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 May series this week. John said the Senate's immigration bill deserves to die; Susan, though more sympathetic to the plan, predicted it won't pass. Other topics this month include gasoline prices, abortion in the courts, the presidential race, and pies in the face (huh?). 1. IMMIGRATION SOLVED IN SENATE?
John: America is a nation of immigrants, but we are first of all a nation of laws. Without laws, we are not a nation at all. Immigration reform has to start with demanding respect for our laws by those who want to immigrate here. That means no amnesty for illegal aliens.
Susan: The issue of undocumented workers is complex as the recent US Senate proposal reflects. In addition to the thousands of small and large businesses dependent on this reliable workforce, the reality of families and stable communities plays a role. We cannot export 12 million residents.
John: The illegal alien invasion is hurting Colorado. We should reject the Senate immigration bill with its rewards for lawbreakers and its weak approach to border security. Amnesty failed in the ‘80s and it will fail again. Congress needs to build the fence, secure the border, and enforce the laws we already have.
Susan: Without hardworking immigrant labor Colorado resorts, agriculture and hospitality industry would be in big trouble, as would countless small and large businesses nationwide. If this Congress is successful is passing legislation, it must be balanced and humane. I’m betting nothing will happen.
2. SOARING GAS PRICES
Susan: The first step to America’s homeland security and a timely exit from Iraq is energy independence. $4 gas is a good start. It will force better gas mileage from Detroit and more rigorous standards for buildings and appliances. Pain at the pump will force innovation – that’s good.
John: Gasoline prices above three dollars are explained by three R’s – refineries, restrictions, and regulation. Environmentalists and government are the cause of all three. For affordable energy we should drill more, refine more, and mandate less. And the fourth R is revenue – half dollar of taxes on every gallon.
Susan: John, you’d better be careful - your judgment is being eclipsed by your carbon footprint! Energy independence from harvesting wind and sunlight to smarter building materials and codes and – yes – prohibitive gasoline costs – are critical to a sustainable economy – and planet.
John: Carbon shmarbon, Susan. You and Al Gore and the Hollywood left can beat the drum for prohibitive gas prices if you want. You’ll find little support in middle America. Such elitism is a political loser. Drill more wells, build more refineries, cut those taxes and let those cars roll.
3. ABORTION RULING BY SUPREME COURT
Susan: A woman’s right to choose is personal and should not be legislated by politicians or the courts. However, the Supreme’s ruling on late-term abortions does not and should not threaten Roe v Wade. Just ask Rudy!
John: The Supreme Court was constitutionally correct and morally right in ruling that Congress can legislate to protect a viable baby from the ghastly death called partial-birth abortion. America will see fewer abortions and more births with any Republican president than with any Democrat. That’s one huge issue for 2008.
Susan: Perhaps the most interesting phenom of the 2008 election is that choice is less of an issue – on both sides of the aisle. From pro-choice Repub Giuliani to anti-abortion Dem Chris Dodd – it’s no longer the defining issue separating D from R. That’s progress.
John: Oh, it’s still a defining issue, Susan. Only Republicans care about the unborn child. So-called pro-life Democrats such as Bill Ritter are just pretending. To end the abortion holocaust, 40 million and counting, America needs a Republican in the White House and one more Sam Alito on the court.
4. PRESIDENTIAL RACE STARTS EARLY
Susan: Hard to believe but the race to the White House has started. As for the Repubs – watching the Rudy McRomney Ten – is more fun than a 3 Stooges movie. Hard to tell those boys in red ties, white shirts and blue suits apart. The Dem’s are a stronger field.
John: Democratic candidates Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are falling over each other to prove who is most eager for an American surrender in Iraq. That alone disqualifies them for the presidency. Republican contenders from Giuliani and Romney to Hunter and Tancredo take national security seriously. It’s a welcome contrast with the Defeatocrats.
Susan: Tommy-two-points-in-the-polls, Tancredo is looking to fictional character Jack Bauer for answers! And as for the other Repubs, only McCain is rational about the use of torture – the rest are trying to out macho the guy next to him. The R’s have inherited George Bush’s war – that’s trouble.
John: Hyperventilating about the presidential election this early is like singing Christmas carols in summer. Anyone who finds that entertaining, needs a life. The finalists next year could be Al Gore and Fred Thompson, two guys not even running yet. It’s still a long time till the fat lady sings.
5. HERE’S A PIE IN THE FACE
John: Big problem, Susan. Some viewers think you and I are too serious. Maybe we should give each other a pie in the face, like that prankster did to the preacher the other day. Pies in the face are rude, but I’d like to give Al Gore an Eskimo pie for his global warming hysteria.
Susan: Chill out with your Eskimo pie, John. I’d prefer to offer attorney general Alberto Gonzales a cherry pie full of pits – no ice cream on top – as reward for his devious, bumbling and intentional assault on the integrity of America’s court and legal system.
John: We are too polite to throw pies, but not too tame to hurl invective. Here’s a verbal tomato for the overripe rhetoric of Rosie O’Donnell, a rotten egg for the race-baiting of Al Sharpton, and a hurricane of hairspray for the John Edwards beauty parlor.
Susan: If it’s metaphor we’re tossing, how about Pinocchio noses for George Bush, Condi Rice and Dick Cheney. A strong dose of humility – and humanity – for Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh and a dollop of truth serum for Gonzales – atop his “pitful” cherry pie!