Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democratic presidential candidate, needs a little help from his friends back home. Members of The Gazette’s editorial board know, like and respect him. So here goes, for the record:
John Hickenlooper is a red-blooded American capitalist. He is the essence of a capitalist. A future museum of capitalists would rightly feature Hickenlooper as a liberal Democrat distinguished for signing the front of paychecks before pursuing politics.
Hickenlooper’s strong capitalist inclinations led us to endorse him in 2010. His capitalist philosophy led him to consistently defend energy from radical environmentalists who care little about the jobs provided by oil and gas production. If he were governor today, he would surely veto Senate Bill 181 and stop the extreme anti-energy proposal from potentially killing hundreds of thousands of jobs.
For some reason difficult to comprehend, our friend hesitates to own his hard-earned capitalist credentials.
In an interview last week, MSNBC host Joe “Liberal Joe” Scarborough told Hickenlooper the candidate’s small-business success could be an “advertisement for American capitalism.” Scarborough asked if Hickenlooper considers himself a “proud capitalist.”
This was a softball question, potentially teeing up Hickenlooper to separate himself from the likes of Sens. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris. Standing aside from a thinkalike primary pack typically pays off.
Hickenlooper ruined the moment. He hemmed and hawed, saying he wasn’t sure the “capitalist” label fits. He sounded like a man seeking acceptance by the socialist brat pack of bullies commandeering his party.
“I do believe that that ability to look at, you know, climate change and figure out how are we really going to create a sense of urgency, and get people together,” Hickenlooper said, before trying to steer the conversation to methane emissions.
Scarborough did not want to talk about global warming and flatulent cows. He wanted to know if Hickenlooper stands out as a capitalist among a field of Democrats trying to outflank each other on the left. Hickenlooper doubled down, refusing to self-identify as a capitalist no matter how hard Scarborough and his panelists pressed the issue.
Back in 2010, when Hickenlooper sought and obtained our endorsement, we asked him about passenger rail between Colorado Springs and Denver. Because of his pragmatic capitalistic instincts, he answered like this:
“How about we start with another lane on the highway,” Hickenlooper said.
The candidate said easing congestion would increase the velocity at which workers and goods move between markets, boosting the economy. Upon election, he immediately finessed funding to widen the freeway between mid-Colorado Springs and the northern suburb of Monument. He later accelerated widening between north metro Colorado Springs and south metro Denver, largely to facilitate capitalist movement of labor and goods.
If not for Hickenlooper’s command of capitalism, he would not have become Denver’s mayor, Colorado’s governor or a candidate for president.
Hickenlooper was an unknown worker-bee geologist for the oil and gas industry in the 1980s, when an industry downturn left him unemployed.
Capitalism saved him.
Hickenlooper used investor capital, savings, skill and persistence to turn an abandoned warehouse into a craft-brew restaurant that would ignite the capitalist renaissance of a dreary warehouse district. It helped launch the nationwide brew-pub movement.
Hickenlooper-the-capitalist combined an idea with grains, hops and labor to grow small capital into big capital. The effort produced good jobs for the next 30 years and beyond. By harnessing the benevolent forces of capitalism, Hickenlooper provided health care, household incomes and donations to the poor.
“John Hickenlooper is not a socialist. John Hickenlooper is a businessman from Colorado, and a very successful one at that,” Fox News Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt said Monday. “The fact that he can’t answer that in a straightforward, open-faced way is ridiculous.”
Capitalism, not socialism, gave Colorado the top economy in the country under Hickenlooper’s watch. Our economy flourishes because of entrepreneurs, including Hickenlooper, who invest capital to pursue profits by improving the lives of fellow humans. Those profits fund additional constructive endeavors that increase wealth and the capital that chases it.
Only capitalist gains, and nothing else, fund the redistribution schemes of socialists. That’s why socialism does not work. It spites the hand that feeds it.
As a presidential candidate, Hickenlooper has an opportunity to stand out among a pack of political hacks pitching an economic system that has consistently failed throughout time.
We urge our friend to boldly defend and promote capitalism as an economic system proven to liberate the masses with food, shelter, clothing and innovations that improve the lives of the rich, the middle class and the poor.
The Gazette editorial board