On Tuesday, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a law that makes California the third state to eliminate “personal belief” exemptions from vaccine requirements for children to attend schools, either public or private.
Starting with the 2016 school year (and with one important exception noted below), all children except those with medical circumstances that would render vaccination unsafe must be vaccinated against ten specific illnesses in order to enroll in a California school. Those who insist on not vaccinating must home-school or find other “independent study” methods of education. The requirement applies to public and private schools, child day care centers (including homes that provide family day care services), and nursery schools. According to the Los Angeles Times, “the new law could affect more than 80,000 California students who annually claim personal belief exemptions.”
Actor/comedian Jim Carrey isn’t happy about the new law, about which more in a moment. Note to Jim: Jenny McCarthy is married; you’re not going to be able to sleep with her again (though I don’t blame you for thinking about it). So please, stop pandering to Jenny’s insanity by buying into her claim, which is not just ignorant but extremely harmful, that vaccinating children is dangerous. (McCarthy believes that a vaccine caused her son’s autism, from which he has largely recovered. Some have questioned whether he was ever autistic, a suggestion the former Playboy Playmate of the Year aggressively rejects.)
Despite trying to revise her own history, McCarthy has — in part thanks to being promoted by Oprah Winfrey — for nearly a decade been the face (and body?) of the anti-vaccine movement. In 2007, she told CNN that “moms and pregnant women” were asking her advice on vaccinating children. Her response: “I don’t know what to tell them, because I am surely not going to tell anyone to vaccinate. But if I had another child, there’s no way in hell.”
The number of unvaccinated children has been rising rapidly in recent years, particularly among upper-middle class white suburbanites. Although several conservative religious communities avoid vaccines, bastions of liberalism such as Boulder, Colorado (the nearest city to my home), have some of the nation’s lowest vaccination rates. In fact, Colorado has the lowest kindergarten vaccine rate in the country (82 percent for MMR as compared to a 95 percent national average); Mississippi has the highest rate.
Liberals object to vaccinations on the basis of pseudo-science and distrust of corporations whereas conservatives are more likely to object out of religious conviction. One expert I spoke to noted — and she wasn’t joking — that one of the best predictors of a low vaccination rate in a given area is the presence of a Whole Foods supermarket.
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
To my readers, acquaintances and friends who are involved with Colorado Republican politics, whether as participants or spectators:
The last couple of weeks have seen the Colorado Republican Party organize the most remarkable circular firing squad I’ve ever seen, even for an organization famous for them. I haven’t been a Republican for quite a few years and I have no particular love for the GOP but whenever a Democrat gets elected I feel as if something bad just happened to my children. So I have a more than passing interest in the party’s effectiveness even if I won’t get involved in its operations – or machinations – because it seems so full of people who do what so many have done during the last 14 days.
So let’s discuss what has been achieved:
- The party chairman has been harmed professionally and personally
- The highest-ranking Republican elected official in the state has a partially self-inflicted stain on her career
- Party activists who have long been friends and allies have blown up those relationships in pursuit of what, exactly?
- The party apparatus at every senior level, including everyone mentioned above, has throughout this (colorful US Marine term deleted) demonstrated incompetence and poor judgment when it comes to focusing on the common goal of saving the state and the country from the left
- A woman who may or may not have had a “more than friends” relationship with the party chairman has had her character sullied – another partly self-inflicted wound
- Principled voices for liberty have been taken off the air – yes, a third partly self-inflicted wound, and
- Democrats are sitting back and laughing – just as they should be.
- Most importantly, the chairman’s wife – whom I don’t know but about whom I’ve heard only very good things – has had her life turned upside down, for which everyone involved in this mess should feel apologetic, perhaps even dirty.
Here is my theory on what has happened and is happening, and I’m going to make this a fairly short summary of an annoyingly long saga:
For various reasons, some of which were reasonable and pertinent, some of which were petty and self-serving, some of which may have been based on real information and some of which may have been based on the echo chamber of small groups talking to each other and reinforcing rumors or misperceptions, a few party leaders decided to confront the party chairman and push him to resign.
Since I have not yet heard of a high-level meeting to discuss issues related to the chairman’s job performance prior to the meeting at which it was suggested that he resign, I assume at this point that the chairman’s critics did not have the basic sense to sit down with him in a serious but less confrontational manner, aiming to spur well-considered and agreed-upon change rather than risk complete chaos. I do not know whether to ascribe this to an overwhelming Machiavellianism or an utter lack of common sense and management ability. Probably all of the above.
