Kristin Zilcosky is Digital Deputy Director at NARAL Pro-Choice America.
On Friday, October 10, The Denver Post shocked its readers by endorsing extremist Cory Gardner for U.S. Senate over Mark Udall.
What kind of mental gymnastics does a self-proclaimed pro-choice editorial board have to perform to support a candidate who's built his career restricting reproductive rights? By putting aside all logic and journalistic integrity, apparently.
For months, Gardner has lied about and distorted his ant-choice record - and plenty of reporters aren't letting him get away with that. Some reporters have helped expose the controversy around Gardner's position on personhood and raised questions about his over-the-counter birth control scheme. But not the Denver Post editorial board. They didn't give Gardner's record a second look and instead called Sen. Udall's focus on women's issues "obnoxious."
And you know what the most troubling thing is about their logic? They said, "Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights." Even though this is the seat that could put the Senate in anti-choice hands if we lose it, and Republican leaders already have an abortion ban teed up and ready to bring to the floor.
We asked our members in Colorado what they think about the Post's endorsement, and are they ever mad! Until the Denver Post decides to run some of their letters, we wanted to make sure Coloradans' voices are heard. Here's just a sampling of the hundreds of letters that were submitted:
A focus on women's issues is "obnoxious", is it??? Well, to more than 50% of the population, a focus on women's issues is way past due. Gardner talks out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to women's issues. In reality he is one of the most anti-choice extremists around. He has voted against birth control for rape survivors, he supports giving bosses the right to deny workers birth-control coverage, and he is currently co-sponsoring a bill that would ban abortion and even common forms of birth control. And you claim to be an unbiased newspaper. NOT! Shame on you for pandering to anti-women extremists.
MaryAnne, Estes Park
I am amazed by your endorsement of Cory Gardner. I have been watching the campaign and debates. Gardner has nothing impressive to say or offer except canned talking points; whereas Udall has an impressive record and is focusing on the issues that require courage to defend and that recognize the revolutionary changes that are taking place in our society re gender and women. Your comment that his campaign focuses too exclusively on women's issues suggests that you do not take women and their issues seriously. To suggest that a Republican majority in the Senate would be a good thing and create more compromise with the White House is incomprehensible and endangers the future of the Supreme Court. What are you thinking? I will have to think twice about having confidence in your opinions in the future.
It's too bad you find Senator Udall's focus on women's issues "obnoxious" - I personally find Gardner's mind-boggling flip-flops and blatant dishonesty pretty obnoxious. Instead of doing real journalism and finding out the truth about Gardner's cultural extremism, you seem to have watched his campaign commercials and fallen hook, line, and sinker.
I was surprised to hear that the Denver Post endorsed Cory Gardener for Senate.
Why am I surprised? Well, HR 1091 is the reason.
Cory says he does not support Personhood any longer. But he sponsors HR1091 which every other sponsor says is a Personhood law. It is a lie and I don't understand how the Post can endorse a flat out, bald faced, liar!
The casual contempt this endorsement demonstrates for the rights of the women of this state is shocking. Abortion politics is a litmus test, one that reveals whether or not a candidate really respects women in general - which it is clear Cory Gardner does not, witness his voting with his party to squelch the Paycheck Fairness Act. Women comprise more than half of the population of this country, and we have grown weary of being dismissed out of hand, taken for granted and patronized in the political and economic realms. This election year belongs to us, and we will expect an apology and a retraction of the Post's endorsement of Cory Gardner. The only question is whether this happens now or after the votes are counted.
I am a woman, one of the more than 50% of Colorado and US residents who are women, and I am rather shocked that you find a focus on women's issues obnoxious. We care about our autonomy, medical, economic, and otherwise. We care about our income. We care about an enormous number of issues that should not be, but typically are, classed as women's
issues, as well as about the issues that get a pass as "important" and "general."
I am startled that the Denver Post would endorse Cory Gardner, and still more that you assert that women have nothing to fear from Gardner in the realm of medical rights. You base this assertion on recent judicial rulings rather than on Mr. Gardners's record-- do you want him
voting to approve or disapprove new Supreme Court justices?
Mary Ann, Arvada
Gardner is so clearly anti-choice that I can't believe you'd actually endorse him. The OTC birth control stance really means nothing in the fight for reproductive rights, and hardly makes him a champion for women's rights. Calling Senator Udall"s focus on women's issues "obnoxious" must mean that you see women's issues as rather silly. You are wrong on this one!
I would ask, as the only major newspaper in Colorado,that you rethink your baffling endorsement of Cory Gardner over incumbent Senator Mark Udall. It seems you are basing this support of Gardner entirely upon what you perceive as Udall's negative campaign against Gardner. Plain and simple if the show fits wear it. Gardner co-sponsored the
personhood bill in Congress and has consistently fought against a woman's right to choose regarding abortion. When he decided to challenge Udall for the Senate seat he suddenly claims to have had a change of heart on the issue and no longer supports that bill he sponsored! It certainly does not take a genius to see this was merely a politically motivated action on Garner's part and if he were to be elected he would
Your claim of him balancing out a grid-locked Senate bears no resemblance to reality when one takes into account that Cory Gardner voted for the shutdown, voted to cut food stamps and every single program that helps those in need. Not to mention that you IGNORE that
Cory Gardner is a LIAR! This over the counter claim is nothing more that a ruse! You are endorsing the SAME Cory Gardner that is sponsoring H.R. 1091: Life at Conception Act, as you can see in the bill https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr1091
We Coloradans have voted TWICE against person-hood amendments and yet you endorse Cory Gardner? I'm done with you Denver Post.
Your criticism of Senator Udall's campaign is flawed and beyond belief. My generation fought long and hard to make access to birth control and abortion the right of every American woman. I'm now in my 60's and when I look at Gardner's record all I see is a man who wants to take these rights away.
I am not a "single priority" voter. But the one thing I do vote on is a woman's right to choose. Over and over, Corey Gardner has not only supported restrictions, if not out and out bans, of abortion. He even sponsored several bills. His recent attempts to claim that he is for OTC birth control are just a tactic to try to win women voters. The smart ones will remember that as soon as any med is OTC, insurance no longer is required to and will not cover it. So, "more availability" would not be better for women. It would cost more, not be covered by any health plans, and possibly made a more dangerous choice as women wouldn't need to visit a Dr to get a prescription(meaning that they might not be fully informed of the risks as well as benefits). His record shows that he is opposed to many forms of contraception/birth control as well.
No threat to abortion rights???? You've got to be kidding! Endorsing this man is a huge mistake. And women's issues are obnoxious...they're why most women with a brain will be voting for Sen. Udall. Take back your biased and most likely paid endorsement immediately.
Your endorsement of Cory Gardner shows a blatant disrespect for women along with an inability to look beyond a candidate's words to his or her actual intent. I believe Mr. Gardner has proven beyond a doubt that he is not a candidate that women can rely upon.
Cory Gardner is simply a stone age, far right, wing nut. He doesn't represent anyone's views I know in the Denver area. Get real, people, he is about as advanced as Fred Flintstone when it comes to his ways of wanting to rule woman rights, and then lie that he just wants to help them keep insurance out of your business. The one we need to keep out is him. I will never vote for this throw back to the dark ages and the Christian far right. I am a God fearing man but I fear false prophets like Gardner, also.
I am a lifelong supporter of choice and access to birth control - since 1971 as a teen seeing the impact of politicians who wanted to bar teens and women from making decisions about their health in conjunction with their doctors, family, faith and their moral values.
Your endorsement of Cory Gardner is a slap in the face of all the women who for decades have fought to ensure their rights were respected and for all the women in the future who will be severely impacted by a legislator who will ensure abortion, birth control, as well as being treated fairly in the work place in their pay will be eroded further.
I am a 70 year old woman that finds Mark Udall refreshing and supportive for me and my daughter. What I find really "obnoxious" is an editorial that ignores H.R.1091 (March 13, 2013) and uses words from Gardener's own campaign ads. I am wondering...hmm...is Denver Post having financial difficulties and in want of Koch brothers monies...hmmm...is editorial staff made up of members still living in the last century...hmmm...well, it is just plain "obnoxious."
I simply cannot believe that you have approved Cory Gardner's bid for a senatorial seat. Gardner's entire record clearly shows that he is anti-women's reproductive rights here in Colorado and across the nation. If you had taken the time to read his past votes as a representative, this would be abundantly clear to you. His current flip-flop presenting himself as pro-women's reproductive rights is blatantly false. Gardner is not now pro-choice and he has never been. You have an obligation to your readers to print the truth. Not as you see it but as presented by facts. You have made a serious blunder and I hope that you will admit it and then write another editorial that shows Gardner's long standing anti-pro-choice votes. The women of Colorado will thank you for doing so.
