Gardner Breaks Out The Whitewash on Immigration

Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

Reps. Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman.

A fascinating new story from MSNBC's Benjy Sarlin documents Colorado GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner's continuing attempts at "evolution" on the issue of immigration reform as disaffection with reform advocates grows–this time, making an assertion about his record that appears to contradict, well, the record.

Enter Colorado, which may be reformers’ last chance to prove they can make the GOP pay a price for their intransigence before the next presidential election. There, activists are organizing to defeat three-term Republican Rep. Mike Coffman in his re-election bid and, more importantly, working to thwart GOP Rep. Cory Gardner in his campaign to unseat Democratic Sen. Mark Udall…

“I will do everything in my power, my community will do anything in our power, to make sure [Gardner] is not elected,” Sonia Marquez, northern director for [Colorado Immigration Rights Coalition Action Fund], told msnbc. 

This wasn’t the role immigration groups hoped to play at the outset of the election cycle. In fact, activists originally saw Gardner and Coffman as promising candidates to help put reform over the top in the House. 

Marquez personally spent more than a year trying to win Gardner’s support for immigration reform. Under her guidance, activists met with him personally, held rallies across his district, and organized roundtable discussions with supportive local businesses, all with the goal of making Gardner comfortable with legislation granting legal status to undocumented immigrants. Gardner offered them encouraging words throughout and his staff was friendly and accessible, but he never quite took the leap, always telling constituents that while he wanted the GOP to address immigration he opposed the Senate’s bipartisan plan…

Finally, Marquez gave Gardner an ultimatum: Either release your own plan for the undocumented or face the consequences. The deadline passed and Marquez and her fellow activists occupied Gardner’s office with a mariachi band to mark the point of no return.

This is a fact that needs to be driven home: even to the point of annoying partisan Democrats, immigration reform proponents were genuine in their attempted engagement of Reps. Gardner and Mike Coffman. Both Gardner and Coffman had every chance to meaningfully get behind any number of immigration reform proposals, only to see even baby steps like Coffman's bill for immigrants who enlist in the military stalled out by GOP House leadership. Eventually, it became clear to immigration reform advocates in both Coffman and Gardner's cases that the rhetoric just doesn't match their actions–and a small gesture on a pet issue like military service is no substitute for the broad reforms needed.

With all of that said, check out Gardner's attempt to extricate himself from the wrath of activists who gave him every chance, but understand now that he was playing them the whole time:

Gardner said he was disappointed with how things turned out as well. Despite reports to the contrary, he told msnbc he had tried to sell his colleagues on the House GOP’s ill-fated immigration principles and shared activists’ goals of passing significant legislation. 

“It’s a shame, I thought we were working very well together,” he said of his relationship with pro-reform groups. “I would like to see them work with people opposed to immigration reform instead of trying to play politics with people who support immigration reform.”

Gardner's opposition to the moribund House GOP "immigration reform principles" was documented by Roll Call back in March. We'll be happy to note for the record if Roll Call updates that whip count six months later to reflect Gardner's new version of events. Until then, we have to assume that Gardner simply hadn't made up his mind where to position himself on immigration for this race yet. Now that he has a better sense of where he needs to be–that is, as far from his previously anti-immigrant politics as he can–a clear need to revise that history presents itself.

You know, like he did with Colorado's Personhood abortion bans on another Friday not so long ago. Or a few Fridays after that, when he did a 180 on the issue of child adoptions by gays and lesbians. Or just a couple Fridays ago, when Gardner claims to have "never supported the shutdown" despite a wealth of evidence that he did. In all of these cases there is a common thread of not just reversal, but an attempt by Gardner to revise the record in the face of documented evidence to the contrary. With Personhood, Gardner claimed to have begun reconsidering years ago–but his continued sponsorship of equivalent federal legislation makes a liar out of him. Same with LGBT adoptions and now immigration: there's what Gardner says today as he runs for the U.S. Senate, and then there's a longstanding record that makes it very difficult to believe him.

The best rejoinder for any of these would be action: but whether the result of their own failings or the intransigence of GOP House leadership, that's the one thing we can feel pretty confident isn't going to happen before the election.

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    I think it bears asking: is Gardner the fakest candidate in recent Colorado history?

    I think he's pretty close. Much more fake than Beauprez or McInnis, two other highly fake candiates who come to mind.

    Can anyone think of another?

  2. Gray in Mountains says:

    is this diary the Friday Comedy Jam?

  3. Golden GirlGolden Girl says:

    I asked earlier and I'll ask again, why if Cory Gardener is so bad (which I agree with), and as someone said is "toast", is he running neck and neck with Mark in the polls? 

    Also getting tired of Cory's mug featured on every story I see in the national press.  I know he's a glory hound but seriously Udall campaign….schmooze a little!




