Is Hick Half Full or Half Empty?

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

The optimist says the glass is half full, the pessimist says it is half empty (and the engineer says it was designed too large).

So is Hickenlooper a half full or half empty Governor? It hit me that a lot of people here seems to focus on the negatives and only give lip service to the positives. So I thought I would add my take on him so far and see what others think on this. 

Half Empty

  1. He's owned by the oil & gas companies. I think this sets people off more than most if he was owned by say Wall St (see Bennet, Udall) because the Oil & Gas companies are supposed to own Republican politicians and the Democratic politicians are supposed to be owned by unions.
  2. He's ignoring education. Some talk but no action on either improving the system or gaining control of the unsustainable increase in educational costs (other than just limiting the total dollars).

Half Full

  1. He came out in favor of addressing guns before Newton. He's put his ass on the line for this and chose to do so.
  2. He (finally) supported civil unions. Late to the game but the bottom line is he's supporting it now.
  3. He's worked very smoothly with the legislature, both when it was divided and now when it has a slight Dem majority. The fact that he makes it look simple & easy does not mean it was – that is a major accomplishment.

Not His Fault

  1. Addressing TABOR and all the other constraints in the constitution has to come from the legislature. And he should leave the to them.
  2. OIT & Dept of Revenue being staffed by incompetents. That appears to be a state requirement as it's been this way for administration after administration. Apparently there's a hidden clause in the state constitution mandating inept management in both departments.
  3. Alternative energy efforts appear to be mostly wasted money ineptly spent. But that to a large degree was inherited from Ritter (who loves alternative energy) so again, this is probably more just an inept state bureacracy, not the direct fault of Hick.

I look at this and see a pretty good governor. And I think it's unfair to constantly focus on Hick's servicing the Oil & Gas industry when Bennet & Udall get a free ride on the fact that they're owned by Wall St.

Are we unfairly focusing too much on the negatives with Hick?

21 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

    • Aristotle says:

      O&G is arguably the state's most important issue right now. Yes, gun control and civil unions are important, but everybody depends on a strong economy and O&G are part of that. So how Hick handles it is much more likely to be his legacy than these other passionate issues. If we view it as a negative (and I do – giving an industry everything it asks never does the locals any good), the issues sheer importance outweighs the other positives.

      I don't know what to do about it, personally. Hard lefties like wade norris will bluster about primaries, but that's simply not within the realm of possibility, never mind reality. We can withhold donations for his reelection, but it appears he won't need much because he won't face a serious challenge. Maybe we can just keep telling him that this matters. Unlike Dave, I don't perceive him as being "owned" by O&G. O&G is his background. He's naturally sympathetic to them, and is probably one of the only politicians who really understands drilling. That doesn't excuse his disingenuous "I drink fracking fluid" statements or his other pooh-poohing of the concerns of those living with drilling, but it does offer a plausible explanation for his independent arrival at such opinions. If so, perhaps he can be persuaded to pay closer attention to our concerns.

      Yeah, that's probably overly optimistic…

  1. Colorado Pols says:

    We promoted this because it should make for an interesting discussion. One thing we think deserves a change: Hickenlooper has always been solid on the issue of civil unions and LGBT rights in general. We wouldn't characterize him as "late to the game," in fact this is one of his stronger progressive issues.

    Obviously this post is for discussion purposes, but we think Hickenlooper's record should be fairly represented.

  2. Algernon Moncrief says:

    Addressing TABOR and the fact that the State of Colorado has (nearly) the lowest state revenue per capita in the nation does not have to "come from the Legislature."  The level of support we provide for education in Colorado is an embarrassment.  There is nothing preventing Hick from getting out front on this issue, bringing proposals for referred measures to the Legislature every year.  Hick chooses not to lead on this issue.  The reality is that most Colorado politicians are primarily concerned with their electoral prospects, rather than the good of the state.  Many Colorado elected officials are unwilling to take any personal political risk for the betterment of Colorado.  They are "politicians."  As you know, we have arrived at a point where many Colorado politicians prefer to break the state's (PERA) contracts in lieu of taking the political risk of asking voters to end the state's subsistence government.  (Obligatory mention of pet issue.)

  3. BlueCat says:

    I think the half full, half empty question has to be viewed in terms of  what the GOP alternative would be (and I agree with Ari that there isn't going to be any D alternative via ousting Hick in a primary) and in that light, I'd have to come down on the half full side.

    I don't agree with Dave's apparently dim view of alternative energy.  Agree somewhat on competence issues but the way Dave says that Ritter "loves alternative energy" sounds dismissive of the goal as well as the execution.  I appreciated Ritter as a voice for alternative energy.  The man simply wasn't cut out to be a successful politician in the executive arena.

    Hick is much better suited to that role and his positions on many issues are in line with what most Dems want. Unfortunately where he diverges, such as on  vital O&G related issues,  he really diverges and his willful misleading on the whole fracktail nonsense was deplorable.

    Still, I have to give him a half full compared to any alternative on the horizon just now. Happily, he doesn't need much help getting re-elected so I don't feel the need to actively support him with donations or volunteer hours. He'll do fine without me.

