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Who Should Exclude Candidates from Debates? (Brent Budowsky)

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KoKo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 01:05 PM
Original message
Who Should Exclude Candidates from Debates? (Brent Budowsky)
January 17, 2008
Who Should Exclude Candidates from Debates? (Brent Budowsky)
@ 9:01 am

As my regular readers know, I have always taken the position that the maximum number of candidates should be included in all debates for the presidency. In this campaign I have argued that both Reps. Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) should be included, even though I have not supported either candidate.

Here I offer a proposal to address this question once and for all, and my suggestion is this:

Any television forum for debates should agree when they choose to exclude any candidate, and the national chairmen of the Democratic and Republican parties would have authority to either confirm that candidates exclusion or reverse it, in which case the candidate would be included.

This solution is the lesser of evils, but in my opinion far less evil than the alternatives, for these reasons:

I do not believe it is right for any profit-making corporation, basing its business on commercial interests, to make this decision. This is not an argument against profits. It is an argument against decisions fundamental to American democracy decisions regarding who has access to the airwaves being made with the inherently conflicted interest of profit-making corporations.

Nor do I believe the decision to exclude candidates should be made by government, including the courts. This would give a very dangerous level of power to the government, with those holding existing power having a huge interest in preserving their power and excluding candidates who threaten it.

I would not want the court that engaged in a party-line judicial vote to decide the 2000 election deciding which candidates should be excluded from the airwaves.

Giving the national chairmen of the political parties the authority to insist that candidates not be excluded from debates is imperfect, but at least brings these decisions closer to our democratic process with some checks and balances.


The issue of totally excluding any candidate from televised access to voters during the debates strikes at the heart and soul of our democracy. This issue will continue in this primary season for both parties.

These is no simple solution, but I propose the decision should not be made by profit-making companies, and should not be made by the government, but should be kept as close as possible to our democratic values, with as many checks and balances as possible. /

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robbedvoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 01:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. Whatever happened to the league of Women Voters?
I liked when they sponsored all debates.
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onehandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 01:13 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. During the raygun years they were swiftboated by the GOP.
Dirty commie grandmas.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 01:44 PM
Response to Original message
3. It's time to put into law that debates will be sponsored by
Edited on Thu Jan-17-08 02:07 PM by Cleita
non-partisan, non-profit organizations like The League of Womens Voters. No qualifying candidates are to be excluded and they are to be broadcasted or televised by a national outlet in rotation manditorily without commercial interruption or inteference from said outlet. Like ABC will do one, then NBC, then CBS and then FOX in rotation. They will receive compensation for their time at a rate that is agreed to be fair. Other cable outlets will be invited to air the debates if they choose to in addition, but the non-partisan rules will apply with them as well.

Any media that exhibits bias during the debates will be fined.

My two cents.
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cloudythescribbler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 02:13 PM
Response to Original message
4. This solution is unlikely to solve ANYTHING by way of exclusion ...
It would seem to me that the government is either going to decide who decides or decide itself. I don't trust the Courts, but they could at least come up with some sort of standard, including requiring CONSISTENCY. At the outset of the campaigns they include a HUGE number of debaters, and now, after a couple of primaries/caucuses, when there are FEWER candidates to include than the first debates, they want to decide who makes the cut. Even though the Court system is a machine, sometimes they have to (when in the spotlight of explicit public attention) at least set up something with the APPEARANCE of fairness.

All in all, I doubt ANY method is going to get authentic progressives without massive support into the debates if the networks, especially on cable, choose to exclude them.

Subtler but huge problem exists -- after EVERY debate, including the one on CSpan where Hillary Clinton answered the licenses-for-undocumented-immigrants question in more than one way and got called on it -- the talking heads have tried to palm it off as another Hillary victory. In the case of CSpan, they did acknowledge that the people responding to a poll picked Obama as the winner; but still went ahead spinning it that, in the words of (possibly Tucker) one of the talking heads 'Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger.

The same thing was true of the Nevada debate. No clear winner emerged yet it was insisted to be a clear win for HRC. It's amazing the mainstream media doesn't get called on this, especially as a pattern.

(But then again no one raised the question of the hollowness of the flipflop spin in 04, not Kerry or his campaign, not the 527s and not the mainstream press, for months and months. The first really serious treatment of it came in OCTOBER, once the image had solidified in the public mind, in The New Republic. (Jonathan Chait) and that article palmed it all off essentially on media laziness.
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onenote Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 02:17 PM
Response to Original message
5. newspapers are profit-making entities too
Should they be required to give "equal time" to all candidates or submit their editorial judgments to the chairman of the Democratic (or repub) party?

I agree that the current process for deciding who can be in debate and how debates are presented is something of a mess, but I'm not sure that this is the solution either.
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DadOf2LittleAngels Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-17-08 02:22 PM
Response to Original message
6. Whoever has met the requirements to be on the ballot
in enough states to win a primary/election.. Should be allowed at *every* debate
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