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October 14, 2014

Colorado Governor Hickenlooper’s Greatest Hits

One would think that Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado was taking his executive duties seriously when he aggressively lobbied for (using the help and money of the gun control groups’ ringleader Mayor Bloomberg) and later signed into law monumental gun control legislation in March 2013. The laws expanded background checks and limited the size of ammunition magazines.

Speaking at the bill signing ceremony, Governor Hickenlooper proudly said “What we have signed today are several bills that materially make our state safer in the long run and allow us to begin to address some of these issues head on.” He also said that he expected the county sheriffs to enforce the laws.

Fast forward just a few short months, and the pedestal that Governor Hickenlooper placed himself on quickly began to crumble. Two state legislators were recalled as a result of the laws, a third resigned to avoid another recall, and the majority of the state’s sheriffs – precisely the people expected to enforce the ambiguous laws — sued.

Given the backlash, Governor Hickenlooper pivoted away from support of the bills as the calendar turned and an election year began. In June of this year, he spoke to the County Sheriffs of Colorado at their annual conference.  In an attempt to make amends, he provided a litany of excuses and apologies.

When asked why he did not listen to the sheriffs, Hickenlooper responded:

“I would say in the gun stuff, we certainly could have done a better job. … I didn’t find out the sheriffs were trying to talk to me until the week after, 10 days after, that time frame,” he said. “I’m happy to sit down any time you want. … I think we screwed that up and did a disservice to you and a disservice to ourselves.”

Furthermore, at the event Governor Hickenlooper demonstrated how out of touch he is with his own state:

“This is how bright I am — I didn’t think it was going to be that controversial… There were a thousand things going on and other issues we were dealing with, I guess I didn’t get it.”

“Again, if we knew it was going to divide the state so intensely, we probably would have thought about it twice.”

During the event, Hickenlooper denounced the legitimacy of the legislation, expressing uncertainty that the law could be enforced, and noted that he only signed the bill because of a promise one of his staffers had made. He continued:

“I’ll tell you the funny story, and it is a weird… I think we screwed that up… So we were performing legislation without basic facts, which I think is a bad idea in every case…I apologize. I don’t think we did a good job on any of that stuff.”

He even lied to the sheriffs, explaining that New York Mayor Bloomberg did not play any role in the passage of the Colorado legislation. However, phone logs later revealed that Hickenlooper and Bloomberg had had several conversations during legislative debate. It is hard to believe that Hickenlooper would disown Bloomberg, considering he wrote him a “fawning” handwritten letter congratulating him on his many achievements as mayor of New York City.

In his final malapropism, Hickenlooper let loose with an F-bomb to underscore his remorse, saying “What more apology do you want?….what the f—? I apologize!”  Unfortunately for Governor Hickenlooper, this crass apology is too little, too late and his 180-degree policy reversal does not cast him in a favorable light with Colorado voters.

What is the point of being a leader if you cannot make a decision and defend it?  Perhaps if he had actually listened to the people of Colorado instead of listening to what appears to be his personal idol, Mayor Bloomberg, Hickenlooper might not be stuck with his tail between his legs and a pro-gun opponent, former Congressman Bob Beauprez, close to ousting him from the governor’s mansion.

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