U.S. Senate race in Colorado, U.S. Rep. Michael Coffman, a Republican, runs better than his wife, State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, against Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

No shit, Sherlock. Congressman Mike Coffman is in his 26th year as an elected official in Colorado, a career that spans five different offices. His wife, Cynthia Coffman, was just elected Attorney General last November. There are probably still people in the Attorney General’s office who have yet to meet Cynthia — why would the average voter know anything about her?

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GOP Gun Law Repeal Push Becomes Circular Firing Squad

Huh?

Huh?

Yesterday’s marathon hearing in the House State Affairs Committee resulted, as expected, in the killing of all of GOP’s bills to repeal the 2013 gun safety laws passed by the Colorado General Assembly, as well as legislation to loosen concealed weapons permit standards and allow guns on school campuses. As has become the norm, the gun lobby’s threats to pack yesterday’s hearing did not materialize, and in fact supporters of the bills Republicans were trying to repeal again outnumbered opponents in testimony. The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Megan Schrader reports:

It was another marathon committee meeting that lasted 12 hours and was filled with emotional testimony from the family of those who lost loved ones to gun violence like the Aurora movie theatre shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary shooting and the Columbine High School shooting.

On the other side countless gun owners concerned with losing their right to bear arms testified in favor of the Republican bills to overturn universal background checks, a ban on high capacity magazines, two bills that would eliminate the requirement for a concealed carry permit, a bill that would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to bring gun on public schools campuses throughout the state and a bill that would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to not get background checks before buying any gun.

thurlowtraitor

In the days before yesterday’s hearing, lingering tensions between the hard-right Rocky Mountain Gun Owners and the “corporate conservative” Independence Institute exploded into a highly public and acrimonious fight over the magazine limit bill. In hindsight, it does appear that Jon Caldara’s attack on RMGO is misguided: contrary to his insistence, there was never any appetite on the left or right for increasing the magazine limit to 30 rounds. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Humphrey, made it clear that he wasn’t interested in that, while Sen. Chris Holbert went a step farther and asserted such an amendment would be unconstitutional. But that hasn’t stopped Caldara from harshly calling out RMGO for their supposed intransigence, or RMGO from harshing right back (see photo top right).

In addition to red-on-red infighting between RMGO and the Independence Institute, Republican Rep. Dan Thurlow is taking fire from RMGO today after voting last night to kill the background check repeal and “guns in schools” bills. Thurlow was already on RMGO’s naughty list after voting to kill a bill to make it easier to obtain machine guns and other military weapons, and voting to preserve background checks on private gun sales surely won’t help relations between them–even though Thurlow voted in a way that the public will overwhelmingly favor. These votes would seem to indicate that Thurlow doesn’t care what the gun lobby thinks, especially after either Sen. Tim Neville or Rep. Pat Neville hamfistedly let slip that the Neville clan is driving the whisper campaign against him.

Perhaps most amusing about this whole situation is that Caldara’s intention here was almost certainly to divide Democrats, but in the end, it’s Republicans who are at each other’s throats today–and the policy goal everyone on the right started the session hopeful to achieve, repeal of the magazine limit, is dead with nothing whatsoever to show for it. Instead of using yesterday’s vote as a pretext to attack vulnerable Democrats, today the right in Colorado is pointing fingers only at each other.

Bottom line: all those Republicans who have warned over the years that Dudley Brown and RMGO is a loose cannon, more ripe for self-immolation than glory? This must be what they mean, folks.

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (April 14)

Forgot to do your taxes? You’ve got a good 36 hours left. 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 Obama Administration says it has a plan to fund construction of the troubled VA Hospital in Aurora. Congressman Mike Coffman, the Republican Chair of the Veterans Subcommittee on Oversight, continues to bluster without taking time to suggest an actual solution.

► The State House is finished debating several more attempts to overturn gun safety laws passed in 2013. There was much debate, talking, and blustering, but in the end, nothing changed…though divisions within the Republican Party are growing, as the Colorado Springs-Gazette editorial board writes:

Forget Michael Bloomberg, Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislative Democrats for now. The bigger threat to gun rights in Colorado is Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, headed by political operative Dudley Brown.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Worst analogy on talk radio this year (so far)

If you’re looking for 1) horrible analogies and 2) a way to lose an argument about whether it’s ok to discriminate against gays, here’s a model for you, from KLZ AM-560’s  “Rush to Reason” last week, guest hosted by David Leech:

David Leech, the “Strident Conservative:” You’re an evil person if you’re a Christian, and you don’t want to bake a cake for a homosexual marriage. But, if you’re the CEO of Apple, it’s totally cool to sell your products to Saudi Arabia, where they will murder you if you are a gay. Give me a break! What’s the deal with this? I mean, where’s the media outrage?

Producer Zach: You know, murderers need music too. You can’t discriminate against them. They need their IPods.

David Leech: In fact, maybe we should make a music video. They are throwing the gays off of the building, while we play Tom Petty’s “Free Falling.” That would totally work. I’m sorry, we’re kind of making fun, and some of you probably just got mad at me for saying what I just sad. But that’s too bad. That’s just the way things are. I can’t stand hypocrisy… If I’m in Saudi Arabia and you come into my business and say, ‘Yeah, I would like a cake for my homosexual wedding.’ I’m going to shout Allahu Akbar and cut your head off.”

Clicke here to hear this on Rush to Reason @18:40 4-8-15 Hour 3B

Eric Teetsel, Director of the Manhattan Declaration, a right-wing Christian organization, was a guest on the same segment, but wasn’t asked about the Saudi Arabia analogy.

Equal Pay Day 2015 In Colorado: We Are The Front Line

As women across America participated in Equal Pay Day 2015 commemorations, ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, reflected on the challenges faced by Colorado women even as conservative lawmakers voted to kill our state’s Pay Equity Commission this year.

“The data is clear: in Colorado, women face greater pay inequity than the national average,” said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms. “In the last decade, America overall has made some progress close the pay equity gap, but in Colorado the gap has actually grown over the same period.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in late January that women in Colorado earn a median weekly full-time wage of $762, compared to a median weekly wage of $978 for men. Since 2002, the pay equity gap has worsened in Colorado while improving slightly nationwide. [1]

“The choice by conservative lawmakers to kill Colorado’s Pay Equity Commission makes no sense in light of the facts,” said Runyon-Harms. “Closing the pay gap between men and women would mean huge benefits for working families and Colorado’s economy as a whole. Instead of ignoring this problem, Colorado should be leading the charge to solve it. That’s why so many people, including hundreds who signed our petition in support of pay equity, were outraged by the votes this year to kill the Pay Equity Commission. And it’s why voters will hold conservatives accountable at the polls in 2016.”

Tuesday Open Thread

“History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon.”

–Napoleon Bonaparte

GOP Chairman Withdraws From Jeffco Schools Event

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

Colorado GOP chairman Steve House.

A mini-uprising from Jefferson County parents appears to have scuttled another attempt by the conservative Jeffco school board majority to inject partisan politics into the work of Colorado’s biggest public school district. Here’s the text of a letter we were forwarded from a Jeffco parent to the board, questioning an upcoming appearance by new Colorado GOP chairman Steve House at an upcoming board retreat:

Dear John, Julie and Ken,

I just received the email from Helen Neal with the link to the agenda for the Board Retreat next Thursday. I am disheartened and disappointed that Steve House remains on your Retreat Guest Panel on Innovative/Creative Practices in Public Education. On the agenda, Mr. House is listed as the Chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. I see nothing that would even remotely connect him to education in his professional role. I even looked over his profile on LinkedIn…nowhere in his “experience” does his list anything even remotely connected to education. Nor does education appear in the 50 skills he has listed.

Could you please explain to me (and the myriad other taxpayers who are concerned at this line-up of “innovation experts”) what Steve House has to do with education innovation? Why are you wasting taxpayer time and money on this farce? Consider the district staff who must attend your meetings. Why are you wasting their time? From what I can tell, I have more education expertise than Mr. House. What I don’t have, however, is a “certificate” from the Leadership Program of the Rockies. It seems that’s all it takes to make it in Jeffco these days. From our communications director to a guest panel on education innovation – educational expertise is no longer required to guide our school district, just participating in a right-wing organization one of whose main goals is to destroy public education.

We live in an amazing county, state and country – surely there are ACTUAL experts on education innovation that could provide useful information to the Board of Ed and the district. Mr. House has no credentials to be participating in the panel, and the three of you, in supporting his participation, are an embarrassment to public education. For people who rely so heavily on data, I can see none to support his role on the panel.

I strongly urge you to remove him from the panel on education innovation – his participation makes a mockery of the Board of Ed of Jeffco.

We’re not privy to whatever discussion that took place between the receipt of this letter by the conservative Jeffco board and now, but the board’s agenda for the upcoming retreat in question has changed as of today:

Subject: Retreat: Guest Panel on Innovative/Creative Practices in Public Education (EL-11)
Type: Discussion

estimated time: 7:30 p.m. (estimated duration: 2 hours)

PRESENTING STAFF:
Tony Lewis, executive director, Donnell-Kay Foundation
Scott Fast, parent, Columbine High School, retired executive director, Accenture Foundation
Steve House, chairman, Colorado Republican Party withdrew [Pols emphasis]

So much for that! The only thing that remains is for an intrepid reporter to ask two questions: why House withdrew, and for what reasons the chairman of the Colorado Republican Party was picked for this “retreat” to begin with.

