Governor Hickenlooper must be confused. He must have taken the title of the state's CEO the wrong way, thinking that it means he should run the state just like he ran his brewpub. What else are you supposed to think when you hear his first step in his "bottom-up" economic development plan is a…state nickname?

Unfortunately, running a state amidst the worst economy since the Great Depression is a little harder and more complicated than selling beer near a baseball stadium.

A reader on the West Slope alerted us yesterday to an article in the GJ Sentinel that highlighted the nickname strategy:

In six months, Colorado may have a nickname that will eventually be as recognizable as “The Big Apple,” “The Big Easy” and “Sin City” are for New York, New Orleans and Las Vegas.  

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade is looking to give out-of-state residents quick, simple labels that they can associate with Colorado.  

“There’s not really a consistent message for Colorado,” Office of Economic Development and International Trade Director David Thomson said Friday at the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce’s quarterly breakfast.  

“We’re working on a brand and we’re hoping in six months we’ll be able to roll that out.”

New York, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Colorado. Which is of these is not like the other? Oh yeah, one is a STATE. And kind of a big, diverse one at that. Not exactly ripe for a three-word moniker. 

Beyond that, doesn't it strike you as incredibly small ball to make the first step of an economic development plan coming up with a state slogan? What's next? A catchy jingle too? And it will take another six months to develop?

We wonder how much they're probably spending on outside Madison Avenue consultants coming up with this nickname.

It sounds eerily reminiscent of Hick's equally bad use of time and money when he spent $200,000 of taxpayer money to hire a New York firm to find out if state employees are happy at their jobs. As we said in August, who cares if bureaucrats are happy — they're employed. That is more than 225,000 unemployed Coloradans can say.

Yes, Governor, that is 225,000 unemployed Coloradans, not "almost 25,000."

Hick has sold himself as the business friendly, savvy operator capable of bringing substantial economic prosperity to Colorado. 

But we are beginning to think that the larger truth about Hick's governing philosophy was accidentally spilled by Hick to conservative Washington Post commentator George Will when he said:

"We are such a purple state we can avoid the big fights."

With this latest nickname-to-drive-job-growth strategy, maybe Hick has begun applying his small bore M.O. to economic development as well. 

Hick has made sounds about leading on the large items, like a regulatory reform bill he chickened out from spearheading last legislative session, and not backing tax increases in 2011. Instead, he has hidden from taking a position on Prop 103 and focused his fire on a city-wide ballot initiative in Denver instead.

This small time leadership is getting old, quickly.

Will Governor "Howdy Doody", as lefty netroot ghoul David Sirota calls him, continue riding ponies or will he step up and grab the horns and ride this state into a bull economy?