Saturday, 20 April 2013 12:54 by Admin
Colorado is not better off as the legislative session wraps up with Democrats having pushed through a hard-left agenda, says John Andrews in the April round of Head On TV debates. Susan Barnes-Gelt disagrees, lauding the session as enlightened and pragmatic. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over gun control, illegal immigration, lapses by law enforcement, and a sweetheart land deal in local government. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for April:
1. LEGISLATIVE REPORT CARD
John: It’s legislative report card time. Voters fired the House Republicans and gave Democrats control. They responded by raising energy costs, empowering trial lawyers, encouraging illegal immigration, attacking gun rights, undermining traditional marriage, and proposing a billion-dollar tax increase. Colorado is not better off.
Susan: Get a grip John – it’s the 21st Century. Colorado’s legislature reflects the rest of the country – diverse, focused on the economy – not the bedroom, enlightened about our fragile ecology, pragmatic. Ferrandino led a strong session, though it’s unraveling a bit ‘cause the days are numbered.
John: Having served in the General Assembly, I respect the goodwill and dedication of 100 representatives and senators making laws for the other 5 million of us. But I’m very glad their grandiose plans are somewhat restrained by the constitution, including a session limit that cuts them off at 120 days.
Susan: Right -if the lege spent 120 days focused on the budget, civic infrastructure and public safety. Instead, too much time is absorbed on social issues thanks to right-wing, small government conservatives, committed to obsolete wedge issues – God, guns & gays – instead of the public’s priorities.
2. CONGRESS DEBATES GUN CONTROL
John: Here’s your clueless politician update. Move over, Nancy Pelosi. Make room for Diana DeGette. Everyone remembers “Pass the bill to find out what’s in it.” Now we have “Ban high-capacity magazines without knowing what they are.” These congressladies are dangerous. Put’em under trigger lock and leave gun regulation to the states.
Susan: DeGette’s stupid gun manifesto reflects how out of touch she is with anything but the beltway bozos. Shame on her, but that’s not the point. That congress may be, possibly reaching consensus on the most moderate controls re registration is the real point. Way to go ladies & gents!
John: Nothing in the Constitution authorizes the federal government to regulate firearms in the first place, nor will the expanded background checks increase public safety. This is just Obama and a bunch of senators grandstanding to boost their power and their poll numbers. And over in the House, constitutional conservatives aren’t buying it.
Susan: Pullleezzz. How can a man as smart as you advocate for the rights of criminals, abusers, terrorists and the insane to but a gun? You can’t drive a car without being tested, licensed and insured. A majority of gun owners support the weak bill in front of Congress. Get real!
3. DRIVER’S LICENSE FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
John: The beat goes on with liberals pandering to border-jumpers and visa-jumpers, with the ultimate goal of 10 million new Democratic voters. First it was subsidized college tuitions. Now it’s a Colorado driver’s license for illegal immigrants. Except we can’t call them that any more, according to the Associated Press. Where will it stop?
Susan: There you go again . . .Senate Bill 251 allows undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license upon presenting state tax returns, a federal tax ID and a country-of-origin proof of identity. Licensed drivers are insured, must pass a driver’s test and make our streets and hiways safer.
John: You’re so soothing, almost hypnotic. Don’t fall for it, folks. I repeat: the name of this game is 10 million new Democratic voters. If someone broke the law to come here, and you reward them with a driver’s license, it encourages all kinds of other lawbreaking, including election fraud. Bad idea.
Susan: C’mon John. Licenses will say non-citizen - voter fraud’s not the issue. The more consequential question is, why assume that a majority of recent immigrants are going to vote D? Hard to imagine all the old dogs in the Republican Party are resigned to permanent minority status. Ironic – EH?
4. DESPITE LAPSES, LAW ENFORCEMENT SERVES US WELL
Susan: BIG screw-ups regarding a Denver sheriff deputy aiding a criminal to escape from jail and the brutal murder of State Corrections Chief Tom Clements by parolee Evan Ebel don’t signal a failure of American justice as we know it. However, big cuts to public safety budgets take a toll.
John: The convict who shot the corrections chief was paroled several years early by mistake. He was then allowed off his ankle monitor for several days by mistake. The jailbird who fled with help from a crooked cop was given too much leeway inside by mistake. Too many mistakes. Heads should roll.
Susan: We agree – too many mistakes. Heads should roll. The utter failure of the state parole system had deadly consequences. The Denver sheriff should have gone to his superiors when his life and family were threatened. Let’s hope the powers that be at the state and city figure it out.
John: We tape these debates once a month, and while this one was being scripted, Americans suddenly learned of the bombings in Boston and the ricin letters to Obama and Sen. Wicker. Hats off to law enforcement everywhere, whether here in Colorado or nationally. They have their hands full. Say amen, Susan.
5. QUESTIONABLE DENVER LAND DEAL
Susan: Shame on Mayor Michael Hancock and DPS Super, Tom Boasberg. The behind-closed-doors swap of 11 acres of open space for a fixer-upper at 1330 Fox is a bad deal for taxpayers - a textbook example of why people don’t trust government. The deal may tank Hancock’s re-election.
John: Okay, I read your column about this DPS land deal, and though the details made my head hurt, it does sound cutesy and perhaps shady. But with due respect to your investigative work, Susan, for an urban density advocate you seem strangely worked up about a few acres of crummy flood plain.
Susan: The 11 acres of designated open space belongs to Denver taxpayers who have a contract with their representatives – the mayor, council & school board – to protect and conserve that interest. Hancock will pay for his bad judgment, and so should Superintendent Boasberg.
John: Whether the mayor suffers politically for an obscure real estate swap with no graft involved, I doubt. But I applaud your civic indignation and determination to expose this thing, my friend. With newspaper coverage dwindling and no opposition party to keep Denver local officials honest, we need more watchdogs like you.
Sunday, 17 March 2013 03:15 by Admin
In blaming the Voting Rights Act for "racial entitlements," Justice Antonin Scalia sounded like Archie Bunker, says Susan Barnes-Gelt in the March round of Head On TV debates. Not so, says John Andrews; the VRA does in fact insult blacks and Hispanics with favoritism. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over school vouchers, the federal budget sequester, municipal tracking bans, and the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. 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 March:
1. IS VOTING RIGHTS ACT UNCONSTITUTIONAL?
Susan: Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia asserted “voting rights are a perpetuation of racial entitlement”. He sounded more like Archie Bunker than an esteemed jurist. The 1965 Voting Rights Act empowers the federal government to nullify local laws discriminating against minority voters. Scalia’s arrogance demeans informed conservatives and the court.
John: I want to live under a color-blind constitution where all individuals are equal before the law, not where government treats people differently according to their race. Section V of the Voting Rights Act, criticized by Scalia, does in fact discriminate racially. It insults blacks and Hispanics in the guise of helping them.
Susan: Yeah – a place where all the women are strong, the men good looking and the kids above average. Sadly the NO VACANCY sign is up at your fanciful Lake Wobegon. Republicans are going to need more than discriminatory voting policies to regain relevance in the 21st Century.
John: Equality before the law isn’t fanciful. It’s simply right, nothing more nor less. The alternatives are either treating nonwhites as second-class citizens, or tilting the election process so everybody is represented by someone of their own skin color. The second is just as un-American, just as monstrous, as the first.
2. DOUGLAS COUNTY VOUCHERS WIN ON APPEAL
John: Children in Douglas County are Colorado’s luckiest kids. Nowhere else can moms and dads choose a school that works best for their child and have the education funding go along in the child’s backpack. That kid-friendly idea, called vouchers, was on hold by court order, but no more. Educational freedom, here we come.
Susan: K-12 education is in turmoil. From obsolete governance – volunteer elected school boards to the agrarian-based 8-month a year, 6-hour a day calendar – the system doesn’t work for the 21st Century. Charters, vouchers, magnet schools are a sorry attempt to patch a system in need of reinvention.
John: You are so wrong. Empowering educators to innovate through charter schools without union restrictions is very 21st century. So is empowering parents to choose the best school for their kids through vouchers. Unions will mount a desperate Wisconsin-style campaign to take back Douglas County this fall. Educational freedom terrifies them.
Susan: Bottom line on Doug County vouchers? An appeal to the Colorado Supremes will add years and another million to the tab. The district has huge deficits, is cutting curriculum and eliminating staff. It’s a no win for kids, ideologues or reformers. Revolution now!
3. TABOR CHALLENGED IN COURT
John: Detroit has gone from being one of America’s richest cities to one of the poorest. Reckless spending and high taxes were the cause. States like California and Illinois are headed for a similar crash. Fortunately Colorado is protected by TABOR, the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. Yet Democrats are in court to nullify TABOR.
Susan: Hundreds of local cities, towns and schools districts have opted out of TABOR - that speaks volumes. Five years of a declining state economy and TABOR’s arbitrary restraints mean government can’t meet the demands of a growing population and economy. TABOR’s ratchet is a hatchet.
John: Fallacies, fallacies – where should I start? One, voters removed the TABOR ratchet years ago. Two, in a slow economy when revenues aren’t growing, TABOR doesn’t operate. And three, as you noted, voters can override the limits any time. Colorado is lucky to have this fiscal guardrail, and judges should leave it alone.
Susan: Of course higher taxes should be voter approved– as TABOR mandates. But the stupidity of shrinking government to anorexia – starving public safety, k-12 and higher ed, highway maintenance and human services is nonsense.Wanna build your own highway? School system? Hire your own police force and maintenance crew? Get a grip!
4. CAN MUNICIPALITIES BAN FRACKING?
Susan: Gov. Hick’s softened his stance that he would sue any local jurisdiction that outlawed the controversial drilling method - fracking -within its boundaries. Stiff opposition from Fort Collin’s city council caused the Hick to backtrack. Sometimes it’s OK when a political leader is windsocky!
John: Hydraulic fracturing is the greatest thing for energy independence and higher living standards since America’s discovery of oil itself. The fluids used are perfectly safe, as Hickenlooper demonstrated by chugging a glass of the stuff. Fort Collins politicians are a bunch of chicken littles and lawbreakers. Sue away, Governor.
Susan: Due respect to our lovable governor – he’s been imbibing weird stuff for decades – homemade beer, experimental weed, fracking fluid . . . No wonder he’s so charming and unpredictable. Local government has the greatest stake in the health and safety of its residents. It’s your conservative mantra!
John: The law requires uniformity of access to mineral resources throughout the state. To allow a crazy quilt of local variations to obstruct development of abundant, affordable energy is legal theft – and economically stupid. Opposing hydraulic fracturing, based on junk science, is like opposing a cure for cancer.
5. SEQUESTER SHENANIGANS
Susan: Na-nana-na-na shenanigans over sequester are the last straw for every DC incumbent. Both parties deserve a trip to the woodshed. Libertarian Senator Rand Paul is the only stand-up elected. He put himself and values on the line in a successful 13-hour filibuster regarding the use of drones in the U.S.
John: The two parties actually differ sharply, Susan. Democrats are bawling like spoiled children over a couple of pennies on the dollar in slower growth – not cuts, just slower growth – to our bloated federal budget. Republicans, though worried about weaker defenses, have embraced the savings like grownups. And the public is with us.
Susan: The public is fed up with DC brinksmanship. The Congress and the White House have lost touch with what’s happening on the streets of this country. Let’s begin the sequester by not paying Congress and the White House. Bet that’ll bring ‘em to the negotiating table.
John: Fortunately, our two-party system gives Americans a choice between the self-perpetuating government approach and the advocates of fiscal sanity. Once again, it’s D versus R. In this corner, Obama and Harry Reid, the tax and spend guys. In that corner, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio, the constitution guys. It’s no contest.
Might the recent inauguration herald some real hope and change at last, wonders a tongue-in-cheek John Andrews in the February round of Head On TV debates. He even momentarily dons an Obama button before Susan Barnes-Gelt reaffirms the hardball playbook and reminds us it's all the Republicans' fault. John on the right (button quickly discarded) and Susan on the left also go at it this month Hillary Clinton's past, the GOP's future, immigration reform, and gun control. 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 February:
1. PREVIEWING OBAMA’S SECOND TERM
Susan: Obama has four years of on-the-job-training – and he doesn’t have to pander to special interests for re-election. Washington is a swamp and he can apply his will and intelligence to cut entitlements, reform the tax code and protect the vulnerable. Elections have consequences. He must play hardball.
John: Mr. President, sir: Like my [Obama campaign] button? I voted for Mitt, but since I follow a God of second chances, I appeal for you to devote yourself to hope and change. Change your confrontational ways. Stop trying to transform us into France. Give Americans reason to hope for constructive cooperation between Democrats and Republicans.
Susan: Washington’s dysfunction is driven by the politics of partisan primaries. Incumbents who are moderate problem solvers are threatened by right wing ideologues – not Democratic challengers. Majority Speaker Boehner is trying to manage a freak show that has noting to do with Obama’s leadership style.
