I’ve known Jared Polis for at least a quarter of a century and find him to be a fascinating guy. I genuinely enjoy spending time with him. He's smart and witty and approachable.
I still violently disagree with him on his implementation of policy. I say implementation because perhaps better than any politician I know personally, he is the best at saying one thing and doing the other.
Bill Clinton had the political magic to morph into a member of whatever crowd he was around. Polis has a little bit of that magic too. He’ll talk like a businessman in front of businessmen, an enviro around enviros, and so on. And people actually buy it.
But on social media he’s talking to everyone all at once. That makes it harder to do the chameleon Clinton con.
He recently wrote a fabulous Facebook post (or perhaps one of his minions ghost-wrote it for him) on Britney Spears, the popstar who just won a long court battle over her conservatorship from her father.
Polis commented, “After Britney Spears oppressive 13 year ‘conservatorship’ in which she wasn’t allowed to make her own decisions, a judge restored her rights and Britney Spears is finally free! Adults should be free to make their own decisions and mistakes.”
This post exploded with over 4,600 comments so far. It seems that some feel that while the governor says adults should be free to make their own decisions and mistakes, his actions say something entirely different.
“Practice what you preach, you hypocrite,” on vaccines was the main theme of the comments.
Polis responded to many of the comments personally, saying in perfect Clinton-ese, you don’t have to get a vaccine, I’m not forcing you to, golly-gee, not me.
Yet the governor has called those people “selfish bastards.” He is forcing government employees to get vaxed or jump through hoops just to keep their job. I haven’t heard him fight Biden’s order that companies with over 100 employees be forced to do the same.
He issued emergency order after emergency order to take away our decisions to peaceably gather, to worship, to earn a living. That was all Polis.
He sent his alcohol enforcement thugs from Denver to crush a restaurant rebellion in Loveland. Small businesses up there, with the full support of their city council, police, county commissioners and health department, opened their doors under stringent safety protocols. It was his state liquor enforcement that traveled north to threaten liquor licenses, a restaurant’s life blood.
These small businessmen were not free to make their own decisions. Neither were their customers. All Polis.
But it goes so far beyond COVID-related tyranny.
Anytime the government takes an extra dollar from you without your permission, the government is taking away your ability to make decisions. That dollar is how you exercise your decisions, sometimes wisely, sometimes foolishly. Without it, you are disempowered.
Every year, the governor has massively raised taxes without your consent by calling those tax increases, “fees,” and by re-engineering what you can deduct on tax forms. He took around $700 million just last year alone.
That's 700 million decisions that Coloradans can no longer make. All Polis.
It’s a decision, and I think a mistake, to smoke or vape. Governor Polis signed a law allowing localities to ban such products altogether and raise taxes on them. And he pushed a statewide tax increase on tobacco. He raised the age to buy them from 18 to 21. Guess 18 isn’t adult anymore. No decision making for you.
He's using government to make sure some people don’t make the decision to work with other people. He signed a bill to allow localities to raise the minimum wage. This takes away people's freedom to have a financial relationship of their choosing, even if it's a mistake.
The governor's appointments on the Regional Air Quality Control Council are now empowered to punish employers until they beat their workers out of their single-occupant vehicles. So much for the decision to drive.
Quite simply, no one in Colorado is as artful of saying one thing and doing the complete opposite as our governor.
He is putting Colorado's people under his conservatorship.
Governor Polis and his socialist legislature are now Britney Spears’ father to some 6 million Coloradans.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute in Denver and hosts "The Devil's Advocate with Jon Caldara" on Colorado Public Television Channel 12. His column appears Sundays in Colorado Politics.