Lying Liars Lie: it’s who they are and what they do
In this case, we have Colorado Governor Hickenlooper attempting to rewrite legislative history and walk himself back toward the practical “moderate” pro-business label he relies upon to bullshit his way through election cycles. Only something happened on the way to the forum…
Gov. John Hickenlooper ignited a political firestorm with his comments Friday to Colorado’s sheriffs, saying he was unaware they wanted to meet with him in 2013 to discuss their concerns over proposed gun laws until it was too late and he had no idea the measures would be so controversial.
Hickenlooper also told the County Sheriffs of Colorado at their biannual meeting, held in Aspen, that he regretted not having all the facts when he signed the bills into law.
Press accounts show Hickenlooper tried to charm the sheriffs, who sued him over the gun bills. But within hours, the effort backfired.
Montezuma County Sheriff Dennis Spruell kicked off the brouhaha when he wrote about Hickenlooper’s apology on the department’s Facebook page as the governor was speaking. By noon Monday, almost 95,000 people had read the post.
“It just went viral,” Spruell said. “Holy moley.”
Also, on Sunday, Complete Colorado, a right-leaning outlet, posted a story and video saying phone records and interviews contradict Hickenlooper’s statement to the sheriffs that he never spoke with former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg about the gun bills.
The governor’s spokesman, Eric Brown, said Monday that Spruell’s Facebook post contained some errors, but that Hickenlooper erred when he said he hadn’t spoken to Bloomberg.
“It is well established that Gov. Hickenlooper spoke with Mayor Bloomberg, as well as NRA president (David) Keene and many other stakeholders in the gun safety debate. … The governor was attempting to convey he never had a conversation with Bloomberg that influenced the decision he made,” Brown said.
“In no way did the governor intend to mislead the sheriffs or anyone else.”
Well, while it’s true I’m a mere rube and haven’t the credentials to contradict someone so august as the spokesman for a governor — though I don’t lack the audacity — I’d like to suggest to Mr Brown that he doesn’t get to decide whether or not the sheriffs were mislead, nor can he deny that the misleading was intentional: if Hickenlooper agreed to speak to Bloomberg while failing to speak with sheriffs, it’s quite clear that the intent of that conversation was to figure a way to frame his flip flop on anti-gun laws that Hickenlooper had previously promised not to support.
So we’re not buying it. Nor are we buying that those in the room are misrepresenting what was said in the room.
Brown said the Montezuma County sheriff misquoted Hickenlooper when he wrote that “the governor admitted his office did not research the gun legislation until after it was passed.” Brown also said the governor, while admitting he was surprised by the controversy, did not say as the sheriff maintains that “had he known, he would not have endorsed the new gun laws without more research.”
Spruell said he stands by what he wrote.
The Democratic-backed gun legislation turned the 2013 session into one of the nastiest in recent history and cost three state senators their political jobs, including Democratic Senate President John Morse, who was recalled . The sheriffs were among the hundreds who stormed the Capitol to protest the bills, and Hickenlooper told them “I think we screwed that up” by not meeting with them, according to the Aspen Daily News.
“I don’t think he screwed it up in any way shape or form, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t think so,” Morse said Monday, adding that he has no regrets even though it led to his ouster.
“This is the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life,” Morse said.
Hickenlooper signed the first gun bills into law in March 2013, eight months to the day after a gunman killed 12 and injured 58 at an Aurora theater. One bill expanded background checks to private sales. Another banned weapons magazines with more than 15 rounds, a move that caused the leading magazine producer, Erie-based Magpul, to begin plans to move most of its operations out of state.
“If we’d known that it was going to divide the state so intensely, we probably would have thought about it twice,” Hickenlooper said to the sheriffs, according to the Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction.
Two months after the bills were signed into law, 55 of Colorado’s 62 elected sheriffs filed suit, saying the regulations violated the Second Amendment. A federal judge ruled the sheriffs didn’t have standing to sue in their official capacity, but allowed term-limited sheriffs to sue as individuals. Ten sheriffs are now part of the suit, said attorney Dave Kopel.
Spruell said that while he found the governor very “personable, very likable,” he also didn’t believe him.
“Everybody in the state of Colorado knew we wanted to talk to him about the gun bills,” Spruell said. “How could he not know that?”
He didn’t not know that. He was Bloomberg’s bitch. Period. End of story. And he’s made his disdain for the areas outside Colorado’s more “cosmopolitan” liberal enclaves quite clear in the past. But he needs to slide back into moderate mode, and he thought enough time had passed — and that he was believable enough — to do so.
Get used to it, pols. An increasing number of us are on to you and are using our own meager platforms to disseminate the message that the people who supposedly work for us are willing to go against our will if they think it will benefit them in some way, either politically or financially, down the road.
And that won’t stand.