Jared Polis: To Know Him Is To Loathe Him

Openly gay Congressman Jared Polis (D.-Colo.) has a peculiar habit of creating enemies. Silicon Valley's movers and shakers loathe him. His fellow rich Colorado gays shun him. And now the media hates him, too!

The now-defunct Rocky Mountain News, which published its last edition on Friday, endorsed Polis's opponent in the November election which put him in Congress. He just couldn't resist dancing on the newspaper's grave:

"I have to say, that when we say, 'Who killed The Rocky Mountain News,' we're all part of it, for better or worse, and I argue it's mostly for the better," Polis said at the Netroots Nation in Your Neighborhood event in Westminster, according to a recording posted online. The group supports progressive politics. "The media is dead, and long live the new media, which is all of us," said Polis, a Boulder Democrat.

That sent The Atlantic's Jeffrey Goldberg into a predictable fit of apoplexy. (He titled his blog post "Go to Hell, Jared Polis" before some prudish Atlantic editor changed it.)

So the pundits of Washington D.C. are getting a taste of Polis's know-it-all self-righteousness! That's a relief to people in Silicon Valley and Colorado, who bore the brunt of it.

As an 18-year-old, he traveled to Russia and made money trading privatization vouchers — you know, the botched, scandal-ridden privatization which wrecked Russa's economy and led to the domination of the economy by ex-KGB oligarchs. Next stop: Silicon Valley!

In October 1999, right before the first dotcom crash, Polis, then known as Jared Polis Schutz, sold Bluemountain.com, his family's online greeting-cards website, to Excite@Home for $780 million, including $350 million in cash that Excite couldn't really spare. Excite sold it for $35 million in September 2001, and filed for bankruptcy a month later. People still talk about it as one of the most spectacular cashouts of the dotcom boom.

He later sold ProFlowers, an online florist, to John Malone's Liberty Media. (All told, he's started a dozen companies.)

He used the cash to buy his way into politics, getting elected to the Colorado State Board of Education (and changing his name to Jared Schutz Polis, "to honor his mother's maiden name").

When he geared up to run for Congress, he didn't get much support from natural allies. Fellow gay Colorado tech entrepreneur Tim Gill declined to back him in the primary, as did Coors scion Scott Coors and his partner David Hurt. He won against the candidate they backed, and trounced his Republican opponent.

One of his first acts as a congressman? He took his staff on a retreat to Boulder, Colo., and forced them to eat a vegan lunch and do yoga.

Who is this guy? People sure don't like him. And yet it seems like being on the other side of a deal from him is a losing bet. Which means: He's sure going to have fun in Washington!