John: Barack, my friend, this saddens me, but it’s over between us. [Removes button, tosses it away.] You had your chance. Your spokeswoman here, Susan, won’t get off the Alinsky talking points. Second-term hardball, Obama unfettered. Veer to the left, no comprise, consensus be damned. In 2010 that approach cost you dearly. It will again in 2014.
2. ARE REPUBLICANS EVEN RELEVANT ANY MORE?
Susan: After decades of posturing and hyperbole, immigration reform will happen. And human issues – human rights, women’s health, LGBT issues and religion – are no longer the third rail of partisan politics. The reason: young people see the world in chiaroscuro– shades of grey. If Republicans don’t embrace change, they’re doomed.
John: The party of the left keeps helpfully advising the party of the right to come over there with them. Then we’d have both parties proclaiming government is the only answer and relativism is the only truth. Ain’t happening, Susan. The answer is freedom and responsibility. Republicans will stand on that, thank you.
Susan: How’s that workin’ for ya so far? Let see, R’s lost seats in the Senate, the House and – ummm – the White House? Senate Minority leader McConnell and House Majority leader Boehner serve at the will of a fractured herd of nattering nabobs of negativism. They make Spiro Agnew look respectable.
John: In America, freedom and responsibility have always worked better than bureaucracy and dependency. Always will. Democrats can go on being the party of government, Republicans the party of liberty, and we’ll see who has the best winning percentage over time. My money is on liberty.
3. HILLARY’S PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE
John: As Obama builds a new cabinet, America is better off with Hillary Clinton stepping down as Secretary of State. She is dishonest, unscrupulous, and manipulative even by the low standards of Washington. Her evasive Senate testimony about the Benghazi massacre was shameful. America does not need a Clinton third term in 2016.
Susan: Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State was great for the President, our global partners and the nation’s safety and respect. An unparalleled advocate for the rights of women, children the underserved across the globe – she is a remarkable leader who happens to be female. Kerry has big shoes to fill!
John: John Kerry as incoming Secretary of State is no prize either. The Vietnam peacenik who threw away his war medals will have US enemies laughing at us around the world. Mrs. Clinton leaves him a legacy of weakness and appeasement. She failed as foreign minister and would fail worse as president.
Susan: This country and the world would benefit from Hillary Clinton’s leadership – whether as president of the United States or head of a multi-national organization. She is smart and articulate with impeccable values. She knows who she is and what she stands for and is respected throughout the world.
4. IMMIGRATION REFORM, AGAIN
John: I like Marco Rubio as a rising conservative star, and I like the savory seasoning that Latinos add to the American melting pot. But Rubio is wrong in teaming up with Obama for a so-called path to citizenship, which really means amnesty for lawbreakers. Ten million new Democratic voters? No thanks.
Susan: Republicans will continue to be irrelevant if the old white boys don’t recognize the inevitable. The realities of the 21st Century – from demographics of economic sustainability depend on sane immigration policy. A majority of Americans agree. Marco Rubio is the face of America’s future. Get used to it.
John: The social and economic dysfunction of Mexico has sent opportunity-seekers flooding into the USA for decades. Can we make room for them? Absolutely, on the right terms. But full political participation is not the way. Amnesty failed when Reagan tried it, and will fail again. Secure the border first!
Susan: John F. Kennedy said it best in his 1958 book, A Nation of Immigrants. The United States is and always has been a nation of people who value both tradition and the exploration of new frontiers, people who deserve the freedom to build better lives for themselves in their adopted homeland.
5. GUN CONTROL, AGAIN
John: The gun control proposals by Feinstein in Congress, and by Hickenlooper here in Colorado, take away too much self-protection and self-responsibility and offer too little assurance of greater public safety in return. A government big enough to give us everything we want is big enough to take away everything we have.
Susan: Thirteen. Sixty-four. One hundred and forty two. One hundred and thirteen. Two-hundred and fifty. Four Hundred and fifteen. Thirteen years. 64 mass shootings. One hundred and forty-two guns. One hundred thirteen illegal guns. Two hundred and fifty dead. Four hundred and fifteen injured. Do the math.
John: Firearms are dangerous, no question. But power-hungry big government is far more dangerous. Citizens and politicians alike, including Colorado’s own Democratic senators, need assurances that proposed gun laws will truly deter criminals and lunatics, not just disarm the law-abiding. Then we can deal.
Susan: Thirteen. Sixty-four. One hundred and forty two. One hundred and thirteen. Two-hundred and fifty. Four Hundred and fifteen. Thirteen years. 64 mass shootings. One hundred and forty-two guns. One hundred thirteen illegal guns. Two hundred and fifty dead. Four hundred and fifteen injured. Do the math.
Since Connecticut's strict gun control didn't prevent the Newtown horror, policymakers shouldn't impose new restrictions that disarm the law-abiding, says John Andrews in the January round of Head On TV debates. Just do the math, replies Susan Barnes-Gelt, and we'll all conclude too many have died, laws must be tightened. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over Colorado proposals to help children of illegal immigrants and shut down death row, as well as the continuing fiscal cliff drama and the Obama-Boehner standoff. 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 January:
1. GUN CONTROL
Susan: Thirteen. Sixty-four. One hundred and forty two. One hundred and thirteen. Two-hundred and fifty. Four Hundred and fifteen. Thirteen years. 64 mass shootings. One hundred and forty-two guns. One hundred thirteen illegal guns. Two hundred and fifty dead. Four hundred and fifteen injured. The Second Amendment? Do the math.
John: The mass violence is unacceptable, Susan, absolutely. We have to address it. America can do better. But my friend, listen to yourself. Most of the guns in those shootings were already illegal. Legislation in Congress or in Colorado must recognize that. When responsible citizens have firearms to protect themselves, crime goes down.
Susan: Thirteen. Sixty-four. One hundred and forty two. One hundred and thirteen. Two-hundred and fifty. Four Hundred and fifteen. Thirteen years. 64 mass shootings. One hundred and forty-two guns. One hundred thirteen illegal guns. Two hundred and fifty dead. Four hundred and fifteen injured. Do the math.
John: The math says more Americans are killed each year by hammers and clubs than by guns, according to the FBI. More Americans are killed by automobiles than guns. Connecticut’s very strict gun laws didn’t prevent the Newtown horror. The problem is the culture, not the weapons. Don’t disarm the law-abiding.