As for the chairman, he has harmed himself by a combination of poor management and particularly poor communication – although he must also be given credit for significant achievements and progress in Party fund-raising and focus on other important issues relating to political competitiveness and narrowing the party’s technological disadvantage. He was also the first person to mention the word “affair” publicly, although it’s possible that doing so was a reasonable tactic if he assumed someone else would shortly make the same accusation for all the world to hear. The fact that he might have reasonably assumed such a thing (and regardless of whether the accusation is true) says a lot – and none of it good – about other party members involved in this fiasco.
Unless the chairman’s personal life is impacting his job performance, which has not been demonstrated to any credible degree, it is personal. I’m sure you, like I, have your own opinions as to what is true and what isn’t, but since the chairman’s original critics have said that it wasn’t the reason for their dissatisfaction with the chairman, it is all the more unfortunate that this aspect of the story received so much attention.
Over the past two weeks, there has been a remarkable amount of rumor-mongering and spreading of misinformation – although I believe that many of the people who were doing so actually believed what they were saying. We’ve also seen, I repeat for emphasis, the destruction of friendships and alliances.
On Friday, the party’s Executive Committee voted 22-1 to support the chairman, and also to support the leading elected official among his critics – two people who until two weeks ago were good friends – after requiring that their committee meeting focus on job performance and not on personal issues. I commend them for what seems to be a concerted effort to tamp down the chaos and to return the Colorado Republican Party to something more disciplined than an 8th-grade slumber party. I’m glad we finally saw some adult supervision.
Looking forward, with some tough love:
I have said publicly that I think the chairman should resign; I would like to slightly modify but not entirely retract that sentiment. First, the current chairman does have an important skill set and seems to have had success in fund-raising, one of the most important functions of that job. It is unfair to him and to the party, and unwise of both as well, to have him in roles other than those at which he has a comparative advantage in ability. For those other party functions, another senior leader should be hired, much as corporations tend to have a CEO and a COO. He must aim to under-promise and over-deliver; the opposite is a career-ending mode of operation for an executive. Second, if the chairman were to leave his apparently thankless (and pro bono) job, I hope there will be an orderly transition and that a replacement will be chosen based on competence and not on internecine factional bickering. If the current chairman is not interested in doing what he’s good at and leaving someone else to manage other aspects of the operation – though he should be given an opportunity to demonstrate the ability to incorporate criticism of a more constructive sort than he’s been presented with publicly so far – he should resign or be removed.
The attorney general should minimize contact with day-to-day or week-to-week operations of the political party; the job of the state’s top law enforcement officer requires a credible (and real) apolitical reputation. Should pursuit of higher office become more of a front-burner issue for the attorney general, a proper balance will need to be determined.
I am aware of some people who for whatever reason do not want to let this story subside, particularly the personal aspects of it. I encourage those who are considering exposing “evidence” about a particular aspect of the story to sit down, shut up, and move on with their lives. Stop acting as if you’re auditioning for a role in “Mean Girls.” Nothing good can be achieved by such actions and, as Buddha once said (or maybe not), karma is a bitch. To the extent that you think some petty political goal (and I absolutely guarantee you that your goal is petty) could be achieved by harming the chairman personally, think about who else you’d be affecting. How would you like someone to mess with your family over a minor political squabble? If any of you are friends or advisers of people who are considering going down this road, I urge you to urge them to think better of it.
For those of you who have willingly torpedoed friendships and alliances over this situation, shame on you. Friendships are among the most valuable things you will ever possess. Discarding a likely future ally over temporary and nearly meaningless political infighting borders on the insane. And you wonder why the GOP is “the stupid party” and why liberals find it so much easier than they should to win elections? Frankly, this aspect of the last two weeks has angered me more than any other.
The behavior of the Executive Committee on Friday was the first important step toward what I hope will be a return, not just to what has in recent years passed for normal in the Colorado Republican Party, but to some time perhaps long ago forgotten (if it ever actually existed) when the organization was mostly disciplined, mostly unified, and mostly trained their political fire on the common adversary: the leftists who steal our freedom, our wealth, and our children’s futures.
