Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday Education Quick Hits

Kudos to the Rocky Mountain News editorial board for calling out Senator Sue Windels' attempt to overregulate online schools.

The Rocky also highlights yesterday's sensational discovery of the email from Representative Mike "Give 'Em Hell" Merrifield. In the article, Merrifield was rebuked by a prominent member of his own party:

"It shows there's absolutely no good faith on the Rep. Merrifield's part, who is clearly more concerned with defending a crippled and ineffective status-quo public education system then [sic] creating opportunities for all kids," said Sen. Peter Groff, D-Denver.

Finally, Governor Ritter's plan to raise property taxes received a bit of good news, as the legislature's legal team said the plan could be enacted without TABOR's requirement for a vote of the people. Some Democrats might have been hoping that the move had been found unconstitutional so they wouldn't be forced to vote on a tax increase. A legal hurdle has been passed, but the hurdle of public approval is looking pretty tall.

Erratum: The Rocky story mistakenly said the tax increase is estimated to bring in an extra $84 million in revenue. The actual figure is about $65 million. Their confusion can be forgiven because of the confusing way the plan has been advertised - to raise $65 million more in taxes so the state can spend $84 million on preschool and kindergarten AND save the state budget from fiscal ruin. No wonder the Democrats are leery about increasing our schools' math standards.

Cross posted at Mount Virtus

Colorado Democrats: Sex Ed Trumps the 3 Rs (and Science)

On a party line vote today, the Senate Education Committee passed a bill sponsored by Senator Sue Windels (D-Arvada) to mandate standards on Colorado schools that teach sex education. Three committee members, all Democrats - Windels, Bob Bacon, and Ron Tupa - voted to support the House Bill 1292 mandate six weeks after voting against a mandate setting higher state graduation requirements for math and science (Senate Bill 131), and eight weeks after voting against a requirement that high school graduates have basic competency in English (Senate Bill 73). Suzanne Williams (D-Aurora) was the only committee member to cast votes for all three measures.More...

Last week the House Education Committee, chaired by Mike "Give 'Em Hell" Merrifield, shot down the math and science requirements after hearing support from a Jefferson County teacher, a university president (could have been two if Merrifield hadn't rescheduled the hearing at the last minute so CU's Hank Brown couldn't testify), and a Lockheed engineer. Said Merrifield:

"My contention is by forcing every child into this narrow curriculum, we are not making them more innovative, we are not making them more creative," the Colorado Springs Democrat said, citing a national report that calls a well-rounded education the "passport to a job in which creativity and innovation are the key to a good life."

The Witwer plan, Merrifield said, would make students "more regimented and more lock-step (with) less ability to think outside the box."

Because the more you learn about physics and algebra, the more atrophied your brain becomes? Or perhaps it's just not possible to take 3 years of math and 3 years of science in high school AND music, art, or drama? Or maybe Merrifield and the Democrats on the committee believe Colorado's high school graduates are performing so well in math and science already. This 2005 report from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education belies that notion: It shows that 1 in 4 of Colorado public high school Class of 2004 graduates needed basic math remediation in Colorado public universities.

The problem? High school graduation requirements don't match CCHE admission requirements, which get even tougher in 2008. Only 53 percent of Colorado's Class of 2004 would have been able to enroll under the 2008 standards (achieving a 19 in math on the ACT). And nationally, according to NAEP test results, only 23 percent of 12th graders are proficient in math.
Tell schools to teach kids a little more math and science to prepare them for college and life, and you run into a union-controlled, Democrat roadblock. Tell schools how they have to teach sex ed, and will the House Education Committee stand up for local control? Or for creativity and freedom to think "outside the box"? All eyes are watching.

Before the sex ed bill reaches them, the House Education Committee will have another test. The committee will have to decide on SB 73 by Chris Romer (D-Denver), the bill requiring high schools to make sure their graduates are prepared for life with basic English literacy. (Of course, as Mike Rosen pointed out, such an idea would simply be too sensible for the education establishment and their legislative allies to swallow.) Just one more chance for these Democrat lawmakers' constituents to see where their priorities lie.

