Durango Herald Rips Gardner In Powerful Udall Endorsement

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

'Tis the season for newspaper editorial board endorsements. As always, we want to make clear that we won't be posting links to every endorsement published by every newspaper in Colorado, despite the perennial requests we get each election cycle to do so. There's far too many, and frankly, most of them are not newsworthy. But we did want to bring attention to the Durango Herald's endorsement of Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall this past weekend, which struck us as notable for its unusually strong words about GOP opponent Cory Gardner:

Udall has been relentlessly beating up his opponent over Gardner’s support for “personhood” legislation – similar to Amendment 67 – which would give 14th Amendment rights to each “preborn human person” and in the process ban all abortions and some forms of birth control. Udall’s attacks are becoming repetitive, but the offensive is understandable. Gardner gave him the stick.

The congressman has backed away from Amendment 67 and previous state personhood efforts and has been trying to deny his support for a similar federal push. But he remains a sponsor of the federal Life Begins at Conception Act and his insistence that “there is no federal personhood bill” earned him FactCheck.org’s “Whopper of the Week” award.

Gardner’s dogged support for personhood says one of two things about him. Either his position on women’s rights is far out of the Colorado mainstream or the congressman will say anything for a vote. [Pols emphasis]

Gardner’s appeal is his youthful exuberance – he turned 40 in August – and what Newsweek called “his likeable personality, which helps insulate him from his conservative record in Congress and in the Colorado Legislature before that.” The fact is, though, people espouse extreme ideas, such as “personhood,” either because they are ideologically committed or because they are deeply cynical. Colorado needs neither.

Often it's the case that newspapers will offer consoling words to the candidate they choose not to endorse, especially in a race that's very close–after all, editorial boards think of themselves as representative of the community they serve, and any endorsement in a close race are certain to upset a good percentage of one's readers. Remember also that in most cases, these endorsements are written by editorial boards who have sat down with the candidates and asked them about whatever they think is important. Endorsements represent, among other things, the conclusions of those face-to-face meetings.

We get the feeling reading this that Cory Gardner really failed to impress the Durango Herald editorial board.

Over the last few weeks, Gardner's trustworthiness has taken an enormous hit as the media finally arrived at a consensus that he is not telling the truth about his position on abortion and birth control. Exposure in multiple outlets of both Gardner's continued sponsorship of federal legislation that would have the same effect as the "Personhood" state initiatives he publicly abandoned right after getting into the Senate race, and his broken-record denial "there is no federal Personhood bill" that no one–not even the bill's authors–will back Gardner up on, has created a story that's bigger than the issue of abortion. This is now a story of how voters can't trust Cory Gardner no matter where they stand.

In this long and costly Senate race, many themes have been tested and discarded. Udall's campaign and allies have hammered away at Gardner's position on abortion and birth control, even to the point of criticism, because Gardner opened himself to a devastating attack: first by "acknowledging" a problem, Personhood's potential effects on contraception, that had been known for years, and to many proponents wasn't a problem at all. Then, Gardner's failure to remove himself from federal legislation that everyone except Gardner says is equivalent to the state Personhood abortion bans in its effects, left him vulnerable to charges of hypocrisy–or worse, that his original act of disavowing Personhood was nothing more than a contrivance.

Bottom line: the damage attacking Gardner relentlessly on abortion has done with women voters is critical, but it segues into an even bigger point Democrats need to drive home right now: Gardner's untrustworthiness in general. The recent embarrassing debunking of an ad from Gardner on renewable energy, in which he claims to have "cowrote the law to launch our state's green energy industry" when in fact the law he "cowrote" was repealed in failure having not funded a single project, was a very similar exposure of Gardner just flat-out lying to voters. In the end, it is a general sense that Gardner simply can't be trusted on any issue that could spell his doom on Election Night more than any individual issue. Over the next few weeks, Democrats have a golden opportunity to turn the asset of Gardner's Dealin' Doug smile into his biggest liability. The stage is set.

And if they do that, Udall wins this thing.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Craig says:

    From your mouth to Udall's ears.  I've been saying this for weeks and weeks.  I really like the new commercial on national defense.  Finally, something breaks through the haze of abortion commercials.

    • BlueCat says:

      Agree. And I saw a Romanoff ad highlighting Coffman's votes to raise rates on student loans and other votes making college more unattainable for middle class kids without crippling debt featuring a nice middle class looking mom explaining how, even though they've been responsible and always saved for their kid's college fund the expense is now so high that they will be forced to take out daunting loans. 

      Let's hope both the Udall campaign and the Romanoff campaign have big finishes in the home stretch. After this Durango Herald Udall endorsement ripping Gardner for his blatant dishonesty in matters touching on the public's ability to trust anything he says it's going to be harder for other Colorado papers to endorse Gardner. Love the Dealin' Doug reference BTW.

      Oh and to save Modster and Piss Ant the trouble. But, but, but… Obamacare! Benghazi!  ISIS! is gonna kill us all and Udall doesn't care! You guys can take the day off now.

  2. MichaelBowman says:

    Or as we call it in Dumphuckistan, "Snipe Hunting".

  3. And it's not just "personhood". Gardner has been trying to hide pretty much all of who he is as a politician.

    Hypocrite on Federal relief aid: check.

    Downplaying his part in both the debt ceiling crisis (2011) and the government shutdown (2013): check

    Minimizing the immigration debate, in which Gardner is against any functional solution: check

    Of course, there is one thing Cory Garner is proud to support: repeal of the ACA, which has increased healthcare participation in all of Colorado and helped reduce costs across much if not all of the state for those who were previously uninsured or sporadically ensured. Unpaid hospital bills have plummeted, keeping future costs in check. But for Gardner and fellow Republicans, the ACA is the beginning of the rise of Nazi-Socialism in this country (whatever that is…).

  4. Davie says:

    Hmm, so will the Denver Post endorse a smarmy, oily, lying, say anything for a vote charmer like Gardner for the Senate, or will they latch onto Mark Udall's record of both protecting our citizens from over-zealous government spying, and the environment from overzealous developers?

    Man, that's a real toughie!

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      Probably the former.  They can't be consistent and endorse centrist public servants without the dreaded accusation of being a biased liberal media outlet.  Expect a craven "balanced" approach.

      • Davie says:

        I'm not so sure anymore.  Con Man Cory just possibly jumped the shark with his latest denial of his Federal Personhood bill.  With the growing media attention to his blatant lying, I suspect even the Post doesn't have enough lipstick to cover up that pig of a candidate.  Making Whopper of the Week just might have iced it for him.

        I now give Udall a slight edge on his endorsement chances.  Afterall, Udall does have a strong record despite the ridiculous repetition of the 340,000 cancelations!! (ignore the 90+% renewals) mantra from ACHole, etc.

    • BlueCat says:

      Durango Herald is making it pretty tough for them. Though after endorsing, let's face it, old style Republican lite Hick (hardly hurt a bit), I'm sure they'd love to give the other big statewide race endorsement to a real R.  Kind of puts their ass in a sling. Maybe they'll bite the bullet and endorse Udall but then endorse Coffman. 

  5. DaftPunk says:

    In Bartels' piece we learned:

    Switching on personhood wasn't Con-man Cory's first flip-flop; he used to be a Democrat.

    He's one of those lawyer-lobbyist creatures  of Washington who has made his whole adult life and career about sucking on the government tit.

    His belief in birth control and abstinence only until marriage is nothing more than a political ploy, having fathered a child out of wedlock.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      As to questioning the Senator's 'accomplishments':

      In his Freshman year as a Congressman (in a chamber controlled by Republicans), he actually got legislation passed.  The Denver Post at the time called it "Udall's Hat Trick".  He passed legislation to protect consumers from unsavory credit card practices, he championed earmark reform, passed wilderness protection, was instrumental in the energy reform legislation in 2007 – and he prevented an elderly widow from being evicted from her home in RMNP (over the intense opposition from federal bureaucracy).

      He voted against the Patriot Act because, as he said, it was "bad policy".  He refused the politically-expedient act of lining up behind the President and the war hawks.

      Because of his leadership in 2004 as bi-partisan co-chair of the Amendment 37 campaign, rural Colorado is enjoying billions of dollars in wind investment that is invigorating local economies.  And, it set the stage for Colorado's successful "New Energy Economy" where we became the global 'go to" in this energy transition discussion.

      I can't imagine the Editorial Board at the Post will look beyond his many accomplishments that speak both to his character and his vision.  But stranger things have happened….

      The US Senate needs collaborators like Mark, not wholly-owned subsidiaries of billionaire oligarchs. 


  6. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    It should also be pointed out that Cory Gardner marches in lockstep with his 4th District cronies Scott Renfroe and Jerry Sonnenberg in wanting the state to take over the 21 million plus acres of federal "agricultural" land in Colorado (I use quotes because none of the introduced bills in 2012, '13, '14 ever defined what that means). 

    Sonnenberg was astounded during the Colorado House Ag Committee hearing in 2012 because he did not know that the subsidized grazing fees for the federal land would quadruple, or more, because the State Land Board has to charge market rates. And there is much more to the issue.

    A well written LTE could be entitled "Cory Gardner's War on Rural Colorado."   

    Regards,  C.H.B.

    • MichaelBowman says:

      Which, to my earlier point, means he'd once again be 'in lockstep' with his billionaire BFF's.  Follow the money, just follow the money:

      The Koch Brothers Plan to Seize Public Land

      The Koch brothers’ paid ALEC to create several pieces of “model legislation” for Republican states to “demand that Congress extinguish title and government jurisdiction over public lands that are held in trust by the US federal government” such as ALEC’s “Eminent Domain Authority for Federal Lands Act.” In 2012 Utah’s Mormon governor, Bundy and ALEC supporter Gary Herbert signed “The Transfer of Public Lands Act” mandating the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management relinquish their domain to Utah Republicans no later than 2015 or the conservative Supreme Court will do it for them.

      Once a state seized federal government land, they were free to sell off the land to the Koch brothers to “unleash the energy” under the ground conservatives claimed the federal government had “gone amuck protecting with this Endangered Species Act” and “environmental protections” they had no authority to impose. ALEC has a wealth of legislation giving states authority to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from overreaching to prevent Republican states from flaunting environmental protections the Koch brothers want eliminated.

  7. Moderatus says:

    We won't be posting links to every endorsement published by every newspaper in Colorado

    Nah, just the ones that help Democrats. 🙂

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