I repeat: The behavior of all four people in that fateful meeting two weeks ago – and of their most publicly vocal Republican supporters and detractors in the days since – has imperiled everything they claim to care about in pursuit of the pettiest of tribal infighting. For that you owe a lot of people your heartfelt repentance and a heroic effort to undo the damage you’ve done (not least to yourselves) and change the way you operate, both in public and in private.
Reforming the party is a perfectly valid goal. But those who continue with self-serving destruction of individuals and of the only organization with a real likelihood of slowing down their real political opponents (i.e. Democrats and their masters in government employee unions) deserve public shaming and our enduring ire. I can assure you they will have mine.
What follows is perhaps the strangest political story I have ever reported on…this story includes major revisions from the first published version. This is the story as I understand it at 10 PM Mountain Time on June 23. Further updates will be posted at the top of this article over time, if necessary.
Colorado Republicans have a remarkable way of screwing up, making bad decisions, pulling defeat from the jaws of victory, and airing disagreements about those decisions publicly in ways even gleeful Democrats hadn’t imagined possible.
This year the controversy surrounds new Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House and a rather insane few hours last Monday; the situation and has become even more chaotic and confused with new revelations in the past several hours.
It began when what House assumed would be a routine strategy meeting with Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman convened with two unexpected additional participants: Pueblo County Republican Chairwoman Becky Mizel and former Congressman Tom Tancredo.
Coffman, Mizel, and Tancredo were among House’s most prominent supporters when he ousted prior chairman Ryan Call in party leadership elections; House would surely have lost to Call if not for these three people. Indeed, Coffman nominated House on stage at the state convention (while Tancredo, ill that day, sent a written statement of endorsement). Mizel was key in organizing county chairs to support House — something for which she now feels a need to apologize.
Coffman, Mizel, and Tancredo intended to address with House their concerns over his leadership including administration of the party’s finances (despite House’s declining to take a salary so that more of the party’s war chest could be directed toward elected candidates), and his overall management style as demonstrated during the first 100 days of his tenure.
The concerns were significant enough — and were shared and discussed by enough other leading party members (including state legislators) prior to the meeting — that the trio intended to ask for House’s resignation.
Toward the end of the meeting, Steve House, unprepared for the sudden confrontation and unconvinced (as he remains today) that the issues raised were significant enough to warrant his resignation, asked, “What else have you got?” (or words to that effect), to which someone in the room mentioned the first name of a woman: “Julie.”
House adamantly denied the existence of an improper relationship with Julie (or with any other woman) and the word “affair” was apparently not mentioned during the meeting though its meaning was implied. House also denied an affair to me when I asked him the question specifically, though I suppose no other answer would be possible.
This afternoon (Tuesday, June 23) “Julie” (that is her real name) allowed a story – admitting the affair and apologizing to House’s wife, Donna – to be published online.
AS OF TUESDAY EVENING, HOUSE CONTINUES TO DENY AN AFFAIR EVEN AFTER JULIE’S CLAIMING THERE WAS ONE. And one of House’s strongest supporters tells me that there are details which the public remains unaware of, implying that those details vindicate House.
Audio of an interview of Julie by a friend and political supporter of Steve House’s, who is also a private detective and former federal agent, is available here. In that interview, which occurred prior to the publication of the online story in which Julie says there was an affair, Julie strenuously denies the existence of an affair. In the printed article, the reporter says Julie “confessed that she lied to help cover the affair. She said, as House’s critics also do, that House texted her with instructions to deny their relationship…” If Julie can produce such a text, House is sunk. If not, this ridiculous saga continues and others will have the harder questions to answer.
In the audio, Julie says that she does not want “anybody to think that I would in any way make stuff up or embellish something or endanger anybody else’s reputation…” But clearly, Julie has done just that in at least one of her interviews since they completely contradict each other; one must be based on “making stuff up.”
Back to last Monday’s meeting: After brief consideration — which included reminding himself that he was working for free and that if these were his “friends”… — House texted Cynthia Coffman to tell her that he would resign the next day, adding “If anyone attacks me, I will attack back.”
Coffman sent the message along to Mizel who, in consultation with the others, decided to post the news on Facebook. Mizel is taking a lot of criticism for her posting with some arguing that it was inappropriate for a county chair to announce the resignation of the state party chairman. I suspect that Becky Mizel felt little choice given her belief that Mr. House frequently changes his mind, such as with his prior promises to hire particular people.
Her concern was prescient: Over the ensuing few hours, House spoke with his wife and other close advisers about the situation and decided that he would not be “bullied” out of office and he let Coffman know that he had changed his mind. But Facebook is forever and the GOP’s activist base had already heard the news.
