Thursday, 9 December 2010 07:36 by Admin
Head On, long a feature on TV in Denver and now presented by Centennial Institute, this month offers a friendly disagreement about whether Nancy Pelosi is one of the winners or sinners of 2010. But there is something closer to unanimity on Gov. John Hickenlooper's continued quirkiness in 2011.
Reviewing the old year in the December round of mini-debates, John Andrews lauds the American worker while Susan Barnes-Gelt pans the Tea Party. And hold the presses - what's this about Palin joining Obama's cabinet?
John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month<!--more--> over an agenda for Congress, priorities for Denver's next mayor, and strategies for improving Colorado schools. <em>Head On</em> has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for December:
1. WINNERS AND SINNERS OF 2010
Susan: There is ample blame and praise to go around for the first decade of the 21st Century.Winners: Wall Street fat cats, Sarah Palin and the tea party; the national Republican Party. Sinners: fat cats, Palin, the Republican Party.
John: The decade started with New York and Washington under attack. It ended with the mistake that is Obamacare and the mediocrity that is Pelosi. Despite that we still lead the world, thanks to the American worker amidst this recession, the American voter left and right, and the American soldier sacrificing so much.
Susan: D C and Wall Street losers all - came out as winners if you count the money they stashed by fleecing the American public. Pelosi is a winner, fighting hard for the American public, while Obama and the Democratic Senate played to the fat cats. Unlike Gingrich who quit when he lost the majority, she's a winner!
John: Right. But she is the liberal gift that keeps on giving. While San Fran Nancy lingers on, though, 2010 is outta here. Departing in disappointment are Betsy Markey, John Salazar, Bernie Buescher, and Cary Kennedy. Entering the new year in glory are Hickenlooper, Bennet, Stapleton, Gessler, and Troy Tulowitzki.
2. FEARLESS PREDICTIONS FOR 2011
John: Fasten your seatbelts for a wild ride in 2011.Here are John and Susan’s fearless predictions for a year you won’t believe.TSA requires a colonoscopy for every airline passenger.Gov. Hickenlooper puts Tancredo in charge of Hispanic outreach. Carmelo Anthony leaves the Nuggets and is elected mayor in a landslide.
Susan: The uber popular John Hickenlooper sees Mr. President in the mirror after his first Democratic Governors Association meeting, and sets up a field operation in Iowa. Denver voters are so unimpressed with mayoral candidates that they unanimously elect 'none of the above' as mayor.
John: Also in 2011, WikiLeaks exposes the secret life of Joe Biden and nobody notices. Ex-coaches Josh McDaniels and Dan Hawkins go into witness protection. Obama sends Hillary to Afghanistan as commanding general and names Sarah Palin secretary of state to remove her from the 2012 picture. His poll numbers skyrocket.
Susan: Denver traffic engineers convert all the city’s 1-way streets to 2-way and add bus-rapid-transit to Colfax – causing Denver’s economy to boom! Someone slips truth serum in DC’s politician’s eggnog, causing nationwide voter recalls. 2011 ushers in a decade of peace, health and economic stability for man & womankind.
3. PRIORITIES FOR CONGRESS
Susan: The lame duck session needs to be euthanized! Both parties are ignoring the overwhelming best interests of the American people: jobs, jobs, jobs. Tax breaks for millionaires is a distraction. Obama must take the lead and veto any unreasonable bill.
John: Congress changing hands at the turn of the year is good news for Americans who were concerned about our country drowning in debt while government grew and liberty shrank. The Republican House needs to resist any tax increase, set about repealing Obamacare, and get tough on radical Islam.
Susan: Puuleeeze John. Americans want jobs. They want their kids to be educated and the troops, stuck in Afghanistan defending a corrupt government, to come home. The US healthcare system eats nearly 10% of the GNP - the highest in the world. We need to invest in education, infrastructure and retraining workers. Otherwise, pass the marmalade, we're toast.
John: What Americans want was clear on election day. The Tea Party made itself heard. Taxpayers are demanding some adult leadership in Washington DC for a change. A president in over his head and a Congress out of touch paid the price. Speaker John Boehner is the new sheriff in town.
4. PRIORITIES FOR DENVER’S NEXT MAYOR
Susan: Denver`s next mayor faces challenges and opportunities. Here is my to do list: 1. Love the city and tell the truth.2. Restore two-way traffic to all downtown streets.3. Replace the chief of police. 4. Develop a retail strategy for the City to address declines in sales tax.
John: Better yet, a strategy for overall economic growth. The candidate who offers a vision for making Denver a magnet for jobs, innovation, and in-migration will deserve to win in a walk. Pull the plug on Hickenlooper’s tax-and-spend policies. Discourage medical marijuana. Privatize, deregulate, and restore the pride of law enforcement.
Susan: To continue - explore taking over Denver Public Schools to restore sanity and accountability. Don't run unless you truly believe in City Building, the ability of local government to make a positive difference - and, most important, develop and articulate a vision - in short: LEAD!
John: Leadership equals taking things over, Susan? There you Democrats go again. Denver has an elected school board. Let them do their work and let the mayor do his. Economic growth, safe streets, and livable neighborhoods ought to be plenty. If only Democrats and Republicans competed for mayor.
5. BETTER SCHOOLS FOR COLORADO
John: Colorado’s billion-dollar budget deficit means that state aid to education will be cut for the second straight year. But learning performance could improve if legislators free the districts from mandates and school boards face down the teacher unions. Students in Utah achieve higher than Colorado at 60 cents on the dollar.
Susan: The issue isn't unions or no unions - it's hiring good teachers, paying them well and firing them if they don't. No urban school district has the resources to educate the diversity of students who walk through the door. It's not about mandates. It's about ensuring every student and her family have a full range of opportunity.
John: Increased resources are impossible right now, and they aren’t the answer anyway. America’s real spending per pupil has doubled since my kids started school, with zero improvement in test scores. Education expert William Moloney says by following the example of other countries, we can have much lower budgets and much better schools.
Susan: You’re half right, John -- more money in the classroom doesn’t necessarily translate to better schools. Improving the quality of teacher education and training, lengthening the school day and year are part of the puzzle. There’s not simple answer but cutting budgets is not a magic bullet.
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.