Why is the debate over debates playing out in the media?

To answer your question: because the Brown campaign refuses to negotiate.
In prior major elections in Massachusetts, the candidates have negotiated with each other and eventually agreed to numerous televised matchups. But in this case, the Brown team has said it has no desire to have “a debate about debates." An attempt by Warren’s campaign to negotiate directly with Brown’s campaign Tuesday was rejected by Barnett.

Absurd, no? - promoted by david

I’m sick and tired of hearing about debate challenges. Why can’t campaigns contact each other and work things out?

It’s not shocking to see Scott Brown challenging Elizabeth Warren to go on Dan Rea’s show to debate. Dan was promoting Marisa DeFranco just before the Convention earlier this month and my jaw dropped when he admitted on air that he was a friend of the Browns and a huge supporter of Scott Brown’s candidacy. Rea spends as much time as possible (seems like almost every show now) bashing Elizabeth Warren, so I can’t blame her for not going on his show. Scott Brown plans to debate an empty chair if Warren doesn’t show up.

It also wasn’t shocking to see Marisa DeFranco challenge Elizabeth Warren to debates on the cover of the Herald shortly before the convention. It was an act of last-minute desperation and it was sad to watch Democrats do it. Sam Sutter is doing the same thing to Congressman Bill Keating right now.

The Keating/Sutter thing has been in the news today because Sutter challenged Keating to a radio debate with Phil Paleologos, a right-wing talker out of New Bedford. Instead of reaching out to Keating’s campaign Sutter put out a press release saying he was going to be at the radio station every day and would debate an empty chair if Keating doesn’t show.

Scott Brown chose Dan Rea because they share the same views and Rea is a friend of Brown and foe of Warren. Sutter’s choice of Phil Paleologos is weird – the guy is the Chairman of the New Bedford Republicans, a supporter of anti gay marriage activities in Massachusetts, and a former Republican candidate. Safe to guess his listeners lean to the right so I’m not sure what Sutter gains from this, while it’s obvious what Brown gains from Rea.

Ultimately all big (and many small) campaigns have debates and forums. I ran for a local office recently and attended a forum with my opponent. Brown and Warren will debate (and Warren and DeFranco would have debated if she got her 15%) and Sutter and Keating will debate. I just don’t see how trying to publicly shame your opponent into debating on a right-wing radio show is going to help anyone make up their mind. Voters are smart enough to see these challenges for what they are.

That’s my rant. I just hope the candidates will act professional.

Recommended by somervilletom, christopher.


9 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Media should initiate these plans.

    The Boston media consortium should just say we’re holding a debate on this date. If only one candidate shows up that candidate gets the whole hour unchallenged of free air time.

    • that's a great idea

      Imagine people having to listen to a whole hour of Warren talking about the middle class being hammered non stop.

      • close, but no bingoe

        What the Funders of Fratboy L.L.C. ought ideally to instruct their operatives to seek is not simply “a whole hour of Warren talking about the middle class being hammered,” beneficial though such a show would be for the ElevenPercenter cause. Especially if the 89% can somehow be forced or frauded into tuning in.

        The “empty chair” strategy of Comrade Sutter and Citizen Paleologos is old and tired, every way unworthy of the Fingers of Fehrnstrom. No, what would suit America’s Otherparty best, both in the Mass. Senatorial election and in the great POTUSial foodfight, would be for Senator Fratboy (or Governor Romney) to

        Sir Galahad de Wrentham fillin’ the Chair Silent

        (( click on image ))

        Happy days.

  2. have you seen this movie?

    Ever watched a movie where there is a gunfight and one guy runs out of bullets? Out of frustration, he throws his gun at his opponent. That guy is Scott Brown. He’s out of bullets and so he has to come up with guns to throw, like prolonging the whole heritage thing and now trying to create a debate controversy.

    It will all become clear when they do debate.

  3. Empty chair? That's a great idea!

    I bet there are people who’d pay money to see an empty suit debate an empty chair.

  4. To be clear I'm not going for empty chair imagery.

    That’s usually initiated by a candidate and IMO is a lot of grandstanding. I don’t want the candidate who shows or the moderator ask questions that a chair is obviously not going to answer. I’m just suggesting that if only one candidate shows s/he can just give an hour-long talk. BTW, are there any minor candidates? If so in the interest of democracy I believe that anyone whose name will be on the November ballot should be invited to debate.

    • Anyone running

      for US Senate has to submit 10,000 signatures. However, non-party candidates have until the end of July to finish collecting signatures, so we won’t know for sure for a while.

      • That actually may be a good excuse to do both...

        …a debate with only the major candidates and one with all of them. Just do one before the end of July and say this is all the candidates we have for now, followed by one in August with all who made the ballot.

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Wed 29 Mar 2:58 PM