Archive for March, 2016

Woods will vote for Trump, if he is GOP nominee

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

On Facebook this week, Republican State Sen. Laura Woods signaled that she will vote for Donald Trump, if he is the GOP nominee.

Woods “liked” a Facebook post by The Conservative Update, which stated:

‘Like’ if you would vote for Donald Trump if he were the 2016 GOP nominee.

Woods’ name appears among over 500,000 others.

Woods has made no secret of her leanings toward Trump. She told KNUS 710-AM radio in January that Trump is one of her two favorite prez candidates (listen here at 25 min 50 sec), but she’s backing Ted Cruz.

Woods is the only elected official in Colorado who actively likes Trump, though three others have said they’ll support the reality-TV star if he wins the GOP nomination.

Woods has yet to explain why she likes Trump, but both Woods and Trump have taken extreme anti-choice and anti-immigrant positions.

Woods told KNUS that she  “narrowed the field” after October’s Republican debate in Boulder.

Control of Colorado state government likely rests on the outcome of the race between Woods and her Democratic challenger, Rachel Zenzinger. Republicans hold the senate chamber by a one-vote margin, and Woods won the seat over Zenzinger in 2014, which was a GOP wave year, by a slim 650 vote margin. To be sure, a few other state senate races may be close, but none has the potential to fall as easily toward Democrats as this one. And with it would end divided government in Colorado.

Gardner denies plotting to stop Trump at secetive meeting

Wednesday, March 9th, 2016

In a radio interview this afternoon, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner denied that he traveled to a meeting at a swanky Georgia resort over the weekend in a last ditch effort to stop Donald Trump from becoming the GOP presidential nominee.

“These conspiracy theories about what took place there are way over the top, spurred by a Huffington Post liberal outlet that thinks people are going to be gullible enough to believe it was something that clearly it wasn’t,” said Gardner of the meeting, hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

The “main topic at the closed-to-the-press confab” was how to stop “Republican front-runner Donald Trump,” according to the Huffington Post article, by Ryan Grim, Nick Bauman, and Mark Fuller.

“This is absolutely nuts that the liberal Huffington Post has conservatives questioning what’s happening,” said Gardner on air. “I mean, this is an organization that ends every story with, ‘Editor’s note: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist.’ This is from the Huffington Post, so it’s pretty crazy what people are saying right now.”

Gardner, who supports Sen. Marco Rubio, described the event as an annual meeting, and he said he was on panels addressing China and the freshman class in the U.S. Senate.

“To think that anything else was discussed by me is absolutely untrue,” Gardner said on KNUS 710-AM’s Kelley & Kafer Show March 9, referring to the Trump discussion (at 4 min below).

“That’s unfortunately, probably the best way to describe it, as a wonky, nerd forum,” said Gardner. “I know they’ve talked about the tech CEOs. And yes, Tim Cook was there talking about the encryption issue in front of Congress right now, and the very real challenge of balancing privacy with security. And again, this is an annual conference that’s been going on since 1982. To think that there was some other kind of purpose for it is simply not true and a flat-out lie.”

Correction: an early version of this post incorrectly stated that Karl Rove presided over a discussion of how to stop Trump.

Whose gold-plated spoon is feeding The Denver Post?

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

The Denver Post is an outfit that likes to think of itself as standing up for everyday people, who rightfully worry about the ways the rich take advantage of government loopholes to get richer, while most people are left treading water and wishing politicians would stand up for them.

Yet, when Democrats in the state House pass a bill that moves the fairness needle toward working families, The Post decides to misrepresent their efforts so egregiously you wonder whose gold-plated spoon is feeding the newspaper’s editorial board such nonsense.

The Democrats’ bill, which passed the House along party lines Monday, would simply stop Colorado companies from hiding profits in well-known overseas tax havens, like the Cayman Islands. And the millions of dollars of tax revenue recovered would go to schools–which are the starting point for economic opportunity in America.

The bill would actually help level the playing field for businesses that play by the rules, which is the vast majority of them, by making sure their competitors pay the same tax they do.

Yet, somehow, The Post found a way to turn legislation that’s about basic fairness into an albatross on Colorado business, even saying the legislation would threaten Colorado jobs.

The Post thumped it chest and declared that  “not even longtime Democratic strongholds like California and New York have such laws. Indeed, California held hearings on the idea a few years ago and declined to go further.”

That’s because the same special interests that want to kill the bill here in Colorado did so successfully in New York and California.

But what The Post didn’t tell you is that the bill actually factually passed in Montana and Oregon, with bipartisan support.

That’s bipartisan support from lawmakers who decided to do something about one of the most blatant tax loopholes enjoyed by businesses who line their pockets by flouting tax laws.

