As the election nears, "voters are giving President Obama his midterm report card, and his grade so far is F," says John Andrews in the October round of Head On TV debates. Maybe, rejoins Susan Barnes-Gelt, but people are almost as unhappy with Republicans as with Democrats. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month over Colorado races for senator and governor, congressional matchups and this year's ballot issues, and the Denver mayor's animus toward autos. Head On has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for August: 1. OBAMA GETS HIS REPORT CARD
John: “Mr. President, is this my new reality?” Those polite words from a disappointed and recession-weary supporter on national television showed how far Barack Obama has fallen from the triumph of 2008. A black woman government employee, the very essence of his base, about to walk away. Obama faces a rough midterm.
Susan: Two years does not a presidency make. Recall Reagan and Clinton? Obama's supporters are frustrated-as are most Americans. Thanks to Republican economic policy, the hole is deeper than anyone expected. A one trick pony won't trump a full house.
John: Voters in this election are not only going to elect a Republican House and a more conservative Senate. They are giving President Obama his midterm report card, and his grade so far is F. It’s too bad, because America suffers when a president fails. If he wants to rebound, the socialism has to stop.
Susan: The only people voters like less than Democratic Congressionals are Republican house and senate members. Newt Gingrich’s vicious, hateful screed added to the small mindedness of the Republican leadership appeal to humanities basest instincts. American voters – left, right and center are better than that – much better.
2. GOVERNOR’S RACE
John: Colorado’s next governor, whoever it is, will take office with undesirable baggage. We need a governor with conservative principles, character, and competence. Democrat John Hickenlooper is liberal and slippery. Republican Dan Maes is impossible to trust. Tom Tancredo deserted the Republicans and became a political privateer. I can’t vote for any of them.
Susan: John you care too much about Colorado not to show up- and that's not voting translates to. That sage wise man, Woody Allen got it right when he said, "80-percent of success is showing up! On the other hand, I admire your integrity regarding the R’s.
John: Nothing personal against Maes, Tancredo, or Hickenlooper. They just don’t meet my standard for a chief executive who’s fit to lead Colorado. Our constitution gives most of the power to the legislature anyway. The key to reviving prosperity, and balancing the budget, is electing a Republican House and Senate.
Susan: Your points about legislative power are technically correct, but the gov controls the bully pulpit. Hickenlooper and Republican control of the Senate or Housep could be an opportunity – given Hickenlooper’s truly non-partisan nature and centrist values. I’d like to agree with your analysis John, but then we’d both be wrong!
3. SENATE RACE
John: The decency, toughness, and common sense of Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck seem to have scared the appointed Democratic senator, Michael Bennet, out of his wits. Rather than explain his own record as an Obama puppet, Bennet is spending millions on smear ads to demonize Buck. It won’t work.
Susan: Buck is just another politician. Now he's backpedaling hard to distance himself from his extremist statements. He wants government out of our pockets but in our bedrooms? He wants to privatize veteran's care? Who is this masked man?
John: Michael Bennet was okay as school superintendent, but he’s a weak senator. He should have stayed at DPS. I know Bennet and I know Buck. Buck gets my vote because he’s strong. We worked together on fighting illegal immigration and liberal judges. In Washington Buck will fight Obamacare and the big spenders.
Susan: Your reasons for preferring Buck are precisely why he won’t be Colorado’s junior Senator. Too conservative, too reactionary –pandering to the furthest right Republican wing. That and his antiquated patronizing view of women means he’s alienated too many centrists – male & female. He can’t win without ‘em.
4. COLORADO CONGRESSIONAL RACES
Susan: How about those congressional races? Betsy Markey may be the most vulnerable incumbent, running in the conservative 4th District. Yet most pundits rate the race as a toss-up because as a former businesswoman, Markey is smart and practical. I admire her because unlike most of these pandering incumbents, she's clear about her principles.
John: Principles, ha! Markey has zigzagged shamelessly on issues like cap and tax, the stimulus, and Obamacare. Pelosi may cut her off. Republican Cory Gardner wins the seat back. John Salazar in the 3rd district is another endangered Democrat. Scott Tipton likely defeats him. Democrat Ed Perlmutter of Golden isn’t safe either.
Susan: John Salazar and Ed Perlmutter will both prevail. Ryan Frazier hasn’t got the horsepower to beat Perlmutter and Salazar’s conservative record and strong roots in Southern Colorado will hold fast. Colorado’s Congressional Delegation will stay the same, Markey’s authenticity is sharp contrast to pandering politicos. She wins.
John: Congressional Democrats are like a ball team that can’t hit. Send’em to the showers. Put in Republicans to control spending and spur prosperity. Out with Markey, in with Gardner. Out with Salazar, in with Tipton. Replace Permutter with Frazier. Trade Polis for Bailey. Elect Fallon and dump DeGette. Clean house!
5. COLORADO BALLOT ISSUES
Susan: Doug Bruce's destroy Colorado campaign rides again! November's ballot has 3 issues: 60, 61 and 101 will decimate Colorado, driving business away, further overcrowding schools and reducing key state services-safety, Higher Ed, and public health. Voters should also say no to Amendment 62. Less government means no government in our bedrooms.
John: Ballot issues protect ordinary Coloradans against arrogant politicians. I’m sympathetic to 60, 61, and 101 as a reinforcement to TABOR, and a source of much-needed tax relief. 62 could save the lives of many unborn babies. 63 says no to Obamacare. But I wonder – do we have too much lawmaking by petition?
Susan: Not a single viable candidate supports 60,61 and 101- that speaks volumes. And yes, we do have too much lawmaking by petition. The social contract between the governing and the governed is the framework for a viable democracy. Whim-driven initiatives weaken that contract, making a farce of representative government.
John: Speaking of that, I’m voting no on Bender, Martinez, and Rice, the Supreme Court justices who gutted TABOR. I support 63 because I don’t want socialized medicine. I support 62 because I oppose killing babies in the womb. 60, 61, and 101 are mighty stringent, but as a taxpayer, I’m tempted.