Columnists, Governor Polis, Jon Caldara, Politics, Uncategorized

Caldara: How Polis’ presidential ambitions can benefit Colorado

(You can listen to this column, read by the author, here.)

President Joe Biden missed the deadline for his annual medical physical in January, concerning some about his fitness to serve. His communications staff says it’s been rescheduled for mid-February but they’re coy about if it will include cognitive tests, and whether such results will be made public.

Maybe if the results are labeled “top secret” the FBI could find them in the president’s garage.

Though it seems certain Biden is running for a second term, there could be mounting pressures, coordinated by concerned players in Democratic circles, to persuade him to gracefully step aside for a younger candidate.

Should Biden refuse to run for re-election, it would be good news for the country. Having a commander in chief in mental decline is generally, um, sub-optimal. But even the rumors of the possibility of him not running would be great news for Colorado.

Why? Because elections have consequences. And after the rout Republicans experienced in Colorado last November, we are about to get more consequences than we can handle.

Tragically, the Colorado state legislature is back in session and for the first time in state history Democrats hold a super-majority in the House of Representatives and are only one squishy Republican vote away from it in the Senate.

If you thought Colorado’s progressive legislature passed some real gems during the past several years, you ain’t seen nothing yet. The consequences are just beginning to roll.

This session we have a bill to set loose the long-dead, slum-creating policy of rent control (I’m guessing because they couldn’t figure out how to word a bill to bring back smallpox).

They have a bill to take away your TABOR refunds, you know, the refunds the Democrats crowed about like they invented them last year when they were running for reelection.

They are working on a bill to outlaw every semiautomatic gun in the state, which would be just about all the guns in the state including all (yes all) pistols and most all rifles.

They even have a bill to force landlords to accept all animals, no matter how destructive, into their property without so much as an increased damaged deposit.

Now given his first four years in office, Gov. Jared Polis has shown no sign of vetoing anything that would sizeably upset the left wing of his party. For four years Mr. Polis has been a doormat for the economy-killing, utility-bill-hiking left. And since the last election, the left wing of his party has only moved more left.

I see only one possibly moderating factor now. Jared Polis is a very ambitious man who has spent much of his time and treasure grooming his national image as a new and different type of business friendly, libertarian-ish Democrat. Of course, he wants to be president.

Now, those of us who have actually been keeping score over the years understand he has overseen the greatest advance of the tax and regulatory leviathan in Colorado’s history. But of course, that’s not what he wants the nation to think. And in this spin, he has been wildly successful. Fox News, The Wall Street Journal — even the libertarian Reason magazine — are among the many national outlets to fall for his “libertarian-ish, business-friendly” public relations bait.

I think we can assume Polis hasn’t spent his political PR cash only in Colorado.

Should rumors of Biden declining a second run grow, and there is evidence it will, our governor will quickly become a name tossed around as a player. Biden doesn’t have to announce he is not running. Rumors alone will entice Polis to govern differently than his first term.

Polis will be playing to a larger, national constituency. He will become a natural target for more attention from outside media, which he handles very well. But sooner or later, no matter how good he is at charming out-of-state reporters, whack-a-doodle bills are going to land on his desk.

His too-clever-by-half explanation of unleashing gun control across the state and a small business crushing minimum wage hike by calling it “local control” may have passed by Colorado’s anemic media outlets unchecked. But he won’t get the same grace from national outlets.

On all issues Polis would know he must now govern Colorado as swing voters in swing states would want a president to govern. And THAT might have a large moderating force for Colorado.

Pray for more rumors.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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