Not exactly breaking news: former Maryland lieutenant governor Michael Steele is the new chairman of the Republican National Committee. Polipundit has a blow-by-blow account of the six rounds (and five hours) of yesterday’s balloting to achieve a majority of support from the 168 delegates. Five candidates started the day. At the end it came down to Steele and South Carolina’s Katon Dawson. Steele prevailed by a count of 91-77.
I followed up with two of Colorado’s three voting RNC members afterward to get their thoughts, and received very similar reactions to the results.
“Michael Steele will be a great spokesperson for our party,” said state GOP chairman Dick Wadhams.
“Michael Steele is one of the Republican Party’s most articulate and dynamic spokesmen,” said Republican National Committeeman Mark Hillman. “He has a great deal to offer to our party.”
(The third vote belonged to RNC National Committeewoman Lilly Nunez.)
The sticking point for some may have been that the former lieutenant governor of Maryland has been tagged as a political moderate (a term that is often overused and, I believe in this case, misused). But, Hillman noted that Steele “convinced many conservatives that he’s solid on core issues of limited government, low taxes and traditional values. He has the potential to bring a tremendous new energy to the party.” (more…)
Following up on last year’s colossal mistake, here is my pick for tomorrow’s big game:
Super Bowl XLIII (Feb 1, 2009 – Tampa, FL):
Pittsburgh Steelers (15-4) 21
Arizona Cardinals (12-8) 17
MVP: Troy Polamalu
Here’s hoping I’m colossally wrong again, and not just because of the President’s leanings.
Anyone out there with kids who has run across this animated series of books and videos? With the highly active imagination of a nearly 3-year-old in our house, members of our household rapidly assume and change identities to fit the characters in the Spot series. This morning I went from being a dog to a hippo to an alligator to a monkey in less than 90 seconds.
No dull moments in my life.
The true-believing capital-L Liberals are the unquestioned experts on your life, the universe, and all that. Supposed experts who appear to disagree? Well, they are just a delusion of Right-wing fantasy. When it comes to the great all-encompassing theory of climate change, pay no attention to these highly-respected international scientists (or the scientist formerly in charge of many NASA climate projects).
When the great Barack Obama speaks ex cathedra, we must listen. Not only on climate change, but also on the economic recession. Recently he told us: “There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy.” The President’s glorious speech supersedes the more than 200 economists – including representatives of primitive wingnut institutions like George Mason University and Hillsdale College, not to mention Barry Poulson – who dared to sign a full-page advertisement (PDF) challenging the sacred word.
/Friday Satire: We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog-casting.
Democrat pollsters are hedging their bets over the re-election chances of Colorado Governor Bill Ritter. The well known, respected local election analyst Floyd Ciruli says:
Although Bill Ritter works hard and cares about Colorado, he fails to inspire confidence among the most attentive publics. Of course, Colorado governors tend to be re-elected, and the Republicans are still on the defense after a half a decade of election losses, but Ritter faces a difficult re-election….
Ritter and his party know he is vulnerable. Expect a strong effort to survive. [emphasis added]
On the other hand, the Democrat survey firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) observes something different from its new survey results: (more…)
Last night I told you about the inspiring testimony of citizens in support of financial transparency for Colorado schools. Today, it was the legislators’ turn to do the damage. And damage they did:
Senator Bob Bacon introduced an amendment that establishes a â€œvoluntary pilot programâ€ for transparency. It passed and is now on its way to the full floor of the Senate. Senator [Ted] Harvey asked to open up the bill for additional testimony since it had been altered dramatically. Bacon, chair of the committee, said no. Senator Harvey also tried to kill his own bill. Harvey did say he would bring the bill back next year.
Bacon, a former educator, used words like â€œcruelâ€ and â€œfearâ€ to describe how school districts may respond to financial transparency. Fear is only present when there is something to hide.
Bacon also stated that he is concerned that school districts may not have the personnel to implement transparency online in a searchable format. If thatâ€™s the case, then perhaps the school districts can ask one of their students because I promise you, students know how. It does make me wonder who should be doing the teaching.
With the laudable exception of Senate President Peter Groff, the four committee Democrats – in addition to Bacon, Evie Hudak, Rollie Heath, and Chris Romer – decided to run away from real transparency. Though at least Romer acknowledged â€œthis is a trend that wonâ€™t stop” and that eventually “you will win”.
And now the obligatory quote from the bill sponsor:
“The intent of this bill was to have true transparency,” [Senator Ted] Harvey said. “But now, there is no assurance that taxpayers will be able to know where and how their money is being spent.”
Experiencing only a setback, transparency advocates – a swelling grassroots army – march forward.
It’s not often that I can say Congressional Republicans make me proud by their actions. So let’s etch January 28, 2009, in stone as one of those momentous occasions. Hats off to the House GOP yesterday for standing 100 percent united against the Obama-Democrat trillion dollar pork bill that promises to mount piles of debt on my generation and future generations.
Of course, this is small consolation as there aren’t enough Republicans – with or without backbone – to stop the socialist steamroller “stimulus” from gliding through. But at least if the GOP hangs tough and united, rather than set us up for disappointment, the Democrats will own this economic disaster. (Will Senate Republicans follow their House brethren?) (more…)
Update, 1/29: More coverage on Colorado Spending Transparency and Ed News Colorado, as well as a kind link from the Open Records blog.
This morning the Colorado Senate Education Committee got a bit of a surprise, it might seem, with a slew of concerned citizens coming forward to testify in support of Senate Bill 57 (PDF) (sponsored by state senator Ted Harvey) – which would bring something akin to full-fledged financial transparency to Colorado public schools.
