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 July series this week. Andrews said Independence Day is mocked if our borders aren't secured. Other topics this month include chaos in Gaza, dark horses for 2008, Denver's "Greenprint" folly, and offbeat summer leisure ideas. 1. IMMIGRATION & INDEPENDENCE DAY
Susan: Sadly immigration has replaced Iraq as the leading issue on television and radio talk shows, complicating the prospects of a Senate bill the President desperately needs to save his presidential legacy. When conservative blabbers are drafting Constitutional amendments, we know the country is in trouble.
John: Any country is in trouble when its political elite turns a deaf ear to public opinion and refuses to defend the border. Especially during wartime as thousands of enemy sleeper agents blend with hundreds of thousands of Mexican school dropouts. Never mind Bush’s legacy, it’s national security and fiscal survival I’m concerned about
Susan: The immigration bill is in trouble because a huge cross-section of Americans are opposed to it. Americans want to reduce illegal immigration and enforce the border. Similarly, a majority of Americans favor a welcome, open immigration policy. Neither amnesty nor sanctions are the issues. Congress is tone deaf.
John: Celebrating Independence Day reminds us all that vigilance is the price to be paid for our heritage of individual freedom, limited government, a market economy, and traditional values. Our nation was born in resistance to foreign domination and provision for the common defense. That makes border control imperative.
2. GAZA IN CHAOS
John: The Palestinian Hamas organization is not a political party, it’s a murder syndicate – an anti-Semitic death cult. Hamas taking over Gaza means that the Islamofascist gangsters who control Iran are one step closer to their avowed goal of wiping Israel off the map. Ahmadinejad wants to repeat Hitler’s holocaust. He must be stopped.
Susan: The tug of war between Hamas and Fatah is a complex Gordian Knot. The U.S. forced open elections and reacting to a corrupt PLO - Hamas won. Though Mamoud Abbas’ Palestinian National Authority has support around the globe – Palestinians don’t trust him. Talks must include every voice.
John: Talks are pointless until Palestinian leaders unconditionally recognize Israel’s right to exist. Neither the Islamic terrorists Hamas nor the secular terrorists Fatah are willing to. Palestinians would have their own state if it weren’t for their goal of banishing the Jews. The hell that is Gaza proves their unreadiness for self-government.
Susan: And your solution: bomb Palestine off the planet? Uh uh. Until the leaders of Israel and Palestine have the full confidence of their people – nothing good can happen – as we are learning in Iraq. The US has squandered its moral authority. The situation in the Mid East is another casualty.
3. 2008 RACE: MEN WHO AREN’T THERE
John: Just ahead of July 4th, many voters are declaring their independence from existing options in the 2008 presidential race. “None of the above” is coming on strong. Attention is focused on three men who haven’t announced their candidacy – Republican Fred Thompson, Democrat Al Gore, and Independent Michael Bloomberg.
Susan: You haven’t mentioned Ralph Nader or Newt Gingrich. The absence of an incumbent and bipartisan DC gridlock contribute to a wide-open field. Americans are frustrated with the ideological edginess of both parties. A real free for all may be just what the country needs.
John: The speculation is fun, but Bloomberg is certainly no Ross Perot. I expect Gore to stay out and Fred Thompson to fade. My bet for the Democratic ticket is Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, for the Republicans Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani. The top of each ticket could go either way.
Susan: Interesting bets, and certainly Hillary is consistently ahead of Democratic rivals. The R’s are still struggling – Giuliani and his top aides are battered by credibility problems and Romney – well, he is on so many sides of every single issue –he could star in the "Where’s Waldo" sequel.
4. GREEN FOLLY IN DENVER
Susan: Carbon Footprints, pre-school funding, a half a billion dollars in infrastructure needs, gangs in City Park, the Dem convention next summer and a Biannle? –Mayor Hick has too much on his plate as his second 4-year term begins. He’d better prioritize if he’s going to really accomplish anything.
John: Hickenlooper’s love affair with taxes is nothing new, but his supposed business judgment is completely missing in that cockamamie socialist plan to fight global warming by micromanaging the lifestyles of every Denver resident. The same company that wrote the plan is the one that would profit from it. Smells fishy to me.
Susan: The Mayor’s GreenPrint council made tough and controversial recommendations. Now those items are being vetted in broad-based public meetings. Depending on the voters’ appetite for stiffer regulations, the mayor and city council will support, oppose or tone down the recommendations. The fat lady is just warming up.
John: Maybe so, but the fat cats are already in heat. The corporate engineering giant CH2M Hill hopes for lucrative insider contracts when it gets hired by the Mayor to implement the nanny-state carbon reduction scheme dreamt up by Hill’s own planners. What a racket.
5. WACKY SUMMER PURSUITS
John: Even after last month's pie in the face, some viewers still think Susan and I are too serious. So this month it's wacky Colorado ideas for summer. Take a dare, enter a rodeo. Or go sky-diving with Hickenlooper. Or just stand in a cornfield and watch the ethanol grow.
Susan: I think viewers are smart enough to realize that 113 seconds of partisan punditry is a long way from fully cooked debate – Really it’s just rock and roll without a back-up band! As for wacky summer ideas: how about turn off the TV and go to the movies!
John: You’re too wacky if you even hint that anyone should stop watching this outstanding television channel. But this is the season for adventure. So apply to be a Rockies relief pitcher. Or water-ski the South Platte. Or volunteer in Iowa with Tancredo for President.
Susan: Or, plant a million trees, fill a thousand potholes, get organized to host the National Democratic Convention, pilot a couple of hot air balloons, raise taxes, reduce waste, cut your carbon footprint . . . OOPS! That’s Mayor Hick’s to do list. Chill out – take a swim!