Thursday, 27 September 2012 03:18 by Admin
It's something new and notable in Colorado politics: An unapologetic liberal and an unwavering conservative agreeing in spite of themselves that tax increases for metro-Denver municipalities and school districts on the November ballot are an overreach.
In the September round of Head On mini-debates for Colorado Public Television, sponsored by Centennial Institute, Susan Barnes-Gelt, a Democrat and former Denver city councilwoman, takes the lead in calling for a "no" vote on these measures and John Andrews, a Republican and former Senate President, seconds her motion. Here is the script:
DENVER and CENTENNIAL SEEK TO DE-BRUCE
Susan: Denverites should vote NO on 2A. The measure promises to repave streets, add police training classes, expand library and recreation center hours and eliminate furlough days for city employees. Truth is, it’s a substantial tax hike with no guarantees – just unenforceable promises.
John: Government always wants more. It never has enough. Politicians always believe they can spend our money better than we can. I too would oppose Denver’s tax hike, if I were an urban guy. I am opposing Centennial’s tax hike as a suburban guy. Our little city wasn’t created to be a revenue hog.
Susan: Denver voters have a choice. Approve a blank check that never expires for higher taxes, or send Mayor Hancock back to the drawing board to craft a balanced initiative with a mix of reduced expenses and tax increases. 2A is bad for jobs, small business and homeowners. Vote NO.
John: The first word in Tea Party stands for “taxed enough already,” and I’m delighted to hear you of all people urging Denverites to vote that way on school construction and the Hancock proposal. If Coloradans look at the huge tax increase Obama plans for Jan. 1, they will vote him out too.
PUBLIC SCHOOL TAX INCREASES
Susan: Several school districts are on November’s ballot with tax increases for K-12 education, including Denver. DPS wants more than a half a billion for new schools, renovation and updating of existing schools and increased operating funds. It’s a tough time to ask for the biggest tax increase in history.
John: I’m voting no on Cherry Creek school taxes. And I agree with your no vote in Denver. Taxpayers in Jeffco, Aurora, and all 29 Colorado districts where a total of $1 billion is being requested should join us. The answer for better education is more choice, not more money.
Susan: Regarding DPS, I’m undecided. Should Denver build new schools when existing ones are way under capacity. Should the District go to a 12-month school year to support student achievement? Yes – I support 3B – increased operating funds. I’d like to see more reform before we build more schools.
John: A lot more reform. Something is happening when I as a conservative Republican and you as a liberal Democrat begin agreeing that taxpayers forever digging deeper while teacher unions keep making excuses is no longer a viable strategy for helping kids learn. For devastating proof, see the new movie “Won’t Back Down.”
Amid all the attention to Election 2012, voters in Colorado and many other states should not overlook Election 2011. And as we vote, by all means take note of who the R's and D's are - even if it takes a bit of detective work to find out.
Here in my state, the election might slip past some people for three reasons. First, ballots in most counties will be handled entirely by mail, with no polling places open. Many thousands of voters have received their ballots (asked for or not) from the postman in recent days. Voting is on right now!
And second, election day itself is Tuesday, Nov. 1 - something that can never occur when federal races are at stake, since "the first Tuesday after the first Monday" is specified in the US Constitution. Counting occurs that night, and that's that.
A third factor tending to keep this year's Colorado races under the radar is the misguided policy forbidding candidates' party affiliations to be officially listed in municipal and school board races - which constitute most of the matters being voted on this year.
Political parties are valuable to citizen decision-making because they help "brand" candidates according to broadly contrasting principles of governance, and because they provide an organizational base with competitive incentives to inform and turn out voters in greater numbers.
The fallacy that parties degrade or impede the quality of governance is a vestige of the Progressive Movement's disdain for broad-based political decision-making and its elitist preference for administrative expertise as a substitute.
Enshrined in election law nearly a century ago for local government nearly everywhere across the land, this wooly-headed piece of political sentimentality remains in place today - to the detriment of genuinely competitive contests and robust checks on power.
It's one of those notions only an intellectual or a naif can believe in. All the rest of us know that it matters a lot whether any office in the land, high or low, is held by a Democrat or a Republican. Democrats generally favor government solutions, unions, collectivist approaches, taxes and spending. Republicans are more generally skeptical of those things. This can end up making a huge difference.
When I was a state senator, 1998-2005, I tried repeatedly to bring party affiliations out in the open for school board and transit district elections - since those affiliations already play an unadmitted role both in voting patterns and in the conduct of officials once elected - but to my disappointment, not even my fellow Republicans would support this needed reform in sufficient numbers to enact it.
As a result, I didn't even attempt the same kind of bill for municipal elections. The irrational phobia against "partisanship" for town or city officials (albeit that county officials in buildings often right across the street, and often representing a smaller population, are partisan) just seemed too much to overcome. So I saved my ammo for more winnable fights.
But early in the history of my newly incorporated hometown of Centennial in southeast metro Denver (formed only in 2000), I had a good time calling out with blog posts the generically-concealed R and D team jerseys for city council candidates - much to the inexplicable dismay of, again, some fellow GOP stalwarts.
It's become a habit since then, this politically incorrect labeling of the red team and the blue team in grassroots contests. If you want to see this year's rundown, here's the link.
Meanwhile, Coloradans also have a very important ballot issue to vote on - Proposition 103, which raises both income taxes and sales taxes across the state for the next five years.
This issue also generally breaks along party lines, with Dems in favor and Republicans opposed. But there are some oddities on Prop 103, with the Denver Post having come out against it and Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper claiming neutrality, refusing to lend his support
Centennial Institute does not take positions on such questions, but we commend the work of our sister think tank, Independence Institute, whose fiscal experts Barry Poulson and Penn Pfiffner have keenly analyzed Prop 103 here. My own very skeptical thoughts on the tax hike are here.
John Andrews is director of the Centennial Institute, former President of the Colorado Senate, a regular commentator for Colorado Public Television and the Denver Post, and the author of "Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen's Guide to the Next American Century" (Denali Press, 2011).
('76 Contributor) After Herman Cain won the Florida straw poll by more than twice the votes either Perry or Romney got, my thoughts were these:
(1) Contrary to what Morgan Freeman and the rest of the Liberals think, the Tea Party is not racist. For if they were, why would they vote for a black guy?
(2) Contrary to Bill Kristol’s view that this was a vote of no confidence for Perry or Romney and that Cain is just a flash in the pan and can’t win the nomination, I see much more going on. At the end of July at the Western Conservative Summit, I listened to Herman Cain and said as follows: “It’s time to vote for the real black guy.” He rocked the house in Denver that day and swept the straw poll.
(3) A friend said at the time that Cain will never get nominated because he doesn’t have a chance….when pressed for a reason; none was given other than “because I think he can’t.” I heard other reasons like, he has never been in politics before, or he just ran a pizza business, or we already tried a guy with no experience and the American people won’t do that again. Well, I’m here to say the following: If we conservatives keep thinking like that, we will end up with Obama for another four years and America as we know it will be gone forever!
(4) If ever there was a time for a novice politician to come in to save the day, it is now. Don’t forget, our founders were not politicians; they were farmers, businessmen and traders who had an idea. Now we have a successful businessman with actual ideas and solutions, and we pooh-pooh him, we ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place, voting professional politicians into office thinking they could fix our problems?
Wednesday, 21 September 2011 17:04 by Admin
Public education is in dire straits in Colorado, and good options are lacking in this fall's school board races, laments Susan Barnes-Gelt in the September round of Head On TV debates. Not at all, replies John Andrews; it's just a matter of citizens standing up to teacher unions for a change. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over Gov. Hickenlooper's 2016 trial balloon, Proposition 103 to raise Colorado taxes, the GOP presidential contenders, and Denver's lucrative cowtown image. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for September:
1. SCHOOL BOARD RACES
Susan: Our K-12 public education system is broken and needs a massive governance overhaul. Colorado school districts including Aurora and Cherry Creek can’t even field candidates. Others – like Denver and Douglas County – are engaged in ideological warfare – the unions versus the reformers. Time for change.
John: Citizens across Colorado – probably including YOU, watching us right now – will soon get mail-in ballots to elect a neighbor to the local school board. Please, please, get informed and get involved. Teachers are great, but teacher unions tend to put money ahead of kids. Bad show. The reformers deserve your vote.
Susan: What happens when there are NO good choices? Choosing the lesser of two bad options is hardly a vote for progress. Neither the reformers nor the traditionalists have a corner on truth. The system is broken and needs to be overhauled. Well intended citizen volunteers are ill-equipped to manage complexity.
John: Susan, Susan, get a grip. Public education isn’t hopeless, it just needs better leadership – and the school board races offer lots of good choices to provide that. But if the teacher unions keep electing their pawns, learning performance will never improve. Citizens have to step up.
2. HICKENLOOPER FOR PRESIDENT?
John: Being Mayor of Denver must mess with your ego. Hancock was barely sworn in, and he launched a national celebrity PR campaign. Hickenlooper was barely sworn out, and he launched a whispering campaign for president. What a joke. His accomplishments as governor so far are zip, zero, zilch, nada. Cool it, Hick.
Susan: America loves quirky and Hick is quirk personified! Washington is so dysfunctional – on both sides of the aisle - that Hick’s aw shucks may have traction. As for accomplishments: Pailn? Bachman? Perry? Newt? Hmmmm – not sure qualifications count for much.
John: I know you have to defend your side, but I also know you think John Hickenlooper was a mediocre mayor. Now he’s a mediocre governor. What equips him for the White House? Does Obama run him for VP next year – the Hick Ticket? Then is he in line for next time – Hick Sixteen?