Suddenly, a very messy situation which the trio had intended to avoid or at least keep private for the benefit of the party, themselves, and even Steve House, was exposed for all to see.
In a statement issued last Tuesday afternoon, House said, “If I refused to meet their demand to resign, they threatened that a potential lawsuit may be filed and that false rumors that I have been unfaithful to my wife would be made public.” The trio have publicly denied the latter charge and Tuesday’s revelations by Julie would seem to offer truth as an impenetrable defense except that House continues to insist that there was no affair.
For now, the three who confronted House will not comment on potential litigation (started by either side or a third party) that they would rather avoid. While the trio deny that they have done anything wrong, rumors persist that House has hired a legal team and intends to sue. One Denver news outlet is reporting that House “has contacted the Denver DA and the US Attorney about his accusations” against Coffman. This is far from saying that any crime has actually been committed; in this roller-coaster political drama, almost nothing can be taken at face value.
It is worth noting that House’s non-resignation statement following the meeting appears to be the first mention of the word “affair” ensuing from the meeting; in other words, House was effectively the one to publicly spread the rumor about himself.
The back-and-forth about infidelity makes for the most salacious blog notes and headlines but it is a distraction from the serious questions offered about House’s leadership. The trio did not intend to raise an affair as an issue; at least one of the three who met with House only learned of the alleged infidelity within a week of the meeting — far after discussions about confronting Chairman House over substantive work-related issues began.
Another issue that remains at the center of local media coverage but is being misconstrued is House’s failure to follow through on a promise to hire former State Senator Ted Harvey to be the party’s executive director. The fact that there was such a promise is not denied by House but his supporters say it was made before he understood the party’s financial situation, including debts remaining to be paid off. It is also known that Attorney General Coffman recommended against the hiring of the “too controversial” Mr. Harvey.
The real concern appears to be statements made by Mr. House about Mr. Harvey — statements that sources tell me are utterly false but potentially harmful to Harvey should, for example, a future potential employer believe them. House said that his statements were made with the specific caveat that they were based on rumor. His critics suggest no such caveat was offered and that the statements were made as if House knew them to be true. Recently, Mr. Harvey has said that under no circumstance would he now work for Mr. House.
In short, the real concern about the Ted Harvey job situation was less the broken promise — again, some see a pattern of House saying yes to things he couldn’t or didn’t deliver — and more the poor judgment exercised by House in how he spoke about Harvey to third parties. The question of whether House’s comments were given with the rumor caveat is therefore significant, not least if any potential legal action surrounds them.
Significant questions remain about Mr. House’s hiring practices, about the use of contractors rather than employees and the accounting for their costs, about his day-to-day consistency on both tactical and strategic issues, and about his honesty – separate from whether he’s lying about an affair. Any one of these questions could have a reasonable explanation but the breadth of them – even prior to Julie’s assertions of an affair – would be a daunting gauntlet should House choose to try to stay in office. House, however, is not yet backing down from a willingness to challenge such a gauntlet as made up of overwrought if not fabricated claims.
Steve House is facing an activist Tea Party base which, frankly, does not always make the wisest decisions (most conspicuously their support of Dan Maes in the 2010 Colorado Governor’s race). How that plays for Mr. House who won with their support but now faces their opposition remains to be seen.
House’s critics as well as House himself believe that an affair on its own should not be relevant to whether he remains as chairman. But even the possible affair – which a woman admits but House denies – is now no longer a stand-alone issue.
A major step is scheduled for this Friday when the party’s Executive Committee is to meet with Chairman House to discuss these issues. Will we see fireworks or will all involved try to make this story go away quietly? (Quiet, that is, except for the belly laughs of the state’s Democratic Party.)
An important question: If Steve House were to resign, who would replace him? Although I am not closely tied to GOP party politics, no obvious successor comes to mind.
Colorado is a key state in the 2016 elections, capable of choosing either a Democrat or a Republican for both U.S. Senate (our incumbent Democratic Senator Michael Bennet is vulnerable in his re-election bid) and for the presidency. Our State House of Representatives has a small Democratic majority while the State Senate has a single-vote Republican majority. In this purplest of states where both campaign discipline and fund-raising matter so much, neither local Republicans nor the national GOP can afford a dysfunctional state Republican apparatus.
