From the rooftop of America, John Andrews advocates for constitutional government and personal responsibility through his column every other Sunday in the Denver Post, as well as occasional pieces in the Wall Street Journal and other papers across the country.
Andrews in Print Archives
(Denver Post, Nov. 27) “Thanksgiving and Christmas 2011, now those were tough times. The House and Senate couldn’t agree on raising taxes. Denver and Aurora couldn’t agree on the Stock Show. Democrats couldn’t get excited about Obama. Republicans couldn’t get excited about anyone. It was grim, I tell you. Worse than 1933, (more…)
(Denver Post, Oct. 30) In a year and a week, we’ll know who Americans want for president. Anybody who claims much certainty about it until then is howling at the moon. I have no prescience about the race, other than to implore my fellow Republicans against over-confidence
in the face of Obama’s potent incumbency and billion-dollar war chest.
Unsure as I am about 2012, however, I’ve just been through an experience that encourages me for America’s prospects in this decade, the road to 2020. Strange as it sounds amid our economic woes and the dire predictions of decline, there are signs of a strong rebound like that of the 1980s soon to come.
What makes me say so? The impressions gathered on a book tour. Almost daily since August, when I brought out “Responsibility Reborn: A Citizen’s Guide to the Next American Century” from MT6 Media, they’ve had me talking about it across the country in radio interviews, TV appearances, and speeches. It’s like campaigning again, only the exchange of ideas is far richer.
And my take-away is that Middle America’s “remnant” – as the unbowed faithful were called in ancient Israel – has not yet begun to fight. The fiscal follies, the Great Recession, and the Occupy Wall Street tantrum haven’t deadened the core of character that makes us exceptional. The American spirit, though battered, remains resilient. A hundred days on the author circuit have convinced me.
Personal responsibility as the indispensable condition of freedom and the price of sustained success, a theme in my Denver Post column since 2007, is also the theme of my book. The responsibility deficit as causative to our budgetary and educational and national security deficits – and as fatal to our country, if things don’t change – is my uncheerful warning to every audience. What’s remarkable is that they get it.
The talk shows that have me on, the groups I’m speaking to, are mostly political and conservative, Republican, and in many cases Christian. If they bridled at being told the GOP is part of the responsibility deficit, an entitlement enabler, and that our urgent challenge now is more moral and cultural than partisan or political, I’d worry. But because they own up, instead of pushing back, I am heartened. Therein are the makings of a turnaround.
America has seen this movie before, remember. After the stormy 1960s gave way to the stagnant ‘70s, elite opinion clucked over the nation’s impending decline, the need for lowered expectations, the likelihood we’d seen our best days. Elections weren’t what refuted that. Rebirth of a responsibility ethic from the bottom up refuted it. Reagan’s rise was a consequence, not a cause.
This is why I’m bullish on USA 2020, regardless of the 2012 electoral outcome. Win or lose next year, Barack Obama is indisputably Jimmy Carter redux – and having to endure another term of the man, with an opposition Congress restraining his leftward lurch, won’t ruin us. Do I want that? No. Nor do I expect it. But my confidence rests outside politics, with the already-dawning return of Element R, the responsible remnant.
Politicians fade so fast. By the time we vote in 2020, whoever next wins the presidency will be done in Washington. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock will be done in my state, as will most of today's big names in your state. Fixing on the 2020 horizon, and prioritizing a responsibility agenda that puts cultural renewal ahead of governmental goals, will best harness the Tea Party energy for lasting change.
On tour, I have talked of ten steps for this decade. The first five aren’t even political: families strengthened, learning honored, charities expanded, churches energized, multiculturalism outgrown. Upon that foundation we then aim for citizenship revived, defenses rebuilt, government relimited, sovereignty reasserted, freedom of conscience upheld. Personalities come and go. Principles endure. What are yours?