2. COLORADO ASSET BILL (DREAM ACT)
Susan: Colorado voters retained a Democratic Senate and turned over control of the House to the Dems. The economy is uppermost for D’s and R’s, but reduced tuition for undocumented students – the ASSET bill – is high on the agenda. Investment in education for ALL Colorado students is key to the future of this great state.
John: Public policy should not reward lawbreaking. It’s unfair that CU should cost more for Tommy from Kansas, a citizen and the son of citizens, than for Tomas from Mexico, whose parents snuck him into the country as a child. Tomas is not to blame, but neither are taxpayers. Let private charity subsidize his tuition.
Susan: The demographics of Colorado and the entire country are changing – Exhibit 1: November’s election. Kansas Tommy’s future is inextricably bound to Tomas’s skills. Education is not a zero sum game. America’s future depends on an informed, diverse and well-trained workforce.
John: America’s future depends above all on the rule of law, a shared common culture, and patriotic citizens who understand that rights involve responsibilities and cheating has consequences. The Asset Bill or Dream Act disregards all those values with misguided sympathy and a hidden leftist agenda. Don’t pass it.
3. DEATH PENALTY
John: An ancient principle of justice says that if you take a life, you pay with your life. This is not barbaric, it’s reasonable and right. A child-murderer like Austin Sigg or a mass killer like James Holmes deserves the death penalty. Colorado should not abolish it.
Susan: Which testament is it? The ‘eye for an eye’ bible or the theology valuing the sanctity of life? Honestly, I am ambivalent on the issue of the death penalty. I am a pragmatist. Which costs less? Lifetime incarceration or the death penalty? It’s a calculation, not a principle.
John: When lawmakers debate abolishing the death penalty, they will be told it has become impractical with the way the appeals process works today. There’s your pragmatism. Then we should fix that process, not redefine crime and punishment to the vanishing point. Tell it to the Ridgeways and the Aurora theater families.
Susan: I need to be convinced that loss, grief and anger can be assuaged by retribution – the death penalty. Reforming the justice system isn’t the answer, particularly during these hyper-partisan times. Life imprisonment may be more unbearable than death.
4. FISCAL CLIFF & DEBT CEILING
John: With last-minute legislation on January 1st, Obama got his tax increase on the most productive Americans. The minimal added revenue will not nearly solve our trillion-dollar deficits. It merely penalizes success and hurts everyone’s prosperity. Congress must address the spending crisis. Do your thing, Republicans.
Susan: If the D’s and the R’s don’t stop their playground antics – the country suffers. Dems must get serious about entitlement reform. Republicans - about the bloated defense budget. The rest – to quote the Bard, “ Sound and fury, signifying nothing!”
John: Washington is all bloated, but for the record, defense spends less than half the money as entitlements. But it starts with attitude. As the Lincoln movie reminds us, when America faced a cancer called slavery, the president and both parties came together. Why can’t they now, with the cancer of overspending?
Susan: Overspending is merely a symptom of the cancer. The disease is myopic self-absorption where nearly everyone exposed to the DC swamp becomes infected with the perq’s of power, the illusion of control and the obsequious groveling of special interests. It’s a toxic, potentially fatal disease.
5. WHITHER SPEAKER BOEHNER?
Susan: House Republican Speaker John Boehner has a problem: followership. Leaders cannot lead without the consensus of disciplined, informed colleagues who share a common sense of purpose, while disagreeing on tactics. His power as Speaker is hostage to a minority of luddite anarchists.
John: Americans knew what they were doing when they reelected a Democratic President to step on the gas and a Republican House to hit the brakes. It’ll be bumpy, but divided government may create the opening our economy needs to recover. John Boehner is tough as a boot. He’s the right speaker to confront Obama.
Susan: The problem isn’t divided government – a balance of D’s and R’s. The problem is the intransigent myopia of the far right and, perhaps, the far left. Progress in a democracy demands compromise, negotiation and mutual respect. These three characteristics define the Beltway’s endangered list.
John: You didn’t mention the most uncompromising ideologue of them all, our left-liberal President. Dogged John Boehner leading the House majority and crafty Mitch McConnell leading the Senate minority can’t match him on charisma, but they have the people’s best interest at heart to avoid US bankruptcy. Unlike Barack Obama.
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.”
Mitt Romney seems more likely to win the White House as economic woes dog Obama, says John Andrews in the June round of Head On TV debates. Maybe; but both candidates must give us something to vote for, not just against, objects Susan Barnes-Gelt. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over congressional races, year-end tax hikes, the Syrian crisis, and Aurora's corporate welfare. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997, with sponsorship by Centennial Institute since 2009. Here are all five scripts for June:
1. OBAMA FALTERS AS ROMNEY GAINS
Susan: This fall’s presidential race is shaping up as one of the most negative, least substantive in decades. Neither your guy – Willard Mitt; nor mine – President Obama, is talking about vision or priorities for the next 4 years. I want to vote FOR someone. Not against the other guy.
John: Obama tried the vision thing before. Look where that got us – stuck in the ditch economically. Desperate now to change the subject, his priority is divisiveness and fear. Romney’s priority is sound economic policy to put Americans back to work and decisive leadership to restore confidence in the presidency. He will win.
Susan: Romney – the guy who thinks Russia is the biggest threat to America’s security; young people should simply borrow money from their parents to pay for college and believes government power should be limited to the bedroom? Yes, he’s not Obama. That’s not enough.
John: The June economic slowdown is grim news for America’s hard-working families, and for our ill-qualified president, Mr. Obama. Even the liberal media is pleading with him to engage on the economy, but he hasn’t a clue of what to do. Ridicule and personal slurs won’t keep voters from flocking to businessman Romney this fall.
2. CONGRESSIONAL SEATS IN PLAY
Susan: Colorado may see Congressional upsets this November. Historically Republican CD-6 may go to Dem Joe Miklosi. Demographic shifts and missteps by incumbent Mike Coffman could be fatal. CD-3 Incumbent Repub Scott Tipton better get his foot out of his mouth or lose to challenger Sal Pace.
John: What a brilliant idea – electing the entire House every two years. It forces congressmen to pay attention to we the people. As does the two-party system. Even as a Republican, I say thank goodness for Democrats. If Obama carries Colorado, Coffman and Tipton may lose. If Romney does, Perlmutter may lose.
Susan: Dream on! CD 7 is a competitive district and a younger, moderate R might be able to beat incumbent Ed Perlmutter. But Joe ‘I am not a beer’ Coors, ain’t it. Blinded by greed, this experienced businessman lost millions in an investment fund, promising a 75% weekly return. Get real!