Cross posted at Mount Virtus

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Start Of A Meme--McInnis The Wonder Moderate

Democrats seem eager to paint any forthcoming GOP candidate for Senate--especially Bob Schaffer--as the dreaded "social", "traditionalist" or "ultra" convservative candidate, while painting Scott McInnis as the friendly "moderate" who was the GOP's only hope for retaining a seat held by the conservative Sen. Wayne Allard.


To make Rep. Mark Udall seem less liberal.

A head-to-head match-up between Schaffer and Udall would be a true test over the political divide in Colorado. Neither candidate can easily be branded with the meaningless "moderate" label--meaningless in the sense that it usually only indicates the ideological position of the person using the term, and is not a helpful characterization of the candidate. For McInnis, this has turn into code for "less socially conservative", which is now being used as the attack on a potential Schaffer run.

It is no surprise that Democrats wish to capitalize on what they perceive as a sudden lurch to the left in American politics, and hope to establish some of their more liberal members as "mainstream" (another word for moderate), and not really "liberal" or the even "progressive". If the American voters truly moved that far to the left, their would be no need to abandon the labels or avoid accepting one's identity as a solid liberal on the issues.

By portraying Udall as a successor to the "moderate" Ken Salazar or Bill Ritter, Dems are appealing to Colorado's independent spirit, unaffiliated voters, and a general disdain for extreme West or East Coast liberalism, outside of the Boulder-Denver-Aspen areas. Demonizing Schaffer with the social conservative label--and therefore the only extremist in the race is both logical and also indicative of the extent to which they believe Udall is weak on his record as a "latte-sipping" Boulder liberal.

(cross posted from Slapstick Politics)

Democratic Deviousness In Action

When is a bad idea even worse? When it gets dismissed as predictable silliness, but has the long-term effect of eliminating possibilities for good governance.

Stay with me on this one--it's gonna take some work.

State Rep. Mike May (R) hands out the "Golden Anvil" Award every so often to Bad Business Bills which Weigh Down Colorado Commerce. I am on this mailing list, so I keep pretty well informed of what the Democrats are trying to do to ruin the Colorado economy. Tonight, though, something new piqued my interest.

The "Golden Anvil" citation included the following lines:

That is why House Republican Leader Mike May, R-Parker, awarded this week’s Golden Anvil to House Bill 1293, which was promoted this weekend by sponsor Rep. Gwyn Green (D-Golden) and anti-highway-expansion activists. . . .

As amended, HB 1293 would create a 500-yard bubble, the length of five football fields in each direction, around all public and private schools, making it more difficult for any highways to be built or expanded within that area.

This set off my radar, so I did a little reviewing of some stuff I took an interest in not too long ago.

The Colorado Deparment of Transportation, along with several other agencies, have been studying for several years now the feasibility of completing the Denver Highway Loop, which begins in the West at the intersection of C-470 and I-70, and circles south and east around the city to connect with E-470, which goes all around the east part of Denver and, with the recently completed connection, goes all the way around to reach Flatirons' Crossing Mall in the far northwest corner of the city. This leaves just the furthest West/Northwest corner of the Denver Metro Area without a leg on the Loop. And, as anybody who has tried to get anywhere in the northwest corner of the metro area can tell you, completing that loop would make a huge difference in travel around the city. CDOT has dubbed this project "The Northwest Corridor."

Two years ago, when this was first being looked at, I went to a couple of the public meetings held by CDOT to try to start a working plan. There was, as I recall, about 80 possibilities for this highway, though some were obviously better suited than others. But most of the most sensible alternatives involved the use and expansion of an already-existing four-lane highway, Colorado Hwy. 93, to complete the Loop into and through Golden, where it would hook up to C-470/I-70 and finish the Loop. If you look through the heading "Alternatives" at the above link, it will show you all the possible routes the NW Corridor could take.

The problem with that is that the residents of Golden--which, by the way, is about three times the size it was 20 years ago and sprawls up onto the sides of the foothills in every direction around the city--do not want a highway coming through their city. And, I suppose, I can't blame them: I don't want one coming through my part of town, either. But, given that there's already Hwy 93, CO Hwy 58, and CO Hwy 6 all passing through or around Golden, carrying traffic to Boulder and the gambling cities in the mountains, this is a smaller adjustment for that community than it would be for many others.

