Newsworthy and praiseworthy advice from Colorado’s Republican leader

January 31st, 2016

In a wide-ranging radio interview last week, Colorado GOP Chair Steve House had some newsworthy (and praiseworthy) advice for Colorado Republicans who seek to actually win elections:

  • Don’t just hate Obamacare but focus on solutions.
  • Don’t talk so much about gun rights and the 2nd Amendment.
  • Talk about education more–but no so much about charder schools.

House’s advice came during a discussion with KFKA 1310 AM’s Stacy Petty show about how Colorado Republicans have “got to start thinking a little bit differently on how we talk to people, especially the 490,000 or so unaffiliated or ‘leans right’ voters that we have got to make sure vote Republican, on top of our base in this coming election.”

First, “stop talking at every one of our discussions about the 2nd Amendment,” said House, adding that “we own that issue” and Democrats want Republicans fixating on it.

“You know, no matter what happens in the world, we’re not going to give up on our 2nd Amendment,” said House on air. ” We have defenders in RMGO and NRA and our sheriffs and other people.”

“So, what should we be talking about?” asked House, before answering his own question.  “And I suggested we should be talking about education, because I think it’s the number one issue for us as a state, for us as a Party.”

To do this, House suggests that Republican discussions go “beyond charter schools” in addressing education issues and put more emphasis on graduation rates and third-grade reading levels, which he cites as a reliable predictor of future individual success, a bedrock GOP value.

Similarly, House told Petty he’d like to see Republicans explain how to have the “right processes, regulatory structure, and incentives in place to see us solve some [health] problems.”

House says, for Republicans, “it’s not about hating Obamacare.”

This actually leaves the door open to improving it! How great would that be.

So at a time when the trending news analysis is obsessed with the “outsiders,” you can make a case that the real “outsider” thinking, at least among the die-hard Republican base voters, is reflected in a guy like House.

Or his predecessor Ryan Call, who calls out the “arrogance” of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz and argues that Republicans need “to grow the coalition, even if people don’t agree with us 100 percent of the time.”

Those are the kinds of Republican messages that need to be elevated by reporters, in this dark moment of extremism and carpet-bombing outsiderism, to give Republicans themselves a wider window of the possibilities for escape and redemption.

Listen to Steve House on KFKA’s Stacy Petty Show 1.28.16

Reporters should expect Gardner to co-sponsor Life at Conception Act soon

January 28th, 2016

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner spent a good chunk of his election campaign telling us that the Life at Conception Act was really nothing more than a symbolic statement, when, in fact, it is federal personhood legislation that would ban all abortion, even for rape.

Gardner infamously described the Life at Conception Act, which he co-sponsored, this way, despite widespread objections by reporters:

Gardner: “The federal act that you are referring to is simply a statement that I believe in life.”

So you’d expect him to co-sponsor the U.S. Senate version of the bill, as he did in the House.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has just given him the chance, having introduced the Life at Conception Act just this week, as announced in a news release that described the legislation this way:

Paul: “The Life at Conception Act legislatively declares what most Americans believe and what science has long known – that human life begins at the moment of conception, and therefore, is entitled to legal protection from that point forward. Only when America chooses, remembers, and restores her respect for life will we rediscover our moral bearings and truly find our way.”

But Gardner isn’t a co-sponsor yet.

I mischaracterized the Archbishop’s priorities on “life” issues, his spokeswoman says

January 28th, 2016

In response to a recent post in which I wrote that Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila’s priorities are GOP prioritiesKarna Swanson, Communications Director, Archdiocese of Denver, writes: 

It was unfortunate to see you mischaracterize the position of Archbishop Aquila on life issues in this blog post. You say, “Aquila’s priorities are GOP priorities.” 

Actually, the Archbishop is in lock-step with the priorities of Pope Francis that you mention, particularly immigration and the death penalty. His position against the death penalty is well known. See his column here on the issue.

