Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Political Debate Canceled at Auburn over Libertarian Exclusion

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) -- A political debate scheduled for Tuesday between Democrats and Republicans at Auburn University got canceled because the Democrats didn't like the Libertarians being left out.

Brandon Costerison, campaign director for the College Democrats, said his organization pulled out of next week's debate for ethical reasons.
He said the Democrats will take part in a debate only if the Republicans allow the College Libertarians to participate or agree to debate the Libertarians before the Nov. 7 election.

"The goal of our organization is to educate voters, and that cannot be done in the format of the debate that we had been forced into," College Democrat President Jeffrey Ioimo said.

The campus political groups hold debates annually to inform students of the issues by party. But Kristy Cottrell, chairman of the College Republicans, said last year's three-party debate was "too confusing" and students had a hard time understanding where each party stood.

To avoid any confusion this year, Cottrell said Republicans argued for three two-party debates. No one else agreed, so the Republicans planned to face just the Democrats on Oct. 17, while the Libertarians and Democrats agreed to debate Oct. 26.

College Libertarian President Grace Toles told the Opelika-Auburn News that Republicans were invited to the latter debate as well but declined the offer.

Cottrell said Republicans plan to debate the Libertarians but not until February, three months after the general election. She said there was no need to debate them before Nov. 7 because there is no Libertarian candidate on the ballot for any statewide office.

The Libertarian Party does have a candidate on the ballot for House District 79, which covers part of Lee County. Dick Clark faces Republican incumbent Mike Hubbard and Democrat Carolyn Ellis, both of Auburn.

Cottrell said Republicans didn't see that race as reason for a debate because not all Auburn students will be able to vote in that contest.

Costerison called that reasoning "pathetic."

"As an organization, we cannot and will not sit idly by while the AU GOP excludes a political party with candidates running for office right here in our district," he said.

I am glad to see the AU College Democrats showing some testicular fortitude in this matter. It makes the Democratic Party as a whole look more appealing. Now, if only the state Democratic Party as a whole would follow the lead of these bright young'uns and pull out of the main debate because I was excluded then we might get somewhere. But, hell...I'm dreaming. Perhaps this situation at Auburn will herald in a new era where all those seeking elected office are included in election events like debates, forums and ballot access.

I am speaking at Auburn University tonight (Oct. 12, 2006) at 7 p.m. in room 202 of the Foy Student Union Bldg. Y'all come!

1 comment:

Dan said...

The real reason is that freedom-loving youngins in Alabama who traditionally identify with the Republican Party might see a way to believe in less government and taxes without also having to be homophobic and loyal to facist Presidents.