We really couldn’t have scripted it better ourselves. In an overview of the Morse recall campaign, the Associated Press’ star reporter Kristen Wyatt gets views from both sides on the ground in Colorado Springs.
What she finds couldn’t provide a better contrast for those seeking to oust Senate President John Morse for what Democratic Rep. Ed Vigil dubbed his “crazy…absolutely nuts” gun control legislation.
Back in Colorado Springs, a couple of Morse opponents defended the recall attempt as the best way for citizens to keep their representatives accountable.
“I believe in gun rights. And he didn’t listen. He’s supposed to represent the people, and when he doesn’t do that, what are supposed to do? Nothing?” asked Bianca McCarl, a 40-year-old merchandiser who is supporting Morse’s recall.
Assuming the Morse recall goes to ballots, with an election to be held by late summer, the incumbent holds a slight party registration advantage in the district. He believes most voters liked his gun votes.
He’s counting on the support from voters like Joan Muir, a retiree who placed a pro-Morse sticker on her car bumper after seeing other cars carrying messages calling for his ouster. In an interview, Muir said she was dismayed by the recall campaign.
“I live here. I’m for gun control,” Muri said. “I don’t care for guns, period, so they don’t speak for all of us when they say Morse didn’t listen to the people.” [Peak emphasis]
On the pro-Morse side you have someone who openly hates guns, while his opposition believes in gun rights and is frustrated that he doesn’t listen to his constituents.
Where do you think most voters who would turn out for a special election in the conservative confines of Colorado Springs stand?
We’re betting it’s not with the woman who “doesn’t care for guns.”
On Tuesday, Congressman Cory Gardner announced that he would not seek the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall. Gardner, a rising star in the House of Representatives, was unlikely to face a primary challenger if he had chosen to run, and with his announced non-candidacy, the Republican field is wide open for next year’s Senate race. Given Gardner’s popularity among the electorate, Democrats were understandably pleased with his decision.
Udall spokesman, Mike Saccone, over-reached in his statement to the Denver Post by alluding to Udall’s elusive list of accomplishments:
“This news does not come as a surprise considering Senator Udall’s long record of achievements, his bipartisan approach and his strong support from Coloradans.”
As the Peak has noted in the past, Udall has actually accomplished very little during his tenure in the U.S. Senate. But, that’s never stopped Udall and his proponents from highlighting his rarely-enumerated achievements. In contrast, Gardner has already begun transforming into a political heavyweight at the young age of 38. According to the Denver Post:
“Among Republican leadership, Gardner is considered a rising star. Also, the Capitol Hill media often use him as the go-to Republican on national stories because of his mastery on policy and his deftness in delivering easy, understandable answers.”
Gardner is also developing into one of the most reliable conservative fundraisers on the Hill. He is currently the co-chair of the NRCC Patriot Program, an important committee within the NRCC that focuses on helping incumbent Republican members who are in close races.
For example, Rep. Mike Coffman is one of the 11 participants in the Patriot Program, and Gardner has been working on Coffman’s behalf to help him with fundraising needed for his 2014 campaign.
With a Senate run off the table for now, Gardner can focus on his expanding leadership responsibilities at the national level within the party and in Congress. His rising stature is going to do nothing but help the conservative movement, in general, and Coloradans, in particular.
Perhaps not wanting to repeat the PR disaster that was the Colorado Sheriffs full-throated opposition to gun control bills in Colorado, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is reportedly seeking to squash the dissent coming from Sheriffs in the Empire State.
Reports the Albany Times-Union:
The sheriffs thought they were being summoned to the Capitol to discuss ideas for changes to New York’s gun control law, the SAFE Act. Instead, Gov. Andrew Cuomo told them to keep quiet.
Opposition to the new law has simmered in upstate areas since Cuomo signed the law in January. Many county sheriffs oppose it, particularly its expanded definition of banned assault weapons, and have spoken out around the state. In January, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association wrote Cuomo with an analysis, and later suggested tweaks.
Cuomo invited its leaders to the Capitol last month, people briefed on the meeting said. The group included Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Peter Kehoe and Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss.
“We didn’t get a response (to the analysis) from him, but we could tell after the budget was passed that none of those recommendations were taken into consideration,” Moss said. “When we got there, we never got to the contents of the letter.”
Instead, Cuomo pushed the sheriffs to stop publicly speaking out against the act, Moss said.