So how does Gwyn Green's HB 1293 come into play? Well, first, notice that Gwyn Green represents Golden. Second, check out this map on Mapquest, which shows the location of Mitchell Elementary School. Now, I'm no cartographer, but it looks to me like Mitchell Elementary School is within about 50 feet of Highway 93.

In other words, were HB1293 to pass and become law, the Northwest Corridor IS DEAD as a highway project. Hwy 93 could never be expanded as long as Mitchell Elem. still stands, and the residents of Golden, thanks to the cleverness of their representative, would never have to deal with being a part of the Denver Highway Loop.

Keep in mind, folks, that with the opening of Flatirons' Crossings Shopping Center, the redevelopment of the Rocky Flats region, and the otherwise normal expansion of housing in the northwest part of the metro area, NOT having an easy means of highway travel in this area will mean significant losses in terms of commerce, traffic congestion, lost time, and the massive environmental impact of cars idling in traffic jams. NOT completing the Highway Loop would be--twenty years out--a disaster for this area.

This disaster brought to you by the Democrats in your Legislature.

Addendum: Note that this bill passed out of the Education Committee, where it is more easily disguised. Had it gone through the Transportation Committee, somebody might have noticed the scheme.

Addendum 2: In case you were wondering, Mitchell Elem School (new facility) opened in about 1995--WAY after Hwy 93 existed in its current corridor.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

McInnis: Other Viable Candidates Must Unify GOP

Scott McInnis throws out a few more names to add to the list of potential GOP candidates:
There might be other viable candidates, McInnis said.

“If the party can’t unify, they can’t win a statewide race, but if they can unify, they’ll be able to recruit people like Russell George or Rebecca Love Kourlis,” McInnis said.
Both of them would start out with almost zero name recognition, like many of the other potential second tier candidates whose names have been tossed about. McInnis, however, points out the obvious--the GOP's candidate should unify the party, energize the base, draw out the fundraisers, and pump up the volunteers. Even a unanimous candidate will fail if the campaign they run isn't anything short of vigorous, bold, and effective.

Was McInnis pushed out? Unlikely--there might have been pressure to defer to another candidate like Bob Schaffer, but at this point it seems McInnis probably felt he did not have the drive for both a potentially bruising primary (almost inevitable, despite his attempts to avoid one), and an equally tough general election. Hogan & Hartson will provide a rather cozy "fallback", and this is perhaps the most compelling reason McInnis withdrew his candidacy so early.

Democrats believe McInnis was too "moderate" for Colorado's GOP:
State Democratic Party chairwoman Pat Waak said McInnis' decision to withdraw "may give a signal that Colorado Republicans are not interested in moderate candidates."

She said McInnis has a history of voting against a gay marriage ban.

"If that is the reasoning behind his announcement, it is sad that the Republican Party still doesn't understand that the state, and the country, is looking for solutions, not ideologies," Waak said.
In reality, it looks like the Democrats are simply rolling out their campaign tactic of characterizing any of the GOP's potential candidates as "too conservative", and will likely try to push the meme that the "moderate" McInnis was pushed out in favor of more "right-wing" candidates.

If Colorado looks for "moderate" candidates, with Sen. Ken Salazar and Gov. Bill Ritter representing the most "centrist" of Democratic candidates, then what are they doing championing "latte liberal" Rep. Mark Udall (D-People's Republic of Boulder)? Udall's Club for Growth ranking (10%) was the lowest in the state--topping even liberal Rep. Diana DeGette.

All Eyes On Schaffer

Says state Republican Chairman Dick Wadhams.

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer is noncommittal to this point:
"There's an optimal time to arrive at a decision for me, and when I get there, I'll decide," Schaffer said in an interview.
Given the necessary organization and fundraising for a successful run at the Senate seat, this will be sooner, rather than later.

Former Rep. Bob Beauprez offered these observations on a Schaffer run:
He's not sure whether former Rep. Bob Schaffer is ready to join Scott McInnis in the race for the Republican Senate nomination, but did observe how well-received Schaffer was at the state GOP central committee meeting in Castle Rock earlier this month.

Schaffer lost the Senate primary to Pete Coors in 2004, but has surprisingly rebounded within his party, noted Beauprez.