“The problem with the death penalty,” he states, “is that in trying to solve the problem of violence, we take up violence as our tool. Christians need to stop the cycles of violence that erode our souls—we need to stop participating in the culture of death. Instead of deterring crime, the culture of death makes all of us more open to evil and violence and crime.” See his letter on immigration hereSee his column on the “Francis Option” here.

A top priority of Archbishop Aquila is life. And he supports people and organizations that promote life, and help all life to flourish.

Regarding Planned Parenthood, it’s a fact that according to their 2013-2014 report, the organization performed 327,653 abortions. To the Archbishop, and to Catholics, that is a loss of 327,653 lives. 

You can mislead with stats that show that Planned Parenthood “only” does so many abortions a year compared with other services they provide, but the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of lives are ended each year by this organization. It doesn’t matter what other redeeming qualities they may have, that number—327,653—cannot be ignored. That number means that Planned Parenthood is an organization that promotes death, not life.

For this reason, neither Pope Francis, nor Archbishop Aquila, nor any future archbishop, will ever be able to say, “Planned Parenthood mostly embodies what the Catholic Church stands for,” because the Catholic Church will always stand for life, at all stages, in every moment.

I told Swanson that I know and respect the Archbishop’s priority of life. But we all have to prioritize, even within the broad category of “life,” and I think banning abortion is a higher priority for Archbishop Aquila than the stopping the death penalty or addressing poverty. That’s what it looks like to me, from a distance. Hence, his priorities are in line with Republican prioriteis.

Colorado Republicans are not irrelevant! Close GOP prez primary puts spotlight on Colorado

January 26th, 2016

The irrelevancy of the Colorado Republican Party on the GOP presidential nomination process has apparently been exaggerated.

It’s been previously reported that after state Republicans eliminated their caucus straw poll last year, Colorado delegates could not pledge support to specific candidates prior to the Republican National Convention. In other words, Colorado GOP delegates would have to attend unbound to a candidate.

But this apparently isn’t true.

Republicans in Colorado can still pledge support for a Republican presidential candidate, if they state their intention to do so on a form that’s required to run for one of the 34 elected national-delegate spots. (Three additional Colorado delegates are determined by the Republican National Committee.)

The form, titled “National Delegate Intent to Run Form” must be submitted 13 days prior to the April 9 Republican State Convention or the April 8 Congressional District Convention, where delegates are selected for the national Republican Convention.

The form states:

I intend to stand for election as a candidate for National Delegate at the following convention(s):

□ Congressional District Convention – Congressional District #_

□ State Convention…

Full Name (please print): ___________________________

□ Pledged to Support Presidential Candidate: _____________

□ Unpledged.

As the University of Georgia’s Josh Putnam writes on his blog about the presidential nominating process:

That pledge is much more important than is being discussed.

Colorado has been talked about as a state that will send an unbound delegation to the national convention. That would only be the case if all the delegate candidates who file intent to run forms opted to remain unaffiliated with any presidential campaign. If those delegate candidates pledge to a presidential candidate and are ultimately elected to one of the 34 delegate slots (not counting the party/automatic delegates), then they are functionally locked in with that candidate if that candidate is still in the race for the Republican nomination.

They would be bound to those candidates at the national convention because the Colorado Republican Party bylaws instruct the party chair to cast the delegation’s votes at the national convention “in accordance with the pledge of support made by each National Delegate on their notice of intent to run”. Anywhere from 0 to 34 delegates could end up bound from the Colorado delegation to the Republican National Convention.

That is a real wildcard in the delegate count in Colorado and nationally.

So, the pledge option on the “intent-to-run” form for delegates opens the door for a showdown among Republicans who have bound themselves to different candidates.

It also opens the door for fierce competition among the presidential candidates to push supporters to the caucuses, where they will vote for State-Convention delegates or Congressional-District-Convention delegates who are committed to pledging their support to a specific presidential candidate. (Ron Paul supporters managed to do this in 2012.)

