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October 29, 2014 09:09 AM UTC

The Year of the Lie

  • by: Jason Bane


Republican Cory Gardner’s campaign for Senate often refers to 2014 as an “historic” election year, for reasons that are as vague as Gardner’s policy positions. Normally I might scoff at the very idea of ascribing such a lofty adjective to this election cycle – after all, 2014 will not be the first year that the United States re-arranges its makeup of white dudes in Congress – but the more I consider the label, the more considerable I find the history. I believe Gardner is correct when he says this is an historic election, but not for reasons that have anything to do with Senate majorities and minorities.

Anyone who engages in politics as career or hobby is destined to feel cynical about the whole process at some point; I recognize this, but it’s not cynicism that has skewed my perception of this election. No, this is about deception. This is dishonesty, fraud, and sham on a level I have personally never encountered before – and from what I read and hear, I am not alone.

I cannot recall another time when candidates so brazenly dismissed their own past and bulldozed their own words with such disregard. I hate to use the word, “lie,” because it has become so cliché to declare that our politicians are a bunch of fibbers, but there’s no other word that is more appropriate here. The lies have been suffocating in their consistency, from candidates who will lie about anything, to anyone, at any time.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, saying stuff.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, saying stuff.

The United States Congress is already the most disliked and distrusted organization that has ever been measured by public surveys. The current Congress has worked less and achieved less than any prior body before. The 2014 election has helped illustrate the problem: How could anyone expect to negotiate with the likes of Gardner when you quite literally have no idea in what he actually believes? You can only guess at the real answer on any subject other than the career ascendency of Cory Gardner. Yet now, here we are, potentially sending a man to the U.S. Senate to represent Colorado even though we really haven’t a clue what he’ll do if he gets there.

I like to think of myself as a generally optimistic person, yet I am confronted with a magnitude of lies that I hadn’t though possible outside of novels and North Korea. I take some relief, I suppose, in knowing that I’m not alone. Kansas City Star columnist Barbara Shelly recently wrote a blistering rebuke of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who is seeking re-election by any means necessary. Here’s the lede to that column:

All politicians spin. They exaggerate and make selective use of facts and data. These are the tricks of the trade.

But I have never seen a public official lie as easily and as relentlessly as Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. [emphasis mine] 

That sounds harsh, and it is possible that Brownback actually believes his own mythology. But much of what he has told the citizens of Kansas is flat out wrong.

Shelly continues by listing a page of whoppers that Brownback repeats as gospel. It doesn’t matter that most of Brownback’s lies have been debunked a dozen times over—he keeps repeating them, because he knows that there are still plenty of people who want to believe that their elected officials are guided by an actual belief in something.

It’s important to remember that these aren’t opinions we’re discussing. Gardner and Brownback lie confidently about established facts – the kind that Siri or Google could answer in about 20 seconds. Brownback likes to say that there was just $876 in the state treasury when he took over as Governor in 2011. In fact, he has repeated this line in three different state-of-the-state addresses. Shelly says that the story is “complete hokum,” and that Kansas had $251 million in its bank account when Brownback took charge. This information is public record – anybody can look it up.

This is not to discredit politicians in general. I know many elected officials, on both sides of the aisle, who are genuine people with examined positions on important issues. But increasingly we are seeing elected officials the likes of Brownback and Gardner, for whom words are merely a vessel to deliver them to their chosen destinations. These are men who solve a Rubik’s Cube by removing the stickers. They don’t seek the satisfaction of solving a difficult puzzle; their just want you to believe that they solved it.


Gardner has proven to be an adept liar on many subjects, but he takes lying to a new level when it comes to the Personhood issue. When Gardner smiles smugly and tells reporters, “there is no federal personhood bill,” he speaks with such conviction that you begin to wonder if he is unaware that, a) there really is a federal personhood bill, and b) Gardner is a co-sponsor of that very legislation.

No really, trust me.
No really, trust me.

