Friday, April 21, 2017

Trump Trying to Put Points on the Board

Donald Trump, who lives for ratings and is hypersensitive about crowd size, claims he’s no longer interested in the “first 100-day” standard. In fact, the White House has been obsessed about it for weeks, holding branding meetings and claiming that “no administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days.” Most recently, President Trump has made clear he needs “points on the board” by April 29 and is trying to revive health care.

For the Korbel School and Crossley Center, the historical standard is a useful measure. On May 1, join them for an assessment of Trump’s first 100 days.

Politico:  Trump scoffs at 100-day mark as ‘ridiculous standard’
CNBC: Trump calls first 100 days as ‘ridiculous standard’ – even though he set it as a standard

Will it be the best 100 days in history or the worst, is the White House a well-oiled machine or chaos center, and is the foreign policy unpredictable or incoherent?

The Beltway Rules – Shutdown

The government shutdown in 2013 was caused by a confrontation with Obamacare opponents and divided party government. It lasted 16 days in October as Republicans shed points in national polls. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got credit for settling it and has promised it won’t happen this year.

It would be profoundly stupid for the Republican Party, which controls all three branches of government, to let it shut down over internal policy disputes, especially after the Obamacare repeal and replace collapse.

  • “Take all necessary steps to avoid a government shutdown” (65%) or “If it helps them achieve their policy goals” (17%) – support shutdown 17%, with 22% Republicans and 14% Democrats; 23% men and 13% women
Read Politico: Poll: Voters recoil from government shutdown

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Hickenlooper, Gardner and Bennet’s Job Approval

Morning Consult, an online poll from web journal Politico, asked a national sample of its participants the job performance of the governors and senators of every state. Governor John Hickenlooper and Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner have middling ratings.

The highest rated governors received scores in the mid-sixty percent range and above. Charlie Baker, a Democrat in Massachusetts, had the highest approval at 75 percent. The highest rated large-state governor was Greg Abbott (R) of Texas (64%). Westerners Brian Sandoval (R) of Nevada and Gary Herbert (R) of Utah also had 64 percent approvals.

John Hickenlooper was in the upper half of the list of 50 governors with 61 percent, joined by nearby governor Matt Mead (R) in Wyoming (60%) and Steve Bullock (R) in Montana (59%). The governor with the lowest approval was Chris Christie at 25 percent.

Small state senators were more popular than those in large states. At the top were Vermont Democrats Bernie Sanders (I) with 75 percent and Patrick Leahy (D) 70 percent approvals. Wyoming’s and Maine’s two senators were next with approval ratings above 66 percent. Also, they all had single digit “don’t know” ratings. Their citizens know them.

Colorado’s two senators were in the lower half of the list, with Michael Bennet at 54 percent and Cory Gardner receiving 49 percent approval. They both had high percentage of people who could not rate them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Beltway Rules – Single-Payer

The beltway prerogatives and attitudes still rule.

In a state Hillary Clinton won by slightly more than 100,000 votes, single-payer health care, called Medicare for All by its public relations-minded acolytes, lost by 1,540,000 million Colorado voters (79% to 21%). Only Democrats deep into beltway politics would endorse Bernie Sanders’s long-time effort to promote a single-payer government system into Congress or American politics. But Diana DeGette and Jared Polis are leading the way locally. If they represented Vermont, Sanders’s home state, it would be understandable, but Colorado has just spoken.

Reps. Jared Polis and Diana DeGette
See: Three More Join HR 676 Single Payer Bill in House

The Beltway Rules – Gorsuch Vote

When Neil Gorsuch’s nomination was announced by Donald Trump on January 31, the stars appeared aligned for a smooth, if not easy, confirmation. Not easy given the current polarized politics, the bitter election result and President Trump’s ability to rile up the country’s left wing. And the Merrick Garland experience added resentment. But Gorsuch’s qualifications, his initial reception and the precedent for allowing a vote on justices led me to claim Gorsuch “gets to 60 and Colorado’s two Senators support him.” Wrong on both counts. Democrats decided to forget precedent and filibuster. Gorsuch supporters could not break it and Republicans went to a majority vote, ending the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. And Michael Bennet went with his caucus and the resistance.

The entire drama was a product of beltway politics.

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy (right) administers
judicial oath to Neil Gorsuch at White House, as his wife, Marie
Louise, and President Trump look on | Evan Vucci/AP

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

French Elections: Four Top Candidates in Margin of Error

Less than one week out, four candidates in the French election (April 23) are within the margin of error of making the first round. Since early March, the two frontrunners have been Marine Le Pen (22%) and Emmanuel Macron (23%). They remain locked in a tight race (see French Election-First Round Tie, April 10, 2017).

But ex-communist, nationalist candidate (both anti-German and anti-EU), Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has moved into a tie for third with François Fillon, the right of center candidate burdened with an unfolding family patronage scandal. Both are only four points behind the frontrunners. More than 30 percent of the electorate may not vote or was undecided on April 19, two days before published polling must cease.

Two weeks after the Sunday vote, May 7, a runoff will take place with most polls showing that in hypothetical face-off Le Pen loses to whoever joins her after the first round.

Water for Colorado

Colorado’s mountains are the source of much of the West’s water. We, of course, have a stewardship duty to protect it, but Colorado itself is in short supply. We must use our legal share as effectively and efficiently as possible.
South Platte River | Denver Water

Although the Trump administration is struggling to develop a legislative strategy, one top priority, widely shared, is a massive investment in infrastructure, including water development and protection.

I have been engaged in a long-term effort to encourage Colorado to develop its water resources, and today, the most important action is to prepare a strategy and the argument for Colorado receiving its share of any federal funds. An editorial I wrote recently appeared in the Grand Junction Sentinel, Pueblo Chieftain and the Fort Collins Coloradoan. If you agree, share it with your local water leaders.

Colorado has been fortunate to have a long history of exceptional water leaders. We need to be leading today.

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Will federal funds flow to Colorado water projects?
By Guest Columnist 
Sunday, April 9, 2017
By Floyd Ciruli

In 1977, President Jimmy Carter attempted to stop funding water projects, including those in Colorado. He was prevented from pulling the plug by the state’s delegation and with the help of the national water lobby. But it marked the end of significant appropriations for water projects and the close of the era of new dams and diversions directed by Washington.

Colorado did not stop advancing its water agenda. The need for storing water, reusing water and moving water from areas of surplus to populations of need continued. But the projects are now mostly funded through local rates or taxpayers. Rueter-Hess Reservoir in Douglas County, the Southern Delivery System of Pueblo and El Paso counties, Prairie Waters in Arapahoe County, Windy Gap Firming Project and the Northern Integrated Supply Project in Northern Colorado (both at the tail-end of their long permitting processes) and the Moffat Collection System Project sponsored by Denver Water represent $4 billion in water investments planned or built in the last decade.  Continue