24 September 2014: Gardner a political chameleon

Gardner is a political chameleon

Ploy.  Ruse.  Each, particularly when advanced by a public servant, indicates conniving underhandedness unworthy of serious consideration and provides the observer insight into the true character of the individual.

Describe it as one will, the latest proposal put forth by senate candidate Cory Gardner, to allow for over-the-counter birth control pills, is hardly an expression of genuine concern for women’s health and protection of their right to privacy by controlling their reproductive systems.

It’s nothing more than a gambit, which Merriam-Webster defines as “a planned series of moves at the beginning of a game of chess or something done or said in order to gain an advantage or to produce a desired result.”

Gardner and the boys of his congressional frat house present this as a common sense idea to convince women and men supportive of women’s reproductive rights they have at last found the light when it comes to women’s issues.  The reality is, though, they haven’t lost their old time religious fervor, the reason the fundamentalist Christian Right is not in an uproar over the proposal.

Fundamentalists understand Gardner’s proposal for what it is: a transparent and dishonest initiative that won’t suddenly cause teenage and unmarried women engaging in sexual promiscuity and licentiousness, blissfully unafraid of becoming pregnant.  They’re not afraid for a simple reason: the out-of-pocket cost for lower income girls and women would be prohibitive.  You can’t buy something you can’t pay for.

Everyone has a financial stake in this in that at the end we all pay for unwanted pregnancies through higher taxes and other rising costs, and the best way to keep the poverty rate down and less children suffering from malnutrition and other poor life conditions is not to have them in the first place.  Birth control is both then a personal and societal issue.

In her Denver Post column Lisa Wirthman dissects the farce.

“It’s a disingenuous move,” she writes, “that could actually make the pill more expensive for women, and ignores the growing popularity and effectiveness of long-acting contraceptives that are reducing unintended pregnancies here in Colorado.”

The real reason, she says, for the ploy is that it serves as another attempt “to circumvent the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) mandate that insurance policies cover birth control without a co-pay.

“What’s more, the Republican plan for over-the-counter birth control pills bypasses the growing popularity of long-acting contraceptives like IUDs, which are considered more effective. They’re also more expensive, costing up to $1,000 and requiring a doctor’s visit, so they can’t be sold over the counter.”

The online political fact-checker Politifact rates Gardner’s proposal and “facts” as “mostly false.”

“When Gardner asks ‘what’s the difference between me and Mark Udall on contraception,’ but only provides a plan for the pill,” Politifact states, “he’s leaving out a lot of people who medically cannot use the pill or chose another option. Absent the Affordable Care Act, these other methods would undoubtedly be more expensive for consumers.”

Princeton University health policy and economics professor Zack Cooper told Politifact, “When you make something even a little more expensive, use goes down.  That means more women get pregnant, and babies cost a lot more than birth control. You can argue it would actually increase the cost of insurance and the government will be on the hook for more federal subsidies.”

By calling himself a “new kind of Republican,” Gardner is first of all admitting the old-kind of Republican, the progeny of Ronald Reagan, can be an unsavory political sort.  But all that is in the past, he insists, and he’s the new face of moderation.

The truth, despite his attempt at “re-imaging,” is he’s not a new kind of Republican.  After further study of this proposal, one cannot help but conclude Gardner is the same all-too-common clever, untrustworthy and dishonest type that has seized control of a once dynamic and open party.

Gardner’s stance on personhood is a telling indicator that he’s a political chameleon, a charlatan.  Before he decided to run for the senate, he actively supported it.  Now that he’s a candidate, he’s against it in Colorado, that is, despite remaining steadfast for it nationally.

Gardner wants to be our next senator and that won’t happen without support from women and politically independent men, which leads to the big question: How many will be fooled by his new-found liberal stance on women’s reproductive rights?


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