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WaPo Notices Jared Polis, "A Pro-Pot, Video Game Playing Congressman"


Yesterday's Washington Post included a long, juicy profile of Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.). It opens with a set piece of the "pro-pot, video game playng congressman" standing around a marijuana dispensary in his home state, chatting knowledgeably about the product but refusing to have his picture taken because "that could go viral."

This is something new for Polis, the 39-year-old self-made millionaire member of Congress: He is starting to care what people think about him. The same guy mocked by GQ for his sartorial choices—known as Congress's chief video-game enthusiast, the first member to accept bitcoin donations on the day it became legal, and a top spokesman for legalizing marijuana—now wants to be taken seriously by the establishment. That doesn't mean he's about to start going along to get along. It just means he's looking for a change in style.

reason cover

Reason readers, of course, were already well aware of the Colorado phenom with the libertarian touch, since we had a big juicy profile of Polis several weeks ago in our last print issue:

Close your eyes and think of a stereotypical gamer. Is he a bowtie-wearing gay father of one with a penchant for beekeeping who represents Colorado's 2nd District in the House of Representatives? Probably not. But maybe he should be.

The Post also covers Polis' stance on fracking:

Yes, being gay and being in favor of marijuana legalization have changed from liabilities to assets, but on the issue of fracking, Democrats remain divided. Polis has spent hundreds of thousands of his own dollars on a series of ballot initiatives in Colorado that would limit places where fracking could occur, and the issue has seriously fractured Democrats in the state.

When Reason covered his stance on fracking a couple of weeks ago, Polis turned up in our comments section to chat with our readers about the nuances of the issue in libertarian terms and offer some hard evidence for his claims:

The argument comes down to individual rights…. It's a complex one and the libertarian perspective is not immediately clear. Can someone else engage in an activity next to your house which causes you economic damage and reduces the value of your home without compensating you? A recent study found that fracking nearby resulted in 4-15% decrease in home value:….._evid.html

Currently there is nothing someone can do to prevent fracking nearby…. I think the liberarian perspective would allow for covenants in HOAs or even through local government to settle property disputes like this between neighbors, provide a mechanism for accounting for externalities. Currently any attempt at addressing this is pre-empted by the state. Here are some more thoughts on the topic:…..le/1519709

Fundamentally I believe in a regulatory marketplace…. people who want to live in areas that allow fracking, marijuana, gambling, and prostitution should be able to and people who want to live in areas that don't should also be able to.

Polis' presence in our comments section certainly bolsters the Post's take on his M.O.:

Polis likes to think of himself as a translator between groups. On my trip with him, he sat down with parents of gifted students where people said things like, "How do you ID a GT with ESL or ADD?" then spoke to an older group of Democratic Women of Boulder County voters about what "pay-fors" to use for certain legislation, then spoke about how both Congress and new companies thrive when there are more "disruptive" forces at play at a panel about start-ups.

"What I want to do is be able to appeal to the Reddit generation while also making sure other parts of the party are at the table," he said munching on a Bobo's Oat bar and drinking organic iced tea. "Internet freedom, marijuana and other issues. It doesn't mean every Democrat has to change their mind, but we need to have a way to talk about these things without alienating the next generation."

The whole Post profile is worth a read. (Even if you read Reason's first.)

NEXT: Jacob Sullum on the Irrational Response to the Isla Vista Massacre

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  1. He’s not a fucking libertarian-ish Democrat. He’s a Democratic politician who isn’t as awful as other Democratic politicians on issues that Democrats profess to be good at, but usually aren’t.

    1. this

  2. Apparently New Jersey has gone gun crazy.…

    Their new (proposed law – its on the governor’s desk for signing) would do more than limit magazine sizes to 10 rounds. It makes all pre-existing 11+ round magazines AND weapons with fixed magazines that hold more than 10 rounds a felony to possess, with no grandfather clause to cover those who already own these weapons.

    Sounds like, if Christie signs it, it’ll get struck down on challenge for violating the takings clause.

    1. If Christie signs it, his national political career is over. So I’m betting he won’t.

      1. But I so want his national political career to be over.

  3. *looks at outfit*

    Wha..Is he…umm…I think what he was going for was….no…err…

    He was high. That’s it. Stoned out of his fucking gourd on the floor of the House. Kudos to you, Polis.

  4. Didn’t know he was gay (till now) cause I have paid NO attention. Has he had an abortion? That’s when we’ll KNOW he’s down with the cause!

    1. Does it have to be a gay abortion to count?

  5. I have to at least give the man some respect, most politicians would piss themselves at the very thought of being exposed to the commentariat.

    1. Oh, that’s because I know that every negative comment is from a 46-year old balding virgin living in his mother’s basement and every positive comment is from an enlightened, educated, successful man or woman of the world. Or so I tell myself.

      Let he who has never anonymously flamed someone cast the first stone….

      1. Jared, it’s good, but it’s bad.

        It’s good that you’re here. Few would have the guts, and you get kudos for that.

        But you are here, and yet you’ve still got that big ol’ ‘D’ dragging behind your name. I mean, come on, the Democrats have moved so far left that the fact that they’re after a future in which we all wear gray unitards and eat extruded organic pap as we labor for the glory of the State until our upkeep outweighs our contribution(at which point we’ll all obediently report to our community recycler) isn’t even really being hidden anymore.

        And let’s be honest, the GOP is on the same track–but they, at least are getting abandoned by their base–because their underlying rhetoric is all about liberty. So there are people inside fighting it.

        Not so with the Dems–maybe not even you.

        Can someone else engage in an activity next to your house which causes you economic damage and reduces the value of your home without compensating you?

        Because there’s no nuance here–it’s not your property. If they’re not spewing filth onto your land or poisoning you, then no, you have no case for recompense. Telling people what they can do with their property is not, in any way a libertarian stance.

        Plus, if they’re fracking next to my property, there’s a really good chance they can frack ON my property–I’m packing up the truck and heading for Beverly

        Hills, that is.

        1. The property values thing is a terrible argument.

          It’s exactly what people used to say about black people moving into the neighborhood. I wonder if Jared would go on record supporting local governments’ rights to keep black people out, given that it’s the exact same logic he’s employing here?

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