It was a most interesting day today. I went to speak at Laurelmead and had a wonderful conversation with a dozen or so residents. It was a discussion of the problems facing the state and nation and it heartened me that people were still interested in political discussion.
Perhaps the most telling was a woman who approached me after the discussion and said to me that when I came in, my physical presence scared her, but after listening to me, she had become very comfortable with me. I don’t bite unless provoked.
The provocation came later in the day. I had grown quite upset about Channel 6’s determination to change the debate format one day before the event. The change would exclude the segment where candidates could pose questions to each other. It was replaced by an extended segment of questions from the voters.
While it all sounds so innocuous, it did gall me. Not only had I prepared for this segment, the other candidates are so scripted and managed by their handlers to recite their lines like a professional actor, I thought that it would be interesting to be able to engage in give and take over serious matters and not just what campaign ads they were running against each other.
I readily admit I do see this give and take as an advantage to me and so the sudden change in format has forced me to play into their hands once again. The questions will more than likely demand rote answers, which they are quite proficient in producing.
I cannot sit as a guest at another ‘debate’ (what I call a glorified press conference). I now must choose to enter my questions into the meat of the debate. It will seem stilted, and it may even seem to be a slight bit rude, but there is no option.
I will not be marginalized again, or at least without a fight. I have always respected the media’s rules and made accommodations where it seemed reasonable to do so.
To change the format so radically, I cannot honor a contract that the other party has unilaterally renegotiated after it was agreed to as proposed. In short, if there is no honoring of their commitment, I cannot be expected to honor my end.
The strategy here is to determine whether or not this is a battle worthy of a fight. In my mind, it is. It could well prove a large mistake, but it is here that this campaign is destined to engage.
I have issued a press release to call attention to this matter and I have included the e-mails between the station and me so that you can determine for yourself whether or not I have made a rationale move. These items can be found in our document section. I will try to get to discuss this fully later.
More preparation to do as the engagement looms.