Workmanlike, but not quite the Lincoln-Douglas debates... this was theme in three accounts of last night's Centennial Institute candidate forum. Kristen Wyatt of AP noted the rivals' sameness. Blogger Don Johnson was underwhelmed, while Ron Michel, his Arapahoe County neighbor, went further and expressed dismay. But the fact remains, as noted in this morning's Denver Post, that we scored a first as far as putting the four main GOP contenders on the stage together. This stands as a bookend with the "last" scored a week ago, when Josh Penry made his final campaign appearance opposite Scott McInnis and Dan Maes before quitting the race on Tuesday. Here's how Wyatt, Johnson, and Michel saw the Nov. 10 non-shootout shootout:
Colorado's GOP Senate hopefuls sound similar Grand Junction Sentinel, Nov. 10By Kristen Wyatt, Associated Press
LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Four Colorado Republicans running for the U.S. Senate did little to differentiate themselves in a forum where they agreed on every topic.
Talking before a friendly conservative crowd in Lakewood, the Republicans saved their barbs for Democrats in Washington. They didn't criticize each other, and none of them even mentioned Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, who holds the seat they're after and is facing re-election next year.
Former lieutenant governor Jane Norton said Congress is spending too much. The sentiment was echoed by the other candidates: Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, former state Sen. Tom Wiens and business Cleve Tidwell.
All said the key to Republican success next year was to seize on dissatisfaction with Washington.
------------------------------------------------------------------------Jane Norton, Ken Buck, Tom Wiens put on a good showBy Donald Johnson - BusinessWord.com
Colorado GOP candidates for the U.S. Senate put on a good show for some 240 supporters at Colorado Christian University in Lakewood Tuesday night.
Everybody was prepared. Nobody flubbed any lines, and they agreed that
Republicans have to return to their principles and be proud that they are Republicans.
All eyes were on Jane Norton, the former Lt. Governor under Governor Bill Owens. She performed flawlessly and had ready answers for the rather broad questions posed by a panel of three.
Former state representative and senator Tom Wiens made his debut as a candidate and proved that he is a big league campaigner.
Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck showed his court room skills and his knowledge of some of the nitty gritty problems with Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s health spending bill HR 3962.
Retired businessman Cleve Tidwell demostrated his knowledge of domestic, world and energy economics, but he also showed he’s a political rookie. He didn’t make mistakes. He just didn’t sound as polished as the other candidates.
The candidates agreed that they don’t like the tax and spend frenzy that President Obama and Congressional Democrats are trying to impose on the country, and they don’t like the public option or much else about the health spending bill that the Democrats are trying to ram through Congress.
They also pretty much agreed that Obama must decide on his Afghanistan military strategy soon, and they believe the U.S. must stay in that country until regional stability is established and until Americans can leave the country in better shape than they found it in 2001.
The candidates weren’t asked about incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet, and no one mentioned him specifically. They’re all running against Washington, period.
Former Governor Bill Owens, former U.S. Senator Bill Armstrong and Colorado GOP chairman Dick Wadhams all attended the talent show and seemed pleased with what they saw and heard. Armstrong is president of CCU.
The forum was moderated by the former president of the state senate, John Andrews. He was the GOP’s gubernatorial candidate in 1990 and now works at CCU.
Yawn... Give'em all a C
By Ron Michel firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no reason to write a lengthy review of tonight's Senate Forum. What's there to say? Senator John Andrews did his masterful job of moderating and his CCU student team were as professional as ever. Full house --200 or so including a welcomed surprise, Governor Bill Owens.
If I were to grade the candidates, it would have to be a warm-milk C. All did OK; mistakes were not made. Overall, it was a big yawn, a me-too gathering of wanna-bees... about as exciting as watching reruns of Mr. Rogers. All very nice, polite people that would bore the most ardent politico.
I would say that Senator Wiens might have come across as most polished. Norton seemed to rely on all well-known political sayings and suck-up comments about "doing what's good for the good people of Colorado." That part wasn't good. It was another yawn.
Buck and Tidwell both had a few minor positive points that we all have read or said and seemed to be voiced more for applause than a rallying point. I blame the tight format and strict time limits more than anything.
What I saw and heard tonight made me nervous, not confident. If this is the best we have to offer, we're in trouble. There was no emotion, no energy, no anger, no passion, no guts, no Tancredo -type dramatics. Nothing that would make one jump up from their seat and shout out " your damn right... I'm with you. Lets go kick some Democrat [booty]."
Just a thought, but I would like to see some political venue come up with a better format that would allow the candidates to really express themselves. Less rules, less constrictions. I want these people to bare their souls, to scream out how they feel about our country and shout "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore." I want to feel their passion, their commitment and their emotional leadership that will be reflected in giant win for Republican come 2010.
A cheering crowd of nearly 300 filled Colorado Christian University's School of Music auditorium last night to hear four candidates for the U.S. Senate. Weld County D.A. Ken Buck, Former Lt. Governor Jane Norton, businessman Cleve Tidwell and former State Senator Tom Wiens addressed the Centennial Institute's Candidate Forum. The program, which follows last week's forum for gubernatorial candidates, will be broadcast statewide on Colorado Public Television and Salem Radio, including KNUS 710 in the Denver metro area.
Following the one hour presentation, candidates mingled with voters for nearly an hour. Among the spectators were former Colorado Governor Bill Owens, members of the Colorado Legislature, county commissioners and political activists, as well as CCU faculty, staff and students, reporters, bloggers and interested citizens.
Congratulations to Centennial Institute's John Andrews for organizing and moderating an outstanding event. He was ably assisted by CCU seniors Kristina Schermer and Lawson Cheek who posed their own questions and those submitted by members of the audience. Although time did not permit all of the audience questions to be presented to the candidates, each question will be posted on this website.
All in all, it was a great evening, informative and interesting. Unfortunately, two of the candidates who were invited – Senator Bennett and former Speaker Romanoff – were unable to participate. We hope they will visit CCU on another occasion in the near future.
This morning’s Denver Post carried an excellent story which is linked here.
('76 Editor) When Scott McInnis, Josh Penry, and Dan Maes faced an audience of almost 300 at Centennial Institute's forum for gubernatorial candidates on Nov. 3, the outpouring of written questions from the floor added up to a comprehensive examination of the rivals' readiness to lead Colorado if elected in 2010. Since our panel was only able to ask a few of the questions that night, we've compiled all of them here for your reference. The order is random, and there has been no editing to avoid repetition or overlap on some topics -- since that serves to illustrate concentrated areas of concern among those who attended. Panelists' questions are listed separately at the end.
1. Colorado public schools are underachieving, despite huge increases in funding. What do you believe are the primary purposes of public education? Social? Intellectual? In preparation for work as entrepreneurs, employees, and employers? How can Colorado do this better?
2. Congressman McInnis, you say now that you are, and have been, pro-life. Yet in 1992 while running for Congress, you said that you were pro-choice and would remain pro-choice. Which are you really, and how can we know that?
3. Do you know the case of Rifqua Bari of Ohio? If the courts return her to her Muslim family, does that put her under Sharia Law? And at risk of beating, deportment, and still possible future death? Would you make a similar case, of a Muslim youth becoming a Christian, or other faith, a ward of the state to protect them? What is your position on school vouchers?
4. What will you do to defend TABOR?
5. What is your position on the I-70 light rail?
6. What is your view of the proposed personhood amendment declaring a fetus a human being from conception.
7. Colorado voted for marriage to be defined as one man and one woman, but I believe we’re paying state employee benefits for homosexual couples, what is your opinion on that?
8. Would you be willing to work (or sign, if the opportunity is given) to repeal the “bathroom” bill – men can use women’s’ bathrooms and vice versa?
9. What is your position on illegal immigration?
10. How do you plan to fix P.E.R.A.?
11. You speak of values, hard work, and integrity. Have you been to the projects (low-income housing) to see the people who are struggling daily? In layman’s terms, how would you explain your agenda?
12. How do you plan to balance environmental awareness with the exploitation of natural resources in Colorado in order to be a good steward of resources as well as provide jobs?
13. How would you rate your knowledge and comprehension of the state budgets in the last two years?
14. How much comprehension of the budget does the next governor need?
15. Do you prepare your own tax return?
16. What is the starting income number on Colorado personal return? How does it relate to a U.S. 1040?
17. Alternative energy is not yet reliable (wind and solar versus nuclear). If Colorado is supposed to be leading the nation in new ideas while providing jobs, how does that work if alternative energy can’t pay for itself?
18. How would you try to correct the damage that has been done by the Ritter administration to the natural gas industry?
19. What is your number one suggestion for how to raise Colorado revenues?
20. How do you believe the legalization of marijuana would benefit and/or harm Colorado?
21. Please summarize what caused the fiscal problems with P.E.R.A., and what the governor and legislature should do to solve the problem?
22. As governor, what would your standpoint on the nation of Israel and America’s support of her be?
23. Is state government currently in a financial crisis or is this simply an expected ratcheting down of government because of TABOR?