    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      We're a purple state. Statewides are always on the close side, especially this early when most voters don't know much about the candidates except the party affiliation when they take polls. Dems have bought up a lot of air time and I'd expect a blitz late when it will do the most good.

      • MooMooMoo0MooMooMoo0 says:

        Campbell, Ritter and Owens won in landslides in 1998, 2006 and 2002..and Bush did very well here in 2000..but that's four races out of 14? since 1996. However, Campbell was a very good fit for Colorado at that time, BWB was running a horrible campaign against Ritter, Owens though very conservative focused on moderate pet projects during a period of 9/11 paranoia and though Bush would have done better than Gore here without Nader, it would have probably been close (Bush would get 51-52% here compared to 48% nationally). 

    • Gray in Mountains says:

      the more Cory talks, as he is beginning to, the quicker his numbers will drop

      • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

        Slow down there, cowboy.  He was introduced as a future President of the United States at a recent event in Wray.  There's nothing like the support of the failed Dumphuckistanian state to propel one to the national stage…

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      GG, take a gander at this canvass piece the Gardner campaign is dropping in Aurora. It paints Cory as a moderate, bipartisan guy, defender of women, champion of Medicare, green and clean, etc.

      Most of Gardner's claims are BS and distorted – he is not bipartisan, or moderate, does not favor energy efficiency or renewables, did vote to privatize Medicare, hasn't really done squat to create Colorado jobs. His vote on the Violence against Women Act was real.  I had bunches of links disproving his claims, but lost most of them when I navigated away from this comment. 9News  truthtested both campaign ads on the cutting Medicare claims, and concluded that, based on Gardner's votes in 2011, the ad brought up fair points from Gardner's record.  My point is that the Udall campaign needs to bring out Gardner's lies in a side-by-side, straightforward way.

      The immigration issue may get more traction in some areas of Aurora than in others. It's harder to make an argument based on non-votes and not letting comprehensive immigration reform come to a vote than it is on actual voting record. So the immigration "truthers" are doing a good job in hounding Gardner for his votes to cut funding for DACA implementation. 

      • itlduso says:

        His pant legs look like Chris Christie's.

        Photoshop anyone?

        • DawnPatrol says:

          Con Man looks like the Michelin Man in that bizarre photo. He looks like someone made him shorter. And are his pants inflated? Are his feet a size 3? WTF?

          • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

            I checked to see if the scanned photo matched the mailer, and yep, it does. The photos on the front of the mailer are also full-color glossies of him with his children, and they are much more flattering.  Apparently, has money to burn on these mailings, and showing Gardner as a little chubby on the inside photo makes him more relatable. 

      • kickshot says:

        Mom pants with kneess worn out during the recent Kochfest.

      • Golden GirlGolden Girl says:

        Mama, the flyer is just the kind of crap I expect out of Gardner.  He's a chameoleon and scary as hell  and comes across as Mr. Nice Guy to the average Joe 6-pack. That's why I worry about the Udall campaign.  I don't see the grass roots, retail campaign (so far) for Udall that the Gardner camp is launching along with the Koch/RNC/Gardner/Rove TV.

  4. ModeratusModeratus says:

    I guess when Obama "evolved" on gay marriage he was breaking out the whitewash?

    How about when Romanoff decided to stop persecuting Colorado immigrants? Whitewash.

    And when Hickenlooper apologize for the gun control bills. Whitewash!

    See how easy this is?

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Romanoff  wasn't persecuting minorities. He was passing what legislation could be achieved to avoid more draconian legislation. Like the centrist legislative leader he always was. But it's good to hear you admit that your side persecutes minorities. After all, nothing Romanoff ever supported is more draconian than what's considered main stream on your side now. And he certainly never opined about cantaloupe calves or Central Americans bringing Ebola, unknown in Central America, into the country. Good luck getting Latinos on board with your candidates

      • DavieDavie says:

        It must be wonderful fun being a Republican in Congress.  You get to pass all sorts of laws punishing the non-white, non-male, non-hetero, non-wealthy for being, well, any of the above.  Then you get to relax on all those billionaire-paid junkets and retreats, for the small price of swearing fealty to their rule.

        Then you simply deny having ever done any of that or excuse yourself and claim to have evolved.

        Then have mindless drones breathlessly repeat their lies.


        • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

          No one ever believed POTUS was anti-gay or anti-marriage equality.  His 'evolution' was having the patience for the right chess move to make equality possible.  On the other hand, no one has any question as to how Gardner would vote on the federal personhood legislation if it comes to the floor of the Senate (which it will if the Repubs take over) – or gutting environmental regulation, as promised by Mitch McConnell last week.  See this difference, dumbass?

          What BC said above about Andrew's immigration record: he used his chess board to blunt the worst of the anti-immigration movement.

  5. DawnPatrol says:

    GOTPers always think they're smarter than everybody.

    Con Man, Countdown and BothWays ain't smarter than anybody….

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