Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Or at least that is what his debate schedule makes it look like. Last month we went through the hoops of learning that Mr. Dudley skipped out on a debate because he was on 'vacation' in Aspen, Colorado. Well it wasn't a vacation, but a political event of the Republican Governors Association. He took his family with him, I'm sure they loved seeing Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour sunbathing by the pool, sippi'n champers' and getting a tan. They sorta apologized for not being entirely truthful and upfront about the 'vacation'. But then a group of Oregon Mayor's Conference invited the candidates to come share the stage. Kitzhaber said he would come at one time and Dudley said he could only come at another time during the event. Governor Kitzhaber then decided to just come when Dudley would be there, but that wouldn't work for Dudley. He wanted to not debate and just address the mayors by himself.
In response to this Dudley claimed that the reason he was holding off on attending debates until the fall was because voters are not paying enough attention. Yet his campaign has spent lots of money running ads in August. If voters are not paying attention for debates why on earth would they be paying attention to ads?
The Kitzhaber campaign came back with 7 debate opportunities. Dudley countered with one that was not on the list of the 7. Fine, make it 8 debates then how simple is that? Most likely the KGW 8 debate is because well hate to bring this back to basketball, but KGW is the home of some of the Blazers games locally. Dudley and campaign have said in the past that they intend to meet for two televised debates in the fall. Two debates?
The Dudley campaign has established that voters are not paying attention. Will they be paying more attention in the fall? Maybe. Maybe not. Instead of trying to determine how much attention voters will be giving the race governor, why not just provide ample opportunities for them to view the candidates side by side across the state?
How much faith does it show you have in Oregonians if you are only willing to show up twice before your challengers and explain your positions and how you can make Oregon better? Twice? My debate students debate at minimum of three times a Saturday when they are at debate tournaments and you can't even find the time to debate more than once on two separate days? At least show more effort than a high school student.
Here's a thought for the Kizthaber campaign. Set up a debate at the State Fair. I mean come on, if 2,500 people would go see Gallagher at the Washington County Fair, someone ought to show up to watch Kitzhaber and Dudley and the rest of the candidates. Believe me, you guys are a lot more entertaining than Gallagher.
Public discussion, a healthy public debate is important. Oregon was founded on holding public meetings and having a vibrant public discussion. Debate is critical in our political arena. If we have resorted to just running ads and speaking before groups that already agree with us than perhaps we deserve more candidates that will duck and dodge at the first sign of having to explain themselves to their opponents.
Mr. Dudley ought to give Oregonians multiple opportunities to explain how he wants to make Oregon better. John Kitzhaber and the other candidates ought to be there so they can also explain their visions and perhaps have a discussion over points where they all disagree. To do that Mr. Dudley, you need to show up.