After concluding multiple interviews and adding Tuesday’s revelatory news, I have reached a few conclusions:
- Those who claim the existence of an affair seem very confident in their assertions, including knowing the woman involved.
- The existence (or non-existence) of an affair was a negligible part of the opposition to Mr. House but it may now be central given that he is using claims of “false accusations” about an affair to tar the reputations of three people, including Mrs. Coffman, perhaps the most important Republican holding statewide office. (Cynthia Coffman is possibly the biggest victim of this entire episode, depending on her true role.)
- The intention of those who initially confronted Mr. House about these issues was to minimize public relations harm to him and to the party and to themselves. The trio made a huge mistake in not recording the conversation. But House is the one who made the claim of an affair public.
- Cynthia Coffman, a rising star in the Colorado Republican Party and a viable candidate for higher office (though she recently announced that she will not run for US Senate next year), is the state’s highest law enforcement official. It is difficult to believe, as House’s supporters and to some extent House himself claim, that she would be involved in a crude extortion plot against a man who is not only the state party chair but who also is — or was — her friend. If the trio intended to use an affair to leverage House to resign, particularly if there was no such affair, one might wonder if Coffman was unwittingly maneuvered into that situation.
- Similarly, both Becky Mizel and Tom Tancredo staked personal and political capital on the election of House. His failure is their failure. It would take a mountain of evidence to convince such people to oppose the man they supported. Having now seen the mountain they regret not having done more due diligence on Mr. House last year; in their intense desire to remove the former party chairman, they neglected a deeper level of investigation. (This lesson should have been learned, particularly by Tom Tancredo, during the Dan Maes fiasco in 2010.)
- All of this leaves me wondering if there is another “man behind the curtain” in this story, a puppet-master (or two) whose machinations would seem appropriate to a cheap political novel. In the audio interview, former state GOP secretary Lana Fore mentions that Steve House promised party positions to multiple people on his campaign staff and then did not keep those promises. Could all of this really be a vendetta about unfulfilled political patronage? While that strikes me as unlikely, I can’t say it’s impossible.
- Even before the affair was admitted by Julie, I did not believe Steve House could overcome the questions about his judgment and the opposition to his management style, which seems more suited to his skills in sales and marketing than to executive functions.
- Even before the affair was admitted by Julie, I believed — without any pleasure — that because of the range of serious concerns about the chairman’s leadership, for the good of himself and his family, of the party, and of the great State of Colorado, Steve House should resign his current post, move on non-litigiously, and endeavor to find work that better suits his skill set. That said, the successor question remains an important one.
- With the affair now claimed publicly by Julie and denied by Steve House, the stakes have increased dramatically. I continue to believe that House would be wise to offer his resignation at the beginning of Friday’s meeting, or at least after giving his side of the story to the assembled and then taking a vote to see if he still has, or could recover, their confidence.
- However, if he truly believes that Julie was maneuvered into lying about having an affair with him when there was none, it would be hard for an honorable man – even if not necessarily the best CEO of a party – to walk away in a matter that would validate both the substance and the tactic of character assassination, or perhaps allow jilted job-suitors the ability to engage in a coup against the party chairman.
- Again, I don’t think I have ever run into a story where I’ve found it so difficult to know who is telling the truth. In a certain way, that simple fact increases my desire to see all involved depart from the political scene. The Republican Party is a persistently incompetent operational mess, but the Democratic Party is harmful and despotic. Although I am unaffiliated with either party as far as voter registration, the choice between the two is easy if not satisfying.
Note: This article was written after interviewing multiple sources including more than one person who attended the key meeting last Monday and more than one party activist who is close to the situation, of which at least one is a supporter of Mr. House and at least one thinks he should resign. Additionally, I know several of the people involved in this story (though none of them extremely well). I am not a registered Republican; I generally avoid party politics and took no part nor offered any endorsement in any campaign for the state party chairmanship.
I am going to post a major update to this story shortly...
As the leader of perhaps the single largest institution in the world — the Roman Catholic Church — the pope potentially influences at least the Church’s 1.2 billion members, and perhaps millions of others around the globe. His sway makes it critical that when pontificating on matters beyond religion — matters which impact public policy both within and among nations — he acquire and consider a wide range of information from experts across the relevant political, scientific, economic, and philosophical spectra before making his influential pronouncements.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the environment and climate change, about which he just issued an encyclical focused “on care for our common home,” Pope Francis seems to have shrouded himself in confirmation bias of the worst sort, taking in little information that did not conform to his pre-existing anti-capitalist bias and leading to analysis and policy prescriptions that are not just erroneous but harmful.
