Despite an unwillingness to take a position on most anything, besides his desire for a job in Congress, state Senate President Brandon-Mander Shaffer has suddenly decided to remake himself as the natural gas candidate. Since he won't come out with his own positions on actual legislation in Congress, he's resorted to attacking Gardner for being a lawyer (which Shaffer is) and trying to peddle poll-tested soundbites.
Other than the awful DC talking point that he is for "Colorado Solutions," the other trope Shaffer is trotting out came up in an article about his visit to Sterling in the Sterling Journal-Advocate:
"Development wise, [Shaffer] said the nation needs to be looking at resources like natural gas. He criticized Gardner for taking his name off a major natural gas initiative; a bill that would create tax credits designed to encourage natural gas development and use."
Shaffer is for natural gas? Ha! Shaffer is for natural gas so long as it doesn't have to be drilled. Sort of like being for Hershey's Bars, while hating chocolate factories.
Our sources under the Gold Dome tell us that during the pitched struggle over Bill Ritter's oil and gas wars, Shaffer always tried to position himself as a broker between Ritter and warring Republicans and energy companies. It became something of a running joke that Shaffer wore on his sleeve the fact that he had a family member who worked in the natural gas industry.
But on the crucial votes on oil and gas regulations, Shaffer always stood lock step with Bill Ritter.
On the opposite side of Ritter’s regulation supporters stood those who produce natural gas and feed their family from the jobs in the industry. From a GJ Daily Sentinel report in 2009:
“Ritter has quarreled with the natural gas industry over new drilling rules adopted by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which he reconstituted soon after he was elected in 2006.
More than 2,000 people packed a hearing in Grand Junction, most of them to protest the new rules.”
Shaffer's attempt at shape-shifting into the natural gas candidate might run into some problems, considering the way Hickenlooper has characterized the oil and gas regulations that Shaffer shepherded through the state Senate:
"The whole process, I thought, was flawed, and I've said this to Gov. Ritter," Hickenlooper said of how the regulations were adopted:
"What happened was, the environmentalists went way overboard, I think, and pushed very hard — I shouldn't say overboard, I'll get myself in trouble — but they pushed very hard for certain things they thought were very important.
"The oil and gas people weren't in the room. They felt betrayed, so they pushed back really hard . . . and all of a sudden the environmentalists felt they had been betrayed."
When a Democrat Governor characterizes Shaffer's support for Ritter's oil and gas regulations as siding with "overboard" environmentalists, it makes it pretty damn hard to sell the image of Senator Shaffer, the natural gas guy.