Boebert Watch: The (un) Endorsement of Lauren Boebert

The Denver Gazette does its darnedest to make sure Lauren Boebert doesn't have to kiss Washington good-bye.
The Denver Gazette does its darnedest to make sure Lauren Boebert doesn't have to kiss Washington good-bye. YouTube
Last Sunday, U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert was endorsed for re-election to CD3 by the Gazette, essentially ratifying a turbulent and troubled first term in office. The editorial board’s reasoning was shallow and morally questionable — but then, that's exactly Boebert's wheelhouse.

Endorsements, even laughingly misguided ones, can make a difference. The Denver Post’s endorsement of Cory “Cardboard” Gardner was widely credited with pushing his U.S Senate candidacy into the win column— and the Post later printed a retraction of, and apology for, that endorsement.

Boebert's endorsement by one of Colorado’s most conservative media outlets (online only in Denver, but with a print version for Colorado Springs) was the high point in a string of worrisome lows...even for her. Having just been embarrassed by primary opponent Don Coram in the first of a planned series of debates, Boebert was targeted by American Muckrakers PAC, the group that spearheaded the defeat of fellow far-right Republican Madison Cawthorn in his own North Carolina primary. Operating from a website that puts it as plainly as possible — — the PAC first publicized her alleged misuse of campaign funds in mileage reimbursements, shortly before the New York Times reported that the Colorado Attorney General has upped those allegations into an official investigation of tax fraud and money laundering.

Then dropped another bomb, reporting that Boebert was involved in a drunk-driving incident in Moab and an ensuing coverup only two weeks before the 2020 primaries. According to the PAC, the future Congresswoman “was driving an off road 4x4 vehicle while under the influence of alcohol in an accident that nearly killed her sister-in-law.” Reportedly, Boebert “bail[ed] from [the] vehicle leaving [her] son and dog behind,” then pressured her sister-in-law to keep the matter quiet. American Muckrakers PAC has called on both Utah and Colorado authorities to investigate.

So, yes, Boebert  could use some support — but perhaps not such a sorry effort as the Gazette's salute, which is easily deconstructed. Follow along as we do just that, responding to the italicized words of the endorsement. It starts:

Most of Colorado’s congressional delegation subsists in a state of obscurity. Then there’s 3rd Congressional District Rep. Lauren Boebert, who breaks the mold.

Why does the far right so love to celebrate the presumed ignorance of its audience? Since Colorado’s congressional delegation comprises far from nameless faces, this intro falls flat as reductio ad absurdum. But even if we were to accept the Gazette’s premise here — which anyone paying attention to politics would not — the simple fact that Lauren Boebert has become infamous does not equate to anything that suggests intellectual capacity or effective policy-making, especially when she’s become semi-notable on the national stage for the exact opposite of those things.

Though her mildly bombastic style keeps conventional Republicans on edge, this Western Slope business entrepreneur stands as Colorado’s first nationally relevant politician since the era of Sens. Bill Armstrong and Gary Hart, and Gov. Dick Lamm in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

Her clear and concise messaging commands attention, even when the media contextualizes comments to cast her as another version of Republican Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green [sic] or Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Boebert’s communication style more resembles that of Lamm, who never feared saying the unthinkable so long as he believed it.

Remember: “Elderly people” have a “duty to die”; society should scrap the Olympics; “multiculturalism” will destroy America; and we need to infuse “the ghettos and barrios of America” with “Japanese or Jewish values, respect for learning, and ambition.”

His party and the media often fumed, but the electorate trusted him and his legacy endures.

Here, the Gazette leans hard on the reputation of the late Richard Lamm, who was indeed a political maverick. Putting aside the laughable description of Boebert’s style as “mildly bombastic” — which is like contending that her hero Trump has a “slight accuracy issue” — comparing Boebert to Lamm does a serious disservice to Lamm, as well as those in the state who have both respect and affection for his legacy. Anytime a piece spends an entire paragraph on someone else — someone far more respected than the person the piece is supposed to be about — it's clear the comparison isn't working. And you can't help but wonder if the Gazette’s editorial board would have made such a lengthy argument directly comparing the two if the outspoken Lamm hadn’t passed away last year, making him unavailable to protest.

In this section, the Gazette goes out of its way to drop other names, and then move away from two colleagues to which Boebert is sometimes compared: Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene and New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Boebert is compared to Greene because they’re both poorly-informed rabble-rousers with obnoxious styles. Boebert reportedly hates being compared to Greene; if that’s so, then she probably shouldn't stand side by side with her when heckling the State of the Union address.
The endorsement's move to suggest a comparison between Boebert and AOC is a little more subtle; Ocasio-Cortez is an outspoken woman of intelligence, consideration and political savvy, recognized even by those who may disagree with her on the issues. While Boebert and the Gazette desperately want the Colorado congresswoman to be considered the same way, Boebert falls woefully short in every category.

Boebert’s friends and foes cannot contest her atypical formidability. A freshman Congress member who dropped out of high school and never attended college, Boebert single-handedly led congressional Republicans in a crusade against the Biden administration’s Disinformation Governance Board.
Boebert took charge and showed senior Republicans with traditional backgrounds how it is done.
On stage with Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Whip Steve Scalise, and ranking Judiciary Committee man Jim Jordan, Boebert ran the show in fighting the appointment of Nina Jankowicz as the disinformation czar. Jankowicz rose to prominence singing Mary Poppins’ “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” in a viral video to accuse conservatives of spreading “disinformation.”
When the Jankowicz appointment stalled, Boebert said “Scary Poppins is out of work and will no longer be able to censor conservatives as the Biden regime’s Minister of Truth.”

