With speculation building as to which Democrats might challenge President Donald Trump in 2020, those who follow this political game closely have noted the rise of Colorado Governor John Wright Hickenlooper (shown). In 2005, while he was mayor of Denver, Time magazine tapped him as one of the top five big-city mayors in the United States. Then, in November 2012, Esquire magazine listed him as one of the “Americans of the Year 2012.” He even made cameo appearances in a Kurt Vonnegut novel (Earthquake), and the 2010 movie Casino Jack.
All of that would be pretty heady stuff for your average big-city mayor or even a state governor, but you know you are really “big time” when you get an invitation to attend the super-secretive Bilderberg Group, which held its annual meeting in Turin, Italy, this year. The group was formed in 1954, and some of the biggest movers and shakers in world politics meet to discuss and shape issues of interest to globalist-minded attendees.
That Hickenlooper was one of this year’s 131 elitists in attendance is significant. Bill Clinton, when still a fairly obscure governor of a small state of Arkansas, was in attendance at a Bilderberg meeting in 1991, and the next year he was elected president of the United States, defeating another former attendee, George Herbert Walker Bush. In 1964 and again in 1966, Congressman Gerald Ford was at a Bilderberg meeting.
So, Hickenlooper is someone to watch, for sure.
Hickenlooper is a Democrat from a Republican family. His grandfather, Smith Hickenlooper, was a federal judge, appointed by Republican President Warren Harding in 1923, and President Calvin Coolidge, another Republican, nominated him for a seat on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.
With this background, John Hickenlooper enjoyed some Republican support as a Democrat politician (many Republicans are like the girl who believes some smooth-talking suitor despite evidence that she should not). After starting a beer company, Hickenlooper stuck his toe into municipal politics (which are generally non-partisan) and won election as mayor of Denver.
As with so many successful politicians, he got a lucky break when he ran for governor in 2010, which was generally a good Republican year nationally. In early September of 2010, his Republican opponent, Dan Maes, imploded. The Denver Post disputed his claim that he had been an undercover agent for the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and several accusations were leveled at him. When former Republican Senator Hank Brown withdrew his endorsement of Maes, the Post called on Maes to leave the race, and the Republican Party dropped all financial support. When it appeared that Maes was going to be beaten by a very large margin, former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo entered the race on the Constitution Party ticket.
Tancredo garnered 36 percent of the vote, but Maes managed only 11 percent. Hickenlooper won a bare majority of the vote, at 51 percent.
When Hickenlooper won reelection in 2014, he fell below 50 percent of the vote, but the opposition was split again, with Bob Beauprez, the Republican, taking 46 percent.
Politico has compared Hickenlooper’s “centrist” image to that of Bill Clinton, who won in 1992 promising a “third way.” But this moderate image does not square with his record.
For example, while Hickenlooper once had what was described as a “cordial relationship” with the National Rifle Association, he has signed some of the strictest gun-control measures of any state. In 2013, Governor Hickenlooper signed a bill to limit the capacity of magazines bought, sold, or transferred within Colorado to 15 rounds. Another bill required background checks for any firearm transfer within the state, and yet another bill placed a tax on firearm transfers. He is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is co-chaired by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a strong opponent of gun rights. The recent wave of anti-gun rights activism should fit in nicely for a Hickenlooper presidential effort.
Hickenlooper is also an opponent of the death penalty. In 2013, he granted an indefinite stay of execution for a man who was convicted of the 1993 murder of four employees of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant. He ignored pleas from family members of the victim, saying, “It is a legitimate question whether we as a state should be taking lives.”
As a mayor and a governor, Hickenlooper has not had to take stands on foreign policy issues such as trade and aid, but it is a safe bet that the Bilderberg Group provided him with an “education” into the globalist perspective during the meeting in Italy.
Photo: AP Images