Post Slammed For “Preposterous” Gardner Endorsement

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Mark Udall, Cory Gardner.

Friday's endorsement by the Denver Post of GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner unleashed a fairly predictable wave of anger against the paper from local Democrats, incensed that the paper's editorial board had ignored its own rationale, as well as a mountain of fact in both its endorsement of Gardner and its harsh criticism of Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall's focus on abortion rights as a major campaign theme. We don't mean "predictable" in a negative sense, since we agree the logical inconsistences are quite glaring: but it's reasonable to assume that Democrats would have been upset with the Post's endorsement of Gardner no matter how it was rationalized by the editorial board.

Since then, however, criticism of the Post's endorsement has become unusually strong from other media outlets–who looked at the Post's logic in endorsing Gardner and found it…well, inexplicable. The New Republic's Danny Vinik writes today:

The paper's editorial board credits Udall for his work on spying and NSA issues and admits "we strongly disagree with [Gardner] on same-sex marriage and abortion rights," then waves away those disagreements by saying Gardner isn't a culture warrior and that same-sex marriage's recent string of court victories has made his position "irrelevant." The board also criticizes Udall for running an "obnoxious one-issue campaign"—"trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman's call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives"—and naively argues that a Republican Senate could revive bipartisanship in Washington.

But the Post board errs the greatest in claiming that its position on major issues is closer to Gardner's platform than Udall's. [Pols emphasis] A cursory review of editorials published over the last few years shows that the board broadly agrees with Udall and the Democratic Party instead. "Gardner has sound ideas on tax reform that could help the economy take off and has expressed willingness to compromise on immigration despite a fairly hard line over the years," the Gardner endorsement reads…on comprehensive tax reform, Gardner has signed Grover Norquist's pledge never to vote for legislation that raises revenue. The paper, on the other hand, has repeatedly called for a grand bargain to reduce the deficit that includes spending cuts and more revenue. That's awfully close to Udall's position.

In October 2013, the paper chastised the GOP for using the debt ceiling as a hostage-taking device and proposed giving the president the unilateral authority to lift it. In February, Gardner voted against lifting the debt ceiling. He also supported the party's foolish strategy of shutting down the government in the hopes of defunding Obamacare, which the Denver Post called a "hopeless quest" by "Republican hardliners."

Meanwhile, Esquire's Charles Pierce calls the Post's endorsement "the most singularly box-of-rocks dumb rationale I ever read in my life."

The reason government is dysfunctional, and the reason nothing gets done, is because the Republican party, of which Gardner is a "rising star," and the Republican leadership in  the Congress, of which Gardner is a "go-to" member, resolved from the start not to allow a Democratic president to govern as such. So, here, the Post is arguing that the only solution to that kind of vandalism is to elect enough vandals that it succeeds. [Pols emphasis]

As for the Post's wholesale dismissal of abortion rights as a legitimate point of debate, claiming with absolutely no justification that "Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights?"

Nothing says "inspirational" like pitching the privacy rights of 51 percent of the population overboard.

MSNBC's Steve Benen says the Post's endorsement of Gardner "is among the strangest pieces of political analysis published in 2014."

The paper’s editorial board included sloppy factual errors; it glossed over the issues on which the editors are convinced the congressman is wrong; it lamented Washington gridlock while choosing to ignore Gardner’s role in making matters worse; and it complained about Sen. Mark Udall (D) pointing to aspects of Gardner’s record that happen to be true…

The basis for the Post’s endorsement seems to be a curious theory: giving Gardner a promotion will cause a dramatic shift in how he approaches his responsibilities. The Republican congressman hasn’t compromised with rivals on any issue, but, the paper’s editorial board suggests, once he’s rewarded for his failures, maybe he’ll start being more responsible.
 
Indeed, the Post extrapolates to apply this line of thought to Republicans in general. For four years, GOP lawmakers have refused to govern, even going so far as to shut down the government and hold the debt ceiling hostage, threatening to crash the global economy on purpose unless their demands were met. Every worthwhile legislative initiative has been killed, regardless of merit or popularity. Cory Gardner has gone along with his party every step of the way. [Pols emphasis]
 
But, the Post believes all of that might change if only voters agreed to give Republicans more power, not less…

On Friday, Salon's Luke Brinker was one of the first to weigh in, calling the endorsement the "most asinine of the 2014 cycle." The factual error referred to by MSNBC's Benen above is also pretty embarrassing. The original version of the endorsement invoked praise for Gardner allegedly from ABC News:

ABC News, for example, singled out Gardner a year ago — before he declared for the Senate — as one of the party’s “rising stars” who represented “a new generation of talent” and who had become a “go-to” member of leadership.

Sometime afterwards, the endorsement was quietly edited on the Post's website to read:

An analysis  on [Pols emphasis] ABC News' website, for example, singled out Gardner a year ago — before he declared for the Senate — as one of the party's “rising stars” who represented “a new generation of talent” and who had become a “go-to” member of leadership.

