Fair and Unbalanced

Mike Littwin

"The pump don't work 'cause the vandals took the handles."

Littwin: As Trumpcare blows into Senate, Cory Gardner has nowhere to hide

Littwin: As Trumpcare blows into Senate, Cory Gardner has nowhere to hide

If Cory Gardner were being honest about it — I know, a longshot — he’d have to admit that no one was rooting harder than he was for the latest iteration of Trumpcare to fail in the House.

The bill passed, of course, and now goes to the Senate. And not only will Gardner presumably be forced to vote on the bill someday, he’s one of 13 Republicans charged with actually drafting the Senate version. Since everyone expects the Senate to bury the House bill, which is basically the political equivalent of a toxic waste dump, the drafting process is where the expected long and bloody Senate fight begins.

In other words, Gardner’s fingerprints will be all over this one. And while it’s true that Gardner’s dodge is nearly as good as his legendary feint, it will be a challenge even for him to avoid taking responsibility for whatever comes out of the Senate.

You may remember way back to 2014 when Gardner was running to displace Mark Udall. Obamacare was wildly unpopular in Colorado, and Gardner was seen wildly waving that letter which, he claimed, proved Obamacare had robbed him of his insurance. It was great political theatre, without which Udall would probably still be a senator.

Let’s just say things have changed, and Donald Trump has done what Barack Obama could never do, which is to make Obamacare semi-popular. So what is Gardner to do?

He has already done what no one could have expected, which was to sign on to a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell saying he wouldn’t vote for any bill that didn’t sufficiently protect the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

Let’s think about that. I’m sure Gardner has said something good about Medicaid before, but I couldn’t find it. But now, of course, 400,000 Coloradans are covered by the Medicaid expansion.

So Gardner writes, along with Senate Republican colleagues Rob Portman, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski, “We are concerned that any poorly implemented or poorly timed change in the current funding structure in Medicaid could result in a reduction in access to life-saving health care services.”

I’m guessing the House bill, which would cause millions to lose coverage, qualifies as reduction to access. It would steal $880 billion over a decade from Medicaid, which, at this point, provides health care to roughly 74 million people. And most of the, uh, loot would go directly to a massive tax cut for the rich, which seems to be the point of the entire exercise.

I mean, maybe Gardner, who by his own count has voted more than 40 times to repeal Obamacare, has said something good about Obamacare before, but I couldn’t find that either.

As former Denver Post conservative columnist David Harsanyi asked in a piece for The Federalist, whatever happened to the Gardner who used to brag about co-sponsoring the “Defund Obamacare Act”? That act, Harsanyi noted, included the line that “no entitlement to benefits under any provision of (Obamacare) shall remain in effect on and after the date of enactment.”

That would presumably have included the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, but let’s not get hung up on details. What matters is that Trump will sign whatever bill comes to him, whether or not it preserves Gardner’s newish concern with Medicaid’s “life-saving health care services.” Come on. Trump humiliated his own party — and himself — on the same day of the House vote by saying that Australia has a better health care system. That’s probably true. Like most countries with advanced economies, Australia provides single-payer, universal-coverage health care, which is the opposite of what the House passed and the opposite of what Trump had just praised.

The Washington Post has called Trump’s longtime support for single-payer, Medicare-for-all healthcare his forbidden love. You can guess that most Republicans opted for more colorful descriptions.

In any case, you can see Gardner’s problem. Mike Coffman, who was supporting Trumpcare until he finally figured out how badly the politics played for him, was one of 20 House Republicans to vote against the bill. But the GOP has such an overwhelming advantage in the House that it squeaked through anyway. Republicans have only 52 votes in the Senate, meaning that even if they write the bill so that it can technically avoid a Democratic filibuster, they still need 50 votes, plus Mike Pence in a tiebreaker.

If they don’t have Gardner, they don’t have a bill. It dies in the Senate. That’s the math because if there’s one thing you can count on, it’s that whatever Gardner might have said about Trump in the past, he won’t put himself in a position where he’s one of only, say, two Republican senators to defy the president today.

