Archive for February, 2016

On Facebook, County GOP chair says taking down confederate flag is bowing to “leftist, racist political correctness”

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Trump won in South Carolina because GOP primary voters were angry at establishment Republicans for “submitting to the leftist, racist political correctness and removing the confederate flag without discussion,” according to Anil Mathai, the chair of the Adams County Republican Party.

Mathai: “People are totally missing what happened tonight in South Carolina,” wrote Mathai in an analysis on Facebook. “It doesn’t make sense at all but, wait, it does. It wasn’t about Trump. The Republicans of South Carolina rejected Nikki Haley, Sen. Tim Scott, Sen. Lindsay Graham, and Congressman Trey Gowdy. Why? Because they all endorsed the establishment candidate Rubio, but what’s worse? A few months ago they sold the people of South Carolina out by immediately submitting  to the leftist, racist political correctness and removing the confederate flag without discussion. They cursed out the conservative base in South Carolina by listening to the leftists and tonight the base returned the favor. This wasn’t about Trump. It was about establishment Republican control of once popular but now loser politicians in South Carolina. Tonight, Haley, Scott, Graham, and Gowdy (with Rubio) are urinating in their pants as their time in office is coming to a close really soon! You turn on your constitution loving, Republican platform supporting base, and you will pay a price. Trump and Cruz rode the wave.”

Gov. Nikki Haley signed a law in July, 2015, removing the confederate flag from the SC state capitol, after a massacre at nine black churches in Charleston. The flag’s presence had obviously long been a source of conflict there and nationally prior to last year.

Mathai did not return a call for comment on the Feb. 20 post on the Colorado Tea Party page. He also discussed on conservative talk radio in less stark language.

But by referring to arguments for the removal of the confederate flag as “leftist, racist political correctness,” it appears that Mathai himself sides with those in South Carolina who opposed the removal of the confederate flag.

The Colorado Republican Party has apparently not taken a position one way or the other on the confederate flag, but county chairs like Mathai, elected by fellow Republicans, are free to take positions on issues as long as they don’t endorse candidates in a primary. In his radio interview and Facebook post, Mathai did not endorse a presidential candidate.

Last year, liberals accused Adams County Republican Vice Chair John Sampson of posting racist comments on Facebook, but Sampson said he judges people based on their character, not skin color or anything else.

Key swing state races will take place in Adams country in November.


State senator’s anti-choice record may lead to the end of divided government in Colorado

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Choice issues will continue to impregnate political discourse as we head toward November for the simple reason that women, a huge swing voting bloc in Colorado, care about candidates’ positions on abortion. Of course they do. That’s common sense.

Yet, you still hear anti-choice conservatives saying how insulted they are by progressives who talk about choice, because somehow they think it means progressives don’t think women care about the economy, the environment, etc. Women obviously care about those things too. But also, choice–which is often less muddled, in terms of where candidates stand, and therefore defines a candidate more than other issues.

And choice issues could prove decisive in the senate district that will likely determine if Democrats control Colorado’s government after November. That would be the seat held by anti-choice state Sen. Laura Woods (R-Westminster).

You can read more details in RH Reality Check, but, briefly, Woods isn’t following the mold of Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner. He completely denied his co-sponsorship of a personhood abortion-ban bill in an effort to win over state-wide voters, who pretty much mirror the voters in Woods’ swing district, evenly divided among Democrats, Republicans, and unaffiliateds.

Woods is sticking to her conservative principles, as she puts it. After openly embracing Dudley Brown’s vision of America, including personhood, 1) during her 2014 primary, 2) during her 2014 general election campaign, and 3) during her first year in office, Woods is 4) again sponsoring a personhood bill this election year–along with a bill requiring women to be offered an ultrasound prior to having an abortion (and also to wait 24 hours).

Last week, Woods’ Democratic opponent, Rachel Zenzinger, wrote on Facebook that after last year’s Planned Parenthood massacre, Woods was, in Zenzinger’s words, “advocating for this kind of [clinic] violence.” Woods responded on Twitter by condemning the clinic attack and all violence, but, as someone pointed out on Twitter, it took Woods 83 days to do this. And to this day, she’s never explained the timing or meaning of her Facebook post, which was supportive terrorism to fight injustice. No one would argue that war or revolution are sometimes justified, but in the wake of the clinic shooting, Woods’ post made it appear like she supported the shooter–especially because she didn’t comment on the attack.

Political junkies agree that the odds are against Woods winning the Jeffco seat during a presidential election year, in a district she won by only about 650 votes in the 2014 GOP wave year. And, you’d also have to think that the women who didn’t vote in 2014, but turn out this year, will likely to pay attention to Woods’ positions on abortion and birth control.