First, “atypical formidability” sounds like a real estate marketing term trying to put a positive turn on a negative aspect, like “vintage style” means that it hasn’t been updated since the Nixon administration, and “room to expand” means that it’s cramped, but you can cover some of the dirt lot in back with an extension. This does not inspire confidence in voters. Colorado does not need a “fixer-upper with great untapped potential” for a national representative.

Boebert’s opposition to the poorly executed Disinformation Governance Board is a single feather in a very empty legislative cap, but to say that she showed GOP leadership “how it is done” sounds like something the Gazette got off of one of Boebert’s own YouTube self-promoting swagger-porn videos that mainly show her strutting around neighborhoods saying mostly untrue things with an unearned amount of spunk.

Though members of Colorado’s delegation have fought to keep Space Command in Colorado, Boebert has been most effective at putting a national spotlight on the conflict.

Moments after then-President Donald Trump chose to move the command to Alabama — to punish Colorado for rejecting him and reward a state that supported him — Boebert tweeted her objection. Never mind that Trump had only recently endorsed her, she blasted him anyway.

“Colorado is the only home the US Space Command has ever known. Russia & China are developing dangerous threats to our satellites and a strong space defense is necessary now more than ever. I want an investigation into the possible political motivations behind the proposed move,” she tweeted.

When wrote about Space Command in February 2021, it headlined the story “Lauren Boebert calls for probe of Trump — for moving Space Command to Mo Brooks’ district.” The article explained, oh by the way, how the rest of Colorado’s delegation shared her objection.

Since the last line of the Gazette's multi-paragraph bit on Space Command (which still sounds like something we all played on the Commodore 64 back in 1983) actually admits that she was one of…well, everyone in the Colorado delegation to do the same thing, it isn't much of a selling point.

In two years, Boebert has made herself the prime sponsor of a remarkable 32 bills that will gain traction if Republicans win control of the House in November. A few examples:

• “Trust the Science Act,” HR 7766, requires the secretary of the Interior to reissue regulations removing the gray wolf from the endangered species list.

• “Protecting Free Speech Act,” HR 7641, “To terminate the Disinformation Governance Board of the Department of Homeland Security…”

• The “I-70 Detour Act,” HR 7501, “to offset extended closures” along I-70.

• “No Taxpayer Funds of Illegal Immigrants Act,” HR 6621

• The “Active Forest Management, Forest Conservation, and Wildfire Prevention Act,” HR 4302, which would improve fire mitigation and attack beetle kill in the forests.

When the Gazette looked for a list of accomplishments, this was the best it could do: a list of bills Boebert has sponsored that “will gain traction if…”. So not only are they not accomplishments — they’re not even things that are thought to yet be viable. The Gazette might as well have said, “Here’s a list of things we’re not embarrassed to list as Boebert’s sponsored legislation activities in the last two years, only some of which might work out, and even then only if the minority party in America manages to gerrymander their way into taking power again.”

Boebert relates to average, hard-working Coloradans like no one we have seen. Boebert’s newest campaign ad features her winning a recent demolition derby in a pink sedan emblazoned with “1776.”
Her voiceover says “no matter what, stay strong. No matter what, be brave. With freedom comes the opportunity to live our very best lives.”

“Average, hard-working Coloradans,” you need to speak up here. Because you’re being lumped in with the folks who think that anti-Islamic jokes are super-cool and hilarious so long as they’re made behind closed doors. And really, Boebert needs to stop with the “1776” stuff: If the televised January 6 hearings that began last week are any indication, the whole 1776 moment is something that Boebert is going to want to distance herself from, not embrace with the totalitarian fist-clench salute of Representative Josh Hawley to the insurrectionists.

As documented in this space, Boebert’s opponent — State Sen. Don Coram — has spent most of his time in the Colorado Legislature passing laws that personally enrich him.

His multimillion-dollar hemp business is known for selling products that contain illegal doses of psychoactive THC. He helped cause Colorado’s deadly spike in fentanyl deaths by voting to reduce penalties for possessing enough to kill thousands. If it promotes drug abuse, Coram is for it.

Sure, attack Don Coram on your way out the door, Gazette editorial board. Make sure to add some ad hominem attacks as you go:  “If it promotes drug abuse, Coram is for it” doesn’t sound like a completely irresponsible thing to say at all.

While Coram has abuses [sic] his office for personal gain, Boebert fights for energy, families, children’s health, better transportation, and all that is good for Colorado. District 3 primary voters should nominate Boebert for a second term.

A good argument always establishes a foundation, and then provides evidence for that foundation’s claims as it moves toward a conclusion that suggests action. The Gazette’s endorsement of Lauren Boebert is nothing like a good argument. Much like the Boebert freshman term — with any luck, her first and last — it’s scattered and unsatisfying and off-putting, and these last claims are completely unsubstantiated by all the empty verbiage that precedes them. In writing such an underwhelming and unconvincing argument, the Gazette's endorsement is almost an un-endorsement; the editorial board is politically required to support Boebert, but is unable to come up with any good case to make. Which says it all.
click to enlarge
The Boebert's 2021 Christmas card
And one last, weird thing. There's not a single mention of guns, which propelled Boebert into office in the first place. Sure, absolute gun rights is probably not the best argument to make right now, in the aftermath of  the Robb Elementary shootings in Uvalde, Texas, and all the other ammo-related awfulness in which the Boebert family Christmas card so disgustingly rejoiced. Boebert's continued fetishizing of unapologetic gun-nut culture is only one of the many good reasons why the Gazette’s endorsement of a Boebert second term will be very lonely.
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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen