LINCOLN

Go see the movie.

Remind yourself of the time in our national history when we acknowledged that our liberties came from our Creator God. And that preserving those liberties took sacrifice.

Republicans, especially, need this movie after the drubbing we experienced on election day.

This movie celebrates one of the Republican Party’s most spectacular achievements, freeing the slaves. Note – as a reminder against partisan one-sidedness – that members of both parties backed this constitutional amendment.

Freeing the slaves was just one of a series of nation-changing Republican initiatives. Those included the transcontinental railroad, homestead land for farmers willing to work it, creating land grant colleges like CSU, the mining act (foreshadowed by Colorado Republican Jerome Chaffee) that opened our nation’s resources for job creation, the national parks (Yellowstone was created by one of the movie’s participants, U.S. Grant).

All triumphs for ordinary, regular Americans.

We Republicans, in this deficit era, need to recall government’s affirmative role in allowing our citizenry to prosper through hard work.

We are still capable of greatness; we just need to find it in ourselves.

The hospital scene of Lincoln and recovering injured soldiers remind us that today’s Medicare and Medicaid are the distant heirs of Civil War military hospitals that treated 20,000 wounded soldiers at at time. (It may have been Walt Whitman’s Civil War notes and poetry that prompted the scene in the movie of discarded amputated limbs.)

continue…

 

POST PARTISAN NO MORE: Hickenlooper’s Helping Hand Dragged Hudak Through Tight State Senate Race

Without the helping hand of our allegedly post-partisan governor, the leading cheerleader for higher taxes in the Legislature, Senator Evie Hudak (D-Westminster), wouldn’t be looking at a possible recount — she’d likely be drowning her sorrows over her loss in SD19.

Governor Hickenlooper threw his lot in with a number of legislative Democrats this cycle, despite his reputation for rising above the din of partisan politics. But it was Hudak’s race where his popularity made the biggest impact — including robocalls and mailers.

Hudak is looking at a possible recount in her SD19 race with Lang Sias, with about a 330-vote lead but thousands of ballots yet to be counted.

There for but the Grace of Governor Hickenlooper goes Hudak, it seems.

continue…

 

DENIED: Polis’s Leadership Hopes Dashed Again

CD2, this is your Congressman.

When Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced that Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) would again chair the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, sources told Roll Call that he was “surprised”.  He might not have been the only Congressman to be surprised by the unexpected announcement.  Democratic Colorado Congressman Jared Polis was considered a possible successor to Israel, who, prior to the election, wasn’t expected to return prior to the post.

The move could have helped Polis’s climb to Democratic leadership, according to Roll Call‘s background on the position:

“…the position has produced party superstars, including former Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), who went on to be Caucus chairman and White House chief of staff under President Barack Obama and is now Chicago’s mayor. House Budget ranking member Chris Van Hollen (Md.) directed the DCCC during the 2008 and 2010 election cycles and is a top Obama surrogate.”

continue…

 

ATLAS SHRUGS: Hostess Shutters Operations; Closes Denver Plant

The Hostess company today announced that it would stop operations – meaning it will close plants, lay off its 18,500 employees, and sell off its brand.  Among the plants it plans to close is one in Adams County, which could close as early as Tuesday, according to an article in the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

The company cited a recent strike as the reason it would have to cease operations.  Thousands of union members went on strike last week after rejecting in September a contract offer that cut wages and benefits. While Hostess agreed upon a contract with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union was still in negotiations with Hostess.

The CEO of Hostess, Gregory Rayburn, told ABC News:

“We deeply regret the necessity of today’s decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike.  Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

The company had asked that striking employees return to work last night, but, apparently, not enough returned to enable the company to return to production. This is just another example of how union bosses with fat paychecks don’t represent the interests of their members.  We’d bet the reduced wages for employees that the unions haggled over now look appealing compared to no wages the employees face.

 

GREAT EXPECTATIONS: PERA Board Retains Ridiculous 8% Return Assumption

Colorado’s Public Employees’ Retirement Association (PERA), already under scrutiny for its high expected rates of return, sent eyebrows skyward yesterday when it voted to continue its portfolio’s eight percent expected rate of return.  With the market still wobbly from the election and from the “Great Recession”, analysts have been calling an 8% return a pipe dream for some time.

Currently, PERA has a $26 billion gap between the expected rate of return and the actual rate of return – a number that grows each year the portfolio misses the 8% mark.  PERA averages the return over a 30-year period.  Oddly, even PERA’s own financial advisor, Hewitt Ennis Knupp has recommended the lower 7.6% rate of return, which PERA has ignored.

Even New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently stated that an 8 percent return was “absolutely hysterical” and even a 7 percent return is “indefensible,” during similar discussions about the New York City pension plan.

To put it in context, the fund returned a measly 1.9% last year.

Despite the mess this unrealistic expectation is causing in our state’s budget, some see the 8-7 vote as a small victory for Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton, who has been sounding alarms about the rate of return since he took office in 2011.  Here is what Stapleton said about the vote:

“While the 8-7 vote to uphold the 8 percent return is not the outcome I would have liked, it does mark significant progress.  Last year we had a 10-5 vote.  I am optimistic that board members are starting to look at current market realities. Now is the time to lower the rate of return, look at the real unfunded liability we are facing and figure out a solution to save the retirements of nearly 300,000 current and future retirees.”

