U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert will probably try to spin her latest embarrassing incident as a culture-war victory against the “elitist” liberals.
The framing is easy: Those snobby stiffs in Denver don’t know how to cut loose and have a good time if they can’t tolerate someone having a little fun at a live performance described as a “lusty riot” in The Denver Post. Oh, and clearly Boebert was targeted for being a Republican by patrons who complained about her behavior, right?
But the true arc running through the many Boebert scandals — whether they are performative or genuine – is her astounding sense of entitlement. The tired trope of politicians throwing their titles around to excuse bad behavior is ironically true of Boebert, who took office claiming to be an outsider who was just an everyday Coloradan trying to raise her family in God’s Country.
Boebert didn’t care if she ruined the musical “Beetlejuice” playing at the Buell Theatre for anyone else, and she certainly didn’t care if the pregnant woman sitting behind her had to breathe her second-hand smoke from a vape pen. Boebert denies that she was vaping, although she did admit to taking photos of the live performance.
The woman sitting directly behind Boebert shared her story with The Post on the condition of anonymity out of fear that there would be backlash from the congresswoman and her supporters. She provided me with the receipt for her tickets and a photo from the event that shows Boebert seated in front of her.
The woman described the evening as surreal. She didn’t even recognize Boebert as Colorado’s congresswoman who represents the Western Slope and southern Colorado.
“These people in front of us were outrageous. I’ve never seen anyone act like that before,” the woman, who lives in Denver and is in her 30s, said. It wasn’t until later during the play that someone informed her that the misbehaving theatergoer was, in fact, Boebert, a member of Congress.
The woman says Boebert took multiple long videos during the first half of the performance. When she asked Boebert to stop vaping, the congresswoman simply said “no,” the woman said. Boebert was also kissing the man she was with, and singing along loudly with her hands in the air, the woman said.
“At intermission, I asked, ‘Are there any other seats available? Can we sit somewhere else?’” the woman said. “The usher said, ‘You’re not the first complaint we had.’ ”
When the woman returned with her husband to their seats, she said Boebert called her a “sad and miserable person.”
“The guy she was with offered to buy me and my husband cocktails. I’m pregnant!” she said.
But the behavior continued, with Boebert using her phone to record several segments of the second half of the show.
The rest of the story is captured on surveillance video showing Boebert and an unidentified man getting ushered out of the Buell as the performance is going on.
Boebert’s staff issued a tongue-in-cheek statement about the ordeal: “I can confirm the stunning and salacious rumors: in her personal time, Congresswoman Lauren Boebert is indeed a supporter of the performing arts (gasp!) and, to the dismay of a select few, enthusiastically enjoyed a weekend performance of ‘Beetlejuice.’ ”
A report from the staff of Denver Arts & Venues says three people complained at intermission and included this tidbit about what Boebert said as she left the building: “stuff like ‘do you know who I am,’ ‘I am on the board’ (and) ‘I will be contacting the mayor.’ ”
Boebert is not on the board of Denver’s Center for the Performing Arts and if she were, I doubt she would support the DCPA’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. I’m more than a little skeptical that Denver’s new mayor would call in a favor for a family member acting so rudely at a play, let alone Boebert.
Boebert’s behavior is what voters would expect from a power-hungry politician, convinced that their own self-worth puts their needs and desires above others. It’s a caricature, but hardly anyone from Congress behaves that way — even though there’s ample evidence of some of vanity and conceit — because the public backlash is so great.
It’s a pattern of behavior from Boebert who doesn’t seem to think rules and laws apply to her.
Whether it’s health and safety rules in her now-closed restaurant in Rifle, refusing to show up to court dates, and other dramas unfolding with her family and friends in Garfield County, there is no question that Boebert, whose ex-husband made nearly a million dollars in two years as an oil and gas consultant before Boebert filed for divorce this year, considers herself beyond reproach.
The pattern is so familiar that perhaps the most shocking part of this story is that Boebert supports the performing arts.
As for the performance, our source tells me: “It was so wonderful. I wish I would have been able to enjoy the first half as much… ”
Megan Schrader is The Denver Post’s opinion editor.
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