Archive for January, 2013

Despite extended hiatus, 9News Your Show will return, according to 9News’ Dennis

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

I was thinking 9News’ YourShow was being shuffled off the air, post-election, since nothing has aired since reporter Chris Vanderveen moderated a YourShow debate between CU Regent-at-Large candidates Stephen Ludwig, a Democrat, and Republican Brian Davidson. That was about four months ago. (The Democrat went on to win.)

Your Show, which is a public affairs program that solicits questions and ideas for guests from viewers (hence, the name), was the brainchild of longtime 9News political reporter Adam Schrager, who left about two years ago.

I asked 9News’ Vice President/News Patti Dennis what was up with YourShow, and she told me “it’s not going away.”

Dennis said the concept may change somewhat, but the station is “committed” to a airing the program on a regular basis, and it will return once some outstanding issues are resolved.

Pueblo Chieftain buries scoop about GOP lawmaker’s support for lowering tuition for undocumented students

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

The headline of a Dec. 6 Pueblo Chieftain article, titled “Senator-Elect Has New Idea on Pinon Canyon,” should have actually been, “New Lawmaker To Be First GOP Senator to Support State Version of Dream Act.”

The Pueblo Chieftain’s Peter Strescino began his Dec. 6 story with freshman state Sen. Larry Crowder’s idea, which isn’t so new, for the state to purchase property at Pinon Canyon from the Army.

But the real news, given Republican obstinence to lowering tuition for undocumented college students, was Crowder’s promise not only to buck his fellow Republican Senators’ position on lowering tuition rates, but also his advocacy of a path to citizenship for undocumented students:

The Chieftain reported:

“Crowder also advocated a version of the so-called Dream Act, which would allow lower college tuition rates to children who were brought to the country illegally, have been in Colorado schools systems a number of years and are college eligible academically. 

“If they agree to choose and participate in a path to naturalization, I say, help them with the tuition.”

A path to naturalization! Plus lower tuition! Jackpot!

“A path to naturalization.” I wrote it again to help you appreciate that it’s not a phrase that flows from the mouth of a Republican very often, and hence the news value of Crowder uttering it.

You hear murmurs of support from GOP state  lawmakers for lowering tuition rates, proposed as part of ASSET legislation last year, but when was the last time you heard a Republican at the State Capitol stand up for giving any current undocumented immigrants, even children, the same citizenship opportunities our country gave Italian immigrants, for example, who came to America illegally in the past.

Reporters should find out if Crowder plans to work with President Obama, who supports a path to citizenship, and if Crowder will get on the horn to his fellow Colorado Republicans in the House of Representatives, because they’re the ones who will be working on legislation that deals with the citizenship issue, since that’s obviously decided at the federal level.

And none of them supports any path to citizenship for the country’s 11 million illegal immigrants.



A major force in Colorado politics and beyond, personhood movement deserves continued media scrutiny in 2013

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

If you know the people behind Colorado’s “personhood” movement, you’d be surprised if you heard they were going to abandon their cause of banning all abortion, as well as common forms of birth control. They’re a dedicated lot, no one would argue with that.

Their commitment is reflected in the end-of-the-yearfundraising appeal of Personhood USA, excerpted below:

2012 is coming to a close and we have a lot to be grateful for in the Personhood movement.  Yes, there have been defeats along the way, but with every defeat we have come back stronger, and our opponents are terrified by the knowledge that the Personhood movement is gaining ground with every fight.

We are often asked, why are you fighting for Personhood, don’t you know you’re going to lose?  The answer is so simple.  We know that abortion is simply legalized murder, and therefore, the fight for personhood is an existential struggle, we have no choice but to fight.

In 2012, the Personhood movement has been active in dozens of legislatures, it was part of the presidential election, it won key battles in several state supreme courts, and was argued all the way to the US Supreme Court.

The legal, legislative, cultural and religious foundations for victory were firmly planted in 2012, but most importantly of all, Personhood achieved the most important single objective we set out to from day one: the Personhood movement yet again stood up boldly for Truth, we were an unwavering voice for the voiceless.

In the words of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, we are called to be faithful, no to be successful.  Success is God’s alone.