Gardner’s penchant for lies has long since reached the point where mainstream journalists are becoming visibly irritated. In a now-infamous interview with Fox 31 in Denver, reporter Eli Stokols repeatedly asks Gardner about why he remains a co-sponsor of the federal “Life at Conception Act.” Gardner continually interrupts Stokols with the same talking points:

“The facts are, Eli, that there is no federal personhood bill.

“There is no federal personhood bill.”

Stokols eventually begins to ask – before being interrupted again – if Gardner thinks he can make the issue go away just by saying, “there is no federal personhood bill,” over and over again. It would all be comical if it weren’t so disconcerting. Gardner looks you right in the eye, stretches his smile as wide as possible, and then says…words.

Truth? Fiction? Who cares? Did you like the answer?

A few weeks later, in a debate aired by 9News in Denver, moderators Brandon Rittiman and Kyle Clark had no intention of listening to Gardner lie to them. Clark, in fact, gained some national attention for refusing to let Gardner dictate the Q&A session:

“We are not going to debate [the federal personhood bill] here tonight because it’s fact. It would seem that a charitable interpretation would be that you have a difficult time admitting when you’re wrong and a less charitable interpretation is that you’re not telling us the truth.

“Which is it?”

This time, Gardner responded to Clark with a different lie. Co-sponsoring the federal “Life at Conception Act,” said Gardner, is “simply a statement that I support life.” Sure. And when President George W. Bush said that Iraq was hiding “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” he merely meant it as a metaphor.

It seems there is no issue where Gardner won’t ignore the truth altogether. In one of his earlier TV ads this fall, Gardner smiles on TV while calling himself a champion of Renewable Energy. “I co-wrote the law to launch our state’s green energy industry,” he says while smiling to the camera. The Associated Press looked into the legislation that Gardner referenced. No words were minced:

GOP Senate candidate Cory Gardner, framed by sunflowers and wind turbines, tells voters in a campaign ad this week that he co-wrote a law to launch Colorado’s green-energy economy. He leaves out that the law was repealed five years later, deemed useless for not enabling a single project.

Whoops! Big mistake, right? Not when you have no intention of telling the truth anyway. Not only did Gardner’s campaign leave that ad on the air…they later produced a second ad touting his clean energy bonafides.

Perhaps Gardner really is a proponent of cleaner forms of energy. I don’t know that he knows, or that he cares either way. Did you believe the ads? Did they make you want to vote for Gardner? That’s the only point here.


Rep. Cory Gardner (R).
Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Former President Bill Clinton was famous for his “I feel your pain” moments on the stump. Gardner is more of an, “Are you in pain?” kind of politician. It is a question that is meant to convey emotion – to show that he cares. Jack-o-lanterns aren’t this hollow.

There was a particularly disgusting example of this in March, when Politico reporter Manu Raju was following Gardner on the stump. This really happened:

A woman on a breathing tube made clear that she was relying on Medicaid to survive.

“I was on my death bed, literally,” she told Gardner. “It kept me alive.”

“We got to protect Medicaid,” Gardner told her.

Asked about that episode later, Gardner made clear he opposed Colorado’s move to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. [emphasis mine] “I don’t know how Colorado is going to pay for it,” he said.

I’ve often wondered if that woman remembers this conversation or has any idea that Gardner didn’t mean what he said. She was not identified by name in the story.

When Cory Gardner’s campaign says that 2014 is an historic election, I am inclined to agree. If Gardner and a handful of other fantastic fibbers around the country end up winning on Election Day, it will validate this strategy of blatant dishonesty. It will show other politicians, current and future, that it is possible to win election to the highest offices in the land by lying about everything. Why stretch the truth when you can just obliterate it altogether?

If it happens in 2014, it will happen again, and again, and again. You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think there are future politicians watching Gardner and telling themselves, “I could do that for six months if it gets me elected.”

It’s probably fair to say that most Americans don’t expect much from politicians…but can’t we expect more from them as people?

I will always remember 2014 as the Year of the Lie.

I hope I will also remember it as a failed experiment.



Jason Bane is the founder of Sometimes he writes in the first-person perspective.




