Colorado Senator Cory Gardner joined me this morning:
HH: So pleased to welcome Cory Gardner, senator from Colorado. Good morning, Senator Gardner, welcome back to the Hugh Hewitt Show.
CG: Good morning, Hugh, thanks for having me on.
HH: Now it’s early, so I assume you’ve read Brett Kavanaugh and the Rule of Four, my new column in the Washington Post?
CG: It is early. Look, this is a great nominee, and I’ll read it after this, I’m sure.
HH: All right, let me ask you the question I asked Thom Tillis yesterday. If you have to use percentage terms, what is percent likelihood that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed by the first Monday in October?
CG: Look, I have no doubt that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed. And so there’s no doubt, and there’s no doubt that he’ll be confirmed with Democrat support. I firmly believe and truly believe he will have Democratic support. Why? Because look at the attacks on Brett Kavanaugh right now. His first name is Brett. His nickname in college was Keg. He had Washington Nationals season tickets charged to his credit card. Those are the attacks the left is using on Brett Kavanaugh right now.
HH: So is that a 100%, Senator?
CG: I would say that’s as close as you can get, yes.
HH: Okay, now I also believe that that attack today on the use of the credit card to buy Nats, everybody in America who’s been part of a season ticket group knows that someone buys them and you reimburse them. Ought that to have been a story?
CG: It’s just, this whole thing shouldn’t be, it shouldn’t be a story. Nothing should be, this is, this is crazy what the left is doing. But it shows the real Thucydides trap that the left is facing on Kavanaugh.
HH: Oh, you’ve just left all the Steelers behind, all the Steelers. Thucydides trap, what is that? Is that a hunting thing? What is that?
CG: Well, you know, this is like going back to this Chinese philosopher who talked about this great power fight that will inevitably lead to conflict. But that’s what you’re seeing on the left right now. You’re seeing this within the Democratic party. You have this socialist victory in New York. You have these elements of the Democratic Party who are starting to eat their own like the debate going on against Chuck Schumer right now amongst the progressive activists in his state. And how does a red state Democrat in North Dakota, Missouri or Indiana survive that?
HH: Now you were getting our metaphors mixed up. Sun Tzu is the Chinese philosopher. Thucydides is the Greek philosopher. But they both said the same thing.
CG: I said Sun Tzu. You’re right, exactly right, Greek philosopher, yes.
HH: I know what you’re getting at, is that the Sun Tzu and the Thucydides out there all agree that the Democrats would be better off walking away from this one, but they can’t, can they, Cory Gardner?
CG: They can’t. I mean, so I mean, let’s just look at Missouri, for instance. The incumbent, Democratic incumbent in Missouri voted against Alito and Missouri voted for Bush. When Missouri voted against Obama, she voted for Kagan, Sotomayor and supported Garland. When Missouri supported Trump, she voted against Gorsuch. And so how is she going to walk away from the Democratic base and vote for Kavanaugh now after she’s voted every single time in lockstep with the Democrats? So I mean, this is really one of the damned if you do, damned if you don’t moments that they face, probably one of the greatest in a very long time.
HH: When she’s on her private jet flying around Missouri, she’s probably frowning a lot, because this is kind of her nightmare pick as she wanted an easier one, a radical judge. I wanted Kethledge, because it would be even more pressure on Heidi Heitkamp. But do you expect, let’s go to the three you might get – Manchin, Heitkamp, Donnelly. These are senators from West Virginia, North Dakota and Indiana respectively. Do you expect them to vote for Judge Kavanaugh?
CG: I expect, I believe they will vote for Judge Kavanaugh. And why? Not because of politics, well, yes, because of politics, but yes, because Judge Kavanaugh is a good judge, that if you look at his, if you look at his record, which we are getting into, and we will get into more, they’re going to see that you have a judge here who is a judge’s judge who has great respect. I saw a liberal Yale law professor write an op-ed in support of Judge Kavanaugh and his nomination. He’s going to have support from the left and the right. And they’re going to see that here is a judge who’s not going to rule base on personal opinion or biases, but the law. And that’s what we want of any judge on any court.
HH: Akhil Amar is the professor you’re talking about. Here is your colleague, Joe Manchin, on West Virginia radio yesterday, cut number 12:
JM: No, I don’t have a lean. I think he seems to be a very fine person of high moral standards, a family person who’s very involved in his community, has all the right qualities. He’s well educated. And with that, you know, we have to just look at making sure that the rule of law and the Constitution is going to be followed, and that’s going to basically preempt anything else he does. Most importantly, Hop, I intend to hear from West Virginians. And during that period of time that I just announced, I’ll be hearing from West Virginians and their opinion. I think they have also the right, and that’s who I work for. They’re my boss. And we want to hear from them, too, during this process.
HH: So that’s code for I’m voting for Kavanaugh, isn’t it?
CG: I would think so. That’s what I hear in that message as well.
HH: Okay, now let’s talk a little bit about timing. Yesterday, Senator Tillis, who is on Judiciary, said he thinks hearings will be the third week in August. They might slip to the fourth week, but he expects the third week. Is that what the conference expects, Senator Gardner?
CG: Yeah, I think that’s what Senator Grassley has said, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee. Obviously, there’s a lot of paperwork on Brett Kavanaugh that has to be put forward and gone through, so I think that sounds exactly right. If you follow the 66 day average of, I believe, it was Sotomayor and Gorsuch, that puts the confirmation sometime around mid-September. So you have a hearing, you have a week to digest, and then get into it.
HH: Now some people, as you said earlier, you don’t want to get into a war you can’t fight. You don’t want to get into a land war in Asia, right?
CG: That’s right. And it was President XI who first used that, at least in modern times. So that’s, yeah.
