BIDING TIME? Secretary Salazar’s Days Appear Numbered

With President Obama looking at the makeup of his second term cabinet, a number of folks from his first term look set to step down or get pushed out. The Wall Street Journal highlights three officials dealing with energy policy that could find themselves unemployed very soon, including Colorado’s Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

WASHINGTON — Energy-industry officials and environmental groups are watching for change at the top in President Barack Obama’s second term, with Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Energy Secretary Steven Chu seen as possible candidates to step down.

Any new faces could have a big impact on some of the most important issues affecting the US economy, including the rapid growth of oil and gas production backed by new drilling technologies and the decline of coal.

Mr. Salazar’s spokesman said the secretary remains “focused on the job.” The White House declined to comment on who might leave the Cabinet or when, and representatives of the EPA and the Energy Department didn’t return messages seeking comment…

While there is no particular impetus for Ms. Jackson or Messrs. Salazar and Chu to leave right away, all three have shouldered considerable criticism from corporate executives, industry lobbyists and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

Mr. Salazar, a former US senator from Colorado, was widely criticized for issuing a temporary drilling ban after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Remember that Vanity Fair article that belittled Salazar’s lack of influence in the Obama administration? Now it matters more than ever.

Salazar has never been one of the Obama administration’s favorite cabinet members (see: disastrous BP spill press conferences), nor that of the energy industry.

Just look at Salazar’s recent play to publish new oil shale rules. His rush to publish these job-killing anti-energy regulations, even though Obama has four long years, suggests that maybe Salazar too knows his days are numbered. We can only hope.

 

NEW TEAM: House and Senate Leadership Elected

Yesterday, the Colorado State House and Senate elected new leadership for the 2013 session.  Below are the legislators who were elected to leadership positions.  Congratulations to all.

House

The Democrats

Rep. Mark Ferrandino – Speaker of the House

Representing Denver’s House District 2, Rep. Ferrandino is the first openly-gay Speaker of the Colorado State House. He is currently an adjunct professor at Metro State University in Denver. He and his partner have a dog named Dagny.  Perhaps someone has been reading Atlas Shrugged?

Ferrandino was first elected the Colorado State House via a vacancy committee in 2007.  He also has served in numerous positions in the Colorado Democratic Party throughout the years.  He also has served in several positions in the Owens administration as well as the Clinton and Bush (the younger) administrations.

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FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE: Coffman’s Blistering Attacks On Miklosi Show Way Forward For #WaronWomen

In an election season defined in large part by liberal claims of a Republican “war on women” the closest Congressional race in Colorado was notable for one thing — the refusal of the campaign of Congressman Mike Coffman to stay on the defensive on the issue.

Coffman’s four-point victory over Denver Democrat Joe Miklosi may provide the way forward for dealing with Democratic fear-mongering among the all-pivotal swing suburban female vote: fight fire with fire.

Rather than try to talk solely about the economy, or stay on defense pushing back against Democratic attacks, Coffman’s campaign went on the offense, hitting Miklosi for opposing laws that would help capture and punish child abductors and sexual predators.

The so-called “Bennet model” of focusing on suburban female swing voters and trying to convince them Republicans are “too extreme” appears to work best when it’s not countered with equal ferocity and messaging.

Coffman’s victory shows the way forward is to push back on the same message: Democrats are “too extreme” for suburban female swing voters.

Ads like this are a prime reason why Miklosi’s unfavorable ratings were higher than his favorable ratings in private polling.

Republicans thinking of running in 2014: take notice.

(Ads embedded after the jump)

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SILVER (BULLET) LINING: Joe Coors Didn’t Defeat Ed Perlmutter, But He Did Defeat Joe Miklosi

Joe Coors may not be a beer, but his campaign, like his family’s beer brand, provided a silver (bullet) lining to this otherwise brutal election cycle.

While his campaign for Congress may not have been victorious, he did play an outsized role in another competitive Congressional race in Colorado — Mike Coffman’s 6th Congressional District.

Coors’ hard-charging campaign drew the attention, and millions of dollars, of numerous liberal outside groups, from Nancy Pelosi’s House Majority PAC to government union AFSCME. In total, liberal groups spent about $2 million attacking Coors and defending Congressman Ed Perlmutter.

That was time, money and attention not going towards what ended up being the closest race in the state — the CD6 matchup between Republican Congressman Mike Coffman and Democrat challenger Joe Miklosi.

Coffman took the race 49-45, while Perlmutter won 53-41, a spread that’s got to gut Democrats who are otherwise feeling pretty good today.

Who knows what caused such an epic failure to occur?

The Democrats’ legal team, funded healthily by the likes of Pat Stryker and other liberal donors with bottomless pockets, was successful in persuading the courts to turn the district from ruby red to Rockies purple in redistricting. How in the world did they allow the likes of Joe Miklosi to end up as their standard bearer in the year they had the best shot at the seat?

Republicans may be licking their wounds and wondering what happened today, but they can be thankful Joe Coors showed up on the scene and someone else other than Joe Miklosi did not.

 

SHAFFTED & OUT-PACED: Brandon Shaffer and Sal Pace Receive Fewer Votes Than Kevin Lundberg

Colorado’s Sad Clowns, Brandon Shaffer and Sal Pace

Amidst the Republican Party wound-licking, there was one ray of sunshine that warmed our hearts and made us smile just a little brighter.  CD4 loser and Colorado Democrats’ “rising star” Brandon Shaffted Shaffer and CD3 Democratic felon Sal Pace (D-Urination) received fewer votes than Republican whipping boy Kevin Lundberg, who ran unsuccessfully against Congressman Jared Polis.  In fact, Lundberg’s over 158,000 votes equated to nearly 40,000 more votes than Shaffer and about 24,000 more than Pace. (H/T to Sen. Brophy for pointing out Pace’s, ahem, shortcomings.)

Ouch.

To put that into perspective, it would be like if the entire city of Littleton (pop. 41,000) didn’t vote for Shaffer or the entire city of Lafayette (pop. 24,000) didn’t vote for  Pace.  Yes, we realize that these towns aren’t in either of these candidates’ districts, but we’re going for size not geography. continue…

 

CLOSED FOR BUSINESS: Dow Tumbles 329 Points Following Re-Election

Perhaps the wise wizards of Wall Street know something that the average citizen forgot on Tuesday because the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled yesterday by 2.5% following President Obama’s re-election. Similarly, the S&P and NASDAQ also saw approximately 2.5% drops yesterday.  One might consider this a coincidence, but the reality is that Obama is bad for business.  And, not in that “man against the world”, Erin Brockovich sort of way.

While Obama often repeated the claim that his agenda would not raise taxes on the middle class, that was a lie.  A working family of a husband and a wife, each earning $50,000, for total gross income of $100,000 are taxed at a marginal rate of 25% under the current tax regime.  Once the Bush tax cuts expire, as part of the fiscal cliff that Obama is headed for at full speed, their marginal tax rate will increase to 28%.

On top of that, in 2011 and 2012, the employee’s share of the social security tax was reduced by 2%, and that is set to expire at the end of the year.  So as part of Obama’s “tax the rich” plan, this family of two earning $50,000 each are going to see their taxes go up by 5%.  On top of that, gas prices have doubled during Obama’s presidency, and prices for numerous other staples from milk to education to daycare have increased at a rate much greater than inflation; thus, it will be tough for middle class families to keep up.

This is a big deal because about 70% of the U.S. economy is driven by consumer spending.  With higher taxes, gas prices, and more expensive staples, consumers have less discretionary income to spend. This leads to the flaccid 2% growth seen for much of the past year – many months into this so-called recovery.  And 2% growth will not get us out of this rut of low job growth and high unemployment.  To give some context around the 2% growth number, three years into Reagan’s presidency, economic growth was about triple what it is under Obama this year.

Taking almost $5,000 more out of the pockets of middle class Americans each year is not the way to get this economy on track.  And Wall Street knows that.  It’s too bad our President doesn’t.

 

THE CONCESSION: Romney Exits the Race with Grace

Governor Mitt Romney’s Concession Speech:

I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory.

His supporters and his campaign also deserve congratulations. I wish all of them well, but particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters.

This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation.

I want to thank Paul Ryan for all that he has done for our campaign and for our country. Besides my wife, Ann, Paul is the best choice I’ve ever made. And I trust that his intellect and his hard work and his commitment to principle will continue to contribute to the good of our nation.

I also want to thank Ann, the love of my life. She would have been a wonderful first lady. She’s _ she has been that and more to me and to our family and to the many people that she has touched with her compassion and her care.

