The nonpartisan Colorado Independent Ethics Commission found Democratic Senate candidate John Hickenlooper guilty of violating a ban on accepting personal gifts while in office last week, but when his opponent in the 2020 primary called on him to drop out of the race at a debate on Tuesday, Hickenlooper decided that his proven ethics violations…were somehow the product of the Republican Party’s imagination. How convenient!
The independent board found that Hickenlooper had, as Colorado governor, accepted a flight on a donor’s private jet as well as the use of a Maserati limousine while he was in Italy attending a conference. Nonetheless, Hickenlooper decided to play the “fake news” card and hope that his deflection would be enough to convince voters to overlook this glaring flaw in his campaign.
“These allegations were waged by a dark-money Republican group and they’re going to lay attacks and millions of dollars of smear ads against whoever the Democratic candidate is,” Hickenlooper said.
His primary opponent, Andrew Romanoff, scoffed at Hickenlooper’s desperate attempt to blame his own wrongdoing on GOP groups.
“He’s the first person ever held in contempt by an independent ethics commission,” Romanoff noted. “Now, when he breaks the law, he refuses to apologize, defies a subpoena. You heard John blame the Republicans, you heard him blame the staff, I suppose he even blames the commission, which includes his own appointees who ruled against him.”
In addition to losing the moral high ground to his opponent, Hickenlooper has lost the support of the Colorado Springs Gazette editorial board, which came out against his candidacy just prior to the debate, saying that a “politician proven susceptible to inappropriate gifts by corporations is the last thing Colorado needs in Washington.”
Blaming your ideological foes for your own wrongdoing is, of course, a tried-and-true strategy in the dark world of politics. Who will ever forget Hillary Clinton, deep in the throes of denial about her husband’s Oval Office infidelity, blaming the “vast right wing conspiracy” for all those reports about Monica Lewinsky? Of course, even that was less egregious than Hickenlooper’s situation; Bill Clinton had not been convicted of having sex with his White House intern by an independent commission.
But then, Hickenlooper apparently believes that Colorado voters should simply look past his ethics violations and vote for him, anyway. That would be in line with his overall philosophy; when asked by a local paper if he believed Tara Reade and her allegations against Joe Biden, he acknowledged that “to a large extent,” he did.
And yet, he said, “In the end, I still support Joe Biden for president. Absolutely.”
Wonderful. Nice party y’all got over there, Democrats. Really, really great.