Monday, July 21, 2014

The debate debate in the U.S. Senate race

Posted By on Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Debates over debates are a tradition in political campaigning. A tiresome tradition.

In this year's race for U.S. Senate, Odd Tom Cotton opened the bidding with a nightmarish proposal for hours of unmoderated debating from Bodcaw to Burdette, a la Lincoln-Douglas.  Democratic incumbent, U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, declined to be drawn into that. And a grateful state thanks him, save those in need of non-prescription sleep aids.

In the face of incessant whining from the Cotton camp — Tom Cotton would meet Mark Pryor anywhere, anyhow, any format, his handlers insisted — Pryor took the initiative. He let it be known that HE had agreed to a statewide debate on AETN (third party candidates included). He also said HE had agreed to a mano-a-mano debate sponsored in Fayetteville by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce and moderated by Roby Brock, who was once suggested by Cotton himself as a fair moderator for a TV debate.

Today, the Pryor campaign notes, Anytime Tom has not yet confirmed an appearance on the AETN debate and has missed a deadline to firm up his appearance at the Fayetteville program at the University of Arkansas.

Cotton's people WERE able to send a video tracker after Pryor last week and encourage TV reporters to tag along to ask him about debates on THEIR TV stations. As if that's THE major issue for voters in this election — whether Pryor will appear on a debate on KATV in a format dictated by Tom Cotton.

I'm more interested in Cotton votes against the farm bill; against nutrition assistance for the needy; against disaster relief; for privatization of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security; against birth control coverage; for legislation that could make the morning after pill for rape victims illegal; for legislation that could make in vitro fertilization impossible; against the Violence Against Women Act; for employment discrimination against gay people; against an improved student loan program;  for military intervention all over the globe; Cotton's absence of cross-aisle votes in Congress; his resistance to immigration reform; his slavish devotion to the Club for Growth; and on and on. KATV's debate offer is pretty far down my list.

In any case, Pryor's campaign has decided to turn to the debate debate, too. A pity. But given the Cotton camp's successful manipulation of TV reporters on the issue, I don't blame them doing a news release of their own:

“It’s pretty straightforward: Congressman Cotton has repeatedly insisted that he’s ready to defend his reckless and irresponsible record anytime under any circumstances, and we’ve now agreed to two proposals that give him exactly that opportunity,” said Pryor for Senate spokesman Erik Dorey.

“Mark looks forward to these debates as proposed in Conway and Fayetteville, just like Arkansans look forward to finally hearing Congressman Cotton explain why seniors should wait until they’re 70 for Medicare and Social Security, families should be without disaster relief to rebuild after devastating storms and women should earn less than a man for doing the same job,” Dorey said.

Let's debate, by all means. Maybe somebody has missed the well-rehearsed talking points on millions of dollars of paid TV. Why not put some on free TV, too. Maybe then the TV reporters will focus on something besides a mostly meaningless debate debate.

Tags: , , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Monticello preparing for KKK rally

    Drew County authorities are taking precautions, but also watching their words, about apparent plans for a Ku Klux Klan meeting Saturday.
    • Jul 22, 2015
  • AHTD asks Metroplan to lift six-lane freeway cap

    The board of directors of Metroplan has informed the state highway department that it cannot act on the highway department's June 17 request to lift its six-lane freeway cap at the board's June 29 meeting. Consideration of the request should take four months, Jacksonville Mayor Gary Fletcher wrote June 22 to highway department Director Scott Bennett.
    • Jun 23, 2016
  • Matt Campbell files ethics complaint against Dennis Milligan

    Little Rock attorney and blogger Matt Campbell, whose knack for deep research brought down Mark Darr, Mike Maggio and Dexter Suggs, now has his sights trained on another worthy target. Today, he filed a 113-page ethics complaint against state Treasurer Dennis Milligan that includes 14 separate allegations.
    • Aug 20, 2015

Most Shared

  • Constituents go Cotton pickin' at Springdale town hall

    Sen. Tom Cotton, cordial to a fault, appeared before a capacity crowd at the 2,200 seat Pat Walker Performing Arts Center at Springdale High tonight to a mixed chorus of clapping and boos. Other than polite applause when he introduced his mom and dad and a still moment as he led the crowd in a recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance — his night didn't get much better from there.
  • Stand up for Little Rock

    If Little Rock deteriorates because of substandard schools, there will be blame aplenty to share. But some elected leaders deserve special mention.
  • Hating the media

    Presidents, with the exception of George Washington, never found much joy with the media, although Donald Trump is the first to use the scarily freighted words "enemies of the people."
  • What's new and coming soon to Argenta

    A riverfront hotel, new residential development, food, drink and more.
  • Downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock are back in business

    Main Street and beyond bustles.

Visit Arkansas

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Little River County gears up for Sesquicentennial

Historical entertainment planned for joint celebration of three Southwest Arkansas milestone anniversaries

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation