BREAKING: Gardner Abandons DOJ Marijuana Holds

UPDATE: Denver7’s Blair Miller reports that Cory Gardner is releasing his holds on the high-priority nominees Jeff Sessions complained about being held up, though apparently some lower-priority holds will continue:

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is dropping his holds on certain Justice Department nominees “as an act of good faith” amid ongoing conversations with the deputy U.S. attorney general and the acting U.S. attorney for Colorado.

Gardner said he would lift his holds on the assistant attorney general for national security, U.S. attorneys and U.S. marshals, but said his holds “on all other DOJ nominees will remain in place as discussions continue.”

…He said that his “positive conversations” with Rosenstein and Troyer led him to Thursday’s decision. But he said that people shouldn’t construe the decision as backing off his thoughts that there should be solutions put in place to protect Colorado’s marijuana programs. [Pols emphasis]

Because obviously, the best way to negotiate is to give up your most valuable bargaining chips.

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Senator Cory Gardner (R).

We told you this was coming. As the AP reports:

Colorado’s Republican U.S. senator says there’s been enough progress on negotiations over marijuana with the Trump administration that he will stop blocking nominees for some jobs in the Justice Department.

Cory Gardner used his power as a senator to freeze department nominations last month after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions revoked Obama-era protections for states that have broadly legalized marijuana.

Gardner said Sessions needed to re-establish protections for the industry. Gardner told The Associated Press on Thursday that recent talks make him confident the department won’t change the way it enforces federal laws in Colorado and other states that allow adults to use cannabis recreationally.

News reports as recently as yesterday documented the continuing impasse between Sen. Cory Gardner and Attorney General Jeff Sessions over rescinding the Obama-era Cole Memorandum dictating a hands-off policy toward legal marijuana states. Gardner specifically stated in a Senate floor speech that he would hold Justice Department nominees until the Cole memorandum was reinstated.

Since that time, however, pressure from law enforcement groups and conservative supporters of Sessions has built on Gardner to release his DOJ holds. On Tuesday, Jeff Sessions went public with criticism of Gardner’s actions, complaining that the holds were hampering his ability to fill critical positions.

And today, Gardner announced he would release the DOJ holds for which he earned nationwide thanks from marijuana advocates. Without getting what he demanded. The Cole memo has not been reinstated, nor will it be now. The revised guidance from Sessions  to U.S. Attorneys that provoked widespread fears of a marijuana crackdown remains operative. The industry has no real assurance other than Sessions’ apparent word to Gardner–which Gardner already blasted Sessions for breaking in the past.

Anybody who is surprised by Gardner’s lack of courage down the stretch, please raise your hands.

Nobody should be raising their hands.

“I know that President Trump and Chairman Gardner can count on you,” says GOP fundraising email

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

In a fundraising appeal yesterday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)  invoked Trump and U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner to entice donors to support Trump’s Make America Great Again agenda.

“I know you are dedicated to our Making America Great Again agenda,” stated the email, signed “Sue, NRSC.” “I know that President Trump and Chairman Gardner can count on you.”

“I want to be able to tell President Trump and Chairman Gardner that you are a 2018 Charter Member,” the email continued.

Gardner is chair of the NRSC, which is charged by U.S. Senate Republicans with helping Republican senators win elections.

Gardner once called Trump a “buffoon” but has since voted with Trump over 93 percent of the time in the senate, more than any other senator’s expected support of Trump, based on the Trump’s electoral performance in the senator’s home state. Trump lost Colorado by five points.

The NRSC confirmed that it sent the email.

The appeal offers membership cards for donations of platinum, silver, and gold gifts ranging from $5 to $250 and above. The cards feature images of Trump and Vice President Mike Pence with the slogan, “Strengthening the Majority, Making America Great Again.”

“As a member, we will send you a personalized membership card, and you will be given the opportunity to take advantage of special offers that will only be offered to charter members,” states the email.

