December 31, 2007

The Biggest Bungle of 2007

It seems fitting on this last day of 2007 to think back to what are likely Bill Ritter's two biggest bungles of 2007. They seem so closely related that we are counting them as a single bungle.

The first was his veto of HB07-1072. The veto wasn't a bungle, but the situation was bungled badly by his party. The bill, a modification of the Labor Peace Act came as a complete surprise to the business community despite Bill Ritter's spokesman's claim that he had campaigned on it.

It turned out that he had made some backroom promises to unions that he had conveniently forgotten to inform his business backers about.

The timing of the bill couldn't have been worse from Ritter's position. He had just accepted $250,000 in post election campaign contributions from the business community to retire his campaign debt.

Ritter did veto the bill after it became obvious that it would sour his relations with the business community and with both of Denver' major daily papers.

This created a problem for Ritter. He had not fulfilled a secret campaign pledge to labor.

He solved this problem by creating "partnerships" with his union buddies, promising them that they could collect union dues from state employees.

His partnership plan drew much heat from the Denver Post which, except for HB 1072, had been a cheerleader for Ritter. It declared in an unusual front page editorial that Ritter risked being a one term Governor.

When a politician manages to turn a major newspaper from a supporter to an opponent, that event has to rank as the biggest bungle of 2007.

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