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 December series this week. Topics include the defeatist Democrats, immigration, the 9/11 Commission, and a New Year's look back / look ahead. 1. IRAQ HOPELESS? DEAN SCREAMS AGAIN
John: Islamo-fascist forces are waging a new world war, aimed at destroying America and other free nations. Amazingly, leaders in the Democratic Party don’t seem to care. Congressman Murtha calls for quitting in Iraq, the war’s central front. Chairman Howard Dean says victory is impossible. Only Senator Lieberman has it right: fight on and win.
Susan: Democrats’ legitimate questions about Bush’s Iraq policy generated an important and necessary debate. The so-called rift in the Democratic party isn’t a rift – it’s democracy. Bush must define a framework for resolution and withdrawal. What is a win? Guess it depends on what the meaning of is, is.
John: Winning is when we have crushed our enemy so he can longer do us harm. Most Americans understand that. Those who don’t are dreaming. The enemy is Al Qaeda. They want to nuke us by the millions. Handing Iraq over to them would be suicidal folly. Never, never, never.
Susan: Even George Bush’s dumbed down victory in Iraq doesn’t guarantee crushing Al Qaeda – we don’t truly know who they are or where they live. Victory in Iraq will be defined by Iraqi’s taking over their government in a reasonable semblance of representative democracy – that means the Sunni’s buy in.
2. 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT CARD
Susan: The bi-partisan 9/11 Commission issued its final report card on the status of the Republican led federal government’s implementation of recommendations to deter another catastrophic attack on the U.S. D’s, F’s and more F’s. If it were your report card John, you’d have to forge your mother’s signature.
John: The signoff that matters isn’t with mama, it’s with Uncle Sam. After the September 11, he got mad, got even, and then some. By taking the battle to our Islamo-fascist enemies in their own backyard – first Afghanistan, now Iraq – President Bush has prevented any further strikes on our homeland. That’s called results.
Susan: George Bush believes that a successful war in Iraq will eliminate risk at home. That’s both foolish and short-sighted. America must be prepared – we’re not – Events following Katrina proved that. Homeland funds aren’t pork and must go to places most at risk. An integrated first responder communication system is vital.
John: Assuming we’d be safer by creating a bureaucratic monstrosity called the Department of Homeland Security was a huge mistake. Federalizing all airport screening for the benefit of public employee unions was another mistake. But thank you for acknowledging that the war in Iraq is more and more successful. It absolutely is.
3. WAKING UP ON ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION?
John: America is finally waking up to the crisis of illegal aliens invading us by the millions. Democratic governors are taking action in Arizona and New Mexico. Our own Governor Owens is coming around. President Bush is taking a harder line. Even Senator Clinton is making noises. Just so they all realize that amnesty is not an option.
Susan: We need a stronger border policy, additional funds and training for border control agents. But an enforcement-only plan is counter to the country’s interests. Without comprehensive immigration reform – including provisions to allow the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here to work legally – it’s a quixotic pursuit.
John: The McCain bill is amnesty. Congress should kill it. The Cornyn bill is better, but it needs more backbone. Tancredo’s ideas cannot be ignored. Fence the Mexican border. Impose tough sanctions on employers. End birthright citizenship. Cut off non-essential government services to illegals. Start acting like a sovereign nation.
Susan: Sovereign nation? The exclusive right to project authority over a geographic location? John – an independent nation, yes – but a representative democracy carries greater responsibilities for justice, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The world is not as brown and white as you suggest.
4. 2005 WINNERS AND SINNERS
Susan: 2005 witnessed good news and bad for our state. Biggest winners are Coloradans who voted overwhelmingly to abate TABOR’s most onerous provisions – those strangling Colorado’s ability to take care of its assets. Biggest loser? The University of Colorado’s football program – on the field and off.
John: Colorado’s economy returned to its winning ways in a prosperous 2005, no thanks to the Referendum C tax increase. The Broncos returned to their winning ways, and the Avs at least returned to the ice. 2005 sinners included Ken Salazar with his Christian-bashing and Diana DeGette with her call to cut and run from Iraq.
Susan: 2006 winners will be the American public because the Hammer, Tom Delay, has led his last demolition crew. Other 2005 winners are Bill Ritter for fending off a serious primary challenge; city lovers benefiting from great, new architecture in Denver’s Civic Center: the museum addition, new courthouse and new detention center.
John: Unlike the politically correct crowd, this program unapologetically picks winners and sinners every December. Someone has to keep score. Those kill-joys who tried to cancel Christmas: sinners big-time. The Italians who hung tough on Columbus Day: gold-star winners. Colorado Public Television viewers: the biggest winners of all.
5. 2006 WILD PREDICTIONS
John: Happy New Year. Here are John and Susan’s fearless predictions for 2006. Carmelo Anthony is elected governor after the Nuggets win the NBA. John Hickenlooper gets honorary Mexican citizenship in gratitude for his illegal alien sanctuary policy. Saddam Hussein completes a brief jail term, then replaces Dan Rather at CBS News.
Susan: Grover Norquist drowns in a bathtub, is revived by a team of government bureaucrats and runs for Congress on the more is better platform. Gary Barnett gets a job as head bouncer at The Sink in Boulder. Hank Brown moves the CU president’s office to Denver and abolishes Division 1A athletics.
John: More wild 2006 predictions: Giddy Democrats replace the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights with the Liberal Activist Bill of Rights, abbreviation LABOR. Grumpy Republicans nominate Justice Rebecca Love to succeed Bill Owens. Phil Anschutz buys Disneyland and renames it Narnia. Fox News buys CNN and closes it.
Susan: A truly outrageous thought: George Bush, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfield apologize for leading us into an unnecessary war; John McCain, Rudy Guiliani, Bill Clinton and Joe Lieberman start a third party – The American Centrists – and capture the House in ’06. Peggy Lamm becomes Colorado’s next guv.