The intent-to-run form also presents a public-relations opportunity for presidental candidates whose supporters are selected as county assembly delegates on caucus night–and then quickly announce en masse that they’ve decided to bind themselves voluntarily to a particular candidate.

Putnam writes on his blog that the March 1 Republican caucuses put a “premium on organizing — turning out as many supporters as possible for the precinct caucuses and then getting those supporters through to the county assemblies. It is only that group of county assembly participants who are eligible to be national convention delegates…. if a campaign is able to corner the market and move through to the next step a bunch of its supporters, that candidate will have a decided advantage in the delegate allocation process. They would dominate the pool of potential candidates and maximize the number of delegates the campaign eventually wins.”

Putnam writes:

Rather than being a state with no preference vote that no one pays attention to, Colorado becomes a real delegate prize for the campaigns who are able to organize there. Those that gain an organizational advantage — and that is much more likely in a low turnout election without the incentive of a presidential preference vote — have a real opportunity to get something out of the Centennial state. It will not necessarily entail candidates coming into the state over the course March and into April (because forcing delegate candidates through to the county assembly level is the true mark of winning there), but it may make the media outlets pay continued attention to Colorado as the process there resolves itself. And since there is no preference vote guiding the delegate allocation process from step to step, a candidate could dominate in Colorado and come out on April 9 with a significant majority of delegates.

…In the conventional sense, candidates will not necessarily come to Colorado to drive up support for a March 1 vote that will not happen. That is doubly true in light of the fact that Colorado shares its precinct caucuses date with primaries and caucuses in 13 other states. Functionally though, with delegates potentially on the line, Colorado is certainly not a non-event.

Colorado Republican Chair Steve House apparently affirmed this process here.

So, bottom line, Colorado could see a major fight among the Republican presidential candidates to influence the vote for 34 National-Republican-Convention delegates, who will be selected at the April 9 GOP state convention and April 8 GOP congressional district convention.

Republican sources tell me that only Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are showing any sign of a ground game here in Colorado. But this may change in the coming weeks.

Former CO GOP chair thinks “in some ways” Tancredo wants him back

January 26th, 2016

Informed that radio host Peter Boyles wishes Ryan Call were back in charge of the Colorado Republican Party, former state GOP chair Ryan Call said on KNUS 710-AM Saturday:

Call: “To the extent I’ve ever heard Tom Tancredo acknowledge he’s wrong about something, I think in some ways, he’s done the same,” said Call.

Under fire from Tancredo and others, Ryan Call was not re-elected to lead Colorado Republicans last year. Tancredo was later part of a failed coup-like effort, led by State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, to remove Call’s replacement, Steve House.

On Craig Silverman’s KNUS 710-AM’s morning radio show Saturday, Ryan Call, who lost his bid to fill a House vacancy seat over the weekend, also endorsed Jeb! Bush. (Listen to a compilation of highlights from Call’s radio interview by clicking here.)

Call: “I understand the attraction that some voters have toward [Trump]…unapologetic in his arrogance and pettiness…but, Craig, anger is not a political platform,” Call told Silverman, who’s said he’s leaning toward Trump himself. “…If it were up to me, I’d vote for someone who has a tested true conservative record, someone you can really kick the tires on, who has demonstrated the kind of thoughtfullness and character that America needs. My vote would be for Jeb Bush.”

Ryan Call compared his own approach to politics to that of former GOP governor Bill Owens and former Sen. Hank Brown, saying those two and himself are “cut from the same cloth:”

Call: “Our orientation toward politics is to grow the coalition, even if people don’t agree with us 100 percent of the time,” said Call.

 

 

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

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.

Fox 31 Denver fills Stokols’ political reporter position

January 25th, 2016

In the nine long months after political reporter Eli Stokols left Fox 31 Denver, it looked like the local TV station’s surprising reputation as a go-to source for political news, cultivated by over a decade of obsessive work by Stokols, was going to be completely lost.

