Learning from Bill Ritter’s Four Mistakes (so far) in the Senate Bill 180 Veto

I asked before if Bill Ritter called the bluff of Big Labor with his veto of Senate Bill 180. If we’re to judge by last Friday’s union-organized rally, then Ritter made a mistake. To see what I mean, take a step over to Face The State’s slideshow, and see signs like “Why does Ritter hate fire fighters?” and “Ritter lied to my dad” (or just Senator Lois Tochtrop’s angry expression).

Of course, Ritter didn’t make a mistake from the standpoint of choosing good policy over bad policy. But he has made four mistakes surrounding this issue:

  1. Don’t make promises you don’t intend to keep. Backroom campaign promises can come back to burn you. As observed at ColoradoPols and demonstrated by the little girl’s “Ritter lied to my dad” sign, Colorado’s Democrat chief executive apparently promised something like SB 180 (and probably even stronger) to the fire fighters union to win their support. Whoops.
  2. If you intend to veto a bill, tell your party to kill it earlier. With Democrats in charge in both the state house and state senate, Ritter could have conveyed that he didn’t want to be forced into make a very public and politically damaging decision on SB 180.
  3. Don’t keep harping on the veto to the media. From today’s Denver Post: “The bulk of Ritter’s end-of-session news conference revolved around his vetoes of the labor bills.” (H/T Rocky Mountain Right)
  4. When you get called on your mistakes, don’t get caught astroturfing to save your hide. Again, Rocky Mountain Right made a great catch here. A minor offense compared to the first three, to be sure, but it keeps the fires stoked (no pun intended) in the blogosphere and gives the story more traction than it otherwise would have.

Meanwhile, I’ll continue to sit back, prop my feet up, and enjoy the show. Will there be more mistakes to come?

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