Gardner has claimed to part ways with Trump on a few issues, including the enforcement of marijuana laws.

So the first-term senator’s complete embrace of the Trump MAGA agenda raises questions that were left unanswered today, because Gardner’s office hung up on me when I called to find out if Gardner still opposes any elements of Trump’s agenda and, if so, why he’d raise money promising to deliver on Trump’s broad Make-America-Great-Again platform.

Gardner’s Pal Rodrigo Duterte: Shoot ‘Em In The P—y

Sen Cory Gardner, Filipino strongman Rodrigo Duterte.

VICE News reports on the latest swashbuckling pronouncement from Rodrigo Duterte, strongman President of the Philippines who appeared on local political radars last year after a controversial unannounced state visit to Manila from Sen. Cory Gardner:

Rodrigo Duterte last week directed his soldiers to specifically target women rebel fighters by shooting them in the vagina, according to local reports.

Addressing a group of former communist rebels, the Philippines president said his armed forces should not kill female rebels but shoot them in their genitals because without them they are useless.

“Tell the soldiers. There’s a new order coming from the mayor. We won’t kill you. We will just shoot your vagina,” Duterte reportedly said. “If there is no vagina, it would be useless.” [Pols emphasis]

An official government translation of the speech, given on Feb. 7, replaced the word vagina with a dash. The transcript says the audience laughed in response…

Duterte is known for violent crudities in his speeches to the troops prosecuting his vicious war against drug smugglers, as well as his comments about women that openly condone and even celebrate rape–but this latest comment combines those two themes into something truly politically toxic to Duterte’s friends in the West, like President Donald Trump.

And of course, local reporters should ask Sen. Gardner for comment too! Perhaps Cory and Rodrigo will have a friendly chat about it next time Sen. Gardner is in town for a photo-op.

Gardner: “The last thing America ought to be worrying about is 76 trombones in a parade”

(With a hundred and ten cornets close at hand! – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner laughed off concerns today about Trump’s proposed military parade.

Asked by KOA radio hosts if he was concerned about the parade’s $20 million price tag, Gardner quipped, “Look, as long as they let Michael Dukakis drive a tank, I’m fine with it.”

After a round of laughter at Gardner’s reference to a disastrous 1988 photo op of then presidential candidate Michael Dukakis in a M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tank, radio host Marty Lenz asked Gardner, “Do the optics of that give you any concern, Senator?”

“If people are wound up about a parade, there are a lot more important things to get wound up about,” he replied.

“But you see North Korea and some of these other countries having parades,” pressed Lenz. “Does it just not look good for us to do that?”

“I think this country is proud of it’s military. We ought to be proud of our military,” said Gardner, a Republican, on air. “The cost is certainly a problem. There are ways to bring down that cost. We’ve got to make sure our economy is strong. We have got to fix trade. We should be worrying about North Korea. We’ve got to protect our men and women in uniform.

“The last thing America ought to be worrying about is 76 trombones in a parade.”

Trump came up with the parade idea after seeing a military parade on Bastille Day in France.

But the president faces criticism on the grounds that military parades are not part of American custom, but instead are often, but not exclusively, a hallmark of authoritarian regimes.

“A lot of countries have histories of longtime military conquest and the power and strength of the military supporting the government, but since our inception that has not been who we are,” Retired Army Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling told TIME magazine. “We’re the only nation in the world that defends a piece of paper. An ideology. And to say we’re going to strut our stuff with tanks and rocket launchers and things like that, is just not a good representation of what the military does in a democratic nation.”

Listen to Gardner on KOA’s Colorado’s Morning News here:

The Get More Smarter Show: February 6, 2018

Today on the Get More Smarter Show: your hosts Jason Bane and a flu-addled Alan Franklin talk Tom Tancredo, the 2018 gubernatorial primary, and a new poll that’s bad news for Sen. Cory Gardner. Then stay tuned for an in-depth interview with Jason Crow, Democratic candidate for Congress in CD-6! Don’t miss the fun as the two biggest Jasons in Colorado politics join forces.