Susan; Hick was a mediocre Mayor because he’s not comfortable taking strong, controversial positions. His aversion to exercising power made him popular but ineffective. He is far more potent as a consensus driven bully puppeteer in the polarized world of partisan politics. Hick in 2016!
3. REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL FIELD NARROWS
Susan: The first Republican presidential primary debate suggests the field is down to two candidates: Texas Governor Rick Perry and hedge fund tycoon Mitt Romney. Though it’s way too early to predicts, if angry tea partiers control the primaries, it looks like Perry will prevail.
John: Not so fast. In September 2007, Republican polls showed Giuliani and Thompson far ahead, McCain far behind. Didn’t work out that way. The GOP nomination to replace Obama in 2012 won’t be settled for six months at least. Bachmann and Palin are still in it. And the economy makes Obama so vulnerable.
Susan: Dream on teenage queen. Short of Jeb Bush getting into the mix, the R’s will nominate Romney. Even the heavy tea drinkers suspect Perry’s stand on Social Security. Romney, the chameleon, will lose. Unless Michael Bloomberg runs as an independent.
John: The Bloomberg who botched the 9/11 commemoration is not headed for the White House. Neither is anyone named Bush, heaven help us. But no one named Obama is likely to live there after January 2013 either. This president has made everything worse – the economy, the deficit, our national security. Obama has to go.
4. STATE BUDGET – TAX OR DROWN
Susan: DU’s Center for Colorado’s Economic Future predicts that structural flaws in the state government combined with two recessions, mean the long-term fiscal stability of state government’s at stake. I know you think government ought to drown in a bathtub – but a bi-partisan group of leaders disagree.
John: Governments at every level are in danger of drowning themselves in debt. Colorado is no exception, and just like the federal government in Washington, our state has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Raising taxes right now would hurt job creation and postpone needed reforms. Vote no on Proposition 103!
Susan: We’re drowning alright – in our own excesses – waging two wars while we cut taxes, failing to keep up with China in infrastructure and educational investments, coddling Wall Street while we ignore Main Street. The deficit is mounting – leadership, vision, courage and vision.
John: As a free and open society with Judeo-Christian roots, I like our chances against communistic China, decadent Europe, or barbaric Islam. But we do have a responsibility deficit, and the result could be fiscal collapse. Feeding the beast with more taxes is not the answer. Vote no on 103!
5. STOCK SHOW TO AURORA?
John: Who will win the Stock Show tug of war between Denver and Aurora? Ranchers, farmers, and rural Americans everywhere must be laughing at the sight of politically correct, environmentally superior big-city folks scrambling after the National Western pot of gold. I guess being a cowtown is no embarrassment after all.
Susan: The Stock Show adds nearly $100 million to Denver’s general fund, and millions more to the coffers of downtown businesses, hotels, restaurants, bars and retailers. Meantime the National Western spends $1 million plus lobbying to move, rather than maintain its facilities. Bad judgment I’d say.
John: Mayor Hancock understandably hates to lose that revenue, hence his fight to keep it – so far consisting of one more committee. Woo hoo. But the bigger question for Hancock is the one I asked during his transition – can he streamline taxes and regulations to make Denver a magnet for economic growth?
Susan: Denver taxes are among the lowest in the region because the City has more commercial property and sales tax receipts than other jurisdictions. The development of the Gaylord Hotel with a $300+ million subsidy is a much greater threat to downtown’s economy than an already streamlined regulatory system.
Monday, 25 July 2011 07:45 by Admin
Centennial Institute announced today that it will hold a 2012 presidential straw poll at the upcoming Western Conservative Summit in Denver. Balloting will take place at 11:00 a..m, Sunday, July 31. Results will be announced at 12:45 p.m.
The Denver Straw Poll will be the first test of 2012 presidential preferences among grassroots activists in Colorado and the Western states. Summit organizer John Andrews said the target audience for his annual conference is movement conservatives, the faith community, Republican volunteers, and Tea Party activists.
“No one knows yet who the Republican nominee for president will be," said Andrews, "but this should be a lot of fun for anyone interested in presidential politics - and particularly revealing in terms of next year's wild card, the Tea Party.
"To keep it fair," Andrews added, "the straw poll ballot includes a voting line for the only announced Democratic candidate, President Obama, as well as write-in options for any other Democrat and for any third-party candidate.”
Western Conservative Summit 2011 runs Friday through Sunday, July 29-31 at the Denver Marriott City Center, 1701 California Street in downtown Denver.
Andrews said the Summit will be at capacity with more than 900 delegates expected from 20 states. They will have the opportunity to see and meet two announced Republican candidates and two who are still unannounced, but considered to be potential candidates.
Texas Governor Rick Perry (R), who is considering a run for U.S. President in 2012, and presidential candidate Rick Santorum will keynote the opening night session. Santorum, a former U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania, and Governor Perry will speak about “America at the Crossroads” at the Summit’s welcome dinner which begins at 6:00 p.m., Friday, July 29.
Herman Cain, another presidential candidate, speaks at the Summit at 10:30 a.m., on Sunday, July 31. His topic is “This Time, Real Change.” Cain is former chairman and CEO of Godfather’s Pizza and former chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the United Nations, who has said he will decide in September about his 2012 White House bid, will address the delegates on Saturday morning, July 30, at 10:00 am. His topic is "Defending America in Dangerous World."
The Denver Straw Poll ballot, printed as part of each delegate's program book, alphabetically lists the following announced and undecided Republican candidates: Michele Bachmann, John Bolton, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, Jon Huntsman, Gary Johnson, Thaddeus McCotter, Sarah Palin, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, and Rick Santorum, in addition to the listing for President Obama and the write-in lines. John Andrews noted that invitations to send a campaign video or surrogate speaker have gone out to all GOP candidates who are officially in the race but not attending the conference.
Western Conservative Summit 2011 is presented by Centennial Institute, a public policy think tank affiliated with Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, Colorado.
Additional Summit speakers are: 1. Fox News Analysts Juan Williams and Dick Morris 2. Political Commentator Tucker Carlson 3. Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Cal Thomas 4. Democratic Pollster Pat Caddell 5. Salem Radio Talk Show Host Dennis Prager 6. Author and Commentator Mark Steyn 7. Vice President of Young America’s Foundation Kate Obenshain 8. Founder and President of the Center for Security Policy Frank Gaffney 9. President of the American Enterprise Institute Arthur Brooks 10. Comedian Brad Stine 11. “The Big Black Lie” Author Kevin Jackson 12. Businessman and Philanthropist Foster Friess
Full conference tickets are $250; separate session tickets are $80 and allow participants to attend either (a) Friday only; (b) Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.; (c) Saturday from 1:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; or (d) Sunday only. Individual sessions include lunch or dinner; or Sunday brunch.
Western Conservative Summit originated in 2010 at Lone Tree, Colorado. This year's event, moved to Denver to accommodate audience demand, is presented in partnership with 710 KNUS, The Daily Caller, Independence Institute, Colorado Union of Taxpayers, CitizenLink (part of Focus on the Family), Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, Tea Party Patriots of Colorado, and 30 other conservative groups.
Summit co-chairs are John Andrews, director of the Centennial Institute, and Bill Armstrong, president of Colorado Christian University. Andrews is a columnist for The Denver Post and is former president of the Colorado Senate and author of the recently released book Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen’s Guide to the Next American Century. Armstrong is a former businessman and represented Colorado in the U.S. House of Representatives (1972-1978) and the U.S. Senate (1978-1990).
(Denver Post, Dec. 5) What is CoDA? If you said a rock group, a wonder drug, or a state agency, you’re wrong. It’s the Colorado Democracy Alliance, today’s smartphone successor to the old dialup state Democratic Party. CoDA’s coup in turning Colorado blue is related in this year’s most important political book, “The Blueprint,” by Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer.
What is infrastructure? If you said the streets and sewers in our cities, or the shovel-ready projects in Obama’s imagination, wrong again. It’s the stealthy political network of message groups, ethics watchdogs, litigators, voter registration cadres, and money conduits that the left wins with while the right eats their dust. Ken Buck and Tom Tancredo have said infrastructure was one reason they lost.
What reduced Scott McInnis from favorite to fiasco overnight? If you said investigative journalism, or
Maes’s magic, or Scott’s own bumbling, nope. Infrastructure operatives dug up the McInnis plagiarism story, then CoDA groups spent $500,000 on TV ads alerting Republican voters. Maes nominated, Tancredo in play, Hick in control, game over.
All of this is quite legal. But Schrager, a 9News reporter, and Witwer, a former GOP legislator, explain in their book that CoDA hoped to remain a secret forever. A leak from whistle-blower Isaac Smith, a young idealist who was “fed up with both parties,” in his words, ended the secrecy in 2008. Yet too many in my party are still sidetracked on vetting fantasies or RINO name-calling, when they ought to be memorizing “The Blueprint” and organizing to fight back.
CoDA’s godfathers include billionaire Tim Gill, who boasted to The Atlantic in 2007, “They won’t know what hit them,” and propagandist Michael Huttner, who correctly predicted to Schrager and Witwer that “Colorado’s progressive infrastructure will work as a buttress” to limit the damage here in 2010, regardless of Dem losses elsewhere. They still want a low profile for their brainchild; Huttner wouldn’t comment for this story.
Yet much as we’re soothingly told, Oz-fashion, to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” there are two important reasons why everyone in Colorado should gain a working knowledge of the CoDA infrastructure and the new electoral landscape. Both are American as apple pie, nonpartisan as Li’l Abner: a fair fight and good government.
