The "Head On" debate between former state Sen. John Andrews (R) and former Denver councilwoman Susan Barnes-Gelt (D), seen daily on Colorado Public Television since 1997, began its October series this week. Holtzman v. Beauprez, Tom DeLay, Mayor Hickenlooper, and Katrina recovery, are the topics. 1. GOVERNOR CANDIDATES GO AT IT
Susan: The adolescent liar, liar pants on fire shouting match between Republican gubernatorial candidates Marc Holtzman and Bob Beauprez is a disservice to Coloradoans. Voters deserve to know what each stands for and believes in – the fightfest is a distraction that doesn’t bode well for Colorado.
John: Congressman Beauprez and businessman Holtzman are slugging it out as Republicans because my party’s nomination for governor is worth having. Your party’s is not, judging from all the dropouts so far. Democrat Bill Ritter endorsed the Referendum C tax increase. Holtzman and Beauprez got into it over which one opposed Ref C the most.
Susan: Both-ways Beauprez communicates nothing but amibivalence about C & D. Doesn’t like it but says it’s a necessary evil. If they have so little regard for government, why are these boys running? Must be their voracious appetites for . . . rubber chicken? Power? A bigger place to live?
John: Bob Beauprez says Referendum C’s approach to the budget is like using a chain saw for brain surgery. No both ways about that. Marc Holtzman says Ref C is a tax increase on families, a blank check for spenders, and should be defeated. No waffling there either. Either would make a good governor.
2. IS HICK’S HONEYMOON OVER?
Susan: Looks like Mayor John Hickenlooper may be on a one-way return trip from his extended honeymoon. Three issues broke his stride: the Columbus Day parade; questions he can’t answer about Denver’s prisoner population and backpedaling on his commitment to a LoDo hi-rise.
John: Looper’s liberalism tends to get the better of his common sense. It was dumb for him to criticize the patriotic Italian-Americans trying to peacefully celebrate 1492. Equally dumb for him hesitate over sanctuary policy for illegal aliens. And dumb again to be a grinch about Christmas last year. Bye bye honeymoon.
Susan: C’mon – Hick’s neither a liberal nor a conservative. He’s fiscally moderate – even tight-fisted and socially enlightened – as any Mayor of Denver must be. The question is whether he has the vision, stewardship and hide to make tough decisions and strategic investments in Denver’s civic legacy and quality of life.
John: What you call a socially enlightened mayor, I just call a liberal one. Hickenlooper is fond of taxes, weak on law enforcement, clueless on illegal aliens, mesmerized with mass transit, and too worried about political correctness. That’s limousine liberalism, despite the motor scooter. But his work with Denver Public Schools is a bright spot.
3. WOES OF TOM DELAY
John: Democratic partisan prosecutor Ronnie Earle is like an old Texas gunslinger using indictments as political bullets. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been wounded, but far from terminated, by Earle’s phony charges on campaign finance violations. DeLay’s success in pushing the Bush agenda makes liberals desperate to remove him.
Susan: Tom “the hammer” DeLay is part of a troubling trifecta of tricky Republicans: Senate leader Bill Frisk and Bush’s political Rasputin Karl Rove join Delay in the harsh public spotlight for their apparent misdeeds. Historian Lord Acton said it best – “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
John: Your “absolutism” is a Halloween scare story. Abuse of the public trust by fallible human beings on both sides of the aisle is always a danger, but it’s readily checked by the ethics process, vigilant prosecutors, and a feisty opposition party. Rasputin is long dead. The rule of law is alive and well.
Susan: Ethics? In the United States Congress – now there’s a Halloween trick! When Joel Hefly tried to investigate DeLay’s abuses, the Hammer made sure he lost his position as head of the House Ethics Committee. Congressional ethics is where the fox doesn’t just watch the henhouse – he lives in the master suite!
4. AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE KATRINA
John: Hurricane Katrina not only devastated the Gulf states. It also spread confusion about how America is supposed to work. State and local government, not federal agencies and troops, are the defense line for disasters. Communities working together, not taxpayers from afar, are the resource for rebuilding. This Big Brother bailout concerns me.
Susan: If the federal government had heeded the warnings of local officials – this bailout could have been avoided. Disregarding protective wetlands and not reinforcing the levee long known to be inadequate exacerbated the devastation of the hurricanes. Congress had better attend to America’s aging infrastructure instead of spending billions on useless pork.
John: The Katrina spending spree in Washington, bureaucratic welfare on a massive scale, is backed by the same unholy alliance that supports Referendum C & D here in Colorado – Democrats to whom it comes naturally and Republicans who should know better. Bush and Congressional leaders should insist on federal budget offsets.
Susan: Of course Bush and the Republican Congress should cut pork spending and deficits. But last time I checked your buddy “no taxes ever, nohow” Grover Norquist, the guy who wants to shrink government so it can drown in a bathtub – was gasping for air in the Mississippi Delta!