“REPORTER”: Pueblo Chieftain Political Beat Writer Asks Speaker If He Is Okay With Being A “Bigot”

Last night, the political reporter for the Pueblo Chieftain, Patrick Malone, forgot his job for a minute and suddenly thought he was an activist or an editorial writer, not a reporter. In crossing the line, Malone asked Speaker Frank McNulty, who blocked the civil unions bill, if he was "concerned at all that this seals your legacy as a bigot"?

We get it. You support civil unions. That's fine. But so what: do your bloody job. You're a journalist, not an Op-Ed writer. 

Malone didn't even couch the question as asking McNulty to respond to critics who called him a bigot. He straight up said blocking this bill makes you a bigot, does that bother you?

Civil unions, and gay rights more generally, is a "tender and sensitive" issue as Mitt Romney has said. Due to its emotionally charged nature, reporters need to be careful in how they address the issue. Malone, in this case, threw caution to the wind and, along with it, his responsibility as a reporter to be objective and fair. 

When Senate President Brandon Shaffer filibustered his own redistricting bill last year, did Malone ask him if he's concerned his actions would seal his legacy as an enemy of the Colorado constitution? After all, redistricting is one of the few responsibilities for the Legislature laid out in the state constitution and Shaffer was directly dodging that responsibility.

No, Malone didn't ask that.

While we would have loved to see Malone ask Shaffer that question, it wouldn't have been appropriate. Reporters aren't supposed to ask loaded questions.

And in this case, Malone did just that. Let it be a cautionary tale to other reporters. 

(Photo via Malone's Twitter account)


DELUSIONAL: Brandon Shaffer Says His Hopeless Campaign To Be Decided By “A Few Hundred Votes”

Senate President and CD4 Congressional candidate Brandon Shaffer is delusional. At a recent event for that rare species known as Fort Morgan Democrats, Shaffer speculated that his hopeless campaign to unseat incumbent GOP Congressman Cory Gardner would come down to "a few hundred votes."

Funny, that's just what his fundraising says about the race. The first quarter Shaffer was in the race he raised $179k. That dropped to $112k in the next quarter and has stayed abysmally low this latest quarter with $114k raised. Donations always drop for competitive races. 

Reports The Fort Morgan Times:

Democratic candidate Brandon Shaffer, who is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in Colorado' s 4th Congressional District is making a point of shaking the hands of everyone he meets, because the election may come down to a few hundred vote difference, he said at the Morgan County Democratic Party's Big Ten Dinner Saturday night.

After redistricting made CD4 one of the safest seats in Colorado for Republicans, the race went from a long shot for Shaffer to a race that Shaffer couldn't win even if Gardner was caught with the proverbial dead girl or live boy.

But don't blame Shaffer for his political plight, because as Shaffer told The Denver Post, that would be like blaming a woman for being raped. 


SUCKS TO BE MIKLOSI: Big Shot Lefties Back Coffman, Tell Joe “Ummm…No!”

Talk about adding insult to injury. After a fourth quarter fundraising haul that had left wing mouthpiece Colorado Pols tell Congressional candidate Joe Miklosi his campaign was "all but over," now a big dog Democrat donor is defecting from Miklosi's camp.

Kurtis Lee of The Denver Post was first to report yesterday on Steve Farber, who led the effort to raise $50 million for Obama's Denver convention, is co-hosting a fundraiser for incumbent GOP Congressman Mike Coffman, and making the maximum $2,500 donation to his campaign. 

Do you think Farber warned Mark Grueskin he was going to do this when Grueskin was up to his eyeballs in legal briefs to gerrymander CD6 for Democrats? We guess not. 

Now this embarrassing embarrassment of a defection for Miklosi has gone national. Politico's David Catanese picked up on the news item yesterday, and let all the big dogs know in DC that Miklosi is officially dead in the Congressional waters. 

This couldn't come at a worse time for old Joe's campaign, what with the end of the first fundraising quarter of 2012 rapidly approaching — a quarter that Miklosi's campaign has said repeatedly is an essential fundraising quarter. 

When news of Farber's fundraising for Coffman went public, the state Democrat Party was quick to shoot themselves in the foot and publicly trash a major party donor.

