In resisting lure to power, Gardner says he was elected to take on leaders

Newly elected GOP Colorado Congressman Cory Gardner told Politico today that he would resist the Washington siren song that has turned generations of small-government conservative politicians into power-mad lifetime Congressional elites. Then he added that the Tea Party wave he rode in on had made him and the other GOP freshmen the “direct pipeline to leadership” and that the freshmen were, in effect, more powerful than the leaders because they were the ones who have been given the mandate to gut-check the establishment. For the record, Gardner has been in Washington mere hours.

“We came from a political environment where we got elected by people who said on [the day after the election], Phase 2 starts, we’re holding your feet to the fire,” Gardner said. “We’re the direct pipeline to the leadership, because we’re a third of the caucus that just came from an environment where it’s a no-nonsense environment. Now it’s our job to make sure they are no-nonsense leaders.”

The Politico story interviewed several of the freshman in an article that referenced the flameouts of ambition and graft and hypocrisy that afflicted many of the similarly fired-up 1994 “Contract with America” Republican freshman class.

In a separate but related story, Politico reported that freshman Maryland Republican Congressman Andy Harris, a doctor who ran an unabashed anti-“Obamacare” campaign against Democrat Frank Kratovil (who Harris didn’t seem to care voted against health care reform) made a splash for omplaining in an orientation meeting that the government- health care insurance he was eligible for as a member of Congress wouldn’t start until a month into his term. Harris reportedly caused a ruckus, saying he had never heard of such a thing and wondering what to do to cover his family.

Harris later said he was just trying to make the point that the government doesn’t do anything well. Harris, who has five children, has so far not said that he will not be motivated by his principles to reject the government health insurance when it arrives to cover his family in February.

Instead, “Harris asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap,” added [an] aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris’s request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.”

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