The reason for the change? ABC News didn't "single out" Gardner for anything. The piece in question is a guest opinion column written by Joe Brettell, a GOP strategist and former spokesman for Rep. Marilyn MusgraveGardner's predecessor in CD-4.

Oops.

Bottom line: we've been critical of the Denver Post's frequently misleading news reports for some years now, especially the last couple of years under the leadership of avowed conservative political news editor Chuck Plunkett as the problem has demonstrably worsened. This endorsement by the editorial board, validating Gardner's historically duplicitous campaign while making presumptions and sweeping judgments that no one can explain, could represent a breach with the interests of the community they purport to serve that the Denver Post will never recover from.

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18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Andrew Carnegie says:

    ColoradoPomPoms is upset that Mark Uterus is losing.

    The national party takes away previously allocated resources.  That is a good thing.

    The candidate is behind in the polls.  What good are polls.

    The largest newspaper in the state endorses Gardner.  Another jilted lover ,MSNBC, thinks the endorsement is unfair.

    Guys,  your candidate is losing.  It is not fun, but it is the truth.

    Your take is sounding more like 1984, than 2014.

    • DavieDavie says:

      GOP Women's Outreach Program emphasizes that "Uterus" is a pejorative term.

    • denverco says:

      And when the next poll shows Udall ahead what excuse will you lose troll? Mark Uterus huh – better than whorey gardner.

    • BoulderDem says:

      He's not losing.

      Trust me.

      • Andrew Carnegie says:

        Sure,  The polls are all wrong.

        The national party is making a mistake by pulling the funds.

        An incumbent polling less than 45% 3 weeks before an election, trailing his opponent is not losing.

        The sun didn't rise in the east either, right.

    • ModeratusModeratus says:

      They are grieving in advance of the loss they know is coming.

      Another poll out today with Gardner in the lead. Get spinning, Pols!

      • Gilpin Guy says:

        It's pretty funny how you two studiously avoid talking about the merits of your candidate and his qualifications like naming one thing he has done that has been different from what John Boehner wanted.  You both all fixated on polls like that politics is the arena of ideas but another popularity contest with shallow pretty faces that know how to lie in front of a camera without sweating.

        The Post endorsement was far fetched to say the least that Gardner would actually be an independent Senator working for the benefit of all his constituents when his entire history is one of being a back bench lackey with no accomplishments except shutting down the government and costing taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

        Real politics is working for positive change in our society from feeding the hungry to maintaining our roads.  Real politics is about right effort and being a champion of a better society through cooperation and compromise.  The Zen warriors of Japan focused on their efforts and accepted the outcome for what it was.  I notice you aren't pimping about how your going to take down Hickenlooper because he dared to spare a man's life and thought that violent criminals shouldn't have easy access to weapons.  Udall spoke out about the dangers of the Patriots Act and the NSA long before it was chic to do so.  He voted for affordable care for more Americans while all Gardner could do was pout and waste time with 50 futile efforts to make sure that people like with pre-existing conditions would never be able to get health insurance again.  Your mistake is that you believe helping people who aren't in the .01% is evil when in reality you are the ones who increase suffering and woe in world.  You're judgment days will be filled with woe you shallow hypocrites.

  2. DavieDavie says:

    The Denver Post's "pretzel logic" used to endorse Gardner, despite facts acknowledged by the Post themselves, indicates they need Waterboy Cory to plead with the Kochs to "please, please buy our paper"

    • bullshit!bullshit! says:

      I'm guessing it'll be Phil Anschutz. And yes, same diff. The Denver Post is now rightie hack central.

    • BlueCatBlueCat says:

      Remember the strange GW endorsement? The difference is that  99% of that one  read like a list of reasons not to vote for GW and then, bam, endorsed him., by order of Singleton. That was the strangest endorsement I ever read until this one, which is even stranger. 

  3. Windsor_scottWindsor_scott says:

    Wait did AC just say he cared about the truth?  He didn't seem to care much for the truth when Cory was called out on his federal personhood support or insurance cancelation lies. 

    The TRUTH about Cory is that he is a stooge for the Koch brothers and other big money interest.  He cares nothing about Colorado other than to use it as a stepping stone for larger political aspirations.  Cory has done nothing for his district and if elected as a Senator will do nothing for the state.  

  4. Diogenesdemar says:

    I'm sure that, most of all, the Post editors are now completely  flabbergasted that anyone — anyone — actually reads anything printed in their AFW circular. 

  5. Denver Yankee says:

    Apropos to the suggestion of undue influence by big advertisers or potential buyers, I heard a rumor this weekend that the Gardner endorsement was a trade for being able to endorse Hickenlooper and Romanoff.  We'll see.

  6. Craig says:

    Just keep sticking your heads in the sand.  Just keep feeding the Udall campaign with your "yes man" stuff.  Now I've really got to say that you guys have your heads where the sun doesn't shine.

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