Colorado Democrat Party Executive Director Alec Garnett tweeted: "Farber also supported Beauprez in his run against Ritter for Governor in 2006. We all remember how that turned out @lynn_bartels #copolitics"

Lynn, any chance you could ask Farber to respond to the attack from Garnett?

State Democrats are now stuck between a rock solid donor and a hard campaign to win.

Sucks to be Miklosi.


HYPOCRISY WATCH: Shaffer’s Budget Bill Contradicts Shaffer’s Redistricting Bill

Senate President Brandon Shaffer is running a bill to demand the Legislature pass a budget on time, or be docked pay, but last year Shaffer himself failed to live up to a Constitutional duty of the Legislature: pass a redistricting map.

Did he think we would forget he actually had his Senate Democrat caucus filibuster his own redistricting bill? Does he think the institutional memory down at the Capitol is that limited?

As Senate President Brandon Shaffer is running for Congress he has gone in search of legislation that sounds nice on a bumper sticker, even if it doesn't create a single job or solve a single real problem. 

The problem with this bill is not only that in modern history the Colorado Legislature has NEVER not passed a budget on time, but that Shaffer's sudden demand of legislative duty flies smack in the face of his own leadership last year. (Hat tip to Matt Arnold for noting Shaffer's hypocrisy on legislative duty)

Here's what the Colorado Constitution says about the Legislature's duty on Congressional redistricting:

Representatives in Congress.
The general assembly shall divide the state into as many congressional districts as there are representatives in congress apportioned to the state by the congress of United States for the election of one representative to congress for each district. When a new apportionment shall be made by congress, the general assembly shall divide the state into congressional districts accordingly.

Ok, so Brandon Shaffer had a constitutional duty to pass a redistricting bill. What did he do? Or rather, what did he not do?

As John Schroyer of the Colorado Springs Gazette reported:

At midnight on Monday, Senate Democrats defeated their own redistricting bill by talking past midnight.  

After debating the measure for four hours, and through a number of proposed amendments, the Democrats decided they’d take their chances in court, and kept the clock running.  

At about 11:45, Republicans tried to force a vote on the bill, but the Democrats shut them down, and kept filibustering.

Brandon, we suggest you fulfill your own Constitutional duties before you go around trying to push legislation that solves legislative duty problems that don't exist. 

Otherwise, you look like a total hypocrite.

(Photo Credit: Colorado News Agency)


The Court Speaks, the People Giggle

SERIOUS NOTE: Calling judicial redistricting an “unwelcome obligation,” the redistricting opinion by our Supreme Court points out that congressional and state legislative districting stand “in contrast” to each other and reporting on the Democrats' decision in 2010 to give the courts free rein on congressional line drawing. Decisions' choice of points to make can be a subtle suggestion for legislative action.

In this case, legislators should consider – as far as federal law and constitutional obligations permit – harmonizing and tightening the standards for judicial action. Whether reviewing reapportionment or standing in for a failed legislative process, the courts need protection from the human urge to help the political side they personally benefited from – which has been the Democrats for two decades now. Doing so would prevent the Democrat-concocted risible “communities of interest” found in this decision. And it would help the courts avoid both legitimate and inaccurate claims they are actors in the political thicket instead of being, as they should, above that fray.

Chief Justice Bender's redistricting decision shows, again, his use of humor, starting with misdirection.

Bender: “Of paramount importance, we note the foundational goal of congressional redistricting under the United States Constitution: 'fair and effective [my bolding] representation for all citizens.'”

That's what our Supreme Court wants, yes? But, no!

Instead, Bender reports, “We agree with the trial court that '[a] competitive district requires candidates running for [and serving in] office to work very hard, listen to all views, and to reach out and engage as many people as possible.'”

Consider two scenarios.

First, all seven districts are maximally competitive, equally partisan balanced. No matter which party wins, 50% of Coloradans will have a congressperson who does NOT represent their views.

Second scenario: each district has a 60-40 split; some lean one way, some the other. But – key point – with this distribution of political power, 60% of Coloradans will have a congressperson who DOES represent their views.

Which plan offers “effective representation” for more people? Hands down, the non-competitive district plan rejected by the courts. Just what political science Prof. Thomas Brunell said.

