Cathy Reilly Mug

Cathy Reilly, Assistant to the Publisher

A reader brought to our attention that 5th Congressional District Rep. Doug Lamborn recently announced he was awarded the Hungarian Order of Merit, a very high honor from the Hungarian government. The award’s timing, apparently, was meant to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the short-lived Hungarian Revolution of 1956. 

Lamborn was recognized for the work he’s purportedly done for the Hungarian-American Congressional Caucus and his actions on issues like “counterterrorism.” That is rich, given we haven’t had a terrorist attack in our country since 9/11. What we have had is domestic terrorism, and one of the most recent examples is the attempted coup at the United States Capitol on Jan. 6. Lamborn was quick to turn a blind eye to that day, voting later that evening to not certify the results of the presidential election.  

Lamborn is hardly the first conservative pol to fawn over Hungary and Prime MInister Viktor Orbán. Orbán’s administration has been called a kleptocracy by The Economist and he is known for limiting press freedoms and for funnelling public money to his family, among other autocratic transgressions. This sounds like recent history in our own country! 

It’s also worth noting that Fox News’ fawning Tucker Carlson broadcast his show from Hungary in the last year. Former Vice President Mike Pence was in Hungary in September to participate in something called the “Budapest Demographic Summit.” And CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Committee) announced earlier this year that they would be holding their annual winter conference there in 2022. 

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out Hungary’s appeal to those aforementioned —  and the cozy relationship on the right does not bode well for our democracy. These figures are desirous of emulating the White Nationalist Christian model that is present-day Hungary. That should make anyone who cares about our democracy very uncomfortable.

And as for Mr. Lamborn… There are so many issues facing Coloradans that desperately need attention but have been ignored. Not the least of these are the ongoing threats of climate change and wildfires. Additionally, the Front Range is also facing unprecedented growth but much of our infrastructure has not kept pace. Corrupt leadership in Hungary may be impressed with you Doug, but the residents of the 5th Congressional District deserve far better.

It is worthwhile to note that Mr. Lamborn will be up for re-election next year. It is far past time to vote him out.

— Staff notes originally run in our daily email newsletter, Indy Now, along with news updates, photos of the day, a weekly poll and more. Sign up below.