“The governor was of the opinion that the sheriffs around the state should not be interjecting their personal opinions in reference to the law,” Moss said, adding that Cuomo said sheriffs can’t do that and enforce the law.
There are many similarities between Colorado and New York on the gun control issue. As in Colorado, the Sheriffs in New York are opposed to the gun control legislation that was rushed through the legislature with little public input.
And just like Colorado, the Sheriffs in New York are suing to overturn the legislation.
Back in March we noted the fact that Hickenlooper and Cuomo had become the unpopular face of gun control, something that our sources report riled Hickenlooper’s high command. The week prior Hick’s staff had orchestrated a press hit, with an indirect insult of Cuomo, seeking to distance Colorado’s governor from the chief executive of New York.
Unfortunately for both Cuomo and Hickenlooper, no matter how much the two rumored 2016 contenders try to define their own identities their gun control stances have attached them at the hip — the awkward congenital twins of gun grabbing.
Hickenlooper’s cowardly decision to punt the issue of Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap’s death sentence is being noticed nationally. Yesterday, a post by Ben Howe on Red State — one of the most influential national blogs in politics — ripped Hickenlooper for “one of the most cowardly decisions ever seen in politics.”
In Colorado, the fate of convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap has been an issue of great debate. This past week, the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, made what has to be one of the most cowardly decisions ever seen in politics by putting a man’s life and the expectations of his victims on hold just long enough to take the decision out of his hands…
Governor Hickenlooper, already famous in Colorado for his inability to take a strong position or make difficult decisions, had to decide which direction to take: clemency or execution. Incredibly, he found a way to do neither, instead pushing the decision onto the shoulders of his successor by using an executive order to issue a “temporary reprieve” blaming his decision on an “imperfect system.” The reprieve will likely stand for the remainder of Hickenlooper’s term and require a new governor to order its removal.
“Obviously this has weighed heavily on me for over a year now and it was obvious that inaction wasn’t an option,” said at a press conference Wednesday. And yet, inaction is precisely what he’s done. It’s also worth noting that while he was “heavily weighing” the situation and families were waiting in the wings to find out whether justice would be served for their loved ones, Hickenlooper was partying with the Denver Broncos.
To add insult to injustice, it appears there is a possibility that Hickenlooper made his fateful indecision at the behest of an overzealous staffer that was threatening to quit if he didn’t offer clemency.
Keen eyed readers will note that Howe references two Peak scoops on the unsavory decision making process that the Guv used to temporarily save Dunlap’s life.
We’ve yet to hear Hickenlooper deny the heavy handed role that his Chief of Staff, Roxanne White, played in pushing for clemency. Then again, if our too-close-for-comfort top aide forced our hand on a serious issue like Dunlap’s death sentence we’d probably stay silent too.
While Red State may be a conservative site, it’s worth noting that those other than Colorado residents picked up on Hickenlooper’s cowardice. The double downside to Hick’s hiding from the hard decision is he’s not receiving praise on liberal blogs for saving Dunlap’s life. Opponents of the death penalty are still smarting over Hick’s killing of the death penalty repeal bill by threatening to veto it.
In many ways the issue of the death penalty is beginning to define a Hickenlooper narrative nationally of a politician afraid to make tough choices. In trying to please all the people all the time, Hickenlooper has ended up pleasing no one.
Last night, KDVR political reporter Eli Stokols broke the story that the much-anticipated Lobato decision had been posted to the Supreme Court website on Monday night. The official ruling: Lobato was overturned. From the ruling:
“While we sympathize with the Plaintiffs and recognize that the public school financing system might not provide an optimal amount of money to the public schools the statutory public school financing system itself is constitutional.”
In its decision, the Court reversed a ruling of a lower court, and affirmed that the current method of school funding across the state is constitutional. The lawsuit was grounded in Article IX of the Colorado State Constitution, which requires the state to provide a “thorough and uniform” public school system. The plaintiffs went further, asserting that since funding was not adequate at the district level, many districts were unable to assert “meaningful control over educational instruction and quality, in violation of the Local Control Clause.”
When the original district court decision was handed down, liberals from across the state gloated about how they were right all along. Ooops, they were wrong. Guess the evidence brought forth by the plaintiffs wasn’t as “damning” as first believed (ahem, ColoradoPols):
“In 180+ absolutely damning pages of meticulously-compiled evidence, Judge Rappaport agreed with the plaintiffs. The combination of so many limits on the funding of public education with the increasing requirements that standardized testing and school accountability programs have placed on the system has, ruled the judge, resulted in an irrationally underprovisioned and broken system that is failing in its charge to thoroughly and uniformly educate Colorado’s children.”