Unless conservatives climb back to parity with liberals’ sophisticated machinery, in this era when campaign laws have neutered the old party organizations, we’ll keep losing the biggest races to candidates like Michael Bennett and John Hickenlooper who care little for limited government or free markets. We’ll see GOP newcomers like Congressman Cory Gardner and Treasurer Walker Stapleton beleaguered with infrastructure attacks from their first day in office. Not fair.
And unless all of us as citizens, left, right, and center, equip ourselves with honest awareness of who is doing what to whom, we’ll be left with that uneasy feeling of suckers at a carnival shell game. When Democratic dollars tip Republican primaries for Maes in Colorado and Sharon Angle in Nevada, it smells corrupt, even if legal. Not good.
Such manipulation ultimately endangers America. As former Gov. Dick Lamm, himself a Democrat, wrote in recommending the Schrager-Witwer book, CoDA presages a brave new world “where winning is everything and there is no moral bottom line.” Do we want that?
“It was unethical at best,” Isaac Smith says of the CoDA scheming he stumbled upon as a Bighorn Center intern. “And so hypocritical,” he adds, what with his employers’ sanctimonious advocacy of Amendment 41 and the talk of getting big money out of politics. Out of sight, maybe; but hardly out.
You hear about government transparency, where spending is in plain sight. Shouldn’t we also have election transparency and open politics? Read “The Blueprint” over the coming holidays. It will wise you up for the razzle-dazzle of 2011.
(Centennial Fellow) If we see the competition for power between Democrats and Republicans as a main theme, then modern American political history is exactly one hundred and fifty years old.
This history can be neatly divided into three distinct eras: Republican dominance 1860-1930, Democratic dominance 1930-1980, and Republican restoration 1980 to present.
Each of these eras was launched by a charismatic President who took office in traumatic circumstances, undertook great tasks, persevered through great turmoil, overcame formidable opponents, and successfully delivered the country to a rebirth of its competence, confidence, and prosperity. Accordingly Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan who delivered us respectively from Civil War and slavery; Depression and World War; and domestic economic chaos, and foreign policy humiliation made a deep and enduring impression on their countrymen who raised them to iconic status despite the abuse heaped upon them during their Presidencies. Finally, they changed the way Americans thought of themselves and the political parties that they held to judgment every two years.
While the Age of Lincoln has largely receded into the mists of history, the Age of Roosevelt remains very much with us. The political landscape established by FDR endured for half a century because the Democrats were truly a “Big Tent” party. They brought together elements from every region of the country, reconciled philosophical opposites (e.g. rural southern segregationists, and urban northern civil rights advocates), and united them in an overarching common purpose: delivering the votes that would keep the Democratic Party in power in perpetuity.
The Roosevelt Coalition crashed and burned in the 1960’s in a perfect storm of mismanaged war, racial conflict, and cultural upheaval. The party then began a baleful long march in an increasingly leftward direction in the process shedding the Southerners, conservatives, and even moderates who had been important players in the Democrats Big Tent Era. This trend would win increased influence and eventually complete dominance for the Liberal Progressives who had been a loud but relatively small element in the Democratic Party going all the way back to the 19th century.
During this period Republicans were reinventing themselves as an essentially conservative party espousing free markets, individual freedom, and strong defense. Success came slowly, but in 1980 the combination of the disastrous Carter regime and the optimistic, inclusive, and principled leadership of Ronald Reagan brought triumph to the Republican Party as evidenced by the Gipper carrying 93 of a possible 100 states in his two Presidential runs. Thanks to the migration of the “Reagan Democrats” the GOP was now the true “Big Tent” party while the Democrats drifted increasingly toward European style socialism and an unending parade of Left and further Left Presidential candidates.
During the thirty years of the Reagan Era the GOP has held the White House for 20 years, the Senate for 18 years, the House for 12 years, and an edge in Governorships, and State Legislatures as well.
The extended Republican ascendancy has provided one vital advantage to Democrats: it has enabled them to portray themselves not as they actually are or in terms of what they really wanted to do but rather as a make-believe party of reasonable moderates espousing all good things for all good people while almost never being fully responsible for delivering the goods and always being in a position- aided by a liberal media- to blame the Republicans for everything.
Only twice in this 30 year period (1992-94 and 2008-2010) has the country got a brief glimpse of what the Democrats are really like and where they want to move American society when they get both hands on the steering wheel (i.e. control of White House and both houses of Congress). Both times the American people recoiled in horror and punished the Democrats severely in historic mid-term elections.
After the Republican blow-out of 1994 the people allowed Republicans to retain control of Congress for a dozen years and were satisfied with the Republican President for the final six years of that period.
Republicans however ultimately did not meet the test of good stewardship. Domestically they became almost as addicted to big government, big spending, and perpetuating their own power as had the Democrats before them. On the international front they launched an invasion of Iraq that in the end they could neither win nor adequately explain to the American people.
