Will Coloradans fire two legislators?

The recall elections facing Colorado state senators John Morse and Angela Giron are worth doing,says John Andrews in the July round of <em>Head On TV</em> debates. Susan Barnes-Gelt disagrees, branding the recalls an NRA-driven waste of money. John on the right, Susan on the left, also go at it this month<!--more--> over Obamacare's troubles, Liz Cheney's US Senate bid, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, and the Zimmerman verdict. <em>Head On</em> has been a daily feature on Colorado Public Television since 1997. Here are all five scripts for July: 1. Recall Giron & Morse?

Susan: Dem. State senators Angie Giron - Pueblo & John Morse – Colorado Springs face recall elections because of their responsible votes on gun safety. Election day is September 10 – turnout will be low. Recalls are a waste of taxpayer money. National NRA’ers should foot the bill.

John: Never since 1876 have Coloradans tossed out a legislator in mid-term for breaking faith with the people they’re supposed to represent. Morse and Giron brought this on themselves by signing up with the New York gun-grabbers in disregard of grassroots 2nd Amendment values. Let the people decide.

Susan: Every elected must balance the diversity of opinion of those he or she represents with the dictates of her (or his) personal values. The ideologue luddites who control our elections, ignore that balance, imperiling democracy in the process.

John: Owning firearms for self-defense is paramount in our constitution, which Morse and Giron swore to uphold. Arguably the didn’t. Having a vote on whether they’re now fit to continue in office – which is all the recall election is – you call “imperiling democracy”? That is democracy.

2. Snowden: Patriot or Traitor?

Susan: Is Edward Snowden, the American who leaked confidential information about the US government’s domestic spying – a patriot or a traitor? Both, I’d say. He exposed serious NSA violations of the 4th Amendment – privacy, potentially risking American lives. Global espionage is dirty business.

John: Point one, the NSA is not about domestic spying. Its anti-terrorist data mining looks for impersonal patterns in the public domain, not private information. Google does the same. Point two, Edward Snowden is no patriot. He wants to bring America down. Look at where he seeks asylum.

Susan: You’re giving him too much credit. Snowden is a young, naïve fool, who did something stupid. The American public is split about his guilt or innocence, reflecting anxiety about the erosion of personal privacy resulting from the internet, social media and the workplace. Government sanctioned spying is unacceptable.

John: Edward Snowden is an accomplice of our enemies and a traitor to his country. His hollow talk of free expression is belied by the repressive regimes he went running to. Brutal Beijing. Murderous Moscow. Tinpot dictators in Latin America. Even they won’t have him. What a scum.

3. Zimmerman Verdict

John: Two young men, confused and scared, got into a fight. The one on the bottom, fearing for his life, pulled a gun and killed the other one.. After a fair trial with the whole nation watching, the jury said self-defense. That’s the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin story. Period.

Susan: Wish that it were so simple. Obama got it right – it’s about race – not self-defense. A white guy vigilante armed with a gun is threatened by a black youngster in a hoody, armed with Skittles? And the jury of peers? Six white women from the south? The prosecutor should have asked for a change of venue. Justice was not served.

John: Yes, a lot of people want Travon Martin’s death to be about race. It caters to the white guilt syndrome, the black victim industry, and those who enjoy believing America is sick. But there was zero evidence for that. Zero. The prosecution admitted it. Black-on-black crime is the real tragedy.

Susan: Your Backbone Colorado puts Lake Woebegone to shame. In Backbone, not only is every kid above average and one day sunnier than the next, but the hard cold reality of human prejudice – sanctified by ignorant elected’s – like Florida’s Rick Scott and the Fox News boys – does not exist.

4. Obamacare in Trouble

John: Obama’s health care law is a bigger and bigger mess. Its very name is an Orwellian lie. Affordable care? Costs are rising. Patient protection? Quality’s going down. Democratic Senator Max Baucus, who helped write the law, calls it a train wreck. The White House is panicked. America deserves better.

Susan: Costs are rising because private insurance companies and for-profit hospitals conspire in gouging the public. Quality healthcare and ‘for profit’ make about as much sense as organic spam or homemade twinkies. There’s a reason why conservative states like Arizona are opting into Obamacare – it makes sense.

John: Nice try, but most states have opted out. Millions of individuals eligible for Obama’s supposed free health care have not signed up either. Thousands of companies have cut back hiring. This thing is a job killer. The president delayed his own corporate mandate. In defiance of law. Stop the madness.

Susan: The 14 states opting out of Obamacare are leaving $9 billion on the table and 3.6 Americans without insurance. All tolled, those states will spend more than $1-billion more taxpayer dollars, on uncompensated care than they would by accepting the federal expansion. Now that’s madness!

