The Hutchinson campaign is out with a release today saying that because Tim Pawlenty wouldn't participate, "the Minnesota Hospital Association and Minnesota Health and Housing Alliance today rescinded their invitation to present the three major party-endorsed candidates at their annual meeting in Brainerd on September 22. "
As I said at a Policy and a Pint forum in July, I personally think that candidates should be required to participate in X number of debates in exchange for getting their name on the ballot in the first place and I don't really quite understand why groups bow to the campaigns and let them stir the drink.
Maybe this wasn't a "premier debate" or maybe it was. I don't know. It's odd, when you get right down to it, that on the one hand any candidate would blow off spending limits so that he or she can buy more TV time to get more exposure, and at the same time, bags out of a debate in which, presumably, he'd get more exposure.
Yeah, yeah, I know. The candidates are trying to control the message. But frankly, when groups cancel entire debates because one candidate won't show up, they play right into the candidate's hand.
Have the debate anyway. And if the TV stations and radio stations have any interest at all in being courageous dispensers of the truth, they'll broadcast it anyway. And all during the debate, mention why not all the candidates are there. How's that for exposure?
To me, it's like when someone responds to a question before I do a story (or before I did a story when I was a working journalist) with a "no comment." They used to think if they didn't comment, I wouldn't run the story. Crazy.
Sorry, Bob, you've missed the mark on this one. Nothing against the hospitals, but many groups think they're somehow entitled to the royal prerogative of summoning all candidates to put on a debate for the entertainment of their members. Senate and gubernatorial candidates could spend each and every day having a different debate. Each debate takes an enormous amount of preparation time. The preferred solution is for the campaigns to negotiate a fair debate schedule. The Klobuchar and Kennedy campaigns did this; they have participated in four debates already and have committed to six more. That's plenty of debating. Those dates are locked in, and now the candidates won't be playing games criticizing one another for failing to accept this or that invitation. And, oh, by the way, of course Hutchinson is going to whine; he's wasted all his money and is running on fumes.
Good points, but it's OK with me if candidates don't have time to "prepare" for a debate. Just show up be yourself. If you're a blithering idiot, that comes out. If you're passionate, knowledgeable, articulate, that comes out too.
I think people -- given enough of a glimpse -- are able to separate the idiots from the knowledgeable.
A debate every day? That'd be OK with me. The Legislature isn't in session and there's not much else to be done anyway.
The way its going, we don't elect people anymore. We elect caricatures.
Sadly, the media is a willing participant.
So, you are saying that MPR made a mistake by canceling the State Fair debate for Governor. Good observation. Becky Lourey, of course, got cancelled not only at the confirmed MPR State Fair debate, but days before the DFL convention in June when MPR backed out the first time. MPR holds the record this year for cancelled debates. While those former Governors as subs are informative and entertaining, they are not facing the electorate this year. Thankfully, at least the MPR Capitol Press Corps are on the ball -- and that's appreciated.
Becky Lourey for Governor
The opposite happened in Forest Lake, where Patty Wetterling had a conflict with a date already agreed to by the Bachmann campaign, the "debate" went on anyway, and Bachmann dinged Wetterling for dodging her. Perhaps coincidentally, the Chamber of Commerce exec who set up the event left her job shortly after.
I'm all for more debates, but there's got to be an upper limit to what candidates can do and still run a campaign.
I don't speak for MPR but I've written numerous times about how I think the media should approach debates and candidates. Hopefully I've shown this in the one area where I DO have control -- Campaign 2006. It was set up in January 2005 and candidates that even *you've* never heard of are profiled there as best I can, if we could get even a small amount of coperation from the candidate -- which sometimes we can't, oddly enough.
Your candidate is here:
I'm in the "everybody in the water" school of debate scheduling.