Posts Tagged Hickenlooper

Hickenlooper’s Bullying Attitude

John Hickenlooper likes to affect an aw-shucks demeanor, although there are times when his body language reminds me more of the Trivago Guy than a governor.  It’s disarming, and plays into his general image as a regular guy, and reinforces people’s impression that he’s a centrist.  True or false, that impression is one of his greatest political assets.

Unfortunately, Hickenlooper has a bit of a touchy streak when he’s treated like the politician that he is, and has been for over a decade.  That touchiness seems to have trickled down into his campaign.  Earlier this year, one of his staffers threatened to have Watchdog.org reporter Arthur Kane arrested when he showed up at a campaign office seeking income tax records that had been released to other media outlets.

And earlier this week, a campaign supporters pushed, blocked, and stalked Ellie Reynolds, a tracker for Revealing Politics.  As can be seen in the video below, one of Hickenlooper’s campaign workers, identified as Political Organizer Preston Dickey, follows Reynolds to a nearby coffee shop and then to her car:

Hickenlooper can be seen standing literally a few feet away, either oblivious to or passively approving of the behavior of his supporters.  And here I thought we weren’t supposed to push girls around.

These are not isolated incidents. In March of 2013, Evan Ebel, out on parole, shot and killed Tom Clements, head of the Colorado Department of Corrections.  Hickenlooper was obviously deeply affected by the killing.  It turned out that Jack Ebel, Evan’s father, was a contributor to Hickenlooper’s campaign.  There is absolutely no reason to believe there was any connection between that fact and Evan Ebel’s parole.  Nevertheless, Hickenlooper got testy with 9News reporter Brandon Rittiman when Rittiman asked him about it on camera.  It’s unpleasant, to say the least, but it’s what reporters do, and Rittiman all but apologized for having to ask the question as part of his job.

I’ve had my own experience with Hickenlooper’s wrath.  After I recorded him admitting that Amendment 66 money could go to PERA, I have it on excellent authority that he blew his stack and took it out on a lobbyist who was unconnected to the incident.

The world is full of politicians who have tempers, and some of them can be very effective with them.  Lyndon Johnson was known to lose his cool – sometimes even for real, not just for effect – but generally had his way with a friendly Congress.  Any number of big city mayors know how to put on a show behind closed doors.  Knowing how and when to intimidate enemies and even friends is a valuable tool in an executive’s toolbox.  But that generally happens away from the cameras.  It isn’t done in public, and it sure doesn’t trickle down to how staffers treat the public.

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Hickenlooper on Guns, Then and Now

In the wake of the Aurora Theater Shootings, CNN’s Candy Crowley interviewed Gov. John Hickenlooper, and tried mightily – and unsuccessfully – to get him to declare in favor of increased gun control.  Hickenlooper didn’t necessarily commit.  But one would be hard-pressed to see the interview, and read the transcript, and not come away with the impression that the Governor wasn’t interested in imposing new restrictions on Colorado gun owners:

Crowley: Do you see any law anywhere that could stop a man with no record in a society that protects the 2nd Amendment that might have prevented this?

Hickenlooper: You know, we are certainly looking at that and trying to say, “How do you prevent this?” You know, the Virginia Tech shootings, I look at – been looking at the shootings all across the country. And I try to say, how do we preserve our freedoms – right? – and all those things that define this country, and yet try to prevent something like this happening. Let me tell you, there’s no easy answer.

Crowley: What I hear from you is you would be open to people who wanted to suggest a gun law or something that might prevent this sort of thing, but at the moment you can’t imagine what that would be.

Hickenlooper: Yeah, I’m happy to look at anything, but this person, if there were no assault weapons available, if there were no this or no that, this guy’s going to find something right? He’s going to know how to create a bomb, he’s going to – I mean, who knows where his mind would have gone. Clearly a very intelligent individual, however twisted. You know, I know that’s the problem. This is really a human issue, in some profound way, that this level of disturbed individual, that we can’t recognize it.

What a difference a few months – and an election – make.  The Denver Post reports that Hickenlooper is now singing a different tune:

In a significant shift from his statements earlier this year, Gov. John Hickenlooper now says “the time is right” for Colorado lawmakers to consider further gun restrictions.

The Democratic governor made his comments in an interview with The Associated Pressthat comes less than half a year after the mass shooting in an Aurora movie theater that killed 12 and injured at least 58. His latest words also follow a shooting in an Oregon mall Tuesday that left three dead, including the gunman, who shot himself.

“I wanted to have at least a couple of months off after the shooting in Aurora to let people process and grieve and get a little space, but … I think, now … the time is right,” Hickenlooper said in the Wednesday interview.

Hickenlooper didn’t, at the time, say anything like, “Now isn’t the time to be considering this, in the heat of the moment.”  He spoke in terms of protecting freedoms and rights, the difficulty of crafting a bill that wouldn’t impinge on those, and the fact that Holmes would have used other items at his disposal to wreak havoc, if guns hadn’t been available.

But that was then.  The state House of Representatives was in Republican hands, and there was little-to-no chance of passing any sort of gun control legislation.

Now, with the House set to be firmly in Democrat control, Hickenlooper has changed his mind.  This position may more closely resembles his actual views on the matter.  Alternately, whether this may be merely the first of a series of instances where a more hard-line liberal legislature will force him to make difficult choices he has thus far been able to avoid.

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