Last week, we took note of Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado’s comments on a local conservative podcast, in defense of the HEALS Act proposal from Senate Republicans which would have slashed the extended unemployment benefits 330,000 Coloradans are currently receiving by two thirds, from $600 to $200 per week. Recapping what Gardner told local Republican waterboy Jimmy Sengenberger so there’s no confusion:
GARDNER: Yeah, I think both Republicans and Democrats alike want to make sure that we’re helping people in need, uh, but not creating an unfair competition between the government and the private sector… [Pols emphasis] [t]he people who don’t have a job right now, they want to work but let’s not make sure, let’s make sure we don’t put the government in the place of the private sector in terms of unfair competition.
This is the answer that Sengenberger was looking for, having prefaced Gardner’s response with his own flat-out assertion that the extended benefit is “a bit of a disincentive to work.” When Gardner says the government shouldn’t create “unfair competition” with private business, he’s talking about paychecks–and validating the reasoning behind the GOP’s proposal to slash the benefit.
But today, with Republicans in Washington is disarray and Democrats holding firm to their objectives as expressed in the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act which passed the U.S. House weeks ago, and even President Donald Trump on the nominal bandwagon for extending the full benefit, the Denver Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)–yup–Tweets video of Gardner’s office staff committing to support for the full $600 a week extension:
— Denver🌹DSA (@DSAdenver) August 6, 2020
Although the irony of the Democratic Socialists of America leaving Gardner’s office happy is delicious to consider (Gardner’s Republican allies may disagree), nobody should be under any delusion that this statement represents a bonafide commitment by Gardner to stand up to his party leadership. Gardner is obviously sending different messages to different siloed communities as he pleases–and as long as the listeners of Jimmy Sengenberger’s podcast don’t overlap much with the followers of the DSA’s Twitter feed, nobody is the wiser. Once you are aware of what he’s saying to these different audiences, however, Gardner has a serious credibility problem.
All that will matter in the end is what Mitch McConnell and Trump tell Cory Gardner to do.
If you know that, you know all you need.