24. As governor how would you create new jobs? Please be specific.
25. Transportation statewide is in dire straights. How do you plan on gaining the funding necessary to fix the problem?
26. What is your position on the expansion of Fort Carson?
27. In this era of global economy, what would you do to prepare Colorado businesses to compete in the borderless business between countries? –
28. As governor, what will you do to further America’s fight against Islamic terrorism?
29. How many jobs as Gov. Ritter brought to Colorado with his green energy policy? How many jobs has he lost in the in the oil and gas industry?
30. It will take a solidified effort to win our state and country back. Can each of you get behind one candidate if that is what it takes?
31. This is an open question to any one of you who thinks he can answer it. Can you recite the preamble to the Colorado State Constitution?
32. As governor, what would you do to solve the illegal immigration problem in Colorado?
33. As a voter, I have lost faith in our government. Fiscal responsibility has been abandoned and our founding heritage and future have been compromised. If elected governor, what would you do to restore my faith in government?
34. How would you fix TABOR?
35. Gov. Owens cancelled funding for Planned Parenthood. Gov. Ritter restored that funding. Will you again cut off funds for this pro-abortion organization?
36. Would you support state condemnation for transportation or water projects?
37. Why did Republicans in the past Congress go the wrong direction when we had the majority?
38. What is your message to young people – tomorrow’s leaders – that will compel them to embrace conservative values?
39. The oil companies have worked behind the scenes to prevent us from becoming more energy independent. How are you going to make Colorado more independent and keep the oil companies from derailing this effort?
40. In this tough economy, all parts of state government are having to cut. However, Amendment 23 allows public schools to take more and more. Is there a way to rectify that situation and more evenly balance our funding?
41. Please describe your feelings on the 2nd Amendment.
42. Do you support the three grassroots taxpayer rights initiatives supported by Doug Bruce to control the size of government and repeal fees?
43. Some Republicans are saying it’s inconsistent for the front runner in this race, Scott McInnis, to plead party unity as a reason for avoiding head to head debates, when he himself damaged party unity by criticizing Bob Beauprez’s campaign in 2006 and the Bob Schaffer campaign in 2008. Please ask each candidate to comment. 44. Tonight, we’re finding out in Virginia, and New Jersey, in New York and Maine, what it means to be a Republican and a conservative, including being a social conservative: on issues of life and marriage and justices, and on issues that affect the family. Why is it that none of you seem wiling to talk about social conservative issues in your campaigns? Does that leg of the Reagan conservative triad not matter any more?
Prepared Questions by Student Panelist Chad Ryder:
A. One of the core values of this university is compassion for the poor. Another is limited government and free markets. Many Democrats would say those values are incompatible, and they would charge Republicans with having little compassion for the poor. How would you respond to that charge, and what would you do about it as governor?
B. In the recent past, with such scandals as Gov. Spitzer in New York and Gov. Sanford in South Carolina, the American people have witnessed the effects that poor self-management and skewed personal-values can have on a politician’s career. What are three core-values you uphold in your personal life that will assure you success in your political career?
C. During the 2006 election, the Republican Party lost the race for governor, partially because the tensions during the Republican primaries damaged the party unity in the general election. What practical measures are you taking to make sure the Republican Party does not repeat the same mistakes of the 2006 election?
Prepared Questions by Student Panelist Samantha Scoggins:
A. After talking with college students, I have found that many people my age are concerned that there will not be jobs for them after graduation.According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms and employ 64 percent of all private sector employees. In the current economic climate, small businesses seem to be suffering more than large firms. How do you plan to bolster small businesses and create small business growth in Colorado? B. Many college age students find themselves unable to reasonably pay for college. Many take out large amounts of student loans that they spend years trying to repay. Due to the current economic downturn, most students find it harder to pay for college than in the past. How do you intend to make higher education affordable for students in light of the current economy?
Prepared Questions by Moderator John Andrews:
A. Before coming to the issues of 2010, the Centennial Institute invites each of you to fill out a job application. Tell us specifically what preparation and qualifications you have that the other two Republicans and the incumbent Democrat do not have, making you the best choice to be our next governor. Each of you is at a disadvantage for not having won the Nobel Peace Prize. But you also each have some advantage over the others. Please spell out what that is.
B. With tax revenues falling short in the current recession, Gov. Bill Ritter has relied heavily on onetime federal stimulus money to meet a $271 million deficit in this year’s budget. Do you agree with that approach?
C. The terrorist plot involving Najibullah Zazi of Aurora is one of seven such cases involving radical Muslims in all parts of the country during the past few weeks. Gov. Ritter has called for greater vigilance against the threat of homegrown jihad. What would you do as governor to protect Colorado against Islamic extremism?