But will Schaffer try again in 2008? "The environment out there is maybe not as inviting as some conservatives would like it to be," Beauprez said delicately.
All potential GOP candidates are weighing the election losses of 2004 and 2006--the state's Democratic trend will undoubtedly play a huge role not only in deciding the eventual GOP candidate, but also the amount of fundraising that candidate will receive.

With so much at stake nationally, Colorado's toss-up seat will garner a great deal of attention and money, and should the polls start leaning toward a Udall win, the funds will dry up, regardless of who the candidate is. If the GOP's candidate can keep it close in the polls going into next fall, perhaps riding on a new surge of interest/support in the Republican party during a presidential campaign year, expect a costly and heated battle. The question now is which of the potential candidates can muster an effective campaign--holding their own against the media-anointed favorite Rep. Mark Udall.

ProgressNow has already prepared a welcome for

ToTheRight offers the first post-McInnis assessment--Schaffer Si, Suthers No

For what it is worth, Rep. Mark Udall offered his opinion on former Rep. Scott McInnis' withdrawal:
"I am personally disappointed that Scott McInnis has taken himself out of the race for the U.S. Senate in 2008. I regard him as a friend and only a week or so ago we met and traded jokes about our respective futures," Udall said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. "Scott has been a strong advocate for the West Slope, and I believe he would have been a formidable candidate for the United States Senate."

Democrats Moving To Expand Their Voting Base

Two measures passed out of committee at the state legislature today. Both passed on straight party line votes. Both are obvious ploys by Democrats to pander to a segment of their constituency. Both will be ignored by the media. Both will create structural barriers to prevent Republicans from winning elections in the near future.

And both are bad--not just for Republicans, but for everybody.

From the indispensible Colorado Senate News:

:Democrat senators approved a proposal in committee today that expands the list of documents allowed for an ID or to prove lawful presence in Colorado – drawing charges by a Senate Republican of a “rollback” on immigration reform.

House Bill 1313 passed through the State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee on a 3-2 party-line vote. Under the bill, a person would be able to prove legal residency by simply providing a Social Security card with either a hospital record or religious documentation.

Sen Dave Shultheis . . .says . . . among the offending provisions is one that allows a person's friend to submit an affidavit attesting to that person's lawful residency in the U.S."They're just going to have to take the guy's word for it," said Shultheis

And . . .

:A measure allowing convicted felons on parole the right to vote in elections was embraced again by Democrats today -- this time in a Senate committee, which agreed on a 4-3 party-line vote to send the proposal back to the Senate floor. . . .

“This (parolee voting) portion redefines by legislation a constitutional phrase, and the Legislature does not have that authority,” said Dan Domenico, solicitor general of Colorado.

So, anybody out there seriously wonder which direction those votes are going to break? Paroled felons and immigrants whose only verification of residency is a friend's word? Gimme a break.

So, here we have the Democrats in the legislature starting to move to shore up their positions to hold on to power in this state for a lot of years to come. They've demontrated over the past three elections that they have vastly better fundraising ability than our side does; they managed to out-maneuver us in 2000 to prevent good redistricting; and now they're redefining who is and isn't a voter in ways that could increase their percentage of the vote by an amount we have no way of guessing right now.

This is a story that HAS to find a way into the mainstream media--Coloradans won't stand for this, but only if they know what's going on. And the media certainly won't do anything on their own.

cross-posted at Best Destiny

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Official--McInnis Out, Leftists Gloat

That was quick.

It's official--Scott McInnis is out:
Former Congressman Scott McInnis announced today that he will take a pass on the 2008 U.S. Senate race, clearing the way for what could be a wide-open contest for the Republican nomination.

McInnis, who was widely regarded as a front-runner for the GOP nomination, said he will remain involved in politics, but that the contest was not right for his family.
. . .
"My decision is based on doing what is right for Colorado, and ultimately what is right for my family," McInnis said in a release. "I appreciate the warm reception and encouragement that I received from many Coloradans," he said.

"I thank them for the privilege of service they afforded and bestowed upon me for many years. I will look forward to continuing to work with the next generation of leaders to uphold the ideals and values that make Colorado great."
McInnis probably read the "McLobbyist" writing on the wall from the left, and sensed a lack of momentum from state GOP fundraisers and activists.

A departure this early, even before the possibility for a GOP primary became reality, demonstrates the lingering effects of both the 2004 and 2006 elections cycles, both of which saw heated GOP primaries result in general election losses.

It also reflects the likelihood that the 2008 race will hinge largely upon fundraising support and a unified party backing the eventual candidate. The Dems have settled on Rep. Mark Udall, and now the Republicans will have to try to find the best possible candidate over the coming months.

Ben DeGrow
broke the story Monday.

As for alternative candidates like former Rep. Bob Schaffer and AG John Suthers:
Schaffer said he believes voters lurched to the left in 2006 when the GOP lost two key Colorado positions to Democrats, the governorship and a seat in Congress, both of which were open. He said voters may be ready to go the other way next year.

"That's what I'm evaluating, whether the pendulum will swing back to the center, which would give Republicans an advantage," he said.

Nate Strauch, a spokesman for Suthers, said the attorney general also is evaluating the race.

"He hasn't ruled out a run, but he's not in the race at this point," Strauch said.
And the Dem's frontrunner Rep. Mark Udall?
But "I don't think he's invincible," Straayer said. "Wadhams knows how to spell 'Boulder' and he knows how to spell 'liberal."'
So will Colorado by the time the race ends.

MyDD thinks former Rep. Bob Schaffer looks weak in 2008.

DKos suggests that McInnis decided not to lose to Democratic candidate Rep. Mark Udall (D-People's Republic of Boulder).

DownWithTyranny! says Schaffer is a "pawn" of the "religionist right".

The DSCC envisions
McInnis' replacement as woefully behind in fundraising and organization--19 months out.

Plans to launch from ProgressNow, the successor to

ColoradoConfidential cites a lack of political backing, fundraising, high negatives, and an apparently inevitable primary.

(cross posted from Slapstick Politics)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

When is a Tax Increase Not a Tax Increase?

How do you sell a tax increase as something other than a tax increase? These days Colorado Democrats are even having a hard time with it. Last week Governor Bill Ritter announced the unveiling of the cleverly-named "Colorado Children's Amendment," which somehow would do two things simultaneously:

1) Freeze scheduled property tax rate reductions, raising next year's tax bill for homeowners and business owners in many of the state's school districts - ostensibly to save the State Education Fund (created by Amendment 23 to finance only certain K-12 expenses). Of course, this is not an entirely new idea - one that has been shot down before because it violates TABOR by changing tax policy without a vote of the people, but it has been projected to bring in $65 million in new revenues a year.

2) Spend $84 million to fund additional slots for full-day kindergarten and preschool students, as well as raise general support to 11 school districts. Early childhood education is one of the softer sells, after all.

What the rest of us are trying to figure out is how Ritter's plan can save the state budget from ruin while simultaneously creating programs that spend even more money than is scheduled to be taken in.

Such a realization could only rob the plan of any remaining enthusiasm. Ritter's amendment was supposed to be added to the School Finance bill in the Senate, but bill sponsor Sen. Sue Windels (D-Arvada) said the amendment won't be added until the debate reaches the House.

The Democrats seem to be backtracking a bit, challenged by the sincere questions of one member of their own caucus during last week's committee hearing on the School Finance Act. From the Rocky Mountain News:

Even a member of Ritter's Democratic Party questioned the legality - and political feasibility - of mandating higher taxes without going to the voters.

"Explain to me how this is not a constitutional problem - because taxes will go up for somebody, whether it's the homeowner or the business or whomever," said Sen. Ron Tupa, D-Boulder. "How do we get by that?"

Tupa added, "We're going to have to talk to our constituents in a way that's going to be explainable."

Tupa has a point: If they want to get this proposal passed, Ritter and the Democrats need to find a better way to explain away the tax increase. But trust me, it's not going to be easy. Colorado voters know better.

Cross posted at Mount Virtus

This Must Be Double Super-Secret Party Support

Via Colorado Senate News:

A key Democrat lawmaker said today the governor’s mill-levy “freeze” – proposed last week amid fanfare as a way to raise $65 million for schools – will not be introduced in the Senate after all. Instead, the controversial hike in most Coloradans’ property taxes now will be amended into the annual School Finance Act in the House.