It’s unusual to see more than 15 average citizens come forward to testify for a piece of legislation – and rarer yet, to have many of them do so quite eloquently. Most were from the metro Denver area, a couple hailed from Weld County, and one of them drove three hours over the mountains for the chance to speak three minutes.
They included former corporate executives who explained how enlisting employee support yielded tremendous cost savings (just like can be done by creating an online spending database to get public eyes on the government books). They included former elected local government officials who said in their esteemed positions they often didn’t have access to the sort of detailed financial information that such easy-to-create databases could usefully provide average citizens. (more…)
Four years ago, a narrow majority of Coloradans bought the slick advertising of the Referendum C tax hike. Today, statehouse Democrats seem to have forgotten all their grandiose promises. (Or were they not telling us the truth in the first place?)
A great catch by Face The State (go and listen to the brief audio clip for yourself):
So we were shocked to hear JBC vice-chairman Rep. Jack Pommer, D-Boulder, assert during last week’s discussion that â€œRef C wasnâ€™t designed to fix anything,” and that “Ref C was an arbitrary amount of money.â€
When I recently pointed out Governor Bill Ritter’s public proclamation in favor of transparency, this wasn’t the kind of transparency I was talking about. Rossputin explains:
There’s a reason that the first thing Ritter is proposing to do is cut education and prison funding, and “temporarily” suspend the homestead exemption which lowers property tax for many senior citizens, and it’s the oldest liberal trick in the book: He’s setting the stage for a tax increase proposal “for the children” and with the specter of violent felons roaming the streets unless we go along.
Well, it’s time to just say no to more liberal government expansion.
Yes, Bill Ritter’s announcement should make it rather transparent that he and the Democrats are setting the stage for a tax hike. The question is: What’s the over/under on how many days before the tax hike proposal is officially made?
If they want to show themselves serious, Republicans here have an opportunity to introduce an alternative realistic budget proposal without the inherent scare tactics. And as Rossputin calls us to do, responsible citizens need to stand up and say “enough” to the ploys to expand government.
From the Denver Post:
A bill that would have barred back-room ballot initiative deals got the heave-ho at the state Capitol Tuesday.
House Bill 1069, from state Rep. Amy Stephens, R-Monument, would have made it illegal for anyone with a ballot initiative certified by the secretary of state to then withdraw that initiative because of a deal offering money, gifts or any â€œother valuable consideration.â€ A provision like that already exists in state law when it comes to candidates for office.
It’s official: your Democrats in charge at the Colorado statehouse once again come out against clean government. In voting down House Bill 1069, they have winked at the use of the citizens’ ballot initiative process for political blackmail by moneyed special interests, a problem that reared its ugly head during the last election.
It would be illegal for lobbyists to blackmail a state legislator into removing a bill from consideration. It’s illegal to blackmail certified candidates off the ballot (shades of Chicago & Blago). Why not ballot initiatives?
On a side note, kudos to Amy Stephens for bringing the proposal forward, and to Democrat Rep. Beth McCann for courageously voting against the party line. Unfortunately, McCann couldn’t find anyone else in her party to vote with her. Thus died HB 1069, a proposed law in the public interest, and thus another favor was paid to the unholy marriage of certain labor and business interests that thrive in the protection of the current majority.
Congressional Quarterly says Michael Bennet “needs to get better known” — who? Oh yeah! Colorado’s junior junior U.S. Senator. The Democrats’ Public Policy Polling – in a herculean effort to put an impossibly meaningful spin on an election that’s more than 21 months away – finds almost half of Coloradans will admit they don’t even know who Bennet is.
(How many of the 54 percent were fibbing, or thought maybe pollsters were asking about this AFC West rival running back?)
We’re a long way from knowing much of anything about the dynamics for the 2010 U.S. Senate race in Colorado. But we’ll at least begin to have a good idea of the terrain when we see how Bennet casts his vote on union card-check legislation.
With the announcement that Attorney General John Suthers is staying put, that might open the door for a dark horse GOP candidate like Ryan Frazier to jump in and pick up some extra fundraising steam.
We’ll see. Political junkies of Colorado, pay close attention.
Tune in starting at 8:30 PM local Mountain Time this evening for the 11th edition of Rocky Mountain Alliance Blog Talk Radio, the third of 2009. Tonight’s scheduled guests are locally-based elections expert Jan Tyler and state senate assistant minority leader Greg Brophy (R-Wray).
Don’t forget. If you miss the live broadcast of tonightâ€™s show, you can go back and download the podcast, or just use the handy widget on my sidebar to listen directly from Mount Virtus.
More information on past and future episodes is posted at Slapstick Politics.
The Colorado state legislature has been a place of little significant action lately. But one bill first scheduled to be heard in committee this week is Senate Bill 57 (PDF), which would open up the spending of school districts and other local education agencies in an online searchable database.
Read about the advantages of this sort of policy change in my new Independence Institute op-ed:
Colorado has a tremendous opportunity to lead the way in making public education a more truly public enterprise.
School officials should place detailed and useful spending information where citizens can access it freely: the Internet. Such a simple and highly cost-effective approach promotes public accountability and transparency.
Public schools in Colorado are funded through taxpayer dollars and governed by boards accountable to taxpayers and parents. But school boards generally set policies and oversee affairs from a high-perched mountain view.
Bringing more concerned eyes to keep tabs on the taxpayer money flowing in and out of the education bureaucracy can only help. Financial transparency provides incentives to focus spending on classroom activities and other priorities supported by the community. It also promotes better-informed public debate and greater taxpayer confidence in the management of their money….(Read more)
These three stories all appeared today:
God truly has a sense of humor.
And if you haven’t read it already, now is the time to pick up a copy of Mark Steyn’s masterpiece America Alone.