Warren-Brown Debate Debacle

I agree. I don't see why Vicki Kennedy should "host" a debate. She should be out kicking ass and openly, proudly, obviously campaigning for Elizabeth Warren. Scott Brown's connection with the Kennedy family is that he used JFK's image in an ad to make a completely specious, nonsensical argument about taxes -- hey, remember that 90% top marginal rate??

Scrap this silly idea. Brown is doing us all a favor by resisting it. That being said, the #ScottBrownDebateDemands Twitter thread is funny. - promoted by charley-on-the-mta

From Boston.com:

Senator Scott Brown said today that he will accept a debate at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, but only on the condition that Vicki Kennedy stay neutral in the election and MSNBC drop out as the sponsor.

The campaign said in a statement that it would agree to allowing Tom Brokaw to moderate. Elizabeth Warren has already accepted the Sept. 27 debate, but Brown had previously not committed. The candidates are jointly committed to two other televised debates so far, one in the Boston market and a second one in Western Massachusetts.

Today’s statement from the Brown camp regarding Vicki Kennedy’s invitation to a third debate at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute has set the liberal blogosphere and twitter-sphere ablaze (currently trending worldwide: #ScottBrownDebateDemands). Tweeters have pulled out all of the ironic stops from “Scott Brown will only debate if the McRib is made available year round,” to “Scott Brown will only debate if the moderator’s ring tone is changed to Call Me Maybe.”

Funny stuff, but is Brown truly deserving of such harsh criticism in this matter? It’s only natural that the campaign would be cautious of accepting a debate invitation from someone who likely supports Warren, non-partisan organization or no. And turn the tables around: how would a liberal candidate feel about a Fox News broadcast debate?

The only unreasonable demand in this statement, in my opinion, is the request for Vicki Kennedy to stay silent. Though it’s likely that she won’t publicly endorse anyone, it’s not fair to stifle a single person’s political opinion no matter how influential.

In any case, if we as liberals and citizens of democracy want to nurture and support a fair, non-toxic political environment, these are the kind of requests that need to be considered in the public sphere. The fact that so many are up in arms about this only tells me that we no longer respect a fair game.

From his vote against Fair Pay to his Wall Street backers, there are an overwhelming number of reasons to criticize Scott Brown. A demand for neutrality should not be one of them.

UPDATE (6/19): Looks like Vicki Kennedy will not be accepting the demands (as she rightly should) and Brown has stated that he will not be attending. Friends, let the hashtagging begin. 


17 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Um

    MSNBC was *never approached* to air the debate. Scott Brown made up a complete straw man by suggesting otherwise.


    In any case, if we as liberals and citizens of democracy want to nurture and support a fair, non-toxic political environment, these are the kind of requests that need to be considered in the public sphere.

    Hell no. Shutting Vicky Warren, or any woman, up is not “the kind of request” that should ever be considered on the public square.

    Scott Brown has paraded the ghost of Ted Kennedy around in his time and office and when he first ran. He, like Warren, should be more than graceful about accepting a debate from the Kennedy Institute, in honor of Teddy. There was absolutely zero chance that the questions would be tailored for Warren there. The only candidate who was pushing for debates in “friendly ground” — where questions would be ideologically bent — was Brown’s insistence on having the talk radio debate on his friend’s show.

    And you know what? Warren agreed to it.

    So, yeah, there’s no way these hostage-like ‘terms’ should be accepted. Brown’s behavior today was outrageous and has certainly cost him a few votes, as his carefully-crafted good-guy image continues to give way to his real nature – prickly and entitled – due to self-inflicted wounds.

    RyansTake   @   Mon 18 Jun 9:28 PM
    • Brown wouldn't make stuff up.

      COUGH rachelmaddowrunningforsenate COUGH.

      In any case, this is a colossal mistake by Brown: I’m pretty sure that Ms. Kennedy was going to endorse *him*. After all, he is Kennedy’s natural heir. Just ask him.

