Colorado: Model for the Rest of the Nation?
At this very moment here in my home state of Colorado we are in the throes of a bitterly fought recall election campaign against two of our elected state representatives, senators John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and Angela Giron (D-Pueblo). Those who have sought the state's constitutional remedy for out-of-touch and/or control legislators cite as their motivation these two senators' votes in the 2013 legislative session. The people spearheading the surprisingly bipartisan recall effort claim these senators stopped paying attention to the people they represent and voted in spite of rather than in accordance with the will of their constituents.
At the heart of the Colorado 2013 legislative session -- which adjourned on May 8 -- was a gaggle of gun control laws which were wildly unpopular with much of the general populace of the state and especially disdained by those in the rural areas outside of Denver, our state capital. But conservatives and other pro-Second Amendment types could do little more than stand by and fume as Democrats argued on the capital floor that, in the event of a rape or assault, the best defense for women is to blow a rape whistle, get to a "safety zone", or urinate on themselves. These arguments constituted a proverbial last straw for many voters in their home districts, those voters turned activists, and thus recall efforts began.
The motivation-to-action response of constituents to the gun-grabbing, 2nd-Amendment neutralizing laws passed by this legislature stands in stark contrast to the response from our White House. On a trip to Colorado amidst the tumultuous 2013 legislative session our president had the following comment to offer, "Colorado is a model for [gun control] legislation in our nation's capital and all of our states."
These are the words of President Obama during the speech he made in front of a backdrop of Colorado law enforcement officers (who, according to one such officer, were compelled to be there) when he came to our home state to praise the job Democrat legislators had done in pushing through this host of gun-control legislation. The comment is worthy of deeper examination for a number of reasons.
For those who do not live in the Centennial State, here's a brief encapsulation of our recent electoral history:
In the November 2012 general election democrats won victories (thanks in no small part to redrawn district lines that effectively made certain Republican-held seats nearly impossible to defend) which gave them majority control of both houses of our legislature. We already had a Democrat governor. Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, democrat-controlled senate, democrat-controlled governor's mansion. Sound familiar? Think Washington D.C., 2009/2010. In that span of time Democrats controlled both houses of Congress and the White House. They possessed the ability to pass into law virtually anything they wanted to without any Republican voices let alone support. Which of course, is exactly what they did in D.C. in 2009 and 10 and in Denver in 2013.
Colorado has moved from being a critical swing state to now being a solidly blue player in the electoral college and national agenda wars. This is not by mistake or happenstance. Our state was a hard-fought prize as the Democrats sought a foothold in the predominantly red western states, especially the inner-mountain states. Nobody ever thought there was any hope of passing such massive gun control legislation in the "cowboy states": North/South Dakota, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Montana, Nebraska, Kansas, Texas. From the romantic attachment to the old West as depicted in "spaghetti westerns" of the 1960's and 70's to the images of rugged frontiersman like Davey Crocket that appear in children's books to this day -- the images of ride'n, fight'n, drink'n and shoot'n are emblazoned into all of our minds. The very notion of passing laws that strip away gun-ownership rights in any state of the cowboy West would have seemed asinine just a few short years ago.
But once again, Barack Obama and the Democrat machine proved their might and savvy. It's no secret here that Vice President Biden, whom Obama appointed to head up the battle over firearms, made many and frequent calls to Colorado Democrat legislators, encouraging them to keep pushing. And push they did. They rammed through a gaggle of new 2nd Amendment-neutering laws, then turned their sights to homosexual marriage, lax voter-registration requirements, hyper-expensive new "green energy" initiatives, and essentially went on the warpath for the entire ultra-liberal social and fiscal agenda -- the likes of which had heretofore only been seen in California, New York, or Illinois.
Without exception each one of these laws was brought up for a bare minimum of debate in committee then passed out of committee via a straight party-line vote; brought to the floor of the larger chamber for a minimum of debate then passed via a straight party-line vote, and then sent to the governor's desk. Ignored were the voices of any and all of our sheriffs and the law enforcement community, virtually all of whom stand in stark opposition. Ignored were the voices of all Republican legislators. Ignored where the voices of millions of Colorado residents -- Democrat & Republican alike -- who were alarmed at this assault on constitutional rights. Such voices were ignored and the bills passed without a single bipartisan vote.
Then something extraordinary happened. For possibly the first time in history, Colorado's governor, John Hickenlooper, signed every single bill that came to his desk from the 2013 legislative session. 100% of them. The governor didn't see a single one he didn't like.
(Colorado history lesson over.) Which brings us back to the president's comments, "A model for the rest of the nation." This, Mr. President, is the model we should follow in Washington D.C. and around the country? Democrats seizing majority control, freezing out the opposition party, then passing all the legislation they can with no care or input from the other side or from the public they represent? This is the president's idea of legislative utopia?
Apparently it is, for this is exactly how the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" was passed into law. For all their talk about Republicans being "the party of no" and refusing to cooperate or do anything in a bipartisan manner, the facts are just the opposite.
No Republicans voted in favor of a single one of the myriad of bills to strip Coloradans of 2nd Amendment rights. Yet there were Democrats who joined the ranks of the republicans to vote in opposition. Hence, the only place there was any bipartisanship was on the Republican side of the debate. No Republicans in Washington D.C. voted in favor of "Obamacare." Not a single one. Yet there were Democrats who joined the ranks of the Republicans to vote in opposition to it. Once again the only bipartisanship existed on the Republican side of the issue. In these instances Democrat bipartisanship is a (not so thinly) veiled way of saying, "You vote our way or you're an obstructionist."
And this is the "model"? Whether gun control, healthcare, light bulbs, carbon emissions, you name it -- the Democrats assuming control and forcing its will upon the people, unfettered by those pesky Republicans and even peskier citizens. This is how our president chooses to rule and impose his will onto us. No where is that fact more evident than in this one, simple statement, "Colorado is the model."