Littwin: Cory Gardner makes his declaration of complete and utter dependence

Sen. Cory Gardner speaks to a Chamber of Commerce group at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix in May 2018. (Photo by Greg Skidmore, via Flickr:Creative Commons)
Sen. Cory Gardner speaks to a Chamber of Commerce group at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix in May 2018. (Photo by Greg Skidmore, via Flickr:Creative Commons)

These are words I rarely use in this order, but Cory Gardner’s latest political move has really surprised me. If you haven’t heard, Gardner has caved as one of the last seven or eight Senate Republican holdouts on Lindsey Graham’s phony-baloney resolution condemning the way that Democrats are running the House impeachment inquiry. 

I know that doesn’t sound particularly surprising, but it is, as I’ll soon explain.

First, you might want to note that Democrats are running the impeachment inquiry in pretty much the same way that Graham helped run the Clinton impeachment, but we’ll leave that for another day. This resolution has nothing to do with the House process — which Gardner calls a “circus” — and everything to do with Donald Trump’s feelings. As I write this, there are three hurt-feeling holdouts — Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Mitt Romney. Don’t you miss John McCain?

The resolution is meaningless, of course, except to Trump, who insisted that Senate Republicans do something to show their unwavering support for him. This was no problem for Lickspittle Lindsey, as Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank has aptly dubbed him. It’s just the latest in a series of shameful Graham acts of sycophancy. When Trump abandoned the Kurds in northern Syria, Graham, in a momentary lapse back into the old Lindsey, vowed that he would be Trump’s worst nightmare. But when Trump called Graham in to the White House to remind him who’s boss — literally — “worst nightmare” suddenly turned into “predictable hypocrisy.”

And so it goes.

The resolution is just another diversionary tactic — like the House Republican sit-in, featuring Doug Lamborn in a cameo role as Chick-Fil-A delivery boy — to try to make us briefly turn away from the runaway train that is the impeachment inquiry. In the latest news — real, not fake, news — former NSC chief John Bolton is reportedly negotiating with House Democrats for a date in which he could be deposed. This would, in fact, be Trump’s worst nightmare.

For all of Bolton’s flaws, I don’t think groveling is one of them. And if his testimony would be a nightmare for Trump, it wouldn’t be much better, I’m guessing, for Rudy Giuliani and Mike Pompeo. Personally, I want to see Bolton publicly testify some day just to hear him confirm, as The New York Times reported, Fiona Hill’s assertion that Bolton told her —only half-kiddingly — that he didn’t want to be part of any “drug deal” that Gordon Sondland and Mick Mulvaney were cooking up.

In any case, when I heard the news that Gardner hadn’t signed on to Lickspittle’s ploy, I may have jumped to a too-hasty conclusion. I tweeted that we know from experience exactly how it would all play out. Gardner would say that he’s studying the matter and has not yet decided how he’ll vote. And then when the resolution came to the floor, he would cave and vote for it.

And then, of course, he’d run for cover before any reporter could ask him why he pretended once again not to have known from the beginning exactly how he intended to vote. And he’ll not only refuse to return my calls. He won’t return Kyle Clark’s calls. Or Joe St. George’s calls. Or, well, you get the idea.

There was a second option I’d considered. If only 44 or 46 Republicans and no Democrats signed on, then the resolution would never come to a vote, which is, of course, Gardner’s best-case scenario. The problem, though, is that a no-vote would be a major setback for Trump. And it would mean that Gardner would be one of those blamed for the setback. You need 60 votes to pass the resolution, so it’s just so much public relations anyway. But for Gardner, it’s all of a piece in his decision to stick with Trump no matter how far underwater Trump takes him in his re-election bid.

What we know — as much as we know anything — is that Gardner desperately doesn’t want to discuss any of this. He was nationally humiliated when the video of a group of Colorado reporters interviewing him went viral. The reporters, starting with St. George, asked Gardner repeatedly whether it was appropriate for the president to ask a foreign leader to investigate a political rival. And repeatedly Gardner dodged the question.

We’ve seen Gardner play this game before. But we’ve never seen it go national before. And we’ve never seen anything like it as potential fodder for Democratic ads against Gardner in the 2020 Senate race.

A few days ago, political analyst Eric Sondermann, a centrist’s centrist, wrote a piece for ColoradoPolitics saying it was time for Gardner to get off the political tightrope and call out Trump for what he is.

Sondermann wrote: “These are not normal times, Cory. A year out from the election, you have a choice to make. Do you spend the year trying to stay aloft on the high wire, coherence be damned, and hope to somehow survive against increasing political odds in increasingly difficult political terrain? Or do you take this as an opportunity for liberation; a personal declaration of independence; and a chance to speak your truth and let the chips fall?”