John: You’re such fun to spar with, Susan. But I thought the D after your name stood for Democrat, not “derogatory. Pick on the Coors and they’ll never sell you another glass of suds. I repeat: if Obama carries Colorado, Dems knock off Tipton. If Romney wins here, Republicans defeat Perlmutter. Stay tuned!
3. AURORA JILTED ON GAYLORD PROJECT
John: What a fiasco. Gaylord Entertainment has walked away from the Aurora convention complex that had local and state officials shoveling out hundreds of millions in taxpayer subsidies. But Gaylord is not to blame. The whole scam of corporate welfare is rotten to the core. It’s just a Colorado hometown version of Solyndra.
Susan: The massive Gaylord subsidy is a pathetic game of blind man’s bluff. Aurora electeds and state officials chose not to examine public information about Gaylord’s weak financial position, shareholder unrest and poor performance. The bluff was great for a few Gateway property owners – awful for Coloradans.
John: Government has no business picking winners and losers this way. Not in cities, or states, or DC. It is always a net subtraction from wealth creation and higher living standards – always. My Republican friends erred with their bill for a bigger tourism slush fund. Hickenlooper did well in vetoing it.
Susan: If the guv and the legislature turn their hearing aids on, they’ll realize a majority of voters despise this type of special interest giveaway. It’s a zero sum game – pitting local communities against one another at the expense of the whole state. Kill the Gaylord deal and the RTA.
4. US MILITARY INTERVENTION IN SYRIA?
John: Suddenly candidate Obama is playing the tough guy. First it’s drone strikes against Al Qaeda, then it’s a killer virus in Iran. But his amateurish handling of the so-called Arab Spring actually empowered the Islamic radicals. He missed a chance for regime change in Tehran. Should we now attack Syria? No.
Susan: You’re half-right: we shouldn’t attack Syria. Dependence on Mid-East oil has skewed our foreign policy for 50 years. Investment in renewables and an increased focus on resources in Brazil, Canada and the US suggest our marriage of convenience with the mid east may be heading for divorce court.
John: Obama the drone warrior, personally executing suspected terrorists to avoid interrogating them, is a showboat not a statesman. In Libya he boasted of leading from behind. In Egypt he gave billions to the Muslim Brotherhood. US interests are worse off as a result. This bumbler must go. Meanwhile, no war on Syria.
Susan: So you think putting American troops in grave danger on the ground, in brutal combat with insurgents and suicide bombers makes more sense than strategic – and highly successful – targeted drones? That’s a joke. Right? Why don't we simply go back to cannons and swords?
5. TAXMAGEDDON & DEBT CEILING LOOM
Susan: Once again, our ridiculous excuse for a governing body – the United States House of Representatives – is engaged in the phony charade over the debt ceiling and tax increases. Set against the fragile world economy – most of these ideologues should go home and find REAL work!
John: Speaker John Boehner and the Republican House are absolutely correct in getting started this summer to head off a killer tax hike and more unwise borrowing that will occur this winter unless Congress acts. It’s good policy to help that fragile economy, and good politics to frame the choice for voters.
Susan: Partisan Russian roulette is no way to calm anxious investors and business people, uneasy about what’s happening in Europe and fed up with the shenanigans of politicians. Both parties should embrace Simpson / Bowles and come up with a balanced long-term approach to investment and debt reduction.
John: According to Obamanomics, an Armageddon array of tax increases on Jan. 1 and another Greek-style trip to the Chinese debt window is just what business needs. Except business doesn’t think so. Hence the awful economic numbers in May. Employers are already hunkering down. Make the Democrats sweat this one out, Mr. Speaker.
The President has failed on national security and can't credibly campaign as a tough guy, says John Andrews in the May round of Head On TV debates. Just the opposite, replies Susan Barnes-Gelt: in eliminating bin Laden and removing Qadhafi, Obama has proved the strongest commander-in-chief since FDR. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over Romney's chances, Denver's budget woes, and how to help the homeless. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997 and presentation of Centennial Institute since 2009. Here are all Four scripts for May:
1. SHERIFF OBAMA? NOT SO MUCH
John: Obama was deservedly condemned by left and right after he crudely politicized the anniversary of Bin Laden’s death. This president has failed on national security. His swagger is unconvincing as well as tasteless. He has dangerously slashed our defenses. He has been weak against Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Susan: President Obama has consistently performed on National Security. In four years, Obama has foiled several attacks on the US, killed the 9/11 master-mind – Bin Laden - and dozens of key operatives, eliminated Quadafi and begun an orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan. He’s the toughest commander-in-chief since FDR.
John: I got the talking points. Now let’s be real. FDR knew who the main enemy was, mobilized massively and gained victory over the Axis. Reagan knew his main enemy, rearmed, and won the Cold War. Obama seeks to disarm. He doesn’t want victory. He’s clueless about our enemy in Iran.
Susan: I sincerely hope Willard and the Wing-nuts make the President’s foreign policy the centerpiece of their campaign. Doing so serves a dual purpose: reengages lefty libs who worry Obama’s caved to the generals and proves beyond reasonable doubt that Romney desperate and hopelessly out of touch.
2. ROMNEY GAINING BY THE DAY
John: Challenger Mitt Romney has the White House worried, and with reason. The former governor has economic savvy and leadership that the former professor can’t match. GOP rivals are closing ranks with Romney, while key Democratic voting blocs are underwhelmed with Obama. November will be close, but the incumbent’s in trouble.
Susan: Which Romney? Anti-auto bailout Romney, now taking credit for US auto rebound? Innovative Gov. Romney author of the first public healthcare program? Entrepreneur Romney who made a fortune in the US, but has untold investments abroad? Conservative Romney? Moderate Mitt? Liberal Willard? Who is that masked man?
John: Cute, Susan. Sort of Jon Stewart in a skirt. But the problem for you Democrats is that it’s very hard to win an election like this one, where the incumbent seeks a second term amid economic distress and looming war clouds. It’s a referendum on Obama, and Romney is gaining by the day.
Susan: It’s a long, long while from May to November – which is good for Romney who’d better figure out who he is, what he stands for and why. Obama continues to face challenging times: a lackluster recovery, uncertainty abroad and the public’s disgust with politics. But . . .you can’t beat something with nothing.
3. SHOULD DENVER RAISE TAXES?
Susan: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock must address structural problems in Denver’s operating budget. Fixed expenses – largely personnel driven – are increasing faster than revenues. He should standardize employee health care and pension formulas before raising taxes. He must chose between pleasing and making long-term decisions.