This lamentable track record gave the Democrats all the opportunity they needed and in consecutive election cycles the people ousted the Republicans from control of Congress and the Presidency.
Once again the Democrats controlled all the levers of power, but they apparently had learned nothing from their debacle of 1992-94, and with unprecedented ideological fervor renewed their crusade to transform America into the statist paradise of their dreams. In doing so they exposed themselves in all their naked arrogance and contempt for the American people and the democratic institutions that had sustained the country for over two centuries.
Nemesis quickly followed. Impervious to being mocked by the elites, the people rose up in all their sovereign majesty and once again demonstrated that in the world’s one true Exceptional Nation, the people will always be bigger than the government.
In the Republican landslide the most striking element was not the Senate, or even the stunning turn-around in the House, but rather the unprecedented gain of nearly 700 legislative seats and control of 56 of the nation’s 99 legislative chambers; an ascendancy not reached since 1928.
This electoral tsunami at the base of the political pyramid cannot be explained merely as a rejection of bad policy and legislation at the national level. Rather it suggests that a highly attentive populace has seen the true character of the Democratic Party and its unchanging statist mission with a new clarity and they have clearly rejected it. For the Republicans the election was not their victory but their opportunity to redeem themselves.
The only real victory on Nov. 2nd belongs to the American people who saw the Democratic record for what it was- an existential threat to the American Democracy and its handmaiden, the American Dream.
Let Freedom Ring!
Sunday, 14 November 2010 03:25 by Admin
The Republican congressional landslide resulted from a "failure to communicate empathy," not a rejection of Obama's policies, says Susan Barnes-Gelt in the November round of Head On TV debates. Okay, says John Andrews, if this shellacking was an empathy deficit, Katrina was a light breeze. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over Colorado election results in state and federal races, the media's role in 2010 campaigns, and the wide-open contest for Mayor of Denver as Hickenlooper moves up. Head On, presented by the Centennial Institute since 2009, as been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for November:
1. OBAMA’S NEW REALITY Susan: The victorious Republican party appears to be tone deaf. Interpreting election results as repudiation of Obama’s policy, is nuts. Results reflect anger and fear about jobs, Wall Street and the failure of Obama’s team to communicate empathy outside the beltway. Despite the numbers, R’s are off to a bad start.
John: The President’s electoral shellacking – as he called it – was no more an empathy deficit than Katrina was an afternoon breeze. The American people fired Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats in record numbers because they don’t like reckless spending, higher taxes, huge deficits, and Obamacare. Republicans are on probation, but we’re back.
Susan: Interesting, because the American people don't feel like they're back. Unless you count the top 2 percent of the richest -tax cuts for millionaire/billionaires is not economic stimulus, creates no jobs, builds no public infrastructure. As Warren Buffet says, "guys like me can afford it."
John: Democrats with unchecked power in Washington the past two years put America on track to become a fiscal train wreck like Greece. The Republican House by itself can’t reverse that, but they can moderate Obama’s drunken spending and resist his job-killing war on free enterprise. Well done, voters!
2. COLORADO ELECTION RESULTS - FEDERAL
Susan: The US Senate race was Ken Buck’s to lose – and he did! Bennet won by a close margin because Buck pandered to the wing-nuts and tea partiers. Perlmutter won his race by a substantial margin because he worked hard. Markey and Salazar were tea party casualties.
John: Colorado’s House delegation, now 4-3 Republican, will defend our liberty and prosperity by standing against European-style socialism. Cory Gardner on the eastern plains and Scott Tipton on the western slope will represent us well. Michael Bennet, Obama’s puppet in the Senate, beat Ken Buck with the politics of personal destruction.
Susan: Puleeze. It's that kind of thinking that led to the decline of the Roman and British empires. The notion that private interest trumps public benefit is irrelevant in the face of diminishing global resources. Partisan bickering isn't the solution.
John: The fall of Rome occurred when a virtuous republic of self-reliant freemen and citizen soldiers became a decadent despotism that deified its leaders and quit defending its borders. Americans took a step back from that slippery slope on election day. What you call partisan bickering, I call democracy – thank goodness!
3. COLORADO ELECTION RESULTS - STATE
Susan: Hickenlooper won because your party self-destructed. Down ticket candidates Kennedy and Buescher lost because voters are cranky about the status quo. Hick will have an easier time with a divided legislature. His command of the bully pulpit is superb, though he’ll have to grow a thick skin.
John: For six years Democrats dominated the gold dome. Now divided government returns, and for the public interest that’s good. Congratulations to GOP House Speaker Frank McNulty, Treasurer Walker Stapleton, and Secretary of State Scott Gessler. And to Teflon John Hickenlooper, the first Denver mayor to become governor since the 1880s.
