September 16th, 2008

Lieutenant Governor Dubie Cannot Debate You, Tom Costello, Because He Has Plenty Of Other Cool Stuff To Do. Seriously.

by Philip Baruth

So yesterday Tom Costello sent Brian Dubie a letter, inviting him to participate in a series of five “conversations” around the state, in the run-up to the November election. Tom, let VDB save you a step: Lieutenant Governor Dubie is busy. Never mind the dates; he’s busy for all of them. Not with legislative business. Just busy busy busy. Busy.

Dubie has elevated the avoidance of debates, and of campaigning in general, to a high art. In the last cycle, he stiff-armed the Dunne campaign when he could, and cancelled at the last minute when he couldn’t. Wikipedia, lest anyone forget, actually cites Dubie’s “laid-back approach to campaigning,” as one of the few things a newcomer to the Lite Governor’s resume should know.

Which doesn’t reflect well on us, on Vermont’s media and its voters. Politicians run campaigns when they must; if they can get by without one, they will certainly do so.

But debates, plural, should always be a prerequisite for the job. Say what you want about Jim Douglas, but he mixes it up in multiple formats, with multiple opponents, each and every time out of the box.

Put simply, it shouldn’t be up to Brian Dube whether he debates or not.

His opponents, like Costello, should not be forced to beg an audience. Both men should face an audience, more than once or twice, if they want the job at issue.

Which puts the ball, just weeks before Election Day, squarely in the media’s court. What say you, folks?