Hickenlooper’s cowardly decision to punt the issue of Chuck E. Cheese killer Nathan Dunlap’s death sentence is being noticed nationally. Yesterday, a post by Ben Howe on Red State — one of the most influential national blogs in politics — ripped Hickenlooper for “one of the most cowardly decisions ever seen in politics.”
In Colorado, the fate of convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap has been an issue of great debate. This past week, the governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, made what has to be one of the most cowardly decisions ever seen in politics by putting a man’s life and the expectations of his victims on hold just long enough to take the decision out of his hands…
Governor Hickenlooper, already famous in Colorado for his inability to take a strong position or make difficult decisions, had to decide which direction to take: clemency or execution. Incredibly, he found a way to do neither, instead pushing the decision onto the shoulders of his successor by using an executive order to issue a “temporary reprieve” blaming his decision on an “imperfect system.” The reprieve will likely stand for the remainder of Hickenlooper’s term and require a new governor to order its removal.
“Obviously this has weighed heavily on me for over a year now and it was obvious that inaction wasn’t an option,” said at a press conference Wednesday. And yet, inaction is precisely what he’s done. It’s also worth noting that while he was “heavily weighing” the situation and families were waiting in the wings to find out whether justice would be served for their loved ones, Hickenlooper was partying with the Denver Broncos.
To add insult to injustice, it appears there is a possibility that Hickenlooper made his fateful indecision at the behest of an overzealous staffer that was threatening to quit if he didn’t offer clemency.
Keen eyed readers will note that Howe references two Peak scoops on the unsavory decision making process that the Guv used to temporarily save Dunlap’s life.
We’ve yet to hear Hickenlooper deny the heavy handed role that his Chief of Staff, Roxanne White, played in pushing for clemency. Then again, if our too-close-for-comfort top aide forced our hand on a serious issue like Dunlap’s death sentence we’d probably stay silent too.
While Red State may be a conservative site, it’s worth noting that those other than Colorado residents picked up on Hickenlooper’s cowardice. The double downside to Hick’s hiding from the hard decision is he’s not receiving praise on liberal blogs for saving Dunlap’s life. Opponents of the death penalty are still smarting over Hick’s killing of the death penalty repeal bill by threatening to veto it.
In many ways the issue of the death penalty is beginning to define a Hickenlooper narrative nationally of a politician afraid to make tough choices. In trying to please all the people all the time, Hickenlooper has ended up pleasing no one.