Another technique in humor is to disconnect dialog from reality. Bender excels.

Bender approvingly quotes former Democratic House Majority Leader Weissman about why competitive districts are good. Weissman represented a district that had the thirteenth smallest percent of Republicans in our State House – a most uncompetitive district. (A madam preaching on chastity.)

Communities of interest provide Bender with serial laughter.

Create a district (CD 2) based on pine bark beetles (good). Add ips beetles to the pine bark ones for a true West Slope district, CD 3, (bad). Beetles? When did they get the vote?

Create a Boulder-Larimer district based on common mass transit use patterns (good). Avoid a Larimer-Weld district based on divergent mass transit use (bad). Larimer (0.86% transit use) matches better, Bender claims, to Boulder with Boulder's 5.4% transit use than to Weld (where transit use is 0.52%). It takes a real disassociation from reality to see that one.

Create CD 6 as an”exurb.” (Merriam Webster, exurb: “a region … outside a city … inhabited chiefly by well-to-do families.”) That fits CD 6, based on Aurora, population one-third of a million? And well-to-do fits Aurora where about two-thirds of one district's elementary schools kids get free or reduced price school lunches?

Democrats played the odds in redistricting. Democratic governors picked most Colorado judges, including Bender. The Democrats knew “their” judges would likely decide congressional lines, and appeals would hit our Democratic-appointed Supreme Court, characterized as among America's most partisan Supreme Courts.

Dem Sen. John Morse said the “court ought to be able to consider whatever…” when Democrats struck legal protections against a court run amok. The trial court simply followed Morse's rule and made up, ably assisted by counsel for the Democrats, “whatever” hokey-smokey reasons for adopting the Democrat's plan that tickled it.

So, hail to Chief Justice Bender. If we're gonna get snookered, at least we can laugh about it.

[The decision: courts.state.go.us/courts/supreme_court/opinions/2011/11sc842.pdf]

Dave Diepenbrock


WELLINGTON WEBB: Secret Special Interest Money In Reapportionment Is “Democracy In Action”

Former Denver Mayor and lover of false accusations of racism, Wellington Webb, did a bang-up job of making a fool of himself on the Reapportionment Commission. Between making up prison populations out of thin air and calling major Democrat donor Mario Carrera "an honest broker" between Republicans and Democrats on the Commission, Webb didn't come across as the sharpest tool in the shed.

Now in an article examining reapportionment and redistricting by ProPublica, a left-leaning investigative journalism group, Webb takes the cake for dumbest comment of the month.

In an article examining the web of secret donor money and hidden agendas behind the process of redrawing state and federal legislative lines, Webb tells the reporter that the whole process was "democracy in action."

From the article:

In January 2011, before the public process had started, The Foundation for the Future reported a $16,818 in-kind donation of "data, data use, and training" to a group called Colorado Long View. Matt Inzeo, the communications director for the Colorado Democratic party, described Colorado Long View as a Democratic-aligned nonprofit that worked on reapportionment. Inzeo said neither he nor state party chair Rick Palacio knew much about the group.  

Part of the power of using nonprofit groups for political action is the ability to conceal who is actually calling the shots. No one we contacted would say who was actually responsible for running Colorado Long View. Its current registered agent seems apt: It's "The Corporation Company." Kevin C. Paul, the Denver attorney who originally incorporated the group, said he was "honestly not sure" who is in charge of it. Attorneys Mark Grueskin, who worked with Democrats on redistricting, and Scott Martinez, who worked on redistricting and with Democrats on the reapportionment commission, would not comment. [Peak emphasis]

…The largest donor to Colorado Long View was the Colorado Education Association, the state's largest teachers' union, which gave $100,000 in October 2009 to a group called "Colorado's on the Move," which later changed its name to "Colorado Long View."

So a process bankrolled by a group whose own registered agent is left in the dark is somehow a model of democracy?

We wonder if Webb knows he comes across as an idiot and doesn't care, or worse, doesn't even know. 

Webb's fellow Democrat Reapportionment Commissioner, Arnold Salazar, estimates that 99.9% of the reapportionment testimony from the public was manufactured. 

