Sarah Palin's return gets a 2009 prize from John Andrews in the December round of Head On TV debates, but he nominates Obama's apology tour for humbug of the year. Meanwhile Susan Barnes-Gelt has laurels for Hillary Clinton and a raspberry for the Denver teachers union. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over zany predictions for 2010, the economy, health care, and the Ritter-McInnis race. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for December: 1. WINNERS & SINNERS OF 2009
John: Back by popular demand. As inevitable, and indigestible, as a Christmas fruitcake: our winners and sinners honor roll for the old year. I say hurrah for the tea parties, the townhalls, and the return of Sarah Palin. I say bahhh for Obama’s apology tour and the political correctness that enabled Fort Hood.
Susan: Our celebrity culture that values 2-seconds of fame - Balloon Boy, party crashers and Tiger's domestic kerfuffle - over reason and good manners gets my stale fruitcake award. BRAVO to the legion of smart women influencing policy from our own Hillary Clinton to French finance minister Christine LaGarde.
John: More winners and sinners as 2009 passes into history. Hallelujah for the President’s decision on troops to Afghanistan and for the rebound of Rockies, Nuggets, and Broncos. Humbug for the Denver teachers union and for the humanist ads claiming we can be good without God. We can’t!
Susan; A bushel of rotten tomatoes to both parties in Congress for selling out to insurance giants and big pharm by watering down every healthcare bill. Shame on the Denver school board and administration for behaving badly. Hurray for the millions of people who do the right thing - every day.
2. FEARLESS PREDICTIONS OF 2010
John: Break out the funny hats and champagne. It’s John and Susan’s fearless predictions of 2010. To balance the budget, Ritter sells the Teamsters naming rights to the gold dome. Romanoff wins the Senate nomination by proving his carbon footprint is smaller. Oprah wins the Nobel Peace Prize for finally leaving us in peace.
Susan: Bill Ritter gets re-elected and Andrew Romanoff goes to the U.S. Senate. The Denver Public School board and administration implode and Hickenlooper takes over the District. Smart Cars, walking and motorized bikes become the dominant modes of transportation and the country's collective waistline shrinks.
John: More 2010 predictions from our twisted crystal ball. Al Gore goes into grief therapy as the climate scare collapses. Tiger Woods converts to Islam for the polygamy. Obama moves right and names Tom Tancredo as Secretary of Homeland Security. Gen. Petraeus announces for president anyway. Happy New Year!
Susan: Wall Street funds the program to rebuild America's bridges, schools and parks out of their ill-gotten gains and bonuses - Airlines charge for carry-on instead of checked bags - thereby incenting good behavior. Hickenlooper works to build transit instead of traveling to Copenhagen to talk about it. Peace.
3. THE ECONOMY
Susan: A jobless recovery benefits no one. The stimulus was a bust, states are dithering and Wall Street's cashing in. We can't finance a war with tax cuts and both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are afraid to regulate. Populism is a dangerous antidote to elitism. It's time to focus.
John: The voters made an awful mistake. They elected a charismatic president with zero understanding of economics. Obama spent so long among the academic Marxists, he wouldn’t recognize a job-creating, profit-making business if it fell in his lap. He now owns this recession, lock, stock, and barrel. Too bad for us.
Susan: President Obama inherited two unresolved wars, an economy devastated by the greed and policies of Wall Street and Bush regulators and an electorate suspicious and disillusioned with government. The president's only failure may turn out to be his desire to develop bipartisan consensus. He must be bold.
John: Failure was indeed unfamiliar to Barack Obama before this year. He was a lifelong success with words. But he has failed with deeds as President. His policies have destroyed jobs, worsened the recession, busted the budget, reduced our freedom, abused the constitution, and weakened our defenses. Bad news.
4. HEALTH CARE
Susan: Status of the health care debate proves yet again that the Congress - both sides of the aisle - have stronger connections to K Street than Main Street. Myopic ideologues - bought and paid for by special interests -threaten to sink reform, ignoring the needs of a majority of Americans.
John: I keep telling you, Susan. These monster bills in the House and Senate aren’t about health care. They’re about power. Democrats believe that by nationalizing one-sixth of the economy, they can guarantee themselves majorities for ever, and reduce personal freedom, which they distrust. What will sink it, is Americans waking up.
Susan: We agree. The monster bills in the House and Senate are all about power - the power of the Catholic church, for-profit insurance companies, big pharmaceuticals and K Street lobbyists. A sustainable healthcare policy would include a single-payer system and universal access.
John: Single payer is a code word for government bureaucrats making all the decisions what medical help you get and who you get it from. Single payer is failing in the countries that have it, from Cuba to Canada to Britain. 62 percent of Americans don’t want it. Congress should say no.
5. RITTER v. MCINNIS
Susan: I'll give your party credit, John - they've coalesced around one gubernatorial candidate: Scott McInnis. A terrific step backwards when old guys opt for a 6-term Congressman, career politician as its 21st Century candidate. That plus his short temper and prickly personality leaves Dems sighing - in relief!
John: You talk about a step backward? Since Bill Ritter was elected, Colorado has gained population but massively lost jobs. Voters are likely to conclude the next one to lose his job should be the Democratic governor himself. The energetic McInnis with his Republican prosperity plan will be ready.
Susan: Republican prosperity is a great term. It's defined as tax cuts for the rich, Wall Street not Main Street, drilling exploiting resources and pollution rather than environmental stewardship. Essentially, the kind of policies that got us into this economic mess. You're right, John, McInnis is all about Republican prosperity.
John: Are you better off than you were four years ago? Coloradans under Bill Ritter would have to say no. The same question that unseated Jimmy Carter after one term unseat Ritter. 2010 will be about jobs and prosperity, not ideology and party. My money is on Mr. Common Sense, Scott McInnis.