Amidst US passivity toward Iran's stolen election, "some doctor needs to give President Obama a backbone transplant." says John Andrews in the June round of Head On TV debates. But Susan Barnes-Gelt praises Obama's "calm and neutral" approach to the Islamic republic's "internal wrangling." John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over the GM takeover, Sotomayor, health care, and Colorado's faltering Democrats. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for June:1. ELECTIONS IN IRAN Susan: Iran is in turmoil after demonstrators defied government warning and continued to protest Ahmadinejad's reelection in Tehran's Freedom Square. Myriad sources allege rampant voter fraud against reformer Challenger Mousavi. Even the Wizard - powerful Ayatollah Khamenei, appears to be backing down. Civil disobedience is powerful.
John: An uprising by ordinary Iranians that throws the Muslim theocrats out of power would be huge. Directly beneficial to Iraq and Lebanon, also a big relief to Israel and America. We should hope for that, but prepare for continued confrontation. Some doctor needs to give President Obama a backbone transplant.
Susan: Obama is doing the right thing by remaining calm and neutral regarding the uprising in Iran. The last thing this country should do is interfere in the internal political wrangling of a country in disarray. The key - as in the 1979 Revolution, is the clerics.
John: US policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran has been counter-productive for decades. Carter and Reagan dealt ineffectively with these murderous fanatics. So have Bush and Obama. With nukes, the mullahs could trigger the end times they lust for. Please, Mr. President, listen to your inner JFK.
2. GENERAL MOTORS NOW GOVT OWNED
John: Taxpayers including the two of us are now majority stockholders of General Motors. After claiming he didn’t want to take over the auto industry, Obama did, and even Pravda is laughing. What a terrible idea. Federal ownership of key factories can only mean a less productive, less prosperous America.
Susan: If private ownership of the American auto industry is any example of capitalism at its best, we are in big trouble. Obama took a calculated risk - giving support while the industry retools for the 21st Century. The alternative might have been much worse.
John: Barack is on a power trip, not a rescue mission. So now the fumbling federal bureaucrats who wrecked the postal service and bankrupted social security will attempt to run basic manufacturing for the world’s economic powerhouse. Only bad can come of this, and most Americans know it.
Susan: Right - and the corporate guys were such visionary leaders - For example, Joe Nacchio, the Enron and AIG boys, the heads of Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns or Lehmann - but we're talking the auto industry - Those guys really understood the market - don't ya think?
3. SOTOMAYOR NOMINATED FOR HIGH COURT
John: Judge Sonia Sotomayor with her political skills and compelling story might be a good senator. She’d definitely be a better vice president than Biden. But Sotomayor is wrong the Supreme Court. Her claim that race or gender makes one judge superior to another is outrageous. That’s bigoted – and un-American.
Susan: Appointing someone to the Supreme Court who graduated summa sum laude & Phi Bete from Princeton and was editor of the Yale law review and served as a prosecutor, trial judge and federal appellate judge is above reproach. That Sonia Sotomayor is a Latina is a bonus.
John: Sotomayor didn’t just call it a bonus. She explicitly that being Hispanic and female makes her better qualified than you as an Anglo or me as a man. Archie Bunker couldn’t have said it better. Tina Fay wouldn’t have dared. Dr. King wouldn’t have dreamed. Wrong judge. Vote no. Start over.
Susan: John, elections have consequences - perhaps none more long-lasting than judicial appointments. Whatever Sotomayor said when speaking in public forums, her record as a jurist is impeccable, moderate and clearly a reflection of Obama's values and intelligence. She will be confirmed and will serve with distinction.
4. HEALTH CARE REFORM
Susan: The public option for health care is key. Private insurers exist to make money - lots of it. Since most of us don't chose our insurance, private providers operate free of competition. Lowest bid wins, not best health outcome. The most successful have the most exclusions, highest co-pays and aggressively deny claims.
John: Government health care means rationed health care, Susan. Anyone in middle age or beyond – such as you and me – faces a future where coldhearted bureaucrats with actuarial charts will decide our quality of life, maybe even our date of death. Canada and Britain are already there. I say, no thanks.
Susan: The operative word in for profit health insurance companies is profit - not health. As a result, exclusions, co-pays, decisions about medication, surgery and treatment are not made to serve the patient or the doctor. Decisions are made to feed the bottom line. The system is broken.
John: Four trillion of new costs on top of an already insolvent entitlement system. That’s the price for Obama’s socialized medicine. We’re talking a thousand billion dollars, then another thousand billion, another and another. We’re talking a phony public option that quickly swallows all the private options. Don’t do it, America.
5. WILL RITTER FACE A PRIMARY?
John: Bill Ritter tore it with organized labor and many Democrats when he cast two vetoes on legislation that unions really wanted. Mayor Hickenlooper having to announce he won’t challenge the governor in a primary, only shows how badly wounded Ritter is for 2010. I wonder if Andrew Romanoff will make a run.
Susan: Ritter might face a more difficult challenge in a primary than from the R's preparing to run against him. On the other hand, Michael Bennet might be easier to knock off in a primary. Ritter has a solid base of environmentalists & Dems. Bennet is still unknown.
John: The common denominator is two of Obama’s big pals facing cloudy political prospects in a state they were supposed to own. The president is popular nationally, but Democrats in Colorado are wearing out their welcome. Change is now a Republican issue. Ritter and Bennet may both go down in 2010.
Susan: Wish I could buy what you're smokin'! Sure the top of the Dem's ticket is weak, but for either Ritter or Bennet to lose, the R's have to field viable candidates with strong, centrist messages, name ID and a political base. Hmm - puff puff.