Our View: Governors that Lead

June 4, 2012

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R)

On the eve of the long-awaited recall election of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) and his Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, we agree with Congressman Paul Ryan’s assessment that courage is on the ballot in the Badger State.

While it is clear that the Walker administration has done nothing worthy of being recalled less than two years after being elected in a usually blue state, his willingness to stand up to big government unions has simultaneously earned him “public enemy number 1″ status among those adverse to working for their paychecks — and hero status among tea party types.

Whether you love him or loathe him, you never have to wonder where Governor Scott Walker stands on issues. While his style (and his substance) have earned him a recall election, it is nice to be reminded that a chief executive of a state do more than act as little more than the 101st legislator as Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has done since being elected the same year as Walker.

Can anyone point to major accomplishments — or even principled fights that Hickenlooper has fought since falling backwards in to the Governor’s chair after a three-way race in 2010?   True, he is great at cutting ribbons and signing bills that others work hard getting passed. However, to date, Colorado has yet to see it’s current chief executive dig his heels in to muscle something through or further an agenda (the civil unions fiasco notwithstanding).

While it may all be part of the “Hick charm” or the cleaver branding schtick thats been crammed down our throats since he was first elected Mayor of Denver, it’s fair to say that Hizzoner is far from inspiring.

While we are still trying to recover from the pain and drama of the Ritter administration in Colorado, we can look back and see that Ritter had priorities – albeit misguided ones - and he actually worked to advance them.  As someone that campaigned on the promise to shut down the oil and gas industry in Colorado, Ritter didn’t surprise anyone when he went to the ballot in 2008 with Amendment 58, a punitive measure designed to hike severance taxes on industry.

From afar, we see that Governors do actually have the ability to advance the ball when they want to.  Unfortunately for Colorado, it seems as though our current administration will continue muddling their way through their first term rather than crafting solutions to major problems facing the Centennial State.

Here’s hoping Mr. Walker weathers the ginned-up Wisconsin recall election, and in doing so inspires John Hickenlooper to start putting forward some actual policy ideas rather than merely reacting to those proffered by others.  Stranger things have happened in politics.

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