Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Debating Debates

Last week, amidst much negative fanfare, the major GOP candidates found better things to do than attend a debate on issue of interest to black voters. It turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Candidates Skirt Women's Issues Debate

Only John Edwards has signed on so far for Rosie O'Donnell's schedule presidential debate, to be held next Tuesday on the Lifetime cable network.

"Donald Trump is sponsoring a fundraiser and hair styling tips session for me, so I regret that I can't be there," Rudy Giuliani explained.

A source on Hillary Clinton's staff who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to say anything not 100% positive to the media about Sen. Clinton, said Clinton is aware of the invitation and is considering her options.
Meanwhile, in Key West and San Francisco, things aren't going well at all for the first national bicoastal presidential debate on issues of concern to transgendered voters.
When Politics Don't Embrace Change:
Candidates Dodge Transgender Debate

"This is just so typical," pouted Suzy Sillycon huskily as the San Francisco transgender activist scanned her email inbox.

Sillycon is lamenting the dearth of accepted invitations to the planned bicoastal debate on issues of concern to transgender voters. Thus far, only Hillary Clinton has accepted an invitation and appears likely to be debating herself.
Well, she'll find herself in a familiar position at least. Finally, in Tuscaloosa, it appears that presidential candidates are not the best friends of dogs.
No Candidates Barking Up Dog Rights Tree

Dog rights activist Rex K. Niner finds himself muzzled in his efforts to increase national attention on issues of concern to dogs and dog owners.

"Every day, Bush is lifting his leg on dogs' God-given rights," Niner said. "If the candidates think they can continue to ignore these issues and win by pandering to the cat vote, we'll show 'em what 'sic' means."
Really, what's a candidate to do? For a long time, presidential debates -- especially before the primaries -- have not been a useful tool for voters, as over-prepared candidates ignore questions and bridge blithely to the question they'd rather answer. All they are good for is catching a candidate in a shameful moment or, all too rarely, showing one candidate to be head and shoulders over another.

Despite this, the media's hunger for content is driving us to more debates earlier in the process. If a candidate opts out, does it mean that he doesn't care about the issue du jour, or is it merely recognition that the media's whims and wills should not be the driving force in campaigns of this importance?

I'd like to give a hat-tip to frequent commenter Gregory, who posted this comment on my post about the top four GOP candidates dodging the recent debate on black issues:
The goal right now is to win the Republican Party nomination and this event really does not help that. Not many Republican primary voters there. Plus the press is just looking for statements that can be labeled racist or at the very least "show a lack of understanding". You make excellent points but what next, a gay issues debate, a hispanic issues debate, womens issues debate. Dividing people by class is what liberals do. Give them a little credit for refusing to pander.
Credit due and given.

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