Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado avoided calling himself a capitalist multiple times during a Friday interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” despite the fact that he started his own business.
“It sounds like the American Dream, as far as business goes,” MSNBC Host Joe Scarborough said after Hickenlooper described his small business experience. “Wow, an advertisement for American capitalism.”
He then asked the governor if he considered himself a “proud capitalist,” and Hickenlooper laughed before answering.
“Oh I don’t know, you know the labels, I’m not sure any of them fit,” the 2020 presidential hopeful answered. “I do believe that that ability to look at, you know, climate change and figure out how are we really going to create a sense of urgency, and get people together.” (RELATED: Hickenlooper Faces Uphill 2020 Battle In A Democratic Field That’s Sprinting To The Left)
He then started talking about methane emissions before Scarborough broke in and asked the question again.
“Well, again, the labels,” said Hickenlooper. “I’m a small businessperson, so that part of the system that you would call capitalist, I get it, I understand it. I worked very hard.”
When you open your own business, you know, when we first signed the lease downtown in Denver to build our brewpub, it was one dollar per square foot per year, and if you haven’t ever signed one of those leases, that rent is almost free and it reflects how bad and how abandoned that community was. we worked seventy, eighty, ninety hours per week to build the business, and we worked with other business owners in the lower downtown to help them build their businesses.
“Is that capitalism? I mean I guess,” the governor continued.
Seemingly not content with that answer, Scarborough asked the question another time: “Do you consider yourself a capitalist, and does capitalism work?”
“Well I think, I don’t, I don’t look at myself with a label,” Hickenlooper responded. “And I certainly think that small business is part of the solution. I think right now the way that capitalism is working in the United States, it’s not doing what it once did. It’s really not providing security, opportunity, for the middle class and for poor people.”
Republican strategist Susan Del Percio and marketing expert Donny Deutsch both asked the same question again, getting the same result.
“I am frightened that you are in a position where it’s hard for you to come out and say, ‘I am a capitalist,’ we are a capitalist society, that’s not a bad thing,” Deutsch said to the Democrat.
“That doesn’t mean that we can still have income equality,” he continued. “But that is my concern, the way that your party, my party is being highjacked that it’s uncomfortable for you to say ‘I am a proud capitalist.'”