Archive for February, 2014

Gessler says he won’t rule out a debate on talk radio, so a talk-show host should organize one

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

Republican gubernatorial candidates Scott Gessler and Tom Tancredo have said they won’t participate in primary debates, but Gessler changed course slightly Thursday, telling KHOW host Mandy Connell that he wouldn’t rule out a talk-radio debate organized by Connell.

Connell: Scott, let’s just say, if I were to have all the candidates on the show at the same time, would you participate in that, on the air? I mean we could really get into some issues.

Gessler: Maybe. Probably not at this point. My focus really is on the convention. You know, I have an election coming up on April 12, and that is the state assembly to get access to the ballot to be nominated to the Republican-primary ballot. So, my focus and strategy is, reaching out to the people who participate in that, whether it’s in big groups, media, as well as individual. And so I can’t tell you it would fit within that approach, but we’ll talk. I won’t rule it out. [BigMedia emphasis]

Connell: There will be donuts, Scott.

Listen to Gessler tell KHOW he won’t rule out talk-radio debate 2-6-2014

Connell and other conservative talkers have the ear of the exact group Gessler says he wants to reach: Republican primary voters. KHOW and KNUS are obviously in the “media” category that Gessler mentions above. So, Connell is in a position to exert some serious pressure on Gessler and Tanc.

The question is, will Connell push the issue (maybe offer lox and bagels in addition to donuts?). If not, will KNUS’ Dan Caplis, who’s said on air that he hopes to have candidates debate on his show, push the radio-debate idea? Connell seems pissed, as you can see below from her Feb. 6 show, so maybe she’ll persevere:

Connell: I hate this decision [not to debate]. I’m not going to lie. I don’t like it… Isn’t there any part of you that thinks you’re doing a disservice to voters on this?

Gessler: I’m spending my time elsewhere reaching out to voters in a pretty intensive way. And by the way, I’m happy to send you my schedule. You’re welcome to come, and ask me any tough question you would like.

Connell: I will. You better be careful what you invite, Scott, because I will come.

Connell should up the ante and put a KHOW all-candidate event on Gessler’s schedule.

“If you can’t take on Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee right now, how on Earth are you gong to take on John Hickenlooper in September?”

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Brophy took a playful swipe at Denver Post reporters Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee yesterday, saying on a Denver radio station that if Scott Gessler and Tom Tancredo “can’t take on Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee right now, how on Earth are [Gessler and Tancredo] gong to take on John Hickenlooper in September?”

On KHOW’s Mandy Connell show, Brophy was making the point that Gessler and Tancredo, who say they won’t participate in primary debates, including a Feb. 18 debate sponsored by The Denver Post, should subject themselves to tough questions now, to prepare themselves for battle with Hick, if one of them wins the primary and faces Hick.

Brophy, for example, referred to questions about Tancredo’s broken term-limits pledge and his support for gun control, and Gessler’s eithics troubles and problems with his office budget.

I’d rather have trained journalists (Bartels, Lee) asking Tancredo questions about term limits, for example, than a geologist (Hick), who’s known to be too nice. That’s why debates are moderated by journalists! They’re the smart ones in the room.

Brophy: I brought up Tom Tancredo’s past support of gun control. He needs to be able to talk about that in a way that settles the voters down now, not late September. Secretary Gessler a problem with his office budget. He’s upside down by about $4.1 million that no one can explain.  And he needs to make is case to the people of Colorado. He needs to make it in February, not in September.”

“I mean, come on guys,” Brophy said later in the KHOW interview, “if you can’t take on Lynn Bartels and Kurtis Lee right now, how on Earth are you gong to take on John Hickenlooper in September? Just come to the debate.”

On KNUS’ Kelley and Company Feb. 6, Brophy made the same point.

Kelley: Who do you want to challenge most of those five other guys out there?

Brophy: I think we need to ask and have the hard questions answered by Tom Tancredo. Why did you vote for gun control back in 1999. Why did you break your term-limits pledge. What makes us think we can trust you now? Why do you think you can win a general election in Colorado? Secretary Gessler, explain to us why you have to have your budget bailed out by the State of Colorado when every other secretary of state in the history of Colorado has balanced their budget successfully as secretary of state. Explain to us how improper use of office resources for personal political gain was ok back in 2012 when the Ethics Commission found 5-0 against you and ultimately you paid the money back.”

Kelley: Folks, we are having a one-way debate right here?

Brophy: You are going to have to answer these questions sometime.

I hope the questions come from Bartels, Lee,  and other journalists, not from a geologist-turned-bartender-turned-politician.



