There is a growing trend in politics to demonize major sources of funding. The thinking being that if you can discredit the source of the money, then the project benefiting from it loses credibility by association.
Certain associations come to mind anytime people hear the Koch brothers are behind something. Granted, those associations largely fall along partisan lines, but what happens when they don’t? Rep. Jared Polis is about to find out.
Since Polis is single handedly driving forward two ballot initiatives to ban fracking, he has found himself with a target on his back. Messaging from pro-fracking groups is just as much directed at shaming Polis as it is at extolling the benefits of responsible energy development.
Take, for example, a recent letter from the pro-energy group Vital for Colorado asking Polis to withdraw his ballot initiatives. The letter is signed by dozens of high profile business and political organizations, such as the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and Nucor Corporation. In it, they write:
Every sector in our economy is intertwined. An attack on the oil and gas industry is an attack on Colorado because all Coloradans benefit from having a prosperous energy economy.
Please reconsider your approach to this debate and let the democratic process, both at the Capitol and at the ballot box, serve its purpose free from interference of a heavy hand.
This is the first direct appeal these groups have made to Polis asking that he effectively stand down. It piles onto the weeks of hammering from other groups that have spread their focus to include demonizing Polis on top of beating his initiatives. The extent to which this hammering is bipartisan is what sets it apart from the kinds of attacks the Koch brothers have to endure.
How long before all of Colorado, not just the GOP, starts to see Polis as the bad guy that he is? And by extension, how much will his new reputation hurt his pet projects?