To skip directly to the interview with Jason Crow, jump to 15:00.

Catch up on past episodes of the Get More Smarter Show here! And thanks for watching.

Cory Gardner Will Do a Thing at Some Point

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) needs every last coin he can find for the NRSC.

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) made a regrettable appearance in a Huffington Post story on Tuesday about Republican confusion over what to do with money raised by former Republican National Committee (RNC) finance chair Steve Wynn, the casino magnate who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by several women.

Nevada’s Gaming Control Board has reportedly launched an investigation into the assault/harassment claims against Wynn, who stepped down from his position with the RNC last weekend in the wake of a story from the Wall Street Journal documenting the accusations. Ronna McDaniel, the chairwoman of the RNC, said on Tuesday that the Republican Party would only return donations from Wynn “if he is found of any wrongdoing,” which is a consideration that Republicans didn’t seem to find important last year when they were crowing about political donations to Democrats from disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

But as bad as McDaniel’s comments on Wynn might appear, they are actually more well-thought out than the response given by Gardner:

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who runs the group in charge of electing Republicans to the Senate, told MSNBC on Tuesday that he doesn’t know what his National Republican Senatorial Committee will do with the $100,000 Wynn has given them.

“We’ll make sure we do the appropriate action,” Gardner said.

When pressed, he said he still wasn’t sure what that was. [Pols emphasis]

It might seem rather trivial to equivocate on returning $100,000 from Wynn, but Gardner is having a heck of a lot of trouble wrangling checks for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC).

They say you can’t put a price on integrity. But if you could, Gardner might suggest starting the bidding at six figures.

CU political science professor sheds light on poll showing Gardner approval at 25 percent

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

A November poll released by the University of Colorado’s American Politics Research Lab, showing U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s (R-CO) approval rating at a bleak 25 percent, is under attack by conservatives who say, among other things, that the survey’s sample skewed toward the Democrats.

For example, Colorado Peak Politics, an anonymous conservative blog, criticized the poll for allegedly sampling “47% Democrats, 20% Unaffiliateds, and 33% Republicans.”

“That’s way overweight for Democrats,” wrote Peak Politics. “Typically, weighting is done through estimated turnout models for party breakout or to match the registration of the state. This poll does neither.”

But, in fact, the figures cited by Peak aren’t reflective of the underlying characteristics of the people polled but instead are answers to a question in the survey about “partisanship,” according to University of Colorado Political Science Profession A. Scott Adler, who directs the research lab.

The question posed to the sample surveyed was: “In general, do you think of yourself” as a Democrat, Republican, or Independent.

Adler pointed to the sampling methodology used by YouGov, the company that administered the poll.

It states that “voter registration and turnout” are incorporated in the weighting process, along with many other characteristics, like education and gender, and so on.

“It’s reflective of the state of Colorado,” said Adler.

(more…)

Get More Smarter on Tuesday (January 30)

The State of the Union is…”beautiful.” Or perhaps “fantastic,” or “amazing,” or “YUGELY good.” It’s time to Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of a visual learner, check out The Get More Smarter Show.

 

TOP OF MIND TODAY…

► You had better start working on how to explain the term “constitutional crisis” to your children. Monday’s surprise resignation by Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI, exposed a widening rift between the Trump administration and the Justice Department. Robert Mueller’s special investigation into potential Russian collusion with Trump’s 2016 campaign has the White House increasing its efforts to delegitimize American law enforcement efforts — and now House Republicans are going along with the plan.

