"Obama’s job-killing energy tax must be defeated in the Senate," says John Andrews in the July round of Head On TV debates. But Susan Barnes-Gelt says Obama's cap and trade bill will create jobs and help save the planet. Who can be against that? John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over the Honduras, Sotomayor, Ritter, and Colorado's fiscal future. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for July: 1. CAP & TRADE BILL MOVES TO SENATE
Susan: Obama's cap and trade bill, heads to the Senate after squeaking through the House in a close vote. Designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thus mitigate global warming, the bill is an important step in insuring our planet is viable for our kids and their kids.
John: Cap and trade is the biggest energy tax we’ve ever seen. It will destroy jobs, hurt the poor, expand government, and have no impact on global warming or cooling or whatever Chicken Little calls it this week. House Democrat John Salazar voted no. Senate Democrats Bennet and Udall should too.
Susan: Cap & Trade will diminish emissions gradually, allowing time to convert to renewable, non-polluting production. The initiative will promote growth and create jobs. There's no future for industries emitting massive amounts of carbon into our air. We're way past the tipping point.
John: The depth of a brutal recession is no time to burden the economy with higher prices for electricity and gasoline as a result of cap and trade. This hands a huge advantage to China, India, and other world competitors. Obama’s job-killing energy tax must be defeated in the Senate.
2. COUP IN HONDURAS
Susan: President Obama showed good judgment by not meddling in the internal affairs of Honduras. When President Manuel Zelaya refused to leave office, due to term limits, leftist leader Roberto Micheletti took control of the government. The political infighting must be resolved among the parties - without American interference.
John: Obama has wimped out on his second big foreign policy test of the summer. His third test, if you count his weak-willed meeting with the Russians. In Iran, our pathetic president failed to condemn the tyrant Khameini. In Honduras, he failed to condemn the would-be tyrant Zelaya. Bad show, for shame.
Susan: I wish I had your clarity about the good guys and the bad - whether Honduras, Russia or Iran. Obama is restoring US credibility throughout Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa. His temperament, civility, intelligence and compassion acquit him - and us - well.
John: Moral clarity in US foreign policy has indeed gone missing, and it’s a sad thing to see. Under Obama, the world can no longer be confident of America as a firm friend to liberty and democracy. The President making nice with Putin, Medvedev, Chavez and the Castro brothers is disgusting.
3. SOTOMAYOR HEARINGS
Susan: Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor have begun. This experienced jurist will be confirmed and Republican naysayers run the risk of further alienating the country's fastest growing voting block by opposing her. Her record reflects moderation, extreme competence and judicial restraint. What more is there?
John: Susan, please, give Hispanic people credit for knowing the difference between an ethnic slur and a policy disagreement. Really. Millions of Americans of all colors and parties didn’t want Judge Sotomayor promoted because she doesn’t seem to share our belief in limited constitutional government. That’s huge.
Susan: Sotomayor is the most experienced jurist to be appointed to the Supremes - ever. Aside from the petty, borderline racist posturing of Senators like Alabama's Jeff Sessions. Republican Lindsay Graham got it right when he pointed out that elections have consequences. R's need a rhetoric redo!
John: By the time you see this, Sonia Sotomayor will probably be confirmed. Congratulations to her on a remarkable achievement from humble beginnings. The first Hispanic justice might have been Miguel Estrada, years ago, if Democrats hadn’t blocked him. American self-government is a rough game, but glorious even so.
4. FISCAL STABILITY COMMISSION
John: The Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights has saved Colorado’s fiscal fanny again and again. TABOR is like a stern mom who makes the careless kids think twice. Naturally the juvenile party, Democrats, can’t stand that. Their so-called Fiscal Stability Commission is a ruse to remove taxpayer protections. Don’t be fooled.
Susan: That's the kind of partisan myopia that will doom the Commission's recommendations. Truth is more than ¾'s of our budget is consumed by prisons, education and healthcare. It will grow to more than 90-percent by 2014. Revenue restrictions and budget mandates are strangling Colorado.
John: You want to see strangling? Look at California, where they repealed the taxpayer protections, goosed the deficit, drove away business and population to places like this, and are now paying their bills with IOU’s. The spending lobby will put Colorado’s neck in the same noose if we give up TABOR.
Susan: Colorado's issue is more complex than TABOR. Conflicting statutory mandates have turned the budget into a Giordian knot - impossible to untangle. It's going to take an independent economist - not the partisan commission - and civic leadership to set a course. It's the Governor's biggest challenge.
5. GOVERNOR’S RACE
John: The economy is not improving. The state budget is worsening. Gasoline prices are rising. Nothing personal against nice guy Bill Ritter -- but his leadership as governor the past three years has been underwhelming. Republicans think they can do much better, and even Democrats are lukewarm. Let the campaign begin.
Susan: Ritter's policies didn't get us into this mess and a change in partisan leadership won't get us out. The R's will have a food fight of a primary. The base will split. Independents will stick with Ritter. Bennet would be easier to defeat - if only the R's had a viable bench.
John: Did I mention Democrats are lukewarm on Bill Ritter? Susan’s an example. History will marvel at this governor’s clueless response to the recession and the budget deficit. Republican challengers Scott McInnis and Josh Penry offer decisive leadership by contrast. Businessman Dan Maes is also running. Advantage GOP.
Susan: Ritter has learned a good deal in the past 3 years about navigating the political waters at the Capitol. The R's will have a tough time pulling it together after a bruising 3-way primary. Ritter will prevail and his second term will be better than his first.