The latest twist with the now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t tax hike had critics wondering if the Ritter administration is backpedaling in the face of mounting political push-back since he debuted the proposal.

Make no mistake: Gov. Ritter's proposal is nothing more than a semantically-neutral way of raising taxes--A LOT!

But rather than showing just a tiny bit of political courage and supporting their guy by going out and making a case for this plan, the Senate Democrats--and, in particular, Sue Windels--are going to play a shell game with this tax hike and hope that they can get it through without the public noticing.

Yes, that's right--EVEN THOUGH they have a voting majority, and they know that the Governor won't veto his own plan (oh, wait . . . .), they know better than to try and do this sort of thing out in the open.

There's a lesson in this, Colorado: this state has not gone Blue. Think of all the ideologically blue proposals that the voters smacked down in the last election and look at the dubious accomplishments and approach of the Democrats in the legislature, and you sense that, on a very core level, this state is still very much center-right.

Now, if only we could get some candidates to articulate that effectively and some money to combat the Gill/Stryker/Polis tidal wave, we might actually win something again.

cross-posted at Best Destiny

Friday, March 16, 2007

Colorado Delegation on the Retreat Resolutions

Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D-CO7) made a floor statement in support of the Democratic legislation today. The whole text is here; I would highlight the key passage in his statement, but he didn't manage to arrive at one in a statement that wouldn't have made it past Mrs. Flander's editing pen in 10th grade.

I'm so proud that this guy represents me.

Representative--would-be Senator--Mark Udall did not weigh in on this issue today; instead, he introduced legislation protecting consumers from credit card issuers.

Way to be on top of the big stuff, Congressman. Aren't you on the Armed Services Committee?


Senator Ken Salazar (D-CO) also made a floor statement today on the Senate's vote on the Iraq Resolution. The whole text is here; the key statement:

“Today, I voted for a new direction in Iraq.

The crucial understanding: this resolution failed to even generate a simple majority.

Way to be a mover and a shaker, Senator!

cross-posted at BestDestiny

Monday, March 12, 2007

Colorado Democrats Just Can't Help Lurching Leftward

The activity down at the Colorado StateHouse this week was hilarious for those of us who were waiting for the Left to show its stripes. A sample of the activity:

:the State Board of Education has come to the realization--to its dismay--that the Democrats are trying to make school accountability a meaningless (and costly) exercise in Colorado

[from ColoradoSenateNews] The Colorado State Board of Education has denounced sweeping attempts by key legislative Democrats to “overturn the educational accountability reforms that have been painstakingly built over the last 14 years.” One board member called the Democrat legislation a “flight from accountability.”

In a letter Monday to Gov. Bill Ritter, Board of Education Chair Pamela Jo Suckla issued a stern warning about four pending bills that essentially would gut the Colorado Student Assessment Program tests, also called CSAPs.

“(B)y going in this direction, we would be turning our backs on the hard-won growth and progress our state has shown over 14 years within an accountability system that has won national praise,” Suckla wrote.

“Basically, if these four bills became law, they would decisively overturn the educational accountability reforms that have been painstakingly built over the last 14 years by Governors Romer and Owens and bipartisan majorities of the General Assembly,” she wrote. “In addition to jeopardizing hundreds of millions of federal aid dollars, they would also fatally undermine the database that is essential to the very promising longitudinal program you recently signed into law.”

This, of course, comes as no surprise to those of us used to the way the teachers' unions view the CSAP tests--which translates very closely into what the Democratic party thinks. It's just refreshing that the State School Board is resisting the most powerful lobbyist group in the state and rebuking the majority party in the process.

Also, by the way, you would never know about this story if you relied on the major Denver dailies for your news--neither the Rocky or the Post has any evidence of this story anywhere on their websites.

:The Senate on Tuesday turned an annual election-code cleanup into a broad overhaul that would let felons on parole vote and close public access to ballots cast in questionable elections.

Ah, yes. So the Senate Dems want to let bad guys vote but keep you from figuring out exactly what happened in the election. I wonder what could possibly prompt these moves?

:The Democratic-led Senate blocked a GOP effort to set safeguards against illegal voting in elections.