John: Susan, we’re meeting minds again. It worries me. Running leaner on public employee pay and benefits is the right answer, even though unions will push back. Raising taxes will only make Denver a less desirable place to live and do business. It’s the wrong answer. Can I hold you to that?
Susan: Absolutely NOT! Denver’s taxes are among the lowest in the region. Efficient government and capital investments are necessary to maintain and enhance the City Denverites have built through generations. But before raising taxes and fees, the mayor must focus on more than re-election, and set measurable outcomes and priorities.
John: America is drowning in taxes, spending, regulation, entitlements, debt, unfunded pension obligations, yada yada yada, next stop Greece. Denver’s on that train. If Hancock and the council are smart, they’ll get off the train and make the city a magnet for economic growth. Step one: No new taxes.
4. TOUGH LOVE FOR STREET PEOPLE
Susan: Denver’s Mayor approved a tough anti-loitering ordinance - aimed at controlling the explosion of homeless, occupiers and summertime drifters overtaking downtown, Civic Center and the river. Though well-intended, it should have been thoroughly analyzed prior to being jammed through the City Council.
John: Sometimes common sense overtakes political correctness, even with a bunch of liberals like this mayor and council, and you just want to cheer. I’m still pinching myself that Hancock would lead the way and do this. Denver has shelters and compassionate programs aplenty. Enough with the street camping.
Susan: That’s the problem. Good for Hancock for making a tough call. However Denver doesn’t have the shelters, outreach workers, police resources or partnerships to mitigate this growing dilemma. Time will tell if the city is able to meet the expectations of compassion and control this bold ordinance promises.
John: Step one is to think about it differently. Street people used to be called vagrants, emphasizing their chosen behavior. Political correctness now calls them homeless, emphasizing victimhood. Some are victims, but many chose the streets. Denver now offers one less incentive for that dead end. The camping ban is tough love.
The lesson already from Supreme Court deliberations over the constitutionality of Obamacare is that unlimited government makes most Americans queasy, says John Andrews in the April round of Head On TV debates. No, replies Susan Barnes-Gelt, the big takeaway is conservatives' inconsistency, suddenly favoring the very judicial activism they long opposed. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over Romney vs. Obama, the Trayvon Martin shooting, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, and the urban freeway wars. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997, with sponsorship by Centennial Institute since 2009. Here are all five scripts for April:1. SUPREME COURT WEIGHS OBAMACARE
John: President Obama’s takeover of the health care system, one-sixth of the US economy, will either be approved by the Supreme Court or struck down as unconstitutional in whole or in part, very soon now. Already, it’s making us think about why unlimited government power over our lives is a dangerous thing.
Susan: You can’t have it both ways – until healthcare hit the Supremes – your chronic complaint was activist courts. Now it’s nanny-state government. Seems to me “of the people, for the people and by the people” is the benchmark we’ve lost sight of.
John: Government by the people requires a constitution that maximizes freedom and responsibility while minimizing paternalism and bureaucracy. Lincoln, whom you’re quoting, would be horrified at how badly Obamacare violates that. So would the Founding Fathers. This law worsens health care and tramples liberty. It needs to go.
Susan: Healthcare run for the benefit of insurance companies and for-profit hospitals serves stockholders not people. The lopsided costs, compared to the rest of the world are the primary driver of our budget deficits. Obama’s plan saves nearly $150-billion over the next decade and delivers better care.
2. ROMNEY VS. OBAMA, THE MAIN EVENT
John: One man started as a leader in the free enterprise system. The other started as a community organizer among the discontented. One man makes no apologies for America’s goodness and greatness. The other travels the world apologizing and wants to transform America. Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama, the 2012 campaign now begins.
Susan: Bring it on. Romney is so out of touch with the typical American that his rants ring hollow. How does a guy with an elevator for his cars relate to Americans at the gas pump? Romney is adept at making money, lacking conviction and blowing in the wind.
John: A president seeking a second term must convince voters he did well in his first. In Obama’s case that’s hard. The 2008 candidate of hope and change is running this time on fear and resentment. His record of economic stagnation and foreign policy weakness leaves no choice. America needs President Romney.
Susan: Which Willard Romney? ? The guv who set the standard for public healthcare in Massachusetts? The one who refused to take on Limbaugh’s screed against women? The guy who doesn’t worry about poor people, old people or the family dog? Or the compromising, tax avoiding, entirely opaque one percenter ?
3. TRAYVON MARTIN CASE
Susan: Florida’s Stand Your Ground law led to the slaying of unarmed 17-year old African American teenager Trayvon Martin by self-appointed neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman. In a travesty of racism over law, It took 6 weeks to charge Zimmerman with 2nd degree murder.
John: Much of the media has allowed speculation to outrun the evidence in this tragic case, Susan. Not on this program. It now appears Martin was the aggressor in the bloody brawl that cost him his life. It appears Zimmerman was not racially motivated. America’s liberal guilt industry has disgraced itself on this one.
Susan: The brutal slaying of an unarmed teenager is hardly a cause célèbre of the liberal media. The unwillingness of the police to arrest this guy with a record of erratic, gun-toting behavior – is shameful to the left, the right and the center. Good for the prosecutor for finally bringing charges.
John: Evidence, Susan, evidence. Not paranoia, proof. Not fantasy, facts. The country doesn’t need more reckless racial inflammation right now. The Florida authorities are moving appropriately. Justice will be done. Is there too much violent death in this country? Absolutely. Young blacks, young Latinos especially. But they’re mostly killing each other.
4. GESSLER RECALL?
Susan: Colorado Democrats are working to recall Secretary of State Scott Gessler following his attempt to disenfranchise thousands of Colorado voters – including members of the armed services. His claim that 5000 undocumenteds voted in 2010 remains entirely unsubstantiated. He is a state official behaving like a partisan political hack.
John: The priority for liberals is to make voting easy. The priority for conservatives is to make it honest. Coloradans in 2010 had a clear choice between incumbent Democratic Secretary of State, Bernie Buescher, Mr. Easy Vote, and Republican challenger Scott Gessler, Mr. Honest Vote. Gessler is doing exactly what he campaigned on.
Susan: Prior to his election, Gessler worked for a highly partisan conservative law firm. His agenda as a public official, is consistent with his partisan commitment to restrict the voting rights of the military serving abroad, minorities and seniors. And unfortunately, you’re right the voters got what they paid for.
John: Susan, come on. Partisan this, partisan that. Your party, the Democrats, has the trademark on voting irregularities and stolen elections down through the years. LBJ in Texas, JFK in Illinois, Gore in Florida, Franken in Minnesota, Gregoire in Washington State. Secretary Scott Gessler is a standup guy to protect Colorado from that.
