Opinion | The Senate is not a consolation prize
Regardless of the hype and armchair punditry, the U.S. Senate might be a long shot for John Hickenlooper. His second choice for the prom, Colorado could say “thanks, but no thanks.”
The former Democratic governor of Colorado ended a run for his party’s presidential nomination Aug. 15 under pressure to run for the Senate. Democrats nationally consider Colorado Republican Sen. Cory Gardner the most vulnerable Senate Republican seeking reelection, given the landslide victories of Colorado Democrats in 2018. Hickenlooper is their favored candidate to take him on in their quest to win a Senate majority.
“I’ve heard from so many Coloradans who want me to run for the United States Senate,” Hickenlooper said in a video announcing his drop from the presidential race. “… I intend to give that some serious thought.”
Hickenlooper should think seriously about what he said and did while seeking the presidential nomination. He made a fool of himself Aug. 9 during an interview with veteran Denver radio host and attorney Dan Caplis.
“Let’s say that an infant is born alive after a failed abortion. At that point, should it be required that the infant receive medical care?” Caplis asked.
The answer should be simple for any grown man with a conscience, let alone one hoping to run the country. No civilized society leaves a fully birthed infant to suffer and die of neglect in a health care facility. That is barbaric.
Hickenlooper — desperate for the approval of extreme abortion-rights groups — refused to answer. Rattled, Hickenlooper pretended he was late for a meeting. He told Caplis he had scheduled only 2 minutes, then walked away from the mic. In truth, Hickenlooper’s staff had scheduled a full 15-minutes with Caplis.
If Hickenlooper gets past a large field of primary Democrats, he will enter the general election as Coloradans catch on to his California dreamin’ scheme that could change what they drive.
As few paid attention, Hickenlooper signed executive order B 2018-006 in June 2018. He effectively handed off regulation of Colorado auto emissions to environmental bureaucrats in California. The order requires the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to establish an emissions program “which incorporates the requirements of the California (Low Emission Vehicle) program, and propose that rule to the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission …”
The order quickly led to Colorado embracing California’s zero emission vehicle standards, as Hickenlooper told The Gazette’s editorial board in 2018.
“The electric vehicle guys went and lobbied to have the Regional Air Quality Council (of metro Denver) to go ahead and add (ZEV) to things to look at,” Hickenlooper told us. “I don’t tell RAC what to do. I never have. I don’t want my finger on the scale.”
From that beginning, we have the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission ready to rubber-stamp California’s extreme emission standards and impose them on Colorado. No public vote. No legislation. Just a mandate by fiat that benefits “the electric vehicle guys” at the expense of consumers.
The California rules will force Colorado auto dealers to sell high percentages of costly battery cars. Prices for conventional pickups and SUVs will rise by thousands. Colorado and California have different climates and terrain, which explains why consumers choose four-wheel drive pickups and SUVs 25% more in Colorado than in California.
Other obstacles between Hickenlooper and the Senate include:
- Five ethics complaints, involving travel, deemed by the Colorado Independent Ethics Commission worthy of investigation.
- A poorly regulated marijuana industry linked to rising pot-related traffic fatalities, a statewide rise in crime, and drug-related problems in schools and families. Hickenlooper called marijuana legalization an “experiment,” but his administration failed to compile meaningful data.
- Abysmal transportation infrastructure. Highways and bridges deteriorated during Hickenlooper’s two gubernatorial terms. His Department of Transportation failed to initiate improvements to keep up with the growing population and corresponding traffic. His transportation department spent $150 million on new offices while mostly neglecting highways.
- Supports subsidized health care for illegal immigrants, as shown in his first presidential debate.
- Drank fracking fluid, a memory that conflicts with his recent pandering to environmental extremists.
- A crowded field of well-funded Democrats ready to turn Hickenlooper’s record against him.
- “I’m as progressive as everyone else up on the stage.” — Hickenlooper at the July 30 debate, on stage with hard-left Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Hickenlooper became his worst enemy during his presidential campaign. He tried passing himself off as a party wing-nut we barely recognized. Refusing to accept the label “capitalist” on a TV interview, we wondered what happened to the businessman who made a fortune revolutionizing craft beer.
Desperate for the White House, Hickenlooper routinely assured the country he is not a good choice for the Senate.
“I’m not cut out to be a senator,” Hickenlooper said in February, as quoted in Politico. “Senators don’t build teams. Senators sit and debate in small groups, which is important, right? But I’m not sure that’s my — I’m a doer. That’s what gives me joy.”
One of Colorado’s two Senate seats cannot be the consolation prize for Hickenlooper’s failed presidential bid. Indeed, as he insisted in recent months, this could be a bad fit.
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