 

► President Trump will deliver his first “State of the Union” address tonight, in which he is expected to focus on a cockamamie plan to update America’s infrastructure. Expectations for Trump’s speech are distressingly low, as The New Yorker explains:

In some respects, the bar has fallen even further: the question on many Americans’ minds today is not “What is the state of our union?” but “What is the state of the President’s mental health?” Neither the White House physician’s stamp of approval nor Trump’s own insistence that he is, in fact, “stable” has put the matter to rest. Publications such as Time are still throwing around terms like “cognitive impairment”; stat, a science-news outlet, has analyzed interviews of Trump, going back to the nineteen-eighties, and notes a “striking” deterioration in the “fluency, complexity, and vocabulary level” of his unscripted remarks. The upside of all this, for Trump, is that he is again set to outperform predictions by speaking, as he likely will on Tuesday night, in complete sentences.

So long as Trump doesn’t make degrading remarks about the spouse of a head of state of another country, or accidentally chew off his own tongue, Trump will likely receive lots of quiet applause. On the other hand, Trump supporters are worried that he won’t come across like a braggadocio asshat.

 

► To sort-of quote Frank Sinatra: When it was 2018, it was a very good year (for Democrats). All signs continue to point to a massive blue wave this November. Members of the Koch brothers’ network of conservative donors are growing increasingly concerned about losing control of their congressional majorities in 2018.

 

► Senator Cory Gardner (R-Yuma), continues to do everything in his power to lower his already abysmal 25% approval rating. On Monday, Gardner voted in favor of a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks, and he’s now fending off criticism from the National Fraternal Order of Police on his chest-thumping defense of marijuana legalization.

 

Get even more smarter after the jump…

(more…)

Police Union Nastygrams Cory Gardner Over DOJ Holds

Senator Cory Gardner (R).

A press release over the weekend from the National Fraternal Order of Police tears into Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado but good over his hold on nominees to the Department of Justice after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded Obama-era guidance to U.S. Attorneys protecting marijuana commerce in states that have legalized:

The members of the Fraternal Order of Police are disappointed and very frustrated by the vow made by Senator Cory S. Gardner (R-CO) to hold up all nominees for vacant posts in the U.S. Department of Justice following the decision to rescind the Cole Memo and restore discretion to our nation’s U.S. Attorneys on investigations into violations of Federal drug laws involving marijuana.

Senator Gardner has come out swinging to defend the pot industry in his State. However, the fact that he believes Colorado can profit from the sale of this illegal drug does not give him the right to hold up or delay the appointment of critical personnel at the Justice Department. How can he justify putting at risk the public safety of all 50 States to advance the interests of the pot industry in his own?

The FOP has repeatedly made our concerns about current vacancies in the Justice Department and other key Administration posts known. Senator Gardner does a real disservice to the nation as a whole and we urgently ask him to reconsider his rash and ill-advised obstructionism.

Policy differences should be worked out by a dialogue and not turn into hostage situations. The ability of the Justice Department to carry out its nationwide mission should not be compromised by a single Senator trying to make it easier for business in his State to sell marijuana—an illegal drug as far as the Federal government is concerned.

After Sen. Gardner enjoyed no small amount of favorable local press for publicly throwing down in defense of marijuana with Sessions, this more recent backlash from the FOP hasn’t received nearly as much attention. One exception to that is conservative blogger and former GOP legislative staffer Dan Njegomir over at the former Colorado Statesman:

It’s usually a friend to the GOP, having endorsed Donald Trump for president in 2016, but the Fraternal Order of Police, the nation’s largest law-enforement [sic] labor union, has come out swinging at Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner. What’s the beef? Gardner’s vow to hold up nominees to the many vacant posts in the U.S. Justice Department after the Trump administration announced it was giving the department more leeway to crack down on pot-legalizing states like Colorado.

With Sen. Gardner’s support in polls quickly declining, perhaps most critically with base law-and-order Republicans who are generally speaking not big fans of the devil-weed, pressure on Gardner to fold on his nominee holds could become an interesting predicament for him. With Colorado’s U.S. Attorney having disarmed fears of an immediate crackdown on the retail marijuana industry following Sessions’ change of policy, though with plenty of uncertainty about the long term under the Trump administration remaining, Gardner may have taken an position that burns him no matter what he does next.

