Even many observers who expect little from Rep. Lauren Boebert were taken aback last week. The right-wing Colorado Republican attended a family-friendly musical production in Denver, only to get kicked out of the venue for “causing a disturbance” at the show. The congresswoman denied any wrongdoing, right up until surveillance footage from within the theater proved that she’d obviously acted inappropriately.
After getting caught lying about her disruptive behavior, Boebert apologized — late on Friday. The New York Times reported:
“The past few days have been difficult and humbling, and I’m truly sorry for the unwanted attention my Sunday evening in Denver has brought to the community,” Ms. Boebert said in a statement Friday night. “While none of my actions or words as a private citizen that night were intended to be malicious or meant to cause harm, the reality is they did and I regret that.”
The GOP lawmaker added in her written statement, “I simply fell short of my values on Sunday.”
She then appeared on the conservative media outlet OAN, where she took a slightly different tone. After trying to downplay the significance of the story, Boebert defended herself by saying, “I was a little too eccentric.”
All things considered, this is hardly the biggest political scandal to come out of Congress this year, and given that the Colorado Republican’s reputation was already in tatters, I don’t imagine too much will change as a result of the story.
What strikes me as notable, however, is the opportunity that Boebert is failing to take advantage of.
As regular readers know, soon after taking office in 2021, Boebert became one of Congress’ most controversial members. Six months into her first term, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote a column describing the congresswoman as being “lost in a cacophony of crazy.”
It was generally assumed, however, that she’d face no real consequences for her partisan antics. After all, Boebert represented a GOP-friendly district where her re-election was all but assured. Headed into the 2022 midterm elections, FiveThirtyEight’s forecast model showed the right-wing incumbent with a 97% chance of winning, despite her routine ridiculousness.
What the political world didn’t fully appreciate was just how many voters in her Colorado district had grown tired of Boebert’s strange behavior. The Republican incumbent prevailed, but to the surprise of much of the political world, her re-election contest proved to be one of the nation’s closest House races.
The message from local voters seemed pretty obvious: Much of the “red”-leaning district was unimpressed with the congresswoman and her antics. Common sense suggested that Boebert should learn from the near-defeat and become a more respectable lawmaker, if for no other reason than to improve her career prospects.
But if she’s trying to impress voters, the Republican obviously isn’t trying very hard. If we were just talking about Boebert misbehaving during a “Beetlejuice” production, it’d be easier to overlook, but the fact remains that her antics during her second term look awfully similar to those from her first.
Last fall, the Coloradan defeated Democrat Adam Frisch by only 546 votes, and next year, he’s seeking a rematch. If Boebert isn’t concerned about her prospects, she isn’t paying close enough attention.
This post updates our related earlier coverage.