Maybe a taxpayer’s miracle will strike, and The Post will change its opinion. This might convince state senate Republicans to pass it. As of now, they’re expected to kill the Democrats’ proposed law, because, it seems, they’re listening to the same special interests who successfully pedaled their greed to The Post.

TrumpWatch: Where Colorado Republicans Stand on Trump

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Here’s a handy guide to help reporters keep up with who’s bouncing on the Trumpoline in Colorado–and which way they’re flying. I’ll update it regularly.

Elected Officials Who Actively Like Trump

State Sen. Laura Woods has said Trump is one of her two favorite prez candidates (here at 25 min 50 sec), but she’s backing Cruz.


Elected Officials Who Will Back Trump, if He’s the Nominee.

Sen. Cory Gardner (even through called Trump a “buffoon.” )

Rep. Doug Lamborn.

State Sen. President Bill Cadman.


Former Elected Officials Who Will Back Trump, if He’s the Nominee

Former Colorado Senate President John Andrews.

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez.


Former Elected Officials Who Actively Like Trump

Former State Rep. Spencer Swalm is an “out-of-the-closet” endorser.


Former Elected Officials Who Will Not Vote for Trump

Former State Sen. Shawn Mitchell.



These GOP U.S. Senate candidates told the Statesman they’d back Trump as nominee: businessman Robert Blaha, activist Charlie Ehler, Ryan Frazier, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, former CSU athletics director Jack Graham, former Rep. Jon Keyser, El Paso County Commissioner Peg Littleton, and State Sen. Tim Neville.


Notable Republicans Who Think “We May Be Seeing the Final months of the Existence of the Republican Party”

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer


Republicans Who Are Declining to Say If They’ll Back Trump

Rep. Ken Buck (though he called Trump a “fraud.”)

Rep. Mike Coffman. (But campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm told the Colorado Stateman Feb. 2, “Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary? The answer is obviously yes.”)

Rep. Scott Tipton.

Republican State House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso.


Please send me any additons to this list.

But for the time being, these are the people reporters can turn to for answers to the perplexing questions about GOP support or lackthereof for Trump.

The GOP’s Evolutionary Opposition to the Hospital-Provider Fee

Monday, March 7th, 2016

If you’re a journalist or even a blogger, you love to point out evolutionary explanations by politicians for taking a political stance. Inconsistencies, when one politician’s statement one day contradicts what she said previously, are better, but changing justifications for taking a political position are a close second on the hypocrisy scale, because they’re a likely indicator that politicians have ulterior motives, which they’re struggling to hide by trying to come up with a false explanation that makes sense.

So here’s a brief history of GOP lawmakers’ explanations for their opposition to the hospital-provider fee, first, and then, later, for their opposition to turning it into a Tabor-defined enterprise zone, which would free up about $370 million for highways, schools, and other government projects that lack funding.

It would increase the federal deficit. Back in 2009, when Democrats first proposed tapping federal funds to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income children and others, Republicans didn’t say they were opposed to helping the kids and the poor. They worried about increasing the federal deficit.

It would run up medical expenses that would be shifted to non-Medicaid patients. Back in 2009, in addition to the deficit, Republicans fretted about whether hospitals could pass on the Medicaid costs to upstanding insured people, despite a lack of evidence over how they could do this. If anything, the fee helped offset a shift that was burdening insured people.

It would burden working families. “It’s only to expand government and to expand an entitlement program one more time,” Rep. Frank McNulty, R-Highlands Ranch, told The Denver Post in 2009. “It’s simply a shell game where the governor is shifting cost to working families who are already struggling to pay their bills.” No evidence of how the alleged shift would affect working families emerged–other than the amorphous worry that the federal government might stop paying its share.

Between 209 and this year, after the hospital provider fee was in place and helping hundreds of thousands of actual factual poor people, Colorado Republicans continued to try to repeal it, but their venom toward the fee didn’t really emerge again until the last couple years, when Democrats tried to re-define the fee under TABOR, as a small step toward addressing the state’s budget woes.

First, they argued that the Democrats plan was unconstitutional. But GOP Attorney General Cynthia Coffman thought otherwise, ruling that the Dem plan meets constitutional muster.

Then they tried to destract reporters by saying Obamacare is the cause our budget problems, which it isn’t.

Then Republicans argued that the TABOR enterprise would require “rebasing” the budget, which would eliminate the availability of money for schools, roads, etc. But The Denver Post eviscerated this argument over the weekend, writing:

“The current TABOR threshold, which is adjusted every year based on population and inflation, was established in fiscal 2007-08, before the hospital fee was enacted. That fee came on in 2009.

In other words, the spending limit would be the same today if the hospital fee had never existed, or if it had been created as a separate enterprise right at the outset.”

