I know him.

The only other politician I know up close and personal is my old friend Stanton Lesser, the attorney for the Town of Fairfield, then again, that’s not an elected position.

John’s wife Robin tracked me down, she’s a subscriber, she works at Liberty, and when they were in town last fall she suggested we get together. We did, at the Tavern in Brentwood, John noticed T-Bone Burnett sitting next to us, so I introduced them, you see Hickenlooper loves music. I remember riding the Highline Express when Strasburg took a call from the Governor, I think Don was working on the party for his inauguration, but if you know Strasburg, it’s so funny he knows the governor. As does Chuck.

But John Hickenlooper is not Governor of Colorado anymore, now he’s probably gonna run for President.

And I asked him, at that first meeting, WHY HIM? Especially because I could never imagine running for President myself. I mean who am I? I was brought up being told I was a s___head, and there was always someone else who could do it better. And John’s not one of those guys who overwhelms you, one of those can-do blowhards who you can listen to but cannot interact with.

John told me it was because he reinvented himself. Trained as a geologist, after losing his job he raised money to open a brew pub, ultimately having fourteen of them before they were sold. And he went into politics because…

Your dream. Do you even have one anymore? Or has America got you down to the point where you’ve lowered your expectations. Anyway, in the era I grew up in, the era Hickenlooper grew up in, you chose a profession and you stuck with it, the company took care of you, but homey don’t play that no more, you’re on your own in America.

So, seeing that businesses and communities needed to come together, he decided to run for Mayor of Denver. And won twice. Before becoming Governor twice, his term just ending. So what’s the next step?

Hickenlooper specializes in listening, bringing people together, that’s what he told me. And then he gave details, about rural and metropolitan, frackers and residents, public and charter schools. And the longer I listened, I thought…just maybe.

But everyone else said his name would stop him.

But if we can elect Barack Hussein Obama?

And to tell you the truth, I’ve got no problem with Elizabeth Warren, I’d vote for her in a heartbeat, but it seems everybody with money feels otherwise.

And then you start going down the list… Gillibrand…I’m never gonna forgive her for shooting Al Franken. Cory Booker? Some skeletons in the closet. As for the vaunted Joe Biden… Does anybody remember when he ran before? Just give Joe some time, and he’ll put his foot in his mouth. While he grins under those hair plugs. Never pay attention to the spin doctors, the prognosticators in the press, hell, “New York” magazine just reported that AOC has moved the corporate media to the left.

But Hickenlooper is a centrist. Are we looking for a centrist? Can millennials get excited about a centrist?

Someone asked John that tonight. He said yes, because he’s authentic.

And he is. He lacks charisma, he’s not like Bill Clinton with his aura, everybody who ever met Bill testifies about the glow when you’re in his presence. Hickenlooper is more like you and me. But maybe that’s his secret weapon.

But what about Trump, who denigrated Hillary and got away with it, would Hickenlooper go mano a mano?

He said he wouldn’t attack the Donald. But do we need someone who can put Donald in his place?

And then it comes down to track record. Hickenlooper’s got one, not only the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, but number one in job increase, so many other markers that senators can’t point to.

So, could he win?

I went to the Palisades tonight to hear him talk. It struck me how the attendees were monied. That’s right, he’s raising cash for an exploratory committee, and you need money, and without national name recognition can you do it like Bernie and Beto, one by one, via the public?

And so many of these people were in finance, working for the corporation. And I could not relate. Because I’m ten or fifteen years older, and our goals were different in a different time. We were about living the American Dream, less a house and a job and two cars in the garage than experiencing life, the good times. Hell, Hickenlooper went to Woodstock. Which was a financial disaster before the record and movie saved it.

Everybody’s playing it safe today, unlike the sixties, today’s generation is the man, and that bugs me. It’s about lifestyle, look, as opposed to who you are and what you think. Stunningly, the man of the house where the event was held leaned to the right, as so many who’ve won the economic wars have.

So you can get depressed.

Or you can be optimistic.

Trump has to lose. It’s just that simple.

But who is gonna beat him?

That’s all I care about, that a Democrat wins. Personally, I’m left of left, but I just want someone to emerge and become victorious in the national election.

So who is the candidate gonna be?

And the longer I hang with Hickenlooper, and his consigliere/wife Robin, I start to think this guy has a real chance. Because the experience didn’t shave off his rough edges. And he’s enthusiastic, and that’s contagious. He’s that guy in the huddle who keeps you going when the chips are down. You start to believe.

So it’s funny being at the beginning, even knowing a potential Presidential candidate. But that’s where the written word’ll get you. Hell, I didn’t make a donation tonight. But my writing led Robin to me and suddenly I’m standing in the hallway discussing strategy with Hickenlooper.

And let’s be honest, I don’t think I belong there. I came in my jeans and sneakers, my Vail vest, when everybody else looked like they came from the boardroom.

Then again, just like at John’s Wesleyan, at Middlebury it was all about who you were on the inside.

And Ryan Tedder spoke, he used to live in Colorado, he and Hickenlooper are friends, and said he didn’t vote for Trump but he couldn’t vote for Hillary.


Because the Republicans defined her? Made a big deal about Benghazi and all the rest of the crap that meant nothing when Trump did and has done so much worse?

Then again, Hillary was anything but authentic.

Is there such a thing as an authentic politician?

So Hickenlooper is heavily involved in the music scene in Colorado. He knows Nathaniel Rateliff, he knows the Lumineers and their handlers. And he put in light rail so you can get to Red Rocks and the number of gigs at the legendary outdoor venue soared from double to triple digits. This guy is a fan, a believer. He was not brought up with a silver spoon, he’s just like you and me.

In an era where we laud celebrities and people float Oprah’s name as a candidate can someone who is relatively soft-spoken who has done the work win?

I think maybe so.

Watch this space. Expect Hickenlooper to announce. A relative with the same last name was an elected official in Iowa forever. John’s got a relationship with a restaurant chain owner in New Hampshire.

He could win.

And I could know him.

How strange is that?

I guess I’ve got to say we still live in the greatest country in the world. There is still social fluidity. But we need more. More chances, more opportunities.

Could Hickenlooper deliver them?

Just maybe.

Comments are closed