Serious politics coverage at Fox 31 essentially vanished overnight. It was an unbelievable fall, and depressing. (Not to say Fox 31 didn’t have some good pieces and journalists, but the unfilled hole was huge.) But on the positive side, it showed the impact one talented reporter can have on a news outlet, especially a TV station, and on an entire state.

That’s why it’s great that Fox 31 has hired a reporter, Joe St. George, to take over Stokols’ political beat, showing that the station’s commitment to politics coverage didn’t start and stop with Stokols–as can be the case at local TV outlets.

Joe St. George arrived at the station last month after covering politics in Virginia for over three years and, before that, for a stint in Iowa. So he’s got nothing comparable to Stokols’ experience, but he seems to be hard-working and, jeez, all of the people of Colorado are glad to see him given the chance, though they don’t know it.

“Joe’s passion is in political reporting,” said Fox 31 News Director Holly Gauntt.  “He did a lot of good political reporting at his former station and has a good reputation there. It’s rare. He’s one of those guys who breathes, eats, lives, sleeps politics, so I snatched him up as soon as I found out about him.”

Gauntt says it will be tough for St. George to replace Stokols, whom she described as “the best political reporter in the state. (It’s true St. George is no Eli Stokols, but he’s closer to Stokols than Dan Quayle was to Jack Kennedy.)

St. George’s “number one priority” will be politics, including, eventually, the type of in-the-weeds blogging produced by Stokols. St. George will do that once he develops the contacts and knowledge required, said Gauntt

“I think politics is hugely important,” said Gauntt in response to my saying that Fox 31 deserves a ton of credit for hiring a new political reporter and giving Stokols the space to focus on politics when he was here–because many local TV outlets don’t have any political reporters at all. “Some of it’s not for broadcast. You can’t get too far into the weeds, but that’s the beauty of websites and blogs and all of that.”

For his part, St. George says he’s “very lucky” to be covering politics for a local TV station in his third swing state.

“I would never have left Virginia if I didn’t have an equally exciting opportunity to cover politics in a state like Colorado,” he said.

St. George has “followed Eli’s work for years” and hopes to work on multiple platforms like Stokols did.

“While not every politics story is a great TV story, it has a place online if it doesn’t have a place on television,” said St. George, who hopes to start blogging soon. “I consider myself not just a TV journalist but a multi-screen journalist.”

Stokols hoped his former station wouldn’t drop serious political reporting after his departure.

“I’m glad to see that Fox31 remains committed to covering Colorado politics and policy debates in its newscast and across additional platforms,” wrote Stokols when asked for a comment about St. George’s hire. “I look forward to following Joe’s coverage from afar.”

Toward the end of his run in Denver, Stokols started an interview show that aired some of the most dramatic TV news video of the 2014 election in Colorado. Gauntt has no immediate plans to launch such a show (which would compete with interview-type shows aired by local TV news competitors 9News and, now, Channel 7). But she’s open to the possibility down the road, she said.

Bartels’ blog: Smart PR? A partisan problem? A new kind of journalism?

January 22nd, 2016

When political reporter Lynn Bartels left The Denver Post last year for a communications job at the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office, it appeared she’d left journalism.

But it turns out, maybe not completely—depending on your definition of journalism.

As the communications director for Colorado Republican SOS Wayne Williams, Bartels is writing a blog with some of the same types of stories that you saw her write at The Post and, before that, at the Rocky Mountain News.

Titles of recent Bartels posts, for example, include: “Senate Republicans embrace the past and future at pre-session fundraiser,” “Back by popular demand! Sarah Moss’ State of the Union bingo!,” “More babies! Colorado politicos celebrate!,” “OnSight Public Affairs’ holiday card is outta site,” “Wayne Williams: Colorado secretary of state and good Samaritan,” “Secretary of State Wayne Williams outlines agency’s goals, achievements at SMART act hearing,” and “Sen. Cory Gardner, ‘our environmentalist,’ addresses CACI.”

