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Mike Littwin, Colorado syndicated columnist

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Mike Littwin: Poor Jeb

Jeb Bush didn’t fare well at the Boulder GOP debate. Does that mean it’s farewell?

Mike Littwin: Hillary shined, Bernie fought, and the rest were not so good

In the end, it seemed too easy. Hillary Clinton didn’t just win the first Democratic debate. She pretty much eliminated — for her purposes, anyway — the need for any others.

Mike Littwin: Hillary Clinton blasts gun-violence, forcing the debate in 2016

Hillary Clinton’s gun-control plan has guaranteed that gun violence, and how or whether to address it, will play a central role in the 2016 election.

Mike Littwin: Scott Walker couldn’t keep up with the bigots

Was Scott Walker not crazy enough to compete in the GOP primary?

Mike Littwin: Trump towers but stumbles; Fiorina wins GOP debate

During Wednesday night’s CNN GOP debate, all eyes were on the Donald — who failed to deliver coherent policies but promised America “more of everything.” Despite Trump’s not quite “braggadocious” performance, Carly Fiorina dominated.

Mike Littwin: Bennet votes for Iran deal after slogging toward a lose-lose decision

Sen. Michael Bennet dodged announcing his decision on the Iran-nuclear deal, trying to draw attention away from his guaranteed lose-lose vote. But the outcome seemed obvious from the start: He voted with the President.

Mike Littwin: Is the Colorado GOP afraid of its own base?

Maybe it’s just a coincidence, but in the year in which small-d democracy — for both good and ill — has taken over the presidential season, the Colorado Republican establishment has chosen to opt out of the process. If there’s a fever out there — and there undoubtedly is — the typically anti-vax Republicans have gone full immunization protocol to combat it.

Mike Littwin: Donald Trump’s immigration bomb

Donald Trump’s new immigration plan is a threat to the GOP, the Donald himself and the limits of reality.

Mike Littwin: Let Colorado’s death penalty conversation begin

James Holmes’ sentence of life in prison without parole should bring new energy into Colorado’s capital punishment debate. What should have been obvious to everyone from the start of the Aurora theater trial was that no good ending was possible.

Mike Littwin: After the Lafayette shooting the jury is still out on us

We have shootings in schools, in churches, in theaters, at Navy Yards, at Marine recruiting stations, and each time we wonder how it could happen

Mike Littwin: Donald Trump’s spectacular implosion

If you were worried that the Donald’s inevitable implosion wouldn’t be wildly spectacular, you can put your mind at ease. Give the guy some credit.

Mike Littwin: Sanders and Trump: Blockbusters of the 2016 presidential race

Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are the two biggest stories of the 2016 election, but for very different reasons.

Mike Littwin: DougCo’s dodgy voucher plan boosts religious recruitment, not public education

Religious schools throughout Douglas County might be unhappy with the state Supreme Court ruling knocking down the dodgy DougCo voucher plan. But, the national voucher-movement people who are pushing the lawsuit must be thrilled with the ruling against them. The way for them to win is by losing, at least in this round. Winning in Colorado would be small stakes. Winning at the U.S. Supreme Court level, which is where this case may be headed, could be transformational.

Mike Littwin: Charleston's not the last place; this is not the last time

How have the many years of a society dealing with its racist history come to this? How does this level of racist hatred still exist?

Mike Littwin: Ellen Roberts' abortion fib grenades Senate run

You can apparently be a moderate Republican and win a state Senate seat in Durango. But you can't be pro-choice and win a U.S. Senate nomination in Colorado.

Mike Littwin: GOP needs another Gardner; Coffman wasn't it

This is the situation in which the Colorado GOP finds itself: They have no more Cory Gardners to come to the rescue.

Clinton swims in scandal, but she never seems to drown

From Vince Foster to Benghazi to foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation, surely some scandal might stick. But voters are used to the brouhaha, and they just don’t seem that shocked.

Mike Littwin: The death penalty's dying breaths, even in Nebraska

The only thing certain is the uncertainty. And the death penalty — the ultimate penalty — cannot survive without certainty. It's built on it.

Mike Littwin: Did someone say Huckabee?

Four years ago at around this time, I wrote that none of the candidates in the race could possibly win the Republican nomination, even though I, and everyone else, knew Mitt Romney would.

Mike Littwin: Seeing and unseeing Freddie Gray's Sandtown

The question of what happened to Freddie Gray will, with luck, eventually be answered in court. And although it's a critically important question, it's not the only one.

Mike Littwin: A pretty big deal

Barack Obama took to the Rose Garden to call the nuclear deal with Iran "good," which was just the restrained language he needed, although he also called it "historic." A deal with Iran — a successful deal, anyway — would be Obama's greatest foreign policy achievement. But it was not the time to oversell. It was not — in one enduring lesson of Iraq — the time to claim any missions had been accomplished.

