Down the Ballot

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Skipping Debate? Ok I guess

The Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association is meeting this summer in Salem pretty soon and they are hosting a debate between John Kitzhaber and John Kitzhaber. Republican nominee Chris Dudley has declined his invite stating he will be on vacation during that time. While I applaud Chris Dudley for opting to spend time with his family over a political function I also question his sanity for skipping this particular political function.

Make no mistake about it, I'm for spending time with families. I think going on vacation, snapping a few pictures, taking in a little of Oregon in the summer will do him some good. I don't want to make it seem like ONPA is more deserving of a one on one debate than lets say the OLCV or any other group. Yet the politically savvy minded person would at least ponder this....Free media is good. Oregon Newspaper Publishers...publish newspapers which give candidates access to free media. They allow letters to the editor to be published, run stories with the candidates name in big bold letters on the front page if they feel so inclined. Newspaper publishers have newspapers with editorial boards that can write scathing editorials or wonderful editorials of the candidate. Thousands of Oregonians open up a newspaper or login to a newspaper website every day and read. Of all the groups to blow off because of a vacation why this group?

Is Chris Dudley trying to send a message to the states' established powers? Candidates often go through many hoops over the course of a campaign. If that's his angle then he should just come out and say it. The campaign claims that it will participate in two debates this October. Two? Mr. Dudley's spokesperson said this in response to what will happen when Dudley comes back from vacation and debates in October, "Chris looks forward to the opportunity to stand next to Kitzhaber to discuss his failed record as governor," that's it? You want to talk about Kitzhaber's failed policies from a decade ago? What about new innovative ideas that Kitzhaber and supporters are coming up with? There is a lot of stuff going on at Kitzhaber 2010 website under the got ideas section where people are engaging in policy discussions. Doesn't Dudley look forward to sharing his ideas about how we can make Oregon better? It seems the campaign might be a little too focused on John Kitzhaber and not focused enough on Oregonians.

I think that Mr. Dudley ought to think long and hard over his vacation about how he can engage Oregonians better. Oregonians deserve better than two debates that will more than likely be in a television studio, with an audience made up of supporters. How bout a debate at Pioneer Courthouse Square since the weather is nice? Get some beers and on a cool summer evening let's have a discussion about how we can make Oregon better. Remember that debate in 2002 where Ted Kulongoski, Kevin Mannix and Tom Cox actually looked like they were having fun discussing Oregon's future?

We need more debates, smaller settings, in a diversity of locations. Debates where you don't have to be a member of some organization to get in for special seats. More thoughts later on how might achieve this.
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