- 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 September series this week. Andrews dismissed the chimera of UN mediation in Lebanon, recommending: "Let the fighting resume." Other topics this month include the 7th congressional district race, Islamist threats against British air flights, a proposed minimum wage hike, and Beauprez vs. Ritter for Governor.
1. LEBANON CEASEFIRE: WHAT NEXT?
Susan: Both Israel and Lebanon are backing away from the 10-day UN brokered cease fire. Escalating rhetoric resulted from the deaths of three Lebanese soldiers and an Israeli killed by a land mine in south Lebanon. The international community is polarized and prospects for peace are dim.
John: The Lebanon war was started by Hezbollah, a spearhead for Iran in the larger design to destroy both Israel and the United States, after subjugating the Arabs and neutralizing Europe as intermediate steps. The UN is a fraud, and Israel’s cooperation with them is folly. Let the fighting resume.
Susan: And what, exactly, does that mean? Terrorism on steroids? Nuclear war between Iran and Israel? John –the consequences of all out war in the Mideast are dire. I’m not certain that Israel, the United States, the European Union or even Lebanon, Syria or the Saudis are prepared.
John: Democratic Israel, our heroic little ally, confronts a deadly Islamic enemy both north and south. Unless crushed militarily the enemy will never agree to coexist politically. Steely determination is needed in Jerusalem and Washington. No amount of UN rhetoric can settle this. Armies have to.
2. PERLMUTTER-O’DONNELL FOR 7TH CD
John: Suburban voters who liked having Bill Owens as their governor and Bob Beauprez as their congressman will naturally prefer Rick O’Donnell for Congress this year. O’Donnell was terrific as an Owens cabinet member. His experience and his principles make him the right successor to Beauprez. Nancy Pelosi’s friend Ed Perlmutter is not the guy.
Susan: Let’s see. Young Rick O’Donnell thinks Social Security should be eliminated – he wrote about it when he was working for Newt. I don’t think suburban voters are comfortable with that position- nor are they comfortable with his ‘joined-at-the-hip relationship with the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld White House. Rick is an empty canvas.
John: Perlmutter’s a nice guy, but he’s a big-government Democrat. When we were senators together, he was too chummy with organized labor, teacher unions, enviros and the spending lobby. O’Donnell is a better fit for the 7th congressional district. There will never be a doubt that he supports the troops.
Susan: Whoa there Trigger – there’s no doubt that Perlmutter supports the troops. He has a strong record of being elected and re-elected from the western part of the District – conservative JeffCO. He’ll attract plenty of votes in more liberal Boulder and Adams County. Experience trumps Bush’s young friend – O’Donnell.
3. BRITISH AIR TERROR PLOT
Susan: 24 suspects are in custody, thanks to Scotland Yard’s stunning uncovering of a terrorist plot to blow-up airplanes flying to the U.S. from London. It’s critical for the world community to come together to deal with the increasing aggression of terrorism. Unilateral action is not an option.
John: Although September 11 was five years ago on the calendar, it’s as fresh as today in the plans of our bloodthirsty global enemy, the Islamic fascists. This is not just a police problem, it’s a world war. That’s the message from London. Unfortunately the Democrats still don’t get it.
Susan: John you are too smart to sum up the precarious state of the world as a failure of the Democrats to ‘ get it.’ America’s moral authority is gone, The hope for rational debate and action among democratic nations is dimming – and Americans are being asked to shop?
John: America’s moral authority is just fine, thank you. I’m proud to be a citizen of the freest, bravest, most generous nation on earth – I’ll bet most viewers feel the same. Our country, unlike many others, still has backbone, and we will defeat the Muslim murderers, with or without allies.
4. MINIMUM WAGE HIKE FOR COLORADO?
Susan: The Colorado Minimum Wage initiative - Amendment 42 on November’s ballot - would raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 an hour, with annual inflation adjustments. Congress hasn't raised the federal minimum wage since 1997, though they’ve enjoyed eight pay increases. Colorado’s working people deserve a fair shake.
John: Minimum wage laws are brutally unfair to black and Hispanic workers looking for entry-level jobs. They penalize teenagers and other young people seeking employment. Amendment 42 is a cruel joke from those people’s standpoint. Its 30 percent boost in labor costs would lead many employers to simply hire no one.
Susan: The cruel joke is employers – desperate for workers – are using gift cards, signing bonuses and extra vacation days to recruit and retain employees - instead of affordable heath care and a living wage. $6.85 an hour translates to $274 a week, adding up to $13,700 a year – hardly a king’s ransom.
John: If I need work and you need work done, the pay scale is strictly between us. It’s not your neighbor’s business. It’s not the government’s business. Minimum wage laws kill jobs. They hurt the most vulnerable workers. On Amendment 42, the compassionate vote is a no vote.
5. RITTER-BEAUPREZ IN HOMESTRETCH
John: The best way to think about the contest between Bob Beauprez and Bill Ritter to be Colorado’s next governor is this: Beauprez is a Republican businessman who agrees with Ronald Reagan that government is more often the solution than the problem. Ritter is a Democratic lawyer who believes the opposite. I’m for Beauprez.
Susan: Some days Beauprez – like Grover Norquist – thinks government needs to be drowned in a bathtub. Just last week he said, “Public education in Colorado needs a massive cash infusion.” If Beauprez thinks government is the problem – why doesn’t he go back to his real job as a banker?
John: The governor’s race isn’t about banks or bathtubs, Susan. It’s about leadership. Beauprez’s record as an entrepreneur and congressman exemplifies that. Ritter was indecisive as a prosecutor, and as a candidate he’s wobbly on issues like immigration and abortion. The leader we need is Bob.
Susan: Both ways Bob stepped into it on a women’s right to choose by claiming that 70 percent of those seeking abortion are African American. Somebody ought to tell the Congressman that stereotyping and making stuff up isn’t OK – even for a seasoned politician.