15 October 2014: Hickenlooper has right vision for Colorado

Hickenlooper has right vision for Colorado

With universal mail-in voting across Colorado, we’ve entered a new era of electoral history.  Rather than a one-day event, the electoral period now ranges over several-weeks.

In addition to making voting much more convenient, the mail-in ballot provides for a more thoughtful process in that one can sit, study, and mark his/her ballot unhurriedly. It also serves as a timely, hard-copy reminder time is nigh to perform one’s patriotic duty: Vote!

The outcomes of this year’s election will not only determine who will run the state of Colorado and quite possibly the U.S. Senate, but they will also serve as a strong indicator of the mindset of the Colorado electorate.  Will we elect principled, pragmatic problem-solvers we proclaim we prefer?  Or rigid, ideological and even looney, fringe-tainted leaders?

In its sober analysis, the Denver Post editorial board succinctly sums up the case for the reelection of Gov. John Hickenlooper:

“By any fair assessment,” writes the board, “Hickenlooper has been more than just a capable governor. He’s been a highly effective one.”

It notes that in his event-filled term, Hickenlooper has dealt with the most “destructive wildfires in the state’s history; historic rains, floods, mud and rock slides pummeling a huge swath of the state; and a mass shooting that exceeded even Columbine in the combined number of dead and injured.”

Hickenlooper’s performance during these events, far from him being “indecisive” or “too reflective,” the Post holds, demonstrates “his ability to function under pressure.”

Through every one of these calamities, says the Post, Hickenlooper “proved himself a first-rate leader and crisis manager.  He provided personal comfort to victims even as he directed a complex effort to assist those whose lives had been devastated.”

Like many, I’ve found myself in disagreement and frustrated with the governor on occasion, but then there’s only person one can vote for and with whom one won’t ever disagree: him/herself.  As I shared with one reader, “It’s the complete package one votes for, and sometimes leading, especially pragmatically, means pissing off some of your strongest supporters.  But that doesn’t mean one jumps ship.”

When I asked the governor through his staff for his vision for Colorado, he said, “Colorado has always been a state where people come to grow. To try out ideas and prosper. We cannot achieve these things and create a robust future by looking backward. We must look forward.”

“I believe in the power of conversation and collaboration,” Hickenlooper continued. “Coloradans are intelligent, creative, and resilient people who have the capacity to do great things. Working together is the Colorado Way.”

On the other hand, his opponent Bob Beauprez, once dubbed “Both Ways Bob” but now rigidly “One Way Bob,” offers a completely opposite perspective and leadership style.

In a lengthy expose, the Colorado Independent explored the direction Beauprez wandered from mainstream to looney fringe.  His engagements, writings, and other outward expressions since his defeat by Bill Ritter in 2006 present frightening evidence of a man unfit for public leadership responsibilities.  If one holds to the Ben Franklin maxim “if one lies with dogs, he’ll get up with fleas,” the case against Beauprez is compelling.

One of his conversations, for example, was with online radio host Clayton Douglas, who the Southern Poverty Law Center points out has edited and published “a militia-friendly magazine called Free American — a compendium of conspiracy theories about hot topics from the ‘New World Order’ to the Oklahoma City bombing, weird notions about health and sickness, survivalist paranoia and, especially in recent years, wildly anti-Semitic rants and ideology.”

Nonetheless, Douglas’s “anti-Semitic screeds, such as ‘Are the Jews Behind the Destruction of America?’” didn’t stop Beauprez from engaging in a serious, public conversation.

“We’re living through what was a while ago was fantasy, Orwell’s ‘1984.’ And it is among us,” Beauprez told Douglas. “You know a lot of people think that we’re kind of out there along the fringe for even talking like this.”

Indeed, there are people wondering that.

The CI also notes how Beauprez served simultaneously in Congress with Tom Tancredo, whom Beauprez defeated in the Republican/Tea Party primary.

“Stylistically,” says the CI, “the two men are worlds apart. Still, their voting records show they’re almost indistinguishable in their conservative policy positions.”

In short, if you liked Tom, you’ll love Bob.  Two peas in a pod.

In contrast, “Gov. Hick” has demonstrated effective, pragmatic, problem-solving leadership.  It would be good for that to continue for our well being.

Next week: The case for Mark Udall over Cory Gardner.

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