Republicans in Colorado are working with historically small minorities in the state legislature, with just 19 of 65 seats in the State House and 12 of 35 seats in the State Senate. These micro-minorities, combined with ineffective or altogether absent leadership, makes it relatively easy for a few lawmakers to become the face of the entire GOP caucus.
As we wrote earlier, House Minority Leader Mike Lynch doesn’t appear to be all that interested in charting a reasonable path for his caucus to follow. This is how “The Unambiguously Lame Duo” of freshman Republicans from Colorado Springs have come to dominate the GOP discussion at the State Capitol in 2023. State Reps. Scott “There is No” Bottoms and Ken “Skin” DeGraaf have made a lot of noise in the first two months of the legislative session — and nearly all of it has been bad for Republicans.
Both Bottoms and DeGraaf have monopolized microphones with disgusting and/or incomprehensible arguments on subjects as diverse as promoting gas stoves and warning about nonexistent election fraud. DeGraaf even kicked off the legislative session with a gibberish speech that included an unintentionally-perfect quotation lamenting, “What we have learned from history is that we never learn from history.”
Bottoms is particularly adept at saying awful things, mostly on the subject of abortion rights. Just last week Bottoms made headlines for comparing abortion to the Holocaust.
In order to better understand just how nutty these two have been in their first few months, we compiled a list of the bills that they have sponsored in the current legislative session. Lawmakers are limited to five bills apiece; while Bottoms has only introduced four bills, the filing deadline for new legislation has passed. As you’ll see below, “The Unambiguously Lame Duo” has had difficulty finding support for their legislative proposals even among Republican colleagues.
Let’s start with Bottoms. None of his bills even made it out of a committee hearing:
Bottoms is laser-focused on restricting abortion rights, which speaks to DeGraaf’s quote about not learning from history. Colorado voters have said over and over and over and over that they DO NOT want restrictions on abortion rights. Bottoms also used one of his four bills to promote a thing that doesn’t even exist. There is no such thing as a pill that would “reverse” an abortion.
We wrote about Bottoms’ income tax cut proposal earlier this month. That legislation was so poorly-written that the nonpartisan Legislative Council Staff determined that middle- and lower-income Coloradans would end up paying MORE money in taxes if HB23-1063 were to become law.
As for DeGraaf, he managed to max out his allocation of bills but at least hasn’t (yet) seen all of his legislation summarily postponed indefinitely in a committee hearing:
DeGraaf’s list of bills run the gamut from virtually unintelligible to flat out silly.
“Distributed Ledgers Voting” has something to do with paper ballots and preventing election fraud and…frankly, who the hell knows? His “Due Process Asset Forfeiture Act” is the only one of the nine bills from Team DeBottoms that seems to have even a remotely plausible premise.
DeGraaf has a lot of red meat in his bill folder. He introduced a “guns for everyone” bill that sought to pre-emptively stop ANY prohibitions on firearms, and he was the designated carrier of the annual doomed effort to create a school vouchers program in Colorado.
And then there is HB23-1163, which was axed in the House Committee on Energy and Environment on Thursday. DeGraaf’s legislation sought to clear the air, so to speak, on his belief that carbon dioxide is being inaccurately blamed as a pollutant and a cause of Climate Change. DeGraaf enlisted the help of a couple of wacko academics to provide supportive testimony, including Dr. Paul Prentice, a fellow at the Centennial Institute at Colorado Christian University. According to Prentice’s bio at CCU, “He believes that God created you to be free, and that you cannot have a controlled economy and maintain a free society.”
Here’s a sample of Prentice’s testimony from Thursday:
PRENTICE: This whole idea of anthropomorphic, carbon dioxide driven, carbon-dating climate change. You see that, certainly, over long periods of time, the graph of temperature and the graph of carbon dioxide appear to be moving in tandem. But when you explode the graph, and look at it more carefully, so that you have 50 and 100 year time periods instead of millennia, you actually see that the lead in that is FIRST the temperature rises, and then later, the carbon dioxide increases. So if there is any causality, it’s the opposite of what people are assuming – that carbon dioxide is causing the warming. It’s actually the opposite. [Pols emphasis]
Um, yeah. At this point, Democratic Rep. Stephanie Vigil of El Paso County jumped in to comment and ask a question:
VIGIL:It sounds like you are at odds with a number of folks in your profession.
Understated, but accurate. Vigil then asked Prentice why the U.S. military is planning for climate mitigation and the construction of more renewable energy resources.
VIGIL: Why does the U.S. military not share your view on this, and why are they falling for this if indeed they are falling for something?
PRENTICE: Yes, I do not know WHY, but I know that they have fallen for it. Um…[long pause]…I’m trying to be polite here. The experience of childish, magical thinking has gotten so deep in our institutions that people don’t even think of the assumptions under which they are making these arguments. The military has taken these actions based on false assumptions.
Right. DeGraaf and THIS GUY know the real causes of Climate Change, and everybody else is doing it wrong.
Anyway, the Dynamic Dolts of Bottoms and DeGraaf have introduced a total of nine pieces of legislation. Seven of these bills have failed to advance out of a committee hearing. The final two — HB23-1086 and HB23-1170 — will be heard in committee next week.
When Republicans are trying to claw back from their micro-minorities in 2024, they’re going to need some better arguments than what “The Unambiguously Lame Duo” is presenting. As it stands now, Democrats need only to point to the lists above and say, THIS is what Republican leadership looks like.