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August 1, 2007 / compassioninpolitics

Debate Dodgers, Democracy, and Dissent. What do you think?

mytwistedlens558799371_e3c0e1403d.jpg While Giuliani is trying to work out the scheduling conflict, I haven’t heard anything about confirming new dates or the other candidates signing on to the newly scheduled debates so this issue is still up in the air.As of 9:56 on Tuesday, I’ve heard absolutely nothing inked on a deal to get the debates rescheduled and Romney has not only insulted YouTubers, but is still not commited to this 21st century democratic townhall experience. So, I am joining the robust of voices from both ends of the political spectrum including Patrick Ruffini, James Kotecki, Ross Smith, David All, Robert Bluey, and the rest of the bewildered American populous pondering (mouth widely agape) “Why it is the GOP content with this silence? Why is Romney dodging the debate?”I invite you to ask yourself, “Why is he avoiding the public square? Would Ronald Reagan buck the debates so cavalierly? Would Lincoln or any other leader in our national history avoid this opportunity?”Reportedly Romney didn’t think that the humorous and intelligent question posed by a snowman was “dignified” for a presidential candidate. You Tubers and other candidates undignified, huh? To me it seems like an inappropriate slap in the face to the folks who created an energized platform for democratic citizenship and community. I guess that’s up to your highly contentious and infinitively elastic interpretation of “dignified”. There are a couple of compelling reasons for Romney to demonstrate his high level of presidential decorum and dignity by attending the debates and don’t rely on questionable appeals to indeterminate name calling:• The debate is the sin de qua of the democratic process and our Constitutional free speech guarantees.• Presidential action that displays a strident and unrelenting courgage and fearlessness in the face of media insults be they from late night comedy or politically interested internet geeks. That is the steel girded backbone Lincoln and all of our greatest leaders exhibited on a daily basis.• Being an active part of the conversation is the absolute prequisite to authenticity and our respect.• Avoid alienating YouTube community and the heightened risk of retaliatory mash ups that make you and your supporters look like oafs.• Free media coverage. Bling. Bling. Mr. President. Your campaign coffers and supporters will appreciate them apples.• Listening to the American public and learning about the issues, if that’s important on your unilateral agenda.• Freely admitting that in the 21st century the true and robust dignity of our presidential office is sufficiently resiliant enough to withstand an army of YouTube videos.According to the vast wealth of political scientist, the marketplace of ideas is ground zero for where ideas are broadcast, combined, and re-created. I urge you to be apart of the discussion Mr. Romney if only to honor our Constitutional free speech guarantees in the First Amendment. Can you credibly encourage people to vote, if you didn’t even attend their national townhall meeting to discuss the issues of the day? Even if a re-schedule can’t work out to your advantage, you owe it to your supporters, the American people, yourself, and your American icon of choice to participate in the frontline of democratic discussion. Remember to leave your sour grapes about our democratic expressions at the door, because you might just look a little foolish–not to mention a tad hypocritical–when you try to wrap yourself in the flag next time.So what do you think?? Should Romney show up or continue to dodge the debates?? How should voters respond if he doesn’t?? And what presidentially dubious precedent does this set for presidential action? So, can candidates not appear on Saturday Night Live? How about talk shows like Jay Leno and David Letterman that deal in Stupid Human Tricks and blatant displays of playful bafoonery? Or perhaps Romney and his staff missed the universally ubiquitous You Tube viral videos of Bush just being Bush? So Mr. Romney, are Bush and other presidents being undignified for being an active participant at the annual National Press dinner? Consequently, if Romney is so concerned about policing the boundaries of a dignified presidential office I fear for the members of his Administration and the American public who forced to have free speech and dissent put on such a narrow minded wrack.Personally, I can’t wait to see the viral YouTube mashups of Romney abscent from the debate stage in an overwhelmingly ackward silence punctuated with America’s perenial sweetheart Lee Greenwood croning in the background. What could be more presidential than that?

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3 Comments

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  1. Ross Smith / Aug 1 2007 5:37 am

    Romney fancies himself a front runner and is playing it safe, as is Rudy.

    That’s my best theory, anyway, as discussed at DebateScoop.

  2. compassioninpolitics / Aug 1 2007 6:35 pm

    I think the above points out that the strategy of “playing it safe” is on the side of engaging in the debates. I think the first YouTube debates changed history in the same way folks claimed 9/11 changed history–it entirely changed the frame and the way we think about and even interact with debates. Although, to be fair, its hard to know what folks outside this new media “echochamber” think about it. However, the news coverage, especially from CNN side, which probably garnered the wealth of the market, was overwhelmingly pro-debate from my humble perspective.

    Next, I think “playing it safe” for the GOP at this point is playing to loose–loose credibility and the youth vote. Stepping to the plate…especially as Fred Thompson steps up to swing for the fences…is vitally important if they want to win the nomination. Whether or not he participates in the debates, the debates would give them an added edge over Thompson.

    Finally, I’m curious if Romney is taking a page out of Thompson’s book, by getting a little press, getting the bloggosphere abuzz, and attempting building some grassroots support. (ie ventures like the http://www.savethedebate.org effort)

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