Despite the minor victory for Stapleton, the 8-7 vote (and continued unrealistic expectations) is no winner for public employees, whose retirements may be at jeopardy due to this growing unfunded mandate.

 

SUPER PARTISAN MARIO STRIKES AGAIN: “Unaffiliated” Chairman Of Reapportionment Commission Donates To Only State Dems In 2012

The supposed “Unaffiliated” Chairman of the Reapportionment Commission, Mario Carrera, donated only to state-level Democrats in 2012, a review by Colorado Peak Politics has found.

The Reapportionment Commission was responsible for re-drawing all 65 State House districts and 35 State Senate districts based on population changes identified in the US Census. Carrera was appointed to the Commission as a supposed “Unaffiliated” member, but what became clear in the process was that Carrera was only unaffiliated on paper. In reality, he was a hyper-partisan Democrat who did their bidding in pushing through maps that redrew districts to protect Democrats and imperil Republicans.

In 2012, Carrera gave the maximum contribution of $400 to two Democrat candidates for the State Legislature in districts he himself helped create: Angela Williams and Jesse Ulibarri. How independent of him.

continue…

 

MORE TURNOUT: Who Won the Turnout War?

In the final weeks of the campaign, operatives all over the state typically participate in the election game called the “ballot chase” as they harass and harangue voters with mail-in ballots to get them in – get them in now.  Come election day, that game morphs into the mad dash to get remaining voters to the polls via any means necessary.  Kidnapping?  Sure!

That’s why many Monday Morning Quarterbacks like to look at turnout for trends in voting that may have caused an election to swing one way or another.  To satisfy everyone’s curiosity, we’ve compiled the turnout from the most populated counties in Colorado to determine which party turned out the most of its voters.  For this chart we took number of voters and divided by all (active and inactive) voters to come up with percent turned out.  And the winner is…..

continue…

 

ALTERNATE UNIVERSE: Denver Post Thinks Tough TV Ads Are Worse Than Threatening Reporters

In the alternate Democrat-leg-humping universe The Denver Post editorial board occupies these days, a Republican running an ad pointing out negative but true facts about his political opponent is “despicable”, but a Democrat threatening a reporter with physical violence is merely a small mistake from an otherwise “honorable man” who should simply apologize and move on.

Excuse us while we vomit.

This afternoon’s Post editorial, gently rapping Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s knuckles for threatening to “punch out” a reporter for asking tough questions, is a sad example of where the state’s flagship paper has taken its opinion section since Dan Haley left the helm.

Only weeks ago the paper worked itself into quite the lather over a Joe Coors ad hitting Congressman Perlmutter for his ties to Solyndra through his then-wife’s role as their first lobbyist, calling it “despicable” and “desperate.” Quite the harsh language for an ad the editorial acknowledged was “technically true.”

Fast forward to today’s screed, where they spent a good portion of the article making out with Salazar’s picture, calling him “one of Colorado’s most honorable public servants” who just “snapped, plain and simple.” They, of course, note this was entirely out of character for the Great Man they know Salazar to be.

Give us a break.

You would think, as journalists, they would be especially sensitive to threats of violence over a legitimate line of questioning. Maybe call it conduct unbecoming of a Cabinet official and suggest he resign or blast him for behavior more in line with places like Burma or Belarus, where threats against journalists are commonplace.

Nope, all they requested was that Salazar say he’s sorry — which he did at about the same time the editorial was published, according to the reporter he threatened.

Unlike Colorado Pols, they didn’t even call on Salazar to answer the questions he was avoiding. It’s a sad day when The Denver Post editorial board provides more political cover for elected Democrats than the leading liberal mouthpiece for the Colorado Democratic Party.

 

TURNOUT: Unaffiliateds Continue to Increase in Number; El Paso Sat This One Out

Colorado’s Secretary of State released the preliminary voter turnout by party spreadsheet and the biggest non-news is that the ranks of the unaffiliateds voted in higher numbers in 2012 as compared to 2008.  While this year Democrats saw nearly 31,000 fewer voters and Republicans saw nearly 25,000 fewer voters at the polls, nearly 34,000 more unaffiliateds turned in ballots.  The chart below shows how the unaffiliateds bucked the lower-voter-turnout trend this election.

continue…

 

FIREABLE OFFENSE: Will Secretary Salazar Lose His Job Over Threatening To Punch A Colorado Reporter?

Before it was unearthed that Interior Secretary Ken Salazar had threatened to “punch out” a reporter for asking tough questions, the Stetson-sporting Cabinet member was already looking at the unemployment line in the near future. We wonder — will his recent rendezvous with the press hasten his exit?

Threatening to slug someone, especially someone with a byline, would be a fireable offense in most jobs. But in the Obama administration it seems most normal workplace guidelines don’t apply, at least when it comes to gross negligence — as in the case of Benghazi, Fast and Furious or the BP oil spill response.

We’re sure Obama is not pleased to be dealing with another headache among his appointed leadership so soon in his second term. You would think the Love Pentagon would be enough for the week after the election.

But deal with it he must.

With a number of second term Cabinet positions likely up for Senate confirmation, now would be the time for Obama to set the tone on Cabinet-level behavior.

 
© 2011-2013 Colorado Peak Politics