The lawsuit was filed by people from the San Luis Valley area (Lobato is a parent of two public school students), but it addressed how funds were allocated across all of the 178 government-run K-12 school districts in Colorado. Other plaintiffs included parents, students, and school districts.
On the boardwalk, Pres Obama & Gov Christie trying their hand at arcade games rebuilt since Sandy. Tossing footballs at “Touchdown Fever.”
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) May 28, 2013
On the Jersey Shore, President and Gov. Christie try arcade game “Touchdown Fever”– POTUS goes 0-for-5; Christie nails TD on first try
— Ed Henry (@edhenryTV) May 28, 2013
- contribute to a candidate (22%),
- attend rallies (24%) and
- contact public officials (44%).
That’s just what Obama’s OFA operations seek from Democrats. Tea Party supporters are their activist competitors. William and Mary researchers said this year “the Tea Party will continue to be a major, often dominant, force….”
Colorado’s Michael Bennet – due in part to Tea Party educational efforts – was the most narrowly elected Democratic US Senator in two elections. That’s why, as Peak previously reported, Bennet urged the IRS to tie up the Tea Party in red tape. Bureaucratic efforts did hamper Tea Party types in 2012, but, once Americans realized what had happened, Bennet’s efforts to harm Tea Party groups backfired.
CNN just reported favorability levels for the Tea Party are as high as they were immediately before the 2010 election. Most Americans see the Bennet-urged effort for what it is:
- an inappropriate, deliberate effort to harrass (AP/WaPo poll)
- involving the Obama administration (Pew),
- done for political reasons (USA Today).
Siccing the IRS on people for political gain – as Bennet did – is despicable.
Let’s keep our eye on the ball, however. Let Obama stew in his own juices; he may boil without assistance. Instead, let us reach out to nonpartisan grassroots Tea Party activists for help reaching shared goals.
Earlier in the month, we reported on several stories (here and here) by Denver Post environmental reporter Bruce Finley that sought out anti-drilling activist sources for his articles, without disclosing the deep-rooted political activism, leaving readers to believe that they are just average people. Well, it turns out that this practice goes back to at least 2012 as well.
On April 20, 2012, Finley wrote an article about drilling in Erie, CO, and quoted “a group of mothers, organized as Erie Rising” who “asked state health officials to look into their concerns about potential harm to children.” Erie Rising may be a group of suburban moms, but they are sponsors of Frack Free Colorado, they have written an aggressive anti-exploration letter to the Boulder Daily Camera, as well as submitted a petition to ban fracking in Erie containing 21,000 internet-gathered “signatures.” Only problem was that just 100 of those signatures were from residents of Erie. It should be noted though, that the writer of this Denver Post opinion piece was able to correctly identify Erie Rising as “a small group of environmental activists,” an important detail that Finley chose to omit. Perhaps because it did not fit his agenda.
It is also worth pointing out that Erie mayor Joe Wilson recently called out the Denver Post for naming this radical group to their list of “Top Thinkers.” The mayor’s story in the Post’s Idea Log paints a very troubling picture of this “group of mothers” that Finley sought out for his story.
Let’s take a look at another source that Finley used for an article published on April 1, 2012: the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. Finley implied that this organization was a “farming advocacy group,” with no mention whatsoever to their obvious left wing agenda. The first sentence of RMFU’s “about us” page describes the group as “a progressive grassroots organization.”
In a February 12, 2012 story, Finley sought out Kristi Douglas as a source. Finley’s article simply described her as one of several “residents” asking elected officials to limit planned oil and gas exploration in Commerce City. Finley does not disclose that Douglas is actually an experienced anti-fracking activist, who testified in front of the Colorado State Senate, and has been an outspoken critic of exploration efforts.
As with the Erie Rising example, Douglas has been correctly identified as an anti-oil and gas activist in the Denver Post. Monte Whaley identified Douglas as a “critic,” and Yesenia Robles correctly represented her as a “fracking opponent.” But, why not Finley?
This long track record of this calls into question any environmental story published by the Denver Post, as editors have permitted Finley to continue this practice for a long time.