I knew Gardner was never going to declare independence. But now we know he’s not even going to pretend that he might.


  1. If as much money was being spent to attack you Mike, you would be leery about stating your opinions . Cory will do okay, and Mike, you are very wrong about Donald Trump abandoning the KURDS. Listen to Fox News tonight, as Department of Defense, reports the lightly armed USA troops are moving now, but more heavily armored USA Military are in that part of Sicily, to protect the KURDS, and keep Iran, Turkey and others away from the OIL FIELDS, that Turkey want so badly. Donald worked that out, much to your chagrin, along with the Democrats and MSM. Don’t keep under estimating Donald Trump. His mind plans ahead, as in “chess games” only he works many moves ahead, while his detractors and opposition, are playing “checkers” one move at a time So take a deep breath, relax, and rethink your support. Remember 63 million Americans, just like me, elected Donald Trump. We do not want to live under Socialist government, and I see Communist Party in Boulder, Greeley, and California are coming out into the open. Looks like California will lose the Democratic Party, being taken over by the Socialist or Communist Parties, who enough members now to come into the open.

  2. Ah, yes, by all means protect those Sicily oil fields. And fortify the Colorado wall.
    Get a grip on geography, people, before Cuba crashes into Nebraska.

  3. ok then…Comrade Senator Corrupt Gardner is not going to represent the people of Colorado…ever…he has shown his true loyalty to trump, and the russians…he will not lose in a landslide…but in an AVALANCHE…this is Colorado, after all…

  4. Complicit Cory has nothing to lose because he’s going to lose. All he’s don’t now is insuring that the right wing lobbyists that he’ll eventually work for will still accept his resume after the landslide…sorry…avalanche. All he has to do is keep his head down and run from the press until it’s all over.

    Run Cory run.

  5. I’m no expert, but I think Cory will need some advice, the political analog to REI’s “How to Choose Avalanche Safety Gear”

    Presidents and Senators are increasingly tied together in elections. Trump lost 2016 in Colorado by 5% or so, and his approval rate has gone from +1 at that point down to -15 in the Morning Consult polls at the end of September. Republicans lost ground in virtually every Colorado contest in 2018. Since that election, Republican voter registrations trail both Unaffiliated and Democratic registrations.

    Things can change and Cory may be able to get through the minefield and a Democratic candidate could set one off. But I don’t think that is the way to bet now.

  6. With how underwater Cory is, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if he “retires” and allows another candidate to step in for a shot. Plenty of time left.

  7. Whatever Frank2525 is smoking I wish he would share it with the rest of us so we can be as self-delusional as he is.
    President David Duke continues, for the millionth time, to make Nixon look like Mother Theresa by comparison, and Im old enough
    to remember Nixon and what a horror show he turned out to be.
    Like Watergate, only with morons, racists and neo-fascism. Puton would be so proud.

  8. DAVE, DAVE, wise up. The Kurds live on the border between Russia, Turkey, and do not have a state, or government. Have been there for longer then you and I have lived, Did you never read any of that history? Thee was a time when the Arabs were traders, and groups of them lived by the oasis and charged the camel traders passage to use water, or camp over periods, before moving on. Just like the Arabian tribes, that part of the world has always been at war with each other, or anyone who dared pass through their areas.

  9. The socialists, communists, and fascists in USA government have already done that, Jay. Where have you been. I lived long enough and paid into Social Security from 1955, in military and all the civilian jobs before, during and after military. And serving 20 plus years, President George W. Bush, signed TRICARE and TRICARE for Life in 2001, when Bill Clinton knocked us off of CHAMPUS coverage in retirement years. Congress and Politicians had promised that, in 1950 era, but then reneged when it came time to fund that program. That was only way they could keep military cadre in service, between end of Korean Conflict, and beginning of Vietnam conflict. COLD WAR , or do you not remember those years. In 1994 Social Security Part A & B was about $40.00 a month for wife and for me. But with Obama care, we now pay about $140 each, every month, since we are paying for those who would not, or could not pay for themselves. So don’t knock on me, when I point out to you, the Liberals will come for your payments soon enough, and you will squawk like a sea gull, about it.

  10. Those folds in middle east are very fluid. Iran is funding lot of terrorist, all over planet earth, and there are agents in most every country, including USA, who are just waiting for word or time to strike. And terrorism thrives on what they can take from each country, where they exist. you will find the borders of middle east, are very fluid, and have been through out history and the generations.

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