Colorado's governor sure likes to pretend he's a libertarian
Heard it on the radio.
Denver's Independence Institute (I.I.) is planning a party for Colorado's Governor Jared Polis. It will be the "Not-So-Libertarian Block Party, honoring Gov. Jared Polis."
A tongue-in-cheek description of the event on the libertarian think-tank's website reads:
Are you a rancher? Small business owner? Selfish bastard who refused to wear a mask? Do you work in Oil and Gas? Was your home destroyed in the Marshall Fire?
Don't worry because our pro-business, cost-saving, libertarian governor is here to save the day!
Governor Polis and his administration have been hard at work creating pro-business policies to save you!
WAIT... you mean those policies destroyed your business, livelihood, and finances, and were actually authoritarian?! Say it isn't so!
Join Independence Institute and community members who were 'saved' by Gov. Polis for a special celebration of all the ways he helped make Colorado more free!
Perhaps this party planning is in response to Polis's campaign narrative that casts him as the candidate who can give Coloradoans more freedom, or it may be in response to a recent George F. Will column in the Washington Post. That column pushes Polis as a possible presidential candidate to save the day for the Democrat party in 2024. Is he really Mighty Mouse?
On his campaign website, Polis claims to be "expanding our freedoms" in Colorado. Recently, Reason Magazine published a story that claimed that Polis might be the most libertarian governor in America.
Apparently, John Caldera, president of I.I., finds that claim very funny, hence the party in honor of Polis.
Also, Brandon Wark published a column on the website Free State Colorado about Polis and his claims to be for freedom. Writes Wark, "Jared Polis's behavior as Governor of Colorado may be the most destructive of any politician in recent history. Hiding behind a false portrayal as a libertarian, Polis is at best dishonest, and at worst delusional."
When I think about my governor, I do not generally think "freedom." I think about roads across the state that are in terrible shape, a governor who shut down gas and oil here, a state capitol building and grounds the governor did not protect from vandals during the summer of 2020 riots, homelessness burgeoning in communities across Colorado, crime that has been increasing in Colorado under Polis's watch, and impossibly high inflation.
Polis has worked hard for more freedom for the gay community because he is the first openly gay governor in Colorado. However, he did not stand up for freedom for Baker Jack Phillips when he didn't want to bake a wedding cake for gay activists who targeted him, a Christian. I remember that Polis sided with those who were persecuting Phillips.
Polis has never resonated with the rural voters of Colorado. Maybe he doesn't like the freedom they value living out away from the city and away from his control as much as they can.
Actually, the governor is talking about a different type of freedom: freedom to choose. If he is elected, says Polis in a campaign press release, he will protect your freedom to choose when to have a family or abortion; he will protect your freedom to love and marry whom you want without discrimination, assuming you are gay; he will protect your freedom to vote by mail. Also, says Polis, I'm giving you money.
Seems as though that's not what rural voters or libertarians are talking about when they're talking freedom. Both want public policy from leaders that enhances personal and economic freedom, as I.I. states.
According to its website,
the Independence Institute envisions a Colorado where people enjoy:
- Debt-free government
- Flat and transparent tax policy
- Respect for property rights
- Choice in education
- Health care freedom
- Limited Federal intrusion
- An end to corporate welfare
- Secure private property rights
- Free market conservation
- Local energy development
- Least cost principal in energy policy.
To reach that vision, I.I. says that it must act to "[a]dvocate limited government principles over politics. Connect the Freedom Coalition, because Liberty is a team sport. Teach the enduring truths of personal and economic freedom."
The Independence Institute is serious about a libertarian approach to public policy and governance. Jared Polis appears to be serious only about getting re-elected. He may also be serious about being Mighty Mouse for the Democrat party and saving the day in 2024, but he doesn't really care about the majority of Coloradoans. He is not libertarian, and he is not giving Colorado voters money; that was the taxpayer bill of rights (TABOR) that did that. Polis just jumped on its coattails and pretended to be a good guy, not a lying politician.
Whether I'll attend the party or not, I don't know, but I do know I'm voting for Heidi Ganahl for governor.
C.S. Boddie writes for Meadowlark Press, LLC.