I thank my sons for their tireless work on behalf of the campaign, and thank their wives and children for taking up the slack as their husbands and dads have spent so many weeks away from home.

I want to thank Matt Rhoades and the dedicated campaign team he led. They have made an extraordinary effort not just for me, but also for the country that we love.

And to you here tonight, and to the team across the country _ the volunteers, the fundraisers, the donors, the surrogates _ I don’t believe that there’s ever been an effort in our party that can compare with what you have done over these past years. Thank you so very much.

Thanks for all the hours of work, for the calls, for the speeches and appearances, for the resources and for the prayers. You gave deeply  from yourselves and performed magnificently. And you inspired us and you humbled us. You’ve been the very best we could have imagined.

The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this, we can’t risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people’s work. And we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.

We look to our teachers and professors, we count on you not just to teach, but to inspire our children with a passion for learning and discovery. We look to our pastors and priests and rabbis and counselors of all kinds to testify of the enduring principles upon which our society is built: honesty, charity, integrity and family. We look to our parents, for in the final analysis everything depends on the success of our homes. We look to job creators of all kinds. We’re counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward. And we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.

I believe in America. I believe in the people of America. And I ran for office because I’m concerned about America. This election is over, but our principles endure. I believe that the principles upon which this nation was founded are the only sure guide to a resurgent economy and to renewed greatness.

Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign.

I so wish _ I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader. And so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation.

Thank you, and God bless America. You guys are the best. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thanks, guys.

 

CUYAHOGA TEA LEAVES: Obama’s Base Not Turning Out In Ohio?

By now, we are all amateur experts in what it takes to win Ohio.

And the first thing that John King, George Stephanopolous, David Gregory, et. al. have taught us is that the key to victory for President Obama in Ohio is that he wins a massive margin in Cuyahoga County in order to cushion Republican-inclined voters throughout the rest of the non-urban population centers around the state.

Said simply, Obama must win Cuyahoga big, or he will not win Ohio. In Colorado terms, it is the equivalent of running it up in Denver and Boulder to compensate for lost ground in places like Colorado Springs, Douglas County and Greeley.

So what is happening in Cuyahoga? Obama is falling short of the huge surge he needs.

From a local TV affiliate:

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SHOCK: Obama Election Day Radio Ad Seeks To “Disenfranchise” Voters By Saying They Need ID

OUR VIEW: The long campaign has got President Obama behaving like Scott Gessler.

After months of accusations from the Obama campaign and liberal activists that voter ID laws were a transparent bid to disenfranchise legal voters, the Obama campaign is out with a made-for-election-day radio ad in Colorado where voters are instructed to…Drum Roll …bring an ID in order to vote.

Apparently the grueling campaign has knocked the president off liberal talking points. To hear the radio here in the swing state of Colorado today, you can’t help but think the president is going all Scott Gessler on us.

Correspondents with the Peak and a couple other sources heard the ad this morning, prompting justifiable howls of hypocrisy.

It is Election Day, so The Denver Post will be too busy humping the president’s leg to report this wonderful bit of irony.

But we thought conservatives would want to know. Barack Obama is trying to disenfranchise voters by telling them they need an ID to vote.

Shame on you El Presidente. Shame. On. You.

(Post Script: We are trying to get a recorded copy of the ad. If you hear it, hit record on that iPhone, and Peak Nation will be most grateful.)

 

ELECTION NIGHT CHEAT SHEET

Will you know who won Colorado before the networks call our state for Romney or Obama?

Questions for you to ponder as you watch results:

  • In 2008 849,533 Colorado voters had “permanent mail-in” status. That’s grown to 1,912,002 in 2012. How will that difference impact exit poll accuracy? Especially given the different voting results from 2008 for mail-in vs. early-in-person (Obama won these vote modes) vs. election day (McCain won this one) voting? 
  • As of yesterday, both 2008 and 2012 had just over 1,700,000 early ballots cast. How do we have twice as many permanent mail-in voters and very little growth in voting before election day? Lower interest? Just a shift between early-in-person to mail-in? 
  • Exit poll managers have changed their procedures for 2012 to save money. Almost all the states where they are no longer actually interviewing voters at polling places were states that McCain won in 2008. Will that change any “results”?

Here is a table of major counties and statewide numbers [Secretary of State data, yesterday's early vote numbers].

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