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 can 18-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.