Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Kucinich's Dilemma

Dennis Kucinich loves debates. Debate debate debate. It's the essence of democracy and all that. Recall that he slammed the Dem field for turning down Republican house organ Fox Noise as a primary debate monitor and he got his underoos in a bunch when Hillary and Edwards were caught on mic discussing how to slim down the debate fields.

Of course, he's really all about Presidential primary debates. Congressional debates, maybe not. He famously refused to debate his '06 primary opponent Barbara Anne Ferris and general opponent Republican Mike Dovilla.

So now he has a dilemma. Today his primary opponent this year, Rosemary Palmer, has challenged him to debates:

    Rosemary Palmer, candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 10th Congressional District of Ohio, today issued a challenge to her opponent, six-term incumbent Dennis Kucinich. At a press conference held this morning in downtown Cleveland, Ms. Palmer challenged Mr. Kucinich to a series of five debates. Palmer proposed to focus each debate on a particular issue area including economic development and foreign policy. “I have formally submitted this challenge to Mr. Kucinich’s office. I eagerly await his response, and frankly expect him, as a democratically elected official, to accept the challenge and appreciate the opportunity to address the people he claims to represent,” Palmer said.
* * *
    Kucinich, no stranger to debate challenges, has issued a number of statements lamenting his exclusion from the limelight of the presidential campaign. Following reports that his presidential primary opponents were conspiring to limit his exposure at debate appearances, Mr. Kucinich was quoted as saying “Imperial candidates are as repugnant to the American people and to our democracy as an imperial president.” In light of her newly issued challenge, Palmer countered, “Now that this challenge has been issued, we shall soon know if we have an imperial and repugnant Congressman".
So what is a gadfly to do? Not only does he risk raising her profile by agreeing to debate, he has to take time away from his quest for the Presidential nomination which he really is just that close to clinching. At the same time, he has raised such a fuss about debates in the primary, any refusal to debate Palmer would certainly loose the media hounds on him.

We'll see if he responds.