Love him or hate him, you can't deny Michael Huttner's effectiveness. It was no surprise to a seasoned Colorado Politics scribe to see the veteran of Colorado's liberal trench wars in Rolling Stone stumping for Mike Bloomberg for president Wednesday.
Huttner was the first executive director of what would become ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest and highest profile liberal advocacy groups. In many ways, he's the father of the liberal politics that pervade state government today, based on his work nearly 20 years ago, with the help of wealthy Democrats such as now-Gov. Jared Polis, Pat Stryker, Tim Gill and Rutt Bridges.
Rolling Stone writer Andy Kroll titled his Q&A, "An Honest Conversation with a Real Progressive Who Supports Mike Bloomberg."
The piece notes, as anyone who knows Huttner can attest, the Boulderite activist and author with a law degree is a "climate hawk who supports a single-payer health insurance model and backed marriage equality well before the broader public came around to it."
Huttner, as Colorado Politics noted last month, bestowed base credibility to Bloomberg last month when he endorsed the New York City billionaire who used to be a Republican to beat the New York City billionaire who used to be a Democrat.
Huttner and Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas already published, "The Resistance Handbook, 45 Ways to Fight Trump" serving up a playbook for Democrats to unseat the current White House occupant.
"The issue with progressives, with many of my colleagues, is that they keep reinforcing him by saying he’s such a dictator, such an authoritarian," Huttner observed. "Words that make him sound strong. My whole point is you’ve got to frame him as weak and likely to lose."
Then he name-drops Polis. "We’ve worked on a lot of elections over the years," Huttner said. "Going back to 2000, we’ve always won. The ProgressNow model was about how we’d frame people — a message of holding Republicans accountable. In this case, we need to hold Trump accountable."
By contrast, Huttner sees Bloomberg as strong, organized, financially capable and "building like crazy" to run from a position of strength against an incumbent who, in Huttner's view, isn't.
"And that’s why you see Trump starting to attack Bloomberg more and more, because they really think he’s a force to be reckoned with," the Colorado Svengali said. "Trump miscalculated. He got the early read that the single biggest threat to him was Biden."
Huttner knows how state-level politics work, and the Trump employed a state strategy to win the Electoral College (but not the popular vote) four yeas ago.
"Obviously I know Colorado well, but also Michigan, Florida," he said. "That’s where I think you have these now fairly sophisticated teams that (Bloomberg’s campaign) is setting up pretty quickly. In Colorado they’ve hired 75 people just in the past two months. When you look at it state by state and you look at the investment in these states, that’s what really matters."
And why don't more liberal candidates such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders inspire him? He likes all the Democrats, he said, but Bloomberg is best-positioned to beat Trump in his view.
"When I came to the conclusion that it was Bloomberg, I didn’t have to go issue by issue, vote by vote," Huttner said.
You can read the full piece by clicking here.