They met with President Barack Obama and walked away with a bag of swag. This is the life. What more can you wish for, as a newly elected Republican senator or congressman?
Pray tell if this insipid little, go-along-to-get-along fellow does not follow the motto just outlined. He is Cory Gardner, GOP senator elect for Colorado, to replace Mark Uterus (who ran a gynocentric campaign), in conversation with Chris Wallace:
WALLACE: I want to start with the question that I asked Senator-elect Capito. Do you think — from what you’ve heard since the election, do you think the president gets what voters were saying on election night?
GARDNER: Time will tell.Look, what I saw on Colorado election night wasn’t so much about Republicans or Democrats, but it was a rejection of the failed ways of Washington. Democrats happened to be in charge of the Senate, and the — and the president. So, the fact is, if the president doesn’t recognize that people are dissatisfied with the direction of Washington, then he’s going to have a challenge over the next couple of years.
WALLACE: What message, Senator-elect, do you think voters were sending Republicans? Do you think it was a mandate? Or do you think in a sense, it was kind of hold your nose and they dislike you less than they dislike the president and the Democrats?
GARDNER: Well, the mandate was this — people don’t like dysfunction, they don’t like gridlock, they don’t like the way that Washington is working. And so, in two years from now, if Republicans don’t prove that we can govern with maturity, that we can govern with competence, we’ll see the same kind of results two years from now, except it will be a wave going back the different — a different direction.
WALLACE: In your campaign, you reached out to Hispanics who make up 14 percent of voters in your state of Colorado. And you did very well in a lot of the areas of Colorado where they live. Since the election, perhaps the biggest issue has been the president’s statement, his determination that he’s going to sign the executive order differing to deportation of millions of people who are in this country illegally now.
Here is some of the debate over that issue.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIPS)
OBAMA: What I’m not going to do is just wait. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve shown a lot of patience.
SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO: I believe that if the president continues to act on his own, he is going to poison the well. When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Senator-elect, do you worry that Republicans are going to once again be seen, when all this is over, once again be seen as anti-Hispanic and anti-immigration?
GARDNER: I think what we have to do is make sure that we work with the president, show a willingness in the House and Senate to work together so that the president can ultimately do the right thing. The right thing for the president to do isn’t going around Congress, but it’s working with Congress. So, I think that’s the challenge this new era of goodwill, so to speak, presents itself for us. We have to make sure that the president is willing to do the right thing. And that means the Congress, the House and Senate, are willing to show an effort to work together. I think, ultimately, that’s how we have immigration reform, and we have to continue our outreach efforts in every community in our country, in every community in states like Colorado, to make sure that they have the confidence that we’re going to look out for them and be a strong voice for them, regardless of where they’re from.
WALLACE: But what’s going to happen when the president — and he says he’s going to do it sometime before the end of the year — signs this executive order, goes around Congress?
GARDNER: Well, I hope the president, between now and whenever that is — will change his mind, will decide to do the right thing.
WALLACE: And if he doesn’t?
GARDNER: And that means that Mitch McConnell and Leader Boehner — again, we have to encourage him to do the right thing. I don’t want to speculate about an executive order that may or may not exist.
But the bottom line is this: we know we need immigration reform in this country, because the system isn’t working in what we have right now.
But the president — to encourage working together, to encourage a way to go forward, if he does this, then I’m concerned that he won’t be doing the right thing, and that would hurt our ability to move forward the next two years. Let’s do the right thing, let’s work together, let’s find solutions.
That’s what the people of Colorado are looking for. In large part, that’s why we were able to achieve victory, because we present to that positive, optimistic vision for this country. And that’s what the president needs to do.
WALLACE: Well, let’s talk about doing the right thing on immigration. The Hispanic vote did not play a big role in the midterms, but you know, as well as I do, they’re going to play a very big role, because Hispanics tend to vote more in presidential elections, they’re going to play a big role in 2016.
How do Republicans get on the right side of the immigration issue for what is the fastest growing voting bloc in the nation?
GARDNER: When you look at the issues that the Hispanic community cares about — you know, in Pueblo County, Colorado, I essentially tied Senator Udall, that’s one of the largest Hispanic populations in the state, and what of the largest counties in the state, and we did it because we talked about issues that mattered to every community, including the Hispanic community, whether it’s education, growing jobs and opportunity, making sure that children aren’t trapped in a failing school system.
WALLACE: But sir, specifically on immigration —
GARDNER: That’s the kind of message that we have around the state.
WALLACE: Specifically on immigration, aren’t Republicans going to have to do something when it comes to legalization of the millions who are already here?
GARDNER: Well, I think when it comes to immigration, we’ve talked about border security. Let’s start with border security, as so many people are asking for. But border security in and of itself is not complete unless you have a meaningful guest worker program to go along with it, to create that way for a legal avenue of labor.
We have to make sure we’re fixing the exit/entry systems, making sure we’re addressing E-verify systems. Those are things that Republicans can and should do right now. That I think is something that the House, the Senate and president can work together.
So, let’s do the right thing. Let’s take those steps where I think there is a broad agreement that we can get behind and make sure that we are doing the right thing.
WALLACE: Finally, and we have less than a minute left. For all the talk about the Republican Senate, you’re going to find out very quickly, I know you already know it, but I suspect you’re not up fully up to how frustrating it’s going to be. You’re going to need a lot of Democratic votes to hit that 60-vote super majority to get anything done.
Any thoughts about how to break the gridlock in the Senate?
GARDNER: I worked closely with Gary Peters, senator-elect from Michigan, done a lot of energy efficiency worked with Ron Wyden from Oregon. It is about relationships. It’s about putting those things on the president’s desk that have broad bipartisan support.
Let’s start first with putting those kinds of solution, like the Keystone pipeline, like repeal of the medical device tax on the president’s desk. Let’s show that we can do it with Republicans and Democrats and prove to the American people that Washington learned its lesson and that will ultimately help Republicans in 2016 when it comes to our nominee.
What do you imagine creepy Cory means when he say the GOP should “govern with maturity … with competence”?
UPDATE (11/10): Here is How You Reach Across That Aisle: “to paraphrase one hardcore tea partier’s fighting words, the only time you want your representative to reach across the aisle is to grab a Democrat or an errant Republican by the throat.”