Ten years ago, Cory Gardner was a state lawmaker challenging incumbent Democratic Rep. Betsy Markey in CO-4. Gardner’s first campaign for federal office was pretty simple: Bash Markey for supporting a nearly-$800 billion stimulus plan and for backing the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
One decade later, Gardner isn’t saying much about the ACA and has become a vocal cheerleader for a $2.2 TRILLION economic stimulus package — the largest spending bill in Congressional history.
As Justin Wingerter writes for The Denver Post, Gardner is running for re-election and hoping Colorado voters will overlook his glaring hypocrisy on these topics:
“We need to get this country moving again,” Gardner said.
That was the argument in 2008 and 2009, too. But economic stimulus bills were not bipartisan then, as they were this month. Instead, they gave rise to the Tea Party movement, its adherents convinced that government spending could soon send the nation over a fiscal cliff. Gardner was concerned about that, too.
“From town hall meetings to coffee shops to neighborhoods, all I hear are worries about too much spending and the growth of government,” he told The Denver Post in the fall of 2010.
It’s hard to overstate how much Gardner relied on this anti-spending argument in his first congressional campaign in 2010. If Gardner were a toy doll with a pull-cord in his back, his catch phrase would have been obvious:
Jason Bane, a Democratic consultant, played Gardner in mock debates to help Markey prepare for the Yuma Republican, who at the time was a state legislator.
“If the question was, ‘What’s your favorite color?’ I’d say, ‘Well, look, Betsy Markey voted for the stimulus bill and you can’t spend your way out of a recession.’ That’s all he did. So that, in effect, is what I would do,” Bane recalls of the debate prep.
[Pols note: This is the same Jason Bane who founded ColoradoPols.com and continues to write words here].
Gardner argues now that a coronavirus recession is different than the 2008 recession, but his 2010 rhetoric doesn’t agree with his 2020 messaging.
“You can’t spend your way out of a recession” was among Gardner’s favorite lines in 2010. Does he now contend that you can spend your way out of a recession, or was that old phrase just a bunch of baloney? There may not be an actual answer to this question.