Susan: Hick is more than non-partisan. He's a-partisan. His ability to get along with everyone, in the interest of solving problems for Coloradans will set the bar. If hyper-partisans can't rise to the challenge, voters will boot 'em. Stapleton and Gessler will disappoint - big time.
John: Hickenlooper is lucky as much as anything. First the incumbent governor washed out. Then his three Republican opponents stumbled over each other like Curly, Moe, and Larry. Teflon John now faces a huge job to clean up the budget and revive the economy. I think you’ll see he’s all too human. 4. OPEN RACE FOR DENVER MAYOR
John: Hickenlooper will be the first governor in a century elected from the Denver mayor’s office. Voters could do themselves a favor by replacing him with the first mayor in half a century elected from the Republican side. The city is overtaxed, unsafe, and losing jobs. Denver needs a Rudy Giuliani.
Susan: John, you know Denver political offices are non-partisan. That’s why it works. Taxes and fees in Denver are the lowest in the metro area, because the city has the largest commercial districts. Denver’s next mayor must have a clear vision, a thick skin and an iron backbone.
John: I’m a suburban guy, but Denver’s vitality is important to all Coloradans. Economic and cultural leadership moving from the core city to the outer ring isn’t good. So who do you like for mayor, Susan – Chris Romer, Michael Hancock, James Mejia, Carol Boigon? Maybe you should run.
Susan: I'd love to run- articulate a bold vision, set clear priorities, inspire people to be the best they can be. Truth is, the only thing holding me back is finding someone more focused, ambitious and disciplined than I, to serve.
5. HOW WELL DID THE MEDIA PERFORM IN THIS CAMPAIGN?
John: I’m glad the political ads are finally off the air, but I sure love our free press. In Russia or Venezuela, critics of the regime are muzzled or murdered. In America, the Supreme Court protects their freedom of speech, and we the voters can throw the bums out. What a country, Susan,
Susan: The bigger problem is who pays for political ads – independent, anonymous committees spent $30 million+ in Colorado. Special interests owned the debate – on both sides of the aisle, to no one’s benefit. Lack of disclosure and transparency do one thing that’s bad for D’s and R’s –abet voter cynicism!
John: There was no cynicism in this year of the Tea Party. This was a free society and representative government at its best. New media helped empower political outsiders as never before. Thoughtful discussion in Colorado suffered with the absences of the Rocky Mountain News, but talk radio and TV did their part.
Susan: Thoughtful talk radio and Cable news - an oxymoron! Opinionators passing themselves off as journalists -whether it's Fox News or Keith Olbermann -does little to advance civic dialogue or critical thinking. Today's media (lame stream?) is looking for its soul.
(CCU Student) The tides have turned, but sadly worldviews have not. Politico.com released two intriguing articles this past week. The first article pertains to Barack Obama’s interview on 60 Minutes. The other discusses Nancy Pelosi’s views post-election.
I am all for a well-rounded proposal on any issue. But for once I want to hear the “how”! Most reoccurring during the previous two years and, proposals by the political left have pervasively (arguably“intentionally”) tiptoed around the ‘how’-question regarding virtually any idea, bill, plan, etc. Under crossfire and criticism our president, speaker of the house (now former), and many other elected officials of the Democratic Party have misconstrued reality and invited us into an imagination land in which ideas do not have to be clearly documented.
In its true essence, man’s proclivity to differ in opinion with another is a fact of life. I wholeheartedly believe when humans compete, the best will prevail. Yet, the precedent set amongst the upper echelon is not persuasion, it is manipulation. Obama’s statements on60 Minutes display his position is a manner of persuading and not just leading (his exact words)—which sincerely worries me!
Use of the word, “persuasion” in its general connotation does not worry me. But my opinion shifts when used in the context: persuasion to support a ‘plan’ that’s reasoning fails to stress solid statistical proof, documentation, statistical data, etc.
Once upon a time, persuading somebody to a side was accomplished by laying out the facts—period! When all the incontrovertible information was laid out on the table, the chips will fall where they may. However, what we have experienced in this country by many of our elected officials has NOT been leadership, it has been a hybrid form of intellectual manipulation.
Former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi recently said, “Driven by the urgency of creating jobs & protecting [health care reform and Wall Street reform], Social Security & Medicare, I am running for Dem Leader.” Intensely read over this and take the words carefully—then pair it up with virtually any speech by Pelosi or Obama—then put the ratio of “statements” compared to “statistical [numerical, economical, financial, etc] evidence”. These numbers will be astonishing. Point blank, when ideas sound too good to be true, they often are; yet the overwhelming majority has fallen for it.
I believe in America. I believe that when the current administration’spromises are not fulfilled, the citizens are worse off than they were two years ago, and the United States is even further in debt, more people will wake up. But once citizens wake up, when will America collectively begin to realize that their lives are better off handled by themselves and NOT by omnipotent moral busybodies whom they believe have their best interest in mind? Therefore, I implore you not tobe persuaded! Do what Glenn Beck and Bill O’Reilly encourage: “Look at the facts for yourself.”
