Archive for the 'Colorado 4th Cong. District' Category

Journalists deserve credit for documenting Gardner’s previous broken promises to modify abortion position

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Before being elected to Congress four years ago, Rep. Cory Gardner, who’s now running for Senate against Democrat Mark Udall, backed off campaign promises to ban abortion, much like he did agai Frniday when he un-endorsed the personhood amendment.

But, as documented by the Ft. Collins Coloradoan, Gardner subsequently broke his promises and co-sponsored multiple anti-abortion bills, including legislation banning abortion outright. Gardner’s history raises the question of whether Gardner’s latest twist of his abortion stance can be trusted.

In 2010, just after winning the GOP primary to run against Rep. Betsy Markey, Gardner promised journalists at the Ft. Collins Coloradoan that he wouldn’t introduce anti-abortion legislation, despite promising to do so at a campaign event.

The Coloradoan posted audio of a meeting between Gardner and Coloradoan editors in 2010:

Coloradoan Editorial Page Editor Kathleen Duff: You say you’re not running on social issues, so you’re not, for instance, planning any legislation.

Gardner: Correct.

Duff: And you haven’t crafted anything.

Gardner: [laughs] Correct. No. No.

Coloradoan Executive Editor Bob Moore: Although I’ve been at Tea Party events where you were at where you were specifically asked if you would introduce legislation on abortion, and you did say yes.

Gardner: Bob, I don’t recall that.

Moore: Yeah. At one, you even mentioned some legislation you had already introduced in the state legislature, too.

Gardner: I don’t recall that.

Moore: I can go back and dig it out. [He did. He posted the audio here.]

Gardner: Be that as it may, I am running to balance the budget…

After this exchange, Moore called out Gardner on his flip flop, in an article headlined, “Despite tea party pledge, Gardner says he won’t carry abortion bill.”

And later, Moore called out Gardner again, after he went to Congress and broke his promise not to focus on social issues or introduce anti-abortion legislation.

Moore reported Feb. 4, 2011:

During the 2010 campaign, Gardner sought to downplay abortion and other social issues, though he readily described himself as pro-life.

In a September meeting with the Coloradoan editorial board, Gardner said he wouldn’t introduce any legislation on social issues.

“I am running to balance the budget, cut spending and get this economy back on track,” he said.

Since being sworn in a month ago, Gardner has co-sponsored two abortion-related bills – [Rep. Chis] Smith’s bill to further restrict federal funding for abortion, and a bill aimed at Planned Parenthood that would bar federal family planning grants to any organization that performs abortions.

Smith’s bill aimed to save money by no longer allowing federal dollars to be spent on regular old “rape” but only for “forcible rape.” After an outcry, the proposed redefinition of “rape” was dropped.

Unfortunately, Moore had already left the Coloradoan when Gardner went further, with his co-sponsorship of federal personhood legislation, called the “Life at Conception Act,” which would ban all abortion, even for rape.

So, to recap, Gardner had pledged at a Tea Party event in 2010 to introduce federal legislation to ban abortion, but before he did it, he promised he wouldn’t.

The Coloradoan’s documentation of Gardner’s multiple flips and flops on abortion issues shows how journalism serves to hold politicians accountable for what they say at different times to different audiences.

 

 

Tancredo, Woods, etc., remain talk-radio heroes, no matter what’s happening in the real world

Friday, March 7th, 2014

In the alternative reality constructed each morning on KNUS’ Peter Boyles show, they’re busy reliving the glory days of the recall campaigns.

Recall spokespeople Laura Woods and Jennifer Kerns have been on the show re-telling stories about how “grassroots” Republicans fought off establishment Republicans and won.

One of Boyles’ favorite things to do is to point out that most of the Republicans who’ve risen up in recent weeks weren’t the ones getting down and dirty during the recall effort.

On Tuesday, for example, Boyles asks Woods for the names of specific Republican candidates and elected officials who were with her:

Woods: Well, I just want to preface by saying, as a candidate [for SD 19] now, I’m not endorsing these guys, but I’ll put on my recall hat and I’ll talk to you about who was out there on the lines with us. We clearly had Victor Head. He wasn’t a candidate then, but he is now. And then we had senator candidates Tim Neville and Tony Sanchez walking the streets, knocking doors, gathering petition signatures. Tom Tancredo was out there, as was Greg Brophy. We had the sheriff candidates, Jim Shires, Jeff Schrader, John Berry, all out there at times. Ken Buck was in the office at times. And Owen Hill was sitting in our office making phone calls. So, there were a lot of candidates, none of whom were involved in this back room deal—other than Ken Buck to move, you know, from the Senate race to the House race.

The good old recall days are gone, and the good old folks are threatened, in Boyle’s mind, by back-room-dealing evil-doers, like Bob Beauprez, Cory Gardner, and Ryan Call.

