Archive for the 'Colorado 6th Cong. Distroct' Category

A conservative’s pschoanalysis of Trump conjures up Coffman, who just called Obama a “recruiting tool” for terrorists

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Last week, the National Review posted a collection of anti-Trump opinion pieces written by conservatives, like Commentary Editor John Podhoretz, who hammered Trump’s “repellent assertion that the first black president needed to prove to Trump’s satisfaction that he was actually an American.”

Podhoretz: The cultural signposts Trump brandished in the years preceding his presidential bid are all manifestations of the American id—his steak business, his casino business, his green-marble-and-chrome architecture, his love life minutely detailed in the columns of Cindy Adams, his involvement with Vince McMahon’s wrestling empire, and his reality-TV persona as the immensely rich guy who treats people like garbage but has no fancy airs. This id found its truest voice in his repellent assertion that the first black president needed to prove to Trump’s satisfaction that he was actually an American.

In any integrated personality, the id is supposed to be balanced by an ego and a superego—by a sense of self that gravitates toward behaving in a mature and responsible way when it comes to serious matters, and, failing that, has a sense of shame about transgressing norms and common decencies. Trump is an unbalanced force. He is the politicized American id.

When Podhoretz is done hitting Trump, he should turn to Rep. Mike Coffman, who infamously wondered in 2012 whether Obama is an American. Coffman’s id was apparently speaking when he said:

Coffman: “I don’t know whether Barack Obama was born in the United States of America. I don’t know that. But I do know this, that in his heart, he’s not an American. He’s just not an American.”

And then, demonstrating Coffman’s absence of a developed superego, in Podhoretz formulation, Coffman didn’t feel shame for his birther moment in a “mature and responsible way,” offering a scripted and unapologitic apology to 9News Kyle Clark five times in a row.

But, look, it gets worse because Coffman’s id still dominates to this day. This isn’t simply a rehash of one of the stranger apologies in Colorado politics.

Just a couple weeks ago Coffman called Obama a “recruting tool” for terrorists. That’s on the same continuum as his birther comments, which he apologized for.

Coffman: “President Obama wants to close GTMO because he thinks it’s a recruiting tool for terrorists – the real recruiting tool is a President who seems more concerned about protecting the rights of terrorists rather than defeating them and protecting the American people.”

Colffman’s “sense of self” lacks the “sense of shame about transgressing norms and common decencies” that Podhoretz finds absent in Trump.

Looks like a local reporter has the best shot at getting Coffman to talk about Trump

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

After President Obama’s State of the Union Address, KOA host April Zesbaugh gave Rep. Mike Coffman another chance to offer a thought or two about Donald Trump, when she pointed out that Obama had talked “little bit about ignoring political hot air, likely a comment about Donald Trump or maybe Ted Cruz.”

Coffman ignored the opening to talk about Trump, making him possibly the only person in America who has nothing to say about the idiotic billionaire. Coffman has now ducked five chances to condemn/praise/parse Trump (See here, herehere, one below, and one above.).

Perhaps the strangest incident occurred in Washington DC after Trump proposed banning Muslims from America. Other Republicans condemned Trump, but Coffman simply told a Roll Call reporter, “I’m not going to go there. Thanks.” (Coffman had issued a statement on the topic that didn’t mention Trump.)

Seriously, how can you not have anything to say about Donald, even if you’re the lowest informaation voter on Earth?

And putting aside the fact that Trump is the leading GOP prez contender, who’s condemned most every swing voter  in Coffman’s district, the Donald is a totally legitimate topic for Coffman to address.

Some of Coffman’s actual factual positions align with Trump’s (against birthright citizenship, in favor of a worker underclass, against raising debt limit in certain circumstances, and more) Coffman should clarify where he stands vis a vis Donald on these issues.

Plus, Trump is politics in its rawest and most accessible form. Why hasn’t Coffman condemned Trump? It’s a serious and puzzling question.

It’s clear now that Coffman will continue to run from Trump questions until a local reporter, who is in a position to have an exchange with Coffman, insists on answers. With Trump surging and the key caucuses and primaries upon us, I’m looking forward to hearing what Coffman says.

Coffman declares immigration reform dead for this year

Friday, January 15th, 2016

Appearing on KOA 850-AM’s Morning News Jan. 13, Rep. Mike Coffman first said he doesn’t “see anything happening on immigration reform” in Congress this year.

Then he told radio host April Zesbaugh, “Certainly, I’ve worked hard in my congressional district to break that narrative” that “Republicans are anti-immigrant.”

