Mayor’s Passive/Aggressiveness–Political Ploy or Pure Hick?

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.

Meet passive:

“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.

Meet aggressive:

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.

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. davebarnesdavebarnes says:

    Most campaigns start out by trying different messages to see what will work/stick.

  2. Ambassador says:

    Hickenlooper politely refused to go into specifics on how he would approach the state’s current budget crisis

    Sounds like both candidates for governor don’t want to give “specifics.”

    • Steve Harvey says:

      The instant you do, you make lots of enemies.

      • Middle of the Road says:

        he’s been in the race for a whopping 6 days. McInnis has been in it, one way or the other, since last May. Of the two, I’d expect McInnis to have a plan with specifics by now.  

        • His campaign is going to flop if he doesn’t offer up concrete solutions besides lowering taxes at a time when our deficit essentially shuts down government.  

          • DavidThi808DavidThi808 says:

            I asked for an interview and we told they are trying to set one up soon. They won’t do that if he doesn’t want to answer anything.

            Give him a couple of weeks. It takes time to get things in place and for Hick to dive into the state level questions and understand them well enough to give a coherent answer.

          • BlueCat says:

            Also, I see distancing himself from Ritter on process as smart since no one, from Rs to the Dem base, has been very pleased with Ritter in that area.

            I think I can handle reaching goals in better way is a message that differentiates from Ritter without being too harsh.  Ritter has lost a lot of popularity and is leaving after a single term so it’s not as if Hick can run by saying that Ritter was a complete success and he will be more of the same.

            • Middle of the Road says:

              Ritter had an ongoing problem with taking credit for some of the great things he did and never seemed to really get how to market himself. His staff never seemed to get that either.

              And Ritter had major issues with messaging and communicating (see the union measures fiasco) so I can’t say that I disagree with Hickenlooper. I’m just a bit surprised to see him turn his firepower on Ritter instead of McInnis. This is clearly a message that isn’t designed for fellow Dems but rather soft R’s and Unaffiliateds. I guess it depends on how much he thinks those two voter groups view Ritter as damaged goods.

  3. I’m elated to see Hickelooper get in front of the R’s talking points. He has said in the past that he will not go negative so this is good news that he’s taking the fight to the R’s.  

  4. Ralphie says:

    From yesterday’s dead-tree edition of the Daily Sentinel:

    Penry helped get Ritter to drop out of the race

    While many of us were disappointed that Josh Penry dropped out of the governor’s race, it highlighted his character and his interest in doing what is best for Colorado and its citizens over what is best for Josh.

    And it worked!

    Gov. Bill Ritter knew the only chance he had at re-election was an expensive, primary-election blood bath between Scott McInnis and Penry. And because Josh was willing to take one for the team, Ritter dropped out.

    And while we are also disappointed that Josh won’t seek re-election for his Senate seat, his commitment to helping Scott McInnis become Colorado’s next governor will no doubt mean a lot of sleepless nights for whoever dares to enter the race.

    So, Josh, on behalf of all the residents of Mesa County who have lost their jobs, seen their housing value drop or are struggling to pay Ritter’s $1 billion in new fees (aka taxes), thanks!


    Grand Junction

    • Middle of the Road says:

      One, thank you for reading the GJ Sentinel…so the rest of us don’t have to. Isn’t she the same gal that compared homosexuality to bestiality and incest?

      Two, wow. Penry just gets credit for everything, doesn’t he? My goodness, they sure do love them some Penry in Grand Junction, don’t they?  

    • 8 years of an out of control Republican administration is the reason why Mesa County residents have lost their jobs and seen housing prices plummet. Although it’s a nice attempt at spin, which concerns me. On the national level, this message has begun to stick and Democrats are going to pay dearly for it… Dem’s need to say what they’re going to say, say it again and then tell them what they told them.

      So, Josh, on behalf of all the residents of Mesa County who have lost their jobs, seen their housing value drop or are struggling to pay Ritter’s $1 billion in new fees (aka taxes), thanks!

      • Ralphie says:

        Rowland and her fellow commissioners encouraged energy development at the near exclusion of other, more stable, sources of jobs–tourism and light manufacturing among them.

        She’s not from around here.  She either doesn’t understand the cyclical nature of the energy biz, or she doesn’t care, preferring the fast buck instead.

        I didn’t grow up in Mesa County either, but I’ve lived here long enough to see two booms and two busts.

        You don’t put all your eggs in the energy basket.  Period.

  5. guesswho says:

    Why would Pols pick on Hick??? Could Kenney be behind this????

  6. ardy39 says:

    According to Hickenlooper:

    …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.

    I challenge Hickenlooper to identify a more open and inclusive rulemaking by the state.

    – Over two years of stakeholder meetings, public comments, hearings, deliberations, etc.

    – Stakeholders were involved in public meetings for months before even the draft rules were published.

    – Gazillions of hours of staff time in the Dept of Natural Resources, Dept of Public Health and Environment, and the Attorney General’s office.

    – A unanimous vote by all the commissioners for the final approval of the rules.

    + All this, and yet the new rules still fell far short of what was called for by the 2007 legislature that voted unanimously for HB07-1298.

    Who is Hick pandering to? And why does he think this is effective?

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