  4. Algernon Moncrief says:

    From the NEA website:

    • Colorado ranks 47th in K-12 education funding as a share of state income.
    • Colorado ranks 50th in the nation in on-time immunization rates.
    • Colorado has eliminated its affordable housing loans and grants program.
    • Probation officers in Colorado carry an average of 238 cases — nearly double the national average of 130. Due to funding decreases, nearly 50 probation officers were laid off between 2002 and 2004.
    • The high school graduation rate in Colorado fell from 76 percent in 1990 to 70 percent in 2004.
    • The percentage of low-income Colorado children who lack health insurance rose from 15 percent in 1991-92 to 27 percent in 2002-03. (During the same period, the national proportion that lack insurance declined from 21 percent to 19 percent.) Among Colorado low-income adults, the rate rose from 22 percent to 32 percent while the national rate rose from 26 percent to 27 percent.

    (Note that the Colorado Education Association supported the breach of the state’s PERA pension contracts in 2010.  Also, these NEA stats may not be current.)

    • BlueCat says:

      Nothing new.  Our stats sucked long before Hick. Blame voters saying yes  to Brucing,  no to education and a deep recession. Blame the tangle of locked in amendments that sounded good to voters in place of legislators working out a budget. School districts like the Littleton district where voters say yes to increases to fund schools ( as well as the library and our sweet museum that often showcases local artists) have done pretty well all along. As far as underfunding schools goes, we have met the enemy and it is us.

  5. The realist says:

    I think his "half-empty" problems go a substantial step beyond his fracktail bloopers.  Here's the shoe that may be waiting to drop — he has threatened to sue any and every local government in Colorado that dares to exercise their legal responsibility to manage the lands within their borders and to protect public health.  We haven't heard much – individually or collectively – from local government yet regarding this threat.  I believe there's more to come on this issue.


  6. Gilpin Guy says:

    Thanks for the post Dave.  There's little doubt that you are the resident Republican apologist around here but Hickenlooper's performance is very much open to interpretation as your thoughtful article points out.

    There is no question that Hickenlooper is grade A compared to his 2010 opponents and is solid on progressive social issues.  He'll sign these hot button social issue bills and deserves a lot of credit for making them law.

    Where he is weak which is surprising is his total lack of vision regarding the direction of our state economy.  He scrapped Ritter's New Energy Economy initiatives and replaced it with this ambiguous project titled (TBD) which fits.  We're kind of a rudderless ship without any definite direction other than a constant frack-baby-frack theme.

    Hickenlooper is better than the competition by two miles but he can definitely improve his game if we wants to be considered anything other than a likeable and goofy caretaker of the office.

  7. gaf says:

    I said when he first announced he was running that he would win, he would be tremendously better than the Republican alternatives, and that I would be mad at him a lot. All true. And I am (mad at him a lot).

    And I can not even say I am "disappointed." That would imply I exepcted something different. I didn't.

    • BlueCat says:

      Very wise. We play the hand we're dealt and hope for a better hand next time around. The GOP purity thing doesn't seem to be working out too well for them in now violet blue Colorado.  Not something we would do well to adopt. 

      • Duke Cox says:

        You know I love you, BC, but this is one place we differ…

        his willful misleading on the whole fracktail nonsense was deplorable.

        I would strike "deplorable" and insert "unacceptable". While it (a primary) is certainly unlikely to happen, there is still a lot of time for Hick to piss off even more people.

  8. notaskinnycook says:

    the problem isn't whether Hick is half-full or half empty, the problem is that COGA (like most bodies made up uf Republicans) thinks the glass is theirs.

    • BlueCat says:

      I took the liberty of turning your sort of Zen like  post into a Haiku.  I know, don't I have anything better to do?

      Half full? Half empty?

      The most important question:

      Who will have the glass?




  9. Slartibartfast says:

    Three quarters empty. Our governor is a huge disappointment. There will always be tons of money to be made on oil and gas in this state. Merely requiring the companies to do their exploration and recovery while adhereing to reasonable environmental safeguards is not going to put them out of business. And letting the public know what is in their fracking fluid is not unreasonable.

         And his mealy mouthed support for no-brainer policies seems to indicate that he's trying to position himself for some higher office or appointment. Please, no. He's lame and I can't wait for his term to be up.

  10. Gray in Mountains says:


  11. Meiner49er says:

    I'd say David had it right at the end of his initial comments: "engineered to large."  Somethin' kinda funny happened to Hick after the 2008 DNC when he got a taste of the big stage and started aspiring nationally rather than repping locally.  Now he's "too big to fail" in Colorado, and too small a man to do anything but allow his strings to be pulled by image-makers who are, in the end, just stringin' him along.  Kinda sorry for the guy, actually, but it's a bed he made.

  12. Ray Springfield says:

    I'm surprised that he has so much public criticism. I don't agree with many of his policies. I belive that the advice he gets to basically be an independent rather than a Democrat will back fire on him. Perhpas it has been. I think he's a good man that belives in his convictions. The state is economically recovering. I'd say half full.

    • gaf says:

      I'm surprised that he has so much public criticism. I don't agree with many of his policies.

      Uh, the fact many of us don't agree with many of his policies would natrually lead to much public criticism, would it not? That's a surprise?

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.