5. Liz Cheney Seeks Wyoming Senate Seat

Susan: Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz packed up her carpetbag and moved to Wyoming – though she hales from Dallas & DC – to mount a primary challenge against 3-term Republican Mike Enzi. Young Liz makes up her own rules. We’ll see if her DC arrogance plays in Wyoming.

John: You Democrats are bossy. You’re already the governing party. Now you tell Republicans how to be the opposition party. We’ll manage that ourselves, thank you. It’s a free country. Conservative Wyoming can make up its own mind whether Liz Cheney or Mike Enzi can best stand up to Harry Reid.

Susan: C’mon John, Enzi’s voting record is down-the-line conservative. It’s his congenial, western personality that’s motivating Ms. Liz. Harry Reid isn’t the problem. The problem is the crude, strident tone that dominates your party. Wyoming voters won’t buy it.

John: Naturally the White House and the liberal media prefer GOP senators who politely compromise and cave. But most of us Republicans want fighters, Ted Cruz types. Hence the Wyoming shootout. If cowgirl Liz can show more testerone than cowboy Mike, into the Senate with her.

BHO 2010 echoes FDR 1938

When praising his own “accomplishments” Barack Obama has an unusual fondness for the word “unprecedented” though invariably his assertions lack any historical validity. In contrast the voters of Massachusetts can now claim an accomplishment that entirely justifies the use of that word. To find an event in American history reasonably comparable in character and impact to the Massachusetts Earthquake we must go all the way back to Franklin Roosevelt’s 1937 attempt to “pack” the Supreme Court. That is the last-perhaps the only- time in our history that a President commanding huge congressional majorities sought with breathtaking arrogance to redesign the constitutional, social and economic foundations of the country and was stunningly defeated by the very people who long had been his party’s staunchest supporters.

With a righteousness and sense of invincibility engendered by three consecutive triumphal election cycles that had given him and his party an extraordinary dominance Roosevelt sought to demonize the “nine old men” of the Supreme Court who had the temerity to strike down key elements of the New Deal as unconstitutional. With little consultation outside his inner circle and apparent indifference to how such a radical move would be received in the country Roosevelt advanced sweeping legislation that would increase the membership of the Supreme Court from nine to fifteen and replace lifetime appointment with mandatory retirement ages, moves which would enable him to swiftly “pack” the Court with hand-picked minions.

It was at this point that ordinary Americans and several key Democratic leaders like Montana’s Senator Burton K. Wheeler decided that Roosevelt’s radical power grab was going too far and actively threatened the nation’s hallowed Constitutional traditions. The Court “packing” scheme was decisively defeated in the Congress and the final political result was the Democratic Party losing seven Senate and 80 House seats in the 1938 mid-term elections.

That was America’s last peacetime election before World War II restored the country’s economy, ended the Great Depression, and redeemed the political fortunes and historical reputation of Franklin Roosevelt. Nonetheless 1937 remains a decisive turning point in American history when the overarching ambition of a well-intended but tone deaf President were dramatically rebuffed by a most unlikely combination of opponents who read the national mood far better than he.

The week that saw the unbelievably improbable election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts also witnessed the startling collapse of the recently “inevitable” Obamacare legislation, and the absolute implosion of the Democratic Party in a tawdry spectacle of shock, fear, anger, finger-pointing, pseudo-contrition, confusion, chaos, and general cluelessness.

Not in living memory has a dominant political party been so devastated, so quickly by a single wildly unpredictable event.

It is easier to search the past for perspective on this American melodrama, than to divine its future conclusion. Much will turn on the choices made by the Democratic Party. Will there be a Clintonesque dash to the center, (“the end of big government and welfare as we know it”) by a President in hot pursuit of re-election?

Or, will the Party in certain knowledge that it will never again enjoy such Congressional dominance heed the frenzied howls of its far left and “double-down” on the strategies of bigger government, redistributionist legislation, and intolerable taxation that have so alienated the public?

Rational calculation would seem to demand the former direction, but in critical degree today’s Democratic Party is far more radical than the Party that was dethroned in 1994. The dominant Furies that energize and fund the Democrats are of an ideologically obsessed mindset unlike anything that ever before captured control of a major American political party.

President Obama’s utterances since the upheaval are suggestive of self-pity and delusion. Excusing his inattentiveness because he was “so busy getting stuff done” and then claiming that both he and Scott Brown were elected by the same anger at George Bush bespeaks a man quite out of touch with reality. His lame attempt at populism-Let’s punish those greedy bankers- is nothing but the class warfare and general assault on capitalism that has been the thinly disguised agenda of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid Axis from the beginning. What’s new is that now the American people know it and are determined with their votes to decisively defeat it.