Radio, Dec. 31: We could have done better

Join us on radio every Sunday, 5-8pm on 710 KNUS, Denverand now also on 1460 KZNT, Colorado Springs To listen online from anywhere, click ------------------------------------------------------------------------ This Sunday, New Year's Eve, our show takes a look back at big events of the stormy year of 2006 -- and a view of the cloudy crystal ball for 2007.

Columnists Jay Ambrose of the Rocky Mountain News and Susan Barnes-Gelt of the Denver Post (she's also my TV debate partner, the peace symbol gal) bring their right and left perspectives to the discussion. Krista Kafer and Joshua Sharf are there as well. We hope you'll be.

My right perspective is that conservatives and Republicans could have done better, a heck of a lot better, in the old year if we'd had our heads in the game as America is entitled to expect from us. Losing Congress was not necessary. Slumping toward defeatism in Iraq wasn't either.

Here in Colorado, Bill Ritter's cakewalk to the governor's chair needn't have occurred. Ditto with Dem gains in the legislature. Shoot, there was even a way to win judicial term limits if yours truly had quarterbacked the darn thing smarter.

So join us on 710 KNUS, 1460 KZNT, or from 5-8pm on December 31 for a wrapup on the GOP's ugliest twelve months since 1974. "Auld Lang Syne" won't be sung, but we'll dig in the songbook for a battle hymn to help conservatives back toward victory next year. Tune in and put some backbone in your final hours of '06.

Yours for self-government, JOHN ANDREWS -------------------------------------------------------------------- ALSO, LET'S FACE IT... America could have done better with its leaders in the 1970s. President Gerald Ford, rest his soul, was a good and honorable man who rose to the unsought challenge of cleaning up Richard Nixon's presidential mess. Indeed he was in some ways heroic at that hour. But as we eulogize Ford, don't forget the "road not taken" by Republicans who twice missed a chance to nominate Ronald Reagan -- instead of Nixon in 1968, then instead of Ford in 1976.

Could Reagan, if nominated, have won the White House? No one can know. But Nixon, Agnew, Ford, Rockefeller, Dole, Carter, and Mondale were not inevitable. Our country (and the free world) could have done better. That is we can know, because in 1980 we did do better. An honest reading and evaluation of the past, including its "what ifs," is essential to doing better in the future, it seems to me. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- FOR A SOBER NEW YEAR'S... Lest the champagne go to our heads, here's part of Ben Shapiro's sobering piece on 2006, the year of retreat: "The enemy presses us from all sides; he weakens us internally. 2006 saw Western civilization doubt the justice of its cause and shy away from the means necessary to preserve its survival. But 2007 can be the turning point, when we recognize the nature of the threat we face and steel our wills to finish the battle our enemies began on September 11, 2001." And here's the clear-eyed Dennis Prager on "The World in 2007." -------------------------------------------------------------------- MY SHOW COULD'VE BEEN BETTER TOO... No doubt about it, Backbone isn't all that radio should be, and JA's not the ultimate talk show host. Far from it. Our resolution for the New Year is to improve every week, Sunday by Sunday -- and on the days between, to live out the reality that people matter most of all. YOU matter a lot to me. Thanks for reading these emails and listening to the show. Let us know how we can do better. We'll respond.