After all the Hickenhoopla dies down, Colorado voters may experience a sick feeling of déjà vu as the Denver mayor and Democrat candidate for governor claims that he’s “business friendly.”

We’ve been down this campaign trail before, just four years ago, when nice guy Bill Ritter bent over backward to ingratiate himself to every gullible business organization in the state.  Only the most ardent Republicans refused to fall for the fallacy of a business-friendly Democrat, and business leaders and editorial boards across the state have been (deservedly) kicking themselves ever since.

So, here we go again.

Like Ritter, Denver mayor John Hickenlooper comes across as likable.  His knack for self-deprecating humor is particularly endearing.

Like Ritter, Hickenlooper seems like the kind of guy whom you would welcome as your next-door neighbor.  Neighborliness might indicate he has the skills to shovel snow off your sidewalk — as Hickenscooper has already demonstrated — but doesn’t equate to “this guy will make a great governor.”

Like Ritter, Hickenlooper aims to avoid any serious challenge from within his own party, and that doesn’t happen unless labor union bosses are convinced they have a candidate who will do their bidding.

The Denver Post reported that one of Hickenlooper’s early testing-the-waters phone calls was to Wally Stealey, retired lobbyist and labor union stalwart, who complained that “labor had been terribly abused by Ritter.”

This is the same Ritter whom The Post — which in 2006 lauded him as “the best choice for Colorado” — labeled “a toady to labor bosses” and “a bagman for unions and special interests” just one year later.

While Hickenlabor strives mightily to assure union bosses that he will be even better for them (which means worse for Colorado’s economy) than was Ritter, will so-called “business leaders” again be duped?

Will they dismiss the costly lessons learned during the past three years?

Will they believe that a candidate who can enthrall hard-core union leaders and hard-left environmentalists will, once elected, throw them under the bus to please the business community?

When Hickenlooper ran for mayor, he ran in a nonpartisan election decided by personal popularity and he benefited from being “anybody but Don Mares.”  But as Ritter has learned, when Democrats control the legislature, a Democrat governor who vetoes Democrat legislation — particularly legislation backed by organized labor — evokes the ire of his party’s liberal base.

Remember that four years ago, The Denver Post reported that candidate Bill Ritter “indicated he would be at least as business friendly as Republican Gov. Bill Owens.”  To prove this, Ritter reviewed the 47 bills that Owens had vetoed in 2005 when sent to him by a decidedly business-hostile Democrat legislature.  Ritter claimed that he would have vetoed 38 of those bills.

Despite that tough talk, Gov. Ritter has vetoed eight, seven and four bills, respectively, in his first three years.  Out of more than 1,400 bills passed, that’s a rubber-stamp rate of 98.7%.  And still Big Labor feels “abused.”

Did the Democrat-controlled legislature suddenly turn over a business-friendly leaf and cease to do the bidding of labor unions, trial lawyers and anti-capitalists?  Hardly.

Quick-witted Republican state chairman Dick Wadhams dubbed the new Democrat governor-in-waiting “Hickenritter” and argued, “There is not a dime’s worth of difference between (Ritter and Hickenlooper).”

Colorado voters deserve, Wadhams says, to know which Ritter policies Hickenlooper will overturn:

• Ritter’s property tax increase?
• Ritter’s vehicle fee increase?
• Ritter’s early release of violent criminals?
• Ritter’s executive order to unionize state workers?
• Ritter’s repeal of state spending limits?
• Ritter’s job killing energy policy?

Hopefully, Colorado voters will insist on firm answers to these tough questions after enduring three — going on four — years of a Democrat monopoly at the State Capitol.

After all, voters bought the myth of a business-friendly Democrat and it’s cost more than $1 billion higher taxes and fees — all without a public vote.

The old adage says, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Colorado can’t afford to be fooled twice.

11 Thoughts on “Colorado can’t afford another ‘business-friendly’ Democrat”

  • mark,

    thanks for your take on the governors race. this race will have effect far and wide in addition to business, the AG needs a conservative partner to fight against any health care legislation passed by the federal government.

  • We also fell for another likable D in Senator Dan Gibbs. Yet, he jumped in line with Governor Ritter and sponsored the FASTER bill. Now if that wasn’t the most anti-business, I don’t know what is. Every business owner who has a trailer to haul their equipment should be working hard to permanently end the careers of every democrat who voted for that bill. Sen Gibbs knows he messed up and is trying to save his career by running for County Commissioner in Summit County. His political career needs to end!

  • How would McInnis answer the questions? How would he pay for it? How about jumping on Scott?

    “Like Ritter, Hickenlooper aims to avoid any serious challenge from within his own party”

    Seriously, did a republican write that? Seriously?

  • Jim, that Hickenlooper seeks to avoid a primary is not a criticism; it is a statement of fact, as is the reality that Labor must be served for that to happen. Understand?

  • I understand that you stated the fact as a criticism. I am stunned that you ignore the fact that the republicans entered into a backroom deal (which practice you criticize Bennet for not decrying) to clear the field for McInnis.

  • You could have stated “Like McInnis, Hickenlooper aims to avoid any serious challenge from within his own party.” Is the comment meant to applaud Hick for what he did , or tie him to Ritter disingenuously?

  • “Republicans” entered into no “backroom” deal. McInnis cleared the field — or at least narrowed it — on his own, just as Ritter worked to do in 2006 and just as every candidate seeks to do in order to avoid a primary.

    Also, you should read the Bennet story more carefully because I didn’t criticize him for “not decrying” backroom deals. I criticized him for decrying some while turning a blind eye to others — i.e., being a hyprocrite.

  • So you would agree that the following comment applied to McInnis?

    “When politicians pick winners and losers, the stench of sleazy backroom deals is inescapable.”

  • How about looking at Dan Maes for Governor! He has been vetted and endorsed by Independance Caucus and is in this race for keeps. We the People need to decide, not the Republican Party.

  • Jim, Honestly do you believe there’s a candidate in the state — in any party – who wouldn’t work his tail off to use encouragement or political “muscle” to try to avoid a primary that could cost $500,000? If you do, you’re just naive. Newsflash: Politicians will play politics in political races; it has ever been thus. However, no one can force another candidate out; that’s a decision for big boys and girls to make for themselves.

    Now surely you’re smart enough to understand that it’s not politicians’ job to “pick winners and losers” in the economy? Don’t you? If you’re a Democrat, you don’t because liberal Democrats think that’s why they elect politicians — to punish “evil corporations,” to advance (corrupt) unions, and to nanny everyone else.

  • Mark, Well done, as usual, and all your points are well taken. But if my choice for Governor is a career lawyer/lobbyist/politician, regardless of what letter comes after his name, and an entrepreneur turned politician who has actually accomplished something in the private sector…well, let’s just say as a life long Republican, I’ve grown sick and tired of the career lawyer/lobbyist/politicians.

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