UPDATE: One reader points out a key difference between the Governor’s last press secretary and his likely new one: George Merritt is universally liked and a nice guy.
UPDATE 2: Another reader raises an even more important matter: Did Hubbard recuse himself from Hickenlooper and Udall-related editorials while he negotiated his new employment? Someone dig out the ethics manual for the Society of Professional Journalists.
The Denver Post announced this afternoon that the liberal editorial page editor, Curtis Hubbard, would be going to work for the Democratic political consulting firm, OnSight Public Affairs, which is handling Governor Hickenlooper’s re-election campaign.
Or to put it simply, Hubbard has gone from Hickenlooper’s unofficial hack to his official flack.
Taking over the editorial reins will be Vincent Carroll, who ran the editorial page at the now-defunct, but much missed, Rocky Mountain News. We were the first to break word of the editorial board shake up on Twitter.
Hubbard will be the second Denver Post “reporter” to join the staff at OnSight Public Affairs, with former Post reporter George Merritt leaving OnSight for Kansas City.
During his time running both the editorial page, and the political news section before that, Hubbard did a fair share of shilling for just the politicians his new employers happen to work for — in particular U.S. Senator Mark Udall and Governor Hickenlooper.
For a brief crash course in conflict of interest, here are 5 editorial wet kisses Curtis Hubbard landed on his future clients in 2013, all the while probably negotiating his future employment with their firm:
OnSight Client: Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper
1) On Hick’s “State of the State”: Perhaps Hubbard’s greatest talent has been to carry the “bipartisan” message for Hickenlooper. See Hubbard’s coverage of Hick’s 2013 State of the State:
“And, to Hickenlooper’s credit, we have a pragmatic governor who has managed to keep people on both sides of the aisle happy.”
2) On the death penalty – The Dunlap decision, made by Hick, has been by far his least popular. When nobody in the political world wanted to defend Hick’s cowardly punt, Hubbard came riding to the rescue, praising Hickenlooper:
“He came to the conclusion, as this editorial board has, that the death penalty is not a deterrent to crime and its application is inconsistent.”
Seated in the middle (though inching a bit toward the gun-control supporters seated to his right) was the evening’s moderate, er, moderator — Hickenlooper. …The more you watch Colorado’s Democratic governor, however, the more you realize how much more comfortable he is when trying to bring people together.”
OnSight Client: Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall
4) On wind tax credits -While the implosion of Vestas might have been enough to derail Hubbard from heaping praise on Udall, he takes the opportunity to, again, praise Udall’s so-called bipartisan efforts on the issue (Udall’s wife supports).
“This is the rare issue with bipartisan support that Romney should be embracing. In the Senate it’s championed by, among others, Grassley and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet of Colorado.”
“Colorado’s U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who has hounded his colleagues to extend wind energy tax credits, already is laying the ground work for a broader strategy.”
5) On seating arrangements – Our achieve-nothing Senator from Colorado actually does have one achievement under his belt — he excels at seating arrangements. The hilarious quote included by the Denver Post editorial board about Udall’s big achievement in the U.S. Senate – bipartisan seating arrangements:
“I’m an old mountaineer, and I think the aisle that divides us has become as high as a mountain,” Udall, D-Colo., said then. “I think we all agree that if we can’t sit together in an important night like this, how are we going to face big challenges?”