CO Gov. Hickenlooper: From So-Called 'Blue Dog' To True Blue Stater

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper ran for office as a “Blue Dog” Democrat and has carefully cast himself as an independent-minded man who isn’t beholden to the partisans on either side. Rewind to Denver Magazine, May 2011:


The governor lifted a tie from the SUV’s center console. Hickenlooper doesn’t usually wear a tie. He takes great pride in not wearing a tie. He thinks ties are “off-brand.” Like much of what he does, it’s strategy to perpetuate the image of him as the beer man who Forrest Gumped his way into politics, and specifically to avoid looking like a politician who now strategizes to look like the beer man who Forrest Gumped his way into politics.

Well, many politicians are like boxes of chocolates. You never know what you’re really going to get. Hickenlooper has tried to be predictable, though: If the “progressive” elements of his Democratic Party militate for something that’s unpopular, he’ll go against them to shore up his centrist credentials. The controversy over hydraulic fracking provided him the opportunity to reject the far left environmental agitation against it. Hickenlooper zigged toward the popular position.

Hydraulic fracturing for natural gas has gotten a needlessly bad reputation and gas will create jobs in Colorado and the nation if it is embraced, Gov. John Hickenlooper said at a renewable energy summit here Monday. Hickenlooper said there was a lot of ‘conflict and misinformation’ about natural gas, which he says could provide a lucrative energy future for Colorado. He said recent stories in The New York Times about hydraulic fracturing were distorted and off-based.


Naturally, Colorado politics are achatter with talk that the allegedly centrist Hickenlooper can turn his Colorado record into a presidential run. That talk started before his inauguration, and has picked up speed since, according to Politico.

Assuming his first term as governor goes well and he’s re-elected in 2014, it’s hard not to believe that there will be at least a few murmurs from Democratic operatives, and a few stirrings within Hickenlooper himself, about the presidential race of 2016,” the magazine said. And on Tuesday, Politico said Hickenlooper is “in the mix” for 2016.

Conservative columnist George Will has even heaped praise on the Colorado Democrat, writing that Hickenlooper is “immune to the progressive delusion that citizens cannot function for even a few minutes without guidance.” Hickenlooper may have used another of the right’s leaders, NRA President David Keene, to launch a strategic shot at Democratic rival, anti-gun Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York earlier this year.

Earlier today, National Rifle Association President David Keene went on Fred Dicker’s radio show to tout yesterday’s pro-gun rally in Albany. As they are both wont to do, Mr. Dicker and Mr. Keene took a number of shots at Governor Andrew Cuomo and the gun control legislation he passed earlier this year. At one interesting moment in the conversation, however, Mr. Keene went further by saying another unnamed Democratic governor shared some of their anti-Cuomo views…[G]iven all of the details already provided–a Western Democratic governor considering new gun policies whose recent meeting with Mr. Keene was covered in the press–it seems the executive in question very well could be Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who met with Mr. Keene last month.


As Colorado Democrats increased their calls for more gun control in 2012 and 2013, Hickenlooper at first stuck to his guns, so to speak, and resisted the left’s hard push. But that resistance didn’t last.

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…But his comments to AP are in contrast to ones Hickenlooper made in the days after the Aurora shooting, in which he expressed skepticism that tougher gun laws would have stopped suspected gunman James Holmes’ July 20 rampage in the theater.

Hickenlooper has shifted around, using strategic ambiguity to create confusion on both sides about where he really stands.

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s back-and-forth positions this month on a bill to limit rounds in gun magazines caused House Democrats last week to do a double-take…House Bill 1224 had already passed the Democratic-controlled House over the angry protests of Republicans, who questioned how the state’s pro-business governor would sign legislation after a gun magazine manufacturer threatened to leave Colorado…So it was surprising to Democrats last week when the Democratic governor, in an interview with Colorado Public Radio, said he hadn’t taken a stance on House Bill 1224.


But something changed, and soon the man who fired from the weeds at Andrew Cuomo was in lockstep with him.

What happened? Even Forrest Gump can’t run fast enough to follow the money.

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg began pouring money and lobbyists into Colorado. One of them was caught on camera last fall blasting away at watermelons using a gun that the gun grabbers want to grab away from the rest of us.

Denver-based Headwaters Strategies lobbyist Adam Eichberg participated at a “watermelon shoot” in September 2012 at the farm of Colorado state Sen. Greg Brophy (R.) where he fired a semi-automatic rifle with a high-capacity magazine.

A picture obtained by the Washington Free Beacon shows Eichberg smiling broadly as he shoulders a DPMS .308 rifle with a 20-round magazine.

“I really hate watermelons,” Eichberg said via email when asked for comment.

Bloomberg’s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, hired Headwater Strategies in January to lobby for several gun-control bills under consideration by the Colorado legislature. Those bills would ban the future sale, transfer, or manufacture of so-called high-capacity magazines in the state.

The Colorado-based company Magpul produces the high-capacity magazine Eichberg used, which would be banned under one proposed Colorado bill. Magpul has threatened to leave the state if the bill passes.


The money and the pressure have had their effect: Blue Dog Hickenlooper now supports blue state restrictions on guns.

Gov. John Hickenlooper says he will support Rep. Rhonda Fields’ bill limiting rounds in gun magazines. The governor spoke with CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd about the gun control issue on Tuesday. Some felt the governor had been going back and forth on this issue. He admitted to Boyd it’s been a hard decision and he has waffled, but now he says if the legislature passes the bill he will sign it — even if it means losing 200 jobs.

Hickenlooper has convinced himself that his flopping toward New York-style gun control won’t even hurt his re-election chances in Colorado.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said that he is not concerned over claims that his support of several gun control bills will put his re-election hopes in jeopardy. ‘No I don’t think so. I really don’t think so,’ Hickenlooper said. ‘I have talked to many, literally like over a hundred people. Almost everyone says, ‘yeah, as long as there’s no centralized database. As long as you’re not taking weapons away from us, but you’re just making sure that when we sell a weapon it doesn’t go to someone with a violent criminal history or severe mental illness, yeah that makes sense.’’ A constant drone of honking car horns could be heard from inside the governor’s office, part of a demonstration against the gun control measures. A hired airplane flew over the Capital for hours towing a banner that read, “HICK: DO NOT TAKE OUR GUNS.”…For all of their fervor, Hickenlooper sees the demonstrators a small minority.


Are they? The run on firearms and ammunition nationwide, and the cooling of support for more restrictions the rights of law-abiding Americans to defend themselves, suggest not.


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