Mike Littwin: Aw-shucks, America

Indiana governor and likely Republican presidential candidate Mike Pence is shocked (shocked!) to discover the pandering anti-gay law he signed is abhorrent to much of the country.

Mike Littwin: Ted Cruz for president, because he seems just like a Republican primary voter

As Ted Cruz took the stage at Liberty University to announce that he's running for president as the One True Conservative, it suddenly occurred to me that he actually has a chance to pull it off.

Mike Littwin: Still tilting at Obamacare, as the numbers pile up

You don't have be a mathematician, or a scientist, to understand the numbers. Any way you add them up, it looks as if Obamacare is actually working.

Mike Littwin: Bumbling GOP senators now negotiating with Iran to defeat Obama

You've seen the letter by now, or at least heard about it, the one sent from the GOP's Tehran 47 to the Iranian mullahs.

Mike Littwin: Alabama, keep your head

OK, no one can be surprised that it's Alabama. Wasn't it always Alabama? And no one can be surprised that it's Justice Roy Moore playing the role of George Wallace — or, actually, just playing the role of Justice Roy Moore, the Ten Commandments judge himself.

Mike Littwin: Gun Day Monday at the Capitol, loopy but calm

It was Gun Day Monday at the state legislature, where seven gun bills — all proposed by Republicans — were up for debate. The testimony either broke your heart or made your head pound and, either way, had to make you wonder how we ever got to this place.

Mike Littwin: Help wanted in Hillaryland

The unannounced 2016 Democratic Party frontrunner needs a running mate who isn't at all like Hillary Clinton.

Mike Littwin: Someone else, please, in 2016

There are many things in life I don't pretend to understand. Accretion discs. Dynamic scoring. Adam Sandler. But I've always had a pretty good handle on politics. For one thing, it's not that complicated. And for another, when I get confused, there's always Nate Silver to straighten me out.

Mike Littwin: Now that's blasphemy

We can, and do, all agree that the murders in Paris were horrific. But we don't have to agree on Charlie Hebdo.

Mike Littwin: We're having the race conversation

If you believe the polls, or watch cable TV news, you may be halfway convinced that race relations in America have somehow grown worse during the tenure of the first black president.

Mike Littwin: The CIA's horrible, ineffective, criminal torture and lies

Mark Udall promised that people would be "disgusted," "appalled" and "shocked" by the CIA torture report that he had pushed so hard to have released. He could have added "ashamed" and “disturbed" and "revolted."

Mike Littwin: Until the fire next time

The armored cars were rolling, the Walgreens was burning, the tear gas was flying, the glass everywhere was shattering. And every bit of it — every good-on-TV moment of it — was entirely predictable.

Mike Littwin: Obama rides high atop the Republican wave

The strangest thing has happened. As everyone knows, Barack Obama's world turned upside down on Nov. 4. But then came the unexpected: The world kept spinning until, eventually, Obama somehow found himself on top. If history is any guide, Obama may not stay there for long. But in what should be the afterglow of the Republicans' huge midterm victory, the news instead is all about Obama. And some of it, shockingly, is even good.

Mike Littwin: A Republican wave, a Democratic disaster and a mystery

What we know is that Election 2014 was a Democratic disaster, and nothing less than that. Yes, there was talk of a possible national Republican wave, but this was not a wave. This was more an unforeseen storm that seemed to have swept through Colorado on its way through much of the nation.

Mike Littwin: Ladies and gentleman, Not-Wingnut Bob for governor

Bob Beauprez is not Tom Tancredo. That's the whole reason Republicans nominated him to run for governor. That's the reason he was recruited. The plan was that enough voters would overlook the fact that he had lost by 17 points the last time he ran for governor because, at minimum, they figured he wouldn't be a Tancredo-like distraction. And it worked. He won the primary.

Mike Littwin: Karl Rove's sad, mad, pretend JeffCo coffee klatchers

It's no mystery why Republicans keep losing the women's vote in Colorado (personhood/abortion/birth control). But if you're even slightly confused, come with me for a trip into the magical world of Karl Rove via his Crossroads GPS way-way-back machine.

Mike Littwin: Committed to winning the war on terror, in the same old way

It was sad to watch, but, I guess, inevitable. In delivering a strong and decisive speech on how to deal with the ISIS threat, Barack Obama resoundingly answered his critics — by sounding just like them. As Philip Gourevitch points out in the New Yorker, every American president over the last 25 years — Bush the Elder, Clinton, Bush II, and now Obama — has eventually gone on TV to announce his decision to bomb Iraq.

Mike Littwin: Winning the debate, losing the fight

Gardner hit Udall repeatedly on his proximity to the president and Obamacare, but what if the election is about more than that?

Mike Littwin: So much money, so little speech

This may be the year in which we finally say enough is enough. (Actually, it won't be. But if you buy the premise, you buy the bit.)

