Lauren Boebert is exactly who we thought she was.
So far she’s shown more interest in promoting her political brand — “freedom” — than taking time to understand what freedom actually means in the constitutional sense.
The people of Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District elected her knowing she’s a far-right, gun-happy, die-hard Trump loyalist.
Now that she’s near the center of a political crisis, with questions being asked about her possible involvement in an insurrection, she’s kicking freedom to the curb to duck accountability.
Citizens have no power to recall Boebert. Removing her from office falls to Congress. It’s unlikely her fellow members will take up that challenge, short of a felony conviction or a crime of moral turpitude.
But set aside questions about inciting violence or undermining a free and fair election and look at how Boebert has quashed the very “freedom” she claims to protect.
First she denounced Twitter and Facebook for removing President Trump’s accounts as a violation of the president’s First Amendment rights. This is an embarrassing misinterpretation of the First Amendment, which exists to prevent government from censoring free expression. Trump is the government. He doesn’t need social media to get his message across. He can call a press conference anytime he wants. Privately owned social media companies are free to regulate content on their platforms. Whether they should is a topic for another editorial.
But misunderstanding the Constitution isn’t as bad, perhaps, as violating it. Boebert did that when she blocked critics on her personal Twitter account. She’s not the first. Trump and our own Republican state Sen. Ray Scott have been sued for doing the same thing. Federal courts have ruled that this is a violation of the First Amendment. Elected officials cannot block people on social media sites — even their “unofficial” personal accounts. Denying citizens access to their elected representatives is denying them their free speech rights.
Boebert wants to be the curator of her own message with no pushback from anyone. She refuses to grant interviews to any news outlet she doesn’t deem friendly. Side-stepping an independent free press is just another example of her disdain for the First Amendment and the role journalists play in holding elected officials to account. She ran on a platform of defending the Constitution, yet fails to grasp the constitutional role the framers assigned the press as a check on government. She’s all about holding elected representatives (Democrats, that is) to account, but refuses to be accountable to her constituents.
Firing off press releases or tweets that strike a defiant tone over calls for her resignation is not the same as answering hard questions — on the record — about her involvement with groups implicated in the Capitol riot; her tweets on that day; her stance on upcoming planned protests; her rationale for continuing to support Trump after Jan. 6, and continuing to claim voter fraud after the certification of Electoral College votes.
She says she’s fighting for the people of this district. Never mind the significant portion that doesn’t share her delusions about a stolen election. Time will tell if her peers deem her unfit to hold office, but there’s already plenty of evidence that she doesn’t really care about effective representation.