John Hazlehurst

John Hazlehurst

Here’s the unspoken maxim of all political actors: Find someone to blame, and make sure it’s not you. That’s why climate activists, Democrats and regular folk who are experiencing the suffocating heat of the Front Range have ganged up on Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), the man said to be solely responsible for blocking President Joe Biden’s climate bill. Of course, he did have a little help from Senate Republicans, most of whom are de facto climate change deniers.

It has been interesting to watch the changing stories of the Republican/Libertarian/Fossil Fuel coalition as climate change outran even the most pessimistic predictions of prominent 20th century climate activists. Paralleling  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ five stages of grief, here they are:

Denial: It’s all just liberal, anti-business, anti-growth, anti-American nonsense. Our impact on this vast, spinning globe is relatively negligible. These radicals confuse climate with weather. Their arguments are ridiculous — pay no attention.

Anger: Why can’t these people just shut up? They’re infecting a lot of vulnerable Americans with their extremist beliefs. We need to fight back — next thing you know they’ll try to get federal subsidies for electric cars, shut down perfectly good coal-fired power plants and overregulate our lives. We’ve just got to buckle down, vote ’em out of office and let New York and California do whatever they damn please.

Bargaining: Yeah, we are in a really severe drought, and water is a big problem for Colorado. The summer heat sucks and I can’t really afford to water my damn lawn. So glad we got the Southern Delivery System up and running — you climate activists would’ve just let other greedy cities use it — so at least we can still grow! Let’s work together, move forward cautiously and protect our economy. We don’t want to get ourselves into another Great Recession.

Depression: OK, you were right in the first place and we should’ve dealt with this earlier — but even if we had, so what? China, India, Latin America, Russia — all spewing emissions, putting more carbon in the atmosphere and making things worse. And now we have more and more expensive regulations from the state government, which will just make housing even more unaffordable. This problem started with the Industrial Revolution, so it’ll take a very long time to fix. Let’s not spend a lot of money when the rest of the world doesn’t give a damn — especially California, with all their wildfires sending more smoke to Colorado. 

Acceptance: Not my problem. Refinanced the house, used the money for air-conditioning, a new furnace and a 75-inch TV. Don’t like the climate? Make your own. Come November, we’ll have enough Republicans in the State Senate to keep us safe from the crazy lefties. I’m sorry about all the bad things that are going to happen, and I wish I’d done better. One more thing: Stop trying to guilt-trip me into voting for Democrats.

Result of long-term debate: Democrats can’t do anything, and Republicans don’t think it’s even worth trying. Imagine yourself as a politician with two cars — a gas-guzzler with an empty tank and an electric without a charging device. You’re stuck, but it can’t be your fault, can it?  Let’s find someone to blame.

Dems are in a quandary. Blaming Donald Trump is fine, but he’s not on the 2022 ballot. Repubs have an easy target thanks to Unlucky Joe Biden, who botched the Afghanistan withdrawal and has presided over inflation, surging violent crime and endemic homelessness. To make things even worse for the local Donksters, the Colorado GOP has gone all Bill Owens on them. Sensible, moderate and popular, Owens served two terms as governor (1999-2007). No Republican has held the seat since, thanks in part to the party’s epic collapse in 2010, when Tom Tancredo garnered 34.5 percent of the vote as the candidate of the American Constitution Party and GOP nominee Dan Maes got 11.1 percent. 

Face it, Dems: you’re screwed. Biden isn’t going anywhere. Pray for Jared Polis and Michael Bennet, and as for Biden, think like a gambler at Cripple Creek — if you keep losing at your favorite casino, try a different one…!


John Hazlehurst, whose great-grandfather came to Colorado in 1859, is a Colorado Springs native. He has worked as a reporter/columnist for the Indy since 1997 and the Business Journal since 2006.