I was stunned when I received this email from the No Labels group:
No Labels is looking to identify top citizen leaders to help us in this crucial election. From October 31 to November 5, we will send a select few supporters to Colorado and California to help Get Out The Vote for our Problem Solvers, Congressmen Cory Gardner and Ami Bera. No Labels will cover the cost of flights both to and from your selected assignment.
If you are interested, please reply to this email by 6 p.m. today.
Participation will include knocking on doors and making calls. I encourage you to get involved in making sure the right people come to Washington to solve problems.
I got involved with No Labels several years ago when they first got started and I have always supported their efforts to get politicians to set the party line aside and work together to address the issues this country needs to address. I thought it was a good idea when they created a group they call the Problem Solvers, members of Congress from both sides of the aisle coming together to find answers.
I was skeptical, however, when it was announced that Colorado Cong. Cory Gardner had joined the Problem Solvers. Cory Gardner has been named one of the 10 most conservative members of Congress and he has been happy to wear that mantle. In the dust-up that led to the federal government shut-down last year Gardner was in the thick of the pack voting to make that happen. I have never seen a bit of bipartisanship from Cory Gardner.
Now Gardner is running for the Senate against the Democratic incumbent Mark Udall. Udall has run a stupid race and as a result, what should have been a blow-out for the incumbent is one of the tightest races in the country. Colorado is deep purple. There is no way on this planet that Cory Gardner is representative of the majority of the people here.
I’m not saying that Udall is a wonderful choice, although I am saying he’s a lot closer to the majority of voters than Gardner. But No Labels could have endorsed someone who really would have been willing to work on both sides of the aisle. Steve Shogan is an independent drawing a surprising amount of support. Someone like Shogan would have the makings of a true Problem Solver, unlike Cory Gardner whose entire campaign is built around convincing people he is not the hyper-partisan politician he always has been.
But that’s a flaw in the whole Problem Solvers idea. You’re only eligible to be a member if you’re already in office.
I wrote back to Anthony Pigninelli at No Labels, with these remarks:
I am aghast and disgusted that No Labels would support Cory Gardner. Is a simple pledge to work in a bipartisan manner all it takes to erase an actual voting record that is totally opposite of that? I live in Colorado and I am an independent. More Colorado voters are independent than are Republicans or Democrats. Colorado is totally purple. Cory Gardner has been named one of the 10 most conservative members of Congress, and he wears that title proudly. Cory Gardner is no fit representative for the entire state, just for his conservative house district. I may not be in love with Mark Udall but Udall is a far better fit for the state as a whole than is Gardner. I am seriously considering terminating all association with No Labels because of this.
Anthony replied with this:
We are supporting Congressman Gardner because he has agreed to work across the aisle to help advance the four goals of our National Strategic Agenda.
Previously, he has worked with Congressman Peter Welch, a Democrat from Vermont, on making government buildings run energy efficiently. This bill was part of No Labels’ Make Government Work! package, unveiled by dozens of Republicans and Democrats last year.
Excuse me, but making government buildings run energy efficiently is not exactly a hot partisan issue. Cory Gardner is no Problem Solver, he is an opportunist who figured he’d get a little extra support just by saying all the right words, whether he truly believed them or not. And No Labels fell for it. I’m disgusted.