April 23, 2014
Mike Littwin, Colorado syndicated columnist
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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.
We can, and do, all agree that the murders in Paris were horrific. But we don't have to agree on Charlie Hebdo.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gardner hit Udall repeatedly on his proximity to the president and Obamacare, but what if the election is about more than that?
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.)
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.