Three jihad attacks on US soil in six months should cost Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano their jobs, says John Andrews in the May round of Head On TV debates. But Susan Barnes-Gelt dismisses the Times Square bomber as "an inept dissident" and condemns talk of jihad and sharia as "fear-mongering." John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over offshore drilling, the Kagan Supreme Court nomination, school reform, and the McInnis-Hickenlooper race for governor. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for May: 1. NEW YORK CITY BOMB
Susan: Alert citizens and quick response of law enforcement combined to avoid tragedy in mid-town Manhattan when an inept dissident tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square. The Pakistani-American claims ties to the Taliban. Stateless terrorism may be the greatest threat to America's security.
John: Susan, please. Your “stateless terrorism” is a meaningless euphemism. The threat to America is fundamentalist Islam. Its goal is a global superstate, erasing America. Obama won’t even mention Islam with its violent jihad and its theocratic sharia law. Fort Hood, Detroit, Times Square, all in six months. This president needs to wake up.
Susan: John, your Fox News talking points ignore the fact that US intelligence caught the wanna be Times Square bomber in 53 hours and no one was injured. Your so-called fundamentalist global superstate is fear-mongering and does nothing to mitigate the need for a watchful public and fully integrated intelligence community.
John: Counting on luck for the bombers to fail and then bragging about catching them is NO way to keep America safe from this fanatical enemy. Jihad seeks the destruction of our country, nothing less. This is a war situation, not a crime situation. Obama should fire Napolitano and Holder.
2. GOVERNOR’S RACE
John: It’s a long way from Athens to Denver, but the Greek financial collapse may determine the identity of Colorado’s next governor. People are starting to realize that taxing, spending, and borrowing all will push every state, including ours, over the edge. Republican Scott McInnis gets that. Democrat John Hickenlooper doesn’t. Advantage McInnis.
Susan: Scott McInnis gives flip-flops a bad name. Does he or doesn't he? Give to charity? Support crippling anti-tax initiatives - Prop 101 and Amendments 60 and 61 - slated for this November's ballot? Is he pro-choice - as he claimed in 1998 - or pro-personhood, as he claims today?
John: You’re really making it too complicated. The choice for governor is between a big-city mayor who’s soft on taxes, soft on spending, soft on debt, soft on unions, and a former congressman, former cop, who’s tough on all those things. Colorado can’t afford Hickenlooper. We need the solid steadiness of Scott McInnis.
Susan: Even the conservative-leaning Denver Post suggests McInnis ought to form a closer relationship with the truth! No one really knows what he stands for, what his vision for Colorado's future includes or what kind of executive he'd be. Coloradans don't want a hot-tempered flip-slopper. Hickenlooper's the better choice.
3. OIL SPILL
John: New research shows that mandating wind energy has worsened air pollution and raised electric rates. America needs all the oil and gas we can develop, onshore and offshore. The big spill off Louisiana is too bad, but this tough old planet has survived worse spills from tankers and rigs. The word is still – Drill, baby, drill.
Susan: You mean spill baby spill . . . thanks to Bush's policies - there's virtually no oversight over offshore permitting or safety. The Minerals Management Service is one of the most corrupt federal agencies. A balanced energy policy may include offshore drilling, but the rules of the game must change.
John: I hope Barack and Michelle invite you to their Christmas party, because you sure do pitch those White House talking points. President Obama and Secretary Salazar took office 15 months ago, not 15 minutes ago. Blaming Bush doesn’t work any more. The spill is Obama’s very own Katrina.
Susan: The spill left 11 workers dead and 17 injured. It runs from Louisiana to Florida and threatens to turn north - up the Atlantic seacoast. It's shut down fisheries, damaged habitats and killed tourism. Lax regulators, pitiful Congressional oversight and corporate greed are to blame. Let's hear it for cheap oil.
4. KAGAN TO SUPREME COURT?
John: Supreme Court should uphold the Constitution exactly as written, so as to limit government and safeguard liberty. The court has no business expanding government or inventing entitlements. President Obama doesn’t believe that. Neither does Justice Sotomayor, his first nominee. Neither does Elena Kagan, his latest nominee. She should not be confirmed.
Susan: Elections have consequences - perhaps none more long-lasting than judicial appointments. And as for expanding government - the court's conservatives have jeopardized individual rights, despite the Constitution. Wing nuts from both parties are angry about Kagan's appointment. She's a smart qualified moderate.
John: At 50, if confirmed, Prof. Kagan could be tilting the Constitution to the left for 35 years. We need an 18 year limit for Supreme Court justices, similar to Colorado’s 12 year limit that was on the ballot. In Colorado, at least we can vote liberal justices off the court.
Susan: Kagan is no ideologue. She was a superb dean of Harvard Law School - bringing together a fractious, high profile faculty to deliver a vastly improved academic experience for students. Her experience as a practitioner, political advisor and senior administrator equip her well for a high court dominated by life-time jurists.
5. TEACHER TENURE BILL
Susan: The best bill that came out of this year's legislative session is the educator effectiveness bill. This law will not single-handedly solve K-12 education challenges. But by connecting evaluations of teachers and principals to student success - the measure recognizes that educators are key to quality education – DUH!
John: Colorado parents, taxpayers, and voters should be outraged at the CEA teacher union exerting its muscle to keep bad teachers in charge of our kids and on our payroll. Teacher reform only passed because a few courageous Democrats stood with Republicans to fight for better schools. For once, the greedy public union lost.
Susan: The alternative public, teacher's union - American Federation of Teachers - endorsed the bill. It takes reasonable people on both sides to solve most problems. The educator effectiveness bill won't be a game changer without lots of additional reforms. There's plenty of blame to go around.
John: I agree, keep pushing Now that teacher tenure is tied to test scores, let’s expand charter schools and parental choice. Hats off to the Democrats who defied the union to support this bill, including Mike Johnston and Christine Scanlan in the legislature, Gov. Ritter, and even the Obama administration.