Abortion bill illustrates growing polarization of Colorado politics

Democrats at the state legislature made a remarkable choice in recent weeks to burnish their “reproductive rights” bona fides by passing a bill that stakes out perhaps the most extreme position possible on abortion by explicitly depriving an unborn child of any legal rights whatsoever until the moment after birth.

A premature over-reaction to fears that the U.S. Supreme Court may strike down Roe v. Wade, the bill strangely ignores Colorado’s history as one of the most permissive in the nation on abortion.  In 1967 – six years before Roe – Colorado became the first state to union to make abortion legal.  If Roe falls, abortion won’t become illegal.  Instead, Colorado law will govern here.

Even without House Bill 1279, which Governor Polis will sign, Colorado is one of only a few states that puts no restrictions on when a woman may have an abortion.  Since 2000, Colorado voters have rejected multiple pro-life ballot measures ranging from restrictions on late-term abortions to giving full legal rights to an unborn child. (more…)

History backs Lincoln’s role as pioneer for racial equality

Nearly 160 years after Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, his place in history as “The Great Emancipator” of black slaves is firmly established.  Nevertheless, a defense of Lincoln is a required response to the fallacy-ridden 1619 Project in which the New York Times seeks to rewrite American history through a racist lens.

In 1620: A Critical Response to the 1619 Project, Peter W. Wood performs documented research that 1619 neglected by citing no sources and providing no footnotes or bibliography.  Readers of 1619, including school children who find its “curriculum” woven into their classrooms, are expected to accept this wholly-biased account on faith.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, lead author of 1619, claims Lincoln was a racist.  She arrives here, Wood writes, not through intense scholarly research, but because in high school she became enamored with the writing of Lerone Bennett Jr., an editor at Ebony magazine who wrote an article titled, “Was Abe Lincoln a White Supremacist?”

Her evidence is Lincoln’s August 1862 meeting with five black leaders in which he discussed shipping freed slaves out of the country. (more…)

Let’s be honest about our elections – and fix them

Confidence in elections is paramount to our system of self-government.  Those we elect have an obligation to work together to build security and transparency in those elections.

Today, both parties are largely failing that test.

After the 2020 election, President Trump’s falsehoods about a “stolen election” set the stage for him to agitate a crowd that gathered on Jan. 6 to “fight like hell” or “you’re not going to have a country anymore.”  At least several hundred demonstrators took those words seriously and broke into the U.S. Capitol intent on disrupting certification of electoral votes.

Remarkably, after justly criticizing Trump’s rhetoric, Democrats are now copying his playbook.  They claim future elections won’t be legitimate unless Democrats pass radical legislation to usurp state control of elections and concentrate still more power in Washington – epicenter of dysfunctional government.

As their public support collapses, President Biden, Sen. Chuck Schumer and other Democrats proclaim that if Republicans win in 2022, “it could be the last election.” (more…)

Indian mascot ban causes needless harm to two tiny schools

Like a demolition team swinging a sledgehammer, legislators intent on purging Native American mascots from Colorado schools smashed their opposition with little consideration of the wreckage they were creating.  So certain of the righteousness of their cause, they denied even mere consideration to the communities upon which they imposed their will.

Two of Colorado’s smallest districts – Arickaree (103 students) and Mountain Valley (153 students) – are being severely harmed by this legislation which isn’t just about mascots but instead prohibits any sort of Native American imagery “used as a mascot, nickname, logo, letterhead or team name” by a school.

Surrounded by prairie and farmland on the plains of Washington County, Arickaree School is one of Colorado’s few remaining country schools, located between Cope (population 230) and Anton (155).

Arickaree derives its name from the Arikaree River, which begins near Cope and was named for the Arikara tribe.  Given its location and history, it’s hardly surprising that the community selected “Indians” as the name for school teams.  Critics could just as easily argue that ignoring the area’s Indian heritage – by changing the name to, say, Arickaree Guardians – would be disrespectful, too. (more…)

Republicans must face the truth about 2020 and move on

Republicans must confront the “elephant in the room” – former President Trump’s persistent claims that the 2020 election was stolen.  Many Republicans believe him.  Most Americans do not.