    • update

      the article you linked to has an update -

      POLITICO has obtained a copy of Vicki Kennedy’s invitation, which says that the debate “would be carried live on our local NBC affiliates and/or MSNBC.”

      • Again,

        MSNBC made clear that they weren’t contacted re: airing the debate.

        Last time I checked, Vicky Kennedy was not in charge of programming of MSNBC.

        RyansTake   @   Tue 19 Jun 4:25 PM
  2. Negotiating through Press Releases

    This latest press release shows that Scott Brown is lying when he claims that he is an independent, bipartisan person who can solve problems. Here we have an example where Scott Brown issued a press release with demands. If he really wanted to get something done, why didn’t he just pick up the phone and call? His campaign manager could have called the EMK Institute and, in a few minutes, worked it out.

    It should be pretty clear. Scott Brown is more interested in making headlines than making progress.

  3. "Fox News Debate"?

    how would a liberal candidate feel about a Fox News broadcast debate?

    My reaction would be We’ll do it live! F%*$ it!.

    I have the utmost confidence that our candidate can not only handle both Senator Brown and the best Fox “News” has to offer, I believe she would flourish and thrive. Chris Wallace? Britt Hume? Bill O’Reilly? Please!

    As a liberal voter, a Fox News Warren-Brown debate would not scare me at all and, furthermore, it would be absurd if the Warren camp was afraid of one.

    Why would we be afraid of any debate moderator’s best fastball when we have the equivalent of 2004 David Ortiz at bat for us? Bring it, Bill-O!

  4. My conditions for debate

    My Teddy Bear moderates

    Debate begins with 10 minute personal video featuring Gail Hoff

    Questions may then be asked for 10 minutes about Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins

    Mandatory 10 minute quiz to follow on Elizabeth Warren’s knowledge of Cherokee vocabulary and grammar

    10 minute and a to follow on how I prepare breakfast and do other household chores

    10 minutes to follow in which celebrity panel consisting of Dan Rae, Marjorie Egan, and Jon Keller evaluate Elizabeth Warren and myself in a voguing sessuion

    10 minutes to follow of singing patriotic songs

    10 minutes conclusion consisting of sports quiz hosted by Dennis and Callahan along with Glen Ordway

    Additional Ground rules: under no conditions may any questions be asked about any of the following topics:

    Glass Steagall
    Global warming
    Bush tax cuts

  5. No, Vicki Kennedy can't host a debate

    she doesn’t have to remain neutral but she can’t host a debate. We can’t bring the words “Ted Kennedy’s seat” back into the conversation. That was a huge talking point Brown used rather successfully. People ran to the polls to reclaim the “People’s” seat. I think Oprah Winfrey should moderate a debate. Come to think of it, it’s sort of rare to have women moderating debates, isn’t it?

  6. Stepped into it

    While it is true that both sides have conditions set, the rather public way that Brown has waged this campaign through the media suggests that it has finally backfired when they issued this press release. Consequently, the twitterverse reaction is practically his own fault. An unforced error, if you will. Normally, I would agree that demands should not be the subject of fun, but Brown’s decision to not negotiate face to face invited the Tweets.

    That said, it is worth noting that the hash tag has also been a great opportunity for us to remind everybody’s Brown’s greatest hit, absurdities and hypocrisies and expose the trolling right-wingers for their excesses (that said some anti-Warren contributes to the tag have been clever, but many others…not so much).

  7. Brown will only debate if Vicki shuts up?

    She should hold a presser immediately and endorse Warren.

  8. Oh for chrissake,

    here’s what Kennedy (and Brown) should say, “We do not accept ‘terms’ or ‘demands’ from anyone. Show up or shut up. Oh, and ask your mommy if you’re allowed to wear long pants.”

    What a twerp the guy is. This does not make him look good.

  9. Joan Kennedy has offered to host a debate

    Seems like as good an idea as Vicki Kennedy doing it.

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