Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Democratic Contenders Just Say “No”

Democratic Party gubernatorial hopeful  Ned Lamont has refused a public debate in New London with primary challenger Dan Malloy, the former mayor of Stamford.

Democratic Party nominee for the U.S. Senate Richard Blumenthal is in deep cover and shows no sign, any time soon, that he may pop out of his hidey hole to confront Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate Linda McMahon and Peter Schiff, a Republican primary opponent. In addition, Blumenthal’s senatorial campaign site is light on many pertinent campaign issues.

For instance: In a major decision, the U.S. Supreme Court recently held that the second amendment pertains to individuals rather than state militias. Does Blumenthal agree with that decision?

Some economists hold that the roll played by the Federal Reserve in boosting or lowering interest rates has distorted the market system and sent confusing signals to major lenders and investors. According to views propounded by economists who cleave to the Austrian school of economics, these distortion have created temporary booms and busts in the market place, producing “malinvestments,” the fundamental cause of our boom-bust cycles. Does Blumenthal agree with this view? Would Blumenthal agree to a debate on economic issues with his two Republican opponents prior to a primary vote, so that his economic views can be properly ventilated in advance of the primaries?

President Barack Obama has just cashiered General Stanley McKristol for incautious remarks made by the general and his staff in a left leaning publication, appointing General David Petraeus to fill the leadership void in Afghanistan. There has been great deal of resistance all along in Democratic Party ranks to both the Iraq war and the war in Afghanistan. When Obama agreed to increase troop levels in Afghanistan, he was sharply criticized by the peace wing of the Democratic Party. Some in the Republican Party believe that current troop levels are too low to sustain in Afghanistan the strategy adopted by Petraeus and employed successfully in Iraq. What is Blumenthal’s view on the matter of troop levels and announcements of time-lines for the withdrawal of troops in both theaters?

A rational discussion of such issues would more easily allow Connecticut voters to choose who may best represent the interests of the people of United States on these matters in the U.S. Senate. But in order to have a proper discussion, Blumenthal would have to make himself available for questioning in venues familiar to him as attorney general, where he faced the media and responded to important questions . Even now, as attorney general, Blumenthal permits himself to respond to issues affecting that office through his subalterns. He has not done the same as a prospective U.S. senator. If references to his activity as attorney general are boiled out of Blumenthal’s official senatorial campaign site, the remaining pap makes a very thin soup. And at this point in his campaign, even newspapers that have been exceedingly obliging to Attorney General Blumenthal are beginning to murmur darkly about Blumenthal’s motives in secreting himself from those who might be expected to vote for him as U.S. senator.

In the meantime, Lamont, taking a page from Blumenthal’s book, has refused an invitation by the New London Day to debate Dan Malloy on issues important to Connecticut, prompting Malloy to issue the following statement:

"The Day said today that they are disappointed in Ned's decision. I think it's worse than that. This debate is a tradition. It's a chance for voters to see and hear each candidate only days before heading to the polls. It's when primary voters are most tuned in and most ready to hear from candidates about their values, their experience, and their vision. And Ned Lamont is denying them that chance. What a shame.

"If this is an indication that Ned is going to refuse to meet me in any televised debate between now and the primary, I think it's an unprecedented situation. No statewide debate in the closing weeks of a campaign this important? What a shame."
Lamont has said he’d rather campaign against Malloy than debate him. No one need wonder why. Like Blumenthal, Lamont is far ahead in the polls over his challenger. When the hare is so far in advance of the tortoise in the race, he cannot be expected to pause for debates, and this is the great failing of primaries. For primaries to work properly, an honest confrontation on important views is a necessity. By avoiding the necessity, the incumbent or the leader in a primary frustrates, knowingly and purposely, the whole point of a primary, a craven acknowledgement that debates are far less important than political status.
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