In an era where Republican legislators have managed to constrain women's rights in numerous states, your endorsement of Cory Gardner on the grounds that he "would pose no threat" to these rights seems both myopic and ridiculous. Colorado, thus far, has managed to avoid the dismal fate of places like South Dakota and Mississippi, where Republicans have set in place restrictions on "plan B" birth control pills, require doctors to provide erroneous warnings about links between abortion and breast cancer, and permit judges to provide orders that would prevent women from obtaining an abortion on an individual basis. It has only been through the wisdom of Colorado voters and their willingness to protect women's rights that this has been the case. By endorsing Gardner based on the wishful thinking that he will somehow change his stance on women's rights, while claiming that candidates like Mark Udall are "obnoxious" for making those rights a priority, the Denver Post is misleading voters and trivializing an important issue. I used to think that your paper was an independent, fair publication, but after endorsing Gardner, it's obvious that the Denver Post has fallen to the level of copying politicians' campaign literature instead of taking an objective look at the facts.
I am very disappointed to hear that the Denver Post has endorsed Cory Gardner for the US Senate. Cory Gardner's views on abortion rights, birth control, and women's issues in general are very scary to me. People with his views are frequently anti-LGBT as well as against marriage equality, and that does affect me personally. Further, I do support the Affordable Care Act, which did get full support of Senator Udall.
Here are some of the issues which matter to me: choice, birth control, poverty, income inequality, unemployment, racism, LGBT equality and marriage equality, finding a peaceful road in the Middle East and in the world in general. The Denver Post wants to entrust these things to a cultural warrior with ties to right-wing ideologues? I do not understand your logic at all.
As the mother of young adult daughters, I'm so disappointed you didn't give Gardner's record a second look and instead called Sen. Udall's focus on women's issues "obnoxious." To me this focus is critical for all voters, but especially for young women. I find it obnoxious that people think women's issues are trivial or unimportant.
Nikki, Colorado Springs
The Denver Post endorsed Cory Gardner because of his "fresh
Which fresh ideas? Anti-abortion, anti-social security and anti-medicare?
Liberty, Crested Butte
I was shocked and dismayed at hearing that the only remaining major newspaper in the Denver Metro area would endorse a partisan candidate like Cory Gardner for Senate. In your own endorsement, you admit that Gardner winning could very well flip the Senate to the Republicans and justified your intention for this to happen by saying that "A look back shows that eras of evenly divided power -- Congress fully controlled by one party, the presidency by the other -- have turned out to be among the most productive"
Have you not been paying attention for the last 6 years? Republicans will do and say anything to get elected, then fall in line with hardline views on abortion, voting rights, marriage equality and anti-environmental policies. You know (or should) that ANY Republican in congress will block every single thing that Obama tries to get done from now until the end of his presidency. You are foolish if you think otherwise.
I'm absolutely appalled by your recent editorial endorsing Corey Gardner and slamming Senator Mark Udall. Corey Gardner has been anti-women since the start of his campaign. You've got a lot of nerve calling Mark Udall's support of women obnoxious--he's been a strong
women's advocate throughout his political career. Every woman who has lived in Colorado has known this for years. How could you possibly miss this point? Where have you been? If you cannot see the flawed logic of your endorsement of Gardner's political stunt, then you've lost the public trust as a (formerly reliable) news source. I have permanently cancelled my DP subscription and I have similar support of over 40 friends and neighbors who are spreading the word rapidly throughout the state. I can no longer place my trust in DP.
Endorsing Gardner is an insult to the women of Colorado, all minorities, working people and thinking people. The man is a liar. His name is still on the U.S. House Personhood Bill, that he claims he misunderstood. His nonsense about OTC birth control is ridiculous and medically unsafe. There is a reason you need a prescription to buy birth control pills. His stance on dirty fuels, especially fracking, is dangerous in a State that has been fracked too much already.
Cory Gardner will just be one more Koch Brother Republican in the Senate if the people of this great State are foolish enough to vote for him. Mark Udall has been an excellent Senator and he has served the people of Colorado well. Cory Gardner will only serve the rich and powerful. Withdraw your endorsement before you look like complete fools.