Some of this is good PR for Williams and his office. Some of it is human-interest journalism. Some of it is soft political reporting.

Regardless, it’s quickly become part of Denver’s journalism mix, in the era of disappearing reporters and starved political junkies.

And Bartels’ blog comes with a caveat that most other blogging flaks in the world can only dream of, “The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and not of the office.”

When she started her new job, Bartels explains, she told her boss, “The Post and the Rocky used to have people assigned to the Secretary of State’s office. And they don’t have that anymore. It’s just part of generic government. Some of this stuff you’re just not going to get promoted, if you don’t promote it yourself.” He signed off on the concept.

But why all the posts that have nothing to do with the SOS office?

“When I started, someone from the Secretary of State’s office said, ‘This is going to be solely about the Secretary of State’s office, isn’t it?’ And I said, ‘No, who would read it?’ And Wayne burst out laughing and said the same thing.”

So for those of you who might hate the idea of Bartels doing Christmas-card stories on the taxpayer dime, she makes a good PR case for it, I’d say. And hey, her blog is featured number one on the list of “costumer favorites” on the Colorado SOS home page.

Bartels blog could possibly be a model for how PR at a state agency could compensate, in an itsy bitsy way, for diminished journalism.

But you run into trouble when a state-sponsored blog is used for partisan purposes. Or even if it’s perceived that way. That’s yuck bad.

Bartels acknowledged the problem with, “If the secretary of state were Scott Gessler, people would be blowing a rod.”

As it is, Bartels says one of her posts was used by a Democratic candidate for fundraising (without Bartels approval or knowledge, she says). A handful mention candidates, giving them a de facto PR boost.

Bartels wrote a partisan-looking post Jan. 12 titled, Senate Republicans embrace the past and future at pre-session fundraiser. This post is basically a GOP fluff piece, going out of its way to name Republican candidates and saying “at times” Senate President Bill Cadman is “pretty close” to being as funny as Bill Murray.

But if you look at her blog, it’s clear Bartels, who says she’s a Republican herself, isn’t blatantly pushing Republicans over Dems (outside of her boss). She’s written favorable posts about Democrats Sen. Kerry Donovan and former Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, for example. Still, I think Bartels should stay away from mentioning candidates, potential candidates, and highly partisan stuff.

As for breaking news, one of Bartels’ tweets broke a story about a GOP candidate entering the governor’s race. One blog post broke news about the death of a well-liked Republican consultant.

“If I wanted to break political news on that blog, I could break it a lot. It’s not my goal,” she says, adding she’s too busy anyway. “I could have broken the Jon Keyser story, but I didn’t.”

“I’ve used the blog to promote our office, to promote county clerks, to promote things that we’re doing,” Bartels says, adding that the blogging results in long hours for her. “The county clerks love it.”

“If groups invite Wayne to speak, I’ll write something,” she said. (But I’m guessing fewer Democrats than Republicans will want to hear Williams.)

It makes you wonder, are PR folk pitching stories to Bartels, like they did when she was at The Post?

Not really, she tells me, sounding a little vague.

“Hey, I’ve got to take this call,” Bartels said, ending our conversation. Some things never change.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that a Republican used Bartels’ blog post for fundraising purposes. It was actually a Democrat, according to Bartels. 

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

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.

Denver Archbishop: Shun Candidates Supporting Planned Parenthood

January 19th, 2016

You wouldn’t know it, because they were essentially ignored by Denver media (except Channel 7, Denver’s ABC affiliate), but thousands of anti-choice protesters rallied on the west steps of the state capitol Saturday in frigid weather, marking the 43rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

In speeches, spiked with attacks on Planned Parenthood, rally-goers were exorted to take action on “life” issues–banning all abortion and preventing the legalization of physician-assisted suicide.

