Republican Cory Gardner is ending his first term in the Senate just like he began it, as a fraud.
Voters have the opportunity to send former Gov. John Hickenlooper — a trusted champion for all of Colorado — to Congress and tackle critical issues.
Six years ago, Gardener sold himself as a political moderate. He’s not.
Despite his self-accolades, his Senate record show’s he’s one of President Donald Trump’s most reliable allies.
Gardner promised in 2014 that he would be an independent steward of the voters’ trust, famously pledging, “When my party is wrong, I’ll say it. When something is broken, I’ll fix it.”
Since elected, Gardner has repeatedly backed Trump’s Republican Party when it was wildly wrong on managing the pandemic, wrong on health care, wrong on gun control, wrong on immigration, wrong on global warming, wrong on tax giveaways, wrong on covering for Trump, wrong on women’s reproductive rights, wrong on endless issues that matter deeply to all of Colorado.
Rather than speaking up for Colorado residents, he’s become infamous for sidestepping questions putting him between voters here and Trump in Washington. Gardner consistently offers only double-talk when confronted.
At a televised debate with Hickenlooper in Pueblo on Friday, Gardner praised himself for his bi-partisan prowess. As evidence, he offers nothing of substance except recent votes he harvested from across the aisle on low-hanging-fruit legislation, such as the Great American Outdoors Act. That measure, begun by Congressman John Lewis, was innately popular with everyone who lives, works or plays on public lands.
It is important. It is not an answer to the critical problems Americans face, made worse by the Trump administration and Gardner’s faithful support.
During the same debate on Friday, Gardner cued up his scheme to undermine Hickenlooper. He tried to paint Hickenlooper as a self-serving, jet-setting opportunist. The allegations are false.
The facts and Hickenlooper’s long record as Denver’s mayor, and then Colorado’s governor, have proven him to be an honest and selfless public servant.
When we’ve disagreed with Hickenlooper, it’s only been on matters of policy, and usually because of his accommodating his political opposition.
Republicans and Gardner contrived dark-money kabuki they played out for a state ethics commission. It’s rulings on minor matters against Hickenlooper revealed problems with tightening and managing government spending regulations across all levels of government, rather than a problem with Hickenlooper’s ethical behavior as governor.
“The people of Colorado come first,” Gardner said about Hickenlooper on Friday.
We agree. It’s Gardner, however, not Hickenlooper, who has repeatedly shown that the needs of his constituents are ancillary to his faithful support of Trump and partisan leadership. The megalomaniac whom Gardner supports in the White House is the real problem for Colorado and the nation.
Hickenlooper has long been exactly what Gardner promised to be, and never was. Colorado’s former governor has proven himself to be a thoughtful, pragmatic and steady leader. Hickenlooper often found himself at odds with fellow Democrats, shaping numerous critical policies as real bi-partisan compromises.
When Democrats pushed Hickenlooper to accelerate regulation of fracking and implement green power sources, Hickenlooper pulled them toward what he saw as achievable rather than just wishful.
Hickenlooper has long been Colorado’s reality check on what’s possible in reforming health care, growing the economy and protecting the rights of everyone.
Having navigated through the health-care quagmire as Obamacare was rolled out in Colorado, his confidence in creating a public option insurance system now is reassuring. Despite the ruinous stagnation and expensive policies by Trump and Republican leaders, Congress must push toward an affordable, quality health care system, which eludes only the United States among modern democracies. Gardner has repeatedly voted to undermine progress made by the Affordable Care Act and offered rank promises that will only shore up greedy industries emboldened by Trump and his allies.
In the waning days of the race for Colorado’s Senate seat, voters can watch Gardner and Hickenlooper make their own cases during debates for who’s best for Colorado and the nation. Pundits point to what they say is Gardner’s accomplished debate talents. They mistake Gardner’s skill at gaslighting for making compelling arguments. Deft debaters offer facts in making a persuasive case. In Friday’s debate, Gardner offered nothing but deceptive fragments, taken out of context, or alternative “facts” in the fashion of the Trump White House.
Colorado, and the nation, doesn’t need another charlatan in Washington to solve life-and-death problems facing the country and the world. We need honest, trusted and dependable leaders willing to make the most challenging decisions in generations. We need Hickenlooper in the U.S. Senate.