John Hickenlooper Plans The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics Memoir

Politicians typically write books if they're eyeing a run for national office — something Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has repeatedly denied, despite his name popping up numerous times over the years as a possible vice presidential candidate.

So let the speculation begin anew: Hickenlooper has announced that his top speechwriter, Maximillian Potter, is leaving his gig in order to co-author Hick's memoir, to be titled The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics.

The estimated time of arrival for the tome, which will be published by Penguin Press: May 2016, just prior to the start of national presidential convention season.

Potter and Hickenlooper connected when Potter was (his word) "embedded" with the Hickenlooper administration to research "The Happy Shrewdness of John Hickenlooper," a feature for 5280 magazine, for which Potter worked as a writer and editor.

The article is a lively look at Hickenlooper around the time that he was getting increasing national play. Take this excerpt:
Hickenlooper doesn’t usually wear a tie. He takes great pride in not wearing a tie. He thinks ties are “off-brand.” Like much of what he does, it’s strategy to perpetuate the image of him as the beer man who Forrest Gumped his way into politics, and specifically to avoid looking like a politician who now strategizes to look like the beer man who Forrest Gumped his way into politics. 

Hickenlooper obviously liked the results, since he later hired Potter to serve as a speechwriter and communications adviser — and Potter's March arrest on DUI charges clearly hasn't cooled his ardor.

In a statement accompanying news about the memoir, Hickenlooper is quoted as saying, “I’m told the traits of a great speechwriter are idealism, intelligence, and empathy. Max is one of those great speechwriters. He also has a knack for quickly sizing up a situation and he’s not afraid to speak his mind, which is what makes him an invaluable adviser. While Max is leaving staff to work on the memoir, my hope is he will continue to be a resource for the administration and this state as we continue to write the story of Colorado.”

Potter returns the favor in a comment of his own: A little over two years ago, when Governor Hickenlooper first talked with me about joining his administration, he said the goal of my job wouldn’t be all the different than the goal of my life as a journalist: communicating in order to make the state a better place. Working with the governor and his team in pursuit of this goal, and along the way witnessing the everyday awesomeness of Coloradans has been a remarkable and inspiring experience that I will treasure. My hope is that we will capture that Colorado spirit in the governor’s memoir.”

Perhaps the offering that results will simply be a book, not a calling card designed to position Hickenlooper for veep consideration. Time, and the electoral process, will tell.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts