EDITORIAL: GOP state House ‘Big Lie’ tirade was warped and menacing

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Colorado State representatives stand for a morning prayer as the 2022 legislative session opened Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in the State Capitol in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Not even a week into the new session of the Colorado Legislature, and the 2022 term has unravelled into a grave and dangerous heap of far-right extremist deceit and delusion.

House Speaker Alec Garnett was succinct and accurate after a bevy of loose-cannon Republicans began pitching lurid and ludicrous amendments to a bill touting the need for Congress to take up voter-rights legislation.

“Holy moly,” said Garnett, a Denver moderate Democrat during the House floor fracas. At times, his voice rose with alarm, and rightfully so. “We cannot remain silent. Listen up. This is serious. You’re under threat.”

This is serious.

The morning started on the House floor, like many do during the 180-days of lawmaking, with the group of lawmakers running through highlights of the day and “resolutions.” For the most part, House resolutions are toothless statements about people and issues, often a chance for the general assembly to offer attention, props or kudos to do-gooders, issues and industries.

Democrats, who run the state House with a comfortable margin, offered a resolution backing the efforts in the U.S. Senate to push through a voter-rights bill. The controversial effort is backlash from relentless lying from Donald Trump and his allies about non-existent 2020 Election irregularities and fraud that, conspirators say, wrongly led to the election of President Joe Biden. While lying and delusion were hardly new problems for Trump and his dutiful lackeys, the corruption swept across several Republican states, which reacted with dangerous anti-voter-rights laws. Some laws actually would allow Republican dominated states and counties to overturn legitimate election results at will and without valid proof.

Arguments against a federal fix as a remedy to Trump’s lies, and his allies’ amoral legislation are valid. Current drafts of the federal bill are far reaching, and could be overreaching. Republicans or Democrats in the Colorado state House have defensible reasons to give pause to voting for Tuesday’s resolution supporting the Senate bill.

That’s not what happened. A majority of the Republicans in the House dog-piled on the bill, offering what in other times would be eye-rolling partisan high jinks as political commentary.   

As many as 15 GOP House representatives voted for a hostile amendment to the bill that supported Trump’s Big Lie about non-existent election fraud and would throw support behind discredited Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters. Peters admittedly used her power to provide outside, adversarial access to sensitive voting machine components. Peters is under investigation by the FBI and others for allegations of perpetrating what’s tantamount to undermining Colorado elections. Colorado judges have removed her from conducting any election duties as clerk.

Radical GOP lawmakers also backed an amendment to the voting-rights resolution that recommends outright ending electronic voting systems in Colorado, a hallmark of Colorado voting accuracy, ease and equal access. The notion is part of the common quackery among Republican conspirators submerged in Trump’s election plots.

These lawmakers went even further. As many as 16 Republicans in the House supported a failed amendment lauding fellow GOP State Rep. Ron Hanks and the rioters and insurrectionists who seized the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 in a failed effort to undermine the legitimate votes of millions of Americans and use corrupted election law to illegally install Donald Trump as president. Hanks admittedly was part of the rally with Trump before the siege, and he has regularly parroted Trump’s false narrative and lies.

“They were such nice people, Mr. Speaker,” Hanks, a Fremont County Republican said Tuesday. He’s running for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Michael Bennet. “These people did nothing wrong. They were afraid for their country.”

The danger here is obvious when a majority of Republican elected officials in the House lavish praise on a dubious peer who says a thwarted effort to violently overthrow the U.S. government was carried out by “nice people” who “did nothing wrong.”

So who, elected to positions of power in the state House, goes beyond the pale of partisan politics and perpetuates dangerous lies, delusion and collusion with corrupt people working to undermine free and fair elections?

Here’s the list of colluders: From Arapahoe and Weld counties, representing the far reaches of the Aurora region, Rod Bockenfeld. From Douglas County, Mark Baisley, Patrick Neville and Kevin Van Winkle. From Colorado Springs, Andres Pico, Shane Sandridge, and Dave Williams. Also, Marc Catlin, Montrose, Richard Holtorf, Akron, Stephanie Luck, Penrose, Rod Pelton, Cheyenne Wells, Janice Rich, Grand Junction, Matt Soper, Delta, Tonya Van Beber, Eaton, Perry Will, New Castle and Dan Woog, Erie.

Not all House Republicans are on board the train wreck to Delusionland.

Even Republican House Minority Leader Hugh McKean, who has tried more to change the subject rather than solidly call out the cancer eating away at the GOP, admitted that those Republicans perpetuating Trump’s Big Lie is creating a schism in the nation. 

“We’ve got to get to where we have an election, we accept the results and we move on,” McKean said.

He fell short of condemning the dangerous deceptions and instead asked his caucus to just leave it out of House legislative discussions.

Those are the words of someone seeking to retain power, not lead people away from a real and present danger.

These are not partisan melodramas. These are warped and treacherous schemes to allow a minority of Colorado officials and their allies to undermine the most important facet of American democracy, free, fair and valid elections.

The 16 Republicans who carried out Tuesday’s ruse must either rethink their allegiances and obligations or step aside so principled representatives can get the people’s work done.  

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GeneD
8 months ago

Yes, it’s about time that the media stop focusing on the wingnuts like Neville, Williams, Hanks, Broebert, Taylor Green, Paul, Cruz, Jordan, Gaetz, and Gosar who have done nothing to better the country, only work to get headlines for themselves, and start standing up those elected officials who are trying to do the right things and put country over party.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
8 months ago
Reply to  GeneD

“put country over party.”

Said the most partisan commenter on these boards.

Your side can’t even bring this country up in casual conversation without badmouthing it–you really expect anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear that you’d ever put the former over the latter if it didn’t advance your own agenda? Especially when your side is already setting the narrative that the upcoming wipeout of the Communist Democratic Party in a few months will be illegitimate.

GeneD
8 months ago

I’m not sure what you think ‘my side’ is and, as far as I know you’ve never overheard my casual conversations. Do you think I’m wrong in wanting to give more attention to those elected officials who value the truth and their oaths? Or do you prefer folk like the ones called out in the article who try to diminish the repulsive seditious acts of January 6?

I am glad that Garnett made his statement, which is true, and true patriots realize how close we are to losing our American democratic practices and principles. My hope is that Pelosi and Schumer also go on the offensive and start calling out the obstructionists and enablers of the big lie and all that flows from it.

BTW, what is it about wanting to lift people out of poverty, providing basic healthcare, creating jobs, reducing the wealth gap, combatting climate change, and rebuilding the middle class that makes the Democrats Communists?

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
8 months ago
Reply to  GeneD

You’re wrong in pretty much everything you type, as you are a partisan leftist. Therefore, everything you opine is automatically illegitimate.

Jeff Ryan
Jeff Ryan
8 months ago

Define “communism”. Without looking it up first.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
8 months ago
Reply to  Jeff Ryan

Rather sad deflection there, Jeff.

Angelina Marie
Angelina Marie
8 months ago

Delusional criminals want to steal our government and then run it into the ground because they aren’t interested in governing. Meanwhile people elect them and empower their insanity, to ‘trigger the libs,’ not understanding that once they’re beyond the power of the voters to recall, they won’t answer to their own constituents either.

Rod Bockenfeld, State Representative
Rod Bockenfeld, State Representative
8 months ago

I believe the honest readers will see this editorial as it is, the Aurora Sentinel Board operating as the communication’s department for the Colorado Democratic Party. The real story was about how Speaker Garnett immediately broke his opening day promises of ending divisiveness and building collaboration among the members of the state house. He broke his promise with his first cause of action. He had to because the Democrats have nothing to run on. Their policies have failed.

Lastly, accuracy in reporting is a benchmark in in the journalism industry. Aurora Sentinel’s Editorial Board needs to do their homework before they shoot off their loose cannons with all their emotional rantings. I represent Arapahoe and Adams Counties and not Arapahoe and Weld Counties.

Rod Bockenfeld
State Representatives
House District # 56

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
8 months ago

Perry and his crew have been Squealers for the Democrats for at least a generation; an unhinged screed like this is nothing new.

GeneD
8 months ago

Please, Representative, give us a list of things your party has done, at the state and/or national level to make this a better, more free, and more just country.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
8 months ago
Reply to  GeneD

Hey Gene, no comment on Perry’s mistake or the actual post itself?

Considering what an overpriced cesspool the Denver metro has become under your side’s control, maybe it’s time to give it back to the grownups before the city becomes a giant homeless camp.

Karina Guenther
Karina Guenther
8 months ago

How are the federal fixes overreaching? One is merely reinstating the policies that were created 50 years ago in the original voting rights act that conservatives on SCOTUS said were no longer necessary unless congress reinstated them. 20 years ago those policies were approved unanimously by both parties. 16 GOP from that vote are still in the senate today. The other bill is simple – establishes a minimum of 15 days for early voting, makes voting day a holiday. What’s radical about those things?

Debra MacKillop
Debra MacKillop
8 months ago

are there any GOP leaders that are not an embarrassment at best, and a true danger to democracy at worst?

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
8 months ago

Are there any old commie Boomers who are capable of not punishing society for their daddy issues?

GeneD
8 months ago

In debate, the lowest form of argument is ad hominem, which is attacking the speaker as a person, rather than his/her arguments with logical data-driven counter arguments. This seems to be your standard m.o.

Is it that you have no evidence for demonstrating how conservative policies and practices have made our nation better, or is it too sad for you to admit that you’ve backed the wrong horse? Whatever it is, it clearly triggers your rage and hateful attacks and can’t be good for your health.

DICK MOORE
DICK MOORE
8 months ago
Reply to  GeneD

Hey Gene. For some time I’ve thought you were uneducated, misled and nasty. Congratulations, now I believe you are educated.

GeneD
7 months ago
Reply to  DICK MOORE

See previous response to FWO, or could that be one of your aliases, Dick More (or less).

DICK MOORE
DICK MOORE
7 months ago
Reply to  GeneD

Hey GeneD, An educated person, I think, could have come up with a better Dick joke/comment. Maybe I spoke too soon. See, socialists and conservatives can get along, can’t they?

GeneD
7 months ago
Reply to  DICK MOORE

That’s your binary view of the world: either socialist or conservative? Pretty narrow thinking, Dickie.

Factory Working Orphan
Factory Working Orphan
7 months ago
Reply to  GeneD

Speaking from experience, Gene?

Joe Felice
Joe Felice
8 months ago

This is not something with which our state General Assembly needs to concern itself. We here in Colorado have voting under control and we do it right. It’s the U.S. Senate that needs to get itself aligned with the American people.

We are left to wonder why the right wing extremists continue to agitate.