Just when we thought we were off the hook listening to candidates fight over whether there should be debates and if so, how many, theerr’rree baaack… Defeated Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ned Lamont retreated like a scared turtle in the primary against Dan Malloy and it cost him—how much, we may never know. Now, in the middle of August, there is already a little dance going between Republican candidate Tom Foley and Malloy about how many debates there should be. Foley would be smart to go to school on Lamont’s disastrous decision to avoid debates and sit on his lead in the polls. In this case, Foley has no lead to sit on.
This week, Malloy came out of the gate saying he has agreed to eight debates around the state, including several on TV and radio. Some, especially those who backed Lamont, say this is some sort of strategy. But it’s less a strategy and more giving voters want they want and what they deserve—a side-by-side comparison of the two men who want to lead the state out of its fiscal morass—especially when their policy ideas are so starkly different. Actually, the best way to get hesitant candidates to debate is to ask them point-blank on TV if they will as demonstrated by Dennis House on Channel 3’s “Face the State” last week.
It’s not a persuasive argument that TV debates don’t matter because nobody watches them. Apathy is not an excuse to deprive would-be informed voters from seeing the forums.