Ugh. After spearheading an effort to put two measures on the ballot to curtail fracking in Colorado, wealthy Democratic Rep. Jared Polis has pulled the plug at the last second. Local organizers had gathered more than 200,000 signatures and were set to submit them on Monday, but Polis negotiated some weaksauce arrangement with Gov. John Hickenlooper, a fellow Democrat who had opposed the measures.
Polis, the movement's chief financial backer, earned a few sops in exchange for declining to file his petitions, but this lame deal doesn't even include an agreement by the energy industry to drop two pro-fracking measures that were already on the ballot. It's some very thin gruel indeed.
So what gives? Well, it's easy to say that Hickenlooper and Sen. Mark Udall, another Democrat, were unhappy with Polis's anti-fracking activism—both had already come out against the measures—so if you want to be charitable, you could call Polis some kind of team player (albeit on the industry-friendly side).
But FOX31, citing unnamed sources, reports that the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club also wanted Polis to back down. Perhaps they feared a loss, but some internal polling from May indicated that both measures would pass by wide margins, so if this claim is true, there are likely other factors at play.
And there's another angle here, one that The Hill explores: Polis, thanks to his wealth and connections, has long been interested in serving as the next chair of the DCCC, something he's acknowledged openly. Nameless insiders had recently savaged Polis for his excessive ambition in the pages of Politico, so standing down now allows him to demonstrate he's a go-along, get-along kind of guy who won't be too hostile to big business. This is all very sad and pathetic, but this kind of behavior is all too typical in Washington, DC.