You know, beyond the obvious reasons that have nothing to do with education.

Get More Smarter on Monday (April 13)

On this day in 1743, Thomas Jefferson was born; do the math yourselves. 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…

► It’s gunpalooza at the state legislature, likely for the final time in 2015. The State House will hear arguments over a plethora of bills that seek to roll back gun safety measures from 2013. Meanwhile, a new front has opened on the gun safety battle — Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) are openly fighting with Independence Institute leader Jon Caldara. You can follow the discussion on Twitter under the hashtag #coleg.

Hillary Clinton is running for President. For reals. If the rest of her campaign is anything like her well-done kickoff video announcement, she will win in 2016.

► Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio is announcing his bid for President today. Can Rubio win the GOP nomination for President? Can he beat Hillary? Those are quandaries for another time, because Rubio will be dogged by one single question: Can he even beat former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in his home state?

Get even more smarter after the jump…

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Son of Gunmageddon: Dudley Brown’s Last Stand

Today’s main event at the Colorado Capitol kicks off at 1:30PM in the freshly-renovated Room 271, where the House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs “kill committee” will debate a total of six Republican bills pertaining to guns:

gunmageddon2

Guns.

Guns.

AP via 9NEWS reports:

Republicans get their last chance of the year Monday to change Colorado’s firearm laws. Lawmakers will consider several proposals, including two bills to eliminate gun-control measures passed by Democrats in 2013…

The Democrat-led House committee hearing the bills Monday is expected to reject them. Other proposals expected to go down include bills to allow concealed handguns at public schools, and to let people to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

Today’s hearing is expected to drag on for many hours. Senate Bill 15-175, the bill that would repeal the 2013 law limiting gun magazines to 15 rounds, is expected to draw the most testimony, and being up first should be a good indicator of how long a night is really in store. We’ve been consistently surprised by the small turnout from the gun lobby and their supporters for hearings to repeal the 2013 gun safety laws–in marked contrast to the huge crowds of gun rights supporters who flooded the Capitol during the original debate. Supporters of the 2013 laws, on the other hand, have consistently mounted a strong defense, even outnumbering witnesses testifying against, and plan to do so again today. From Everytown for Gun Safety’s release:

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Hillary To Launch Presidential Campaign, Early Polls Clueless

MONDAY UPDATE: It’s official:

—–

Hillary Clinton.

Hillary Clinton.

CNN via FOX 31 reports:

Hillary Clinton is planning to launch her presidential candidacy on Sunday through a video message on social media, a person close to her campaign-in-waiting says, followed immediately by traveling to early-voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire to start making her case to voters.

The trip to Iowa, where a third-place finish in 2008 ultimately led to the collapse of her presidential aspirations, illustrates what aides say is a commitment to not take anything for granted in her second bid for the White House, even though she dominates the likely Democratic field in 2016.

Clinton has already filmed her campaign video, a person close to the campaign said, which outlines the central themes of her second bid for the White House. The message is intended to send a signal to Democrats that she intends to aggressively fight for the party’s presidential nomination.

Here in Colorado, a new poll from Quinnipiac University throws darts at the proverbial wall and comes up with a relatively closely matchup between Hillary Clinton and potential Republican 2016 opponents–the Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus:

Quinnipiac University found that the former secretary of state is losing ground against leading Republicans in Colorado, as well as in Iowa and Virginia, though the election isn’t for another year and seven months.

The only candidates to officially have announced a run for president are U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Leading the Republican pack in Colorado is Paul, who gets 44 percent to Clinton’s 41.

“These numbers are a boost for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky as he formally launches his campaign,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.

Other Republicans effectively tie Clinton in Colorado…

As observers have noted today, Quinnipiac’s polling in Colorado last year was erratic but overall heavily tilted toward Republicans for most of the election cycle. But beyond that, it’s simply too early to know how Clinton will match up against whichever Republican emerges with the nomination. As of this writing there’s no major opposition candidate for liberal Democrats to rally around as a Clinton alternative, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren continuing to insist she will not run and feelers by Vice President Joe Biden failing to gain much traction. If that continues to be the case, Clinton will have plenty of time to shore up the base and build momentum while Republicans are busy slugging it out amongst themselves.

Would Hillary carry Colorado in 2016? Take your own wild guess after the jump.

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Monday Open Thread

“Discussion is an exchange of knowledge; an argument an exchange of ignorance.”

–Robert Quillen