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November 01, 2020 11:43 AM UTC

"Senator, You're No Jack Kennedy"

  • 5 Comments
  • by: Colorado Pols
Nowhere near JFK on his best day.

The Hill’s Julia Manchester reports as the clock ticks down to the final hours of Sen. Cory Gardner’s all-but-over-but-the-shouting re-election campaign–a final pitch from Gardner making a comparison that has Democrats seeing red:

Gardner is one of the most vulnerable incumbent Republican senators. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates the race as “lean Democratic.”

The incumbent’s campaign juxtaposed clips of Gardner with old footage from a 1962 speech that former President John F. Kennedy gave in Pueblo, Colo., in which he called for funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

“It took 50 years to get it done, and it took Cory Gardner,” the narrator says in the ad titled “Next Generation.”

The Colorado Springs Gazette’s Ernest Luning reported a week ago when the ad was originally released:

In its closing weeks, Colorado’s grueling U.S. Senate race between Cory Gardner, the Republican incumbent, and John Hickenlooper, his Democratic challenger, witnessed a surprise guest appearance by a politician in an unexpected role — President John F. Kennedy, stumping alongside Gardner in a TV commercial.

JFK is only the latest prominent Democrat to land a starring role in a Gardner commercial, joining Gov. Jared Polis, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, former President Barack Obama and even Hickenlooper, who gets a nod for some nice things he said about Gardner before they were running against each other.

Running in a state that has steadily “walked away” from the Republican Party in every election since his own six years ago, most of Cory Gardner’s positive campaign messaging has focused on Gardner’s supposed bipartisanship–despite Gardner’s record of closely toeing the Trump line with his votes in the Senate, and refusing to criticize the increasingly unpopular President even at the expense of his own reputation. Contrasted against Gardner’s deeply ingrained public image of “no waver” loyalty to Trump, these appeals to “bipartisanship” have fallen flat with Colorado voters, and done nothing to avert his double-digit downward slide in the polls.

But Gardner did manage to do one thing this time: draw the wrath of the Kennedy family.

As we’ve said before when Sen. Michael Bennet pulled the rug out from under Gardner in a previous similarly messaged ad, using favorable words of opponents and their allies is an inherently risky business. But a Trump Republican invoking one of the preeminent icons of the Democratic Party in a race against a Democratic candidate, in the most politically polarizing election season of our lives so far, is hubris that simply cannot be allowed to stand.

Based on the polls, it won’t. But as necessary as it was for Lloyd Bentsen to say it to Dan Quayle, the Kennedys had an obligation to inform Cory Gardner themselves–he is not now and will never be.

Comments

5 thoughts on ““Senator, You’re No Jack Kennedy”

  1. I can hardly wait for Wednesday when the pundits start talking about how Trump brought Gardner down.  Don't buy it. He failed all by himself and would be on his way out if Clinton had won in 2016. 

    Choosing (on your own) to represent your party instead of your state is not a good strategy in Colorado.

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