UPDATE #2: Ouch–Salon's Luke Brinker proclaims this the "most asinine endorsement of [the] 2014 cycle."
“Congress is hardly functioning these days,” the Post laments, right before it proceeds to endorse the government shutdown-supporting Tea Partier. The paper’s editorial board has decided that Gardner is somehow the answer to this dysfunction, because incumbent Sen. Mark Udall is an incumbent and “is not perceived as a leader,” they guess. So maybe “the time has come for change.”
And what of Gardner’s hard-right positions? There is that inconvenient bit about his support for “personhood” legislation, but, the paper writes, now he wants to make birth control available over the counter. (Never mind those poor women who can’t afford it and require insurance coverage for their contraceptives.)
Moreover, the paper writes, Gardner actually “has sound ideas on tax reform that could help the economy take off.” How? Just trust them, it will. Plus, he’s “expressed willingness to compromise on immigration despite a fairly hard line over the years.” How Gardner could actually convince fellow Republicans to cease their obstructionism on the issue – and whether his newfound “willingness to compromise” is genuine or election-year pandering – doesn’t much concern the Post…
The notion that this right-wing congressman could help usher in a new era of bipartisan goodwill and policy innovation seems far-fetched, but the Post begs to differ. Citing Gerald Seib’s absurd Wall Street Journal column this week, the editors speculate that a unified GOP Congress, together with President Obama, could actually be more productive than one-party government would be. Try not to think too much about the past four years, lest you disabuse yourself of this comforting thought.
UPDATE: Worth adding to this discussion are the words of Denver Post political news editor Chuck Plunkett, responding in Tuesday's debate to Cory Gardner's stunning refusal to answer key questions about his health insurance:
Sometimes if a candidate doesn't answer a question, that also tells you something about the candidate that voters can know. [Pols emphasis]
The editorial board must have missed that part.
Colorado political social media is alight this afternoon after the Denver Post editorial board published their endorsement of Republican Cory Gardner in the Colorado U.S. Senate race. In some respects, the Post's endorsement of Gardner isn't surprising–after endorsing Gov. John Hickenlooper in the gubernatorial race, the possibility that the paper would "split the ticket" and endorse the Republican in the Senate race grew on general principles. It's important to remember that the Denver Post is presently for sale, and it's easy to imagine them avoiding upsetting potential buyers by not endorsing the same party in the state's two top races.
With that said, some parts of today's endorsement are justifiably infuriating Democrats today, who rightly wonder if the Post's editorial board has been reading the news they're opining on:
Rather than run on his record, Udall's campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman's call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives. Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision. His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince…
[Gardner’s] past views on same-sex marriage are becoming irrelevant now that the Supreme Court has let appeals court rulings stand and marriage equality appears unstoppable. And contrary to Udall's tedious refrain, Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights. [Pols emphasis]
The idea that Udall invented the abortion issue against Gardner is of course ridiculous, since it was Gardner's choice to bring this issue to the fore with his clumsy attempt to reverse himself on the state Personhood abortion ban initiatives right after getting into the race. Gardner's messy backpedal on the issue, combined with his continued sponsorship of equivalent federal legislation, is what opened him to attack–and the lead that Udall has maintained with women voters shows that it's working.
As for the blanket assertion that Gardner "would pose no threat to abortion rights," this is so plainly contradicted by Gardner's record, and every fact-checker who has examined the issue, that it's simply laughable. We don't even think Gardner himself would agree, let alone his pro-life supporters. What could this statement possibly be based on? Because it's not based on reality.
On most other issues, the Post tends to ignore them–or ignorantly carry water for Gardner. There's nothing whatsoever about Gardner's 50+ votes to repeal Obamacare, or his inability to back up assertions about his own health insurance. The editorial board takes Gardner at his word that he would "compromise" on immigration reform "despite a fairly hard line over the years." And inexplicably, they call Gardner an "early supporter" of renewable energy, despite the fact that the legislation he touts from 2007 "to launch Colorado's renewable energy industry" was repealed having never funded a single project.
Bottom line: for anybody who knows the underlying facts, this endorsement really is a joke. It stands in marked contrast to the conclusions of other editorial boards around the state, some of whom have been very pointed in calling out Gardner's deceptions.
That the Denver Post bought those deceptions hook, line and sinker says more about them than it does about this race.