But on Boyles’ radio show, regardless of what’s happening in the real world, the heroes are still Woods and Tancredo, and the like, and nothing can change that, unless the show is abruptly canceled by Salem Communications Inc., which is as inevitable as a gaffe from you know who. Or someone flipping the bird at you.

Denver Post correct on insurance cancellations, while KNUS and Gardner got it wrong

Monday, February 24th, 2014

On KNUS’ Kelley and Company a few weeks ago, Rep. Cory Gardner said:

Gardner: “I would gladly bring Barack Obama and take him around the state of Colorado, introduce him to the 335,000 Coloradans who lost their health insurance thanks to Barack Obama’s bill that Mark Udall passed.”

Gardner would have a tough time with these introductions because 335,000 such people do not exist. It’s not true that 335,000 Coloradans lost their health insurance thanks to Obamacare.

I wondered how Gardner could make this egregious mistake, because The Denver Post reported that the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) wrote a letter specifically to Gardner, informing him that 335,000 Coloradans were sent letters stating that their health insurance policies were cancelled. They were advised of other health-insurance options, one of which, for 92 percent of these people, was to renew their existing policies or choose from other options.

I thought, maybe The Post got its facts wrong about the letter to Gardner. So I contacted DORA, and Communications Manager Vincent Plymell confirmed that DORA sent Gardner a letter stating that “92% [of 335,484] were offered the opportunity of early renewal and continue their plans into 2014.”

Just to make sure I wasn’t missing something in Gardner’s logic, I asked Plymell what “early renewal” meant:

Plymell: “‘Early renewal’ meant that instead of renewing their policies when the policies expired, they could renew early.  These would have been non-ACA compliant plans.”

Asked via email about the price for the renewals, Plymell wrote, “Some may have been at the same price, but as is common with renewals of policies in general (early or not), many would have been for higher premiums.” He added:

Plymell: Remember that for people receiving cancellation letters, they were required to be told by the carriers about all of their options – early renewal, if it was a possibility (and for 92% it was), other plans from that carrier, switching to another carrier, or Connect for Health Colorado.  If people didn’t like the renewal price, they had other options for coverage in 2014.  Also remember that prior to the plans for 2014, people with individual plans (as opposed to employer plans) did not tend to explore those options, because they did not want to have to apply again and go through underwriting, which could mean they could be denied or have their particular conditions excluded.  Going into 2014, they could realistically explore those options because they could not be denied for health reasons or have their pre-existing condition excluded from coverage.

So it looks like The Denver Post got it right, while KNUS and Gardner somehow missed the boat.

KFTM omits discussion of the real relationship issues undermining immigration reform

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

House Speaker John Boehner announced last week that Republicans probably won’t do anything on immigration reform, because “there’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws.”

This prompted Sen. Charles Schumer to suggest that Congress pass an immigration bill this year, with the stipulation that it not go into effect until 2017, after Obama leaves office. It was a creative idea, but Boehner rejected it, leading to ridicule by Comedy Central’s John Stuart. See below.

On KFTM radio last week, Colorado’s own Rep. Cory Gardner sided with Boehner about being unable to trust the president to enforce U.S. law, but he added a new twist. It was a relationship issue.

Gardner: I think there is need for reform but the bottom line is the President has to show a willingness to make sure that the law is enforced and to be able to work with Congress. And really, it’s unfortunate that the fact, this president put no effort into building relationships with Congress over the past four years on either side of the aisle. It’s really starting to hurt his policy efforts now.

Listen to Gardner discuss immigration KFTM 02 10 2014

Omitted was any consideration of the ideas that the relationship-management issues involved in immigration reform had more do to with the relationship between the Tea Party and establishment Republicans, not between Obama and Congress. Especially in light of the fact that the Senate already passed a bipartisan immigration-reform bill.

KFTM should bring Gardner back to find out which relationship strategies might have worked on him.

Has Buck flipped, like Gardner has, and now think that blocking debt-ceiling extension is now a bad idea

Monday, November 4th, 2013

On KNUS radio last week, Rep. Cory Gardner was pressed on whether he’d try again to block an extension of the debt limit to stop Obamacare. His answer surprised me:

Gardner: “I don’t think threatening with the debt limit is a good idea. I think that has proven to not work.”

Afternoon KNUS host Steve Kelley, who was interviewing Gardner, seemed to think Gardner should go down the debt-ceiling-government-shutdown road again, and not blink this time. So I thought Kelley would remind Gardner how fierce an advocate he’d been for using the debt ceiling in the past.

Kelley may not be a regular listener of KFKA’s Amy Oliver Show, but I am, and I remember when Oliver asked him (on Jan. 8):

Oliver: I want to ask you Congressman, are you willing to vote no against a raise in the Debt Ceiling if it doesn’t include significant spending cuts? 