Mike Littwin: Death penalty politics, gutsy and easy

The death penalty story is back. Gov. John Hickenlooper and Complete Colorado joined forces — sort of — to once again put the issue front and center in the governor's race. Hickenlooper's part was in giving a clumsy answer to a hypothetical question about Nathan Dunlap in a not-yet-aired CNN interview on capital punishment. And Complete Colorado — a conservative website — was the one that got hold of the unreleased audio featuring the clumsy answer.

Mike Littwin: Making a Fallujah of Ferguson

Ten days after Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen, was shot and killed by a white cop, the problem in Ferguson, Missouri, is pretty clear. The people doing the protesting don’t trust the police. And the police seem intent on showing that the protesters are right — that there’s no reason at all anyone should trust them.

Mike Littwin: We're bombing, again. What could go wrong?

As we begin dropping bombs in Iraq once again, the one thing we don't ask ourselves is this: What could go wrong? Where to begin?

Mike Littwin: Lucky John got the deal done

In crafting a last-minute fracking compromise, Hickenlooper may not have pulled off the impossible, but he definitely produced the unlikely. He had gotten the center to hold, and Hickenlooper will tell you that when the center holds, all else is right in his world.

Mike Littwin: Mr. Attorney General, the gay marriage ship has sailed

What in the name of fundamental rights is Colorado AG John Suthers thinking?

In case you missed it, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Virginia's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. Yes, it's big news, but it's not exactly groundbreaking news. Not any more. Maybe not ever again.

Mike Littwin: Ted Cruz's humanitarian crisis

Ted Cruz nearly had me. I went to see the Texas senator at the Western Conservative Summit because I have a soft spot for troublemakers, particularly smart ones, and Cruz is definitely both. He's the guy hardly anyone likes who is considering running for president. No one has pulled that off since Nixon, and we know how that turned out. Sure I had to see him.

Mike Littwin: A humanitarian crisis that brings out the worst in us

There is a rush to send the children back. That’s the message we get from Washington. There are 50,000 unaccompanied minors at the border now. The number may grow to as many as 90,000 by year’s end. It doesn’t seem to matter so much why they came here, just so long as they go.

Mike Littwin: Gardner in Hobby Lobby land

There seems to be some disagreement about how the Hobby Lobby ruling will play out politically on the national stage. But there's no question here in Colorado.

Mike Littwin: Tancredo on his knees

It may not have been much of a win for Bob Beauprez, but it was a huge victory for Colorado Republicans. For establishment Republicans — and, by a quick look at the numbers, a lot of other Republicans, too — it didn't really matter who won the race for governor. All that mattered was that Tom Tancredo lost.

Mike Littwin: A state GOP dedicated to strange

The strangest thing about the GOP four-way governor's primary is that it's as if 2010 — officially the strangest run for governor in modern Colorado history — never had happened.

Mike Littwin: Colorado is not Kentucky

The news is now official. The Obama administration has proposed new rules that will reduce carbon emissions significantly, with coal-producing power plants clearly the big loser. The question is: Who will be the winner?

Mike Littwin: The elephant not in the room

It was, once again, a headline-free Republican primary debate, meaning that the winner was, once again, Tom Tancredo. Bob Beauprez was folksy. Mike Kopp was heavy on family and resume. In the very conservative crowd, Scott Gessler was the closest thing — and yet, not close at all — to a moderate. None of them did or said anything to boost their chance of winning.

Mike Littwin: The real climate hoax

I always used to feel uncomfortable writing about climate change because I don't really know much about it. But it turns out, I had it all wrong. When discussing climate change, ignorance is apparently the default position. And that's where I discovered I had the advantage: At least I know that I know nothing. And that little piece of knowledge puts me far ahead of the non-scientists who pretend that they know more.

Mike Littwin: The big drilling bill, stalled

The big news out of the Legislature is that the would-be fracking compromise bill is dead, a victim of bad clock management. The bill had to be introduced by Monday to have any chance of being done by Wednesday, the last day of the session. But of course, it was too late in the session to get such a complicated bill passed. If the Democrats had the votes — and I don't think they did — the Republicans would have countered a last-minute Democratic cram-down with an end-of-session slow-down, which would have put the kibosh on about 100 bills that still are pending.

Littwin: Too big to dog whistle

NBA commissioner Adam Silver gave a seminar in crisis management, after which nearly everyone agreed he had done the bold and courageous and, most important, the right thing in banning the racist lecher Donald Sterling and setting up the process by which he'll almost certainly be tossed from the league.

Mike Littwin: The rise and fall of labor after Ludlow

Sometimes history, even the most awful history, can be summed up in a remarkably few words. On the day of April 20, 1914, the Colorado National Guard exchanged fire with 1,000 striking mine workers and their families in a makeshift tent city in Ludlow. No one is certain who fired the first shot, but the fighting would continue throughout the day.


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