Major Democrat donor and Reapportionment Commission Chairman Mario Carrera estimates at least 80% of the testimony was manufactured.

Democracy in action, right?

BS cries Republican Reapportionment Commissioner Mario Nicolais.

"I think it makes a mockery of the process," Nicolais told ProPublica. "It has nothing to do with actual communities and people, and it has everything to do with political parties and partisan performance. It's a sham."

Now we're not saying the Republicans were transparent and concerned with honest public testimony — it's a sham on both sides of the aisle.

But with all we know about how the process worked — run by outside political consultants funded by shadowy donors — is it too much to ask of the Commissioners to not continue lying through their teeth?

The lines are drawn. You can stop spinning, Wellington. Or have you been in politics so long that you can't tell a lie from the truth anymore?


T-GRAC: “I Agree” With Obama

Senate President Brandon Shaffer, affectionately known on these pages as T-GRAC, or The Guy Running Against Cory (Gardner), says he agreed with Obama's State of the Union speech last night in a fundraising email he just sent out. We call him T-GRAC because he stands no shot of winning his Congressional campaign, and with his latest Barry Obama Bear Hug that chance of victory went from zero to zilch.

To his credit, at least he didn’t ditch his day job in the Legislature to go see Obama’s speech like his fellow Congressional hopeful Sal Pace did.

Attaching your political horse to the cart of a President with a 39% approval rating in Colorado is not normally smart politics. If T-GRAC stayed in his current race in CD4, which has a 30 point advantage for Republicans in past partisan performance, that would be fine. He'd lose big, but at least he'd lose saying what he really means.

The rub in this is that T-GRAC has been polling in the vastly more competitive 6th Congressional district, looking at jumping ship towards a race that he might actually have a chance to win. CD6, after it was gerrymandered by the Democrats and their liberal lapdog judge, became a seat virtually split between Republicans, Democrats and Unaffiliated voters. 

If T-GRAC was going to move to CD6 he would probably be trying to downplay his ties to an unpopular President.

Should we take this as a sign that the polling didn't turn back positive numbers for T-GRAC?


BRANDON SHAFFER HATES US: Calls Colorado Peak Politics Liars, Then Proves Himself To Be One

In the latest InnerView in the Colorado Statesman, Senate President Brandon Shaffer calls Colorado Peak Politics liars…and then proves himself to be one. In the interview, definitely worth a read, Shaffer claims that the Peak "fabricates" everything we write about him, including his looking at switching to CD6. Three days after he threw out that accusation, The Denver Post reported he was polling in CD6. 

Thank you to the Colorado Statesman for making it abundantly clear that Brandon Shaffer is a liar, and a bad one at that.

Key 'graph (you can read more about Shaffer's thoughts on the Peak from the interview after the jump): 

Asked by The Statesman whether he had considered switching his campaign from the 4th District to the more competitive 6th District — the rumor was first reported a month ago by the conservative political blog Colorado Peak Politics, about which Shaffer said, “especially when they were talking about me, the stories that they were writing were pure fabrication” — Shaffer answered, “You know, just focus on the 4th.” Three days after Shaffer sat for the Statesman interview, The Denver Post reported that Shaffer was polling in the 6th District and weighing a run there against U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Aurora.


The state's longest running political weekly delivers a body blow to the state's highest ranking Democrat in his attempt to malign a blog. If he can't effectively derail our criticism, how in the hell will he deal with an actual political opponent?

No wonder Democrats screwed him in redistricting.

So, Brandon…everything we write about you is "pure fabrication"?

Are we magical conjurers of your attempt to jump Congressional races?

Did we fabricate you comparing yourself to a rape victim?

If so, then why did you call your analogy "insensitive and in poor taste"? We don't know politicians to apologize for things fabricated by blogs.

Did we fabricate Cory Gardner spanking you in fundraising, quarter after quarter?

Did we fabricate your campaign fundraising email that violates a Department of Defense directive about using your Navy photo for political gain? 

No, we didn't fabricate those things. We cited the source material — either mainstream media reports or your actual emails — and caught you making a fool of yourself.  