HH: You don’t want to do that, but the left of the Democratic Party is unhinged. They cannot not do that if they’re going to run for president. So Senator Tillis and I agree we need a secret word when Cory Booker goes off, to whisper into the microphone. He suggested goose, I suggested squirrel, whenever the Democrats go nuts. Would you be willing to use goose or squirrel when they use, when they go crazy on you?
CG: Well, yes. I think we have to, we have to say something, because it’s happening more and more regularly. And that’s what I think is leaving voters behind in Indiana, North Dakota and Missouri. As California and New York and the Chicago’s of the country absolutely meltdown, the rest of the country is saying hey, I’m earning more money than I ever have. I like a judge who’s going to interpret the Constitution, not make up stuff and think he’s a member of Congress. They don’t understand why the left has just simply had this meltdown.
HH: Now we’ve got a couple of longer stretches. For example, Jim Renacci’s got an uphill battle against Sherrod Brown. I think he can win that, because that’s pretty Ohio country, and people do not understand how much Ohio has become Trump country. John James is a very interesting candidate to me, Cory Gardner, very interesting. I’ve been with him, I’ve been up in Michigan recently, even went to the great city of Detroit to campaign for him and to be on stage with Mike Gallagher. What do you think of those two races in the heartland?
CG: Well, if you look at the Axios poll that just came out a couple of days ago, that’s not our poll, that’s not a Republican poll. It showed the race in Ohio exactly where we think it is, and that is very close, within the margin of error, and that Jim Renacci right now has low name ID. The second President Trump goes to Ohio and gets behind Jim Renacci, the people of Ohio are going to know who he is. They’re going to see the stark contrast, that he presents an opportunity for them. Sherrod Brown is the only Democrat remaining in Ohio statewide. So this is, this is a real race. And Renacci’s got a great chance to win this seat. If you look at Michigan, John James, I’ve met him several times. What an incredible candidate. He’s got a primary right now. Sandy Pensler, who is able to put some money of his own into the race, so that’s a late August primary. We’ll see how that develops, but Michigan is another state where the incumbent has kind of lost the support of a traditional support base like the farm bureau and others who are disappointed in votes on things like Waters of the United States that have hurt agriculture.
HH: And when you look out at races where we have an incumbent, Dean Heller, or a likely to be filling Jeff Flake is going to be, you can’t say this, but I can say. Martha McSally is going to be the nominee. I think they’re assisted by the Kavanaugh nomination, because Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona is to the left of Bernie Sanders. Honestly, she is to the left of Bernie Sanders. And in Nevada, Dean Heller’s going to vote for the nominee, and his opponent wouldn’t. Does the Supreme Court matter in those two races?
CG: You know, the Supreme Court does matter, absolutely. I mean, think about the way it impacted the votes in 2016. People who vote, went to the ballot box, maybe they didn’t like this nominee or that nominee, but they voted for President Trump because they knew his pick for the Supreme Court was going to be somebody who would adhere to the Constitution like a Neil Gorsuch, like a Brett Kavanaugh. And so when you’re looking at Dean Heller or Martha McSally, who’s leading by double digits in the primary in Arizona, you’re going to see people go to the ballot and say I want to continue this, because there may be more Supreme Court vacancies in the next couple of years. And so they want to see this happen. They want to vote for people they know will safeguard the Constitution, and that’s why this does benefit people like Dean Heller or Martha McSally.
HH: Last line of questioning, and I think Bill Nelson is in trouble, too, to Rick Scott. But let’s talk about the media. I have MSNBC on. They’re my friends. I work for MSNBC. I know all these people. I get along with them fine. But I think their constant drumbeat of Trump assaults, I mean, it’s 24/7 negative Trump unless I’m on there. I think that helps the President. Do you believe that MSNBC helps the President by being so anti-Trump?
CG: I think if you, yes. I mean, there’s no doubt about it, because what happens in these states particularly where we have Senate races, they’re seeing a better economy. They’re seeing more jobs. They’re seeing business optimism increase. They’re seeing investment. They’re seeing, you know, somebody fighting for them. And you know, this is, I think this is the great misunderstanding of the media. They’re isolated inside the Beltway, inside New York, inside L.A., and they don’t know what it’s like to be a Missourian who’s going to the polls, who’s living in North Dakota, who’s living in Indiana, who’s living in Florida. There’s this isolation that has created a vacuum of reality.
HH: There is something called the rebound effect where a phenomenon comes back stronger after it’s been attacked because of the attack itself. And I think the left wing media, the liberal media, places like the old print guardian at the New York Times, or the new cable channel like MSNBC, they attack the President so relentlessly that the rebound effect is to help him. Am I right or wrong, Cory Gardner?
CG: No, I think you’re right. You know, I watch my kids sometimes, and the more I get angry with them about something, the more they’re going to be stubborn and resilient. And in this case, you know, resistant, I mean. But in this case, they’re actually, yes, the more you attack him, the more they get their next vote, so the speak. But they actually look at what’s happening around them – regulations being decreased, taxes being cut, income growing, wages growing, wages and income growing, businesses growing. They’re seeing a reason for that optimism and for that sort of resistance to what’s being poured down them from the mainstream media.
HH: So I think, last question, I think we really want liberal Democratic senators and their backers in the media to go crazy over Brett Kavanaugh. It might be uncomfortable for him and his family to listen to, but politically, we want them to go crazy.
CG: Well, I think that’s exactly what they’re doing. I mean, my gosh, when he’s being accused of having names like Brett and he can’t be on the Supreme Court because of it, I think they’ve jumped not just one shark, but quite a few.
HH: Thank you, Cory Gardner, always a pleasure. Great senator from Colorado leading the effort to add to the President’s majority, the Republican majority in the United State Senate, Mitch McConnell as leader, best leader in my lifetime. He’s going to have more Republicans to work with.
End of interview.