Cost of Coffman proposal boosts news value of story

Monday, February 10th, 2014

It’s amazing that Rep. Mike Coffman’s call for the redeployment of troops in Iraq hasn’t made news beyond this lowly blog, especially when you consider what’s at stake, here at home.

The annual cost to deploy troops in Iraq is roughly $1 million per troop, according to former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag. (That’s beyond the incalculable human cost.)

Using this as a baseline, and assuming Coffman would deploy between 5,000 and 50,000 troops, we’re talking about spending between $5 billion and $50 billion per year on Iraq.

That’s a lot of money, if you compare it to other expenditures of the federal government. For example, the low end of Coffman’s range, $5 billion per year, is more than double what America currently spends on housing for military veterans.

For the amount spent if America kept 5,000 troops in Iraq for three years, the U.S. could more than double the EPA budget. The amount spent in one and a half years would be equal to what we spend on the National Science Foundation.

  •  EPA budget is $13 billion,
  • National Science Foundation $7 billion,
  • NASA $17 billion,
  • Humanitarian foreign aid $22 billion,
  • Higher education $12 billion,
  • Veterans’ housing $2 billion;
  • Veterans’ hospital and medical care, $51 billion;
  • Veterans education, training and rehabilitation $10 billion

SOURCE: FY 2012 figures, Budget of the United States, Historical Tables, 4.1 and 3.2.

We don’t know the precise number of troops Coffman would deploy in Iraq, but during a recent interview, Coffman said that if the Obama Administration hadn’t rushed troops out of Iraq, then Iraq would have agreed to the Status of Forces Agreement, which initially envisioned a residual force of 10,000 troops, a figure that was later reduced to 5,000.

Coffman said he “certainly” favors deploying “advisory” troops, if invited, so that the U.S. would have “some influence” in Iraq.

Dudley Brown radio interview puts Denver Post story in perspective

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

Reporters don’t always offer differing views in trivial news stories about a speech or a minor partisan event. It’s nice, but you don’t expect it, like you would in more significant stories.

Such was the case in yesterday’s one-sided Denver Post article about a speech by Republican operatives saying the next two elections will be good for Republicans like them. A surprising claim coming from Republican operatives, but not surprising in a story headlined, “Republican analysts optimistic about future of party.”

Nancy Dwight, former executive director of the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee, was quoted thusly:

“There has been a maturation in the Republican party since 2012, that we need to win,” Dwight argued, but said to win races going forward the party needed “to represent the 50 plus percent of the country who are concerned about growth in the private sector and agree that there should be limited centralized government.”

I read this, and I thought about an interview I’d just heard on KNUS radio with Dudley Brown, Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners. He might not be the most powerful Republican in Colorado, but he’s probably up there. I offer this quote to you for perspective on the news of GOP maturity alleged in The Post piece:

“The Republican Party itself has largely been castrated,” Brown told Peter Boyles, echoing cruder GOP castration comments made by rocker Ted Nugent recently on Boyles’ show.

“And they really can’t do much in the line of elections or politics anymore. And they generally don’t help anytime there’s a conservative involved either… Peter, I’ve never been surprised by the lack of principles from the Republican Party or the leadership of the Republican Party… Whenever they stick the mic in the face of a Republican official, it’s always Ryan Call and some of his predecessors, Dick Wadhams, and none of those people have been conservative allies.  I’ve been doing battle with them ever since I’ve been involved in politics and see no reason that’s ever going to change.”

Listen to Dudley Brown on KNUS Boyles 2-7-14

Despite this, Brown told Boyles he’s ready to fight Democrats during the upcoming election.

“I guess you could say it’s hunting season,” Brown said on air, getting high marks for maturity from Boyles, who said earlier, “in my world” Dudley Brown is a “winner” and “one of our favorites.”

Offering view omitted on radio show, counters Coffman’s proposal to re-deploy troops in Iraq

Friday, February 7th, 2014

To my way of thinking, Rep. Mike Coffman dropped a bombshell on KNUS’ Dan Caplis show last month, when he said he “certainly” supports re-deployment of advisory troops in Iraq, if invited.

Caplis listened as Coffman said America is “suffering the consequences” of not having troops in Iraq today. This would have given the U.S. “some influence there” to help keep the country from falling apart.

