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Hickenlooper Continues Business-Worship Trend

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John Hickenlooper, Denver’s current mayor and candidate for Colorado’s 2010 Governor race, is continuing his bid to show Coloradans who can worship the most at the feet of the business community: himself or Con candidate Scott McInnis. Coloradans are looking for a choice, Mayor. If you try to paint yourself as Republican-lite, Coloradans will choose the true Republican.

What has raised my ire today? Another Denver Post article detailing the mayor’s words at a Chamber of Commerce meeting yesterday. According to the mayor, Colorado is now known as an anti-business state, Ritter sided with “overboard” environmentalists and raising taxes in a recession is “crazy”.

At this point, Hick is going to have to work very, very hard to secure my vote this November. I don’t want a person with a “D” after their name in the Governor’s mansion governing like he wants to be a Con.

In an overarching sense, the mayor’s speech highlights something that continues to haunt Democratic office-holders: an inability to present a coherent message. All of his language is steeped in right-wing talking points. He boxes himself and his future administration into a corner by doing so.

Hickenlooper would rather Colorado not be known as an anti-business state than an anti-worker state. That makes sense, right? As a business owner himself, his loyalties should lie with other business owners, regardless of the consequences to the people that allow those businesses to exist in the first place: workers. I have serious reservations about how a Gov. Hickenlooper would treat workers and the labor movement. According to his own words, businesses should have even more influence in government than they currently enjoy. Is he a Democrat or a Con? It’s hard to tell.

Hickenlooper also believes that a recession isn’t the time to close taxpayer subsidies to businesses, as the legislature recently voted to do. I would be willing to bet he thinks that a booming economy isn’t the time to saddle businesses with taxes either, despite the fact that they use more of our public infrastructure than we as living people do. Just like Cons, it isn’t wise to close subsidies or raise taxes in lean or bountiful times. When then, is a good time to make everybody pay fairly for the public services they utilize? By running away from the fairness of public investment and using right-wing anti-tax language, Hickenlooper again blurs the line as to his party. His values are clearly on display, however.

Hickenlooper again trashed Gov. Ritter’s approach to developing the oil and gas regulations in front of his favorite kind of people. His quote [emphasis mine]:

“The whole process, I thought, was flawed, and I’ve said this to Gov. Ritter,” Hickenlooper said of how the regulations were adopted. “What happened was, the environmentalists went way overboard, I think, and pushed very hard — I shouldn’t say overboard, I’ll get myself in trouble — but they pushed very hard for certain things they thought were very important.

Really, Mayor? Environmentalists were the extremists in the process, brow-beating the poor oil and gas industry to take responsibility for their actions and for the first time actually providing some balance in decisions on where to drill for dirty energy? Perhaps the mayor can share with us his thoughts on how the industry has possibly managed to survive the one year the regulations have been in place.

Or perhaps the mayor thinks the oil and gas industry wasn’t allowed to push for their interests strongly enough. Did their representatives show up to any of the public meetings that were held before the legislature worked out the regulations? They sure did – at the meetings I attended, those representatives outnumbered the environmentalists that Hickenlooper disparaged. Did any party get everything they wanted? No. In contrast to a lot of other cases, compromises were struck between competing viewpoints. I can see how the dirty energy industry would come away from that process thinking they got railroaded – it was one of the few times they didn’t get what they wanted. Gov. Ritter’s administration isn’t a wholly owned subsidiary of the dirty energy industry. The industry hated that, I’m sure. What will a Gov. Hickenlooper’s administration be – a subsidiary, a bed-mate, or a check on that industry’s power and abuses of Coloradans’ way of life?

Unsurprisingly, Scott McInnis didn’t miss the chance to define his opponent, something Hickenlooper might want to think about before the election actually happens. McInnis said the mayor was posturing and beat the “job-killing regulations” drum again.

Mr. Hickenlooper, stop telling Commerce Chambers that you disagree with how Gov. Ritter conducted his administration. Stop talking like you’re a Con – there’s already two of those in the race. You’re too right that you’re getting yourself in trouble. Personally, I will not vote for a business-worshipping, environmentalist and worker-hating “Democrat”. I don’t care how popular Hickenlooper is. I care about his approach to governing and his messaging.

Cross-posted at SquareState and DailyKos.

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