Denver Direct: Naysayer of the Month – Tom Strickland

Monday, June 28, 2010

Naysayer of the Month – Tom Strickland

by Phil Goodstein

The two best things about Ken Salazar becoming secretary of the interior were that he was no longer United States senator from Colorado and that he took Tom Strickland to Washington with him as chief of staff of the Department of the Interior. The latter move got Strickland out of town. As much as anybody, he was the central cog linking the Democratic Party to development interests. His blatant political opportunism and ineptness in losing to Wayne Allard for the Senate was so great that it eventually led to a break between him and his partners in what had been the firm of Brownstein, Hyatt, Farber, and Strickland. Salazar was once also part of Brownstein Hyatt.  Even more than Salazar, Strickland promised to clean house at the Department of the Interior, a place besmirched by another Brownstein Hyatt veteran, Gale Norton.

Reflecting the rest of the Obama administration, the team of Salazar and Strickland has done nothing to change the essence of Bush policies. In particular, rather than cracking down on dangerous offshore drilling, as part of the administration highly supported by “environmentalists,” the Salazar-Strickland Department of the Interior gave oil companies a green light to expand their operations. Then, amidst the Gulf oil spill, rather than taking charge as the department’s chief of staff, Strickland went on a rafting trip, ignoring the crisis as it grew worse daily. Since his return from that expedition, he has been virtually invisible. For so showing his inability to act when necessary, he is the Naysayer of the Month.

Phil Goodstein will discuss Denver history and politics at the Colfax Tattered Cover on Tuesday, July 13,