'You are just a hateful bigot': Lauren Boebert faces yet another backlash

There is no more traditional value than love, but it is the one in which conservatives often seem least interested. When it comes to transgender people, for example, they are quick to sideline love for hate.

Eli Bremer, GOP frontrunner in Colorado challenging Sen. Michael Bennet in 2022, has made transphobia the centerpiece of his campaign.

“Women have rightfully fought for their rights for, quite frankly now, centuries. If you think about it, in the history of mankind women have been subjugated to men," Bremer mused during a September appearance on Peter Boyles' KNUS show. Women recently have achieved equality, Bremer explained, but it's all been threatened, especially by the Biden administration's anti-discrimination transgender policies.

“We literally now have men taking away things from women, and it's actually the progressives and the Democrats who support men destroying what women have rightfully built, and it's like 'The Twilight Zone,'" Bremer said. “Liberals are now quite literally allowing biological men to take things away from women, which is abhorrent."

Bremer, a former Olympic pentathlete, is not merely concerned with trans women supposedly having an unfair competitive advantage over cisgender women in sports. His bias runs deeper.

“Today, Biden and progressives are changing the definition of 'woman' to a point where we risk having a legal definition that is unsustainable nor understandable," he writes on his campaign site. He rejects the use of gender pronouns that don't match assigned sex at birth. He also has a disturbing habit of grouping his attacks on trans athletes with discussions about convicted serial sex offender and former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar.

Bremer's prejudice aligns with an alarming rise in transphobia on the Colorado right.

A year ago, the political committee Take Back Colorado bought Facebook ads that misgendered state Rep. Brianna Titone, the first openly trans lawmaker in Colorado, and falsely accused her of “sexualizing children." Take Back Colorado, which works to elect Republicans, is registered to Joe Neville, brother of Rep. Patrick Neville, who was then the House minority leader. The lawmaker Neville told The Denver Post that the ads showed “the facts." In another vile attack, Republican state Rep. Stephen Humphrey voiced a robocall around the same time on behalf of Colorado Family Values Victory Fund. Titone is “a transsexual state representative who wants to force a radical sexual agenda on every Coloradan," the call said, according to CPR.

Last week Rep. Lauren Boebert of the 3rd Congressional District showed she would not be outdone among Colorado trans haters. “'Admiral' Rachel Levine," Boebert sneered on Twitter after Levine, a trans woman who is the U.S. assistant secretary for health, was sworn in last week as an admiral of the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, becoming the organization's first female four-star admiral. “Because Democrats would rather hire a man for a job than a real, qualified woman." Breathtaking transphobia.

Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia noted Levine's extraordinary credentials and wrote to Boebert, “You are just a hateful bigot."

Many transphobes purport to have science on their side — “There are TWO genders: MALE & FEMALE … Trust The Science!" said a sign that delirious-with-hate Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia hung outside her office directly across the hall from the office of Rep. Marie Newman of Illinois, who has a trans daughter — but they are dangerously uninformed.

Transgender people have populated societies of every kind throughout human history. “Empirical evidence has demonstrated that trans and non-binary gender identities are normal variations of human identity and expression," the head of the American Medical Association wrote in April. Biological factors “such as genetic influences and prenatal hormone levels" are thought to contribute to trans identity, according to the American Psychological Association. Transgender science is still emerging, but five years ago, a Scientific American article that weighed recent research concluded that it “points strongly toward a biological basis" for trans identity.

When you trust the science — true science, not science twisted by hate — it's clear that transphobia comes from a lack of knowledge and an abundance of bias. And the results are tragic. The largest survey on the experience of transgender people in the United States found that 40% of the respondents had attempted suicide. A quarter of trans kids had been physically attacked in school. Trans Americans experienced disadvantages throughout various aspects of society, including employment, health care, criminal justice and housing.

In 1992, Colorado voters adopted Amendment 2, which prohibited state and local governments from enacting protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual people. The shameful measure earned Colorado a new moniker, the “hate state."

The Supreme Court struck down the amendment, saying it violated the Constitution's equal protection clause. And the state in many ways has since evolved as a welcoming place for all. Jared Polis is the country's first openly gay governor.

But some Colorado Republicans, like Eli Bremer, reject this spirit of love and equality. Their unabashed transphobia signals their preference for hate to be central to the state's identity.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

Lauren Boebert unwittingly reveals her vapid essence as she pushes out videos that are as toxic as they are awkward

The first person to represent Colorado's 3rd Congressional District, starting with the district's inception in the 1914 election, was a Democrat from Pueblo named Edward Keating.

He was the son of immigrants. He moved to Colorado from a Kansas farm with his widowed mother, and he left school at 14 to contribute to their livelihood. He became, at 23, the youngest person ever elected to the office of Denver city auditor. Keating later was known to Coloradans mainly as a journalist. He worked his way up from proofreader, and for five years before constituents sent him to Washington he was the editor of the Rocky Mountain News.

Keating is remembered as a lawmaker primarily for two things — his groundbreaking advocacy for labor protections, particularly his sponsorship of the first federal child-labor law, and for casting 1 of 50 House votes on April 6, 1917, against entering World War I.

Those were different times.

Rep. Lauren Boebert is the 15th person to represent Colorado's 3rd District in Congress. Don't bother looking for achievement or principled public service in the seat today.

The first-term Republican's approach to leadership has been to completely dispense with substance and replace it entirely with style. And the style she favors is all calculation and provocation, contrivance and performance. Superficialities are total in the execution of her duties. She doesn't bother with “issues." Her priorities are pretty straightforward: reflexive promotion of “freedom," zeal for guns and fealty to former President Donald Trump.

Boebert is never more in her element than when drawing attention to herself or creating a spectacle. Her entrance onto the national stage was a combative exchange in 2019 with then-presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke. There was the time she noisily unfurled a space blanket during President Joe Biden's State of the Union address. And when she threw a mask at a House staffer and defied COVID-19 safety measures. And when she tried to walk through a House metal detector, possibly armed, and refused to relinquish her bag to Capitol Police less than a week after the Jan. 6 insurrection. She thrives on polarizing attention.

Boebert's specialty is video appearances. She established something of a template with a fundraising video she released in January, her first month in office. The spot, produced with a tone similar to that found in prescription drug ads, delivers the message that Democrats are horrible, Washington, D.C., is irredeemably dangerous, and if you mess with her she will shoot you with her Glock.

Her most revealing videos, however, the ones that unwittingly expose everything that's corrosive about her style, are those she films herself. It's here that her style is distilled to its vapid essence. Everything about her delivery is unnatural. Every inflection is phony. Every utterance hits a false note. Every clip gives the impression of a reality star in an audition tape.

If that were the only problem, it would warrant little concern, but the videos, like everything she does in her public life, seek to foment extreme grievance among her conservative followers, persuade supporters that Democrats are the country's enemy, and prepare the ground for Trump's return to power. They are as toxic as they are awkward.

A comparison with more estimable peers is instructive. Watch Boebert's arch nemesis Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or Colorado's Rep. Diana DeGette, or Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming. You might dislike the politics of one or all of these elected leaders, but they're able to speak in such a manner that leaves little doubt about the substance and understanding behind their words.

Boebert's political themes ... exhibit the quality of being acquired.

In contrast, Boebert's political themes — the election was stolen, liberals are trying to destroy America, fanatical devotion to the Constitution, opposition to immigration, disdain for big government — exhibit the quality of being acquired. The right-wing talking points do not ring true in her telling. They sound derivative, rehearsed. Boebert has a tell. When she performs for the camera, and she starts to resemble a nobody reciting lines for a screen test, she looks up and to her left. She does this a lot.

This is not to say she lacks conviction. Quite the contrary — that she is bereft of original ideas makes her all the more unyielding in her fidelity to others' ideas, because without them she has little within on which to fall back. She clings to them like a life raft lest she drown. Her relationship to them is tenacious, but it is not deep. There is one political characteristic that seems authentically Boebert's own, and that is an affinity for fascism.

Boebert's political emptiness is not merely distasteful. It translates into a failure to deliver for her constituents. So far she has sponsored 21 bills in the House. None has earned any bipartisan support. Most barely had partisan support. None has succeeded. Most are solely posturing — her latest bill sought to impeach Biden for high crimes and misdemeanors.

President Woodrow Wilson might have been expected to turn his back on Keating after the congressman's anti-war vote, but Wilson endorsed Keating for reelection, citing his “splendid" progressive record.

It wasn't enough to preserve Keating's prospects, and he lost the 1918 election to a Republican from Canon City, Guy U. Hardy, who represented the 3rd District for seven terms. While in the House Hardy compiled what became a standard account of the institution of Congress and the duties of its elected officers.

When Hardy died in 1947, members eulogized him on the House floor. “Guy Hardy was a Christian gentleman whom everybody on both sides of the aisle literally loved," said Rep. John E. Rankin of Mississippi. Rankin was a Democrat.

Those were different times.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

Anger is the only reasonable response to COVID obstructionists

We were willing to debate the efficacy of masks.

We agreed there should be balance between lockdown measures and economic interests.

We patiently accumulated evidence that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

We kept our cool through every quack remedy and grifter treatment.

We offered guidance to the confused and correctives to the misinformed.

We forbore ignorant assertions that the coronavirus was a hoax, bratty defiance of public health orders, puerile abuse of “freedom," looney vaccine conspiracies.

We did this all with fear, as we watched wave after wave of infections disrupt our lives and kill members of our families.

But now, as we suffer through a second summer of illness and death, we find ourselves confronted with a category of people whose behavior is despicable — the COVID obstructionists, the ones who not only refuse to protect themselves but actively prevent others from doing so.

There's no point trying to understand them, no reasoning with them. They deserve no patience, no forbearance. The only reasonable response to these miscreants is anger. White hot anger.

Last weekend, Jefferson County Public Health staff were forced to close a mobile vaccination clinic after medical professionals were harassed and threatened. At one clinic someone threw some kind of liquid at a nurse. Passengers in cars threw garbage at the staff.

“It's the epitome of selfishness and I am angry today," Dawn Comstock, the agency's executive director told The Denver Post.

Comstock speaks for all of us who have tried to do our part for the wellbeing of the community. We trusted the science. We recognized the obligation we have to our friends and neighbors. We accepted the inconvenience of mask-wearing and the negligible risks of vaccinations. We did this in service to the greater good. And in return, COVID deniers, pandemic conspiracists and vaccine obstructionists are literally killing us with their stupidity and selfishness. They are inflicting illness on our loved ones, and now we are angry.

What Comstock's medical staff experienced is only one instance of a vile pattern of behavior in America. Blame starts with certain leaders.

From the very beginning of the pandemic some elected officials downplayed the danger. Former President Donald Trump assured Americans that the virus would magically disappear. He also promoted pea-brained treatments and made a show of not wearing a mask.

Colorado has long had its own COVID deniers, like Republican state Rep. Patrick Neville, who sued the governor over mask mandates, and various sheriffs who refused to enforce mask rules, and Republican U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, who defied a public health order when she kept her Rifle restaurant open for sit-down service in May 2020.

Such tantrums set the tone for what was to come.

The emergence of vaccines held the promise of a return to normal life. But protection depended on community-wide participation, and too many Americans by the time the first vaccines were administered in December had been persuaded that the vaccines were unsafe or some nefarious form of government control. That meant that even with this pandemic-ending miracle of medical science at hand, some of our leaders and neighbors decided they would rather show off their imbecility than help eradicate the virus. Anti-vaccine parents were so threatening toward members of a school board in Grand Junction that board members had to have police escorts to their cars after a recent meeting. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis moved to block Florida schools from issuing mask mandates. Fox News host Tucker Carlson encouraged viewers to harass people wearing masks and call police on parents of mask-wearing kids. Eleven states have prohibited mask mandates. And there are innumerable individual acts of obstruction of the sort witnessed in Jefferson County last weekend.

To what end? The country is gripped by a fourth wave of infections, and hospitals in many parts of the country, including Colorado, are approaching or exceeding capacity as unvaccinated patients pour in.

In the beginning of the pandemic, it was easier to tolerate ignorance and stubbornness. Not anymore, not with nearly 700,000 or more dead and the highly-contagious delta variant tearing through the population. Now we want severity. We want mask requirements. We want vaccine mandates. We want crisis standards of care that prioritize vaccinated patients.

We will grieve for the unvaccinated who don't make it, but there's only so much room in our hearts, because we're grieving the loss of our own loved ones who did not have to die. They could still be with us, and we are angry that they're not.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

The far-right insanity in Colorado is a symptom of something much deeper -- Americans should be on red alert

The clerk and recorder of Mesa County, Tina Peters, appears to have engaged in direct, potentially illegal, activities that threatened election integrity in her jurisdiction. The irony of the case is infinite — she is a far-right adherent of the big-lie movement that claims former President Donald Trump won the November election and purports to be safeguarding election integrity.

This article was originally published at Colorado Newsline

After images of passwords from the Mesa County election system were posted online by QAnon ringleader Ron Watkins, Secretary of State Jena Griswold launched an investigation into what she called a “serious breach" of election security. Griswold said the investigation has found that Peters was involved in surreptitiously copying information from election system hard drives, which was delivered to election conspiracists. Griswold assigned her own supervisor to oversee Mesa County elections, since Peters appears unfit for that responsibility. The local district attorney is pursuing possible related criminal charges, and the FBI is conducting an investigation.

Peters' response was to ignore Griswold and head out of state. She turned up in South Dakota, where she was a top-billed, if incoherent, attraction during last week's election conspiracy event “Cyber Symposium," a festival of lies hosted by MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Now she is “holed up," evidently on the run, in a “safe house" under Lindell's protection, according to Vice.

Peters might seem an exceptional case of the damage that election truthers are doing to democracy. But she didn't act alone, and Coloradans should treat her as a red alert.

What led to the Mesa County breach was a determined and organized effort to discredit election results in Colorado. Similar activity is taking place in other states, like Arizona, where Republicans tend to have more influence than they do in Colorado. But the spirit of the attacks, and the threat they pose, is the same.

One of the main vectors of election disinformation in Colorado is Sherronna Bishop. Bishop served as campaign manager for Rep. Lauren Boebert, herself a prolific peddler of election lies. Bishop, who styles herself as “America's Mom," is an energetic and versatile activist who can recite talking points on gun rights absolutism, COVID denial and a take-your-pick roster of far-right insanity. Her latest project is to erase confidence in Colorado elections.

Bishop accompanied Peters to the Lindell event and also spoke from the stage. “In Colorado, we are a red state," she told the gathering, though by any conceivable objective measure the state is solidly blue. “We know we are. And there are amazing people who are out there, they are verifying this, they are going door-to-door, they're doing the work to prove that our elections were stolen." No credible evidence exists that suggests the November election in Colorado or the United States was compromised or fraudulent.

Also at the gathering with Bishop and Peters was Shawn Smith, a retired Air Force colonel. Voters might not be familiar with Smith, but state elections officials sure are. His professional stature and technical experience in the military lend a patina of plausibility to his disquisitions about how Colorado's voting systems, especially Dominion machines, can't be trusted.

Smith and Bishop work with the Colorado Chapter of the U.S. Election Integrity Plan, which has outposts in other states, such as Arizona and Georgia. After the November election, the group issued a statement calling on Colorado officials not to certify results. “As far as we are concerned, every race and ballot measure in every district in the state is suspect," it said.

In April, the Republican Study Committee of Colorado, a conservative association of legislators, met to discuss election integrity. The first presentation was delivered by John Eastman, the University of Colorado Boulder visiting professor who is infamous for speaking at the Trump rally on Jan. 6 that preceded the insurrection (“We know there was fraud … We know that dead people voted," Eastman said at the rally).

Also on the agenda was USEIP. “We're focused on restoring the Republic," said USEIP's Ashe Epp during her presentation. She said USEIP is the only organization in Colorado wholly focused on election integrity and had swiftly grown since November to 283 activists. “We have ground game, with people ready to start on the voter verification, ready to start on a number of initiatives in 16 counties across the state, including the 12 largest."

As part of that ground game, the group has dispatched volunteers to counties around the state to importune voters at their doors. The volunteers are “using public voter lists to identify precincts from which they believe ballots were fraudulently cast and asking residents to confirm their addresses, whether they participated in the 2020 election, and if so how they cast their vote," according to the Colorado Times Recorder.

It's unclear exactly which counties have seen this kind of activity — which voters in no way are obliged to entertain — but reports indicate they include at least El Paso, Larimer, Weld and Mesa. And, as we now know, it's in Mesa that the election-fraud activists scored their biggest prize yet, a county clerk allegedly willing to subvert election security on behalf of a movement that purports to protect election security.

Coloradans can take comfort in at least one outcome of these efforts — so far they have been rebuffed by other Republican county clerks (there are a total of 38 in the state's 64 counties). In Elbert County, for example, County Clerk Dallas Schroeder said that after November he started fielding questions about election integrity from citizens. One of the people who challenged him on the vote was Shawn Smith, with whom he spoke about three times in the spring, he said.

“I decided the best way to put any concerns to bed was to go ahead and do a recount," Schroeder said.

The hand recount in Elbert County is believed to be the only one to have been conducted in the state. It took place in May and examined all 19,131 ballots in the county's presidential election. In a race that saw Trump beat President Joe Biden by 50 percentage points in Elbert, the recount found only three discrepancies, all due to human error, not the county's Dominion machines. “It showed that here in Elbert County we didn't have any issues with our system," Schroeder said.

Public servants like Schroeder are the bulwark between actual election integrity, as America for so long has enjoyed, and the enemies of democracy, who in Colorado and across the country would rather dismantle reliable voting systems than lose elections.

Never in the country's history have authoritarians so brazenly and systematically attempted to subvert the people's will. Institutional defenses remain largely intact. But USEIP's disinformation campaign is as much about creating doubt about future elections as it is about overturning the last one. And the big-lie movement in Colorado has sympathizers in the Legislature and the highest ranks of the state GOP.

How long democracy's defenses can hold remains to be seen.

Colorado Newsline is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Colorado Newsline maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Quentin Young for questions: info@coloradonewsline.com. Follow Colorado Newsline on Facebook and Twitter.

Happy Holidays!