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Lamborn's big incline bill 

Ranger Rich

It's official: Now in his seventh year in Washington, our village's political wizard, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Always Looks Puzzled, has actually sponsored (not just co-sponsored) a House bill that was signed into law. For those of you keeping score, this means that Doug, after six years in Congress, has now introduced at least one more successful bill than has Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o's girlfriend.

And what issue did Congressman Doug's bill address? Federal deficit reduction? Obscenely wasteful military spending? Clean energy? Assault weapons? Education?

Not exactly. Doug, who isn't sure if William Henry Harrison or Benjamin Harrison was one of the Beatles, leaves such complex issues to other lawmakers — the ones who have not called our president a "tar baby."

Instead, Doug focused on an equally important issue in America today, one that goes to the very soul of our great nation: Shall we the people, as our Founding Fathers intended, be allowed to trudge up a very steep hill on broken, rotting railroad ties until boogers fly out of our noses?

The answer, apparently, is yes. Seems while other lawmakers focused on silly things like the economy, Doug saved or legalized or did something for the Manitou Incline, a one-time cog-railroad line that still climbs a leg-burning mountainside, attracting swarms of health-conscious folks, the heavy wooden steps beckoning them with the promise of pulled groin muscles, terrible headaches and knee replacement surgery. All this in a pristine environment of such remoteness and solitude that 500 other people will be doing it with you.

On a positive note, the Incline is good for the Manitou Springs economy, with sweaty, panting climbers often celebrating the hike by visiting one of the town's 18,966 tarot card readers. ("Well, well. Looks like you've drawn The Fool card. Any more questions?")

Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, a Democrat who also has nothing more important to do because the nation is rolling along so well, sponsored a companion bill in his wing of the big nuthouse known as Congress (proud motto: "Almost as Popular as Cockroaches and Colonoscopies According to a Recent Poll.")

And on Jan. 10, President Barack Obama, still thrilled by Lamborn's "tar baby" reference to him in 2011, signed the Manitou Incline thing into law. It more or less, I think, allows the Incline owner — the Manitou and Pikes Peak Railroad Company — to give the property to the U.S. Forest Service. Eventually, in cooperation with Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs will maintain the Incline.

And by "maintain" I mean "force homeless people to hoist Mayor Steve Bach onto their shoulders and carry him up the thousands of steps." (Footnote: The homeless people will officially be known as "volunteers," and at the summit Bach will berate and insult them.)

From Lamborn, boasting of his work on the Incline deal via a prepared statement: "Olympic athletes have even trained there."

For example, during testing on ways to be a fraud, champion cyclist and Olympic medalist Lance Armstrong once had a transfusion of kangaroo blood then hopped on two feet up the entire Incline. In 27 seconds. Balancing himself on his tail. While pulling the old train.

(He also trained there for what is known as the Lance Armstrong Triathlon: Cheat for three miles, lie for 12 miles and finish up by being a no-good, worthless bastard for 26 miles.)

"I am happy to say that outdoor enthusiasts can soon hike the Incline with complete confidence that they are no longer trespassing," said Lamborn's speech writer. Lamborn did indicate, all on his own, that he's also happy to be from El Paso County, where the highly educated voters would elect and re-elect a giant dancing cow if it indicated by a series of mooing noises that it was a Republican. (See Douglas Bruce.)

"Much like the trail itself," wrote whoever makes the words to put in Lamborn's mouth, "passing this bill has been a steep climb at times..."

Perhaps Congressman Doug will even try the Incline himself one day.

I bet it will be during President Obama's next State of the Union address.

Rich Tosches (rangerrich@csindy.com) also writes a Sunday column in the Denver Post.

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