The Denver Post, in their opinion columns and in the inevitable spin of their news reporting, has supported reproductive choice, a living wage, and marriage equality. The Post supports rational gun control laws, including limits on high capacity clips, and is a strong advocate for immigration reform. While the editorial board did not support the specifics of Amendment 64 (Colorado's marijuana law), they have supported the legalization of marijuana at the federal level.
And the editorial board endorsed the re-election of Colorado's Democrat governor, John Hickenlooper.
So why is Denver's only daily newspaper endorsing Cory Gardner and his fellow Tea Party candidates Mike Coffman and Ken Buck?
Republican voters can be relied upon to vote against their own self interests, economic and otherwise. It is not unusual to find someone with a minimum wage job, or multiple low-paying jobs, who supports tax breaks for billionaires. The Republican party depends on this kind of cognitive dissonance for its very survival.
We expect more from the editorial board of a major newspaper.
Newspaper endorsements derive their credibility from the belief that editors and the writers who work for them are in a good position to be informed about the issues, to talk to candidates, and to have a sense of history about the candidates and the institutions to which they wish to be elected.
With these endorsements, The Denver Post has squandered that credibility.
How can the editorial board write multiple columns supporting the Affordable Care Act and then endorse candidates that voted more than 50 times to defund that same law? How can they expect immigration reform from men who have consistently opposed efforts to make it easier for immigrants to obtain documentation and citizenship?
How can a rational person recommend a "No" vote on Colorado's Amendment 67, an amendment which would criminalize most abortions and many contraceptives, and then endorse a candidate who, whether Congressman Gardner wants to admit it or not, is still listed as a co-sponsored of H.R. 1091, the "Life at Conception Act"? Gardner is not alone in his opposition to reproductive choice. Mike Coffman voted to defund Planned Parenthood, potentially blocking 4.7 million women and men from reproductive health services. Ken Buck has said that he is against abortion, including cases of rape and incest.
In their endorsement of Ken Buck, the editorial board referred to Buck as "an intelligent, energetic public servant." Evidence would suggest otherwise. Mr. Buck did not demonstrate a high degree of intelligence when the Colorado Supreme Court found that he violated the Fourth Amendment in his raid on Amalia's Tax and Translation Service. He didn't show any particularly useful knowledge when he was working in the United States Attorney's Office, where he was formally reprimanded and required to take ethics classes. Again, Buck's views on abortion - that it should be illegal, even in cases of rape - and his views on immigration are inconsistent with the published editorial opinions of The Denver Post.
The Denver Post clearly did not research the views or qualifications of Vic Meyers, the Democrat candidate. In fact, the Post's research was so poor that they misspelled the name of the Democratic challenger. For the record, it's "Vic Meyers", with an "s". So much for accuracy and credibility.
The editorial board is either naïve or incredibly disingenuous. I tend to believe the latter. The Denver Post editorials on issues are calculated to please readers and sell newspapers in Denver, a relatively progressive community. Their actual political strategy, however, is to elect men who oppose progressive values.
By endorsing Gardner, Coffman, and Buck, The Denver Post has revealed itself for what it really is: a right leaning organization that will say whatever it must say to survive while enacting an agenda that the majority of Coloradans oppose.
That similarity to politicians may be why The Denver Post felt so comfortable endorsing these extreme Tea Party Republicans.