The big-cheese speaker at the March for Life event was Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila, who promised, “We will not be silenced,” after telling the crowd to call and email their state legislators–and to attend Colorado’s March caucuses, where political parties select candidates and hash out party platforms.

“Bombard [legislators] with emails,” Aquila said at one point.

Following the lead of his predecessor, former Dener Archbishop Charles Chaput, Aquila promotes political activism by Catholics. He hasn’t gone so far as Chaput did in recommending that faithful Catholics vote against one presidential candidate (Kerry) and for another (Bush). Instead, Aquila acted as if he was nonpartisan on Saturday, urging the protestors to look at candidates through the filter of “life” issues, without mentioning a political party.

But one of the issues that most clearly divides the two parties these days is abortion, with Democrats mostly being pro-choice and Republicans mostly not. Among the presidential candidates, the division among the two parties is shocking.

So Aquila’s decision to focus the attention of Catholics on “life,” issues, rather than, say immigration, poverty, or climate change, puts him in the pocket of Republicans–especially given that he made no mention of the death penalty on Saturday, which is a “life” issue embraced by Democrats. Aquila’s priorities are GOP priorities.

You can see this in Aquila’s attitude toward Planned Parenthood, which came up repeatedly at the rally. Ninety-seven percent of Planned Parenthood’s work has nothing to do with abortion but instead with providing women, many of them low-income, with basic health care and family planning.

So does Aquila think Catholics should support candidates who support Planned Parenthood? For an RH Reality Check post, I asked Aquila this question after the rally.

“No,” he told me,”I believe that we really need to give witness to life, and Planned Parenthood does not give witness to life.”

Pope Francis, who’s focused the world’s attention on economic inequality and environmental disasters, has given Aquila the opening to have said something very different to me, along the lines of, “Planned Parenthood mostly embodies what the Catholic Church stands for, serving the poor and healing the sick. It’s up to individual Catholics look at the world’s needs and struggles and act in accordance with their faith.”

I honestly think, if the Catholic Church survives, someday a future Archbishop in Denver will.

RESPONSE FROM THE ARCHBISHOP’S OFFICE:

Karna Swanson, Communications Director, Archdiocese of Denver, writes: 

It was unfortunate to see you mischaracterize the position of Archbishop Aquila on life issues in this blog post. You say, “Aquila’s priorities are GOP priorities.” 

Actually, the Archbishop is in lock-step with the priorities of Pope Francis that you mention, particularly immigration and the death penalty. His position against the death penalty is well known.

See his column here on the issue: http://denvercatholic.org/…/power-love-conversion…/…

“The problem with the death penalty,” he states, “is that in trying to solve the problem of violence, we take up violence as our tool. Christians need to stop the cycles of violence that erode our souls—we need to stop participating in the culture of death. Instead of deterring crime, the culture of death makes all of us more open to evil and violence and crime.”

See his letter on immigration here: http://archden.org/…/Immigration-and-future-bilingual.pdf

See his column on the “Francis Option” here:http://denvercatholic.org/…/secular-slums-and-the…/…

A top priority of Archbishop Aquila is life. And he supports people and organizations that promote life, and help all life to flourish.

Regarding Planned Parenthood, it’s a fact that according to their 2013-2014 report, the organization performed 327,653 abortions. To the archbishop, and to Catholics, that is a loss of 327,653 lives. 

You can mislead with stats that show that Planned Parenthood “only” does so many abortions a year compared with other services they provide, but the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of lives are ended each year by this organization. It doesn’t matter what other redeeming qualities they may have, that number—327,653—cannot be ignored. That number means that Planned Parenthood is an organization that promotes death, not life.

For this reason, neither Pope Francis, nor Archbishop Aquila, nor any future archbishop, will ever be able to say, “Planned Parenthood mostly embodies what the Catholic Church stands for,” because the Catholic Church will always stand for life, at all stages, in every moment.