Sen. Hart to DenPost on Gardner endorsement: You talked to whom, exactly?
Colorado statesman Gary Hart does not get it, at all. He is calling the Denver Post‘s endorsement of Congressman Cory Gardner in his race against incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Udall the “worst political endorsement by a serious newspaper in my lifetime.”
Hart made his views known in a letter he sent to the Denver Post that the paper decided not to print. But the state news media has taken up the letter, and it was published at Huffington Post-Denver on Tuesday.
“As a Colorado citizen who pays more than ordinary attention to American politics generally and to Colorado politics particularly, I am dumbfounded and appalled by your endorsement,” he writes.
Hart mainly takes issue with the Post‘s characterization of Udall as a sort of upper-chamber wallflower.
“I know for an absolute fact that [Udall] is at or near the center of virtually all serious national security, energy, environment, and economic debate currently occurring. I know for a fact that he is widely respected as a serious legislator by Senators of both parties. I cannot imagine from what sources you are deriving your information, but it is clearly not other United States Senators or anyone with a clear picture of what is going on in our nation’s Capitol.”
The Post‘s endorsement was notable for the sniping tone with which it treated Udall and for the lack of any serious sources or examples it used to make its points. The endorsement authors cited only a Gerald Seib opinion column on the blessings of divided government published in the Wall Street Journal and another opinion column written by onetime Republican Capitol Hill staffer-turned-Republican Party strategist Joe Brettell, in which he called Gardner a “rising star.” The Post editors never mentioned Brettell in the endorsement, simply crediting the quote to “ABC News.”
Hart served in the U.S. Senate for two terms, from 1975 to 1987. He is Chair of the U.S. State Department’s International Security Advisory Council, Chair of the U.S. Defense Department’s Threat Advisory Council, and Chair of the American Security Project.
Hart is the kind of source deeply familiar with the Senate and with national politics that the Denver Post editorial board might have turned to when weighing its endorsement in the race. Hart would have “problematized” the baffling assertions the board members planned to make.
“It is flatly false to say that Senator Udall is not a leader or that he is not at the center of major debates,” Hart wrote in his letter. “It is much more accurate to say that he is not a self-promoter, which seems to have become the coin of the political realm…
“You have chosen to support a conventional partisan over a serious legislator concerned with the national interest.”
Udall is a conservative-libertarian Democrat who has liberal social views. Gardner is a hardline conservative Republican of the Tea Party era.
As FiveThirtyEight puts it: “Gardner is strongly anti-abortion (he got a 0 percent rating from NARAL). He has only a 26 percent rating from the NAACP; he’s earned a 9 percent rating from the League of Conservation Voters and a 92 percent score from the NRA.”
That record doesn’t match with the editorial views of the Denver Post and it doesn’t match with the views of the majority of Denver or Colorado residents.
FiveThirtyEight describes Udall as “strongly pro-choice (he gets a 100 percent rating on abortion rights from NARAL Pro-Choice America), and he earned a 96 percent rating from the NAACP on minority issues, a 97 percent rating on the environment by the League of Conservation Voters and a 0 percent score from the National Rifle Association.”
Mark Udall believes in letting women make their own health care decisions, safeguarding equality under the law for all, protecting the environment and closing loopholes on gun-purchase background checks. That is a much closer match with the views of the readers served by the Denver Post.
Mr. Gregory Moore
Editor, The Denver Post
Dear Mr. Moore:
Your editorial board’s decision to endorse Congressman Cory Gardner for the United States Senate ranks as one of the worst endorsement decisions, not only by theDenver Post but by any serious newspaper, in my lifetime.
As a Colorado citizen who pays more than ordinary attention to American politics generally and to Colorado politics particularly, I am dumbfounded and appalled by your endorsement. Colorado quite possibly has the two best Senators in the United States and you choose to dismiss one of them. It is flatly false to say that Senator Udall is not a leader or that he is not at the center of major debates. It is much more accurate to say that he is not a self-promoter, which seems to have become the coin of the political realm.
I know for an absolute fact that he is at or near the center of virtually all serious national security, energy, environment, and economic debate currently occurring. I know for a fact that he is widely respected as a serious legislator by Senators of both parties. I cannot imagine from what sources you are deriving your information, but it is clearly not other United States Senators or anyone with a clear picture of what is going on in our nation’s Capitol. You have chosen to support a conventional partisan over a serious legislator concerned with the national interest.
For you to conclude that Mr. Gardner will be anything other than a consistent vote for a Tea Party dictated agenda on the major social and economic issues of the day is confounding. Simply because one source called him a “rising star” does not qualify him for Senate membership. I had the privilege of serving with serious Senators of both parties. Mr. Gardner has a very long way to go before even coming close to their standard of statesmanship. Senator Udall, from a distinguished public service family whom I have known and with whom I have served, has the gravitas concerning the future of our nation that a partisan such as Mr. Gardner will never have in his lifetime.
I will leave it to my wife to decide whether to continue her subscription to the Post. I have lost confidence in the seriousness of your editorial judgment.
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