Brandon…let us offer you a bit of political advice (as it appears Craig Hughes isn't providing you with anything valuable in that department): When you want to rebut an attack that has its basis in your own words and actions you can't just call it a lie. You look like a fool because your criticism is empirically and undeniably not true. We aren't going to advise you how to respond, but we at least suggest to you that your current strategy is just not working. 

As we've said many a time on these pages…Brandon Shaffer, you are an embarrassment.  

P.S. 1+1 does not equal 3. No wonder you think you'd be a good fit in Congress. 

CS: Do you pay much attention to the political blogs?
BS: I try not to (laughs).

CS: There’s one in particular, a very conservative one, has kind of been on your case — the Colorado Peak Politics blog — can you ignore that kind of stuff?
BS: I try very hard to ignore it.

CS: Do you read it, though? Does your staff bring that stuff to your attention now and then?
BS: No. You know, I read it for a while. What I’ve found is there’s nothing — I have not seen anything that’s true. Sometimes you read Colorado Pols and, I mean, whatever the spin is on it, there’s a foundation of truth in what they’re saying. You look at the blog, The Spot (The Denver Post’s politics blog), there’s a true thing —

 CS: There are reporters writing that —
BS: I read, I was following Peak Politics for a while, but what I’d find is, especially when they were talking about me, the stories that they were writing were pure fabrication. And I got to a point where I decided that there’s no value there. So instead of getting sucked into that and letting that increase my blood pressure, it’d be healthier just to ignore it. People are going to say what they’re going to say. For me, I know as long as I’m being honest with myself and honest with people that I deal with, that’s the very best I can do.

 CS: Is it hard when people are critical?
BS: Yeah, yeah. I mean, look, I’ve been successful in school, I’ve been successful in the Navy, I was a successful lawyer, I think I’m a very successful legislator And it’s difficult when people, for other reasons, try to tarnish the track record.

CS: The blogs and social media and so forth really are part of the campaign landscape in a way that they weren’t, even, for instance, when first ran for office. Is that something that you need to keep aware of so that you can respond to, or do you have a campaign staffer checking Peak Politics now and then just in case there’s something to rebut?
BS: The first question is, is it something you need to be aware of? The answer is yes. I think the second question is —  

CS: — should you just ignore it?
BS: Should you allow that media — that medium to dictate to you your behavior actions? And I think the answer is no. You know, I think that at the end of the day the personal interaction will be much more influential to the outcome of the race. And, as long as I’m knocking on doors and meeting people, that’s the very most important thing that the campaign can do.

CS: But on like social media, you know not just one blog that seems to have it out for you —
BS: (Laughs.)

CS: — but everything else too — are you an avid Twitter user? Is that a way to keep in touch with folks?
BS: Yeah, I tweet. Ever since the new year, I’ve kind of slowed down a little bit.


GOVERNOR TO BE DETERMINED: A List of Hick’s Missing Issue Positions

As Governor Hickenlooper embarks on his new taxpayer funded polling operation “To Be Determined” listening tour, we think it's instructive to look at what issues Hick has already marked TBD. As a gubernatorial candidate Hick never really had to stick his neck out on any issues — why bother when running against Maes and Tancredo? 

But as Governor he's kept that TBD political persona intact to the point of believing it's ridiculous to even expect clearly articulated issue positions from him, the state's Chief Executive. 

When Tim Hoover of The Denver Post asked him about political players from left to right complaining about his TBD persona, Hick complained, saying "where is it in the rule book that you have to always take a side and be part of these divisional arguments?"

Where in the rule book? Umm…it's in the job description, your Excellency. 

“Rather than lead Colorado to economic prosperity, John Hickenlooper governs with his finger in the air to notice any changes in the political winds,” says Tyler Q. Houlton, President of Compass Colorado. “This is a governor who refuses to take a stand on every important and controversial issue.”

“To Be Determined is a perfect name for Hickenlooper’s gutless jobs plan – he simply doesn’t have one.”

To conservative commentator George Will, Hickenlooper declared that due to Colorado's political makeup, he didn't even have to wade into the big issues, saying "we are such a purple state, we can avoid the big fights."

That doesn't even make sense. If we're a competitive state, then that necessarily means we'll have more big fights, not less. 

