In a sprawling feature for The New York Times magazine, author Frank Bruni traces the path of Colorado’s Gov.-elect John Hickenlooper from brewpubs to political office, and concludes with this tip to future implications of his 2010 election…
“Hickenlooper, who is 58, says he has no ambitions for higher office. To be more accurate, he says there’s no point in having them, because he’s too unorthodox a Democrat to be recruited for, and supported in, a national race. Still, assuming his first term as governor goes well and he’s re-elected in 2014, it’s hard not to believe that there will be at least a few murmurs from Democratic operatives, and a few stirrings within Hickenlooper himself, about the presidential race of 2016. And it’s just as hard not to wonder if, at some point, an unorthodox, boundary-blurring candidate will be what both parties decide to trot out for a change.”
He’ll need more than a shower if he decides to jump into the mix in 2016. Hickenlooper dislikes “negative ads,” as I reported back in August 2010 for National Review Online.
Would Hickenlooper, known for his quirky ads and labeled as a non-politician politician by the media, become a managed brand?
That would be a disappointment, if only for the loss of those entertaining but politically shallow ads.
Once he faced more considerable opposition from a surging Tom Tancredo on a third party ticket late in the 2010 campaign, his ads turned more “Serious”:
A recent piece from Face the State on Hickenlooper’s selection of a budget advisor employed by the administration of the former Republican Gov. Bill Owens called to mind the last time a Colorado governor was mentioned as a possible presidential candidate. At least in 2003, when Owens was touted as “The Best Governor in America” by National Review, the Republican had just been re-elected in a landslide in the 2002 campaign. But as Brad Jones in the FTS article reminds us, the advent of the infamous Referendum C in 2005 clouded Owens’ political legacy by the time he left office in 2007.
The lesson: premature political prognostication can be a perilous pastime. Hickenlooper hasn’t even been sworn in – that will occur next week – let alone governed for one term and reelected, as Owens was.
Time for speculation to take a cold shower.