A challenge for Tipton

Congressman Scott Tipton has steadfastly maintained that there wasn’t enough community support for him to introduce a bill to change Colorado National Monument to a national park.

We were deeply disappointed that Tipton arrived at such a conclusion for two reasons. First, there was no attempt to quantify the opposition. Clearly some people were adamantly (and vocally) against park status. But did their views represent 5 percent of the population or 50?

Tipton said the majority of Mesa County residents who participated in a 90-day comment period were opposed to park status. We’ve heard the opposite is true, but we were denied access to the comments. Even if true, the anti-park comments were simply a majority of people who bothered to submit an opinion.

Without statistical context, self-selecting responses can be anything from misleading to meaningless. Again, the idea here is that a few dissenting opinions do not a majority make.

Second, we think much of the opposition stemmed from a profound misunderstanding of what a change in status would mean. Tipton fanned the flames of uncertainty, suggesting that park status could invite regulatory overreach, which could adversely impact the local economy. Though this claim is empty, we felt it was disingenuous for Tipton to say he would carry the legislation if it was the people’s will and simultaneously warn against the problems it could create.

Nevertheless, Tipton is up for re-election, providing an opportunity to revisit the issue. So, we asked the two-term congressman plainly during a recent editorial board meeting: “If we can show through a statistically relevant scientific survey that a majority of Mesa County residents support a change for park status, will you carry the legislation?”

Tipton said he doesn’t enjoy responding to hypotheticals (interesting in that he poses plenty of them), but when pressed, said he would consider it so long as a “‘bottom-up” process drove the exploration.

We can’t think of a more bottom-up process than gauging the true sentiments of the community with random sampling. Unfortunately Tipton has always feathered his stance with an additional caveat: The change has to be done in a way that would have no adverse impact to existing industries or economic development.

And here is where things get sticky. As long as Tipton remains under a false impression that park status poses a regulatory threat, it’s very unlikely to matter what the rest of us think.


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The combination of the Daily Sentinel’s scathing editorial (“A challenge for Tipton”) and Dr. Michael Pramenko’s surgical critique of Tipton’s perfidy (“ACA may need tweaks, but it’s doing what it’s supposed to”) affords ample evidence that Tipton’s ideological commitment to the extremist “Tea Party” agenda ill-serves the interests of the 3d C.D.

Today’s editorial chronicles Tipton’s disingenuous pandering to an ill-informed but vocal local anti-government minority that opposes re-designation of the Colorado National Monument as a National Park, dishonest reinforcement of the “false impression that park status poses a regulatory threat”, and “empty claims” that re-designation “could adversely affect the local economy” – when he knows full-well that quite the opposite is actually more likely (given his own family business’s proximity to Mesa Verde National Park).

Dr. Pramenko’s commentary documents both Tipton’s false promise to local doctors to support a permanent “fix” to Medicare’s inadequate physician reimbursement schedule and the sorry fact that Tipton then “used his vote to help block a bipartisan solution”.

Such despicable duplicity is what we now expect from Tipton, who (like fellow “Tea Partier” Cory Gardner) voted 50+ times to repeal, replace, or defund the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) – while cynically embracing FoxNoise’s “ObamaScare” misinformation. 

The ACA benefits 24 million Americans, including 400,000 Coloradans (and – as of last Thursday—500,000 Pennsylvanians), but Tipton/Gardner obviously don’t care.

Meanwhile, House Republicans like Tipton/Gardner can offer no genuine alternative to the ACA because – as Dr. Pramenko aptly notes – the ACA is already “conservatives’” alternative to the “single payer” approach preferred by “liberals”.

“Tea Partiers” opposed a permanent “doc fix” because it would cost $130 billion over ten years.  Thus, rather than raising the revenues needed to address the real problems facing our Nation, Tipton/Gardner hypocritically regurgitate the empty rhetoric of their thoroughly discredited ideology.

Replace them – not “ObamaCare”.

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