Lauren Boebert was sworn in as the newest U.S. Representative from Colorado's 3rd Congressional District on January 3, and already she's proving that she'll be the gift that keeps on giving in 2021. This mother of four — a small-business owner, a Trump-worshipper, and someone on record as saying that the position of QAnon "means America is getting stronger and better" — arrived in Washington, D.C., armed and ready.
Even before Boebert took office, she tweeted on Christmas Eve that she plans to challenge the electoral college vote on January 6. In explaining that stance, Boebert cited irregularities in voting tallies — despite the fact that no violations have been found in any state thus far, by the very court system stacked by the Trump administration. “As a Representative sworn to defend the U.S. Constitution, it is my responsibility to object to the Electoral College results that were recorded under these circumstances," she concluded, perhaps proving that America needs to reconsider its standards for awarding the GED to students who didn't complete high school.
In this effort, she'll be joined by Representative Doug Lamborn, who courageously waited until there was a bandwagon to jump on before announcing his plans to pointlessly interfere with the proper and legal conducting of the nation's business. (Lamborn and Boebert will not be joined by Colorado's third Republican representative, Ken Buck, who went on record this weekend saying such an act is "unconstitutional" and "would amount to stealing power from the people and the states.")
Before Boebert takes aim at the electoral process from the House chamber, here's a brief refresher course on how the gun-lovin' gal from Rifle wound up in D.C.:
The Gun-Loving Genesis
Boebert’s political career really began with a publicity stunt. In September 2019, she traveled to Aurora to confront then-Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke, who'd just proclaimed at a debate that “Hell, yes” he wanted to take Americans' assault rifles. “Hell, no, you won’t take our guns,” Boebert said, stumbling over her words a bit despite her clearly practiced shtick. But it wasn’t just the line that was prepared: Boebert was, too, having fashioned herself a conservative, gun-toting revolutionary with a tight shirt and a hip holster. The image went over big and set the stage for everything that followed, including her stated plan to carry a gun during her work in Washington, D.C.
When Boebert challenged five-term GOP stalwart Scott Tipton, most political pundits didn't think she had a shot. But Tipton played his hand wrong: Although he was reported to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in his campaign war chest, he chose not to use the money. It was a costly error, and despite an endorsement from President Trump (whom Boebert accused Tipton of not supporting enough), Tipton lost the primary to Boebert by almost ten points. Trump, never one to be accused of loyalty, quickly proclaimed Boebert “a fighter” who had “taken the country by storm — she’s taken me by storm.” Weather aside, Boebert had decided to open her restaurant to dine-in service despite the state’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order; she lost her food license for the violation but won the primary, perhaps by impressing voters who valued their own freedom at any cost, including law, order, and the lives of other Americans.
Post-primary, Boebert's campaign may well have been more about some free publicity for Shooter’s Grill — as with Trump in 2016, politics and government service don't rank high on the list of Boebert’s past interests. But once the GOP nomination was hers, it all became possible. She made some serious missteps, including embracing the far-right conspiracy theory cult of QAnon, saying its success meant “America is getting stronger and better”; she later backpedaled, claiming “I’m not a follower” and that what she said about QAnon was “vague” and that the organization “is a lot of things to different people.” Too, some of the claims from her past were challenged, like her education and the political affiliation of her mother on public assistance. She also failed to get key endorsements. Anne Landman, formerly with the Center for Media and Democracy and now a Western Slope political blogger, points out that even the Grand Junction City Council refused to endorse Boebert, and the fact that the far-right, Tea Party-loving GJCC wouldn’t support Boebert when it would “endorse a two-day-old pile of dog doo for elected office if it had an ‘R’ after its name” was a pretty big deal. Still, Boebert beat two-time Democratic candidate Diane Mitsch Bush by six points in the November election.
Plans for Representing Colorado's 3rd Congressional District
Boebert’s first act as congresswoman-elect was to pledge to join the House Freedom Caucus, a far-right group whose members were labeled "anarchists" by former Republican House Speaker John Boehner, who added that they “can’t tell you what they’re for” but “can tell you everything they’re against.” Now there's the Electoral College certification vote, which doesn't bode well for the idea of rational discourse, working across the aisle for the betterment of all Americans, or simply doing the right — even logical — thing.
Perhaps the best harbinger of Boebert's political future as U.S. Representative — one that seems determined to be at odds with the desires of the significant majority of Coloradans — was the news that broke on January 4, when the Washington, D.C., police department issued a statement saying it planned to speak with her about her plans to bring her Glock to work — a practice she'd demonstrated in a video posted on Twitter the day before. "That Congresswoman will be subjected to the same penalties as anyone else that’s caught on the D.C. streets carrying a firearm," said Police Chief Robert Contee III, according to Politico.
But that same day, Boebert issued a statement declaring victory on the gun matter: the passage of House Resolution 8, despite a group of eighteen Democrats suggesting a change to the Rules of the House for the 117th Congress, specifically that "a Member of Congress may not possess firearms on Capitol grounds." After Boebert "wrote and led" a letter, as she reported in her own press release, that was signed by 82 colleagues, the HR passed without the amended language.
While it might be a stretch to claim this a victory — "suggested language not being included" doesn't have quite the same ring as "defending constitutional rights" — Boebert has fired one of the first shots of the session. "Did you ever think carrying a gun could be so controversial in the country that prides itself on the Second Amendment?" she asks on Twitter.
So what will the new representative target next in 2021? Stay tuned, if not armed. This is just the first installment in our Boebert Watch.
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