- 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 June series this week. Andrews zinged the liberal hysteria over global warming, led by hyperbole-prone Al Gore. Other topics this month include Colorado judges coddling illegal aliens, alleged ballot-issue overload, Iraq after Zarqawi, and the Unity '08 splinter party.
1. GLOBAL WARMING: HOW REAL?
John: The great environmental bogeyman of the 1970s was global cooling. Today the bogeyman is global warming. The common denominator is hostility to capitalism, faith in government, media hype, and shaky science. Panic is not called for. The collapse of the Kyoto Treaty proves that. Memo to Al Gore: chill out.
Susan: The science in 2006 is much better than science in the 1970’s. That’s progress. Capitalistic countries like China and members of the European Union are profiting from energy-smart green technology. We’re nuts if we think wasting water, land and energy doesn’t have consequences. Is your head cooler in the sand?
John: Al Gore actually said it’s okay to slant the evidence in order to win his holy war against fossil fuels. Mainstream media are helping with his scare campaign. Experts like CU’s William Gray are punished for daring to disagree. Central planning trashes the environment. Look at the USSR. Free markets are more earth-friendly.
Susan: It’s not about free markets. Legislation protecting the status quo has inhibited innovation and profits for new technology. Your free market protects auto manufacturers (a tax credit for a giant SUV??), energy companies and corporate polluters. It’s the golden rule – the guy with the gold – rules – not the free market.
2. DEFEND-COLORADO PETITION TOSSED OUT
John: Illegal aliens continue flooding into Colorado. The cost to taxpayers is one billion dollars a year. A popular petition cutting off handouts to illegal aliens was halted by a horrible Supreme Court ruling. The justices were afraid voters would pass it. Gov. Owens should call a legislative special session.
Susan: Now that choice is off the table, Colorado Republicans are desperate for a wedge issue. Sadly and inhumanely, it’s going to be immigration – which is really requires a federal solution. If there’s a special session, the ill-conceived, poorly written, mean spirited amendment will be presented more accurately.
John: Our state must do its part, along with Congress, in taking down the welcome sign for this invasion of illegals by the millions. Illegal aliens hurt public budgets, family budgets, national security, national identity, and the rule of law. Shame on the state Supreme Court for encouraging them.
Susan: Truth in advertising. The bill title should say “Should any Coloradan the right to sue a school, church or hospital for providing services to an undocumented person?” Or “Shall an employer hiring an undocumented worker be fined and jailed?” That’s what Dick Lamm and Tom Tancredo concocted. It’s rubbish.
3. TOO MANY BALLOT ISSUES?
Susan: Colorado’s November ballot may be the longest in nearly 100 years – 15 referred and initiated amendments may qualify. Last time I checked the US was supposed to be a democratic republic. The Colorado constitution mimics Denver’s zoning code – a phone book on steroids – full of neither rhyme nor reason.
John: We’re fortunate that legislative power in Colorado originates with the people. Elected politicians have no monopoly of wisdom. I know, I was one. Citizen petitions are a good way to settle such as issues as the definition of marriage, illegal immigration, education policy, tax refunds, and judicial term limits.
Susan: The threshold should be higher for citizens to put constitutional changes on the ballot. As it is the legislature’s ability to meet Colorado’s needs is inhibited. Partisan political issues – whether it’s the definition of marriage or judicial term limits – don’t belong in the state constitution.
John: Citizen backlash is inevitable when out-of-control judges twist the constitution to devalue traditional marriage, as happened in Massachusetts and could happen here. Stronger constitutional protections are needed. Better restraints on the imperial judiciary are needed too.
4. IRAQ AFTER HADITHA & ZARQAWI
Susan: Dramatic events in Iraq offer opportunity for the U S to regain public credibility. The U.S. military justice system must address the massacre of civilians in Haditha swiftly and severely. The tracking and elimination of Zarqawi at his safe house is a victory for America and a democratic Iraq.
John: General Sherman, fighting for American liberty against the slave power, said truly that war is hell. But war remains preferable to slavery. In today’s Iraq, with Saddam gone, Zarqawi was Bin Laden’s man in Baghdad. Now he too is gone, and victory is one step closer. America must accept nothing less.
Susan: Perhaps the best thing to happen in Iraq is the news that Baghdad finally has a cabinet – including a Sunni Defense Minister. If Prime Minister al-Maliki can draw some of the dissidents into the mainstream government, a stable Iraq is possible. That’s how I define victory.
John: Liberals keep having to define and redefine. They said Al Qaeda was not in Iraq. Now they say the destruction of Al Qaeda’s prince in Iraq doesn’t matter. They said intelligence and police shouldn’t coordinate. But that very coordination recently saved Canada from its own 9/11. This is truly a world war.
5. UNITY PRESIDENTIAL TICKET IN 2008?
Susan: The founders of Unity ’08, the web-based, presidential selection effort, may be on to something. Both major parties are turning off mainstream America due to pandering to special interests and big money. The politics of polarization aren’t working and it’s time for an alternative.
John: This fantasy of a fusion ticket for President, dreamed up in Denver and nominated in cyberspace, sounds like a bad Warren Beatty movie. Retreads from the Carter and Ford administrations want to turn 2008 into that ‘70s show. Not funny. America is better off with Republicans and Democrats competing, not converging.
Susan: A civil, partisan debate is the best way to choose a leader. However, when partisanship sinks to irrelevant carping on both sides – it’s time for a new model. Extremists in both parties dominate and distract from the nation’s real problems – health care, the deficit, national security. It’s time for meaningful change.
John: You’re dreaming, Susan. Splinter movements like Unity ’08 are childish escapism. They sometimes trigger unintended consequences in a big way, as when Perot helped elect Clinton in 1992 and Nader helped elect Bush in 2000. In presidential elections, as on a date, three’s a crowd. I say no thanks.