In an address to business executives at the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce today, Denver Mayor and Democrat gubernatorial candidate, John Hickenlooper, lambasted the anti-business climate created by lame-duck governor Bill Ritter’s prosecutorial, lawyer-like, adversarial attacks on business–calling them “crazy.” Don Johnson at businessword has produced another masterfully comprehensive piece on a question-and-answer session that may contain the most substance of anything Hickenlooper has said on the issues since announcing his candidacy after fellow-Dem Ritter announced he would not seek a second term.
Not that we’re claiming to have influenced Hickenlooper’s pointed attack on his fellow Democrat, but on March 10, over a week before Hickenlooper’s statements, I posted this entry here: Colo. Governor Bill Ritter Shows DA Roots: Treats Amazon Like Criminal Defendant for Affiliate Move.
This post presented a critique of Ritter and the Dems’ anti-business rhetoric, including this demagogic quote from Ritter:
Amazon has taken a disappointing – and completely unjustified – step of ending its relationship with associates. While Amazon is blaming a new state law for its action, the fact is that Amazon is simply trying to avoid compliance with Colorado law and is unfairly punishing Colorado businesses in the process.
I sincerely doubt Hickenlooper reads our fledgling blog, but Don Johnson’s political and economic blog, businessword, is one of the most influential in the state, and in my view the smartest. Don was generous to link to my post in his hammering of the internet tax and the Amazon reaction thereto, and liked the prosecutorial analogy. And Hickenlooper is surely bright enough to read the articles of a writer like Johnson, who has posted 31 entries about Hick. (My blog post was republished as an online article here. And this blog entry was just published at the same online content provider earlier this evening).
The Donald E.L. Johnson piece deserves a full reading. While Hickenlooper was hardly as forthcoming as conservatives would like, he did, based on my read, seem to differentiate himself from many of the failed, anti-business policies of the current Democratic administration that controls all three branches of Colorado government.
Hickenlooper’s attorney/prosecutor critique is a fair one. Ritter’s failed attempt to turn a 25-year prosecutorial career into a gubernatorial one follows in the wake of failed prosecutors around the country, such as Martha Coakley, Elliot Spitzer, Ken Salazar, Arlen Specter, and a host of others. Though there are exceptions (and maybe Ken Buck is one of them), career prosecutors have a tendency if they gain higher office, to enact more and more laws, and are conditioned from a life spent in courtrooms to finger-pointing, name-calling and throwing their substantial political-legal weight around–often capriciously, sometimes self-servingly.
Undoubtedly, if former Republican Congressman and prosecutor Scott McInnis follows his decisive caucus showing with a gubernatorial primary win in August, we can be sure Hickenlooper will continue the businessman vs. DA meme in the general election campaign. Moreover, given the political climate among conservatives and independents that favors business owners over career politicians, the anti-prosecutor/lawyer theme should also benefit candidates such as Republican state Senate District 16 candidate, Evergreen businessman Tim Leonard.
At the very least, GOP Chairman Dick Wadhams may need to stop calling Hickenlooper “Hickenritter” as he did in this video and this one, embedded and commented upon by Lynn Bartels at The Spot, the political blog for the Denver Post.
Update: Don Johnson writes this morning about Hickenlooper’s rebranding efforts yesterday, and views the tactic as an insincere effort to portray himself as a moderate, while McInnis and Maes waste time fighting each other. Good read.