Gardner:  Well, “Absolutely,” is the answer to that.

Gardner made similar comments to Kelley himself in January, saying, “We are not going to imperil the future generations of the country.  It is immoral.  It is wrong.” And on conservative KFTM, Gardner said that blocking the extension of the debt ceiling was an “opportunity to reduce the size and scope of government, and how we can require opportunities to look for savings, look for cuts, and what we’re going to do to grow the economy through common sense tax reform.  I think there’s great opportunities for us to get back on track.” (Listen here.)

So If I were Kelley, I’d wonder why Gardner’s moral outrage about the debt ceiling was so easily undermined by a tactical loss.

Same question would go to U.S. Senate candidate Ken Buck, who said on KLZ Grassroots Radio Colorado Aug. 27:

Buck: I’m “absolutely against raising the debt limit, period, end of story”

Is Buck ready to give up the fight on the debt ceiling, like Gardner is? Kelley should consider asking him.

 

If journos are going to take CO secession seriously, they should report Gardner’s position on it

Friday, October 11th, 2013

In college, I led a petition drive to put an question on the student-council election ballot asking students if they wanted the university to stock suicide pills for optional use by students in the event of nuclear war.

The media had to take this seriously, because kids were actually voting on it, and it had its own internal logic, given the Cold War nuclear craziness around us at the time. But what college would stock suicide pills? Obviously, our core goal, even if we were also serious, was to promote our anti-nuclear agenda.

Same with the secession “movement.” At it’s heart, given the impossible odds of it happening, it’s, duh, a media stunt, offering right-wing conservatives the chance to bash moderate Democratic legislation.

But, it’s true that 11 counties will be voting to secede from Colorado, and so you can’t blame reporters for feeling as though they have to take the stunt sort of seriously, without overdoing it like The Denver Post has done.

But taking it seriously means finding out if serious conservatives actually support it. This week, the New York Times covered the secessionists, quoting county-level GOP organizers and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper as saying he takes it seriously. But, really, what else can the Democratic governor say?

More interesting is what serious Republicans like Rep. Cory Gardner would do on election day. As a resident of secessionist-hotbed Yuma County, he’ll be voting on it next month. And if you take secession seriously, Gardner would eventually be voting on it in Congress, too, if it’s gong to pass. Plus Gardner has long-standing ties to secession-organizer Sean Conway.

Will Gardner vote yes? (So far he’s been vague.) What about the GOP gubernatorial candidates? Where do they stand?

When something smells like a crazy media stunt, and reporters still have to take it seriously, they should at least give readers enough opinions on the matter so they can try to understand what’s really going on. In this case, getting the specific positions of Republicans, whose audiences goes beyond the way-right crowd in the secessionist counties, is key to offering a fair and accurate picture.

Reporters should ask Gardner to explain his statement that Obama is doing “everything he can” to stop America from abiding by “the rule of law”

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Rep. Mike Coffman said that too big a deal was made of his line about Obama is not an American “in his heart.” But reporters were right not to think so.

Here’s another case of over-the-top extremism that deserves to be picked up by the press, because it’s fundamentally disrespectful.

On KFKA’s Amy Oliver Show Friday, Rep. Cory Gardner leveled this attack on Obama:

Gardner: This is a president who is doing everything he can to make this nation no longer abide to the rule of law.

Oliver: Wow. What does that do to the rule of law?

Gardner: It weakens it tremendously.

Listen to Gardner on KFKA 10-4-13

I guess Gardner would advise me not to let people like Obama hang out with my teenage son? Unless I want anarchists hanging around the house?

Admittedly, it’s hard to know sometimes when the extremism threshold has been passed. But reasonable reporters should agree that this is an example.

Candidates should face “personhood” questions from journalists in 2014, as another amendment heads to ballot

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Activists led by Personhood USA yesterday submitted over 50,000 more signatures than the 86,000 required to make the 2014 election ballot, making it likely voters will cast ballots next year on a measure that would add “unborn human beings” to the definition of a “person” and “child” in Colorado’s criminal code.

Backers and opponents of the measure disagree on whether it would affect abortion rights, but the fact is that supporters of the amendment, including its designated representative and a spokesperson for Colorado Right to Life, have referred to it as “personhood.”

So this means it’s likely that political candidates will face questions next year about their views on the personhood concept, under which all abortion would be banned, even for rape and incest, as well as common forms of birth control.

In 2010, the last time a personhood amendment was on the Colorado ballot, all Republican candidates for Governor and Senate supported the measure.

This year, most top-line Republican candidates are on record supporting personhood (See below), while no Democrat has done so publicly. The Colorado Statesman’s Peter Marcus has sought comments from this year’s crop of candidates, but he’s faced some resistance.

