The jaw of anyone who's followed the career of Rep. Mike Coffman dropped upon reading the National Journal's characterization of Coffman yesterday as a "moderate who sometimes refers to himself as an independent."
It's true that Coffman refers to himself as a moderate. Most endangered politicians trying to appeal to independent voters do so.
But for a reporter to state as a fact that Coffman is a "moderate?" Where's that come from?
Objectively, the word "moderate" does not come to mind if you look at the majority of Coffman's record. He's clearly way to the right on social as well as fiscal issues.
On the social side, Coffman does not hide the fact that he's against all abortion, even in the case of rape and incest. (Just last year, Personhood USA labeled Coffman a "statesman" for standing firm against abortion for any reason.) He voted in Congress to change the definition of rape, adding "forcible" as an clarifying adjective.
Coffman has called Social Security a "Ponzi scheme", and has never retracted the statement.
On immigration, Coffman has expressed an open mind about immigration reform lately. But his record stands in opposition to his recent tone. Coffman introduced a bill mandating English-only ballots, even for areas with large numbers of Spanish-speaking voters who aren't proficient in English. Coffman has long stood with (and endorsed) Rep. Tom Tancredo, who symbolizes American extremism toward undocumented immigrants and immigration reform.
Coffman has called the expansion of Medicare under Obamacare "very radical."
Famously, Coffman said doesn't know if Obama "was born in the United States of America," but Coffman did know that Obama "in his heart, he's not an American." Coffman apologized, but Coffman thinks too big a deal was made of the Obama comment, and it was taken out of context.
If you look at the totality of Coffman's record, you can say he's taken an independent view on military spending. But that's it.
There's no justification for journalists to label him as a "moderate."