The New Republic's Rebecca Leber reports on another brutal moment for GOP U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner at this week's Denver Post debate–in which Gardner was unable to give a simple yes-or-no answer to the question of humanity's role in global climate change.
Tuesday, Gardner refused to answer a yes or no question on whether humans are causing climate change. Insisting the response would be too complicated, he told a (reportedly) pro-Democratic crowd that, "I believe that the climate is changing, I disagree to the extent that it's been in the news." And Gardner isn’t the only Colorado Republican struggling with these issues. During a debate in late September, Mike Coffman, a congressman seeking reelection, got into trouble answering the same question of whether climate change is real. First he said, “No,” then he said, “Don’t know,” during a round of rapid-fire questioning…
As tedious as it may seem to keep reminding Republicans that climate change science really isn’t such a mystery, it’s important that candidates are getting asked for their views. It reveals just how hard the GOP politicians are trying to sound reasonable, even as they reject science. For a while, the clichéd Republican response was “the climate is always changing.” Later it became, "I'm not scientist." Tomorrow it will probably be something else. Reporters should keep asking these questions, and watching Republicans tie themselves into such rhetorical knots. At some point, hopefully, the voters will notice.
Gardner's attempt to "gum to death" what should have been a straightforward answer, in a debate marked by repeated attempts to bluster past questions central to Gardner's campaign like his Obamacare "cancellation" and support for measures that could ban birth control, helped cement the impression in the audience that Gardner just doesn't feel any need to be straight with voters. Gardner's non-answers to specific questions about his health insurance policy were plainly meant to evade, and we've already gone into detail about Gardner's disastrous attempt to "Jedi Mind Trick" his continuing sponsorship of the federal Life at Conception Act–an abortion ban bill that could have the same consequences for certain forms of "abortifacient" birth control as the state Personhood measures he claims to no longer support. Here we have a case of Gardner trying to evade the damage that a simple yes or no answer would do–but his decision to bicker with the moderators instead of answering the question only makes him look worse.
It's another situation where, for all of Gardner's alleged oratorical skill, he comes off looking like a say-anything weasel. We'll freely admit that the failure of Gardner to defend himself under scrutiny, now that the press is finally asking him the hard questions, surprises us.
However you feel about the issues, we honestly thought Gardner was better at the argumentation. But he's not.