Trump recently said Republicans “will not be voting in ’22 or ‘24” unless the “Election Fraud of 2020” is “solved.”  Democrats laughed and cheered!  They know the one thing that can rescue them from the growing anti-Biden backlash is Republicans foolishly sitting out elections.

All election complaints are not created equal, so let’s consider them on their own merits. (more…)

9/11 taught us lasting lessons in courage, vigilance and humility

On Sept. 11, 2001, Islamic terrorists on a murder-suicide mission flew commercial airliners into the two World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington.  A fourth crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

The attacks against our country unified Americans in a sense that’s almost inconceivable today.  Together, we mourned the 2,600 people killed in the collapse of the twin towers and were horrified to watch many leap to their deaths to escape the inferno.

We celebrated the courage of the emergency workers who rushed into the burning towers to save lives, and we grieved for 400 who died while bravely working to save others.

We admired the selfless courage of the passengers on United Flight 93 who, having learned that other planes had been crashed into buildings, confronted their hijackers, resulting in their plane ultimately crashing in a Pennsylvania field killing those on board but not killing hundreds more at the U.S. Capitol, its intended target.

Today, nearly one in three Americans has only a textbook knowledge of that day.  Either they were not yet born or were too young to remember it.  They should learn from us that  9/11 was a tragedy that pulled Americans together and often brought out the best in us. (more…)

Afghanistan debacle will haunt U.S.

New presidents often find themselves tested early in their administration; their performance is revealing to allies and enemies alike.

JFK’s failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba and subsequent summit with Soviet premier Nikita Kruschev, about which Kennedy remarked, “He just beat the hell out of me!” led the Russians to believe they could place nuclear missiles in Cuba.  The ensuing Cuban missile crisis brought the USA and USSR to the brink of nuclear war.

By contrast, Ronald Reagan’s firing of 11,000 air traffic controllers who illegally went on strike eight months into his first term indicated to the Soviets that he should be taken seriously, a fact noted by Democrat Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill after a visit to Russia.

It’s hard to imagine a failure more completely self-inflicted than President Biden’s botched withdrawal of Americans from Afghanistan. (more…)

Democrats will celebrate – and win – if Colorado GOP snubs unaffiliated voters

Elections are about addition.

In Colorado, neither Republicans nor Democrats can win an election purely by turning out their own base.  To win, each party must add to its own turnout by persuading voters who are unaffiliated, members of “minor” parties or disaffected members of the rival major party.

Consider the share of ballots cast by Republicans and Democrats in the past three general elections:

  • In 2016, Republicans cast 33.4% of all ballots to Democrats’ 32.7%.
  • In 2018, Republicans trailed 31%-33%.
  • In 2020, Republicans trailed 29%-31%.

In the last two elections, Republicans running statewide have started with a turnout deficit, so they needed to persuade more unaffiliated voters than did their Democrat opponents.  But instead of improving their strategy to win the hearts and minds of unaffiliated votes (UAVs), Republicans have been falling further behind.  Barack Obama won 60% of UAVs in 2012; Hillary Clinton won 62% in 2016; Jared Polis won 65% of UAVs in 2018; and Joe Biden won 65% of UAVs in 2020. (more…)

Progressive Dems dare Colorado voters to hold them accountable

Governor Jared Polis and Progressive Democrat majorities at the State Capitol have spent the past three years ignoring clearly-expressed voices of Colorado voters on tax and economic issues.  In fact, Progressive Democrats’ disregard for many of the same voters who elected them has become so brazen that they seem to be daring voters to hold them accountable.

With commanding majorities of 41-24 in the House of Representatives and 20-15 in the state Senate, it’s understandable that Democrats are developing a sense of invincibility.

However, it remains to be seen if the Democrats’ recent surge – in 2017, they held a 34-31 margin in the House, while Republicans had an 18-17 majority in the Senate – is due to their own popularity or because Donald Trump irritated many Colorado voters. (more…)

No help for you! Legislators target employers for even more lawsuits

When the Colorado General Assembly adjourned on June 8, small-business owners and job creators breathed a collective sigh of relief.

After suffering through COVID-related restrictions and closures for most of the previous 12 months, employers were hopeful that legislators would join in their efforts to help get the economy back on its feet.

Maybe legislators in another state, but not in Colorado in 2021. (more…)