The counter view, omitted on KNUS, was articulated this week on the Huffington Post by Jon Soltz, co-founder of

First, there is no such thing as “advisory, or “non-regular troops,” when it comes to Iraq. As soon as an American service member enters Iraq, they are a target. If attacked, they will respond, and thus are combat troops. In a 360-degree battlefield, where any innocent looking person may actually be an insurgent, those troops must always keep a combat posture, for their own defense…

Second, Iraq is in the midst of a civil war and always has been. Interestingly, it’s the same civil war that Syria is now seeing — namely, Sunni versus Shia, fought between proxies, including Iran. That was true when we were there, and is now that we’ve left. That was always going to be the case. What is also true is that this civil war would never end until Iraqis fought it out amongst themselves, either in a political settlement, or in battle. Our troop presence actually delayed that, and kept the cork on the bottle. But now, it is fully raging, as the radical Sunni group, the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), has taken Fallujah, and Iraq’s government is poised to take the city back. To put American troops back in at this juncture, on the side of the government, makes them instant participants in Iraq’s and Syria’s Civil War, no matter how “advisory” we want to say they are.

Third, as with the last Iraq war, Congressman Coffman offers up no end-state, and no exit strategy. Just toss troops back in there, and see how it goes. We’ve been there and done that, and I think we all know how it goes. If things go badly, the answer from the right is “more troops.” Ten thousand troops becomes 20,000, and 30,000. And next thing you know, we’re back in conventional war, complete with the “regular troops,” that Coffman says he wouldn’t send.

Soltz calls Coffman’s proposal a “path to a third Iraq War,” and I’m sure a lot of Caplis’ conservative listeners would agree with him–and Caplis should let them hear form Soltz directly. This  issue doesn’t divide along progressive-conservative lines. That’s for sure.

Caplis reminds Gessler that talk-radio interview is nothing like a candidate debate

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

I was worried that the re-constituted Dan Caplis radio show (minus the occasional left-leaning questions from Craig Silverman) would turn out to be a combination of ritualistic chest-thumping and high-school cheerleading for Colorado Republicans.

But Caplis isn’t giving his GOP guests complete cheerleader treatment.

For example, Caplis has been trying to convince GOP gubernatorial candidates Scott Gessler and Tom Tancredo, both of whom have refused to participate in Republican primary debates, to reconsider and do the debates.

And when they offer up lame excuses, Caplis calls them on it. For example, see this exchange on Caplis’ KNUS 710-AM show this moring:

Caplis: At the end of the day, what I am asking, as a consumer, is ‘Hey, if you are not going to participate in these debates, I hope you spend whatever time you need to refining your skill set. You’re a really talented guy, but whoever the nominee is, they are really going to have to do well in these debates to expose the true John Hickenlooper.

Gessler: Here’s what I will give you as a suggestion. Invite me on your radio show, and ask me tough questions. And I think I’ll respond pretty well.

Caplis: I just think it’s a different dynamic live under the lights with your opponent who is trying to duck and weave, etcetera. But, hey, nobody who knows you would doubt your abilities. I think it’s just a matter of training for this particular big event.

Listen to Caplis tell Gessler that his talk radio show isn’t like a candidate debate 2.6.14

Okay, it’s a bit like a cheerleading session, but still. Caplis gets credit for having enough self-awareness to know that conservative talk radio isn’t, in the actual real world, like a candidate debate, which takes place out of the echo chamber with moderators and even, gasp, real people possibly asking questions.

But, if Caplis does take Gessler up on his offer to practice debating on KNUS, one wonders if Gessler would allow his opponents to call the Caplis show for a little candidate-versus-candidate on-air chit chat.

Omitted from Tancredo interview is his belief that wooing Hispanics is mostly a lost cause

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

If you’ve been following Tom Tancredo from microphone to microphone over the years, like I have, you know he doesn’t think his position on immigration is a liability for him in getting elected governor of Colorado. He thinks he can win in spite of it.

So it was no surprise to hear Tancredo tell KNUS talk-show host Jimmy Sengenberger Sat. that he doesn’t care if the Democrats hit him on immigration, if he’s running against John Hickenlooper.

Tancredo: Does anyone think I won’t be hit on immigration? I intend to be very, very aggressive about that particular issue.

Sengenberger: Do you want them to bring it to you?

Tancredo: Absolutely.

Tom Tancredo on KNUS says, bring on immigration debate 2-1-2014

Tancredo doesn’t believe most Hispanics care about his extreme positions on immigration, which, presumably, would include his view that immigration reform is “impossible” to achieve in Washington. (His solution is to require businesses to use e-verify to make it impossible to hire undocumented immigrants.)

Instead, the GOP gubernatorial front-runner argued in Saturday’s radio interview that he’ll try to reach Hispanics by talking about the importance of legal immigration as well as fiscal conservatism and such. For details, Tancredo directed listeners to

But left out during his radio appearance was Tancredo’s core belief about Hispanic voters: Republicans shouldn’t toss their principles out the window in an effort to win them over. It’s a waste of time.

As he said last year, “We’ve seen that trying to woo the Latino is a losing proposition. Latinos vote for Democrats because they want big government. It has nothing to do with immigration.”

Media omission: Talk-radio host alleges shenanigans in GOP primary races

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

On his radio show Saturday morning, Jeff Crank told listeners that when conservatives have an “effort so pure and so true, there always seems to be someone who comes along and tries to steal it for their own personal ambition.”

Who are the ambitious political thieves today?

State Sen. Owen Hill and former Congressman Tom Tancredo, according to Crank.

Crank said those Republican candidates, for governor and U.S. Senator respectively, are using the pure-and-true recall activists to collect signatures to put Tancredo’s and Hill’s names on the primary election ballot.

And then Hill and Tancredo are pointing (through news releases) to their work with the recall organizers to show that they’re running “grassroots” campaigns.

Crank: “Both Tom Tancredo and Owen Hill should be embarrassed that they have… given the impression that the organizers of this patriotic, pure movement to recall Colorado State Senators who voted for gun control, that somehow that movement is now behind their candidacies. It’s frustrating when you see politicians do this, and I just vow that I’m going to call people out when they do this kind of nonsense.”

“The most grassroots way to get on the ballot is to go through the assembly, not to petition onto the ballot,” Crank continued on air. “You petition onto the ballot when you can’t get through the grassroots process in Colorado. That’s the reality of it. When you don’t feel you can go through a caucus or the assembly process in Colorado, and you can’t get 30 percent to get on the ballot, then you go petition. But don’t say it’s grassroots.”

Crank insisted on air that he’s not attacking Tancredo or Hill.

“They are the ones going out and saying that this recall effort is somehow behind their campaign,” Crank told listeners. “It’s not.”

Some recall organizers “may support Owen Hill and Tom Tancredo” but others do not, said Crank, who ran for Congress in 2008 and whose real job is running Aegis Strategic, GOP a consulting firm, linked to the Koch bothers and recently spotlighted in Politico.

Listen to KVOR’s Crank say recall activists co-opted by Tancredo & Hill 2.1.14

Partial Transcript of Comments by KVOR’s Jeff Crank on KVOR Feb. 1, 2014

Crank: “Two politicians trying to use the good work of the recall organizers, some of which may support Owen Hill and Tom Tancredo, and by the way, I’ve always liked Tom Tancredo. Tom supported me when I ran for Congress. I think the world of Tom Tancredo. But he’s being manipulated here. These guys should be embarrassed. Both Tom Tancredo and Owen Hill should be embarrassed that that their campaigns, and by the way they both have the same person behind their campaign who’s organizing these efforts, they should be embarrassed that they have put this issue out there, that somehow that they have given the impression that the organizers of this patriotic, pure movement to recall Colorado State Senators who voted for gun control, that somehow that movement is now behind their candidacies. It’s frustrating when you see politicians do this, and I just vow that I’m going to call people out when they do this kind of nonsense.”

Boyles should play his Nugent interview for Tancredo

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

From the moment after KNUS Peter Boyles’ introduced him, rocker Ted Nugent delivered a bizarre series of insults and slurs on Denver radio this morning, saying the “media in this country is basically Joseph Goebbels’ propaganda ministry” and singing his “New American National Anthem,” which consisted only of the cry of a sheep:  “baa-aa—aa—aa, baa-aa-aa.”

“It breaks my heart to have to say these things,” Nugent said. “But we have to say these things. Because if you don’t get rid of the bad and the ugly, the good will continue to be strangled.”

“Ted, what has happened to the Republican Party?” asked Boyles.

“Someone extracted their scrotum with a rusty shiv,” Nugent said. “They have no balls.  I don’t know where this ‘Let’s be Mr. Rogers with a Lawrence Welk soundtrack tie adjusting’ mantra came from, but my god! If there’s a life-support system attached to the GOP, it’s flat-lining.”

Nugent, who’s a leading opponent of gun-safety laws, like those passed in Colorado, said he’s spoiled because he lives in Texas, which, he said, should “not be confused with Colorado, [which is] the suburb of San Francisco.”

“It’s true!” replied Boyles.

“If ever there was a poster child for apathy, disconnect, laziness, and abandonment of We the people, and moral dereliction, it is Colorado,” Nugent said, praising recall activists for sending the state in a better direction.

Here’s a suggestion for Boyles, who has Tancredo on his show all the time: How about playing Nugent’s interview for Tanc, and discussing it line-by-line. And then, at the end, finding out if Tancredo is proud to be endorsed by Nugent.