I have a confession. As much as I disagree with, and am appalled by, most of the views of the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, or Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., or Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, I respect them.
They stand up for what they believe in; they are honest about their beliefs, and they don’t pretend to be something that they are not. For nearly a decade, I sparred weekly with Pat Buchanan on television – we had different political perspectives but I respected Buchanan’s intelligence, his perspective and his humor. He, like Cruz, Paul and King, told it as he saw it.
What we are witnessing in this year’s campaign in a number of states is a collection of candidates who don’t want voters to know their real views. It is silly for Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., not to admit she voted for Barack Obama. She is clear about why she is running and her views, why get called out on this?
But there are a lot more insidious campaigns being run by several Republicans. Joni Ernst in Iowa is doing her very best to convince voters she has a moderate bone in her body.
Still, the ultimate fraud this year is GOP Rep. Cory Gardner in Colorado who is challenging Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat. This guy makes a chameleon look consistent in color. Gardner smiles as he lies to your face. He is trying his very best to bob and weave through the final weeks of this campaign to convince voters that he is not extreme and does not hold extreme views or cast extreme votes.
Folks, there are 435 members of the House of Representatives, and based on his 2012 voting record, National Journal rated Gardner the 10th most right-wing member of the House. With all the Tea Party Republicans in that body, being named more extreme than 425 of your colleagues is not easy.
It is not easy to run from that record, and yet Gardner is doing his very best. Gardner is waging the ultimate “Trojan Horse” campaign – he is desperately trying to get through the gates into the U.S. Senate by dressing up as something he is not. He is doing his best to pull the wool over the eyes of Colorado voters.
And Colorado women should be extremely concerned. This isn’t some run-of-the-mill conservative on women’s issues. Gardner is a radical. He wants to outlaw all abortions.
Let’s look at his record. For the past eight years, he has consistently supported federal and state “personhood legislation” that would make abortion a crime and even outlaw various birth control measures. Last year, he co-sponsored the “Life at Conception Act.” Back in 2007, Gardner signed on to a Colorado Senate bill that would make abortion a Class 3 felony, outlawing it even in the cases of rape and incest. In 2010, he supported Colorado’s Amendment 62 and reportedly said at a candidate forum: “I have signed the personhood petition. I have taken the petitions to my church and circulat[ed] it in my church.” Personhood USA President Keith Mason stated that Gardner has “built his entire political career on support of personhood.”
Now, in 2014, comes the Trojan Horse campaign. He puts up ads saying he supports over-the-counter contraceptives and says he isn’t supporting Colorado’s personhood referendum this year, though he still supports the federal legislation. Never mind the cost of the contraceptives or the issue of insurance coverage. If you believe Gardner, I have a mountain in Colorado to sell you.
The radical Colorado Right to Life group had called Gardner a “standout legislator” but even they are dismayed by his political opportunism, calling it “a cynical choice to give up on principles so he would be more attractive to moderate voters.”
Gardner has consistently opposed equal pay for equal work for women. He stands in the way of efforts to prevent violence against women. He was an original cosponsor of legislation to redefine rape. Gardner even opposed a bill in 2007 that required hospitals to inform sexual assault survivors of the availability of emergency contraception.
But his radical views and votes do not stop there.
Gardner has opposed gay rights consistently, even benefits and health coverage for gay couples. He has voted to cut Pell Grants by $6 billion. He voted five times in September/October 2013 to produce the government shutdown. He voted 16 times against opening the government, and this cost the taxpayers $24 billion.
Gardner is a supporter of transferring Colorado’s public lands, which would lead to their sell-off. The “No Trespassing” signs would go up. The “No Hunting” and “No Fishing” signs would prevent Coloradoans from enjoying their unique way of life. But during this campaign, Gardner has tried his best to convince the voters that his stands, his beliefs and his votes are not his – the ultimate Trojan Horse campaign.