Ken Buck's views and experience make him "the right man to take on the mess in Washington" as a senator from Colorado, argues John Andrews in the August round of Head On TV debates. And John says the outsider candidacy of Dan Maes for governor, already successful beyond all odds, "might surprise everyone" against John Hickenlooper. But Susan Barnes-Gelt predicts a 20-point blowout for Hickenlooper, along with a narrow win for incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over a trio of tax-cutting ballot issues and the Denver mayor’s animus toward autos. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are the four scripts for August:
1. BUCK OR BENNET FOR US SENATE?
Susan: Mid-term elections typically favor the out-of-power party – for 2010 that’s the R’s. However Colorado is fundamentally moderate, and independent voters will be turned off by Ken Buck’s flip flops and Tea Party sympathies and murky record of integrity. It’ll be close, but Bennet wins.
John: Appointed Senator Michael Bennet has voted in lockstep with Barack Obama and Harry Reid on one awful bill after another – taxes, spending, socialized medicine, and the list goes on. Bennet’s money saved him in the primary, but the revulsion of swing voters toward all things Democratic will doom him in November.
Susan: Michael Bennet is a lot of things: smart, thoughtful, disciplined and experienced. A quick look at his record confirms that he’s neither ultra-liberal – which is why the uber-progressives supported Romanoff – or a knee-jerk follower.
John: Bennet supported Obama on the huge wasteful stimulus. It failed. He supported Obama’s health care takeover. It’s become an embarrassment. Wrong man, wrong message, wrong moment. Ken Buck is tough, principled, sensible, and real. He’s exactly the right man to take on the mess in Washington.
2. THAT WILD GOVERNOR’S RACE
John: Bill Ritter and the Democrats have really failed Colorado. Bad show on the economy, the budget, energy. John Hickenlooper, Mr. Tax Increase, Mr. Sanctuary City, would be no better. Voters are fed up. Hence the Tea Party candidacy of Dan Maes and the maverick move by Tom Tancredo. This is wild.
Susan: Wild? It’s ridiculous. Tom-I’ll quit/you quit Tancredo v. Dan-stranger-to-the-truth Maes are a joke and the very public Hickenlooper endorsement by fiscal conservative Repub’s Mizel, Maffei and Hamilton, is just a drip of the coming deluge. I’m betting Hick wins by 20 points.
John: Colorado is a big diverse state. Coloradans politically tend to be in the center or to the right. A limousine liberal from downtown Denver is the wrong fit for governor. Hickenlooper is defined by tax increases and evasive about his hard-left past. Tancredo will fade. Maes might surprise everyone.
Susan: Operative word – might – Not a chance the guy with a record of failed business enterprises who can’t keep his campaign books straight, who borrows money to pay his mortgage is going to be Colorado’s next guv. Maes, mights, WON’T!
3. HICKENLOOPER VS. THE AUTOMOBILE?
John: The automobile is the greatest freedom machine ever invented. Mayor Hickenlooper’s wacky vision to replace our personal cars and trucks with government transit and bicycles is one more reason he shouldn’t be governor. Colorado doesn’t need fewer roads as the mayor believes. Nor do we need the fatally flawed Fastracks plan.
Susan: Please don’t tell me you agree with Repub candidate Dan Maes belief that Hick’s support of alternative transportation is part of a wacky international left-wing communist scheme. And when did the Mayor say the state needs fewer roads? It’s both and, not either or.
John: According to John Hickenlooper, the mo-ped mayor who wants to be our next green governor, the big question is, quote, “How do we wean ourselves off automobiles?” That’s the same Hickenlooper who already led the metro area into a fiscal sinkhole called Fastracks. I wonder if this guy can even spell “mobility.”
Susan: Hick – is he a limousine liberal, a moped-mayor, a fast-track fanatic or a bike-lane louie? Regardless, he is on the move. Republican candidate Dan Maes can’t get his foot out of his mouth or his campaign in first gear.
5. BALLOT ISSUES 60, 61 & 101
Susan: Colorado voters must vote NO on ballot issues 60, 61 and 101. Deceptive, job killing proposals, devastating to small business and guaranteeing increased K-12 class sizes by halving the amount of property tax allocated to schools. Bi-partisan economists estimate Prop 101 will cut state revenues by $2Billion.
John: Those three tax cut proposals look pretty good to me at a time when ordinary Coloradans could use some relief. 60, 61, and 101 simply restore the fiscal guardrails of TABOR that liberal judges and politicians have pulled down. State replacement is guaranteed for local education dollars. This helps small business.
Susan: And the replacement is . . .? Monopoly money? Are your son, the Denver policeman. These initiatives guarantee job losses, negative business growth, higher unemployment, dismantled higher ed and degraded roads, highways, state parks and public safety. Perhaps access to medical marijuana is too easy?
John: The world economy is gravely threatened by taxes, spending, and mountains of government debt. Colorado is right in the path of that. Those three tax relief measures, 60, 61, and 101, are strong medicine to fight an epidemic that could run our state bankrupt. The fiscal madness has to stop. I’m voting yes.