In Saturday’s Longmont Times, Mayor Hickenlooper began to differentiate himself from Governor Ritter. Good idea since voters need to hear how he intends to answer the budget crisis and how his approach differs from McInnis. But rather than discuss Scott McInnis and his lack of a plan for just about anything, he targeted his remarks to his own fellow Democrat.
Initially giving deferential respect to Ritter, Hickenlooper politely refused to go into specifics on how he would approach the state’s current budget crisis. He indicated that he would do it differently than Ritter but declined to say how, while complimenting the Governor…in a back handed sort of way.
“I view this as Gov. Ritter’s week,” he said during a telephone news conference.
Hickenlooper said he has “tremendous respect” for Ritter, who delivered his final “state of the state” address to the Legislature on Thursday after announcing last week that he was dropping his re-election bid.
“I don’t want to lay out a list of his failings or what I think I could have done better,” Hickenlooper told reporters Friday.
Further feeding into the Colorado O & G angst of being overregulated, which Republicans have been exploiting despite facts that seem to suggest otherwise, Hickenlooper, a former geologist, indicated that he also disagrees with Ritter’s regulations but refused to specify precisely what he disagrees with, vaguely stating that
…the biggest problem was “not where we ended up, with the rules the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission adopted, but with “the process of how we got there.
He also took a backhanded swipe at the vehicle registration fees imposed by Ritter by suggesting that:
state officials hadn’t done a good enough job explaining the local implications of the state being “many billions of dollars behind” in paying for needed transportation projects.
Really? There’s that much confusion we are in an economic recession and just about everything is being put on hold at this point? Is it really a big secret that we are over $600 million in the hole?
We’ve already seen Hickenlooper publicly out Andrew Romanoff’s political opportunism. He’s made it clear he isn’t interested in associating with David Kenney, a political consultant that was key in Hickenlooper’s election to office in 2003.
Is it political posturing or is this indicative of Hickenlooper’s independence? How smart is it for Hickenlooper to distance himself from Democrats that he perceives as damaged goods?
Ritter’s poll numbers were lagging but his donor base and fundraising efforts in the last quarter of 2009 were outstanding. Is Hickenlooper distancing himself to fire up the base and using Ritter as a political tool as a means to an end? The Colorado GOP are already working overtime to tie Hickenlooper to Ritter’s policies. Dick Wadhams accused Hickenlooper of being nothing more than a Ritter mini-me:
said Hickenlooper “is nothing more than a quirky version of Gov. Bill Ritter.”
Wadhams charged in a Monday news release that “the face may change, but the failed policies remain the same if Denver Mayor John ‘Hickenritter‘ runs for governor.”
Hickenlooper’s response was to brush off Wadhams with a nonchalant brush off and mentioned that
“…he’d been called worse, including a time during his boyhood when classmates tried to pin him with the name “Chicken-cooper.”
So, which is it? Is this pure, old fashioned Hickenlooper, independent and influenced by no one? Or is this Hickenlooper the politician running for governor and working overtime to distance himself from a perceived weak, outgoing Governor? And how does it play with the Democratic base?
Hat tip to Club Twitty for his link to this in yesterday’s thread.