As the Denver Post’s Mark Matthews reports–as the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate prepares to unveil their bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act tomorrow, Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, one of the select group of GOP Senators allegedly involved with drafting the bill, is finally starting to buckle under the intense backlash against both the legislation and the secretive process by which it was written:
“It should be more open,” said the Colorado Republican in a brief interview. “I think there should be (Senate) hearings on this.”
But, Gardner said, the fault lies with U.S. politics writ large, rather than with him and other Senate Republican leaders, who are writing the bill and control the chamber’s agenda. [Pols emphasis]
“I’m disappointed that we have a Washington, D.C., so fundamentally broken that both sides of the aisle can’t come together to fix” health care, said Gardner, whose role as chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee makes him one of the top GOP officials in the Senate…
Asked about the lack of Senate hearings, Gardner said it wasn’t his preference.
“I would love to see the Senate hold hearings. I would love that. I have said that before. I have said that for months,” Gardner said.
Unfortunately for Gardner, Matthews didn’t take his word on that last part:
Following the interview, his staff was asked to identify when exactly Gardner had called publicly for hearings; the response was that Gardner had done so whenever he had been asked about it, though no specific examples were cited. [Pols emphasis]
This new attempt by Gardner to distance himself from a process he was previously quite proud to identify as a leader of is a telling sign that things are not going well–and also that the fierce pushback Republicans are getting over this legislation is having an effect. As our readers know, Gardner has used the Affordable Care Act as his foremost political grandstand ever since his first run for Congress in 2010. Gardner relied on rank misinformation about “policy cancellations” to vilify the law, and even blamed the failure of health co-op organizations on Obama after he himself sponsored legislation to kill their funding. Through all of this, Gardner has relied on his ability to fast-talk and smile his way through the contradictions.
But now, the time for talk is over. The Senate’s repeal bill will be unveiled tomorrow, and just yesterday it became apparent that Gardner may not have been as involved in the drafting of the new legislation as we were led to believe. Regardless, how can Gardner complain about the lack of bipartisan cooperation on repealing Obamacare after his own years of provable deception about the law’s effects? How can Gardner claim the process “should be more open” when he won’t even meet with constituents to discuss it? And if Gardner truly wants hearings on the bill, why doesn’t he demand them?
Gardner has been successful in part because of his ability to stay just ahead of political disaster, making wholesale changes to his professed agenda to suit the politics of the race he’s running in. Today, though, Gardner is out of maneuvering room. It’s about to be painfully obvious how Gardner has deceived voters for years, and how the promises to replace Obamacare with “something better” were never intended to be kept.
As they say in the con man business, “the jig is up.”