OUR VIEW: Will’s praise of Hick for his willingness to “avoid the big fights” is not a hallmark of leadership, and most definitely not something for anyone to brag about.
We are inclined as anyone to want to drive a wedge between state and local Democrats and their errant Emperors in Washington, DC who are on the ballot next November. However, George Will's gushing column about John Hickenlooper, where our Guv is implicitly shown as the moderate to Obama's liberal, goes beyond the illustrious domain of the believable.
Hickenlooper, if you are to buy the Will column and same-same reporting from Politico earlier this week, has been busy courting the Washington press in hopes of gussying up his moderate street cred…and distancing himself from the Electoral Titanic that is Barack Obama in particular and progressivism in the broader.
Before we unload on his Highness Mr. Will (and we mean that…we love George Will) it is important to point out that Obama and liberals must be exactly outraged that a swing state Governor is out undermining the standing of their left wing crusade. That a "finger in the wind" politician like Governor Hickenlooper is tip-toeing away from Sirota and Soros is more than a little telling. Hick is good at pandering to the masses, and he clearly senses that the country is fleeing Big Government Leftism.
Still, in heaping praise on Hick as a Manifest Destiny libertarian who can do no wrong, Will triggers the gag reflexes of everyone who knows better.
Yes, Hick is a likable guy. What kind of politician isn't that jumps out of planes for campaign commercials?
Yes, he is a quirky and savvy politician who understands the business cycle better than most Democrats in Colorado — though that is not a high bar to cross. But let's remember he cruised to victory last November without having a single moment of concern over his electoral prospects after about the first week in July.
Never having to take any risks, or positions for that matter, in order to secure the top spot in Colorado government has made Hick spoiled. He's the electoral version of a trust fund baby.
That sense of not needing to risk much to succeed has spilled over into his Gubernatorial tenure.
First, by simply hiding from a tax increase, Hick makes clear that he enjoys counting his political capital more than he does expending it.
[Hick] says, “We are such a purple state” — Colorado is about one-third Republican, one-third Democrat and one-third unaffiliated — “we can avoid the big fights.”
Last we checked a balanced voter registration did not excuse the Governor from having to engage in substantive areas of disagreement among political parties.
Prop 103 will be asking voters if they want to hike taxes by $3 Billion and kill nearly 120,000 jobs in Colorado. As the state's CEO, voters might want to hear his opinion when weighing their options.
Prop 103 also speaks to Hick's moderate street cred. He avoided backing a tax increase early in his mayoral tenure, only to save that capital to spend on hiking taxes later on. Will Prop 103 merely become a foil for Hick to gin up great press about his moderate leanings, only to support a larger and longer tax increase later?
If so, it's important to hear his reasons for opposing Prop 103 now.
Secondly, he has brought virtually none of his renowned business savvy to bear in actual and substantive regulatory reform. Despite teasing a desire to propose a major regulatory overhaul during his first legislative session, when his political capital was primed at the pump, he balked at throwing down the gauntlet.
Will praises the possibility of John Hickenlooper, based mostly on his personal narrative, but we think it's important to look at the reality of Governor Hickenlooper.
He's a quirky, successful businessman and savvy political operator who has accomplished pretty much jack and squat so far.
Statewide listening tours are smart politics, but if they yield little more than photo ops and generic policy statements, rather than specific policy reforms, they don't mean much in real terms.
John Hickenlooper is a good guy, with a great story, but what kind of Governor is he?
Since he hasn’t risked much do we really even know what kind of politician he is? Liberalism may be on the outs with the American people, but is Hickenlooper’s inner liberal merely lying in wait?