On some of these issues, Hick made sure to avoid a determination before the sell by date, like Prop 103, while on others Hick waited until a position was safe before taking it, like supporting Tebow. 

1. Prop 103: Can you imagine a CEO not taking a position on their company's revenue stream? That's exactly what Hickenlooper did on Prop 103.

2. Olympics: A Blue Ribbon Commission must decide before Hickenlooper lets the "entrepreneurial spirit" dictate this decision…you know since so many entrepreneurs farm out decision making to committees. 

3. Redistricting: Hick was happy to let the courts decide this one, rather than wade in during the legislative session and force legislators, who are accountable to the people, to draw the lines.

4. Reapportionment: Like redistricting, Hick could have made a difference, preventing the process from devolving into a vindictive attack on GOP women and incumbent GOP legislators. Instead, he watched the process from the sidelines and only weighed in to lament what happened afterwards. 

5. Early Childhood Literacy: No position during his State of the State speech. Still waiting on "bipartisan legislation."

6. Drilling on Roan Plateau: For a Governor who likes to mention his oil and gas background quite often, it's strange he's avoided a position on an economic development issue that could make an enormous difference to a region of the state with unemployment surpassing 20% in some counties. 

7. Endorsing Obama: It's been 287 days since Obama filed for re-election. Hickenlooper has yet to endorse his campaign, and has said he doesn't plan on stumping for him in Colorado. 

8. Tebow as starting QB: When Hick invoked Tebow during his State of the State address, you'd think he was a fan all along. Not so. Asked by Eli Stokols of Fox 31 back in October about Tebow moving into the starting QB position, Hick hedged and said he supported whatever Coach Fox wanted. 

9. DPS endorsements: During the Denver school board elections, Hick went out of his way to praise a slate of candidates, but refused to endorse them. Observers wondered why he didn't have the guts, or intellectual honesty, to just come out and endorse. 

10. Dealing With Occupy Denver: After much public lamenting about a supposed lack of legal recourse, Hick eventually shut down the squatter camps, but not until Senator Greg Brophy and talk radio bludgeoned him into doing so

11. Bill to make it harder to amend the state constitution: During the last legislative session, Hickenlooper refused to weigh in on a bill that would have made it easier to amend the state constitution. As the leading spokesman for many a ballot initiative, it's something Hick has had plenty of time to consider his position on, yet he stayed silent. Shocking. 

12. Unionization of state employees: There was vague talk of changing outdated personnel rules during the State of the State, yet on a defining issue when it comes to state personnel, Hick has been nowhere. That may change soon, as we hear talk of bills designed to force him into a position.

13. PERA reform: While State Treasurer Walker Stapleton was forced to sue to try to figure out where the problems reside on this massive public pension boondoggle, Hick has been nowhere. 


QUID PRO CROW: Democrat Partisan ‘Hack’ Lawyer Hired By Mayor Michael Han(d)cock

Remember this scene from The Hangover?  

Ah yes, the quid pro crow.

Nobody does the quid pro quo quite like the Democrats here in Colorado, and boy did they pull a doozy when Denver Mayor Michael Han(d)cock appointed Scott Martinez, the partisan hack lawyer involved in reapportionment and redistricting, as Deputy City Attorney. 

After drawing the gerrymandered lines in Congressional redistricting and leading the legal fight to screw GOP women legislators in legislative reapportionment, Scott Martinez has been thanked with a cush government gig with Mayor Hancock. 

Speaker Frank McNulty had some particularly choice words regarding the appointment, telling The Denver Post:

"Mayor Hancock should hope that Scott Martinez brings a higher level of professionalism as a member of the city attorney's office than he displayed as a Democratic hack in the reapportionment process."

In announcing the hiring of Martinez, Hancock praised him as a "bold community organizer" and having "a fervor to help deliver a world class city where everyone matters."

Yes, because community organizers have been such a positively profound force on this country's economy…oh wait.

And we all know how hard Martinez worked to make sure "everyone matter[ed]" in reapportionment — that is only if you define "everyone" as liberal Democrats.

We're still waiting on the left to blast Hancock for appointing a partisan hack into a government job, as that has been a favored line of attack against Secretary of State Scott Gessler. 

But we won't hold our breath.

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