But remember, the promise Gardner made was not to the cops.

Cory Gardner Votes To Ban Abortion (Again)

That’s the word from Denver7’s Blair Miller:

Despite Sen. Cory Gardner’s vote in favor, legislation to ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy failed to obtain the necessary 60 votes to advance to a final vote in the U.S. Senate–thus effectively killing the bill after its passage last fall in the GOP-controlled House. A few red-state Democrats including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin were put on record voting in favor of the bill, and a few others were made nominally uncomfortable after going on record against it in states where that could cost them some amount of support.

For Sen. Cory Gardner, today’s vote was just another opportunity to shamelessly burn everyone who covered for his stridently anti-abortion record during the 2014 elections. Endorsing Gardner in 2014, the Denver Post bemoaned the “tedious refrain” of Democrats warning about Gardner’s position on abortion, stating flatly that “Sen. Cory Gardner’s election would pose no threat to abortion rights.”

Safe to say that prediction did not age well.

Poll: Colorado Voters Positively Loathe Cory Gardner

In late October 2017, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma) sent out this Tweet about the “Upside Down world” that became a central plot point in the popular Netflix series Stranger Things. Gardner’s comment was an unintentionally-apt description of his own political fortunes; as far as public polling is concerned, Gardner is comfortably ensconced in his own “upside down” world.

For the last year or so, we’ve been following Gardner’s plummeting poll numbers with fascination, wondering when they might possibly bottom-out. Just how low can Gardner go? According to the results of a new poll from the American Politics Research Lab (APRL) at the University of Colorado, we still don’t know the answer to that question.

Polling results from APRL show Gardner with a miserable 25% approval rating, with just 38% of Republicans admitting that they have a favorable opinion of the Republican Senator. For Gardner, the only bright side to these horrific numbers is that they aren’t any worse.

American Politics Research Lab (January 2018)

To understand the gravity of these numbers for Gardner, consider this: Donald Trump is the most disliked President in the history of polling, with an approval rating that averages out to about 39% (via 538.com). If Gardner’s numbers were to somehow rise to this level, his staff would throw a party.

Need more convincing? Check out this Politico story about polling numbers for John Hickenlooper and Mark Udall from December 2013 (Gardner beat Udall in the 2014 Senate race 11 months later):

Voters are almost evenly split on Udall, with 41 percent disapproving of his job as senator compared with 40 percent approving. That’s down from a 50 percent to 33 percent approval in April.

Udall’s numbers likely jumped around a bit in 2014, but from March 2010 through August 2013, the former Democratic Senator was typically polling in the mid-40s and never dropped below 36%. In October 2014, just a few weeks before Election Day, Udall had an approval rating of 45%. As best we can tell, the last time Gardner was polling near that number was in July 2015, when Quinnipiac University listed him with a 48% approval rating.

Poll numbers for politicians will invariably go up and down during their time in office, but it’s really hard to drop as far as Gardner has fallen in the last year.

Gardner endured an absolutely brutal year in 2017, and from the look of things, 2018 isn’t going be be much better. We’ve said before in this space that it is not too early to wonder about Gardner’s political future when his first term expires shortly after the 2020 election. If Gardner can’t figure out a way to improve his image, don’t be surprised if his name isn’t even on the ballot in two years.

Cory Gardner To DACA Kids: Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes

ABC News reporting from an interview with Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado yesterday, in which Gardner makes assurances to undocumented immigrants presently covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that we don’t think he has any ability to guarantee:

“I don’t believe anybody is going to be deported,” [Pols emphasis] Gardner told ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein on the “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, of the formerly-protected undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as youths. “There’s not going to be this mass deportation on this. That’s first and foremost. Please know that Congress is working very hard to solve this.”

Gardner worries about the 800,000 people that are in the midst of turmoil and fear because their legal status is set to run out on March 5. The Trump administration has announced the U.S. would end in March the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival which would bring an end to the temporary protection extended to these undocumented migrants.

