We weren’t surprised that The Denver Post endorsed Gov. John Hickenlooper. After all, the newspaper is one of the embattled Governor’s biggest apologists. But, we were surprised that they did so in a manner that totally glossed over his major failings as a Governor. Here’s our line-by-line rebuttal to the endorsement.
The Denver Post: It also belies the accusation from critics that he is indecisive or somehow too reflective — as if taking the full measure of an issue is a sign of weakness. It isn’t.
Colorado Peak Politics: Hickenlooper’s mulling of controversial issues is not why he has been called indecisive. We saw Hickenlooper’s “taking a full measure of an issue” at the Denver Post‘s very own debate, where Hickenlooper’s flip on two very key issues – minimum wage and climate change – seemed more to have to do with how he was digesting his lunch, than hours upon hours of him taking the full measure of something. The Post mistakes Hickenlooper’s lackadasical attitude and flip flopping for thoughtfulness. Even Colorado Public Radio, by no means a bastion of conservative thought, nailed Hickenlooper on his unwillingness to make tough calls.
The Denver Post: By any fair assessment, Hickenlooper has been more than just a capable governor. He’s been a highly effective one.
Colorado Peak Politics: We’re just going to turn this over to CATO, which just released a new report that gave Gov. John Hickenlooper an “F” grade as Governor. Here’s what the report said:
“General fund spending has ballooned over the past three years under Governor Hickenlooper, from $7.2 billion in 2012 to a proposed $9.2 billion in 2015. The governor’s proposed spending increases have averaged 6 percent over the past three years. His most recent budget included a 15 percent spending boost for higher education and new spending on corporate welfare programs. State government employment is way up under Hickenlooper, rising 16 percent since he came to office.
He pushed for a huge personal income tax increase on the ballot in 2013 to fund education, which would have raised more than $900 million annually. If passed, Amendment 66 would have replaced Colorado’s flat income tax of 4.63 percent with a two-rate structure of 5.0 and 5.9 percent. Luckily for Colorado taxpayers, this increase was soundly rejected by voters, 65 to 35 percent.”
The Denver Post: Nowhere have his political skills been more evident than in the bitter wrangling over hydraulic fracturing used to extract oil and natural gas.
Colorado Peak Politics: Now, we’re laughing. It was only because of his unwillingness to stand up to the extremists in his own party and an overgrown spoiled child (yes, we’re talking about you, Rep. Polis) that spread wholly inaccurate information about this safe procedure that Colorado’s economy was held hostage. Further, the only reason this Polis Commission was forged is because Hickenlooper was terrified of the impact it would have on his own campaign. If The Denver Post really believes this drivel, we have a bridge to sell them.
The Denver Post: [The economic recovery] has been a disturbingly slow recovery from the 2009 economic collapse, but Colorado appears to be leading the way.
Colorado Peak Politics: We’re not sure how we’re leading the way or who we’re leading. Our unemployment is down, but the number of employed is still lower than before the recession and we have more people here. Additionally, our recovery has lagged behind our neighbors. It sounds like even The Denver Post isn’t sure about this dubious claim by the Hickenlooper camp.
The Denver Post: But let’s not forget that the gun measures passed in 2013 were modest in scope and had solid or overwhelming public support. These were not gun-grabbing initiatives….
Colorado Peak Politics: Let’s not forget, DP, that these are the most extreme (yet, arbitrary) pieces of gun legislation in the country. Subsequent surveys have shown that the gun laws do not enjoy the overwhelming public support that this piece claims. Further, he took only input from out of state donors, refusing to meet with sheriffs, the very people who would have to enforce these laws, until after they had passed. He also claimed that his staff (ahem, Roxane) pinky-swore (ahem, Bloomberg) that he’d sign it. Just another example of how he’s not taking the full measure, but, instead, is a weak leader.
The Denver Post: Hickenlooper’s decision to give Nathan Dunlap an open-ended reprieve from the death penalty pleased almost no one on either side of that divide — we’d have preferred he commute the sentence to life in prison without parole…. And yet he went ahead with his unpopular call because he believed it was the right one.
Colorado Peak Politics: The decision to grant a temporary reprieve to Nathan Dunlap is unpopular because it’s so monumentally unfair. It’s unfair to the justice system, which ruled on this. It’s unfair to Dunlap’s victims, whose lives were brutally cut short. It’s unfair to Dunlap’s victims’ families, who may have looked to Dunlap’s execution as closure. It’s unfair to Colorado’s future murder victims, whose killers were not deterred because Hickenlooper proved that the state does not take seriously public safety.
The bottom line is that Colorado deserves a leader who will stand up against his own party and against special interests. That’s not Hickenlooper. We were not surprised that The Denver Post endorsed Hickenlooper, but we were disappointed. We were surprised that the newspaper didn’t take more seriously it’s role in standing up for its readers, and as a result, maybe The Denver Post shouldn’t be surprised by its falling readership.