ICYMI: Another Massive Friday News Dump For Cory Gardner

Personhood was just the beginning.

Personhood was just the beginning.

Just over one month ago, GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner shocked Colorado politics by abruptly reversing himself on his longstanding and public support for the "Personhood" abortion bans, which were rejected overwhelmingly by voters in 2008 and 2010. Gardner attempted to pull this reversal off with a minimum of press coverage though a time-honored strategy known as the "Friday News Dump"–releasing uncomfortable or controversial news late on a Friday in hopes that no one is paying attention.

As the subsequent month of damaging press coverage has demonstrated, Friday News Dumps aren't very effective for minimizing unwanted coverage in the 24/7 news cycle we live in today.

But folks, if you're Cory Gardner, with a career built on taking a hard conservative line on every issue from a safe Republican seat, Friday News Dumps are just about the only chance there is to ditch positions that could disqualify you in a statewide general election. The incrementally fewer eyeballs looking at the news late on a Friday, for the purposes of doing something sure to result in blowback, are worth exploiting.

And yesterday evening, in an interview with CBS4's Shaun Boyd, Gardner kicked the flip-flopping into overdrive:

On abortion, Gardner has voted for bills with and without exceptions for rape and incest. He also sponsored the “Life Begins At Conception Act” and once supported Personhood in Colorado, something he no longer supports.

“In the State of Colorado, the Personhood Initiative I do not support,” said Gardner. [Pols emphasis] “I came to that opinion because of a number of issues including the fact that it would ban common forms of contraception.”

Note Gardner's very careful choice of words here, "in the State of Colorado, the Personhood Initiative I do not support." The "In Colorado" qualfiier is extremely important, since Gardner is still today a co-sponsor of the Life at Conception Act–written in similarly vague and broad language to the Personhood abortion bans in Colorado, with the same verbiage that could outlaw common forms of birth control. This is the first time we've seen Gardner attempt to reconcile his flip-flop on Personhood with his continuing sponsorship of similar legislation at the federal level–and the distinction makes no sense.

But that's the flip-flop you know. Here's this Friday's News Dump:

His position on gay rights has evolved like many on both sides of the aisle. Seven years ago in the state House he opposed a bill allowing gay couples to adopt and also voted against adding sexual orientation to state anti-discrimination laws.

“If a family wants to have children they should have children,” said Gardner.

When asked if that was regardless of sexual orientation, Gardner replied, “I think they should have children.” [Pols emphasis]

We invite readers to check us on this, but we can't find any record of Gardner softening on the issue of gay rights in the least before this interview. Gardner didn't merely vote against single-parent adoption as a state legislator, he actually campaigned for Congress in 2010 promising the Christian Family Association that he would oppose gay adoption and other "homosexual special rights." Gardner's answer on the related issue of businesses denying services to gays and lesbians is also much softer, paying lip service to "religious freedom" but now saying "we have to…make sure we’re not allowing that to turn into some kind of hidden discrimination." The fact is, this is at least as big a reversal as Gardner's flip-flop on Personhood. As Rep. Marilyn Musgrave's successor in Congress, the implications of this flip-flop are potentially quite serious for Gardner's relationship with the Christian right.

And if that's not enough for you, check out the New Cory Gardner® on immigration!

On immigration, Gardner opposed in-state tuition for illegal immigrants and amnesty.

“The DREAM Act alone isn’t going to solve our immigration challenges. That’s why we have to look at border security, a guest worker program, E-verify and fixes to visas,” said Gardner. “What to do with people without documentation. There are between 11 and 12 million people here without documentation.”

When asked if they should be sent back to where ever they came from, Gardner replied, “I don’t think you can do that. I don’t think that’s what will happen or should happen.” [Pols emphasis]

Based on this interview, Gardner has evolved from blanket opposition to the DREAM Act to the milder view that "the DREAM Act alone isn’t going to solve our immigration challenges"–which could be read to mean the DREAM Act is part of a solution! And correct us if we're wrong, but if Gardner says we can't send undocumented immigrants back to wherever they came from, that indeed he doesn't "think that's what will happen or should happen"–hell, Gardner's just come out in favor of "amnesty," hasn't he? As for a "guest worker program," which Gardner apparently supports today, he voted against it in 2008 as a state legislator. We're given no explanation for Gardner's change of heart here either.

Perhaps the only issue on which Gardner is consistent in this truly remarkable interview is–you guessed it–Obamacare. We've discussed at length how Republicans are on the losing side of that debate, especially now that the scare tactics used for years against health care reform are being widely discredited. But if we're awarding points for consistency anywhere, there you go.

Bottom line: it's nothing short of stunning to see all of these newsworthy developments packed into a single local television interview, but it occurs to us that was most likely Gardner's very deliberate objective. Having already been painted as a flip-flopper for the last month over Personhood, it looks like Gardner is going all the way–flip-flopping on everything he can, as quickly and early in the race as possible.

