Trump's Shameful Immigration Plan

Like most things Donald Trump says, his immigration proposal — only slightly more detailed than most of his superficial bombast — contains a few grains of rationality and a large helping of the sort of xenophobia and economic ignorance that appeals to a slice of the Republican base but which most Americans — including many Republicans — find distasteful and self-destructive.

Let’s start with the good stuff: Mr. Trump notes that a true nation must have its borders and its laws enforced. He points out the reprehensible record of federal law enforcement agencies releasing tens of thousands of criminal illegal aliens back into American society, a small number of whom commit heinous crimes such as the murder of Kate Steinle. He recognizes that a large percentage of our illegal aliens are people who came here legally but overstayed their visas and that the lack of a credible visa tracking system is unacceptable.

And while Mr. Trump’s rhetoric may be a little strong, he is right to remind Americans that the Mexican government encourages its citizens to enter the United States illegally and that we must eliminate sanctuary cities, which encourage the illegal aliens to come and to stay. (I mean eliminate the sanctuaries, not the cities.)

While the recognition of these problems is welcome — even for those of us who do not follow Mr. Trump further down his anti-immigration path — the rest of Trump’s “plan” is a bitter stew served up by a man pandering to Angry White People with ideas both fanciful and harmful.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

The Biden Bull Market

The chattering class is all atwitter about the possibility of Vice President Joe Biden entering the Democratic presidential primary race. Whether or not it happens, the fact that (as Douglas Adams would have put it) “the slightest thought has begun to speculate about the merest possibility of crossing Joe’s mind” is great news for Republicans and a nightmare for the less-inevitable-by-the-day Hillary Clinton.

Like any company with bullish rumblings, Joe’s political stock is on the rise: The rumors began in earnest last week with a remarkable story by New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd in which she relates a tale of Beau Biden, Joe’s eldest son, dying of brain cancer, “losing his nouns,” and urging his father to run, “arguing that the White House should not revert to the Clintons and that the country would be better off with Biden values.”

A brief tangent: Dowd’s article is remarkable not just for her sourcing of a story which few people outside the family would know but also for its merciless assault on Hillary Clinton: The article begins by describing the similarities between the former Secretary of State and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. It’s some fine work by Dowd (I don’t think I’ve ever said that before!) and deserves to be quoted at length even though, as a long-time hater of the Pats, I think the comparison is unfair to Brady, who has repeatedly proven himself to be the best in the business (quite unlike Hillary) and against whom all evidence is circumstantial (also quite unlike Hillary):

A pattern of cutting corners, a patina of entitlement and inevitability, has led to this.

Destroying digital messages and thwarting official investigations while acting all innocent about wiping out sensitive material.

Avoiding reporters after giving disingenuous explanations at uncomfortable news conferences. Claiming egregious transgressions are a private matter and faux controversy while sending out high-power lawyers and spin doctors to deflect and minimize.

Two controlling superstars with mutable hair and militant fans, married to two magnetic superstars who can make a gazillion an hour for flashing their faces and who have been known to stir up trouble.

A pair of team captains craving a championship doing something surreptitious that they never needed to do to win.

Given the Times’ other harmful-to-Hillary reporting, including their story regarding the Clinton Foundation and the Russian purchase of American uranium assets and the repeatedly corrected article about a “criminal referral” into her handling of classified information on her private e-mail server, Mrs. Clinton is probably wondering why such an important liberal media outlet just isn’t that into her.

Back in the political marketplace, Biden’s stock, long ignored like the political equivalent of J.C. Penney, is showing bullish signs, the first real uptick in years.

Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:

You Call That Progress?

Barack Obama is the most “Progressive” of recent, and perhaps of all, American presidents. Indeed he is the only recent Democratic president rightly characterized as “Progressive” rather than just liberal.

But with massive increases in government debt and food stamp use, declines in labor force participation, the impending insolvency of the Social Security Disability Fund, relentless unemployment among African-Americans and deteriorating race relations, and by far the worst economic “recovery” in modern American history, one has to ask (in the sarcastic style of my Jewish grandma), “This is progress?!?”

It’s not just that things aren’t going well. It’s that they’re going particularly badly for those whom Progressives claim to care about most (the poor, minorities, the “working class”) while the rich get richer (in itself not a bad thing) and large companies succeed while small companies struggle and new business formation stagnates — a terrible situation in an economy that relies on small and new companies for job growth.

Conservatives have long fretted over Democrats controlling the political lexicon, causing words to mean — Humpty Dumpty style — what liberals say they mean, but we have consistently failed in changing the literal terms of the debate.

Following on Barack Obama’s dismal performance, Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and campaign offer the best opportunity in memory for Americans to reconsider the true meaning of the most fundamental word in the left’s rhetorical arsenal: Progressive.

Mrs. Clinton has yet to propose a truly new idea. Each of her few policy positions are regurgitations of populist pabulum that offer nothing innovative, nothing for Americans to get excited about, no hope to improve the lives of people anywhere on the income spectrum, and no future for our nation. In short, she is a perfect Progressive.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

The Third Obama Term

Pundits of the left and the right have spilled much digital ink on Donald Trump in recent weeks, increasing in recent days with his unconscionable comments about John McCain. (McCain is not my favorite politician but a fighter pilot who refuses early release from the Hanoi Hilton because other members of our military had been there longer than he had is by any measure a war hero.)

Democrats enjoy what they wrongly perceive to be a massive Republican circular firing squad and a public being pushed to believe that Trump is representative of the broader GOP.

Conservatives who oppose Trump point out that he has contributed at least $200,000 to the Democratic Party and to the campaigns of Democrats including Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Max Baucus, Dick Durbin, Chris Dodd, and, yes, Hillary Clinton (both her senatorial and presidential campaigns).

Trump’s political contributions have tilted rightward in recent years (including substantial contributions to the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Mitt Romney). And many uber-wealthy businessmen spread the cash around senior politicians — especially of their own state — in order to maintain hoped-for influence with them. But how does this make Trump a credible Republican candidate in a country desperate for good government and sick of crony capitalism?

I understand the appeal of a “non-politician” politician who doesn’t couch his words in political correctness. Still, between providing so much aid and comfort to his newly found political enemies and having supported single-payer (socialist) health care, abortion, a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” and, perhaps worst of all, the Supreme Court’s horrendous Kelo decision (allowing government to steal private property and give it to other private property owners), it is remarkable that more Republicans don’t recognize the man as unprincipled and, at best, a Donny-come-lately to the political right.

Please read the rest of my article for the American Spectator here:

The Virtue of Mandatory Vaccination

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:

Concluding Colorado's GOP Chaos (I Hope)

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.

Colorado Republican Chaos

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...

The Pope's Climate Confusion

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:

Hickenlooper Speed Traps Colorado

Boulder, Colo.

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:

Hillary's Voting Rights Cynicism

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:

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