Well, it seems at least one liberal has moved on from Hitler comparisons when talking about conservatives.
But don’t worry: They’ll always have Putin.
On Friday, appearing on NBC, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis compared Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin and two other left-wing strongmen.
According to an account of the interview by Newsweek, Polis, a Democrat, declared that his state was “open for business,” and accused DeSantis of attacking the Walt Disney Co. “because of their political advocacy for LGBT rights.”
“In Colorado, I don’t care if your organization is conservative or liberal, I don’t care what your healthcare plan does but we have a home for you,” Polis said.
“We don’t interfere – or we don’t retaliate based on your politics,” Polis continued. “That’s what Putin does, that’s what Chávez did, and Maduro.”
Besides Putin, the governor likened DeSantis to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and that country’s current leader Nicolás Maduro – both of whom are hardcore socialists.
Polis was speaking about Disney and his offer for the company to relocate to Colorado after the controversy over Florida’s new Parental Rights in Education law, which bans school districts and classroom teachers from implementing lesson plans involving sexual orientation or gender identity.
Polis added, “This is not what America’s about. You have the freedom to have your political opinion, whatever it is, and of course the state is not going to have retribution against you because of that.”
This is, of course, false.
That’s because state officials in Colorado have spent 10 years targeting Denver-area baker Jack Phillips because of his religious beliefs.
In 2012, Phillips, a Christian, declined to make a special-order cake for a gay wedding, saying that doing so would violate his religious beliefs. The state Civil Rights Commission ignored Phillips’ First Amendment rights and found him guilty of violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
A lawsuit ensued. In June 2018, just a few months before Polis was elected governor of Colorado, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed that the state CRC had been persecuting Phillips with “clear and impermissible hostility” because of his religious beliefs.
As the Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, the public-interest law firm representing Phillips, noted, “It should have ended there. But just when Jack thought he could breathe a sigh of relief, the same Colorado government agency decided to pursue Jack a second time—mere weeks after the high court’s decision. This time around, Colorado officials came after Jack because he declined to design a custom blue and pink cake celebrating a gender transition.”
That action by the CRC invited another lawsuit by Phillips.
That case, the ADF reported, ended in March 2019, two months after Polis became governor, because the state dropped charges against Phillips. That only occurred because Phillips’ legal team uncovered what it said was more evidence “of the state’s ongoing hostility toward religious freedom.”
ADF Senior Vice President Kristen Waggoner said at the time that Colorado’s “demonstrated and ongoing hostility toward Jack because of his beliefs is undeniable.”
But the state still continues to harass Phillips.
After the CRC complaint was dismissed, the person who sought the transitioning cake filed a civil lawsuit against Phillips. Last June a judge ruled against Phillips, who was forced to appeal again.
In an August press release, the ADF noted, “It wasn’t enough for Jack to lose a big part of his business after Colorado pursued him the first time. It wasn’t enough for Jack to have to defend his freedoms all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. And it wasn’t enough for Jack and his family to endure years of harassment and even death threats.
It won’t be enough for some until Masterpiece Cakeshop closes its doors. They want Jack, an average American business owner, to pay a hefty price—all because he wants to live according to his faith. … It is time to leave Jack alone.”
Gov. Polis could presumably intervene in the appeal and ask the court to dismiss the case after a state agency suffered two separate defeats. Polis also could push for changing state law to allow people to exercise their religious rights. After all he did tell NBC last week, “We don’t interfere – or we don’t retaliate based on your politics.”
Or maybe Gov. DeSantis could invite Jack Phillips to relocate to Florida.