There’s an opening in Denver that absolutely fits my skill set.
During my so-called career, I’ve worked in four of America’s most disliked professions. I was a 1970s investment banker in New York City; I worked as a real estate broker in the 1980s, specializing in overpriced properties; in the 1990s, I was a local elected official; and in the 2000s, I became a journalist.
I never managed to make any money in any of my ventures, even investment banking — and if I did, it’s all spent.
And that’s why I’m always on the lookout for that next position, the dream job for which my life experience uniquely qualifies me.
Amazingly enough, there’s an opening in Denver that absolutely fits my skill set: lieutenant governor of Colorado.
What do you think of when you read these words? Do phrases like “meaningless nothing-burger” pop into your mind? Do you wonder why we even have such a position in state government?
We have lieutenant governors because the Colorado Constitution says we do. The unfortunate soul who holds the office has two functions. One is to hang around in case the incumbent governor dies or resigns; the other is to be chairman of the Indian Commission.
Forty-eight people have served in the office — can you name one? To be lieutenant governor is to voluntarily hurl yourself into the dustbin of history, to ensure that your life will be little noted nor long remembered.
Our most recent lieutenant governor, Joe Garcia, was so disinterested that Gov. John Hickenlooper gave him an additional job (and salary) as executive director of the Department of Higher Education. According to a Denver Post op-ed penned by local political gurus Tom Cronin and Bob Loevy, Hickenlooper had to do so because the $68,500 annual salary is “embarrassingly meager.”
Meager? Are you kidding? For any Colorado journalist, such a salary would be princely.
But after helping Hick get re-elected in 2014, then serving another year, Garcia decided to jump ship for private-sector security. It’s possible Hick will follow suit or join a potential Democratic administration during 2017. According to press reports, the governor doesn’t want to appoint a politician to the post, hoping to lure a business exec who would also become the state’s chief operating officer.
Governor, don’t try to put lipstick on a pig. If you want a COO, hire one — don’t try to sneak one in by forcing him/her to be lieutenant governor as well.
Instead, consider the benefits of a Hazlehurst hire.
• You’ll be throwing a bone to Colorado Springs, a city that is perennially disrespected, demeaned and despised by Denver’s lofty grandees.
• The underpaid weasels of the media will rejoice, realizing that one of their own can hold the state’s second highest office.
• I’ll go to boring events, make gracefully meaningless speeches and dress appropriately. I even have a suit. As soon as I get my first paycheck, I’ll buy another.
• Republicans will be pleased, since I am one (at least that’s what my registration says).
• And for me, the job wouldn’t be a stepping-stone to something bigger — it would be the appropriately mediocre capstone of a career mired in mediocrity.
But before I agree to accept the lieutenant governor’s ermine mantle, I have a few questions for you.
• Do I get that nice office in the Capitol? Does it have a pullout couch and access to a shower? I can’t afford Denver rents, so I need a place to crash.
• Can I have a car? Maybe a low-mileage 2011 Xterra, with official plates so I don’t get parking tickets.
• I need an iMac — this is definitely not negotiable.
• I’m sure you have tickets to the Avalanche, Rockies and Nuggets, but I’m not the kind of person who accepts such freebies. The Broncos are different. I’m a man of the people — south stands are fine and I’m willing to travel to playoff games. We’ll keep it all on the down-low. You know how these good government people are about Amendment 41.
Think of the benefits to our beloved state. Imagine the headlines “New lieutenant governor an island of mediocrity in a sea of excellence,” or “Colorado proves that anyone can be lieutenant governor.” You can’t buy that kind of publicity.
And finally, it’ll be good for our beloved alma mater, Wesleyan University. Sen. Michael Bennet is a graduate, and you hired him to be Denver’s chief of staff. Hire me, and who knows — maybe I’ll join Bennet in Washington.
My next mediocre ambition: to become deputy assistant undersecretary of state for protocol.
My future duties: celebrity greeting and party attending. So, Gov. Hickenlooper, help me sharpen my skills.