What do those mean, cruel, and heartless Republicans want? THEY ACTUALLY THINK THAT A PERSON SHOULD SHOW EVIDENCE OF CITIZENSHIP BEFORE REGISTERING TO VOTE. How mean can they be?

More importantly, why in the hell would Democrats NOT want proof of citizenship?

:And, just for good measure, don't miss the hearings next week on a resolution of opposition to the President's "surge" strategy in Iraq.

As if these guys have any clue what they're doing in that realm.

So, to recap: felons vote, illegals could sneak through without barrier and vote, you and me can't figure out what happens in an election, this legislature should make foreign policy, and schools should not have to demonstrate effectiveness.

Sounds like the "moderate", "meaningful" Democrats have been fish-hooked by their keepers to throw the liberals a few bones, while ignoring transportation and health care.

So we're at the halfway point in this legislative session, and so far, the most meaningful activity has been a union-empowerment bill which the Governor had to veto because it gave away too much of the Democratic playbook too early (of course, as Ben has noted, that creates its own problems for the Democrats).

Look for the Left to get a little impatient and make more noise in the second half of the session.

cross-posted at BestDestiny

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Udall Watch

Udall: Tell Me What We Do When We Fail

From Mark Udall's website:

Colorado Congressman Mark Udall (D-Eldorado Springs) today called for action on legislation he has sponsored that would require the Pentagon to report to Congress on steps it has taken to plan for contingencies in case the president’s surge policy in Iraq fails. Udall, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said the White House failed to plan for the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 and he does not want a repeat of those planning failures after the surge, especially if the security situation there continues to deteriorate.

“Recent press reports suggest that there may not be a plan for post-surge Iraq. Americans want assurances that this administration is thinking about and planning for the unthinkable. No one wants chaos or increased violence in Iraq, but it would be irresponsible not to plan for those possibilities. While looking at Iraq through rose-colored glasses may make us feel better, we will only do right by our men and women in uniform if we plan for likely contingencies, however unpalatable. I don’t want a repeat of the performance that led the administration to launch a war in Iraq without a plan for what would come after initial military success,” said Udall.

The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) released last month states that as Iraq’s security environment worsens, three scenarios could emerge: chaos leading to partition, the emergence of a Shia strongman, or anarchic fragmentation of power. Udall’s bill, H.R. 1183, The Iraq Contingency Planning Act, would require that by June 30, 2007, the administration inform the House and Senate Armed Services Committees how the Defense Department and other agencies would respond to each of these scenarios with an explanation of the role of U.S. troops under each scenario, including a comprehensive analysis identifying and justifying the number of U.S. troops needed in each case.

This is the man who wants to be Colorado's next Senator.

Were Udall being totally honest, he would have included the same caveat the NIE placed just before the "three scenarios language":

A number of identifiable internal security and political triggering events, including sustained mass sectarian killings, assassination of major religious and political leaders, and a complete Sunni defection from the government have the potential to convulse severely Iraq’s security environment. Should these events take place, they could spark an abrupt increase in communal and insurgent violence and shift Iraq’s trajectory from gradual decline to rapid deterioration with grave humanitarian, political, and security consequences.

Even the NIE is a strongly hedged document, that in NO WAY predicts with certainty the "three scenarios" that Udall cites in his press release.

Further, Udall selectively ignores any of the optimistic language included in the NIE:If strengthened Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), more loyal to the government and supported by Coalition forces, are able to reduce levels of violence and establish more effective security for Iraq’s population, Iraqi leaders could have an opportunity to begin the process of political compromise necessary for longer term stability, political progress, and economic recovery.

Well. . . .okay. So it's not exactly "optimistic," but it is also no more certain a scenario than the ones Udall cites. He also chooses to leave out this language, which is far more important to the overall debate:

Coalition capabilities, including force levels, resources, and operations, remain an essential stabilizing element in Iraq. If Coalition forces were withdrawn rapidly during the term of this Estimate, we judge that this almost certainly would lead to a significant increase in the scale and scope of sectarian conflict . . .

In other words, based on cherry-picked language from the NIE, Mark Udall wants to have the Department of Defense announce to the world what its plan is for WHEN the surge fails. Which, of course, is just another way of giving the torrorists our playbook for the next phase.

This, boys and girls, is the man who wants to be your next Senator.

cross-posted at Best Destiny