('76 Contributor) On Feb. 23 I had the opportunity to testify before the House Committee on Finance, Colorado General Assembly, in support of HB 10-1296, sponsored by Representative Spencer Swalm and Senator Josh Penry. Joining me to testify in support of the bill were Jacque Graham, Principal at Inner City School and Theresa Gallegos, whose child benefits from an ACE scholarship.The idea behind HB 1296 came from former U.S. Senator Hank Brown, and it would provide low-income families with an annual $1,000 tax credit for enrolling their child in a private school. The bill would also provide a grant of $1,000 to any public school that loses a student to a private school as a consequence of the tax creditRegrettably, the bill was killed on a Party line vote, six to five, despite the compelling testimony of Jacque Graham and Theresa Gallegos, and the leadership of Representative SwalmIt is unfortunate, as the bill would have given low-income families a tremendous financial incentive to send their child to a private school, reduced public school class sizes as more children took advantage of the tax credit, and provided public schools with a $1,000 grant to help them give the children that remain behind a better quality education. The bill would have even had a positive fiscal impact on our state, with a savings of $4.9 million in the first year, $8.7 million in the second year, and as much as $36 million in ten years, according to the official fiscal note prepared by Legislative Council.It's hard to imagine rejecting a bill that would do so much:* Provide a much-needed financial benefit to low-income families;* Allow low-income children to attend quality private schools;* Support public schools with a $1,000 grant for not teaching a child who left for private school;* Save the State of Colorado millions of dollars during one of the worst recessions in our history and at a time when the Legislature is proposing to cut K-12 education spending.During the hearing several comments stood out to me as particularly alarming:* The full-time lobbyist for the Colorado Education Association (the teacher's union) testified against the bill, stating that the legislation "doesn't support public education." This statement perfectly sums up what is wrong with the CEA. The lobbyist was right that the bill's intent was not to support public education, even though it would have provided each school $1,000 for every child they lost. The bill was intended to support children, not the bureaucracy of our public education system... and shouldn't that be the point?* Other representatives who voted "no" agreed with the CEA lobbyist, saying the bill "undermined" public education. I never would have imagined that giving a public school $1,000 for every child that leaves their school would be seen as undermining public schools. After all, most of the children who would choose to leave would do so because the public school wasn't effective. Talk about rewarding failure!While it was frustrating to watch this bill go down in defeat, I was proud to represent the Alliance for Choice in Education and share with the committee some of the amazing things that are happening through our organization. ACE will continue to provide these low-income children with immediate relief from failing public schools, and we will continue to support efforts to extend school choice to every child in Colorado.The author is executive director of the Alliance for Choice in Education, a Denver-based scholarship program to help disadvantaged parents choose better schools for their children.
Of all the fairy tales that liberal politicians seem to believe — such as man-made global warming or that more government health care spending will reduce the deficit — there one fable they seem unable to comprehend: "The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg."
Most will recall the story of the couple blessed by a goose that each day produced one golden egg and made them rich. Not content with their good fortune, the couple decided to cut the goose open and collect the bevy of golden eggs inside.
Instead, they found that, like other geese, their goose produced just one egg a day, and so by killing her, they failed to realize a bonanza of golden eggs and, or course, killed their goose.
In Colorado, we see the same short-sighted thinking, demonstrated by a legislature and governor who, in order to balance government's budget, chose to impose $130 million in higher taxes on the very businesses whose success is vital to a strong economy.
When minority Republicans argued that raising taxes on business during a recession is counterproductive, they were assailed by Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll, a Denver Democrat, who unfurled this blazing display of pious myopia:
"We're asking big business to pay their fair share so that we don't have to keep balancing the budget on the backs of teachers, police officers and firefighters, senior citizens and the neediest who depend on our safety net."
Speaker Carroll wasn't finished: "It's only the GOP and their special-interest cronies who have been complaining because we're rolling back corporate welfare and special interest tax loopholes."
If sanctimony and economic illiteracy were currency, the Speaker could buy his favorite professional sports franchise.
Where, pray tell, does he think the $7.5 billion in the state's general fund comes from? Overwhelmingly, it comes from businesses that make a profit, pay taxes and employ workers (who also pay taxes) only if they can produce something that consumers will buy. Contrast that with government, which produces nothing that people willingly purchase. That's why government must raise money through taxes and fees.
The state has less money to spend because business receipts are down. When business is booming, businesses pay more in taxes — happily — because sales volume and profits increase. When receipts are down, business not only pays less in taxes, but it spends less on payroll and production.
When government raises taxes during a recession, businesses have no choice but to cut costs further by reducing payroll and other investments that would have generated tax revenue. It's a vicious cycle, and short-sighted tax hikes inevitably backfire on legislators who view protecting government as their first priority.Speaker Carroll and so many of his colleagues seem to believe that Colorado is a government that supports an economy, rather than an economy that supports a government.
Perhaps if the Speaker had ever met a payroll, he would understand why these policies — and his rhetoric — are disastrous.
That's a problem — dearth of business experience — that increasingly afflicts the Democrat caucuses at the State Capitol, hence their view of business as just another "special interest." Democrat legislators' work experience comes predominately from government or non-profit fields that don't rely on their ability to efficiently produce goods or services but on the tax dollars or generosity of those who must.
In the House, 70 percent of Democrats come from government or non-profit fields; in the Senate, it's 57 percent. Among Republicans, only 26 percent of representatives and 28 percent of senators come from a government or non-profit background. (Incidentally, that's counting all attorneys in both parties as private-sector producers.)
Democrat legislators and Gov. Ritter landed in this predicament because they worship at the altar of government. That's why they can't resist spending every dollar they take in during good times, rather than setting some aside for hard times.
That's why, for the past two years, they've ignored pleas to budget cautiously and have made promises to schools and to seniors that they cannot keep. That's why they are willing to see just how much abuse the golden goose can take.
Centennial Fellow Mark Hillman was previously senate majority leader and state treasurer. To read more or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com.
('76 Editor) This week Centennial Institute officially begins its second year. We're working to become known in Colorado and nationally as the open forum where current issues are tested against timeless principles.
Our Spring 2010 events calendar features topics from drug policy to mobility strategies to the Christian testimony of an ex-Muslim terrorist. We'll also feature Arthur Brooks of the American Enterprise Institute on capitalism in crisis, Douglas Bruce on taxpayer protection in Colorado, and Michael Poliakoff on the classical legacy of Vergil.
The full schedule, confirmed with a few exceptions, is below. There's no charge for these events, but space is limited, so you will need to reserve early.
For reservations, email Centennial@ccu.edu or call 303.963.3424.
Wednesday, February 17, 7pmCCU Music CenterDebate: "Why Not Legalize All Marijuana?"State Rep. Tom Massey, State Sen. Sean Mitchell,DA Carol Chambers, Attorney Jessica Corry----------------------------------------- Monday, February 22, 7pmCCU Business School 101Issue Monday: "Mobility Solutions for Colorado"Randal O'Toole, Author of "Gridlock"----------------------------------------- Wednesday, March 3, 12 noonCCU Dining Commons AnnexLuncheon Briefing: "Confronting Radical Islam"Tawfik Hamid, Author of "The Roots of Jihad"----------------------------------------- Monday, March 15, 7pmCCU Beckman Center 202Issue Monday: "Vergil's Epic of Western Civilization"Dr. Michael Poliakoff, Former Academic VP, University of Colorado----------------------------------------- Friday, March 19, 730amBrown Palace HotelPolicy Breakfast: "Reviving Democratic Capitalism"Arthur Brooks, President, American Enterprise Institute----------------------------------------- Wednesday, April 7, 12 noonCCU Dining Commons AnnexLuncheon Briefing: "From Muslim Terrorist to Christian Believer"Kamal Saleem, Author of "The Blood of Lambs"----------------------------------------- Wednesday, April 14, 7pmCCU Music CenterLecture: "Defending Liberty"Wayne LaPierre, President, National Rifle Association (invited)----------------------------------------- Monday, April 19, 7pmCCU Beckman Center 202Issue Monday: "Taxpayer Protection in Colorado, 1985-2010"Douglas Bruce, Author of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights
||medical marijuana, arthur brooks, wayne lapierre, douglas bruce, radical islam, terrorism, tabor amendment, randal o'toole, carol chambers, jessica corry, tawfik hamid, kamal saleem
||Centennial Institute | Colorado | Culture | Policy
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('76 Editor) I asked former Treasurer Mark Hillman what sort of genuine PERA stabilization bill he would file if the two of us were still state senators, in light of his concern expressed in the previous post that the current bipartisan Senate Bill 1 doesn't get at the root of the problem. He recommended the following three steps:
* Raise the retirement age to 67 for anyone who hasn't been in a PERA-covered job for more than 5 years.
* Give everyone the option to put their money into a DC plan.
* Put into statute that, from this point forward, if PERA's funds fail to meet the 30-year amortization requirement, that constitutes an "actuarial emergency" and it's up to the PERA board to produce permanent benefit reductions that restore the 30-year amortization schedule.
By the way, Hillman has just published an excellent overview of how Bill Ritter and Colorado Democrats have shredded both the budget and the constitution since 2006. The paper is called "A Billion Reasons Why Colorado Taxpayers Need Protection." He wrote it for the Rocky Mountain Foundation, the new group headed by our friend Tom Tancredo.
(Centennial Fellow) Rescuing the Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) is nothing new for state lawmakers. Twice in the last decade, legislators have thrown PERA a lifeline, forcing the state, school districts, local governments and finally even workers to chip in hundreds of millions of dollars to keep the plan afloat.
As recently as four years ago, PERA and many employee groups refused to acknowledge the plan's peril, despite assets falling from 105 percent of the amount needed to pay benefits to just 70 percent from 2000 to 2004.
In 2008, PERA's funding ratio tumbled to below 52 cents for every dollar of promised benefits - a $30 billion deficit. After almost a year of cautioning lawmakers against acting hastily, even PERA's directors finally asked for help - a third rescue plan in just seven years.
PERA had little choice. Its $30 billion unfunded liability is enormous. For comparison, state government is expected to collect about $27 billion in taxes and "fees" over the next three years. Shutting down state government for three years in order to bail out PERA isn't exactly a viable option.
PERA's fix asks for more money from employers (taxpayers) and asks current employees to forego up to 5 percent of future wage increases.
More significantly, PERA abandoned its long-held legal argument that benefits once promised to its members can never be scaled back, no matter how unaffordable they become. PERA proposes an immediate reduction of cost-of-living adjustments from the current 3.5 percent per year to no more than 2 percent.
The current plan, Senate Bill 1, is criticized from the right for not doing enough to control the costs of PERA's generous benefit structure and from the left because - at long last - it requires PERA beneficiaries to shoulder a significant portion of the bailout's cost.
However, the cost of PERA will soon become too large to ignore, even for those hoping to retire on PERA. If this year's "fix" is approved -the alternatives aren't any easier - then the total cost of employing a PERA member will be more than 28 percent of that employee's wages:
** 8 percent deducted directly from an employee's paycheck,
** 15.15 percent contributed by employers, including a 5-percent bailout payment,
** And a 5-percent bailout payment from employees, which is, at least in theory, subtracted from wage increases.
Many scoff that these "foregone wage increases" are merely a ruse to create the appearance of employee contributions while still ultimately sticking it to taxpayers.
Those suspicions aren't unfounded, but the reality for most school districts, local governments and, even, the state is that they have nowhere else to find the money, given that personnel costs account for a large share of their budgets.
When the current economic crunch subsides, union leaders will most certainly lobby elected officials to fund both the PERA bailout and standard wage increases. If lawmakers, city councilors or school board members give in, then voters should throw them out.
Either way, the cost of funding PERA will soon become a tremendous, inescapable burden for government and for employees covered by PERA.
A PERA member whose job pays $50,000 will have $4,000 deducted and credited to his or her PERA account. The employer will send PERA an additional $5,075 as its employer contribution and another $5,000 for the PERA bailout.
Whether or not some of that money comes from foregone wages, year after year the employer is paying PERA $5,000 that otherwise could have been spent elsewhere. And because personnel costs are the largest part of most government budgets, employees would have undoubtedly received a share of that money if it wasn't bailing out PERA.
For current retirees, the bailout isn't so bad; aside from the reduced COLA, they aren't paying for it. But working PERA members will soon ask if the money their employer is sending to PERA will fix it once and for all - or if they're trading reduced wages today for more promises that PERA can't keep and more costly fixes in the future.
Centennial Fellow Mark Hillman was formerly Majority Leader of the Colorado Senate and Colorado State Treasurer.
There's a case of Founding Father forgetfulness creeping through the GOP. Sarah Palin recently showed the extent of the infection. But it seems Colorado is not immune, and may be in desperate need of the vaccine.
In a recent interview with Glenn Beck, Palin was asked to name her favorite Founding Father. While visibly scrounging through her mind's historical file cabinet, she bought some time by declaring, “Well, all of them.” Beck fired back: “Bull crap.” Like a young paralegal, she continued to search her files, eventually producing a name: “Of course, George Washington.” The light bulb above her head was almost blinding, the relief in her face embarrassing.
But while Palin's latest hiccup may cause our historical hearts to murmur, she is not alone in her post-antiquity amnesia. In fact, Palin resembles some Republicans in Colorado.
In November, CCU hosted a debate between the top four Republican candidates for Colorado's upcoming U.S. Senate seat (Ken Buck, Jane Norton, Cleve Tidwell, and Tow Wiens). After the questions about health care and national security came a lighthearted question by moderator John Andrews. The query went something like this: “Tell us what President of the United States you would like to travel back in time and have dinner with?”
While one could not expect the Continental Congress to dominate the dinner table, one could at least expect names such as Washington, Adams, or Jefferson to garner an invite. But according to our potential senators, such patriots would go hungry at their dinner party. Instead, Teddy Roosevelt would have to shuffle his schedule, as most picked him for Andrews's imaginary dinner date.
To be clear, Teddy is not a bad choice. But at a debate where the themes of “fixing Washington” and “getting back to our roots” permeated the discussion, one could not help but note the absence of those who got it right in the first place. And in a national conversation dominated by partisan politics, are we asking too much when we ask our leaders to name a favorite statesman from an era when statesmanship, not rhetoric, brought true hope and change?
So what is the cure? I can't say for sure. But the medicine must contain a steady concoction of history, civic duty, and respect. Historians such as David McCullough, with his book John Adams, could offer the perfect prescription. But it's up to our leaders to fill those prescriptions. Otherwise, we may end up with a group of civic servants who no longer esteem those who have created this democracy. Or worse, who just can't remember.
After all the Hickenhoopla dies down, Colorado voters may experience a sick feeling of déjà vu as the Denver mayor and Democrat candidate for governor claims that he's "business friendly."
We've been down this campaign trail before, just four years ago, when nice guy Bill Ritter bent over backward to ingratiate himself to every gulliblebusiness organization in the state. Only the most ardent Republicans refused to fall for the fallacy of a business-friendly Democrat, and business leaders and editorial boards across the state have been (deservedly) kicking themselves ever since.
So, here we go again.
Like Ritter, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper comes across as likable. His knack for self-deprecating humor is particularly endearing.
Like Ritter, Hickenlooper seems like the kind of guy whom you would welcome as your next-door neighbor. Neighborliness might indicate he has the skills to shovel snow off your sidewalk -- as Hickenscooper has already demonstrated -- but doesn't equate to "this guy will make a great governor."
Like Ritter, Hickenlooper aims to avoid any serious challenge from within his own party, and that doesn't happen unless labor union bosses are convinced they have a candidate who will do their bidding.
The Denver Post reported that one of Hickenlooper's early testing-the-waters phone calls was to Wally Stealey, retired lobbyist and labor union stalwart, who complained that "labor had been terribly abused by Ritter."
This is the same Ritter whom The Post -- which in 2006 lauded him as "the best choice for Colorado" -- labeled "a toady to labor bosses" and "a bagman for unions and special interests" just one year later.
While Hickenlabor strives mightily to assure union bosses that he will be even better for them (which means worse for Colorado's economy) than was Ritter, will so-called "business leaders" again be duped?
Will they dismiss the costly lessons learned during the past three years?
Will they believe that a candidate who can enthrall hard-core union leaders and hard-left environmentalists will, once elected, throw them under the bus to please the business community?
When Hickenlooper ran for mayor, he ran in a nonpartisan election decided by personal popularity and he benefited from being "anybody but Don Mares." But as Ritter has learned, when Democrats control the legislature, a Democrat governor who vetoes Democrat legislation -- particularly legislation backed by organized labor -- evokes the ire of his party's liberal base.
Remember that four years ago, The Denver Post reported that candidate Bill Ritter "indicated he would be at least as business friendly as Republican Gov. Bill Owens." To prove this, Ritter reviewed the 47 bills that Owens had vetoed in 2005 when sent to him by a decidedly business-hostile Democrat legislature. Ritter claimed that he would have vetoed 38 of those bills.
Despite that tough talk, Gov. Ritter has vetoed eight, seven and four bills, respectively, in his first three years. Out of more than 1,400 billspassed, that's a rubber-stamp rate of 98.7%. And still Big Labor feels "abused."
Did the Democrat-controlled legislature suddenly turn over a business-friendly leaf and cease to do the bidding of labor unions, trial lawyers and anti-capitalists? Hardly.
Quick-witted Republican state chairman Dick Wadhams dubbed the new Democrat governor-in-waiting "Hickenritter" and argued, "There is not a dime's worth of difference between (Ritter and Hickenlooper)."
Colorado voters deserve, Wadhams says, to know which Ritter policies Hickenlooper will overturn:
* Ritter's property tax increase?* Ritter's vehicle fee increase?* Ritter's early release of violent criminals?* Ritter's executive order to unionize state workers?* Ritter's repeal of state spending limits?* Ritter's job killing energy policy?
Hopefully, Colorado voters will insist on firm answers to these tough questions after enduring three -- going on four -- years of a Democrat monopoly at the State Capitol.
After all, voters bought the myth of a business-friendly Democrat and it's cost more than $1 billion higher taxes and fees ‹ all without a public vote.
The old adage says, "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."
Colorado can't afford to be fooled twice.
Centennial Fellow Mark Hillman served as state treasurer and senate majority leader. To readmore or comment, go to www.MarkHillman.com .
('76 Editor) While others play the personality game of who succeeds Bill Ritter, let’s talk policy. Imagine Colorado making itself so attractive to employers that we lead all 50 states in creating new jobs, instead of lagging in 20th place as we did in the decade past (our second-worst showing since 1890).
Imagine Colorado becoming a mecca for affordable health care by letting insurers from across the country compete on price and quality in our state marketplace. Imagine forging out as the nation’s futuristic energy leader, the state that builds safe nuclear plants for clean electricity powering homes, businesses, and vehicles.
Imagine our schools putting kids’ best interests ahead of union demands with the most charter-friendly policies in America, slashing red tape to empower learning performance. Imagine our university system paying students a 25% dividend on their time and tuition by innovating the three-year college degree.
Imagine a legislature so tough-minded that it would solicit private investors for Colorado’s transportation infrastructure, Indiana-style; clean up the PERA retirement system’s governance to exclude self-serving insiders; impeach the state’s chief justice for rewriting our constitution; and launch an all-out investigation of radical Islam’s influence here.
And imagine a state government so honest that it no longer grabs a 15-month, zero-interest loan from your paycheck in the form of tax withholding. Rather you keep your own money for your own use until the revenue deadline in April each year.
Such imagineering, as the Disney people call it, is great for mind expansion. But don’t expect any of these visions to be realized in legislation when the Colorado General Assembly convenes this week. Majority Democrats, led by House Speaker Terrance Carroll and Senate President Brandon Shaffer, envision our future differently – and for now, citizens have put them in charge.
For now. The ruling party’s legislative work from January to May is their final exam. In November the voters will file a report card on every House member and half the Senate. Some of us hope all the Democrats flunk. To hasten that, Republicans should use the 2010 session to prove that “out of power” does not mean out of ideas.
Snow may be scarce in the mountains, but at the Capitol a blizzard of bills is flying. During these 120 days nearly a thousand proposals will surface. Some will tackle the budget deficit. Others will push hot buttons, from legal pot to illegal aliens. We’ll hear about such bedroom questions as the gun in the nightstand or who shares a pillow. So will they also find time to debate the big-picture policy issues?
Ten are imagined on my list above. GOP legislators, outnumbered in both chambers, can’t pass these good ideas into law. They can't even get many of them to a floor vote where Dems are put on record. But they can certainly propose them as bills, publicize and advocate for them, laying down a marker for the upcoming campaign.
Rep. Spencer Swalm (R-Centennial) is doing just that with his proposal to end mandatory withholding of state income tax, a transparency move to highlight the ever-growing cost of government. “When a taxpayer has to sit down and write a check,” says Swalm, “it wonderfully focuses the mind.”
Businesses, for that matter, shouldn’t pay income tax at all – since they merely pass it along to consumers or squeeze it out of employee payrolls. Spurring an employment boom by axing that tax was one of my recommendations to gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis in a column last month. His legislative allies should call the Dems’ bluff on job creation with a bill.
By helping Coloradans imagine a better legislature in 2010, Republicans can help themselves back to the majority in 2011. “Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it,” sang that old political balladeer, Goethe.
Colorado Christian University is committed to developing the next generation of leaders. One of the Strategic Objectives of the school is "To impact our culture in support of traditional family values, sanctity of life, compassion for the poor, Biblical view of human nature, limited government, personal freedom, free markets, natural law, original intent of the Constitution and Western civilization."
As a means of furthering this objective, from January 4-8, eight students participated in a winter session class devoted to learning more about state and local government. A major portion of the class was dedicated to guest speakers, some of whom came to the Lakewood campus. The class also spent two days at the Colorado State Capitol. The guest speakers afforded the students a unique opportunity to hear from and question leading state officials. Listed below are the speakers who addressed the class, as well as the topics discussed.
Attorney General John SuthersTopic: Role of the Attorney General, current issues facing the state including the potential suit against the federal healthcare initiative
State Representative Glenn VaadTopic: Discussion on theories of representation, discussion on legislation being proposed in the current session concerning privatization of state maximum security prisons
State Senator Mike KoppTopic: Legislative procedures. Mock legislative session: how senate committees work on bills
State Supreme Court Justice Allison EidTopic: Role of the court, court administration, judicial philosophy, rules of Colorado courts: appointment and retention elections
State Representative Amy StephensTopic: Running for office, work of state legislators, role of faith in legislative duties
Colorado Appellate Court Judge Dennis GrahamTopic: History of Colorado’s judiciary, discussion of court procedures
John Andrews, Centennial Institute Director; former President of the Colorado SenateTopic: running for office, importance of serving, significance of state government, importance of states reasserting their Constitutional authority.
Mark Barrington: Candidate for Colorado State Representative, 26th DistrictTopic: Process of running for state office
Matt Arnold: Director of Clear the Bench ColoradoTopic: problem of judicial activism, process of removing state judges through retention elections,
Jeff Crank: Director of Americans for Prosperity: Colorado & talk radio hostTopic: becoming active in the political process & the work of Americans for Prosperity
Kid-glove treatment by the Denver Post on Gov. Bill Ritter's decision not to run again, makes me miss the Rocky Mountain News as never before. And it increases my gratitude for the feisty skepticism still alive and well in talk radio and the blogosphere.
In three days of coverage on the Ritter story by the Post, Monday night to Wednesday morning, online and in print, I haven't seen a single mention of the Governor's ethical and legal exposure over close aide Stephanie Villafuerte changing her story on the 2006 campaign controversy over leniency to illegal aliens.
Doubly odd since the Post itself, with suddenly-invisible reporter Karen Crummy in the lead, doggedly drove this issue and forced Villafuerte to pull her nomination for US Attorney. Triply odd since reputable news organizations such as Examiner.com have reported on the growing talk of possible impropriety in her personal relationship with Ritter.
The Post, last man standing among Denver's major daily papers, owes the public extra vigilance in that role. Instead, for some reason, it has morphed from watchdog to lapdog in this latest chapter of the Ritter melodrama.
Thankfully, Peter Boyles of KHOW in the morning has stayed on the Villafuerte angle. Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman, KHOW in the afternoon, have a different but equally probing take, speculating there was a Ken Salazar / Barack Obama coup to force the vulnerable Ritter out and hand the nomination to Salazar. Jon Caldara observed in an email this morning that sometimes "family priority" is code for a straying spouse trying to make things right. But not a hint in the Colorado's print journal of record, the Post, on any of these plausible and relevant possibilities.
Did Bill Ritter really jump by his own volition, as a sympathetic Lynn Bartels piece in today's Post has it? Or was he pushed -- by powerful Democrats here and in Washington, or by looming revelations of scandal? A truly free and independent press needs to be asking those questions.
"Don't wet on my leg and call it rain," LBJ used to say when someone tried to gull him in obvious fashion. (Actually he said it in more earthy terms.) Politicians try to do that all the time, of course, to each other and to us. They can't help themselves. That's where the First Amendment and the watchdog media come in. If there's no entity left in Colorado to do that with ink and paper in l'affaire Ritter, at least we're fortunate that some in the new and alternative media are staying in the hunt.