Before discussing the details of the encyclical, entitled Laudato Si’, it is worth noting that the pope, in a recent interview with the Argentinean newspaper La Voz Del Pueblo, proudly admitted that he has not watched television since 1990, that he does not use the Internet, and that he only reads the newspaper for ten minutes a day — that newspaper being the socialist-leaning Roman daily la Repubblica.
Mix in multiple reports that the pope’s chief climate adviser is a German radical environmentalist who believes that 80 percent of the planet’s population would perish if temperatures rise five degrees Celsius and you have a recipe for a papal proclamation employing the worst warmist paranoia to justify extreme pronouncements regarding ecological morality and international environmental “justice.”
Pope Francis’s naïve and self-serving views on climate change will one day be spoken of in the same breath as the persecution of Galileo for his persistent (but not “consensus”) claims that the earth revolves around the sun.
Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:
Any Coloradan who receives a traffic ticket from a speed or red-light camera in the next year ought to know exactly who to blame: Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Ten cities in Colorado, including Denver, issue about $14 million in tickets annually using such photo-radar systems, which are about as popular as you’d expect. “I hate those things—everybody hates them,” Gov. Hickenlooper said in May. Studies and experience show that the cameras can issue tickets erroneously and might harm public safety by causing drivers to overreact.
Yet last week Mr. Hickenlooper vetoed two bipartisan bills that would have unsprung Colorado’s ticket traps. The first bill would have immediately ended the use of speed and red-light cameras statewide; the second would have required local voters to approve their use in referendums, which would have led to their welcome demise in many jurisdictions.
Please read the entirety of my article for the Wall Street Journal here:
There are few candidates in recent memory for whom the maxim “the issue is not the issue” applies more than it does to the Duck ’n’ Hide presidential wannabe, Hillary Clinton.
Her current strategy is sensible for someone so surrounded by the stench of corruption, cronyism, and incompetence. (Is it not remarkable how a woman who lost the 2008 Democratic nomination despite unbeatable name recognition and high approval ratings, and who presided over the least distinguished tenure for a long-serving secretary of state since Cyrus Vance, was nevertheless able to maneuver herself into earning several thousand dollars a minute for uttering meaningless babble and into raising hundreds of millions of dollars for a tax dodge posing as a charity? In self-enrichment, at least, Hillary shows some skillz.)
Given the Clinton strategy, which includes refusing to answer questions from reporters and not taking positions on certain controversial issues while flip-flopping on others, literally nothing the woman says should be taken at face value.
So what are we to make of her policy tangent last week in which went on a rampage against Republicans who she claims are engaged in “a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people, and young people from one end of our country to the other.” Clinton has made this argument before, though in slightly less aggressive terms, already anticipating using it as an election wedge. At the time, the Wall Street Journal pointed out that Hillary’s was “a polarizing pitch that ignores trends in voter turnout”; black turnout during presidential elections has been on the rise for years.
The way this dastardly Republican scheme is being enacted is through legislation requiring people to — wait for it — show identification before being allowed to vote. The horror!
Follow this liberal logic, if you can: You have to show ID to board a plane — because we want to keep people from committing terrorist acts, to cash a check — because we want to prevent theft and fraud, or to buy a beer — because we want to keep our kids from dying behind the wheel. But voting is so important that no ID should be necessary.
Clinton’s claims are based on two Democratic lies: First, that there is no voter fraud. And second, that these laws have substantially diminished minority turnout where they have been instituted.
Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:
With the drip, drip, drip of the many conflicts of interest which enrich the Clinton family and bedevil Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, one refrain remains constant among the liberal punditry: “These stories are not hurting Hillary’s support among Democrats.”
Even if the claim were true — which appears increasingly dubious — what does persistently strong support for Mrs. Clinton in the face of endless stories of the Clinton Foundation accepting money from foreign countries that had important business before Hillary’s State Department say about Democratic voters?
A Washington Post poll released this week shows 52 percent of Americans saying Hillary is not “honest and trustworthy”; only 41 percent think she is.
A Fox News poll taken at the same time finds 61 percent of registered voters believing it is likely that “the Clintons were selling influence to foreign contributors who made donations to the Clinton Foundation.” Yet only 31 percent of Democrats say they are “concerned about allegations of Hillary Clinton’s dishonesty and unethical behavior.”
