Gumming Abortion To Death, Part III: Game Over

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Sen. Cory Gardner.

Huffington Post's Laura Bassett:

Emboldened by a new Senate majority, Republicans in Congress introduced five abortion restrictions in the first three days of the new legislative session that would severely limit women's access to the procedure.

Reps. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on Monday reintroduced a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, which the GOP-controlled House already passed once in 2013. And Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) introduced four bills on Wednesday that would bar Planned Parenthood from receiving federal family planning funds, require all abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, ban abortions performed on the basis of gender, and allow hospitals, doctors and nurses to refuse to provide or participate in abortion care for women, even in cases of emergency…

While the 20-week abortion ban never received a vote in the Senate after passing the House, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has promised anti-abortion activists that he will bring the bill to the floor. It would ban abortions two to four weeks earlier than the fetus would be viable outside the womb, violating the precedent set by the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. (In that case, the court ruled that women have a constitutional right to legal abortion up until the fetus would be viable outside the womb.)

Last August, now-Sen. Cory Gardner recommitted to voting for the 20-week abortion ban, as he did in June of 2013 the last time he was given the opportunity as a member of the House. We haven't seen a position from Gardner on these new abortion restriction bills introduced by Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, but none of them seem out of line with his "support for life"–even after abandoning the Colorado statewide Personhood abortion ban measures he had previously supported. And before any of you accuse Vitter of hypocrisy, keep in mind that he always used protection with the D.C. Madam's prostitutes.

We digress.

The long battle over Gardner's slippery record on abortion in 2014, an issue that Gardner freely embraced the extreme right of until he became a candidate for statewide office, was lost by Democrats–it's a story we've recounted since the election several times. Gardner's ability to "gum to death" his major and ongoing contradictions on abortion, eventually turning his opponents' relentless focus on the issue into a positive for his campaign, was a remarkable feat of political subterfuge–one of the greatest we have seen in our decade of covering Colorado politics.

Gardner's triumph over his own record on the issue of abortion is perhaps best demonstrated by the Denver Post's endorsement, in which they declared flat-out, in denial of all evidence to the contrary, that "Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights." Not all newspaper endorsements matter, and arguably their importance has been in decline for years. But in this case, the "liberal" Denver Post's wholesale dismissal of this central plank in the case against Gardner's election had an outsize effect: perhaps even decisive after being celebrated in pro-Gardner ads from that moment until Election Day.

It's important to know all of this in order to understand why so many Democrats haven't "gotten over" the Post's endorsement of Cory Gardner. It wasn't just that the so-called "liberal" Denver newspaper endorsed the Republican candidate. It was the fact that their stated rationale for doing so was based on something Gardner's opponents knew was not true. And now, Gardner's going to prove it wasn't true. With votes.

With his own actions, Gardner is about to further erode the trust of voters in the information they get from the media to make electoral choices. In the long run, that's a very bad thing for the Post–but it hurts the rest of us, too. It's what makes people cynical about politics.

Maybe you shouldn't "get over" that.

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Zappatero says:

    besides Gardner's lies and the Post's reactionary owner, let's not pretend that we still must have orgies of bipartisanship with Gardner and other Republican senators who, we'll be told, are oh-so-reasonable on every other issue. They keep tracking right and we keep following…….

  2. FrankUnderwood says:

    Vitter used "protection" when he engaged in his "serious sin" (his words, not mine)? If wearing Pampers and a bib constitute "protection," you're right.

  3. DawnPatrol says:

    Gardner is scum. The truth will out. Watch his moves. He will be removed in six years.

  4. notsure says:

    When talking climate change, they claim to not be scientists. However when talking abortion, they act like doctors. 

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