Folks, it's not going to work. In fact, we increasingly foresee disaster, as Gardner richly earns the Mitt Romney Etch-a-Sketch prize and begins to repel voters of all stripes. Voters, regardless of their own views on the issues, learn from flip-flops like these that they can't trust Cory Gardner either way.

And that's the worst possible place to be as a candidate.

25 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55 says:

    I told ya that the Gardner and Buck campaigns would "evolve"  on gay unions.

    Good job, good GOP gayborgs.

  2. DavidThi808 says:

    This is what makes Gardner a much better candidate than Buck. Buck would stay true to his core beliefs while Gardner will say anything. Speaks well of Buck as a person, but poorly of him as a politician.

    • mamajama55 says:

      DavidT8, I'm still betting that Buck, too, will "evolve" on gay unions in time to have lit tables and canvassers at Pridefest June 22.

      • Davie says:

        Why would Buck need to do that in a solidly red congressional district?  Seems he should stay to the far-right of his primary opponents.

        • mamajama55 says:

            We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?wink

          Solid red districts have as many gay people and LGBT kids as any other district. Being non-conforming on sexuality is a biological, not demographic or geographical, phenomenon. Many very far right legislators have "evolved" on gay unions when their kids and extended family members came out. It's all about "who you know".

          Plus, there's a solid electoral argument – I don't know if anyone's ever polled it*, but there are many  gay male fiscal conservatives. They don't see why all of their hard-earned cash should support the "breeders" and their offspring. (Their argument, not mine).

          The closest anyone has come to a "political spectrum" poll of LGBT Coloradans was done by One Colorado in 2010. They asked questions relating to the LGBT lifestyle – rights, harassment, bullying, marriage, etc. But it's worth noting that most earn between $70,000 and $100,000,with significantly more gay males than females earning the highest incomes. That is the "sweet spot" for Republicans.n


  3. dwyer says:

    Legitimate question:  When should we expect to see the polls move against Gardner and toward Udall, based on CP's analysis?

    • Moderatus says:

      Ha! You spend too much time outside the Colorado Pols bubble.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Not going to happen Eeyore.  The media focus of today is on the horse race and it always has to be neck and neck heading into the final turn.

      Remember how close the presidential election was supposed to be in 2012?  Romney had a "legitimate" chance to win Colorado right until he got annihilated.  The media is going to milk Gardner's candidacy against Udall with every sympathetic story they can because the only way Udall loses to this extremist is for the economy to tank big time before November and that's not going to happen.

      It's the economy stupid and the Colorado economy is doing fine much to Gardner's dismay.

      • Tom says:

        Close polling and horse race reporting brings in the money- campaigns get a bump in donations and media outlets get paid. I've gotten a number of fundraising emails that highlight close polling in the senate race without much in the way of messaging substance other than "holy crap, the game is tied and we can't let the other team win get ahead!" 

    • DaftPunk says:

      11/4/14 jackass.

  4. BoulderDem says:

    What an astonishinly amateurish mistake by Gardner and his people. As John Kerry on down will tell you, being known as unreliable on core, hot button issues is the absolute worst place to be. It's the only way you can lose some of your own voters, while gaining nothing from the other side (or swings). It's a play for a group of voters — true swings who pay attention to campaigns six months out — that only exists in the minds of cable news focus groups bookers, a rookie error if ever there was one.

    The way to handle a record that is inappropriate to a new electorate is to downplay those issues, making it clear that other things will be your priority once elected but never flip flopping on hyper emotional issues like GLBT rights, abortion, and immigration. A certain former Congressman from Boulder — name of Udall I believe — did this six years ago quite brilliantly.

    The "I was for it before I was against it" ads are just begging to be made, and Gardner will now sink in an ocean of them. Bad, bad move.

  5. notaskinnycook says:

    Gardner's another politician who needs another viewing of "The Karate Kid". "Middle of road, squish like bug".

  6. Charlie3637 says:

    As Udall has said, Cory's values haven't changed, only his ambition.  These are deeply held moral issues we are talking about – gay rights, the right to discriminate to protect the freedom of religion, and personhood/abortion issues. Why has Gardner not removed his name from the federal personalhood legislation? If he truly believes what he says in the interview, he should back up his words and remove his name from the federal legislation. Is he now supporting the Dream Act? Now he believes gays can adopt children?  Unbelivable hypocrisy….what does this man really believe and how can he be trusted?


  7. horseshit GOP front group says:

    At this rate, by November 4 Cory Gardner is going to be a liberal.

  8. Diogenesdemar says:

    . . . or unemployed ?!?

    (. . . only 27 more Friday afternoons to go . . .)

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