Republicans Desperately Need New Talking Points Against Hick

Generic target of generic talking points.

Former GOP state Rep. Mark Hillman’s career in public office may have sputtered out in the bush leagues of the state legislature, but he continues to lob spitwads into the marketplace of ideas via whatever opportunities are afforded him by local media and sympathetic partisan outlets kind enough to republish him. Yesterday, Hillman wrote in the Aurora Sentinel that rural Coloradans like himself are not into this John Hickenlooper character one bit:

This year has no doubt been a tumultuous one for citizens in Colorado and across the country. Some issues (like a particularly bitter election cycle compounded by a global pandemic and endless protests) are new. Others (like a government that shows little regard for rural communities and citizens) are all too familiar for citizens living east of the Front Range.

Many rural Coloradans believe we’re not being heard by our elected officials and John Hickenlooper has not done much to change our mind.

The former governor recently chose to skip the Club 20 gathering of Western Slope organizations. Hickenlooper seems to think that it’s unfair to have to stand up and be held accountable for taking policy positions which could prove ruinous to Western Slope communities. He’d rather not look into the eyes of the folks he knows will be jobless if he wins. This guilt may explain why Hickenlooper has not graced the Eastern Plains with his presence either…

As readers know, Hickenlooper wasn’t the first Democratic candidate to determine that Club 20 isn’t representative enough of the Western Slope to kowtow to. We could take a further gratuitous opportunity to point out that politicians who want to win elections go where the people are, and on the Western Slope and Eastern Plains of the state, there just aren’t that many people–but it’s not necessary to be rude. Former Gov. Hickenlooper will certainly get out to the hinterlands between now and November. Especially in the middle of a pandemic, this feeble and premature complaint doesn’t hold water.

He’d rather not look into the eyes of the folks he knows will be jobless if he wins. [Pols emphasis]

This particular line, though, is where Hillman goes definitively off the rails. It’s a regular allegation from Colorado Republicans that Democrats are out to “destroy the oil and gas industry in Colorado.” But if there’s any Democrat in the state to whom that label does not stick, it’s John Hickenlooper. After the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) piled on in support of Hickenlooper’s primary opponent over Hickenlooper’s less-than-hostile relationship with the oil and gas industry as governor, Republicans can’t just pivot 180 degrees and claim that Hickenlooper is going to destroy that same industry.

Well actually, of course they can–it’s ridiculous, that’s all. It’s the same dilemma faced by Sen. Cory Gardner, who has stuck to his script of bashing “socialist Democrats” even after Hickenlooper, who ran for President despite much criticism on a platform of “I’m not a socialist,” became Gardner’s opponent. As much as Hickenlooper irritated ideologue Democrats during his presidential run and to some extent the Democratic U.S. Senate primary with his contrarian branding, these pre-scripted talking points from Republicans against “socialism” simply don’t work against Hick in the general election.

They’re talking about somebody, but not John Hickenlooper.

34 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Voyageur says:

    Don’t denigrate the legislature as “Bush league.”. State, county and municipal government is the heart of our democracy.  And while most of us live in cities a lot of us, like moi, have rural roots.

     people like Duke, Gertie, Mike Bowman are worth their weight in gold.  Yes, they deserve better than Mark Hillman.  But John Hickenlooper deeply cares about rural Colorado, a damn sight more than Cory Gardner or Donald Trump do.  

    They don’t call John Hick for nothing, so show us hicks some respect.

    P.S. In CD3, it’s the “Bush league” that’s the class act! Go Diane!

  2. 2Jung2Die says:

    No idea how many folks I'm speaking for, but I suspect most Front Rangers really don't desire a War on Rural Colorado, and I'm quite sure that includes the dreaded Hick. Lots of Front Rangers appreciate what rural Coloradans accomplish and provide, and enjoy visiting whenever possible. But it takes 2 (or more) to have a war, and it's hard for me to fathom why the Hillmans of the world keep writing stuff that can't do anything to encourage collaboration or partnership or good will. Speaking of Bush League, even Bush II talked about being a uniter, not a divider. True or not, it might be worth it for Hillman and friends to consider a less divisive and more inviting frame of messaging.