We hope that you will continue to stand with us in the Personhood movement and join with us as our individual voices become a chorus, and the chorus becomes a movement, and the movement becomes the revolution that will undoubtedly defeat the culture of death.

Here in Colorado,  the personhood folks, though small in number, have got to be considered a major force, despite their repeated losses. They’ve not only raised the profile of their own issue to a level many fringe activists can only dream about, they’ve also played a major role in the partisan political world, affecting political races large and small across the state since 2008.

Arguably, the response by pro-choice groups to Colorado’s personhood initiative in 2008, helped embolden Democrats, in 2010, to attack GOP Senate candidate Ken Buck head on regarding his extreme anti-choice positions, which played a key role in his defeat. This led to similar Democratic tactics around the country–tactics that help re-elect Obama last year.

So it’s hard to imagine anyone arguing that personhood isn’t a major, historic presence in Colorado politics and byond. As, such the movement deserves the continued scrutiny of reporters in 2013, starting with coverage of the simple facts that they’re not giving up and that their claims of being successful and influential are accurate, despite the common perception to the contrary.

Pin down Republicans who sound as if they support reduced tuition for undocumented college

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Reporters should be on the lookout for Republicans who try to make themselves sound like they support reducing college tuition rates for undocumented college students, but when it comes to specifics, they actually say nothing but gobbledygook.

Here’s an example of what not to do, from Rocky Mountain Community Radio reporter Bente Birkeland’s Dec. 31 interview with Colorado Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman about the upcoming legislative session:

Birkeland: One of the contentious bills that will be coming back is a bill that offers this lower tuition rate to students who graduate from Colorado high schools. In the past, the GOP in both chambers has not supported that measure. Do you see any movement on the issue?

Cadman: Sure. I think what we’re looking for is tuition equity [editor’s note: gobbledygook]. We’re looking for a solid formula that allows people affordable access to quality higher ed [editor’s note: gobbledygook]. What we need to do systemically is put something forward that shows an equitable access for everybody, not based on some specific criteria [editor’s note: gobbledygook].

Three things could be going on here, in light of the presence of the gobbledygook.

One, Cadman and fellow Republicans have opposed reduced tuition rates for so long that they can’t bring themselves to say they’ll support lowering the rates this year. They can’t get the words out of their mouths. (See Rep. Libby Szabo, “I don’t comment on anything I have not seen,” and CU Prez Bruce Benson, “I’m not going to tell you exactly how I feel.”)

Or more likely, Cadman still opposes helping undocumented students, but he doesn’t want to say it as directly as he used to (See below.), for fear of driving even more Hispanics away from the GOP, as seen in the last election. And he doesn’t think his indecision will further poison the Republican brand among Hispanics—because he doesn’t think reporters will call him out on it.

Or Cadman doesn’t know what to say.

Or maybe a combination?

In any case, Birkeland should have asked him, specifically, if he’d vote for the reduced-tuition bill, if it came up in exactly the same form as last year.

Would he even consider voting “yes” this time, when he voted against the measure just nine months ago, telling the Colorado Statesman’s Peter Marcus in April:

Cadman: “You’re providing a benefit to someone who doesn’t legally deserve it.” [Note to reporters: All Republican state Senators voted against the bill last year. Also, no public funds would be provided.]

As it was, Birkeland let Cadman sound like he stands behind not only undocumented students but every single college student in the state of Colorado. That’s great, but what is he prepared to do about it? And, again, what about those pesky undocumented high-school graduates who grew up with our own kids? Should colleges have the option of offering them in-state tuition rates?

Gardner: Media criticize Republicans because “we are not in lock-step with the President.”

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Rep. Cory Gardner likes to point his finger at the media when things don’t go his way, blaming Romeny’s loss on “television stations,” and once complaining that the “media” is biased against people like him who allegedly want smaller government.

Reporters have yet to ask Gardner for the evidence supporting his media bashing. They just lie there and let Gardner trash them.

Why not fight back? It would make good content, and it’s the right thing to do.

Gardner provided another opportunity for a fight, if journalists are brave enough cast off their chains and step up, this morning in a conversation with Steve Kelley on KNUS’ morning show, Kelley and Company, about the failure of House of Repblicans to pass full support for the victims of Hurricane Sandy:

KELLEY:  It should be scrutinized.  But it just looks bad.  Doesn’t it?  I mean, — and the way it is being played in the media, unfortunately, [is] Boehner, this mean guy doesn’t — and you guys in the House — don’t care about those Hurricane Sandy victims out there.

GARDNER:  Look, the media is going to criticize the Republicans every time we turn around, because we are not in lock-step with the President.  And they are going to criticize any time they get a chance.  Now, should this have been handled in a different way?  Uh, there’s always going to be speculation about that.  But the bottom line is this:  John Boehner is not a – nor is the House Republican majority going to turn a blind eye on the victims of a horrible natural disaster.

That’s nut-head nutty, isn’t it? The media wants Gardner to be in lock-step with Obama? What’s he talking about?

It would be fun to hear Gardner explain himself, wouldn’t it?

Talk-radio host doesn’t explain how social issues would pull Hispanics to the GOP

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

I love it when the conservative echo chamber validates itself with references to unnamed Democrats who amplify the sounds coming from the mouths of talk-radio hosts.

In the case below, we have KVOR host Jeff Crank, who doubles as Colorado State Director of the conservative Americans for Prosperity, bouncing ideas off of Tony Sanchez (And I do mean bouncing, because the ideas bounce back in the exact same form that they were launched.). Sanchez is on the board of the Colorado Hispanic Republicans.

Sanchez conjured up Ken Buck and told Crank that “already” Hispanics are having “buyers’ remorse” over their overwhelming vote for Obama.

Crank and Sanchez touched briefly on number of things Dec. 15, without getting into specific legislation of course, but they dwelled on one point that comes up a lot on talk radio: The unproven assertion that Republicans can win over Hispanics on social issues.

CRANK: Well, and a great example of that is on the social issues, you know? I think that the Hispanic community naturally would align with conservative values, of family values, —

SANCHEZ: Oh, they do!

CRANK: –on marriage, on pro-life issues, and those sorts of things. But the conservatives allow the Left to define them on that issue—

SANCHEZ: Yes! Yes.

CRANK: — so they didn’t vote with us on those issues.

SANCHEZ: I just spoke to a Democrat, an Hispanic. And he said that, “I was glad they didn’t focus so much on those issues. We would have lost at least four percentage points had that happened.” And the other thing that I would also add is to keep it simple. There’s a lot of times that we have a lot of facts,– and on the conservative side, yeah, it makes a whole lot of sense, but keep the message simple. And make it real clear.

Setting aside the small problem of the devastating backlash among women voters if the GOP decided to focus openly (instead of behind closed doors) on social issues, there’s no reason to accept the echo-chamber idea that Hispanics would vote Republican anyway, if GOP candidates starting talking more about gay marriage and abortion.

The majority of Latinos actually favor gay marriage. Mexico City and some Latin American countries have legalized it.

And, really, how many Hispanics are going to swing to a GOP candidate who aims to ban abortion even for a raped woman? Evangelical Hispanics, yes, who make up about 15% of Latino voters and align with the GOP anyway. Seven of ten Catholic Hispanics align with the Democratic Party.

And it’s not as if Democrats are pro-abortion. Most are pro-choice, which reflects an understanding, shared by Hispanics, even if they self-define as anti-choice, of real-world complexities as well as the struggles of poverty. I mean, one of the major reasons Hispanics turned against Romney, according to Project New America’s David Winkler, was because he was so unsympathetic to the poor.

I could be wrong, but it’s hard to see a significant number of Hispanics peel off from Democrats if the GOP pushed its abortion position even harder. And, again, at what cost to the GOP in terms of other voters, like women, young people, and the four reasonable Republican middle-aged white men out there?

So Sanchez and Crank, a former GOP congressional candidate, who defines himself as “a strong voice for social and fiscal conservative issues in Colorado,” should look elsewhere, other than social issues, to prove Ronald Reagan’s opinion, which still sits atop the website of Sanchez’s Colorado Hispanic Republicans, that “Latinos are Republicans. They just don’t know it yet.”

As long as the talk-radio sounds keep reverberating, unchallenged, Hispanics will never know they’re Republicans. Why would they?