I am a Colorado resident and will be voting in this election. I am beyond the age of needing reproductive health care, however, I remember when abortions and even contraceptives were not available. Gardner is lying ... anyone who has held an extreme position such as his for as long as he has, simply cannot change his position - and certainly not in the direction he claims. The usual change of opinion, if there is one, is from someone who is not against abortion to become opposed to it - not the other way around as Gardner claims. He has done this for
election purposes only and The Denver Post should know that. How can the Post recommend someone who is a liar?! Does The Denver Post recommend a return to pre-1973 and pre-1960s for women? Really?! That's what a vote for Gardner would mean and The Denver Post should
not support him or his extreme position on women's reproductive health. I urge you to retract your recommendation to show that the Post is actually a responsible newspaper.
I was troubled to see how little thought the Denver Post staff gave to this endorsement of Mr. Gardner over Senator Udall. Their logic of "balancing" the government by making it even more
dysfunctional almost leaves me speechless. That's like saying the Broncos need to throw the ball to the other teams more. That wouldn't go over well in the win column, now would it. Colorado stands firm in the Congress with the strong team we have in the Senate and breaking it up
would not only give us a weaker voice but the wrong one for Colorado voters. We stand firm in our support for human rights of choice over dogma, religious or otherwise. Those are the family values that will chart our course into this new journey ahead. Those are Mark's and we're proud to call him our senator from Colorado.
The Post dropped the ball on the Gardner endorsement by not looking more deeply at his record, seeing his flip-flops, and giving him a get-out-of-jail free card on his treatment of women's rights to healthcare. On a 0 to 10 scale for credibility, the Post just dropped from a 7.5 or 8 to a 2. Gardner is someone who would polarize Coloradans against one another while paralyzing the state. The Post not only dropped the ball on this one, you got caught. Shame on you.
As a long-time Denver Post subscriber, previous employee ... I have always put a lot of stock in endorsements/opinions of the Post.
But the endorsement of Gardner is 180 degrees away from the opinions I have learned to trust over the years.
My main objection is Gardner's stand on 'women's rights' issues. He is entitled to his own personal beliefs of right and wrong, but so the rights of each and every woman faced with the decision of birth control and abortion must be maintained as legal. It IS an important personal issue, a decision not to be imposed upon by the government.
Please reconsider the Post's position and issue a retraction to Gardner's endorsement.
I am shocked that The Denver Post endorsed extremist Cory Gardner, a candidate backed by big oil polluters Charles and David Koch. Gardner and the Kochs are part of a social sweep to undo decades of progressive social programs and policies, such as reproductive rights for women, social security and the minimum wage. Your logic that "Gardner's election would pose no threat to abortion rights" is flawed. Turning back the clock for women's reproductive rights is precisely what Gardner and his friends want to do. Your characterization of Mark Udall's focus on women's issues as "obnoxious" is an insult to women, who have a reliable record of protection and advocacy from Udall. Why not point out the inconsistencies in what Gardner says and does. Why is it OK for Gardner and his pals to push for extreme regulation of women's bodies, but oppose government regulation of industrial polluters, like the Kochs, who have committed horrendous violations of the law (See the Sept. 24 Rolling Stone article "Inside the Koch Brothers Toxic Empire" if you really want to know who Gardner's friends are.) With the fate of the U.S. Senate resting on this race, I expect more from Colorado's largest newspaper.
Sadly, journalism at The Denver Post is in need of a good eulogy.
Madonna, Fort Collins
Today (10/11/14) I cancelled my subscription to the Denver Post: I cannot support a paper that endorses a person who sponsored the so called person hood amendment that would have banned Legal Birth Control and forced a woman to carry to term a pregnancy that was caused by rape, incest, or to find a back alley and use a rusty coat hanger to end this pregnancy.
Albert, Steamboat Springs
The reason "Congress is hardly functioning" is that the Republican House - in which Cory Gardner sits - refuses to negotiate on vital issues with the more centrist and balanced Senate. It is not Udall's fault. And as for new ideas that Cory supposedly has, his party - as reflected in the House passed bills (the fewest since WWII) - wants to do three things legislatively: cut taxes some more, eliminate things Obama accomplished, and increase defense spending. None of these can be called "new ideas". And Cory will add momentum to the push to further restrict access to abortion. A federal bill is a possibility. A bad choice.
Colorado needs a senator who reflects the values of the state. Not one driven by an extreme ideology, as is Gardener. Republicans and the Tea Party seek to turn back the clock, thinking people will accept returning to a more conservative time. The genie is out of the bottle and there is no turning back.