In a cutting op-ed yesterday, District Attorney George Brauchler blasted Governor Hickenlooper over his cowardly decision to punt the Nathan Dunlap death penalty decision to the next governor.

With the speculation surrounding Brauchler’s possible gubernatorial candidacy, the op-ed gives a glimpse at the lines of attack he might use against Hickenlooper.

It begins:

From a podium 20 miles and 20 years removed from one of the most cold-blooded mass murders in Colorado history, Governor John Hickenlooper mouthed his respect for Dunlap’s victims, Colorado law, the Colorado criminal justice system and judges…and then arrogantly ignored them all.

Echoing his now-famous speech on the steps of Governor Hickenlooper’s office on the day the Dunlap decision was announced, Brauchler goes on to slam Hick’s “well-known traits: weakness and indecision” and the fresh damage done to the victims’ families by the governor’s “shrug.”

One particularly memorable line:

Hickenlooper’s indecision is a rewrite of the famous Robert Frost poem “The Road Not Taken,” into “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — stood there, for the rest of my life — unable to decide which one to take.”

You can read the full op-ed in the Cherry Creek Chronicle or The Colorado Observer.

As the district attorney of the jurisdiction where the Dunlap murders were committed and the man responsible for prosecuting Aurora shooter James Holmes, Brauchler’s criticism is rooted in his personal experience and it’s clear he takes great offense at Hickenlooper’s utter lack of leadership. 

No matter who the GOP nominee is the Dunlap (in)decision will be a major part of the 2014 gubernatorial race. Should it be Brauchler, this op-ed makes clear Hickenlooper will have to figure out a better excuse than he’s given so far.