Coverage of the yesterday’s signature submission, including informative pieces by CBS4′s Shaun Boyd and the Colorado Independent’s John Tomasic, didn’t provided a tally of personhood support among top candidates. So I will supply it below:

Governor

State Sen. Greg Brophy endorsed personhood in 2008 telling 7News at the time, “Clearly it’’s always the right time to take the stand for the sanctity of life.” Colorado Right to Life writes on its blog that Brophy “supports personhood” and is “pro-life with no exceptions.”

Secretary of State Scott Gessler is apparently not on record on personhood.

Former lawmaker Mike Kopp “supports personhood” and is “pro-life with no exceptions,” according to the Colorado Right to Life blog.

Former Rep. Tancredo supports personhood.

U.S. Senate

Sen. Randy Baumgardner is “100% pro-life with no exceptions” and “supports personhood,” according to the 2012 Colorado Right to Life blog.

Weld Country DA Ken Buck withdrew his support for the personhood amendment in 2010, but stood behind is position against abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest.

Sen. Owen Hill is “pro-life” and “supports personhood” according to CRTL in 2012.

U.S. House

Rep. Mike Coffman is listed by CRTL as a personhood supporter, and he has been held up by Personhood USA as a model personhood-supporting candidate. He’s against abortion for rape and incest.

Rep. Cory Gardner supports personhood.

Rep. Doug Lamborn supports personhood.

Rep. Scott Tipton is not on record as a personhood supporter.

 

Rosen mum as Gardner says he’s ready to allow government shutdown to repeal Obamacare

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Last month, Rep. Cory Gardner said he’d block an extension of the federal debt ceiling to “reduce the size and scope of government.”

Today, Gardner stated on the radio that he’d allow the government to shut down, by holding up annual budget negotiations, in order to repeal Obamacare, explaining that “if the government gets shut down, it’s going to be the President’s decision to do so.”

KOA’s Mike Rosen let Gardner’s salvo go by as if Gardner were talking about the weather.

Rosen: “Perhaps we can talk about some other items on the agenda, such as the current dispute, even with the Republican Party, about whether Republicans, who have a majority in the House, ought to take a stand now, as the continuing resolution question comes up, take a stand on Obamacare, and refuse to fund it, while at the same time, agreeing with a continuing resolution that would allow the rest of the federal government to operate. Have you got a position on that?

Gardner: I want to do anything and everything I can to stop Obamacare from destroying our health care, from driving up increases in costs. Whether that’s through the continuing resolution, I want to defund everything that we can….

Rosen: There’s a political concern that if the Republicans stand their ground on this [repealing Obamacare], they are going to be blamed for shutting down the government.

Gardner: Well, I think if the government gets shut down, it’s going to be the President’s decision to do so. I believe that we don’t need to shut down the government because we ought to just lift this health-care bill out of the way and let America work.

Listen to Gardner saying he’ll shut down government to repeal Obamacare 8.1.13

Rosen should invite Gardner back for a full discussion about the economic and political ramifications of a move by the House Republicans to block funding Obamacare and shut down the government in the process.

 

Immigration reform without citizenship: A hole for immigrants vs. a path of opportunity

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Mostly lost in the media coverage of the immigration-reform bill is what life would look like for undocumented immigrants if America doesn’t offer them a path to citizenship.

Republicans like Rep. Cory Gardner of Ft. Collins, who oppose giving undocumented immigrants tangible hope of becoming U.S. citizens, should be asked to explain how their version of immigration-reform comports with the basic American image of itself as a place of opportunity for hard-working people who’ve powered our country from the get-go.

Gardner told The Denver Post’s Allison Sherry Tuesday:

“We have to focus on border security first and enforcement of the law, and then we can move onto questions about citizenship. There is no bill right now, so let’s start with the border and then go from there.”

So Gardner wants to create a hole in our country, as opposed to a path, that would hold millions in fear of deportation or, at best, like indentured servants of yesteryear.

Is this what American opportunity looks like for Gardner? Sit tight in your hole; maybe we’ll get back to you?

What does he have to say to President Obama, who told Telemundo Denver last week that immigration reform without an opportunity for citizenship would create a country of “full citizens and people who are assigned to a lower status.” This isn’t “who we are as Americans,” he said.

Journalists who are writing about people like Gardner should flip their perspective and also report that, de facto, GOP opponents of immigration reform favor the creation of an underclass of American workers.

We all know that Gardner’s quest for air-tight border security could be endless.

If so, what is the GOP vision of America with a class of people who are fundamentally unequal to the rest of us–and lack the opportunity that’s at the foundation of our country.  Let’s hear more from reporters about that.

A version of this op-ed was distributed by the Other Words syndicate.