"Thank you, Miss Marie, that was beautiful. And now, since it's important to honor our country and our flag on such an occasion as this, I invite all of you to stand and join me in the Pledge of Allegiance." That's what Mayor John Hickenlooper could have said, but didn't, when the self-aggrandizing singer "switcheroo'd" her political message song for the national anthem on July 1. When I was Senate President in 2003-2005, presiding daily over formal ceremonies much like the Mayor's State of the State, I wouldn't have hesitated a heartbeat before reclaiming control of the proceedings with some such polite but firm words as those, had someone tried to hijack the occasion as Rene Marie did.
But not only did Hick assert no such leadership in the moment, it clearly never even occurred to him that he should have, judging from his clueless, shrugging comments to the media later on Tuesday. (Dave Logan on KOA was one recipient of those that I know of; there may have been others.)
Not until the anthem affair became a local and national storm did the Mayor finally muster up some "anger" a day later. Even then it seemed to be more about the embarrassment of finding himself out of step with an aroused public, than about the "disrespect" (Gov. Ritter's word on KOA Wednesday morning, and a good one) shown by Marie to America itself.
This blunder by Hickenlooper is much like the mess he made of Christmas a couple of years ago -- initially announcing that Yule greetings would no longer appear on the lighted City and County Building, then hastily reversing himself after an outcry arose.
Hick has shown us once again that under the boyish exterior he's a doctrinaire liberal, and in cultural matters a rather leftish one. Likable and capable as he is, the man is instinctively captive to PC globalism and secularism, tone-deaf to the deeply held patriotic and religious beliefs of most Americans.
As for Rene Marie, the only time I ever heard, or heard of, her until this week was when she performed at the Colorado Prayer Luncheon last May. She talked the Christian talk quitely glibly on that occasion, but we now know her beliefs have the same anti-American slant as those of Jeremiah Wright.
At the luncheon she sang (and, significantly, modified on the fly) Reinhold Niebuhr's famous Serenity Prayer. You know the one: "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."
In this instance neither the weak-kneed mayor nor his headstrong guest lived up to those sentiments (which are as much a personal code of behavior as they are a petition for divine help). After Marie rudely arrogated to herself the role of change agent, Hickenlooper was timid and passive when he could have courageously taken command. Nor did either have the wisdom to even realize how badly they both had disgraced themselves.