Udall Presses Attack On Gardner Over Floods, Shutdown

Image via Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden)

Image via Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Golden)

A press release from Sen. Mark Udall's campaign on their new TV spot hitting GOP challenger Cory Gardner over last year's shutdown of the federal government–which occurred just after major flooding along the Front Range of Colorado, requiring an emergency federal response. After several weeks of skirmishes on the issue, Udall takes the proverbial gloves off:

“Congressman Gardner would like us all to forget that he chose to shut down the government while thousands of Coloradans were struggling to put their lives back together after last year’s flood,” said Udall for Colorado spokesperson Kristin Lynch. “Gardner’s reckless shutdown delayed Colorado’s flood recovery and hurt our small businesses and local economies when they were at their most vulnerable. Congressman Gardner let us down when he decided to make a political point at the expense of Colorado flood victims.”

Despite Colorado’s clear need for disaster assistance from the federal government, Gardner voted along with Sen. Ted Cruz and the Tea Party to shut down the government just to prove a political point about the health care law. This delayed our flood recovery and forced Colorado to pick up the tab for National Guard personnel who were performing essential flood recovery work.

But Gardner’s reckless move hurt more than just flood victims. As the government shutdown continued for weeks and 40,000 Coloradans were furloughed, middle class families across the state felt the effect of Gardner’s shutdown on their pocketbooks. Shuttered national parks robbed small businesses of the tourism they depend on, veterans’ disability claims were delayed, and 2 million acres of public lands were closed to sportsmen from around the country during the busy fall season.

There are two parts to the story of the shutdown of the federal government in terms of consequences for Coloradans digging out from the massive floods that hit the Front Range just about exactly one year ago. First and most obvious is the delay in federal response to the flooding, which included delays in National Guard response from neighboring states. The second consequence was the effect the shutdown of Colorado's national parks and monuments had on local communities dependent on tourism. Estes Park, the gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park, had already seen bookings cut by 50 percent after the floods, and the closure of the park drained millions more from the local economy.

Still another issue is the blowback against Colorado as a whole from East Coast politicians in both parties, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who branded Gardner a "hypocrite" for seeking disaster relief money for Colorado after voting against the second Hurricane Sandy relief bill. It was negotiations by Sen. Udall and Sen. Michael Bennet that were able in the end to mollify New Jersey's anger and secure the relief funds needed.

The harm done to Colorado by the post-flooding shutdown of the federal government is a matter of record. With that established, the question becomes, who was responsible for the shutdown? This is a point that Republicans refuse to concede a year later, even though the public overwhelmingly blamed the GOP in contemporary polling for forcing the shutdown in an effort to defund the Affordable Care Act. In the months since the shutdown, Republicans hoped to mitigate their culpability in that unpopular action by mercilessly attacking Obamacare–a strategy that is increasingly a failure as Obamacare continues to produce positive outcomes and the health insurance marketplace's startup problems fade from memory.

It's important to remember that until the polls started clearly showing that the GOP had lost the battle for public support, Gardner and the rest of the Colorado GOP delegation were solid backers of the confrontational strategy that ended in the shutdown. The AP's Nick Riccardi cut through the spin last month:

Gardner spokesman Alex Siciliano contended that congressman never supported the shutdown. However, Gardner, who is close to House Republican leadership, voted with other House Republicans to shoot down Democratic efforts to reopen government and for spending bills designed to be rejected by the U.S. Senate during the 16-day standoff. [Pols emphasis]

Gardner may not have been the most enthusiastic Republican as the shutdown loomed just before the beginning of October last year, perhaps sensing the danger–but the record is full of examples of Gardner defending the overall strategy. And as Riccardi notes, none of Gardner's supposed trepidation before the shutdown manifested in the form of votes.

With all of this in mind, it will be up to Colorado voters to decide whether the shutdown, and Gardner's role as a House Republican in causing it, are deciding factors in the 2014 U.S. Senate race. But what's not up for debate, as the polls demonstrate, is that the shutdown has gone down in history as a Republican gambit that failed. The old saying is that success has a thousand fathers, but failure is an orphan. Had the shutdown succeeded in forcing concessions from the President over Obamacare, Gardner would almost certainly be singing a different tune. But it didn't succeed. It was a disaster–in Colorado a disaster compounded on another.

And Gardner, whether he likes it or not, was on the wrong side.


34 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Andrew Carnegie says:

    The war on women isn't working?

    Time for plan B or is Udall channeling another campaign.

  2. Moderatus says:

    It says my comment is being held for moderation. Pols? Am I being censored now??

    • Colorado Pols says:

      No. Your comment contained an excessive number of links and was held for approval as part of our spam protection system. We've approved it and it is now visible.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      Mod great response.

      Udall is just flopping around like a fish brought to shore.


      • Moderatus says:

        Absolutely right, Andrew. What the Pols never show their readers is that Gardner responds to their lies every time, and with good answers. Because Pols is biased against Gardner, no one here will ever see it unless a "troll" brings it to them. Then they complain about copy/pasting

        What a deluded little world of denial liberals live in…

        • horseshit GOP front group says:

          So Gardner didn't vote down Democratic efforts to repoen the government ?

          Simple question Moddy.

          • Moderatus says:

            From the AP story Pols quoted. Why didn't they include this?

            Siciliano noted that, before the shutdown, Gardner had warned against requiring Democrats to defund the Affordable Care Act as a requirement for keeping government open. Gardner was also one of a minority of Republicans who eventually voted to reopen government.

            • DawnPatrol says:

              Key word here is "eventually," as in, only when finally it started to bite into Con Man's poll numbers at home in CD-3, and by extension began threatening his upcoming statewide quest for higher office. Everyone recognizes that.

              Even when you teabag turds ostensibly do the right thing for CO and/or the nation, it's always grudgingly/kicking and screaming, always against your will and your natural inclination, and always with self-serving underlying intent.


            • horseshit GOP front group says:

              Not the answer to my question.  Try again.

        • DawnPatrol says:

          Great response, Zippy.

          Why thank you, Skippy. The Koch Borg assured us we'd get extra troll pay whenever we double-team our Koch talking points!

          Right you are, Skippy! Oh boy – beans tonight!

      • nota33 says:

        Flip flopping like Gardner did on personhood? haha

    • DawnPatrol says:

      Gettin' (a little more) paranoid are you, Zippy? Your shamelessly lying candidates are all going to lose.

      Please take it deeply personally.

  3. DawnPatrol says:

    Ah, I wondered where that disgusting odor (smells like bullsh-t) was coming from.

    It was from this comments thread!

    Nighty-night, troll scum. You're gonna LOSE.

  4. Davie says:

    Let's see the GOP's story is that the shutdown is Obama's fault because he refused to negotiate with this amazingly generous offer:

    GOP:  Deny 8 million people health insurance, keep medical inflation roaring along, make sure that insurance companies can continue to deny any claims they want, make sure that pre-existing conditions prevent millions of other people from getting coverage, let 35,000 people die each year from lack of access to proper care, hey, and privatize Medicare while you're at it!  Otherwise, we'll shutdown the government, throwing millions out of work, and cost the economy tens of billions of dollars!  You know, because we want something out of this shutdown, but we just may not know what.

    A bit long for a campaign slogan, but I bet one of your sharp GOTPers can turn that into quite the campaign song!

  5. nota33 says:

    Does wingnut AG ever respond to comments directed at him?

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.