THE BLOG

Label-Loving Congressman Suddenly Hates Labels

04/24/2013 03:59 pm ET | Updated Jun 24, 2013

Rep. Mike Coffman announced last week that he's joining "No Labels' Problem Solvers -- a group of 56 Democrats and Republicans committed to meeting regularly across the aisle to build trust and talk about solving problems."

Some labels, like the label of "citizen" for Obama, have bugged Coffman in the past. Last year, you recall, Coffman told a conservative audience that he wasn't sure Obama was a citizen. (He later apologized.)

But mostly Coffman has been as label-friendly as a politician gets in Colorado, labeling Social Security a "Ponzi scheme," trying to add the label "forcible" to rape, labeling the flat tax as something that has "tremendous value," labeling the expansion of Medicare under Obamacare as "very radical," wanting to put the label of "president" of the United States on Gov. Rick Perry. (Conversely, Personhood USA labeled Coffman a "statesman" for standing firm against abortion for rape and for any other reason.)

All this labeling makes you wonder why Coffman would want to join a group called the "No Labels' Problem Solvers" -- much less be able to get away with it, under scrutiny from the media.

Coffman has built a reputation in Colorado for saying controversial stuff, often with serious partisan labels attached. What's up?

In this case, the media mostly ignored Coffman's press release about his joining the No-Labels group, but there will be plenty of times in the coming year to re-visit the question of why he signed up.

Coffman, as you may know, is set to defend his congressional seat next year against Democrat Andrew Romanoff, the former speaker of the State House.

Coffman has been tagged as one of the most endangered congressman in the entire country, due to the fact that his district, formerly a safe Republican seat, was re-drawn after the 2010 Census and is now considered up for grabs.

As such, Coffman's congressional seat will be won by someone who can appeal to large numbers of Hispanic, blue collar, and independent voters who live there.

As reporters have pointed out, Coffman's extreme positions (against abortion even for rape and against Obamacare) have suddenly become liabilities for him, as he tries to win over moderate voters in his new district.

Hence, his sudden aversion to the extreme labels he once loved.

There's a desperate quality to Coffman's actions these days, typified by his No-Labels maneuver, and with any luck it will be fully dissected by reporters the 2014 election nears.