Gardner joked that the number of senators at the negotiating table keeps changing so it should be called the “Gangs of Prime Numbers.”

In typical slippery Gardner style, he undercuts his initial strong statement that “I don’t believe anybody is going to be deported” by saying right after that there won’t be “mass” deportations–a significant yet also conveniently vague qualifier. What Gardner leaves out of this rosy forecast is the fact that thousands of DACA beneficiaries have already lost protection after their authorizations expired after Trumps’s announcement of the program’s ending and were not renewed. Here’s the estimated number of young people who have lost DACA protections since September 5, 2017 (counter via the Center for American Progress):

If you combine this reality with the bellicose language used by many Republicans not named Cory Gardner during the recent shutdown battle–including President Donald Trump–that Democrats were “shutting the government down for illegal immigrants,” and continued resistance by a large percentage of Republicans to any compassionate solution, it’s very difficult to take comfort in Gardner’s casual promise that ‘nobody is going to be deported.’ To DACA beneficiaries who have been losing their protections from deportation for months now as Republicans have dickered and argued amongst themselves, Gardner couldn’t sound more out of touch. And now that Republicans have fought off a determined attempt by Democrats to force the issue, how can anyone say the outlook has improved?

We’re not saying it’s impossible for Gardner to deliver on the promise he made here, notwithstanding any individuals for whom that’s already too late. What we’re saying is that it’s a very big promise, and he is not in control of the many waypoints along the way to keeping this very big promise.

And it’s never a good idea to make a promise you don’t know for sure that you can keep.

Democratic Base Unhappy As Temporary Deal Reached

UPDATE: Grassroots organization Indivisible fires off a statement signaling big-time unhappiness with Democrats for approving this deal:

Its Senator Schumer’s job to keep his caucus together and fight for progressive values. He failed in that today.

Republicans have consistently negotiated in bad faith, demonstrating that they have no interest in actually protecting Dreamers. And for months, Democratic leadership has reassured Dreamers that Democrats would use all their leverage to get the Dream Act done. They caved in early September, but promised to use their leverage in early December. They caved in early December, but promised to use their leverage by the end of the year. They caved at the end of the year, but they promised to use their leverage in January. And now they caved again, but promised to use their leverage in February. Democrats clearly want to keep Dreamers as a talking point, but they need to grow a spine and actually fight for the Dream Act…

The big blue wave that Schumer hopes will make him Senate Majority Leader in 2019 will not build itself. This weekend, millions of Americans literally took to the streets. They weren’t asking their Senators to cave to Trump’s racist, xenophobic agenda. They were asking their Senators to fight. Instead, Schumer led his caucus to surrender, demoralizing his base and ensuring more Dreamers will be deported before this is resolved.

—–

Senators Cory Gardner (left) and Michael Bennet

Politico reporting as the federal government gets set to reopen after shutting down briefly over the weekend:

In a dramatic turnaround, Senate Democrats voted to reopen the government on Monday after receiving a commitment from Republicans to hold a vote on immigration legislation — paving the way to end the three-day shutdown.

The Senate voted 81-18 to move forward on a bill to fund the government through Feb. 8 after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) agreed to end the shutdown and continue to negotiate on immigration and spending matters. If a broader deal is not reached by Feb. 8, the Senate would take up legislation to protect hundreds of thousands of young undocumented immigrants who are losing legal protections, as long as the government remains open.

“The process will be neutral and fair to all sides,” Schumer said. “We expect that a bipartisan bill on [the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program] will receive fair consideration and an up-or-down vote on the floor.”

