Why Don't Conservative Democrats Debate?
The Democratic establishment insisted on pushing doddering and conservative relic Ted Strickland as the Ohio Senate nominee. Strickland was too scared to debate his young and intellectually vigorous opponent, PG Sittenfeld-- he never did-- and now he's facing a situation where he is unprepared to debate his Republican opponent, Rob Portman. In the end, Strickland beat Sittenfeld by a landslide, 720,336 to 248,776, and taking part in the series of debates-- or even one debate-- Sittenfeld challenged him to do, wouldn't have changed the outcome. But it would have prepared the 74 year old Strickland for the tough debates he won't be able to worm his way out of with Portman.
There has been marked tendency this cycle of conservative Democratic candidates ducking out of debates with their opponents. The video up top is the first TV ad from the Tim Canova congressional campaign for the FL-23 seat held by manipulative anti-debate maven, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who has never faced a vigorous opponent in her entire miserable career and has no capacity to debate anyone.
Her fellow New Dem up the coast, Patrick Murphy, is another one who's afraid to debate. Several neutral groups have tried to set up debates between Murphy and Grayson. Grayson has agreed to each one and Murphy, predictably, refused. I asked Grayson if he had any insights into Murphy's behavior. He quoted Mark Twain to me: "It's better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt."
Another shady Democrat who's refusing to debate his primary opponent is corrupt congressional lifer Lacy Clay of St. Louis, who is facing a dynamic and inspiring state senator, Maria Chappelle-Nadal. "It's incredible," she told us today, "a 16-year incumbent is afraid to debate in front of his own constituents. Oddly enough, long time, establishment candidates give carte blanche access to the most unscrupulous lobbyists. It is now clear why so many poverty pimps serve in Congress. The people have lost their power in the 1st congressional district of Missouri."
Maybe it's because the whole idea of a conservative Democrat is inconsistent enough to not make sense in a primary election. Republicans usually do debate their general election opponents but this year House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, who has a penchant for sticking his foot in his mouth when he opens it in public, has so far avoided debating the progressive Democratic running for the sprawling Bakersfield/Lancaster House seat (CA-23), Wendy Reed, a local activist and Berniecrat. This morning, she told us that "McCarthy told the Bakersfield Californian that he would make himself available for debate, but declined invitations from California State University Bakersfield and KGET TV with Jim Scott. He then wanted to send a surrogate to debate for him at the Taft Chamber of Commerce, despite being home in the district. That debate was scheduled to his convenience, yet McCarthy later told the Bakersfield Californian that he had a preexisting commitment. The more I hear from him, the harder it is to believe anything he says. I look forward to debating him. If he can't represent himself in a debate, how can he represent us in Congress?" McCarthy may not have time to debate the issues in from of CA-23 voters but he does have time to read a speech from a teleprompter at the Trump convention next week.
If you'd like to contribute to Wendy's and Tim's campaigns-- and to the campaigns of the other progressives whose opponents are playing debate games with... just tap the thermometer: