Sen. Cory Gardner is very excited to let you know that he’s dead set against Proposition CC, so much that he wrote a column in the Phil Anschutz-owned Colorado Springs Gazette to tell us all about it:
If you oppose more taxes & believe you should have control over your hard-earned dollars then join me in voting @NoOnPropCC. Read my full OpEd here: https://t.co/KJudnlPmH4 #copolitics pic.twitter.com/VSgREVe929
— Cory Gardner (@CoryGardner) October 21, 2019
Despite the fact that the referred measure had a Republican co-sponsor, opposition to Proposition CC is fast emerging as a litmus test issue for the party rank-and-file. Part of this has to do with the campaign of misinformation about the initiative terrifying excitable Republicans, and also after this year’s string of humiliating defeats for the GOP on the heels of last November’s landslide election for Democrats there’s a sense of desperation on the part of Republicans to defeat Prop CC as validation of their own continuing relevance.
But for Cory Gardner, throwing down against Proposition CC presents a whole different credibility problem–his own steadfast refusal to get involved with “state issues.”
“Congressman (Cory) Gardner (R-Yuma) believes this ballot initiative is a state issue,” his spokesman, Alex Siciliano, said in a statement. “Since being elected to federal office, he has consistently abstained from taking public positions on ballot initiatives in Colorado — whether it be marijuana legalization or tax increases — he has not taken a public stance on state and local measures.” [Pols emphasis]
That’s the same Sen. Cory Gardner, refusing through his spokesman to comment on the laugh-track ballot measure in several mostly northeastern Colorado counties including Gardner’s own Yuma County proposing secession from the state after Democrats won full control of the legislature in 2012. And make no mistake, secession wasn’t the only “state issue” Gardner studiously dodged:
Gardner’s spokeswoman, Rachel Boxer George, said the congressman also would not be taking a position on the issue this year, as it is a statewide question.
“As a federal legislator, Cory will not be taking positions on state initiatives,” she said. [Pols emphasis]
This is Cory Gardner declaring through a spokesperson that as a “federal legislator” in 2012, he wouldn’t take a position on the “Personhood” measure on the ballot that year–despite running for Congress on his support for Personhood in 2010.
At this point, you’re probably asking yourself, “what changed?” Secession is one thing, but are we really expected to believe that Gardner thinks TABOR refunds are more important than abortion–so much more that he’s willing to break this cardinal rule to speak out against Proposition CC, when he wouldn’t give banning abortion the same priority?
There is of course the other possible takeaway from this contradiction, which is that nothing Gardner says means anything beyond the necessary contrivance of the moment. Gardner is critically weak in support from base Republican voters and needs to burnish his conservative credentials to shore up his right flank, so just forget what he said before. In the absence of a better explanation–and certainly given Gardner’s long record of prevarication established since he first came on the scene–it may honestly be that simple.