Nora Caplan-Bricker wrote a long piece in the October 4, 2014 edition of National Journal trying to explain John Hickenlooper’s political style and why his re-election is in trouble. She comes to several conclusions, including the challenge of being an independent-type of politician in a polarized era. It is a disposition that leaves a politician open to criticism for indecisiveness and a cadre of friends, but no passionate base.
IN 2012, THE WORST thing that could happen to the Democratic governor of Colorado came to pass: Democrats, with turnout boosted by the Obama reelection machine, took control of both chambers of the Legislature. “The little pundit class out here,” says Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli, “that November, we all said the same thing: big problem.” As Democratic lawmakers began to blaze through a wish list they’d been accumulating for years in the divided Capitol—not only gun control but also civil unions, marijuana, and strict renewable-energy standards—Hickenlooper's delicate balancing act became more difficult. On issues far more divisive than the budget, it was no longer possible to please all the customers.