Recent wildfires in Colorado aren’t a symptom of catastrophic climate change,says John Andrews in the June round of Head On TV debates. Susan Barnes-Gelt disagrees, alleging that earth is warming at a dangerous rate. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over the NSA data dragnet, rumblings of northern Colorado secession, and the 2014 races for senator and governor. 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 June:
1. FOREST FIRES & CLIMATE CHANGE
Susan: Think there’s a relationship between wildfires raging in Colorado and climate change? Nah. Just because earth’s average temp has risen nearly 2 degrees since 1915, and projected to rise another 2 – 11 over the next century. – Unprecedented floods, droughts, & rising seal levels. Just Ma Nature being cranky. Right?
John: Liberal crybabies call it climate change and get their diapers in a knot. Ordinary people call it weather and get on with their lives. Temperatures stopped increasing 16 years ago, and soon the worriers may again proclaim global cooling, as in the 1970s. Colorado forest fires are as old as the forest itself.
Susan: The gentleman doth protest too much . . . Alaska had 90 degree temperatures last week. Unprecedented! Keep whistling Dixie if it makes you happy. But if I were you, I wouldn’t make plans to retire to South Florida anytime soon.
John: I can’t whistle anything in this drought. My lips are too dry. But Susan, look – global warming, climate change, greenhouse gases, carbon credits, cap and trade – the whole thing is a giant scare tactic cooked up by guilty rich liberals and power-hungry politicians. Exhibit A: Al Gore, the world’s biggest hypocritical fraud.
2. NORTHERN COLORADO SECESSION THREAT
John: Suppose there was a 51st state with liberty as its motto, world-class agriculture as its economy, and Greeley as its capital. That’s the vision of conservative leaders in Weld County and northern Colorado. Far-fetched? Maybe. But they mean it. The state’s ruling liberals are that far out of touch.
Susan: My first ever political campaign was – Norman Mailer / Jimmy Breslin “make NYC the 51st state’ 1969 mayor/comptroller effort. It was a fun, lively, engaging and quixotic experience for a sassy NYU student. Colorado redux? Quixotic without the fun and lively!
John: When Weld, Mesa, and other counties threaten to form a separate state of North Colorado, seeking local voter approval this fall, they can’t realistically expect a green light from the legislature and Congress. It’s a deadly serious sign of the times, however. Bloated government plus diminished freedom equals grassroots revolt.
Susan: The problem isn’t bloated government. The problem is irrelevant government. Like spending $50 billion to build the Berlin Wall at our border with Mexico. Why not invest the money in roads and bridges? The problem is no local, state or federal leadership – what’s next? Anarchy?
3. NSA DATA DRAGNET: ARE WE WORRIED?
John: The NSA data dragnet is scary. 1984 has arrived. But Americans have ourselves to blame. We want protection from Islamic terrorism. We love our electronic connectivity with no thought of privacy from corporate providers. Big Brother government was bound to be next. One and one make three. But I hate it.
Susan: I hate it too. The question is how far is too far. Holder’s squelching of the Associated Press is too far – an attempt to staunch leaky spigots in the government – not save the country from terrorists. Of course 1984 is here. It arrived in 1998 with the internet boom.
John: Claims from our leaders in both parties that the all-knowing NSA database is necessary and safe do not reassure me at all. Rather they indicate that most of those leaders and both of those parties have forgotten that absolute power corrupts absolutely. This issue is huge. It could make Rand Paul president.
Susan: Oregon’s Senator Wyden and Colorado’s Mark Udall both have access to classified security info. They dispute spying on American’s phone records has stopped 50+ terrorists plots. The two Dems introduced a bill to limit unchecked surveillance. Here’s hoping the Repub’s fall in line.
4. HICK IN TROUBLE FOR 2014?
John: Gov. John Hickenlooper is the ice-dancer of Colorado politics. Picture a tutu. He has skated along with high popularity and low accomplishments. But his failure to lead is glaring. Coloradans heavily disapprove his reprieve of the murderer Nathan Dunlap. Polls indicate even a no-name Republican could now beat Hick.
Susan: Hick’s Hamlet routine on Dunlap may have moved the approval needle. Yup, from 70% to 55. On the other hand unless Hank Brown or your boss, Bill Armstrong or possibly Becky Love Kourlis throw a hat in the ring, Hick’s a sure bet for re-elect.
John: Your sure bet belongs at the racetrack, not the Hickenlooper dog and pony show. His unpopular gun bills, tax increases, and dangerous mess in the correctional system add up to weakness bigtime. The façade is crumbling. He’s vulnerable to Gessler, Brophy, or Tancredo. And there will be others.
Susan Gessler has huge problems. It’ll be tough for him to raise money. Respected Repub’s won’t support him. Chances are, he can’t even hold on to his Secretary of State gig. Tancredo & Brophy? Non-starters. Hick’s got problems, but the R’s don’t have a bench.
5. SENATORS UDALL & BENNET POLLING POORLY
Susan: Approval ratings for Congress are in the low single digits. Both our Senators – Udall and Bennet are well below 50-percent. Does this mean they are vulnerable? Unlikely. Bennet’s not up until 2016 and no one, I mean NO One has surfaced to take on Udall next year.
John: 2014 will be a good year for the party of more freedom and less government, the Republicans. Senate Democrats will feel the voter backlash from Obama’s health care mess and his tangle of scandals. Michael Bennett and Mark Udall are both mediocre senators. A conservative darkhorse could unseat the liberal Udall.
Susan: Once again John, you cannot beat someone with no one. And El Paso County state legislator Amy Stephens, a far-right wing nut, went rogue and supported Obamacare. Truth is, the Republican bench in Colorado is so weak, they can’t come up with a folding chair.
John: Udall has been a lackluster senator, Hickenlooper a lackluster governor. Neither is riding a wave of popularity. Obama’s unpopularity hurts them both. Each will face a strong challenger, mark my words. It’s still early. Sen. Ben Campbell and Gov. Bill Ritter looked strong at this point too. Neither was reelected.