PI Editorial: Parched for policy in a landscape of political outrage | PostIndependent.com

PI Editorial: Parched for policy in a landscape of political outrage

Post Independent Editorial Board

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert is nearly a year into her term. How it’s going likely depends on whether you identify as a Republican or Democrat.

If you’re a Republican, you’re likely proud of her pushing back against the Democratic majority and the Biden administration — and view her recent comments more as bombastic snark than anything truly concerning or offensive.

If you’re a Democrat, well, it’s likely that you’ve written her off entirely at this point.

What both views have in common is that her rhetoric gets the most media attention — not her policy efforts.

Boebert met with our editorial board this week to talk about those policy efforts as well as how she views her broader role for her district, including how she chooses to do linguistic battle with Democrats.

While not all of us on the board support all of her policy positions or her rhetoric, we greatly appreciate her time. It’s incredibly easy for a politician to say they’re busy and can’t meet with someone or a group. But Rep. Boebert appears to be truly invested in connecting with her constituents in Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District.

So what is the No. 1 policy concern people talk with her about? Water, and by extension climate change and public lands management. Rep. Boebert sees better forestry management as a way to reduce the magnitude of wildland fires out west — and reduce air pollution in turn.

This is an issue that has common ground with many Democrats in Congress, as well, but Boebert said bipartisan solutions feel hard to come by in the current Congress. Part of the challenge is in just how much congressional work is done remotely — people don’t have the same opportunity to build relationships person-to-person as they did pre-pandemic.

At the same time, it’s both interesting and appreciated how Boebert described her view on working and talking with Colorado’s Democratic politicians in order to best serve the state. Does this mean she’s going to wake up a year from now and communicate across party lines like the late Bob Dole or Liz Cheney? We would certainly not bet on it, but it shows how she can be simultaneously ideological and pragmatic in her approach to the office.

It is so easy to lose sight of this duality, however, when we all have a tendency to focus on the most outrageous spectacle we can find on the internet at that particular moment. Media, politicians and individuals all deal in the emotional currency of outrage a lot more these days, and we’re not entirely sure it’s helpful.

This is not to say Boebert’s reprehensible comments about Rep. Ilhan Omar don’t matter — they certainly do.

Off-color, inappropriate jokes about congressional colleagues only make it harder to bridge the partisan divide and further policy goals. To her credit, Boebert apologized for the comments and stated clearly that no one should be attacked on the basis of their religion.

Yet, for everyone involved, such moments eat up vital political oxygen and diminish what could be better spent on actual policymaking, especially at the district level.

Boebert disagrees with us on this — she sees speaking up and out for Republicans who feel ignored by Democrats and the Biden administration as a key part of her job. She also correctly pointed out that her office regularly shares news releases on her policy efforts with the Post Independent and other news outlets. We often just choose not to cover them.

It’s a fair point, but one that discounts too easily how much outrage has hijacked our current politics. This may exist with or without Boebert, but unless we figure out how to deal in less of it, common ground will continue to erode.

The Post Independent editorial board members are Publisher Bryce Jacobson, Editor Peter Baumann, Managing Editor/Senior Reporter John Stroud, and community representatives Mark Fishbein, Danielle Becker and Amy Connerton, who is stepping down after this editorial. We would like to thank Amy for her time serving on our editorial board.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.