12 thoughts on “The Year of the Lie

  1. The year of the Lie was a few years ago.  If you like your policy you can keep it.  Your premiums will be $2,500 less etc.  Your problem is when your Liar tells lies, it is OK to lie.  You only see untruth when told by your foes.

      1. Notice that Trollscum DOESN''T DENY that his rump party is a craven cabal of amoral, pathological liars.

        He merely attempts laughably to create a yet another FALSE EQUIVALENCY which he hopes somehow deflects people's attention and absolves his evil racist rump party of culpability for being the filthy, lowdown, lying pieces of shit it is — AND THEY KNOW IT IS.

        It's Trolling 101. He's a lying, wothless dirtbag. Fuck this pinhead loser, and GOTV.

  2. Mr. Gardner has been doing this since his first campaign for the U.S. House.


    When he ran against Congresswoman Betsy Markey in 2010 he accepted the invitation of the editorial board at the Ft. Collins Coloradoan for an interview. During the interview Bob Moore, the former editor of that paper, asked Gardner if he was going to sponsor anti-abortion legislation if elected to the U.S. House. Gardner, sensing he was being interviewed by a newspaper in a very pro-life city, answered that he would not sponsor such legislation in Congress.

    At that point, Mr. Moore reminded him that he had attended a Tea Party meeting two weeks prior to Gardner's interview with the editorial board at which Gardner assured the crowd he would sponsor such legislation. When confronted with his obvious lying, to somebody – either the Tea Party or the editorial board, Gardner told the editorial board that he didn't remember addressing that Tea Party meeting. Of course, Gardner went on to defeat Markey and what happened in January 2011, two weeks after he was sworn into the Congress and after assuring the editorial board he wouldn't sponsor anti-abortion legislation, he began sponsoring and voting for such legislation.

    The lesson he learned from that experience was if you're caught in a lie the best thing to do is lie again or at least have a memory lapse.

    What does 2010 and now 2014 teach us about Cory Gardner? No one can trust him. It doesn't matter whether someone is conservative, liberal, moderate, Republican, unaffiliated or a Democrat, you can't trust Gardner to tell you the truth.

      1. Definitely sociopathic, like the rest of his thieving party.

        Recall the profound words of George Costanza when advising Jerry on how to beat a lie-detector: "Remember, it's not a lie…if you believe it."

        GOTP words to chisel and cheat by.

  3. Elected Democrats and many in the press, though I'll let the local guys who've been trying valiantly to expose liars like Gardner, are far too willing to let any lie pass and attribute it to a difference of opinion. 

    Add to that the "both sides do it" falsehood that Jason feels compelled to repeat here: 

    I know many elected officials, on both sides of the aisle, who are genuine people with examined positions on important issues.

    Translation: Some on both sides tell the truth, but that means some on both sides lie and they are equal.

    Yes, it's a failure of our current political system, but Democrats can't pretend to be covered by a different, undocumented, and holier-than-thou set of rules while letting Republicans off the hook for any responsibility to that truth.

    Udall and Obama played it that way the last six years, far beyond the point when everyone else saw Republicans for what they were, and that's going to be the main reason Udall loses and the Obama presidency ends in a wimper.

    If Udall loses, Republican Lies won't be the reason. Udall's sad response to those lies will be the reason.

  4. The point that our site's very own pathological liar, ACHole, fails to acknowledge is that while Democratic "lies" are only trumpeted by Republicans (you know because once we figure out that it was misleading or an oversimplification, we STOP saying it), his party not only proudly repeats their own lies no matter how many times they are debunked, but their BS factory continues to work overtime inventing new lies.

    So the GOP will take one Democratic "lie" (even if it wasn't), and figure if it's repeated a million times, that will offset a a thousand GOP lies they will brazenly repeat a thousand times each.

    Thus the perverted logic of GOP false equivalences.

  5. Every election cycle is the Year of the Lie, whether it's "Read my lips, no new taxes," or "I did not have sex with that woman," or "There are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."  

    Bismark said, "The biggest lies are told right before the wedding, right after the hunt and in the middle of the political campaign.".  

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