While the GOP candidate Rick Perry’s fear of debating Democratic candidate Bill White has been widely publicized, this quote from a voter in this article from KTXS in Abilene, The Debate Will Go On Without Perry, sums it up pretty well.
Yes, I want to see a debate. I think that’s…you know, the American way. We need to see both sides of anything.
-Debbi Mace, voter
Indeed, debate is the American way. But we’re starting to learn it’s not just Perry not the only GOP candidate scared to debate they’re Democratic opponent. There are many other GOP candidates, all over Texas, that are shunning the American way of debate. Via Kuff, Fear of debating is contagious.
The dispute started yesterday, after Republican Party of Texas Chairman Steve Munisteri released a statement urging both of the Republican nominees to skip the debate, claiming that the Austin Chapter of the League of Women Voters wouldn’t be fair, despite the fact that the organization has hosted such forums for years without complaint. For this event, the League has partnered with Austin PBS affiliate KLRU to televise the debates, and had arranged for Evan Smith to moderate.
Wow, attacking the League of Women voters? That’s extreme, to say the least. Here’s what Phillip Martin at BOR had to say, Judy Jennings, Rebecca Bell-Metereau Fight Back After Republican SBOE Candidates Refuse to Debate.
The policy of the Republican Party of Texas to simply ignore voters and skip public forums speaks volumes of who they believe matters in this race — and it’s not you. It’s not the parents, teachers, or children of Texas who care about public schools. It is themselves.
Up and down the ballot, whatever the race, Republicans are in it for themselves while Democrats are in it for Texas.
While all of that is certainly true, the main reason the GOP doesn’t want to debate is because they believe they’re in the lead, and to use a football reference, they want to run out the clock. Essentially they’re afraid that if they step in front of a camera, and are forced to answer questions, they will likely say something stupid and end up looking bad. Which is entirely possible because of the record they have to defend. Things like an $18 billion budget shortfall, mismanagement (see TYC, TFSC, etc..), and for the SBOE candidates where they stand regarding science, evolution, and Thomas Jefferson. It’s easy to see why they’re afraid.
Regarding the debate in the Governor’s race, Perry’s “concern” regarding Bill White seems like it would be a great point to make in a debate. It will almost certainly come up. But, Perry would also have to answer for his many failings as governor over the last 10 years, (the Trans-Texas Corridor,other privatization schemes – Accenture, IBM – oh, and the $18 billion looming budget shortfall).
But the reason to show up for a debate, and not come up with lame excuses for ducking it, is because the voters have come to expect it. It’s obvious that the Texas GOP doesn’t respect the voters in Texas, and think they can hide out until the election is over. Let’s hope voters won’t stand for this kind of snubbing by the GOP. Because, after all, respecting what the voters want is the American way.