So he declares immigration reform dead and says he’s not anti-immigrant.

The irony is, if Coffman and his fellow House Republicans weren’t anti-immigrant, immigration reform wouldn’t be dead right now. It would be moving forward, as laid out in the comprehensive immigration reform bill that Coffman opposed and was killed by House Republicans in 2013.

Millions of law-abiding immigrants would be starting to come out of the shadows and living like my own immigrant grandparents did. They’d be paying more taxes, working their asses off, and no longer living in fear of deportation. We’d be spending tens of billions more on border security and have 20,000 agents on the border, too, fwiw. The Chamber of Commerce would be happy. I would feel proud of our country, not guilty, when I see my daughter’s friend holding hands with her immigrant father.

Coffman would no doubt be standing up his his district and saying he actually accomplished something on immigration. As it is, he’s defined by what he’s not done and what he still opposes: birthright citizenship, bilingual ballotscomprehensive immigration reform, a path to citizenship.

With his Spanish lessons and criss-crossing votes for modest reforms, maybe Coffman has worked hard, in terms of rhetoric and smoke screens and cover up, to create a perception of hard work on  immigration, but he was a roadblock to actually accomplishing anything when it really mattered most.

 

 

Local Angle on SOTU Address: Coffman draws $174,000 salary while already taking $55,000 pension plus benefits

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

There’s a local angle on Obama’s comment last night that “some of the only people in America who are going to work the same job, in the same place, with a health and retirement package, for 30 years, are sitting in this chamber. For everyone else, especially folks in their forties and fifties, saving for retirement or bouncing back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher.”

The local connection was sitting in front of Obama in the form of Mike Coffman. He’s part of an even smaller number of people who’ve fought to abolish retirement packages, like the ones Members of Congress get, even though he’s receiving a $55,000 retirement package (from the state of Colorado) while, at the same time, drawing a $174,000 salary as a U.S. Congressman.

As the National Journal’s Shane Goldmacher reported in 2013 when Coffman was urging Members of Congress to give up their pensions:

If there’s one thing I learned in both the United States Army and the Mar­ine Corps about lead­er­ship, it was lead­ing by ex­ample,” Coff­man lec­tured them, point­ing to his chest at a com­mit­tee hear­ing. “Nev­er ask any­one to do any­thing that you your­self would not be will­ing to do.”

What Coff­man left un­said that day in a speech about his bill’s “sym­bol­ic” im­port­ance was that he was col­lect­ing a $55,547 state-gov­ern­ment pen­sion in ad­di­tion to his con­gres­sion­al paycheck. Hav­ing spent two dec­ades as an elec­ted of­fi­cial in Col­or­ado, he has re­ceived re­tire­ment be­ne­fits since 2009, the year he ar­rived in Con­gress.

But, Goldmacher asked Coffman later, doesn’t the Aurora Congressman realize he’s taking a defined-benefit penion, like the one he’s opposing?

“I am,” he told Goldmacher. “I am.”

At the time, I hoped reporters would ask Coffman directly, does Coffman see any hypocrisy in his own actions? And if so, what does he think he should do about it?

No one asked him, but it’s not too late.

Has Coffman voted to defund Planned Parenthood six or seven times — a journalist’s guide

Monday, January 11th, 2016

In a blog post last year, I showed that Rep. Mike Coffman has voted a total of six times to defund Planned Parenthood, a move that would stop 2,200 low-income women from going to the Planned Parenthood clinic in Coffman’s own Aurora district.

Then last week, Coffman voted again to defund the women’s health organization, but his vote came on an amended version of the same anti-Planned Parenthood bill he voted for in October of last year. I’d counted his October vote as his sixth vote to defund the organization.

If you’re a reporter, and you want to be fair to Coffman, do you count his vote last week as number seven? Or does he remain a six-time voter to defund Planned Parenthood?

To get an impartial opinion, I asked Fred Brown, a former Denver Post editor and political reporter, for his view on whether Coffmn’s vote on the amended bill should be reported as his seventh vote to defund Planned Parenthood. (I asked Brown to assume my tally was correct. I did not ask him to fact check my work, but you can do so here.)

Brown told me he’d count the two votes on the same bill as one vote for my tally, leaving it at six times Coffman has voted to defund.

“If there’s a different bill number, it’s a different vote,” wrote Brown, who’s also a nationally-known expert on journalism ethics.

 

 

Coffman Wants to Stop 2,200 Women from Going to the Planned Parenthood Clinic in his District

Friday, January 8th, 2016

Rep. Mike Coffman voted again Wednesday to defund Planned Parenthood, voting a second time on a bill to strip funding from the women’s health organization

So you wonder, what does Coffman have to say to the 2,200 women who would no longer be able to go to the Aurora Planned Parenthood clinic if it loses federal money?

We don’t know, because his office won’t return my calls.

You hope Coffman has thought about this, because the clinic currently offers these 2,200 women basic healthcare services like HIV and STD tests, birth control, breast and cervical cancer screenings and more, according to a Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado spokeswoman.

And that’s just the Aurora clinic, located in the womb of Coffman’s own district. Across Colorado, if the Aurora Republican has his way, about 80,000 women, men, and young people would lose access to Planned Parenthood health services they rely on if federal funding were lost, says Planned Parenthood in a news release yesterday.

“In his first vote of the year, Rep. Coffman voted to roll back care for millions of patients in this country who rely on compassionate care at Planned Parenthood’s health centers,” said Sarah Taylor-Nanista, PPVC Vice President of Public Affairs in a statement, referring to Coffman’s latest vote for a bill to defund Planned Parenthood, which was vetoed by Obama today. “We need our elected officials to put the health and well being of their constituents first, not sideline good policy for the sake of politics.”

Maybe Coffman has another option in mind for these low-income women on Medicaid and a federal cancer-screening program? Maybe some of them could find alternative to Planned Parenthood? But all of them? And where? How far would they have to travel?

In any case, what’s Coffman’s plan for these women in his district? What does he have to offer them? Or would he prefer to cover up the fact that they exist? Or does he just figure Obama will veto any bill that defunds Planned Parenthood, so Coffman doesn’t have to worry about real-life alternatives?

And will Coffman run his plans, if he has any, by the 2,200 women who now attend the Aurora Planned Parenthood clinic to see how they feel about it?

Coffman won’t tell me. But maybe he’ll take a call from another reporter.

Correction: An early version of this blog post stated that Coffman voted seven times to defund Planned Parenthood. In fact, he voted six times to do so, because two of his seven votes were on the same bill.

Colorado Republican leader vows to continue investigating Planned Parenthood

Saturday, December 5th, 2015

Last week’s terrorism at a Planned Parenthood center won’t stop Colorado state Sen. Kevin Lundberg from conducting hearings on the women’s health organization and pushing for a state investigation.

In a Facebook post three days after the shooting, Lundberg wrote he took advantage of a budget hearing to ask Larry Wolk, Colorado’s chief medical officer, why he hasn’t launched an investigation into whether the organization violated state laws relating to fetal-tissue research.

The Durango Herald’s Peter Marcus reported on the incident Tuesday:

Despite the tragedy still fresh for the public and victims’ families, Republicans on Tuesday wasted no time, getting right back to the fetal body parts issue. Remarks came during a budget hearing with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

“Will the department be taking some action to deal with this inadequacy?” asked Sen. Kevin Lundberg, R-Berthoud, pointing out that the state health department has taken no action against Planned Parenthood on the fetal body parts issue.

Later, Lundberg wrote on his Facebook page that he has “specific questions” that he intends to ask Wolk during the legislative session, and Wolk ageed to testify.

“I finally had a brief opportunity to question the Colorado Health Department director, Dr. Wolk, concerning his department’s failure to thoroughly investigate possible violations of Colorado law concerning fetal tissue trafficking,” Lundberg wrote on Facebook.

Wolk’s told Lundberg at the hearing that he did not see “any connection to Colorado” in heavily-edited undercover videos, some of which featured Colorado Planned Parenthood officials. And he said he’s always available to answer questions from Lundberg.

“This despite his refusal to come or send anyone from his department to the RSCC Fetal Tissue Trafficking Hearing held on November 9,” Lundberg wrote on Facebook.

Colorado pro-choice activists on Tuesday pointed to the rhetoric at the November 9 hearing, which repeatedly spotlighted the discredited videos, as contributing to the November 27 murders in Colorado Springs. If Wolk refused to testify at the legislature, an angry Lunberg said in a radio interview about the Nov. 9 hearing, he’d consider requesting subpeona power to force him to do so.

As I wrote for RH Reality Check Friday, Lundberg wasn’t named by the activists Tuesday, but they cited his fellow Colorado legislators, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs), and state Sen. Tim Neville (R-Littleton) for using language that incited violence directed at Planned Parenthood.

The health department has declinedColorado Statesman to investigate Planned Parenthood in Colorado.

