GOP’s choice: pay for year-round campaign or for oppressive government

Everyone knows that Republicans and Democrats hold fundamentally different views of government.

For Republicans, government is a necessary inconvenience that should be limited to a few essential functions like national defense, public safety, highways and public schools.  To Democrats, government is an essential service that should do all of the above, plus right every wrong, assist with every difficulty, and protect us from ourselves.

Our view of elections is consistent with our view of government.  After an election, Republicans want to get on with life and forget about elections until the next even-numbered year.  For Democrats (particularly the activist variety), government is life.  Planning for the next election begins as soon as the election watch party hangover wears off.

It’s no wonder Democrats are winning.  We all understand that an athlete or team that prepares year-round will win more often than its competitor that takes six months off.

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Colorado Republicans can’t govern unless we can win

Three months ago, the Republican Party in Colorado took its worst beating since before World War II.  Since then, rank-and-file Republicans have been asking, “Can we turn this around?” and “Are Colorado Republicans on the verge of becoming politically irrelevant?”

Colorado Republicans aren’t yet irrelevant, but from where we stand today, irrelevance is within view.  Anyone who says otherwise is ignoring hard facts.  That should make your blood run cold – even if you’re a Democrat – because states in which Republicans are a permanent minority tend to be fiscal basket-cases (see California, Illinois).

Our state’s leftward drift didn’t happen overnight, so turning it around will require persistence, patience and, most importantly, long-term commitment by everyone from grassroots activists and party leaders to financial supporters.

As chronicled in The Blueprint, Colorado Democrats began building their machine, combining a massive, ongoing infusion of money and an army of activists, back in 2004.

Back then, Democrats were sick of losing.  Bill Owens had broken their 24-year hold on the Governor’s office.  Republicans controlled both legislative chambers for more than 20 years, except for a one-vote Democrat majority in 2001-02.  Hank Brown and Ben Nighthorse Campbell (who switched parties after first being elected as a Democrat) were overwhelmingly popular U.S. Senators.

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We can all do better in 2019

It’s easy to be discouraged about the future of America, particularly if viewed through the lens of Facebook and Twitter or described by television talking heads who thrive on conflict apparently because doing so drives up ratings and online followers.

Ironically, Social media cultivates anti-social behavior because we all like to see ourselves as aspiring Rush Limbaughs or Rachel Maddows.  Incivility is rewarded by “likes” and “retweets.”  Reason and understanding, not so much.

Productive conversations do not take place on social media.  It’s difficult enough to have a reasoned online disagreement with someone you know, but the “audience factor” makes it worse because my “friends” disparage you and encourage me and vice versa.  Emboldened by cyber-separation, we throw spiteful jabs at each other using scornful rhetoric that most would recognize as unacceptable in polite society.

For 2019, let’s remember that each of us has an inherent right to his or her own thoughts and to express their opinions.  Our clever comeback probably isn’t so clever.

Proverbs reminds us, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

It’s encouraging that we still tend to behave cordially when we put down our devices and re-enter the real world of face-to-face interaction.  I am reminded of the goodness of my fellow Americans often when I simply hold the door open or show a small courtesy to someone at a store or on the sidewalk.  When meeting face-to-face, we still try to get along – and not only with people like ourselves.

Hundreds of miles away in cities where many doubtless hold opinions quite opposite of my own, people still appreciate courtesy and tend to respond in kind.  A sincere smile or “thank you” from a real person is far more valuable than a fleeting “like” from a “friend.”

We can all do better in 2019 if we put down our devices and re-engage with real, live humans.

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How Google invades our privacy & manipulates all of us

Federalist Radio Hour podcast recently interviewed Robert Epstein, who talked about how Google manipulates public opinion with its search engine results.

That interview included a reference to Epstein’s Seven Simple Steps to Online Privacy, which is a quick, priceless read that may cause you to re-think the way you use your phone, tablets, and computer browser.  If you happen to have Google Assistant, you may think seriously about destroying it immediately!

Keep in mind the maxim of the internet:  You’re either the consumer or the product, so if you’re getting something “for free,” then you’re the product being sold.

Republicans in Colorado face tough choices

This post also ran on ColoradoPolitics.com on Nov. 27.

Colorado’s 2018 midterm election was an across-the-board smackdown to Republicans.  Democrats won every statewide office for the first time in 80 years and gained their largest legislative majority since 1958.

In several local elections, voters rejected Republicans and chose Democrats who were either manifestly unqualified or incredibly outside the mainstream.

Shell-shocked Republicans are asking, “Want went wrong?”  The answers may not be what Republicans want to hear. (more…)

Media talking heads, get over yourselves!

If anyone in America has a bigger ego than President Trump, it’s surely someone in the media.

Maybe it’s CNN’s Jim Acosta, but he certainly gets a run for his money from MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and the editorial boards of the Washington Post and New York Times.

A foreign correspondent once described the White House press corps as “the most arrogant, obnoxious group of people,” calling them “opportunistic, rude, really self-centered.”  And that was during the Obama administration when they were comparatively well-behaved. (more…)

How I will vote on Colorado ballot questions

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS (need 55% to pass) 

Amendment V: Lower Age Requirement for State Legislature

NO.  Would lower the minimum age for state lawmakers from 25 to 21. I was 31 when first elected to the Colorado Senate.  I’m now 51 and recognize what I didn’t know 20 years ago.  The last thing we need is laws made by inexperienced kids freshly indoctrinated by college professors. (more…)

We can agree: Yes on Amendments Y&Z

Every 10 years, Colorado must redraw the boundaries of congressional and state legislative district lines to ensure equal population.  And every 10 years, Republicans and Democrats wind up in a costly court battle asking a judge to settle their differences.

Our process for drawing maps is broken.  Amendments Y&Z would replace that broken process with a new 12-member commission that assures equal representation to Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.

I’ve been a part of both processes, and here’s what I know from experience:

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Polis’ health care promises don’t add up

Like so many Bernie Sanders Democrats, governor candidate Jared Polis keeps making promises about health care that aren’t backed up basic math.  Recall that the Boulder congressman wants to put all Coloradans on Medicare, except that wealthy Coloradans (like Polis) can always buy their way into a better, private system.

This is the mantra that today animates the progressive/socialist wing of the Democratic Party.  Never mind that Canada, where government provides “health care for all,” just set a new record for longest delays as sick patients die while waiting for treatment.

How does Polis propose to pay for this new entitlement which would more than double the cost of state government?  Unlike socialist darling Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, Polis knows better than to pretend that he can make the numbers add up because they don’t.

While Ocasio-Cortez pretends that $2 trillion in tax hikes will cover $40 trillion in new spending, Polis relies on platitudes, as if certain incantations will magically produce savings if repeated incessantly.

For example, look at what Polis told Westword on “How He’d Implement Universal Care in Colorado.” (more…)