"Enemy fighters seized in a battle zone have no presumption of innocence. This is a dangerous decision," says John Andrews in the June round of Head On TV debates. Wrong, counters Susan Barnes-Gelt; the court was right to rebuke Bush's "abuse of executive authority." John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over oil prices, Ritter's tax plan for scholarships, Right to Work, and the presidential race. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for June: 1. SUPREME COURT RULES ON GUANTANAMO
Susan: Bush has suffered a string of defeats at the hands of the conservative-leaning Supreme Court. They recently restored the right of habeas corpus - the right to trial - to Guantanamo detainees. In a previous ruling the Supremes ruled Guantanamo was within US jurisdiction and thus subject to the Constitution.
John: The court’s Guantanamo ruling was radical, not conservative. Five judges invented from thin air a judicial veto on the duty of Congress and the President to protect us all from foreign enemies in wartime. Enemy fighters seized in a battle zone have no presumption of innocence. This is a dangerous decision.
Susan: After being incarcerated for nearly six years, on soil deemed to be American, the courts had to weigh in. Bush's war has put Americans in great peril including his abuse of executive authority. The Supremes were right to slap him.
John: Not so, Susan. Congress and the President have acted together against our jihadist enemies in Afghanistan and Iraq. The result is seven years without another 9/11. The “great peril” lies in this outrageous court ruling, which as Justice Scalia warned, will lead to more American deaths.
2. SOARING OIL PRICES
John: Sky high gasoline prices are one more reason to prefer McCain over Obama for President and Schaffer over Udall for Senate. Republicans understand you solve the energy shortage by producing more, not by regulating more. America needs to drill here and drill now. America needs nuclear energy. Democrats don’t get it.
Susan: Neither McCain nor Obama can control oil prices. Wall Street speculators and global demand are in charge Behavior change is the only long-term strategy - alternative fuel and transportation options, green building practices, compact development and innovative farm policies are the real answers.
John: Behavior change, you say? That’s the Al Gore religion in a nutshell. Liberals want to make energy scarce and expensive so they can tell us how to live our lives. Abundant, affordable energy is inseparable from personal freedom. To have it we should drill here, drill now, and vote Republican.
Susan: John, and what's the zip code in the State of Denial? Abundant petroleum - an oxymoron. Ditto for fossil fuel. Personal freedom is not about being captive to foreign oil sheiks or corporate agriculture. Except perhaps in Washington DC!
3. LABOR ISSUES ON BALLOT
John: Colorado’s economic competitiveness will get a boost if voters pass the Right to Work law on this year’s ballot. Amendment 47 prevents labor union bosses from slowing down job creation, and we need it in this sluggish economy. Most other Western states have this protection. We should catch up with them.
Susan: Right to work has nothing to do with a right to a job or employment. On the contrary - the average worker in a “right to work” state earns nearly $7,000 less a year; 20% more don't have health insurance and the state spends less on K-12.
John: While your statistics say that, mine say Right to Work states have much faster economic growth, expanding opportunities for everyone. But Amendment 47 isn’t just about data, it’s about fairness. No Colorado worker should have to pay money to a union he disagrees with, in order to earn a living.
Susan: Even the business booster Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce opposes the ill-conceived right-to-work initiative, reasoning that existing Colorado labor law provides the right balance for businesses and unions. Less than 10 percent of Coloradans belong to unions. It's a solution looking for a problem.
4. THE FINALISTS: OBAMA & MCCAIN
Susan: Dems are in great shape with Obama at the helm. Polling shows McCain behind with every interest group except suburban women and white men. Obama's up 15 points with female voters and holds a 6 point lead with all voters. Fourteen Congressional R's won't endorse - and the far right's MIA.
John: Summer polls are like summer love, Susan – fickle and fleeting. Obie is a heart throb now, but wait till voters learn about his leftwing views and checkered past. War hero John McCain has been counted out before. It happened a year ago, and before that in Hanoi. Mac will be back.
Susan: You're right about one thing - McCain has as many lives as a black cat on Halloween. Trouble is, he's taken almost as many positions on issues ranging from a woman's right to choose to tax cuts and entitlements. George Bush's third term is a turn off for voters.
John: Twelve straight years in the White House are seldom achieved by either party, so odds favor the Democrats. But be honest. McCain is a leader, Obama’s a talker. McCain was huge in the Senate, Obama was wallpaper. McCain went to war, Obie went to Harvard. Advantage, Mac.
5. SEVERANCE TAX & COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS
Susan: Colorado's higher ed funding is 50th in the nation. Increasing severance tax for college scholarships is a start at bridging that gap - start is the operative word! Oil and gas will spend a fortune fighting the measure - Colorado has a foolishly low severance tax - 12% of Wyoming's.
John: College for all sounds good, but Ritter botched the design of his plan and now can’t muster a coalition to support it. University presidents are lukewarm and business groups are opposed. Another entitlement for nonworkers at taxpayer expense is the last thing Colorado needs. This tax hike is going nowhere.
Susan: Not sure I'd call deserving but needy high school grads "non-workers." Even with the scholarships most will have to work to stay in college. Colorado's parents want their kids to have the chance at a quality education. The severance tax passes.
John: No, the severance tax never even makes the ballot. Our universities don’t need additional subsidized students. They additional operating dollars. They’ll tell you that themselves. On top of which, $4 gasoline is the wrong time to raise taxes on oil production. This Bill Ritter brainchild is DOA.