    • MichaelBowman says:


      • Republican 36 says:


        I was born and raised in rural America and I’ve never witnessed or heard anything that suggests John Hickenlooper or Jared Polis dislikes or hates rural Colorado or that either one of them supports policies that harm our rural areas.

        As former state senator and state treasurer Hillman is surely aware, Club 20 no longer represents a broad set of interests as it did decades ago.  In those days, it focused its attention on insuring the West Slope received its fair share of the state budget, especially funds for roads, education, and it vehemently protected West Slope water.  Over the past two decades, it expanded its voting membership to include voting members from industry, especially the oil and gas industry, and even though the scope of its membership became broader, the issues the group focuses upon narrowed considerably to those primarily of the extraction industries.  That’s only a narrow slice of the varied interests you find on the West Slope.  With that evolution, Club 20 has, probably unintentionally, marginalized its political clout.

        • MADCO says:

          My family was in the midwest – all my cousins and extended family were in the so-called ruralness – I was in the suburban metroplex of a dark blue county (primaries were the election – there was never a question which part would win the general)

          The way to win that state was carry the metroplex by 60% + and not get less than 25% in the hinterlands, which worked well ever since FDR's first race

          But that story still shows up all the time – pointlessly.





        • gertie97 says:

          To be precise, Republican 36, Club 20 sold its soul to O&G. It literally pays the bills. It's a hard sell to expect water, ag and highway interests to pony up again after getting the shaft from O&G for so long.


    • kickshot says:

      The "War on Rural Colorado" is the strawman argument that the Rs need to stage in order to have an argument.

      By imagining the "War" they can conjur up the trappings of victimhood and, through victimhood, a rebellion, c.f. secession.

      If not for all of the imagined abuse that the front range Ds heap upon the rural Rs, the Rs might actually find satisfaction in the way that things are, that their health and welfare is being cared for.

  3. davebarnes says:

    Dear Mark,

    You are correct. The people of the Front Range don't care about rural Colorado. We don't have to. We have all the people and the votes.

    • Voyageur says:

      Dead wrong, barnes.  There are a lot of Republicans in the front range.  The enlightened minority in Colorado West and the Eastern Plains gives us an overall majority.  Hick and Polis understand this and care deeply about rural Colorado.  

      • JohnInDenver says:

        Whatever their flaws, I've seen little to no hostility to "rural Colorado" from Hick or Polis.  Nor have their policies neglected the hinterlands — "rural hospitals" and a variety of other health care initiatives helped maintain remote hospitals, and thus maintain the educated professionals in the area.  Public school based early childhood education helps those who have long drives to work, which is NEARLY everyone on a farm or ranch these days. Maintaining state colleges in numerous places and encouraging distance learning helps the rural areas.  Remote broadband is being worked on. Roads and bridges aren't being sufficiently built anywhere — so their lack in the hinterlands is not a sign of special neglect. State prisons are built in out of the way places, bringing some jobs and an additive amount of political representation to places like Bent County. 

        So, other than not showing up for one source of rubber chicken dinners, what is it that Hick is supposed to have done wrong?

    • NOV GOP meltdown says:

      Dave, so many people in rural Colorado hate that kind of attitude from the front range. You have to represent and take care of everyone in Colorado if you're running for statewide office, and you even have to get out there and meet with a lot of people on the Eastern Plains or Western Slope who may not even vote for you, because they may be standing next to someone who quietly will !  Thank our lucky stars John Hickenlooper knows that, and happy Friday to you.

  4. notaskinnycook says:

    I know I’m not as old as some of the folks here, but I remember the days when Bev Bledsoe ran the Statehouse and it was the Front Range that was treated like a red-headed stepchild. The water wars were ugly and there was resentment over every dollar that went to Denver for state services.



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