(Denver Post, Sept. 25) Why are the Democrats so afraid of democracy? Do they worry that the will of the people won’t go their way? So it would seem. Several Colorado court cases illustrate the pattern. The Fenster suit to annul the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, the Lobato suit to increase education spending, and the ACLU suit to block school choice in Douglas County, all ask unelected judges (more…)
(Denver Post, Aug. 28) I wish Tom Tancredo was Governor of Colorado. I wish Scott McInnis was. Heck, I wish the ill-starred Dan Maes was governor. Any Republican, any conservative, rather than the limousine liberal Democrat we’re stuck with, John Hickenlooper. Whence these idle fantasies? Not heat stroke from recent egg-frying (more…)
(Denver Post, July 24) Will Barack Obama go the way of Jimmy Carter, and lose reelection after demonstrating weak leadership in a troubled economy? One Coloradan with a keen nose for the political wind signaled last week that he thinks it might happen. Gov. John Hickenlooper told a reporter the president would “have a hard time” carrying our state right now, because “there’s such dissatisfaction over people who have been out of work” (more…)
(Denver Post, June 26) “The best man in the cabinet.” That’s how Golda Meir was described by her colleague, David Ben-Gurion. She went on to lead Israel to victory in one of its darkest hours, the Yom Kippur War of 1973. Meir once attended Denver’s North High School, and you can visit her girlhood home in Auraria. The little grandmother was revered as “the Iron Lady,” before Britons conferred the title on Margaret Thatcher. (more…)
Memo to: Justice Anthony Kennedy
From: Coloradans for Benevolent Despotism
Re: Enough with the Uppity Teabaggers
(Denver Post, May 29) Tony, can we use first names? You have your dignity to think of, U.S. Supreme Court and all that – but we have a spending racket to sustain, so here goes. Let’s drop the formalities and lay it out candidly. Barring a Wikileak, (more…)
(Denver Post, April 24) “To the Colorado renaissance.” That’s the oilman’s toast to the steelmaker and the railroad mogul in the new film version of “Atlas Shrugged.” As Ayn Rand’s epic novel of capitalism finally comes to the screen, more timely now than when she wrote it in 1957, our state has a starring role. You never saw the aspens so golden, (more…)
(Denver Post, March 27) A useful new verb was coined the other day when Republicans joined Democrats to propose higher pension contributions by public employees and a union boss called it a “blatant attempt to Wisconsinize the Colorado budget process.” What a great idea, thought many a tired and worried taxpayer. Wisconsinize away, legislators – what took you so long?
Statewide unemployment is record-awful, and metro Denver unemployment worse still. Why shouldn’t these job-secure teachers and state workers kick in a little more (more…)
(Denver Post, Feb. 27) So Facebook brought down the Egyptian regime. Until now, the only thing I knew it had brought down was my productivity – and that of many other Republicans old enough to know better, after we all stampeded there upon hearing how Democrats rode it to victory in 2008. Obama in, Mubarak out, Zuckerberg to megawealth, and “Social Network” to the Oscars. Such is the Facebook scorecard so far, and there is 90% of the human race yet to be tapped – er, “friended.” Well, call me a dinosaur, but I still believe the front line of self-government in a free society is citizens reading newspapers. (more…)
(Denver Post, Jan. 23) The indignation was feverish. Teacher-union partisans trembled. Elaine Berman, a State Board of Education member from Denver, boycotted. Mary Johnson, an education consultant from Colorado Springs, raged. “A person known for nearly total lack of support for public education” was “bamboozling” Coloradans. The miscreant was William Moloney, our state’s past Education Commissioner (more…)
(Denver Post, Jan. 9) “Yesterday, upon the stair, I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today. I wish, I wish he’d go away.” The little poem from a century ago should haunt Colorado’s new governor and legislature as they climb the Capitol steps and set to work this week. John Hickenlooper is shrewdly adding Republicans as well as fellow Democrats to his cabinet, but no one has been appointed from the Tea Party. Speaker Frank McNulty, reclaiming a GOP majority (more…)
(Denver Post, Dec. 25) Senator John was a political man, a driven man, some would say a hard man. At dusk on Christmas Eve, he squinted from his office window through falling snow toward the Capitol, and grumbled to his assistant about the latest Bill Ritter gimmick: low-energy holiday lights. His clock struck five. “I suppose you’ll want all day tomorrow,” the aging conservative barked. “If you please, sir,” Joyce whimpered. “It’s only one day a year.” Back came the senatorial snort: “One day less for this office to defend faith, family, and the flag, (more…)
(Denver Post, Dec. 5) What is CoDA? If you said a rock group, a wonder drug, or a state agency, you’re wrong. It’s the Colorado Democracy Alliance, today’s smartphone successor to the old dialup state Democratic Party. CoDA’s coup in turning Colorado blue is related in this year’s most important political book, “The Blueprint,” by Adam Schrager and Rob Witwer. What is infrastructure? If you said the streets and sewers in our cities, or the shovel-ready projects in Obama’s imagination, wrong again. It’s the stealthy political network of message groups, ethics watchdogs, litigators, voter registration cadres, and money conduits (more…)
(Denver Post, Nov. 21) America has a memory problem. Most of us couldn’t tell you who our great-grandparents were. Most people who live in Denver, Parker, Thornton, or Greeley couldn’t tell you who their hometown was named after.
Most of us couldn’t possibly remember who the days of the week were named for either. And as the years pass, it seems that fewer and fewer Americans remember who we’re supposed to be thanking on Thanksgiving Day. (more…)