Anti-choice activists have wide range of responses to the Planned Parenthood shooting

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

For an RH Reality Check post today, I collected comments from anti-choice activists to in response to Friday’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood center in Colorado Springs.

The comments ranged from a total rejection of violence to support for the domestic terrorist, who appears to have targeted Planned Parenthood because of his disagreements with the organization. From RH Reality Check:

“Whatever his motives, I condemn the violent actions of the shooter in Co Springs today,” state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt (R-Colorado Springs),who once praised a fellow Republican legislator for comparing Planned Parenthood to ISIS, wrote on Facebook. Klingenschmitt once saidthat “left-wing politicians want [women] to kill their babies.”

Meanwhile, a former GOP nominee for a seat in the Colorado legislature supported the gunman.

Nate Marshall, who was nominated by Republicans in 2014 for a state house race, but later dropped out, posted an angry response to the shooting on Facebook. Marshall later deleted the comment.

“My comments on the situation in Colorado Springs is simple and this: this guy is a hero,” wrote Marshall, who was found in 2014 to have ties to white supremacy groups. “Children are not being slaughtered and butchered for profit by left wing scum today.”

“Yesterday three innocent born people were murdered along with an unknown number of preborn children,” wrote Gualberto Garcia Jones, author of Colorado’s 2014 personhood amendment, in an email Saturday. “We are called to personally work against both. As a side note, I would say that the death of the Christian, pro-life police officer is especially tragic since he leaves behind a wife and two young children. My prayers are with all the victims regardless of their personal views.”

Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason, who is based in Colorado,  had similar thoughts, but also criticized the news media’s coverage of the tragedy, writing that “the media is failing to report that innocent babies are killed in that very building every day that they are in business.”

Colorado Right to Life spokesman and Denver talk-radio host Bob Enyart alleged that violence by pro-choice activists goes unreported.

Enyart: Colorado RTL contrasts the eight people unjustly killed since 1993 by known anti-abortion vigilantes with the eighty women killed by pro-abortion violence for refusing to abort their own children. (See this in the excerpt from ARTL’s anti-vigilantism article.) Those murdered moms are invisible to the media.

When a journalist advocates a “right” to dismember an unborn child (an act that would put an animal rights activist into a rage if done to a preborn cow), that kind of psychological dysfunction helps explain why the pro-killing media including the Huffington Post ignores those mothers who were brutally killed. And then there are the hundreds of women sexually assaulted by their own abortionists who are also ignored. But who cares; certainly no one in the media. The silence is for the greater good. No?

I could not verify Enyart’s claims.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reported that the alleged terrorist, Robert Lewis Dear, was not one of the regular protestors at the Planned Parenthood center where the shooting occurred.

Dear was not a protester at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood clinic, said Joseph Martone Jr., who regularly attends prayer services outside the building on Centennial Boulevard.

Martone said Dear’s name was not familiar to members of the Colorado Springs Respect Life group that meets twice weekly for Mass at the Planned Parenthood on the mornings the clinic reportedly does surgical abortions.

“Nobody seems to know him,” Martone said.

On Breitbart, John Nolte wrote:

Nolte: Almost entirely for purposes of convenience, nearly 60 million innocent children have been butchered since the Supreme Court manufactured a Constitutional right to kill your unborn child.

In the coming days, as the defenders of this barbaric practice get more shrill, we must not be intimidated. In fact, with the media spotlight on abortion and on the pro-life movement, we must use this opportunity to continue to make our case for the million-plus innocent lives that will be legally massacred next year.

Outside or inside the womb, senseless violence must be condemned.

Those who condemn one and not the other have no place in a civil society.

Many anti-choice politicians who’ve been condemning Planned Parenthood with such intensity in reacent months, such as Colorado’s Rep. Mike Coffman, Sen. Cory Gardner, Rep. Doug Lamborn, and others, have yet to even mention the organization’s name in their communications about the tragedy, as far as I can tell.

Coffman’s latest votes against Planned Parenthood are among six he’s cast to defund the organization

Friday, November 20th, 2015

If you read Rep. Mike Coffman’s recent explanations for his votes to defund Planned Parenthood, and you also know he used a Planned-Parenthood logo to promote himself in a political advertisement during his last election campaign, you might conclude that Coffman’s turn against Planned Parenthood is a recent change-of-heart.

But left out of media coverage of Coffman’s votes is the fact that he’s voted six times to defund Planned Parenthood over the past eight years, culminating in October’s defunding vote, which he explained by saying:

Coffman: “Until they clean up their act, we should fund critical women’s services through the many other community health partners that operate across my district, the state and all across this country in a way that doesn’t fly in the face of human decency.”