(CCU Student) It’s November 7. The final ballots are being counted, and toss-up races are concluding in each of the states. Republicans have picked up sixty-one seats in the House of Representatives, regaining the majority that their Democratic counterparts have controlled since 2006. They captured another six seats in the Senate, conceiving a thorough enough presence of Republicans to prevent cloture. Conservatives nationwide should be delighted at the prospect of these events transpiring on election night; yet, the satisfaction that many Republicans such as myself sustain is severely fragmented. With an enthusiasm gap that favored the GOP from as many as fifteen percentage points, there was no reason to believe that the Republican Wave wouldn’t capture upwards sixty-five seats in the House and majority control of the Senate.
Though the likelihood of this emergence was nominal at best, all optimism of a GOP landslide was curtailed when the poll results hit Colorado heading westward. An ‘invisible wall’, as I refer to it as, halted GOP success from the Rocky Mountains West bound. Democratic Senators Michael Bennet, Barbara Boxer, and Patti Murray all prevailed in races that showed a GOP toss-up or lean. In a similar fashion, House GOP hopefuls Ryan Frazier (CO-7), Ruth McClung (AZ-7), David Hammer (CA-11), and John Koster (WA-2) each fell short in races that showed a slight Republican advantage. With an ad blitz that established the West as the ‘battleground’ of this years midterm election, there was no doubt that excruciatingly vital races were going to be close. But what exactly attributed to such a Democratic overhaul of the western House, Senate, and Gubernatorial seats?
In the West, voter turnout certainly was not an ally of the GOP on election night. I’m not referring to a low turnout by the Republicans, but rather, the surprisingly exceptional turnout by Democrats. It is well established that Democrats undoubtedly have substantial voter registration advantages in western states, but the momentum, concurrent with GOP enthusiasm, had appeared to outweigh this facet. While Republicans had employed an exceedingly outward Get Out the Vote notion, Democrats respectively garnered support with seemingly passive campaigning. Appearing quiescent for the past few months, the left was assumed to have been playing dead; however, the prevalence of Democrats in the voting booths proved all theories of the left sustaining a dormant attitude thoroughly incoherent with the message that western voters expressed on November 2.
A second critical facet of the West’s GOP downfall is attributed to its impervious reflection of support for the Tea Party candidates. With the exception of Ken Buck and Sharron Angle (whom ultimately, lost their races), a strong resistance to Tea Party candidates and an inability for the Tea Party supporters to back the party establishment candidates amounted to a disaster for Republicans on election night. For Tea Party favorites Ken Buck and Sharron Angle, many independents, as well as traditional GOP voters, found their policies too extreme, as portrayed heavily by their democratic opponents. Dating back to the primaries, the principles adopted by Tea Party candidates were never able to sink in or resonate with Western voters. In Washington State, Palin backed candidate Clint Didier was defeated handily by Dino Rossi. In California, conservative Chuck Devore was defeated soundly by businesswoman Carly Fiorina, in addition to Tea Party endorsed Steve Poizner losing his Gubernatorial bid against Meg Whitman. Considering countless examples of such occurrences, the Republican party placed many establishment candidates on the front line that were unable to win over independent voters in traditionally blue states. And with a heavy toll taken within the Republican Party due to fiercely fought primaries, many conservatives were turned off to voting for the GOP backed candidate. These factors spelt disaster for Republican hopefuls, because while Democrats presented viable candidates who faced little to no opposition early on, Republican candidates in some cases were still fighting to gain the support of voters within their own party from brutal primary skirmishes.
A third factor that immensely shaped the electorate shift to the left in western states was the advocacy of immigration. While support for immigration reform bolstered candidates throughout most the nation on election night, any endorsement of serious overhaul on immigration in the West completely backfired. According to National Journal, 64% of Hispanic voters backed Jerry Brown, 65% backed Barbara Boxer, 57% backed McCain opponent Rodney Glassman, and 71% opposed Jan Brewer’s reelection bid. In addition, staunch immigration restrictionist Tom Tancredo was defeated decisively by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper. The bottom line is that Hispanic voters turned out in an astonishing manner and voted overwhelmingly for Democrats. This was not so much a vote for Democrats, however, as it was a vote against Republicans and the hard stances taken by the GOP against illegal immigration.
If Republicans maintain any aspirations of taking back critical western Congressional and Senatorial battleground states such as Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Nevada, and Arizona, it is essential for the GOP take a profound look within its values and beliefs system. In addition, it will become vital for Republicans to establish a universal set of principles and ideology that conservatives and independents can unite around in 2012. While 2010 was wildly successful for Republicans, 2012 will be a test of unification and cohesiveness within a party that is seeking an identity that this time around can inspire and captivate the West.