So here we are on Monday, another new week and you wonder what’s next. Will the evolutionary explanations continue? You have to think Republicans will come up with something new, given the history, which points to an ideological opposition any growth in government spending, no matter how the spending is paid for.

That’s an honest position but it requires an explanation of how Colorado pays for roads, schools, medical care for the poor and disabled, and more. Should government stop funding these things or cut back. And if not, how to fund them?


Beauprez’s “family squabbles” contrast with Schaffer’s vision of possible death

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Failed 2014 gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez has a message for his fellow Republicans who might be nervous about the future of their party:

Beauprez: “At the end of all this, tough as it’s going to be, family squabbles can be pretty messy sometimes. But at the end of it, you realize, we are family. You grab hands. You give everybody a big hug and say, alright, let’s go win this thing.” (Listen to more on KOA 850-AM clip below.)

Failed 2008 senatorial candidate Bob Schaffer, on the other hand, had a different take:

Schaffer: “I think it is possible that we may be seeing the final months of the existence of the Republican Party. I really think that’s possible. If it’s going to salvage itself and restore itself and continue itself, it’s got to be something dramatic–and it’s not a Trump thing. Trump is not going to rescue it. And neither are the party insiders, who think business as usual is the way to keep doing business.” (Listen to more on KCOL clip below.)

Beauprez’s thoughts on the Republican crisis were by far the sunneist I’ve seen in Colorado, where most of the top GOP leaders in the state took the astonishing position of refusing to say whether they’d back Trump if he became the actual factual nominee–even after calling him a “fraud” (Buck) or a “buffoon” (Gardner).

After being asked seven times, Gardner said he’d back Trump if he’s nominated. So maybe Beauprez reminded Gardner of his familial obligations?

The story that’s missing now is, which elected Republicans, at any level here in Colorado, actually like Trump, not by default but affirmatively. I’ve seen only such person so far, and that’s State Sen. Laura Wosod (here at 25 min 50 sec). Trump is one of her favorite candidates. Who else is out there? And why?

Partial transcript of Bob Schaffer’s comments on KCOL March 3,

This sounds kind of radical, but I’ve been thinking about this a lot. I think it is possible that we may be seeing the final months of the existence of the Republican Party. I really think that’s possible. If it’s going to salvage itself and restore itself and continue itself, it’s got to be something dramatic–and it’s not a Trump thing. Trump is not going to rescue it. And neither are the party insiders who think business as usual is the way to keep doing business. But it’s got to be something dramatic and remarkable. It’s got come from the grassroots, maybe from the states or some collection of states that re-centers not the philosophy of the Republican Party but the behavior of the Republican Party. That’s the only way it’s going to be salvaged. If that doesn’t happen, somehow quickly and in some remarkable way, I think it’s possible by the time we are going into a presidential election again four years from now, we’re going to be talking about Democrats and some other party, some other organization. Maybe the Republican Party will be around, but it will be a third party by then. I really think that could be where we’re at right now.

Partial transcript of comments by Bob Beauprez on KOA 850-AMAM March 3.

A lot of us are seeing what used to go on behind those closed doors, behind the curtain.  We’re seeing it played out live and in person. This is serious high-stakes politics. Nothing more serious than a presidential nominee. And people feel passionately about it…. At the end of the day, I fully epect, whoever our nominee ends up being, after all the drama has played out, that conservatives will come together and support that nominee because the alternative to us conservatives is so unacceptable…We’ve been down this road before. Every four years, it seems like we go through this with a nomination process. I remember very well the campaign in 1980, and we all thought, oh my goodness, did you hear what George H. W. Bush said about Ronald Reagan with voodoo economics. And we thought that was appalling. Well, then they come together and are on the same ticket, and they serve very well together and became great friends. Politics is a strange business… But at the end of the day, all these guys want is to do what’s right for the country. And they will fight very hard for the right to be that standard bearer. But at the end of the day, we will come together around one. … At the end of all this, tough as it’s going to be, family squabbles can be pretty messy sometimes. But at the end of it, you realize, we are family. You grab hands. You give everybody a big hug and say, alright, let’s go win this thing. That’s how it will end up, I think.

A list of current (or possibly future) Trump supporters

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

Update: On Facebook, U.S. Senate candidate Robert Blaha defends his decision to stand by Trump, if the magnate prevails.

Blaha: Although I may not get my “pick” as a Presidential candidate, I will support whoever the American people vote to be the Republican nominee. We cannot afford to further fracture our party, we must stand together as a Republican Party. We MUST stop our eighth grade locker room act of classless commentary and insane rhetoric.

