Monday, August 14, 2006

Debate Politics

Televised debates are a prime-time staple during election years.

NY1, which is a local New York City subsidiary of the Time-Warner-CNN monster, hosts and airs debates whenever possible, and this year is no different.

Last week, two very odd people debated the issues in their hotly contested primary race for the Republican spot in the US Senate race in New York. One is an alleged Reagan-era Pentagon official whose career is so dull that no Reagan-era Pentagon officials really remember her, and the other candidate is a Vietnam vet and bigamist who once served as Mayor of Yonkers. The winner of that nomination will run for the seat currently held by Hillary Clinton.

I missed that debate but I have heard that it was mildly entertaining.

Historically, to qualify for an invitation to debate at an NY1 event, a candidate needed 5% in the opinion polls.

But, wait . . . this year, NY1 has decided to add another requirement: A candidate must have raised $500,000 in donations!

What NY1 has done is squeeze out any grass-roots candidates and has opened its airwaves only to billionaries and candidate who accept huge donations from PACs and the such.

NY1 has guaranteed that New Yorkers will hear no debate about the most important issues of the day by refusing an invitation to Jonathan Tasini to debate his opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Tasini accepts no PAC or coroprate money, and his entire campaign is a grass-roots affair that, in my opinion, is an effort to win back the Democratic Party from conservatives like Clinton.

What are important issues today?

War in Iraq? Yeah! Pretty important. Clinton supports the War. I do not know many people in New York who support the war, and I know NO registered Democrats who support the war. Who is Hillary Clinton representing? Not New York Democrats, that's for sure! If New York Democrats were given the opportunity to hear Mrs. Clinton debate Jonathan Tasini, an anti-war candidate, they might be surprised to hear how right-wing she is. Then they might not vote for her.

Health Care? Yeah! Pretty important. Mrs. Clinton has a horrible record on health care. Her original plan, conjured-up when she was First Lady (or the real President; however you like to think of it) was such an anti-consumer debacle that even Democrats were against it. Her latest plan is so tilted to the benefit of insurers that she is now the #2 recipient of health insurer political contributions behind only Rick Santorum. Jonathan Tasini knows (as do you) that tax payers already fund an effective health-care plan, Medicare, and it should be used to provide every uninsured American with a health care safety net. Mrs. Clinton does not want New York Democrats to hear her position on health care from her own lips, because she would look like an idiot. Or worse, we should look like idiots for listening to her. Mrs. Clinton is not a Senator that is good for New Yorker Democrats and she doesn't want us to hear it on television.

Immigration? Yeah! Pretty important. Mrs. Clinton is to the RIGHT of George W Bush on the immigration issue. Bush wants to ensure some flexibility for "guest workers" (i.e., slaves), but Mrs. Clinton wants no gray area and wants immigrants to be treated like the slaves she knows they are. It is unlikely that Mrs. Clinton wants to voice those opinions on New York television. I'm certain she would like to voice those opinions in the South; but if New York Democrats ever heard her speak her opinion on Immigration, it is unlikely she would be elected.

Gay Marriage? Yeah! Pretty important. Mrs. Clinton is opposed to gay marriage. Yes! She is opposed to gay marriage. Sadly though, most gay men in New York support her. I am certain Mrs. Clinton does not want to voice her opinion about gay marriage on New York television where homosexual New York Democrats might hear that she wants them to remain second-class citizens.

It goes on. The list of topics that Mrs. Clinton does not want to debate on New York television, in front of New York Democrats reads like a laundry list of the New Right's attack on America circa 1980. The woman is further to the right than most New York Republicans.

New York Newsday had this to say about the issue:

Not debateable

It's too bad NY1 refuses to change its rules for allowing candidates to appear on televised debates. The qualifications - which include raising more money than many insurgents can manage - mean that Sen. Hillary Clinton can duck a debate with anti-war activist Jon Tasini. He amassed thousands of signatures to get on the ballot, no easy task. Clinton and NY1 should lighten up and let the voters get a look at both candidates - together.

Why is NY1 pandering to Mrs. Clinton? Why is Time-Warner protecting her? Why would they refuse to air a debate where Mrs. Clinton would have to answer for her voting record?

I recommend you call or write and ask:
Robert Hardt
Director of Politics

Will you get a response? Or is Bob Hardt a Time-Warner-CNN lackey with no backbone to stand-up for what he knows is right: NY1 should host a debate amongst all candidates who have garnered 5% in opinion polls.

Time-Warner-CNN/NY1 is an embarrassment to America's "free press."

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