5. I-70 EXPANSION THROUGH DENVER NEIGHBORHOODS
Susan: The proposed expansion of I-70 through Denver neighborhoods – Globeville, Swansea, Elyria – is moving into its 9th year. Consensus by impacted neighbors remains elusive – despite attempts to buy them off with a new school, rec center and clean street lights. Time for the Mayor and the Governor to step up.
John: You liberals hate the automobile, so I initially disregarded this Globeville stuff. But as a conservative, not just politically but culturally, I believe that big engineering projects exist to serve the human community, not vice versa. So if we can widen the freeway less disruptively, why not? Persuade me, Susan.
Susan: I think you are persuaded. The issue is efficiency, safety and economics. Demolishing the core city with high-speed freeways is expensive, dangerous and the worst possible land use policy. Urban corridors are key to job creation, small business development and commerce. Highways and cities don’t mix.
John: Stop sloganeering, or you’ll unpersuade me. Highways and cities do mix. How else can18-wheelers move the lifeblood of commerce from one metropolis to another? How else can people get around a big metro area – and don’t say white elephant transit. Still if there’s a 270 solution for longsuffering historic Globeville, explore it.
The president rightly rebuked the GOP presidential contenders for "casualness" in regard to a potential war with Iran, says Susan Barnes-Gelt in the March round of Head On TV debates. No, replies John Andrews, Obama merely hopes to distract from his own failed policy on Tehran's nuclear aspirations. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over Hickenlooper's leadership style, liberal antipathy to the automobile, a tourism tax giveaway, and the presidential race. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997, with Centennial Institute sponsorship since 2009. Here are all five scripts for March:
1. NEARING WAR WITH IRAN?
Susan: "When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I'm reminded of the costs involved in war. This is not a game. And there's nothing casual about it." That’s the President’s response to the recklessness of the GOP presidential wannabe’s urging war with Iran.
John: Steadily, steadily, the fanatical regime in Tehran moves closer to possessing the nuclear weapons with which it hopes to exterminate Israel and devastate America. Obama would rather scold the opposition party for sounding the alarm than forge an effective policy himself. He missed a chance to remove the regime years ago.
Susan: A nuclear holocaust is a zero sum game for Israel, Iran, the U.S. and the planet. Consider recent events in Afghanistan – a mentally deranged soldier killed kids, women, fathers – terminating any prospects of earning the trust of the people. The human cost of war is far too great.
John: I understand your feelings. But we don’t just need emotions, we need solutions. This weak, naïve, self-absorbed man who happens to be president is day by day increasing the risk of a big conflict by failing to confront and squeeze Iran in smaller ways. Israel must be protected. Obama must go.
2. HICK LEADS FROM BEHIND
John: Much like Barack Obama, John Hickenlooper is long on style and short on substance. Obama’s famous copout of “leading from behind” now has its Colorado counterpart in Hick’s statewide tour of townhall meetings, the TBD Project. He claims that stands for “To Be Determined.” I suspect it means “Taxed by Democrats.”
Susan: The person who thought up TBD as the brand for the Guv’s priority setting initiative, ought to be fired. Am I naïve to believe it’s the Governor’s role to set the state’s direction? Aren’t campaigns about taking the public’s temperature? TBD is a
Totally Bad Decision.
John: Hickenlooper’s townhall tour aims to manufacture a consensus for raising taxes, but people won’t buy it. Neither the governor nor the legislature is getting any traction at present. The alpha dogs in Colorado right now are activist judges – blowing up school finance, slapping down vouchers, and snarling at TABOR.
Susan: No the problem is the lack of leadership and stewardship of this great but fragile western state. Shame on the legislature for funding wealthy developers instead of education, transportation and infrastructure. Shame on us for electing people we like instead of leaders who might make a difference.
3. OBAMA IN TROUBLE
Susan: Can it get any worse for the GOP? Mitt Romney’s failure to condemn Rush Limbaugh calling Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a slut was beyond the pale. Romney’s response, “It’s not the language I would have used” later saying it wasn’t his business? Shame on you, Willard Mitt.
John: Coarse language from left and right is as old as politics. It’s deplorable, but totally irrelevant to who should be the next president. Obama’s numbers are falling. His energy policy has doubled gas prices. His health care takeover is hugely unpopular. Romney, Santorum, Gingrich, and Paul could all beat him.
Susan: John, no one’s approval ratings are lower than Willard Mitt’s. Even moderate Republicans – that endangered species – are looking for the not-Mitt option. It’s a long way to Tampa and this slugfest among wacked pundits and eager-to-please, candidates spells trouble for the R’s in November.
John: The one in trouble is Barack Obama. Presidents who don’t get the job done are shown the door. It’s the American way. Ask Jimmy Carter. They want a leader who is proud of America and believes in Americans as a free people. People have had it with Obama’s excuses and arrogance.
4. STOP THE TOURISM TAX GIVEAWAY
Susan: In 2009 Colorado Concern, a private business group, sponsored legislation creating a state sales tax subsidy, benefitting their members’ interest in building a NASCAR tract east of DIA - a victory of influence over intelligence. When the racetrack died, the giveaway should have been buried.
John: Aurora, Estes Park, Glendale, Pueblo, Douglas County, and Montrose County are pleading with a state board to subsidize tourism for two of them and not the other four. $50 million a year is the prize. Government playing favorites among competing localities and businesses this way is an awful idea.
Susan: Under any circumstance, the state has no business using tax increment financing to pay for assets that benefit a private developer and only a private developer.
Urban renewal tools are just that – mechanisms to revitalize obsolete, dilapidated urban property. Not a way to reduce risk for influentials and campaign contributors.
John: I hate to agree, Susan, but amen. For me as a Republican and you as a Democrat to unite against this tourism tax giveaway, both believing in integrity in government, illustrates how the two-party system can sometimes let the people down when powerful inside players rig the game. It’s a shame.
5. LESS RAIL, MORE BUSES
John: Liberals will tell you they don’t like the automobile. They object to the personal freedom it confers. Yet they also object to high gas prices. What a delicious contradiction. A related contradiction is the money liberals continue throwing at light rail despite its negligible ridership. Bus rapid transit is far superior.
Susan: Wow! John, after 8 years of jousting with me, you’re beginning to sound like a progressive! Of course, bus-rapid-transit is the most efficient way to build mass transit. Dedicated lanes, mixed-use transit stops and cool-looking buses are the logical answer for regions as spread out as ours.
