I’ve known Jared Polis for going on a quarter of a century now, even before he was elected to anything. And as much as I’ve tried, he was a hard guy to dislike from the very beginning.
The person I first tried to dismiss as a petulant rich kid who put his folk’s greeting card company on the internet and had the dumb luck to cash out at the top of the dot-com bubble just isn’t who he was then or is now.
The fact is he was able to parlay that dot-com booty into other venture capital projects, like ProFlowers.com, proving it wasn’t just dumb luck. It took true talent and skill.
To further parlay his wealth into winning a seat on the State Board of Education (where he spent $1 million of his own pocket change to win while no one had ever before spent more than $10,000), then to Congress (where he was one of the wealthiest members), to becoming governor, shows he has more than just money. He has political aptitude and smarts.
To be sure, if he only had political talent, under Colorado’s sinful campaign fundraising laws he wouldn’t have been elected to any of those seats. He would have had to successfully ask some 48,000 separate people to give him the maximum $625 contribution limit to get the roughly $30 million of his own money he used to become governor.
Jared has a Bill Clinton-like capacity to speak the language of the people he is with at any given moment, giving the illusion that he’s “one of us.” He speaks like a businessman in front of industry, an environmentalist in front of the greens, a civil rights champion in front of the LGBT gang, a techie in front of geeks, and so on.
Polis is wise enough to engage with groups that flatly oppose him. He spoke at Colorado Christian University’s Western Conservative Summit. He didn’t win over any converts, but that wasn’t the goal. He did make himself seem less foreign and more personally likeable. That goes a long way as it lessens the personal attacks that can cost elections.
In August he will be speaking at the conservative Steamboat Institute. Here he will be bringing his conservative show dog, the great economist Art Laffer. Polis grew up working for Laffer and they are good friends today. Polis now drags Art out to sell the complete falsehood that he is fiscally responsible with our money.
Laffer, who is a famed champion of low (to non-existing) flat tax rates, is a principal in the Committee to Unleash Prosperity (CTUP). Since the beginning of the pandemic, this group has been successfully beating on politicians that were doing exactly what Polis did in Colorado to bring us from the nation’s best in unemployment to near the bottom – overzealous lockdowns, school closings, extended $300 a week unemployment benefits, and tax and regulatory craziness.
Laffer made sure CTUP treated Polis with kid gloves. This helps Polis’s reputation at the expense of Laffer’s, but what are friends for.
While Laffer champions lower taxes, in this legislative session alone Polis signed bills to raise taxes some $600 million a year without a public vote by calling them “fees.” Governor, you are no Art Laffer.
Polis is also remarkably fast on his feet. Unlike his two Democrat predecessors, Polis actually understands policy. And he can dance like Muhammad Ali when talking about policy with any constituent groups. He floats like a butterfly, often taking contradictory positions at different times. Sadly, it is the state left stinging.
Let me reiterate. Jared Polis understands policy extremely well. That is, he knows damn well what the economic and personal damage will be from his actions, like destroying the oil and gas industry, and his inactions, like not leading the charge to stop the crippling “family leave” initiative.
He learned at Art Laffer’s feet what an over-taxing, over-burdensome state can do to the economy and the people.
President Biden is a wholly owned subsidiary of the national Bernie Sanders, AOC socialist wing.
Governor Polis is a wholly owned subsidiary of Colorado socialists like Faith Winter, Emily Sirota, Chris Hansen, Brittany Petterson and their red army in the state legislature.
The difference is Joe Biden doesn’t know he is being used. Jared Polis does.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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