As 2012 departs with undeserved job security for Buffs’ top brass, says John Andrews in the December round of Head On TV debates, 2013 may come in with bungee cords as Congress’s consolation prize to Americans headed over the fiscal cliff. Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s letter to Santa, adds Susan Barnes-Gelt, should request a new ethical compass — and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s secret wish for the New Year may be a 2014 run for governor. John on the right, Susan on the left, this month whimsically nominate their Colorado winners and sinners for the old year, offer wacky predictions for the year ahead, and outline New Year’s resolutions for politicos in both Denver and Washington, along with thoughts on the brave new world of legal marijuana. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997 and a presentation of Centennial Institute since 2009. Here are all five scripts for December:
1. WINNERS & SINNERS OF 2012
John: It’s John and Susan’s Colorado winners and sinners of 2012, 10th annual. Thumbs up for Jon Caldara, whose Freedom Embassy shook up Capitol Hill, and John Elway, who rebuilt the Broncos bigtime. Thumbs down for the RTD board, who can’t build light rail, and the PERA board, who can’t do math.
Susan: Gifts for my sinners: Secretary of State Scott Gessler, an ethical compass for his desk. A bigger bathtub for Grover Norquist in his quest to drown government. Copies of the 2010 census for Republican consultants. And a 2-year supply of TUMS for our Gov, facing Dem majorities in the lege.
John: More Colorado winners and sinners as the old year departs: Thumbs down for the anti-energy left with their false fears about fracking, and the top brass of Buffs and Rockies who keep their jobs despite hellacious losing records. Thumbs up for pension watchdog Walker Stapleton and Pentagon watchdog Mike Coffman.
Susan: A bag of coal for Denver DA Mitch Morrissey’s off-the-chart salary demands. Gold stars to Civic Center’s Conservancy’s revitalization of Denver’s most important public square; Metro State Pres Steve Jordan and trustees for lowering tuition for undocumented students. And a BIG bouquet of roses to the people of Colorado!
2. FEARLESS PREDICTIONS FOR 2013
John: It’s John and Susan’s fearless predictions for 2013, wildly wrong every year. Hickenlooper tries for president with a new home in Iowa. He’ll govern Colorado by Twitter. Perlmutter tries for bipartisanship with a new chief of staff: Joe Coors. Coffman tries his wife’s patience by volunteering in Afghanistan.
Susan: Hick and Ken Salazar swap jobs: Hick goes to DC. Salazar comes home as guv. Mayor Hancock attends to the City he leads, not the aerotropolis he dreams about. Denver School Board requires local residency for its superintendent. RTD hires a director who has actually built a transit system.
John: More predictions for a wacky 2013. Unable to avoid the fiscal cliff, Congress authorizes free bungee cords for every American. Grabbing for the Hispanic vote, Republicans offer to make Mexico the 51st state. To prove his foreign policy is no joke, Obama replaces Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Jon Stewart.
Susan: Uber-partisan talking heads become an endangered species. Good humor and sound judgment prevail: Al Franken replaces Harry Reid as the Senate majority leader. South Carolina Guv Haley appoints Steven Colbert to DeMint’s vacant Senate seat.
2013 inaugurates peace, health and optimism to Coloradans and the planet.
3. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR THE GOLD DOME
John: The 2013 legislative session brings fresh faces and hot issues. Susan, I bet the members of your party and mine would love some help with New Year’s resolutions. House Republican leader Mark Waller: I’ll be calm and conciliatory on civil unions. Senate Republican leader Bill Cadman: I’ll pressure the Dems like Von Miller.
Susan: I’ll start with a resolution for Guv Hickenlooper. He’ll maneuver gracefully when the Dem-controlled legislature forces him to be partisan. Legislators from both parties will resolve to follow Aurora Dem Morgan Carroll in ignoring the pressure from lobbyists during official debate. Both D’s and R’s resolve courage and compassion.
John: More New Year’s resolutions recommended for the next Colorado General Assembly. Budget Committee Republicans Cheri Gerou and Kent Lambert: We resolve to scream bloody murder if Democrats propose reckless spending and tax increases disguised as fees. TABOR means what it says.
Susan: Both D’s & R’s – persuade voters to end the stranglehold of TABOR, Gallagher and Amendment 23, thus allowing Colorado’s economy to address the future. The Lege endorses CDOT Director Don Hunt’s solution to the I-70 viaduct expansion; bans hand-held cell phones in vehicles and mandates year-round K-12 education.
4. NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR THE BELTWAY
Susan: 2013 offers a new beginning for Federal government leaders. Resolutions to consider: Congressionals resolve to hear We The People . . . not just K Street lobbyists. The Supremes resolve that Corporations don’t breathe and reverse Citizens United. Obama resolves to enjoy the rough and tumble of political engagement.
John: More New Year’s resolutions recommended for the upcoming 113th Congress. Speaker John Boehner: I will relentlessly use the power of the purse to oppose Obama and the Senate in their crazy spending and expansion of government. The House has no less a mandate for conservatism than the President does for liberalism.
Susan: Democrats and Republicans work for the future of the country instead of their political parties and themselves. Congress reforms the entire tax code, Social Security and Medicare. Special interest and Super PACS reveal individual donors. The US Capitol moves to Lake Wobegon and . . . pigs fly!
John: At the risk of agreeing with you, I like the Lake Wobegon idea, because every congressmen and senator is above average – just ask them. But these are supposed to be achievable resolutions for the Beltway crowd. All of them should vow this year they’ll obey the constitution, for a change.
5. BRAVE NEW WORLD OF LEGAL MARIJUANA.
Susan: Colorado, along with Washington State approved the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Medical MJ is legal in several other states. Enter the conflict between local policy and federal – zero tolerance laws. The war on drugs was lost decades ago and it’s time the feds decriminalize and regulate drugs.
John: The message from voters seems to be that marijuana prohibition has failed as badly as alcohol prohibition, and a new approach is needed. But restraint and responsibility are needed as legislators draw up regulations. A pot parlor on every block, as some stoners have fantasized, is not the way to go.
Susan: Wow! We are pretty much in agreement on this issue, John. Legalizing and regulating drugs is the only way to put criminals and the drug cartels out of business. Comprehensive and unified Federal policy – including imposition of local, state and federal sales tax – must prevail.
John: Voters legalizing marijuana in two states and same-sex marriage in four states signal a new American attitude about using the law to enforce virtue. As a Christian, I believe the body is God’s temple. Don’t defile it with chemicals or promiscuity. But government can’t ultimately police that. It happens in the heart.