('76 Editor) Beyond Vail, beyond Durango, all the way to the Oregon woods and the West Virginia coalfields, Americans with an appetite for politics got the word about Centennial Institute's forum for Colorado gubernatorial candidates one year ahead of Election 2010. Search-engine maven Jonathan Watters of the CCU University Communications office compiled the following sampler of media coverage:http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_13708744http://www.kjct8.com/Global/story.asp?S=11438579http://durangoherald.com/sections/News/2009/11/04/GOP_gubernatorial_candidates_square_off_in_Lakewood/http://www.businessword.com/index.php?/weblog/comments/2954/http://image.examiner.com/a-2302418~GOP_rivals_debate_in_governor_s_primary.htmlhttp://www.vaildaily.com/article/20091103/NEWS/911039950/1078&ParentProfile=1062http://www.wkrg.com/raw_news/article/gop_rivals_debate_debates_in_governors_primary/502331/Nov-03-2009_10-28-pm/http://www.9news.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=126242&catid=222http://www.gazette.com/articles/gop-64764-one-penry.htmlhttp://content.usatoday.net/dist/custom/gci/InsidePage.aspx?cId=delawareonline&sParam=31963235.storyhttp://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/politics-13/1257308419262060.xml&storylist=politicshttp://www.krdo.com/Global/story.asp?S=11431742http://wvgazette.com/ap/ApPolitics/200911030232
(CCU President) A packed house at Colorado Christian University's School of Music auditorium gave gubernatorial candidates a rousing reception last night, as they spoke at CCU's Candidate Forum, sponsored by the university's Centennial Institute.
Candidates Scott McInnis, Josh Penry and Dan Maes presented their credentials in an hour long televised forum hosted by Centennial Institute Director John Andrews. An audience of 300 was invited to submit questions which were posed to candidates by CCU Seniors Chad Ryder and Samantha Scoggins. Time permitted candidates to respond to only a few of approximately 50 questions submitted, but all audience questions will be posted tomorrow on this website. The questions will constitute a “checklist of citizen concerns,” Andrews pointed out.
Governor Ritter had been expected to participate, but at 5:00 PM Monday afternoon, his office called to say that he was unable to resolve a scheduling conflict.
The forum was captured on video and will be seen statewide on Colorado Public Television and broadcast by Salem Radio stations around the state, including KNUS 710 in the Denver area. The event was covered by Associated Press and The Denver Post. The Post story is here.
A similar forum for US Senate candidates will be held at the same time, same place, next Tuesday evening the 10th of November.
"Is Global Warming a Crisis," the Centennial Institute debate proposition for Scott Denning of CSU and James Taylor of the Heartland Institute, yielded an illuminating rather than heated exchange with Taylor saying no and Denning in backhanded agreement. Facing off before an audience of 500 at Colorado Christian University on Oct. 20, the two argued their cases with data, analogies, humor, and the inevitable slide presentations. Click to view the Denning slides and the Taylor slides.
Denning defused suspense at the outset by sidestepping the "crisis" description popularized by Al Gore and other politicians. But he insisted the human-generated increase of CO2 in earth's atmosphere will increase surface temperatures by 2100 at about the equivalent of one 4-watt light bulb per square meter worldwide, making it imperative to reduce CO2 emissions. His solution: "the magic of the free market," transitioning us smoothly to a new energy economy -- provided policymakers cooperate by "putting a price on carbon."
But that latter condition seemed to me a fatal disqualification to the whole scenario, since it implicitly endorses cap-and-trade, a decidedly unfree approach.
Taylor's rebuttal built on the key points that (1) context is crucial (recent warming trends being minor in perspective with historically much-warmer and high-CO2 epochs in earth's history), (2) solar influence is more explanatory for past climate cycles than CO2, (3) computer modeling of the sort used for Denning's light-bulb prediction is discredited by recent research from William Gray and Richard Lindzen, and (4) the prohibitive economic sacrifices of pricing-out carbon are unjustified in light of the foregoing, especially with China and India determined to continue their own burgeoning emissions.
The bottom line for this (admittedly non-neutral) observer: Carbon-dioxide worriers didn't come close to demonstrating urgency to warrant such drastic measures as the Waxman-Markey energy tax now before the US Senate and the Copenhagen Treaty due for international action before year-end.
"First do no harm," the policy verdict recommended by Chris Horner at Centennial's climate debate last April, was convincingly seconded by James Taylor at the October debate -- and this is the only wise guide for America's unilateral and multilateral actions on climate issues at present.
Here's more about the Oct. 20 debate from CCU partner journalist Jean Torkelson, with photos by Ryan Masterson.
Editor: On questions of civil law in America today, should Christians, at the margin, prioritize liberty or virtue? Centennial Institute Fellow Kevin Miller, speaking at CCU on Aug. 28, counterposed Position A, putting liberty first, against Position B, putting virtue first, without himself taking sides. Fellow Greg Schaller participated in the discussion and then filed the following argument.
A Dissent from Kevin Miller's Position A
Miller's Position A correctly argues that humans, created in the image of God, are willful, reasoning, and ultimately determinant beings. God created us with unique abilities, distinct from every other being in creation, thus giving us dominion over the creation. There is no disagreement concerning the significance of human liberty. Our disagreement arises when primacy is given to liberty over all other aspects of God’s intention with his creation.
For while we are indeed free, that freedom is grounded and premised on the Creator and what He desires for and from His creation. Thus, we cannot simply focus on liberty. We must see that with our God-given liberty, there exists duty, and we cannot separate the two. Failure to realize and maintain this connection leaves man and his will as the sole agent to determine right and wrong and what one does with liberty. When man does this, he is removing God, suggesting that he alone is the source of his rights. As Christians, we know that such an elevation of man and devaluation of God is the greatest of sins. This was the original sin of Adam and Eve in the garden.
Just as we cannot disconnect the creator’s liberty from the creator, when we consider the liberties expressed in our Constitution, we cannot separate the premise on which they are grounded: the Declaration of Independence. The establishment of the 1787 Constitution, seeking to institute a "More Perfect Union" (improving on the original failed constitution: the Articles of Confederation) is based upon the theoretical tenets first laid down in the Declaration.
To separate the two is to insist that the liberties of the Bill of Rights and the limitations on government codified in the Constitution are right, simply because a super-majority approved of them by vote in 1787-8, thus making the “rightness” of these liberties ultimately based solely on the will of the people. To Jefferson and the founders, this was insufficient protection for fundamental liberty, only slightly more secure than the rights that were granted and later taken away by the English Kings and parliaments.
No, for Jefferson, the source of rights are and must be based on something greater, something more permanent and fundamental than the temporary will of the people. Rights are found in the Creator: Nature or Nature’s God. The right of revolution is based upon this truth. When a government fails to protect the rights of its citizenry, the people are just in their cause to seek a change and, if necessary, to overthrow the illegitimate regime.
Jefferson is explicit: government is not formed to give man rights (for it cannot repeat what God has already done); rather, government is formed so that these rights might be better secured and protected.
The limited powers of government are also based upon this principle. The citizenry grants their consent to be governed; thus ultimate power resides with the people, not those in power.
As we have shown, liberty is not the sole purpose of Creation and the Creator. So too, the liberties and limits on government power stated in our Constitution are not ends in and of themselves. The Creator is the source of one’s right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and there exist obligations to the creator in what we do with that liberty.
When we consider our liberties within this context, we lower the primacy of liberty and elevate the expectation of moral duty to our Creator. Liberty is not an end in and of itself, but rather a means to an end. Liberty is indeed important. As creatures created in the image of God, we can and do have freedom. The importance of liberty is not that we do as we please with it, following our heart’s desire. When our liberty is founded in the Creator, we should follow His heart’s desire.
'76 Blog is an experiment in civic discussion, a new venture still finding its direction. Contributors from inside and outside the CCU community have come forward in the early weeks. Glad to have all of them.
But one thing we're missing is vigorous differences of opinion. The blog would be better with more of that. The differences could be about politics, education, cultural trends, ice cream flavors, or anything else on your mind. Have at it!
The blogging ethos may not be familiar to all our readers. It is, by definition, opinionated, argumentative, often edgy, and necessarily thick-skinned. The analogy is to pamphleteering in 1776 times. The Tom Paines of today are finding their voice again, much to the benefit of the Republic.
Hence the murmured concerns from some folks about "transparency" and "academic freedom" seem rather off-target. I've championed transparency in government, with liberals slowly coming on board, but what it might mean in connection with a policy institute or political chatroom, I'm not quite sure. Likewise, I led the nation in bringing academic freedom issues before state legislatures back in 2003. The principle is dear to me. If someone feels we're violating it, let's discuss that.
The benefit of the Republic, to which I just alluded, is Centennial Institute's objective -- under God, of course -- which goes without saying, but now it's said. The honest conviction of most of us involved here is that faith, family, and freedom aren't very well served by the liberal ideas and individuals currently dominant in America. Your honest conviction may be just the opposite, however.
So, to repeat -- let's discuss that. Articles or comments of any length in any style on any topic from anyone (almost) are welcome. Direct them to John Andrews, Editor, email@example.com. Thanks for your interest.