Among Democrats holding their nose and voting in the affirmative was Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado:

Meanwhile, Sen. Cory Gardner, who claimed last week that “I don’t want to play shutdown politics,” is (surprise!) playing the hell out of shutdown politics:

This government shutdown forced by Senate Democrats was dangerous and unnecessary. The bill we passed is the same bill Republicans initially proposed — including the longest reauthorization of CHIP in history — with one simple change: we are now funding the government through February 8th rather than February 16th. I wanted a bipartisan solution…

Liberal Democratic Senators are not happy with the state of play, says CNN:

“Listen, I’m disappointed with a conversation that suggests a false choice, you either fund the government or you take care of these DACA kids,” [Sen Kamala] Harris said. “We can do both.”

As for McConnell’s so-called commitment, Harris shot it down.

“I don’t believe he made any commitment whatsoever and I think it would be foolhardy to believe he made a commitment,” Harris said. [Pols emphasis]

According to a Democratic source, progressive senators are not happy with their colleagues who are voting for this deal, a sign of a deep divide in the caucus.

It’s difficult to characterize the agreement reached today as anything other than a Republican victory, albeit perhaps temporary depending on what happens in the next three weeks. As you can read above, progressive Democrats and base activists–especially, for obvious reasons, immigration reform activists–are skeptical in the extreme that Republicans will make good on their promise to hold an up-or-down vote on protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) beneficiaries. And even if such a vote is allowed in the Senate, there is absolutely zero guarantee that the House will follow suit.

As of today, Republicans have won the battle–but with a big promise to keep. If in three weeks that promise isn’t kept, the GOP base will chuckle along cynically, welcoming their bad faith against undocumented immigrants–and everyone else will be outraged. Whether that bad faith becomes a liability for Republicans already staring down the barrel of a Democratic wave election in 2018 remains to be seen, but we wouldn’t want it on our conscience.

For today though, sure thing! Team Blue will be proclaimed the losers on tonight’s cable news, and DACA kids left in the lurch will have to sweat it out–which of course most rank-and-file Republicans will be just fine with. Perhaps Rep. Mike Coffman can console them with another press release.

Congratulations, we guess.

Gardner Doesn’t Play “Shutdown Politics?” Is That a Joke?

Sen. Cory Gardner (R).

USA TODAY’s Herb Jackson points out something really, really obvious that we haven’t seen noted anywhere else as Sen. Cory Gardner presents himself as a peacemaker in the high-stakes battle over a short-term continuing resolution to prevent a shutdown of the federal government as early as tonight:

Sen. Cory Gardner could not have been clearer when asked during a sit-down with reporters Thursday which party would be to blame if there’s a government shutdown.

“I don’t want to play shutdown politics,” Gardner, R-Colo, said during a discussion of immigration reform with fellow Coloradan, Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet.

“I think it’s a bad idea, a pox on both parties,” Gardner continued. “And the American people, I think, will blame Washington. I don’t think they’re going to be able to say, ‘Hey, this is a Republican or a Democrat,’ I think they’re going to look at it and say, ‘You bozos can’t do your work.’”

As has become a familiar refrain, Sen. Gardner has received lots of love from the local news media this week as his partnership with Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet on both children’s health care and undocumented residents not responsible for their childhood immigration stood in stark contrast to President Donald Trump’s vulgar and racist headline-making. That’s good politics for Sen. Gardner, who has seen his public approval in Colorado badly erode under Trump’s first year.

But as Jackson continues, Cory Gardner is who he is–chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC):

But that message must not have reached the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party’s political operation that Gardner chairs.

And a quick look at the NRSC’s Twitter feed reveals a whole lot of “shutdown politics” going on.

This is one of the clearer-cut cases we’ve seen of Sen. Gardner saying one thing in a bipartisan press conference, then doing the exact opposite once the cameras are elsewhere. The NRSC attacking Democrats is not even something we would bother to criticize but for the fact that Gardner so brazenly contradicted himself–condemning the exact same behavior he’s engaging in. After all, everybody expects the leader of the GOP’s U.S. Senate campaign operation to “play politics.”

But this is trying to have it both ways to an extent that simply can’t be excused. It’s totally ridiculous.

And we’re glad somebody with a large readership called BS.