PERRY: Go, Grantham: Punish the wicked wonks who promulgated Portraitgate inside the hallowed halls of the Colorado Capitol


If you’re like most of Colorado, you’re shocked — shocked and dismayed I tell you —  that a State Capitol Democratic aide would sink so low as to help prank a painting of Vladimir Putin into the Colorado Capitol just to thumb the misty eyes of those who support President Donald J. Trump.

Or not. Mostly not.

Mostly, you got a good laugh like the rest of us when a painting of Pooty mysteriously appeared in late July on an easel inside the Capitol near a place reserved for portraits of U.S. presidents. Trump’s own likeness was missing from that revered spot because nobody seemed to want to pony up the 10 extra-large required to hire a portrait artist.

Since the hullabaloo caused by the painting prank, that embarrassment has been rectified. Trump’s ardent admirers have since collected the requisite $10,000.

Now, to find an artist willing to do the deed. Perhaps a contest at one of those places where you take a date, drink fruity beer and paint for a few hours. Of course the dating thing could be an obstacle. I doubt the neo-cons would get far on Tinder, Grindr or Hinge. Surely there’s something like that for far-right extremists. Bummr? Unhinged?

As a last resort, there’s probably some bleeding heart liberal painter willing to order a gallon of ocher oil to get the job done for cash up front, and then sign a fake name. These are, as you know, tough times for those who aren’t benefiting from the Trump Tax Cuts as are his wealthy corporate pals.

But I stray.

It turns out the prankster in chief was one Ian Silverii, a principal wag at ProgressNow Colorado, which is a prolific activist group from the very left side of Colorado politics. Silverii enlisted the help of Colorado House Democratic aide Katie March to use her employee door pass to help him sneak the painting into the Capitol. Then Silverii laid the Pooty portrait on an easel near the wall of presidents who fought previous partisan political battles, but not allegations of treason, collusion nor obstruction.

A good laugh was had by all, except Republicans who’ve tied their political wagons to Trump. The hilarious stunt has caused wretched sphincter tightening among those who agree with Rudy Guiliani that “truth is not truth.”

First, Portraitgate was seen just as an outlandish, albeit funny, affront to the office of the U.S. president and the man who has become famous for besmirching that office. But now, some Colorado Republicans say this sophomoric prank was an appalling lapse in the security and sanctity of the State Capitol.

Despite the offending aide apologizing for aiding and abetting Silverii, getting grounded by House Democrat leaders and losing her swipe card — she now must get into the Capitol using the same door as low-lifes like reporters — GOP Senate President Kevin Grantham says the offense is far more serious.

Grantham demands more than just a political spanking, or even the one that he apparently had no problem with just a few weeks ago that was delivered by fellow Republican Sen. Randy Baumgardner to some tartlette of a Capitol aide who dared to bring her ovaries and estrogen into the Capitol.

“Political pranks are one thing, but it crosses a line, in my opinion, when public spaces in the Capitol are misused and abused the way they were in this case. This building belongs to all the people of Colorado and I’m frankly shocked that anyone who works on staff here — and works for the top Democrat in the House, no less — would be a party to something as inappropriate and over the line as this. Having her swipe card privileges revoked doesn’t strike me as punishment enough, frankly, and I think that staffer, and any of her colleagues or superiors who were aware of this, also owe the people of Colorado a public apology for treating this building like a partisan playpen, rather than the special symbol of Democracy it is. I would expect a similar apology from any outside individuals or groups who this staff person was assisting.”

Hear, hear!

Imagine the audacity of some low-life politico treating the venerated halls of the Colorado Capitol for partisan political gain. One cannot even fathom the depths of depravity that a Colorado state lawmaker would sink to just to kill legislation that fellow Republicans, and all of Colorado, desperately wants, just to accommodate a few well-placed donors or political heavyweights. Nay, not here. Not ever.

And so Silverii and his dodgy accomplice have been the first to truly sully a building where only the people’s work has been done up to this point, or done unto them.

And not only has the partisan police been deservedly called on this rare and abhorrent instance, Grantham has dutifully pointed out that the once-secure halls and rotunda are now less so for those who once thought they were safe under the gilt dome of providence at 5,280 feet.

That, of course, would not include the security of the female variety inside the Capitol. Many of them testified about the leering, butt-swatting, womanizing, misogynistic mashers and pervs who haunt the Capitol as elected officials. Grantham has no problem with accepting from these far-less important anomalies an acceptable “yeah, whatever” or “she knows she wanted it” or “I’m just a friendly guy.”

Public apology? Meaningful punishment? Meh.

That kind of Capitol security was of little concern to Grantham and his supporters. This, well, this is different. This is about the possibly duly elected president of the United States and fine people like Putin, who helped him get that way.

And so, for the sake of the offended, and that of our duly elected Offended In Chief, I offer this moment of being shocked, shocked and dismayed to Grantham et al.

Moment’s over.

Let’s get back to the important few things Colorado lawmakers can actually agree on, such as selecting a state sandwich or determining where in the classroom teachers should stand when taking roll call each day.

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