Three paragraphs from Stuart Rothenberg to mark the date by. This could be very important:
Though I took notice of Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner’s endorsement of Sen. Marco Rubio for president, I didn’t immediately think about Gardner as a possible running mate for Rubio — until a CQ Roll Call colleague dropped that pearl of wisdom in my lap.
But there are plenty of reasons why Gardner needs to be on any Rubio shortlist of possible running mates, even this early in the 2016 election cycle.
In a party full of elected officials who look and sound angry and bitter, the Colorado Republican invariably is cheerful and optimistic. That doesn’t mean that Gardner is happy with the direction of the country or defends the status quo, but it does mean he is amiable and approachable. Not surprisingly, that makes him appealing to many voters, particularly those who are less ideological and less partisan.
This is an interesting, and even potentially terrifying notion. Sen. Gardner is a proper culture warrior. Amiable and approachable is one thing, but consider the story of how he got to the Senate.
In 2010, Republicans ran a former Weld County prosecutor named Ken Buck for U.S. Senate. Mr. Buck, it turned out, suffered a vital weakness; as prosecutor he refused to charge a confessed rape, telling the victim she bore guilt in her own rape, and telling the public he did not think the good people of Weld County could convict a confessed rape. Democrat Michael Bennet won by a narrow margin.
In 2014, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall faced re-election, and Republicans feared another Ken Buck run. Instead, the Congressman from Colorado’s Fourth stepped up, and Cory Gardner became a Senate candidate. While he was not a rape abettor like Mr. Buck, Mr. Gardner faced exposure for his sponsorship of an anti-abortion bill attempting to curtail the human rights of women. So he denied his support for the bill, but refused to remove his name as a sponsor. This was good enough for the people of Colorado, and in the Fourth Congressional District they sent the rape abettor, Mr. Buck, to fill Mr. Gardner’s seat in the House of Representatives.
Amiable and approachable is one thing, but that speaks nothing to statecraft, or the quality and efficiency thereof.
As a vice presidential nominee, Mr. Gardner would simply be an amiable and approachable face of danger.
Image note: U.S. Senate candidate Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO04) speaks at a rally in Littleton, Colorado, 29 September 2014. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Rothenberg, Stuart. “Cory Gardner for Veep? Don’t Laugh”. Rothenblog. Roll Call. 3 November 2015.