“If you’ve looked at my voting record at all, what you will know is, I’m an independent thinker,” Woods told The Post Jan. 10. “…I bucked my leadership, I bucked the party, I bucked the caucus … if it didn’t line up with my principles or my district.”

But repeated polls, and common sense, say the swing voters in her district disagree with her on choice.

Is Coffman sorry he called Obama a “recruiting tool” for terrorists?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Last month, Rep. Mike Coffman wrote on Facebook that Obama is the “real recruiting tool” for terrorists, not GITMO.

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.”[emphasis added]

Yet it flew under the radar of Denver media, and Coffman never apologized for the recruiting tool comment.

But it seems, judging from a KOA interview today, that Coffman himself apparently believes that the comment was wrong.

On KOA this morning, Coffman said:

Coffman: This president refuses to acknowledge that we are a nation at war not of our own choosing and refuses even to identify those who have declared war on us. … He says Guantanamo Bay is a recruiting tool for terrorists. What is a recruiting tool for terrorists is having a commander in chief that projects weakness. [emphasis added]

It’s one thing to say Obama’s policies are a recruiting too. It’s another to write that the President himself is a recruiting tool for terrorists.

Does Coffman really believe that the “real recruiting tool” is the President of the United States?

The Colorado Republican straw poll will go on, “for fun,” in Adams County

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Last year, Colorado Republicans eliminated their nonbinding caucus votes on presidential candidates, but the voting will go on anyway, “for fun,” in Adams County.

That’s what Adams County Republican Chair Anil Mathai announced on KLZ 560-AM’s John Rush yesterday.

“Across the state, there is no straw poll, but in Adams County we have a non-binding unofficial ‘for fun’ straw poll,” said Mathai on air. “I want to hear the voice of the people. So we will have one for U.S.presidential candidates as of Feb. 1 and also one for U.S. Senate candidates out of Colorado.”

I don’t know Mathai, but when it comes to fun, he and I seem to agree. The Republican straw poll in Adams County at the March 1 caucus will be huge fun to see. How could it not be, with Republican activists standing up for Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, Kasich, etc. and Neville, Littleton, etc. etc. I hope someone live streams it.

“In Adams County, we’re just doing it for fun,” Mathai emphasized again at the end of the interview.

But whether Mathai’s notion of fun comports with the Republican rules is another matter. Initially, the statewide GOP straw poll was supposed to be nonbinding as well. But the national Republican Party told Colorado Republicans that if they had a straw poll, it had to be binding. So Colorado Republicans decided against having one.

So we’ll see how much fun national Republicans let Adams Country Republicans have.

Woods names Trump as a favorite prez candidate

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

As Trump surges, reporters should tell us about the support, or lack thereof, the magnate gets from local Republican muckety mucks.

We’ve seen coverage of politicos lining up for Clinton (Hick), Cruz (Buck), Rubio (Gardner), Sanders (Salazar), and others. And the Colorado Statesman has reported that top U.S. Senate and congressional candidates in Colorado will support their party’s nominee.

But there’s one Colorado Republican who’s openly saying Trump is one of her two top presidential candidates.

That would be State Sen. Laura Woods (R-Westminster), whose November election will likely determine whether Democrats control Colorado state government next year.

On the radio last month, Woods named Trump as one of her two favorite candidates.

Here’s what Woods had to say about Trump on KNUS 710-AM’s Saturday morning show, hosted by Chuck Bonniwell and Fox 31 Denver’s Julie Hayden:

BONNIWELL:  Well, have you decided who you like in the primaries – the Republican primaries for president?

WOODS:  For president. I have narrowed the field –.  You know, I attended the debate in Boulder, and it really helped me to see that anyone of these up on that stage would be better than the 3 running on the other side of the ticket.   […]  So, I at least wrapped my mind around the fact that, you know, — whichever Republican gets the nod, I will vote for that Republican. But my favorites are Ted Cruz and Donald Trump.

BONNIWELL:  Yeah! Those are mine to.  That’s who I like, too.

HAYDEN: That’s everybody’s favorites when you get right down to it. Well, not everybody’s, but….

Let’s be clear that Trump has vocal supporters in Colorado, like KNUS 710-AM’s Peter Boyles, and other notorious vocalists on conservative talk radio. But Woods stands out among folks who can be held accountable by voters for what they do or say.

Listen here to Woods on KNUS Jan. 16.

With so much opposition from business, how did a conservative group convince so many Republicans on the hosptial provider fee?