If they do have Gardner, or at least the Gardner he wants us to think he is, that’s another story, but with a similar ending. If the Senate passes a bill that does protect Medicaid — as Gardner has put himself on the record as defending — it will never get through the House. And if the Senate passes a bill that ensures people with pre-existing conditions are fully covered — a political necessity that House Republicans chose to ignore — it will never get through the House.

Of course, those aren’t the only scenarios. There’s a potentially much scarier one, especially for Gardner. The Senate could create a bill that miraculously unites a fractured Republican Party in agreement that it simply can’t afford the embarrassment of failing to undo Obamacare. And so America would take a tragic step backwards by adopting Trumpcare or Terrificare or what would surely come to be known in Colorado as Corycare.


Screenshot of video of Sen. Cory Gardner at May 3 energy hearing via Gardner’s Youtube channel. 






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About the Author

Mike Littwin

He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.
mlittwin@coloradoindependent.com | Twitter @mike_littwin


  1. buford on said:

    Ok then….Is Senator Gardner going to hold any town hall meetings? I don’t think so…He is on the wrong side of history, and he is a proven liar…Scott Tipton voted yes…He will run and hide, because that is all these republicans can do…

  2. JohnInDenver on said:

    I was taken with Gardner’s inclusion in and cooperation with a Republican process of 13 men sitting down to write a health care bill. 13 white men.

    What could possibly go wrong?

  3. Anna Perry on said:

    CoryDon’TCare… He’s such a smooth liar. On his recent telephone town hall, he claimed to have held 100 town halls. He didn’t!

    He had a number of constituent in person meetings with specific interest groups such as Chamber of Commerce or Space Industry folks. He had two telephone town halls.
    That’s it!

    He truly does not want to speak directly and publicly with his constituents, and he truly believes that he can get away with hiding from them indefinitely.

  4. Don Lopez on said:

    Clown car roasted at White House Correspondents’ dinner.

    “Hiding news that doesn’t fit an ideological or a partisan agenda is perhaps the worst form of media bias. And it’s one more reason the public holds the press is such low esteem.” – Investor’s Business Daily

    Mike Littwin on anger in politics:

    “Anger rarely wins in American politics.” – July, 2016

    “It was the anger, of course, that got (President) Trump elected.” – April, 2017


    Another day, another dire prediction of a political defeat from Mr. “I still have no idea how or why (President) Trump was elected.” Littwin. This time for Senator Cory Gardner. Just yesterday he predicted political disaster for Rep. Mike Coffman even though Rep. Coffman voted against (that’s right, against) repealing Obamacare.

    “(Rep. Mike Coffman) is off the hook, at least for now, on a vote that was pure lose-lose for him — and, if history is any judge, puts his seat at risk.”

    Keep in mind that this is the very same Mr. Littwin who (and you could look this up) in December said “How about Morgan Carroll getting clobbered by Mike Coffman two years after Coffman had clobbered Andrew Romanoff? (I have no idea why or how Coffman became invincible, but the question now is whether he’s ready to give that invincibility a try in the 2018 governor’s race.)”

    From “invincible” to “at risk” in less than five months! You can’t make this stuff up.

    According to Mr. Littwin both would suffer ominous political consequences as a result of the repeal of Obamacare. But these “predictions” provide a handy diversion that helps Mr. Littwin avoid writing about the vile, vulgar, homophobic slur that the unhinged Stephen “c—k holster” Colbert aimed at our president. Imagine, if you can, Mr. Littwin’s reaction had Rush Limbaugh attacked Barack Obama using Colbert’s exact words. Would Mr. Littwin have remained mute? I don’t think so either.

    Everything old is new again.

    That saying appears to describe one path available to struggling Democrats attempting to reconnect with a new generation of voters they hope will deliver them from political obscurity. At least according to the New York Times:

    “In a largely leaderless party, two distinct groups are emerging, defined mostly by age and national stature. On one side are three potential candidates approaching celebrity status who would all be over 70 years old on Election Day: (former Vice President Joseph R.) Biden, and Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.”

    Didn’t Albert Einstein define insanity as doing the same thing over and over but expecting different results? If they chose this path Democrats appear headed straight for the asylum.

    This is how Mr. Littwin described the Democrats’ “senior cohort” presidential field over two years ago:

    “Democrats don’t have enough legitimate presidential candidates to fill a Mini.

    Joe Biden is not just too old. He’s Joe Biden. Elizabeth Warren is not running, and, as appealing as she might be to liberals, she wouldn’t win if she did run. Bernie Sanders? At this point, he’s not even a Democrat. Martin O’Malley? Did you ask who Martin O’Malley was? Jim Webb? Really?”

    Not content to dismiss Bernie Sanders as simply a non-Democrat, Mr. Littwin added this: “History tells us that 74-year-old Jewish socialists are 0-for-forever in U.S electoral politics.”

    But The New York Times also offers this:

    “Competing against the Democrats’ senior cohort is a large and relatively shapeless set of younger candidates who span the ideological spectrum: governors, senators, mayors, wealthy executives and even members of the House.”

    If they were Republicans Mr. Littwin would no doubt describe them as the clown car candidates.

    But Democrats appear to be making progress on pinpointing exactly why Mrs. Clinton lost to President Trump who Mr. Littwin described as “a demagogue, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a sexist, an authoritarian, a boor, a crypto-fascist and the least-prepared person ever to be nominated by a major party,”

    Let that roll around in your head for a while: Mrs. Clinton lost to that guy. And how does Mr. Littwin explain it? Well, he doesn’t. He simply admits he doesn’t know how or why President Trump was elected. So how, you might ask, can someone so clueless possibly write a political opinion column? Good question!

    But shockingly, or maybe not so shockingly, Mrs. Clinton’s loss had nothing to do with any of the factors she felt caused her defeat: the Russians, FBI Director James Comey, WikiLeaks’ theft of emails, misogyny or any of the other myriad of excuses offered by Clinton apologists. It was, according to McClatchy DC Bureau, the Obama-Trump voters:

    “Those Obama-Trump voters, in fact, effectively accounted for more than two-thirds of the reason Clinton lost, according to Matt Canter, a senior vice president of the Democratic political firm Global Strategy Group. In his group’s analysis, about 70 percent of Clinton’s failure to reach Obama’s vote total in 2012 was because she lost these voters.”

    Try and wrap your head around that! Mrs. Clinton lost because she was abandoned by those Obama voters in favor of a man Mr. Littwin described as “a demagogue, a xenophobe, a misogynist, a bigot, a sexist, an authoritarian, a boor, a crypto-fascist and the least-prepared person ever to be nominated by a major party,”

    So was Mrs. Clinton that bad a candidate or is Mr. Littwin that bad a judge of character?

    It could be both.

    November 08, 2016

    “’Cause I don’t have no use
    For what you loosely call the truth” – Tina Turner

    Greenlight a Vet
    Folds of Honor
    Special Operations Warriors Foundation

    Memorial Day – May 29, 2017

  5. janis houston on said:

    I remember listening to Rush Limbaugh when HRC was FLOTUS hating her on a daily basis on his “entertainment” show. I could not understand the rancor for a woman whose main sin seemed to be talking about healthcare. From 1995 on HRC has been the target practice for the neo cons, and even though they spent how many millions on Benghazi could not pin her to the wall. She was wrong for not divorcing Bill, she was wrong for staying with him. She was pro choice and Catholics and evangelicals were told from the pulpit a vote for her was a sin. There’s the reality of separation of church and state in 2017. Both my aunt and my mother were told this. So there are many reasons HRC did not win the election, and having a female POTUS after 8 years of a black one was in the mix also. This country is ever racist and misogynist and at 66 I never expect to live long enough for a female to get to the top. As for Cory F Gardner he’s so snarkey I hate to admit he’s from this beloved state. I’ve listened to one of his “tele” town halls and never again. As an unaffiliated voter for over 40 years the BS is strong with that one. Arrogant. Too good to meet with his constituents face to face. Whatever replaces ACA, Trump Don’t Care will be sure to line the pockets of the already rich and leave the poor to die in misery. In the long run, that is going to matter to more people than whether the Preppie from Yuma is ever elected again.

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