(Interestingly, black voters are much more concerned than white voters, and younger voters — perhaps not yet jaded by years of exposure to politicians — are more concerned than older voters. Given the importance to Hillary’s election prospects of turning out blacks and millennials in swing states, this internal data is worth noting.)
In any case, a substantial number of Democrats are, for now, willing to support a candidate whom they believe to be dishonest. A few possible explanations come to mind:
Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:
Nebraska State Senator Colby Coash (R-Lincoln), a conservative Republican (although Nebraska’s unicameral legislature is nominally non-partisan), tells an interesting story about his evolution on the death penalty:
Many years ago, just before an execution in Nebraska and before he got involved in politics, he went to the prison to see what was happening outside before the criminal was put to death inside. While there were some anti-death penalty protesters, most of the scene resembled a big tailgate party. Coash, then in favor of the death penalty, partied right along with his fellow Cornhuskers. When he got home that evening, the experience didn’t sit right with him and he realized that he couldn’t celebrate the death of a person, particularly at the hand of government, even while knowing that that person probably deserved to die. Coash’s view on the death penalty was changed for good.
And so on Wednesday afternoon, Senator Coash, along with 29 other members of the Unicameral — mostly Republicans — joined the body’s handful of Democrats to cobble together the 30 votes necessary to override the veto of Republican Governor Pete Ricketts and repeal the death penalty in the state of Nebraska.
The vote on the original bill had 32 senators voting to end the death penalty. The governor did all he could to flip three votes and keep the law as it stood but he could only change two minds despite arguing that repeal “sends the message to criminals that Nebraska will be soft on crime.”
Coash doesn’t buy the argument, noting that Nebraska hasn’t executed a criminal in nearly 20 years. As if to emphasize the point, a murderer who was on death row for 30 years while his appeals ran their interminable course died of cancer on Sunday.
Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:
Much has been made of Jeb Bush’s bumblin’ fumblin’ stumblin’ answers and semi-answers to the question of whether, “knowing what we know now,” he would still have invaded Iraq.
Critics suggest we should have known Jeb’s position on this issue long ago, that “hypothetical” questions of this import can’t be ignored, and that he was over-prepared and thus locked into anticipation of a slightly different question—with a very different answer.
I believe—as I think most people do—Jeb was telling the truth when he said he “misheard” Megyn Kelly’s question heard round the political world. Which is why something else he said during that same fateful minute bothers me much more, even more than a week after he said it.
Please read the entirety of my article for The Federalist here:
Often the first thing I’m asked when traveling outside of Colorado is a half-question half-joke about how many people in the state I now call home are stoned. Although I’m pro-legalization, I’ve never touched marijuana and it seems as if I’m not alone: even though the state passed — by a 10-percent margin — a constitutional amendment in 2012 legalizing “recreational” (but still highly regulated) marijuana sale and use, sales tax receipts have underperformed expectations.
I have more context than the average American on this issue: I used to live in Amsterdam. In that wonderful city — where, I repeat, I never touched the stuff — you drink coffee at cafés but at “coffee shops” you ingest marijuana, whether by smoking or eating cookies or brownies or by who knows whatever clever delivery system the 21st century has on offer. What I noticed the few times I was in a coffee shop with friends or even just walking by The Bulldog was that the majority of the patrons were not Dutch.
I suspect the same is happening here, with marijuana tourism fueling a substantial fraction of the recreational pot sales in the state. One company in Colorado’s fledgling pot tourism industry offers four-hour tours during which participants visit dispensaries and “grow” operations, “enjoy free sampling on the cannabis friendly luxury party bus” and “end our day with a smoke out…with delicious munchies, ganja and drinks.”
It sounds like a bad ’70s movie but this is serious business which other states are watching closely, wondering whether the potential public revenue and private employment benefits are worth the cost and effort of regulation, of reforming state banking laws and pushing for parallel federal reforms, of how to deal with “edibles” (one of the biggest post-legalization issues in Colorado) and the impact of legalization on children — including everything from accidental ingestion to the prescription of high-CBD strains such as “Charlotte’s Web” to treat seizure disorders. (CBDs are pharmacologically active ingredients in marijuana but do not get you “high,” a feeling created by another chemical called THC. Many high-CBD strains are specifically engineered to be low in THC.)
Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here: