Oh Give Me a Home, Where the Buffalo Roan

I wonder if James Dobson could advise me on my fantasy baseball team? He seems to know a lot about pretty much everything.

On Monday, Colorado Confidential was the first to report that state Sen. Brandon Shaffer would run for congress, and he has good reason to be optimistic. According to a poll exclusively obtained by Colorado Confidential, Shaffer defeats Musgrave in a head-to-head matchup 51-40.It’s good news for Musgrave, then, that other Republicans are lining up in support. It had long been rumored that Musgrave was on the hot seat with GOP leadership after winning re-election in 2006 with the lowest vote percentage of any member of congress. Over the last several months Musgrave has been doing more to reach out to the members of her district, and it looks like other Republicans are standing behind her. Finally.

As Jennifer Brown of The Denver Post explains:

A pack of noted Republicans from northeastern Colorado – some rumored to have considered a run for Congress themselves – will instead stand behind U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave as she seeks re-election.

Among the campaign chairmen Musgrave announced Tuesday are state Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Yuma, and state Sens. Greg Brophy, R-Wray, and Steve Johnson, R-Larimer County.

All three were the subject of speculation in what’s expected to be another feisty battle for the 4th Congressional District.

Meanwhile, state Sen. Brandon Shaffer, a Boulder County Democrat and assistant majority leader, said he is forming an exploratory committee – the first step to launching a campaign.

“I’m willing to serve if the people of Colorado want me to,” Shaffer said…

… The last time a Democrat held the 4th District seat was 1972.

Other campaign chairmen for Musgrave are former state Sen. Mark Hillman and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.

The team will advise Musgrave on campaign strategy and fundraising, said spokesman Jason Thielman.


Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn (CD-5, Colorado Springs) insists that he’s “next in line” for an appointment to the House Armed Services Committee. Maybe he means that he’s next to last in line.

As Ed Sealover of The Colorado Springs Gazette reports:

Is Rep. Doug Lamborn at the front of the line or at the end? That’s the question regarding a recent opening on the House Armed Services Committee that did not go to Lamborn.

The freshman Republican from Colorado Springs said on his Web site and in a mailer to constituents that he had been given “on leave” status for the committee and would have a seat “when the next Republican vacancy arises.”

It’s a plum assignment for a congressman from a military town such as Colorado Springs. Lamborn’s predecessor, Rep. Joel Hefley, was on the committee 18 years.

But when Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., left the committee to take a slot on the powerful House Appropriations Committee recently, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., got the seat.

Shuster, a former committee member, was chosen because he also had “on leave” status and has more seniority, said Josh Holly, a minority spokesman for the committee.


The Republican candidates for President took part in another debate last night. M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News, who is covering the Iowa caucuses in his “Back Roads to the White House” blog, reports on the reaction from the Hawkeye State, including opinions on the performance of Colorado’s own Tom Tancredo:

But in Iowa, where the first caucus votes will be cast next January, what really matters is how the punches and counter-punches will play in cornfield country.

So the Rocky Mountain News commissioned three big, flapping Hawkeyes — University of Iowa professors David Redlawsk, Peverill Squire and Bruce Gronbeck — to offer their detailed critiques.

Besides naming winners and losers, we asked them to add a few extra thoughts on Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has been in the headlines for the past week and whose campaign hosted a debate-watching party we found on the “back roads” Tuesday night.


Across the aisle among candidates for President, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are backing the issue of funding cuts for the Iraq war. As The Washington Post reports:

Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) announced yesterday that they will support a symbolic vote to cut off funding for combat troops in Iraq within a year, an important shift for both Democratic presidential candidates as the war debate on Capitol Hill intensifies.

The funding vote is expected in the Senate today, as one of four test votes on Iraq that Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) had scheduled in advance of final talks with the House and the Bush administration over a $124 billion war-spending bill.

In the House last week, 169 Democrats and two Republicans voted to withdraw troops from Iraq within nine months — a surprisingly large number that underscores the growing determination among Democrats to legislate an end to the war.

For Clinton, the shift reflects the particular pressure on Democratic presidential candidates. She voted to authorize the war in 2002, and has resisted calls to specify a U.S. withdrawal date. But she has grown increasingly critical of the war and, two weeks ago, called for revoking President Bush’s authority to continue the conflict past October without a new vote from Congress.


Focus on the Family Czar James “SpongeDob” Dobson has been relentless in his crusade to put a stop to gay cartoon characters, which obviously makes him a natural choice as someone to consult about what the United States should do about Iran. As Max Blumenthal of Raw Story reported earlier this week:

President George W. Bush met privately with Focus on the Family Founder and Chairman James Dobson and approximately a dozen Christian right leaders last week to rally support for his policies on Iraq, Iran and the so-called “war on terror.”

“I was invited to go to Washington DC to meet with President Bush in the White House along with 12 or 13 other leaders of the pro-family movement,” Dobson disclosed on his radio program Monday. “And the topic of the discussion that day was Iraq, Iran and international terrorism. And we were together for 90 minutes and it was very enlightening and in some ways disturbing too.”

Details of the meeting were disclosed by Dobson during Monday’s edition of his Focus on the Family radio program. Dobson described Bush as “upbeat and determined and convinced, adding, “I wish the American people could have sat in on that meeting we had.”

Dobson went on to enumerate a series of meetings convened by Christian right leaders in Washington to discuss the supposedly existential threat to the United States from a nuclear Iran.

“I heard about this danger [from Iran] not only at the White House but from other pro-family leaders that I met during that week in Washington,” he said. “Many people in a position to know are talking about the possibility of losing a city to nuclear or biological or chemical attack. And if we can lose one we can lose ten.

“If we can lose ten we can lose a hundred,” he added, “especially if North Korea and Russia and China pile on.”

Later in his broadcast, during a discussion about Iran with author and self-proclaimed “prophecy expert” Joel Rosenberg, Dobson drew a parallel between current Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad and Adolf Hitler.

“The world looked at Hitler and just didn’t believe him and tried to appease him the way we’re hearing in Washington today,” Dobson remarked. “You know, the President seems to me does understand this, as I told you from that meeting I had with him the other day, but even there it feels like somebody ought to be standing up and saying, ‘We are being threatened and we are going to meet this with force — whatever’s necessary.'”

(H/T to Crooks and Liars).


Governor Bill Ritter signed into law four health care-related bills on Tuesday. According to a press release from the governor’s office:

Gov. Bill Ritter signed four health-care bills into law today, including measures to help families with developmentally disabled children and young people in foster care. The measures also will assist families unable to afford breakfast for school children and will address health disparities in minority communities across the state.

“The bills I signed today will help address accessibility and affordability of health care and ensure kids get a healthier start to their day,” Gov. Ritter said. “These new laws make good health-care sense and good fiscal sense. When we talk about bills like these, we should always ask a few important questions: Is it good for kids? Will it make a real difference in the lives of children? Is it a good investment? The answer today is yes, yes and yes.”


Heck, no, we won’t Roan!
As Steven Paulson of The Associated Press reports:

Congressmen Mark Udall and John Salazar called for a one-year moratorium on oil and gas exploration on top of the Roan Plateau on Tuesday, saying the federal government needs more time to gather public comment and study alternatives.

The two Democrats asked Congress to delay funds for the Bureau of Land Management to oversee Roan Plateau development for a year and to prevent new projects in the meantime.

“We’re very concerned about the top of the Roan,” Salazar said. “It’s species-rich, it’s a beautiful area.” Udall said he is not trying to stop development, just delay it long enough to make sure alternatives are reviewed.
“To take a year time-out seems the right way to proceed,” he said.

A spokesman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Association did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The plateau, about 200 miles west of Denver, is home to some of Colorado’s largest elk and deer herds, mountain lions, bears, peregrine falcons and genetically important native cutthroat trout.

The area generates an estimated $5 million a year for the local economy from hunting, fishing and wildlife watching, according to state wildlife officials.
It also holds enough natural gas for 4 million homes for the next 20 years, according to the Oil and Gas Association.

The delay in drilling atop the plateau was sought by environmental groups, who said drilling there would cause serious damage to wildlife habitat.

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