Now that the Democratic primary for governor is over, along with that party’s infighting, hair pulling and temper tantrums tossed by the eventual winner and runner-up, Gov. Hickenlooper announces without a hint of irony his dismay at the signs of negativity creeping into the general election.
What he’s trying to do is shift the blame away from Democrat Jared Polis — who turned negative in the primary — while suggesting that Walker Stapleton would somehow be in the wrong if he fights back when Polis realigns his sights on the Republican line.
“He knows how I feel,” the governor said of Polis. “I think his feeling is, if there’s going to be a brawl, if he’s going to be getting punched, he’s going to punch back. And I think, as is often the case, everybody says that. Both sides are ‘who punched first,’ right?”
We know who “punched” first.
It was Polis.
He “punched” Democrat Cary Kennedy over and over, beat her campaign to death with bare fists clutched around $11 million of his own personal wealth.
Now the richest Democrat in Congress is lining his personal war chest of more than $400 million with dynamite to detonate in Stapleton’s face in order to win this campaign.
And Hickenlooper wants Stapleton to just sit there and take it while daydreaming about ponies and root beer floats.
Hick thinks that “if more people ask for positive campaigns, are vocal in their complaints about the attack ads, I think you can change the culture of a state, and make negative ads less successful.”
Hick is an idiot.
Going negative in politics is as American as apple pie. But, going negative and expecting the other side to just take it and not fight back?
Dig up King George III and ask how well that worked out for him.
Back in olden times, when newspapers weren’t ashamed to admit they were organs of political parties, they did the dirty work for the candidates.
When John Adams ran against Thomas Jefferson in 1800 for president, one pro-Adams newspaper reported that if Jefferson won, “murder, robbery, rape, adultery, and incest will be openly taught and practiced, the air will be rent with the cries of the distressed, the soil will be soaked with blood, and the nation black with crimes.”
Hell, Americans fought duels to settle political scores.
Check out this reenactment, of sorts, of early American political campaigning from Reason TV to gain a perspective of negativity through history.
In the end, it won’t matter who started this political fight (Polis did).
What matters, is that Stapleton will finish it for him.