In dealing with the hard left, modest capitulation does not work. Just look to former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper as a cautionary tale. Hickenlooper, a former geologist for the oil and gas industry, was long protective of the hundreds of thousands of Colorado jobs supported by oil and gas. He politely intervened when then-U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat who succeeded him as governor, funded a ballot measure asking for setbacks so strict they would have shut down fracking.
Throughout Hickenlooper’s two terms, far-left environmental activists drove their cars to protests and demanded life without oil and gas. Hickenlooper worked to moderate their agendas, simultaneously currying their favor.
Hickenlooper tried to be all things to everyone. In doing so, he gave the environmental left a few big reasons to cheer. Though he protected fracking, the governor sued then-Colorado Attorney Gen. Cynthia Coffman for leading a multistate lawsuit to block then-President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan. When the U.S. Supreme Court put the plan on indefinite hold, relieving states of federal mandates to go green, Hickenlooper forged ahead with a state plan more aggressive than Obama’s. Some saw it as a war on rural, low-income residents who cannot afford higher energy rates caused by the green agenda.
Hickenlooper did not stop there. He signed an executive order in 2018 that demanded the state enact California’s battery-car mandate.
Hickenlooper has done more than any other single politician to impose strict environmental policies on Coloradans. One would expect the left to acknowledge his work toward achieving the green movement’s goals.
Instead, Hickenlooper is learning a lesson in the hard left’s all-or-nothing approach to policy and politicians. They will settle for nothing less than 100% submission. If Hickenlooper does not endorse the Green New Deal, without reservation, they will clobber him. If he does not worship at the throne of teen-green celebrity Greta Thunberg and AOC + 3, they will plot his demise.
The Sunrise Movement, the powerful and well-funded organization pushing the Green New Deal, considers Hickenlooper an option no more environmentally friendly than Sen. Cory Gardner — the Republican Hickenlooper hopes to replace. “Hickenlooper and Cory Gardner are one-and-the-same to us,” Boulder Sunrise Coordinator Michele Weindling told Colorado Public Radio.
Monday, Sunrise endorsed former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff for the Democratic Senate nomination.
Sunrise plans to hire five full-time campaign professionals to derail Hickenlooper and promote Romanoff.
A tweet by Sunrise co-founder and Executive Director Varsh Prakash claims Hickenlooper is “in cahoots with the billionaires who got us into this mess (global warming).”
Romanoff signed “a commitment to reject campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry.”
The Sunrise Movement gets substantial funding from the Rockefeller Family Fund. If that sounds eerily close to billionaire oil money, there is a good reason for it. The Rockefeller family’s multibillion-dollar fortune originates with oil magnate John D. Rockefeller — the founder of Standard Oil.
If Colorado elects Romanoff, tune up the bicycle. He promises to “ban all fracking and end the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure.” He would work to end fossil fuel use in federal operations, which would render useless every vehicle in our military arsenal — jets, ships, tanks and more. Our military would become the world’s most primitive. We’ve yet to see the promise of a battery-powered F-35 or nuclear submarine.
Mainstream Democrats cannot continue appeasing the party’s far-left environmentalist base, which would have this country collapse at the altar of climate change. Hickenlooper unwisely tried to win their approval, leaving centrists to question his judgment and extremists to plot his defeat.
The Gazette editorial board