Until they clean up their act? There’s nothing in Coffman’s record of six defunding votes to suggest he’d ever support Planned Parenthood. That’s why everyone was surprised that he’d used a Planned Parenthood logo in a campaign ad last year.

But, apparently, not a single reporter asked Coffman about his use of the logo until after Coffman voted in Sept. to defund the organization.

“Using Planned Parenthood’s expression of support is not the same thing as saying it’s a good organization,” said Coffman’s spokeswoman Cinamon Waton told 9NEWS.

This leaves the question of why Coffman used the logo unanswered, but at least Watson confirmed that her boss thinks Planned Parenthood is a bad organization, as he said in July on conservative talk radio.

“It’s just one thing after another with Planned Parenthood,” Coffman told KNUS 710-AM’s Dan Caplis.

That statement of  longstanding opposition to Planned Parenthood is consistent with his record of six defunding votes, the first of which occurred in 2007, when he voted for an amendment, offered by  Indiana Rep. Mike Pence, to a federal budget bill. Pence offered a similar amendment in 2009 to a federal budget bill, and Coffman voted in favor.

Coffman’s next vote to defund Planned Parenthood came in 2011, after House Republicans added a resolution to a federal budget bill, HR 36, stating that funding in the legislation “may be made available for any purpose to Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc. or any affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc.” Also in 2011, House Republicans added amendment 95 to a second bill, H.R. 1, allowing Coffman to vote again to defund Planned Parenthood.

Coffman’s next opportunities to defund Planned Parenthood came this year, in September and October, and he took advantabge of them by voting again to rescind federal money.

This issue will clearly return as the election season heats up, and there are still questions left hanging, including the basic question, which Coffman’s spokesman dodged earlier this year, of why such an ardently anti-choice and anti-Planned-Parenthood Congressman would use the organization’s logo in a campaign ad. But more broadly, why has Coffman opposed Planned Parenthood for so long? And with such fervor?

Coffman opposes dual pathways to citizenship specified in the Dream Act

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

UPDATE: Coffman spokesman Tyler Sandberg tweeted me that Coffman does support a pathway to citizenship through education — a position that can be learned by using the “Google button.”  I have even reported instances in which Coffman has uttered a sentence to this effect in media appearances (See for example here.), and I should have included this in my blog post. But this issue is an example of the problem reporters have in covering Coffman. Does a sentence buried in the middle of a TV interview actually represent Coffman’s position, when that policy can be contradicted by another vote on the record or lost in the conversation around military enlistment, which is the only bill Coffman’s put forward?

When Coffman took to the Denver Post opinion pages in 2013 to endorse “comprehensive immigration reform,” any number of his supposed policy commitments were left vague enough to give him room to escape supporting the bipartisan Senate bill that actually passed. And by the next year, he had reversed himself on whether “comprehensive” reform needed to be done all at once or in a step-by-step approach. Additionally, all of these back and forth statements on legislative procedure is omitting Coffman voting against President Obama’s deferred deportations for children before reversing and voting for them.

Still, I should have referenced Coffman’s media statements in support of a path to citizenship through education.

———–

Back in 2013, as Rep. Mike Coffman was testifying in favor of allowing undocumented children to gain citizenship through military service, he said:

Coffman: “The first question that we ought to ask ourselves here today is whether or not we believe that the young people, who were brought to this country illegally as children by their relatives, who grew up here, and who went to school here, who probably know of no other county, ought to have a pathway to citizenship and I believe that the answer to that question is yes.”

Reporters covering Coffman need to be sure to note that Coffman’s path is single-track, through military service only. That’s in contrast to the Dream Act, which Coffman voted against in 2010. It would have offered young undocumented immigrants a double-track path to citizenship, through military service or education.

The difference is important, because the Dream Act has long been the focus of legislative efforts to help young undocumented immigrants, who know our country as home. The most common version offers a dual-track path, but, in any case, Coffman’s chosen path should be clearly stated.

So, The Denver Post’s Mark Matthews should have specified the type of path Coffman supports when Matthews wrote over the weekend:

Coffman added that he supports a pathway to citizenship for immigrant children but not adults, although he wanted to create some arrangement for parents, such as “guest worker status.”

Coffman supports a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants through military service. It’s a distinction that means a lot to the young immigrants involved and to those who’ve been pushing for immigration reform for so long now.