John: Progressive? No, I’m a regressive. I’d like to run the movie back to 2004 and let people vote again on the tax hike we now is far too small to build out the Fastracks fantasy train that few commuters use. Going forward, though, let’s agree – less rail, more buses.
Susan: The real problem is the lack of civic and political direction guiding RTD staff and directors. Mass transit needs to be part of a regional land use transportation network, connecting people with places, jobs and one another. Absent a comprehensive approach, we’ve all missed the bus.
Friday, 17 February 2012 14:36 by Admin
Republicans will suffer politically from their "overreach on family planning" in response to a minor mistake by HHS, says Susan Barnes-Gelt in the January round of Head On TV debates. Nothing minor here, replies John Andrews; Obama's mandate on religious institutions is a declaration of war. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over the Komen Foundation vs. Planned Parenthood, Iran's threat to Israel, Colorado legislative ethics, and the presidential race. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for February:
1. HHS MANDATE ON RELIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS
Susan: It took the Obama administration a week to acknowledge Secretary of HHS over-reached in requiring Catholic-owned hospitals and non-profits to include birth control in employee health plans. The compromise –already implemented by 24-states - calls on insurance companies to cover the cost. Good for Obama for addressing the problem.
John: Obama personally, not some cabinet secretary, broke his promise to Catholics about insurance regulations that would respect their religious objection to contraceptive drugs. Obama personally brutalized evangelicals with his mandate for their churches, charities, and schools, including the college where I work, to provide abortion drugs. He has declared war.
Susan: You’re at war on too many fronts – lacking the resources to battle Repub overreach on family planning. How is it that small government conservatives want to regulate individual choice and what happens in the bedroom. Keep it up. The R nominee is bound to get a couple thousand female votes.
John: Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists – one thing we all have in common is cherishing America as the land of the free, a place where government won’t trample our religious beliefs. But Obama on his left-wing power trip obviously doesn’t care. People of faith won’t let this one stand.
2. KOMEN FOUNDATION BOWS TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD
John: The issue of abortion raises two questions. Legally, when can a woman end a pregnancy? Culturally, how much do we value life at every stage? America has developed a culture of death since Roe v. Wade. The Komen Foundation knuckling under to Planned Parenthood proves it yet again. Really sad.
Susan: I’m puzzled when small government conservatives –adamantly opposed to government overreach, passionately support government’s role in the bedroom, free choice and a very blurred line between church and state. Shame on former Komen VP Karen Handel for politicizing a formerly worthy charity.
John: This was two private organizations, not government. Komen decided its work of saving lives by fighting breast cancer should not be entangled with Planned Parenthood’s work of taking lives by performing abortions. The liberal firestorm wasn’t about 1/1000 of Planned Parenthood’s budget, it was about perpetuating the culture of death.
Susan: No John. Komen’s disgraced VP – Karen Handel is an uber-conservative Georgia Republican who lost her bid for governor. Her single-issue platform? Anti-choice, targeting Planned Parenthood. Successful non-profits rely on political neutrality. Komen has done irreparable harm to its reputation and long-term viability.
3. ISRAEL AND IRAN
Susan: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu believes Iran is developing nuclear weapons. And the string of recent attacks thought the region - is an escalation that threatens Israel. State Dept officials believe Israel could attack Iran this spring, in order to stop Tehran from building a nuke. Time for diplomacy – on steroids.
John: The worst weakness of this weak president has been his non-resistance to Iran’s goal of nuclear blackmail. Equally bad is Obama’s moral and strategic blindness in treating Israel as America’s adversary, instead of our ally. Israel has stopped two other neighbors from going nuclear. If they strike Iran, we must support them.
Susan: Pul-eeeze! The President took out bin Laden, his key operatives; brought the troops home from Iraq, toppled a Libyan dictator and has strong public approval for winding down the irresolvable mess in Afghanistan. None of his potential Repub opponents has the foreign policy chops to take him on.
John: Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map, dominate the Middle East, neutralize Europe, destabilize Latin America, empower North Korea, and intimidate the United States. In the face of this threat, Barack Obama is the Neville Chamberlain of our time – indecisive, inept, timid, and weak. Thank goodness Netanyahu is strong.
4. PRESIDENTIAL RACE YET AGAIN
John: The roller coaster of Mitt Romney and his rivals, from Perry and Cain to Gingrich and Santorum, is like nothing I’ve seen in watching Republican politics since 1960. The weak leadership of Barack Obama is like nothing you Democrats have had in the White House since Jimmy Carter in 1980. This year is crazy.
Susan: Every month the R’s look for a candidate, President Obama gets stronger and stronger. Flavor of the month Santorum is forcing Mitt further to the right, making it tough for him to recapture the chameleon character he’s depending on in November. Can’t wait for Pawlenty to join the race.
John: Obama getting stronger? What planet is your pollster on? His numbers are poor, and the DNC trails the RNC in fundraising. Hence Obama’s sudden chumminess with the super PAC’s. Hence the vote-buying on foreclosures and student loans. Catholic and evangelical voters hate his mandate on abortion drugs. Even the black vote is soft.
Susan: With every Republican primary mudfest, Obama’s numbers get stronger. Right wing-nuts, forcing their potential nominees to debate birth control instead of job creation send key swing voters – center right independents – straight to Obama. Americans want to vote FOR the future. Not fight 19th Century social issues.
5. ETHICS CASE ROILS LEGISLATURE
John: Did state Rep. Laura Bradford have one too many that night? Did the Denver Police handle it badly? Those matters are soon forgotten. What we shouldn’t forget is how squeaky clean the Colorado General Assembly is, compared to legislatures in most other states. The ethics rules are uncomfortable, but they work.
Susan: Yes, Coloradans are lucky – our state legislators are cleaner than most, in spite of a toothless ethics code. I’d say it has to do with Colorado being a place where voters are uncomfortable with old-style backroom shenanigans. Sadly in the case of Rep. Bradford, Denver Cops were out of line.
John: Legislative ethics have teeth. I served there and saw members get bitten. Kudos to Speaker McNulty for invoking the process against his fellow Republican, Bradford, despite threats of a party switch. Democrats have done likewise. TABOR and term limits also help keep government clean. Corruption is less when power is limited.
Susan: Thank you John, for opening the garage-door of opportunity. Let’s talk Doug Bruce’s TABOR policy. The icon of the strangle-government movement is going to jail for cheating, lying and swindling. Doug Bruce’s story is a cautionary tale for lawmakers who operate outside the law.