Monday, February 22nd, 2016

Much has been written about the Democrats’ proposal to remove a hospital fee from TABOR restrictions, freeing up about $370 million for highways, schools, and other government projects that lack funding.

But one question that hasn’t been explained fully is, why the near unanimous opposition by Republican state lawmakers to the proposal? Unanimity that may be cracking, but still.

The question flashed out from a Colorado Independent article Friday, in which a spokesman for conservative Americans for Prosperity, backed by the Koch brothers, emphasized that last year 307 lobbyists were on one side of the debate over the hospital provider fee, and only a single lonely group was on the other. That would be AFP.

How did AFP pull this off, particularly when the business community, normally home base for the GOP, is aligned against Republicans on this issue? You wouldn’t expect all Republican legislators to jump in the laps of business groups, given the issues at play and AFP, but this level of separation from establishment business interests?

The business support has been chronicled best by the Denver Business Journal’s Ed Sealover, who wrote one article listing business organizations that signed a letter in support of the Democrats’ plan for the hospital provider fee. The organizations:

Action 22
Associated General Contractors
Aurora Chamber of Commerce
Club 20
Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry
Association of Colorado Realtors
Colorado Competitive Council
Colorado Contractors Association
Colorado Springs Forward
Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance
Colorado Wheat Growers Association
Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce
Progressive 15
South Metro Chamber of Commerce

That’s a bunch of power there–with deeeeeep ties to Republicans. You’d think they’d have been able to convince more GOP legislators. How did AFP manage to pull this off?

Animosity-filled people blaming Medicaid for Colorado budget woes are wrong–again

Friday, February 19th, 2016

Colorado Springs’ Republican Mayor John Suthers told the Colorado Springs Gazette Tuesday that turning the hospital provider fee into a TABOR-defined enterprise would be “by far the easiest, least painful solution for the taxpayers” to address Colorado’s budget woes.

But in his interview with Schrader, Suthers repeats the misinformation that Obamacare’s expansion of Colorado’s Medicaid program, which provides health care to the poor, is eating up state money now.

Suthers: “A lot of the animosity surrounding this goes back to the fact that they are saying look if we didn’t participate in the Medicaid expansion we wouldn’t need all this money, and the provider fee was basically a means to pay for the expansion. I understand all of that, but having the provider fee in the TABOR calculation is going to create immense problems going forward. It’s just going to get bigger and bigger and bigger and if you don’t take it out I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

The animosity-filled people who told Suthers that Colorado “wouldn’t need all this money” if it weren’t for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion are actually factually wrong.

Colorado’s Medicaid expansion has so far cost Colorado nothing (Here at page 26). It’s been 100 percent paid for by the federal government, which will slide down to paying 90 percent of the costs by 2020.

Next year, Colorado will contribute about $41 million toward covering Obamacare’s new Medicaid enrollees. If Colorado were paying the full 1o percent now, the state would contribute $142 million. And Suthers is correct that the Hospital Provider Fee, which is used to cover various health care services for poor people who can’t afford them, is earmarked to pay for this.

But $41 million is a fraction of the $768 million projected to be collected by the Hospital provider fee next year. Next year’s state contribution to covering Obamacare’s Medicaid enrollees, which looks to be on the order of $75 million, is still a fraction of the HPF money collected. So the HPF appears to be a solid source of funds for covering Colorado’s contibution to Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.

The people, mentioned by Suthers, who have all the animosity about the hospital provider fee should explain how they’d fund basic health care programs for elderly, disabled, and other poor people without it. And, for that matter, how they’d pay for state government with it, if it’s not removed from the TABOR framework and $370 million in tax dollars is refunded to you and me.

CLARIFICATION: I updated this post to clarify that the HPF funds health care in Colorado, not other government programs.

Tancredo thinks he might be useful to Cruz later

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

In a Feb. 2 radio interview with KNUS 710-AM host Peter Boyles, former Rep. Tom Tancredo said GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz never took him up an his offer to start an organization backing Cruz.

It was last year, after Tancredo had just penned a Breitbart column announcing his departure from the Republican Party. Tancredo was Rep. Steve King’s guest on an Iowa hunting trip, shooting “a lot of pheasants,” with Cruz and others, Tanc told Boyles:

TANCREDO:  So, we’re there at this hunt… And I just wrote the column that week that I had left the Republican Party, but that I was going to start a Colorado Independents for Cruz thing.  And he got [the article] — somebody had sent it to him.  And so, we’re in Iowa and about to go down to dinner, and he says to me, “Hey!  I saw that article! I really appreciate it!  Boy, we’re going to get back to you.  I told my people,” you know, “follow up on that!”  Of course, he never did.

But why, you wonder? Cruz is with Tancredo on immigration, notwithstanding Sen. Marco Rubio’s twisted attempts to make Cruz look immigrant-friendly. Tancredo and Cruz align against choice, against gun safety laws, etc. So I called Tancredo to find out. Why doesn’t Cruz want him?

Tancredo told me he can only speculate, but he assumes the Cruz campaign doesn’t think he’s needed at this point.

“My outreach is to Independents, right, for Cruz,” he said. “Well you can’t vote in the Republican primary here, you can’t go to the caucuses, unless you are a registered Republican. So the only value I would add, if any, is after Cruz is nominated.”

“Who would I talk to, the Jefferson County Republican Party?’ said Tancredo. “I don’t think they will invite me, for some reason.”

That makes sense, I told Tanc.

Still, Tancredo has gone ahead and set up a Facebook page, which he and others update regularly, called CO Independents for Ted Cruz.

“Not Just for Republicans,” is the headline.





Neville joins GOP Medicaid misinformation frenzy

Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Republicans have been blaming Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal health care program for the poor, for Colorado’s budget woes—even though the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid didn’t cost Colorado anything.

State Sen. Tim Neville, who’s leading a pack of Republicans vying for the chance to unseat Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, jumped on the baseless Medicaid-bashing bandwagon in a Jan. 4 interview with the “Americhicks,” Molly Vogt and Kim Munson, on KLZ 560-AM.

Neville: I believe it’s time for the government to re-prioritize, and of course the 800-pound gorilla in the room is the Medicaid expansion, which the governor did several years ago, eating every single dollar that we have in increased expense.

Not only is this false, but it’s really mean, as it pits everything else the government is struggling to pay for (roads, schools, etc.) against funds for the (mostly) working poor, especially those undeserving old and disabled people.

Maybe Neville really meant that he thinks Medicaid is costing the state too much—which, again, would have nothing to do with Obamacare. The program’s costs are increasing, but less than in previous years, due to the growing numbers of elderly and disabled people who are enrolled.

If he’s worried about Medicaid costs, Neville should explain how he wants to “re-prioritize” government, as he put it, and specifically how he’d cut Medicaid or alter it. Neville is known to be unafraid of expressing his Tea Party views, but I can’t find any explanation from him on this one.

I don’t think Neville would follow the lead of GOP Sen. President Bill Cadman, who declined to explain how he’d change Medicaid but, instead, he actually told a reporter to put the question to Democratic Speaker of the state House, Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, even though she’s never suggested cutting Medicaid, as Cadman essentially did last month.

Maybe the Americhicks, who take personal responsibility seriously, will have Neville back on their show—or even land Cadman—and extract some specifics about their Medicaid plans. And, while they’re at it, everyone would love to hear a detail or two on how they’d like to shore up Colorado’s budget.

Denver Post editor wants your questions and corrections

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

If I were in charge of a newspaper like The Denver Post, as part of my survival strategy, I’d do everything I could to try to explain to readers how much thought and effort goes into producing the content. It’s what people are paying for; yet they’re mostly clueless about it, and have nowhere to turn with their questions.

So the Denver Post’s new video segment, called “Ask the Editor,” is welcome. It features Post Editor Greg Moore responding to questions submitted by viewers and readers.

Recent editions, which can be found on Moore’s Editor’s Desk blog, addressed coverage of homelessness, typos, newsprint quality, and why The Post doesn’t have a reader’s representative.

As a sample, I offer you an excerpt of a  Jan. 27 discussion between Moore and host Molly Hughes.

Molly Hughes: Let us know what you’re curious about, and we’ll work to get an anwer. Denver Post Editor Greg Moore will answer as many questions as possible right here on this DPTV [Denver Post Television] set….

Moore: [Responding to a reader who complained about an error that was not corrected] “Call me directly. If any reader calls and leaves a message about incorrect information that’s published in the paper or online, if you don’t get a response, call me. I take all calls. So, we will correct it. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.”

Hughes: That was kind of the impetus for our even doing this. You were saying you’re constantly getting calls.

Moore: Exactly. I try to talk to at least five readers every day. It’s instructive for me. But it also makes a difference, I think, when people can talk to me directly and get a response. I think we leave as friends.

Hughes: Greg will answer as many questions as time allows.

So send your questions to Moore here. And if you see errors, fight all the way to the top to have them corrected. Hold Moore to his promise, which you’d expect to hear, but sometimes don’t, from any journalist.