Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Boston, Start Your Debate Engines

Regardless of whether Kevin McCrea's town-crier message of no debates for the mayor's race end up being true, we've had enough of this. He reported this afternoon on his blog that Tom Menino's camp played too coy to negotiate.

Word is that Ed Jesser (Tommy's political strategist) and Ed Fouhy (retired network news exec hired for debate negotiations) queered the deal today. The Globe, WGBH and WBUR walked when Da Mare's boys wouldn't commit to dates, particularly for one after the Sept. 22nd primary.

Enough of this. Civic groups, neighborhood associations and political folk simply need to start scheduling their own debates and fora. Then they invite at least Menino, McCrea and other challengers from Council Michael Flaherty and Sam Yoon. If Tom doesn't show, he loses, again and again.

I raised the idea with our BlogLeft group. We were key players in the lieutenant-governor debate in Lowell in that last big race. Maybe we can and should tunnel down to city politics, at least for the largest town in the commonwealth. TBD.

Last month, the Globe reported that MassVOTE intends to go the forum route, planning three for the post-primary/pre-election months. That would be a piece, but we the long, quiet lead-up to the September 22nd primary. Moreover, each major neighborhood and a few sub-neighborhoods want to hear and tell.

Over at Left Ahead, Flaherty called for just such bottom-up debates. Previously, Yoon was first up with us, and he contrasted Ray Flynn and Mel King's gruelling dozens of debates and joint appearances. Next Tuesday, June 9th, we're having McCrea on to discuss his campaign and positions. He's not going to be shy about this subject.

The original idea quasi-approved by Menino of three debates was absurdly low, and an insult to the democratic process. There are simply too many big issues and goals for whoever sits in that chair for the next four years to stick simply with the devil you know.

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