Reagan: When Character Was King

February 6 marks the birthday of Ronald Reagan, who 44 years ago won the New Hampshire Republican presidential primary, vaulting him on a path to the 1980 nomination and a landslide victory over President Jimmy Carter.

The last presidential candidate to largely unite the country, Reagan defeated Carter 489-49 in the Electoral College and 51%-41% in the popular vote.  Four years later, he won 49 states and 59% of the popular vote.

Reagan “rose from the ashes” of Barry Goldwater’s 1964 presidential campaign thanks to his “A Time for Choosing” speech, writes Peggy Noonan in her Reagan biography, When Character Was King.  Goldwater could define what conservatism was against, but “Reagan could define it by what it was for: for greater individual authority and freedom, for the right to hold on to more of your wages, for defending democracy against totalitarians.”

First elected California governor in 1966, Reagan carried 57% of voters against incumbent Gov. Pat Brown who complained that Reagan voters were extremists.  Instead, Reagan’s support “came from middle-of-the-road voters in both parties,” Noonan writes. “They were tired of high taxes, tired of college upheaval spreading across the university system.”

Reagan called his win, “A rebellion of ordinary people.” (more…)

CD4 voters shouldn’t adopt Boebert and her baggage

Colorado’s Fourth Congressional District has produced some of the finest Republican leaders in our state’s recent history.

  • Decorated for his Navy combat duty in Vietnam, Greeley’s Hank Brown represented CD4 for 10 years before his election to the U.S. Senate. He later served as president of University of Colorado and the Daniels Fund.
  • Wayne Allard won two terms in the U.S. Senate after representing CD4 for six years. The Fort Collins veterinarian defined the role of a low-key politician, often described as “a workhorse, not a show horse.”
  • Yuma native Cory Gardner ousted Democrat Betsy Markey to win his first of three terms in Congress. The most recent Republican to win a significant statewide office, he toppled incumbent Mark Udall for U.S. Senate in 2014.

Bob Schaffer (Fort Collins), Marilyn Musgrave (Fort Morgan), and Ken Buck (Greeley) also did the essential, often-unglamorous work of serving their constituents.  Each had a demonstrable record of service to the district before running for Congress.

Now consider Rep. Lauren Boebert, who currently represents the Western Slope, San Luis Valley and Pueblo in the Third Congressional District but plans to seek election this fall in CD4 while collecting a paycheck “representing” CD3.

I’m not a frequent Boebert critic, but this decision reveals an irresponsibly self-centered approach to a serious job.  Too many politicians of both parties now confuse serving in Congress with starring in a reality TV show. (more…)

Legislators need a lawsuit diet

Businesses that fuel Colorado’s economic engine can’t be blamed for cringing at the specter of the Colorado legislature’s return this month.  Plaintiffs lawyers, however, are not cringing.  Instead, the people who pay to put their faces on billboards along our busiest highways are licking their chops.

Last year, lawmakers went on a lawsuit binge, introducing a record 25 bills that used private lawsuits for enforcement, rather than entrusting enforcement to a government agency.  According to the Common Sense Institute, 43 similar bills have been introduced since 2019.

Using litigation for enforcement violates the constitutional separation of powers.  As most of us learned in school, the legislative branch writes the laws, the executive branch enforces the law, and the judicial branch applies or interprets the law.  Enforcement agencies are accountable to our elected officials; that’s why enforcement of state laws is typically their responsibility.  Billboard lawyers, by contrast, are accountable to no one except their clients, and both are given an incentive to sue by this misguided legislation.

Lawsuits should be a last resort, used when all other options are exhausted.  Instead, private lawsuits make litigation a primary means of enforcement.  A business owner’s first formal notification of a complaint shouldn’t be when served with a lawsuit. (more…)

What if Biden bows out?

For all the talk about President Biden’s determination to seek a second term, the case against him doing so is building.  Numerous polls now show him decisively trailing former President Trump, both nationwide and in key battleground states.

Overwhelmingly Americans realize Biden is too old and no longer competent to be President.  By only slightly smaller margins they feel the same about Trump.

In a recent story which attempted to portray a viable strategy for Biden’s re-election, Politico’s Jonathan Martin acknowledged: “The oldest president in history when he first took the oath, Biden will not be able to govern in the manner of previous incumbents.  He simply does not have the capacity to do it, and his staff doesn’t trust him to even try, as they make clear by blocking him from the press.” (more…)

Israel, Gaza and genocide

To realize that “the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked” one need only look at the anti-Israel protests around the world since Hamas terrorists murdered some 1,400 civilians and kidnapped 200 others.

The horrific acts include:

  • More than 260 people concert-goers gunned down as they fled marauding butchers. Women were raped, their legs broken, some burned alive.
  • A grandmother taken hostage was executed by terrorists who filmed her murder then posted it to her social media account for her family to see.
  • Traffic and dashboard cameras, plus videos boastfully recorded by the bloodthirsty attackers, shows them indiscriminately shooting and torturing civilians. Some, including children, were decapitated with shovels or rakes.
  • A father was blown to bits by a grenade as his sons watched. A parent and child were bound together with wire and burned alive.

(more…)

Even if Prop HH passes, property taxes are still going up

We didn’t need an election this November to receive a modest property tax reduction.  The legislature can cut taxes anytime; it doesn’t need voter approval.

But with Coloradans facing the largest property tax increase of our lifetime due to soaring home prices, the legislature chose to put a massive expansion of government on the ballot disguised as a property tax cut.

Remember this: even if Proposition HH passes, property taxes will still increase.  If property values double in the next 10 years, so will property taxes.

The deceptive ballot question asks: “Shall the state reduce property taxes for homes and businesses…”  That sounds good, so voters may not read much further.  Even if they do, the ballot never explains voting “yes” is agreeing to give up refunds under the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR) and to permanently increase the cost of state government.

Voters are facing an average increase in home property taxes of 36% come next January.  In some communities, the increase could be nearly 50%.  If Prop HH passes, the average increase will be 26% – still the largest property tax increase of our lifetime. (more…)

We deserve a fair election in 2024, not one tainted by lawsuits

Six Coloradans, including four Republicans, aided by a national leftwing activist group recently filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court, seeking to compel Secretary of State Jena Griswold to disqualify Donald Trump from Colorado’s presidential primary ballot.

The lawsuit is a meritless legal ploy which rivals John Eastman’s hare-brained scheme to hijack the Electoral College for Trump’s benefit.  It should be summarily dismissed.

In today’s political climate, too many activists believe the ends justify the means, especially where Donald Trump is involved.  But the right to due process applies even to murderers and rapists so it surely applies Donald Trump, too.

As a Republican who desperately wants my party to end its cultish relationship with the 45th President, I know that legal shenanigans only tighten Trump’s parasitic grip on a large segment of the GOP. (more…)

Disciplined leaders can avoid legislative chaos

For the first time I can recall, this year’s session of the Colorado General Assembly concluded with frenzy and confusion more typical of what we see in Washington, D.C., than what’s expected of our citizen legislature.

It’s not unusual for a few complicated bills to linger until the waning hours.  However, this year’s 120-day session ended on Monday, May 8, with these ignominious developments:

  • On Day 117, still 156 bills – one-quarter of the 617 introduced since Jan. 9 – remained unresolved. With just two weeks to go, 335 bills were still in limbo.
  • A bill affecting all Colorado taxpayers was unveiled barely 2½ days before the session ended and heard in committee that same day – before it was available to the public. Committee hearings are intended to allow public comment, but only two people, a consultant who helped write the bill and a veteran lobbyist, testified in committee on Sunday.
  • Yes, the House and Senate were in session on Sunday – the first time the Senate conducted the public’s business on a Sunday since 1939.

This is not a partisan critique to suggest that Democrats cannot conduct business in an orderly fashion.  To the contrary for four years (2005-2008), Democrats managed the calendar well enough to adjourn early.  Those Democrats could certainly offer pointers to current leaders. (more…)

Patience & respect are essential to debating difficult issues

For the past two weeks, Democrats and Republicans have engaged in a test of wills in the Colorado House of Representatives.  Democrats are using their 46-19 majority to pass bills which they consider essential to address shootings in public places and to establish Colorado as a regional refuge for “reproductive health care.”

Republicans know they cannot stop these bills, but because they view them as a threat to citizens’ constitutional freedoms, they have chosen to inconvenience the majority by filibustering these controversial bills.

Filibustering – making prolonged speeches to delay legislative action – is not easy.  If you don’t believe me, try talking non-stop in front of a crowd for an hour.  It’s even harder under legislative rules which require comments to pertain to the bill; reading weather forecasts is not allowed. (more…)

Lawsuits should be last resort toward accessibility

State Rep. David Ortiz (D-Littleton) makes a compelling advocate for the rights and struggles of disabled Coloradans.

“I lived 30 years as an able-bodied leg-walker, a five-minute-mile running, hard-charging combat aviator – until a crash in Afghanistan left me paralyzed from the waist down,” he told the House Judiciary Committee.

He understandably views himself as the unofficial representative of the disabled community and fashions his legislative agenda with that constituency in mind.  So, it follows that he would sponsor legislation intended to overcome barriers to accessibility.

His House Bill 1032 would change Colorado law to specifically allow lawsuits regarding disability access violations to seek “emotional distress” damages of up to $642,180 and to require defendants to pay attorney fees and costs for prevailing plaintiffs.

“Any time I encounter a staircase, a way that the world is inaccessible, those are (emotional) damages I should be entitled to when it is blatant, when it is obvious,” Ortiz said.

That’s where Coloradans who have defended against disability lawsuits cry foul.  HB 1032 doesn’t increase damages only in cases in which violations are “blatant” or “obvious.”  It creates a six-figure incentive to litigate accessibility problems rather than resolve them.  Even the bill’s supporters acknowledge that lawsuits typically take two years to resolve. (more…)