How about this…. If we had the same intensity we are displaying in tearing ourselves apart in communicating Our ideas, Our Passions and Our Vision we would never have arrived at this pathetic dead-end.

Shame on those in power who not only allow the carnage, but, wield the hands that encourage it! This is a defining moment in Republican history, our own Gettysburg is now upon us !

Washington – you are a voice for the people, not the voice in spite of the people.


While we wait to hear whether Rep. Doug Lamborn, and Sen. Cory Gardner respond to 9News’ question about whether they’d support Trump, if he were the GOP nominee, it’s worth it for reporters to take a wider look at local support the magnate has among muckety-muck Republicans.

    • Former Rep. Spencer Swalm is an “out-of-the-closet” endorser of Trump.
    • State Sen. Laura Woods has said Trump is one of her two favorite prez candidates, but she’s backing Cruz.
    • Rep. Mike Coffman “refused to speculate” to 9News today on whether he’d back Trump if he’s the Republican nominee, but campaign spokeswoman Kristin Strohm told the Colorado Stateman Feb. 2, “Will Mike Coffman support the Republican nominee over Bernie or Hillary? The answer is obviously yes. And he believes strongly it is going to be Marco Rubio.”
    • These GOP U.S. Senate candidates also told the Statesman they’d back Trump as nominee: businessman Robert Blaha, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn, Jack Graham, El Paso County Commissioner Peg Littleton, State Sen. Tim Neville, former Rep. Jon Keyser, activist Charlie Ehler, and Ryan Frazier.

Please send me any additons to this list.

But for the time being, these are the people Reporters can turn to for answers to the perplexing question of, Why would a respectable person support Trump? It’s a serious and urgent question that needs to be aired out locally, as 9News is trying to do with limited success.

Trump prevails in Adams County but CO GOP mostly silent on the reality-show star

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

At last night’s caucuses, local Republicans generally didn’t hold preference polls on the presidential race but there were exceptions, like Adams Country, a swing district that might possibly serve as a barometer of how Colorado would have gone on the red side.

Thanks to The Denver Post for reporting the GOP results from Adams County:

Even though the state Republican Party canceled the straw poll, Adams County officials decided to hold an “unofficial” count.

The precinct didn’t entertain speeches from the candidates’ supporters — “You know who the candidates are,” the organizer said. Instead, the neighbors wrote a last name on a pink slip and submitted it to the secretary.

The final vote count: Trump six, Cruz four, Rubio four and Carson one.

This is obviously only an anecdote, but it’s been hard to gauge Trump’s actual factual support in Colorado, because so few party leaders have endorsed him–or repudiated him.

On the favorable side for the reality-show star, other than caucus-goers in Adams Country, the closest thing we have to official Trump support is State Sen. Laura Woods, who’s said Trump is one of her two favorite candidates but then endorsed Cruz. Plus, vocalists on conservative talk radio, like KNUS 710-AM’s Peter Boyles, have endorsed him.

The GOP Trump haters are also largely in the closet–with exceptions.  In a beautifully written editorial today, titled Donald Trump’s Victories Point to GOP Crisis, The Denver Post reminds us that Sen. Cory Gardner called Trump a “buffoon” last year, and Rep. Ken Buck was more generous, calling him a “fraud.”

“Surely they wouldn’t support a buffoon or fraud if he’s nominated,” The Post opined. “If not, they should say so now.”

Yet, for the most part, Colorado Republicans have been silent on Trump, perhaps agreeing with Rep. Mike Coffman who said Trump “is not going to be the nominee.”

Surely, Coffman doesn’t think that now. But what do he and his fellow Republicans think of Trump and, by extension, the folks in Adams County who are backing him?

CO Republicans will back Trump but still aren’t endorsing him

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

I’ve been searching for a Colorado Republican candidate or elected official who’s endorsed billionaire Donald Trump.

I thought I found my guy in Gerald Eller, a Colorado native and disabled Army veteran, who’s one of the dozen or so Republicans seeking to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet.

I noticed Eller liked a “Donald Trump Supporters” page on Facebook.

But he told me he’s not endorsed Trump.

“I support all of them,” said Eller, when asked about Trump. “I like all the Republican presidential candidates, even the ones who aren’t running anymore.”

So, here in Colorado, the closest we apparently have to an elected Republican who’s endorsed Trump is State Sen. Laura Woods, of Westminster, who told a radio host that her two favorite candidates were Trump and Cruz.

But Woods later she tweeted that she’d decided, for “no specific reason,” that Cruz was her top presidential candidate.

Other Republican candidates in high profile races told the Colorado Statesman last month that they’d back the GOP nominee, including Trump.

Included in the group is Rep. Mike Coffman, who brushed off questions about Trump in December with, ““He’s not going to be the nominee.”