Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Barking up the wrong tree: Lynn Cullen and her radio guests

Open Debates | The Issue
The CPD (Commission on Presidential Debates) exists to decieve American voters in order to protect the major party candidates, and that deception unacceptably harms our democracy.

Want a unique way to get in depth on the presidential election coverage -- worthy goals for Evon, Dianna and Lynn. But, your hitching your wagon to the wrong horse. The debates are bogus as the ballot isn't on the stage.

Who wins the election and who gets to debate are not factors that should be equal. The debate isn't to pick the winner. The vote picks the winner. The debate is to frame the issues and the old parties do not have any monopoly on ideas.

The show of the debate would be much better if all the candidates were on the stage.

Back when Bob O'Connor was a candidate for Mayor, in 2001, I told him to NOT go into any debate with Tom Murphy without insisting upon the others who were on the ballot. Bob O'Connor got smashed in the debates. He went into the debates and Tom Murphy cleaned the floor with Bob's bumblings. Bob O'Connor didn't follow my advice. Bob O'Connor LOST the election.

Had Bob O'Connor gone into the debates with Josh (the young guy), LeRoy (the black guy) and Earl (the retired guy) -- then Bob would be our mayor now. In the Dem primary in 2001, there were five candidates on the ballot. But at least three debates were on TV with only Bob and Tom.

Shame too spreads to the local broadcasters: PCNC, WPXI, KDKA, and now Renda Broadcasting and PCNC.


Anonymous said...

Slogan to Campos:
Never Underestimate the Power of Old-School Stupidity

Anonymous said...

Dear Open Debates Supporters,

We have lots of news:

*We have achieved some small but significant victories! 1) For the first time in 16 years, the contract drafted by the Republican and Democratic campaigns ˆ the 2004 Memorandum of Understanding ˆ has been made public. Now, the general public and the media can hold the candidates accountable for the debates they have designed. 2) For the first time in 12 years, there will be more than just one moderator asking the questions. The CPD proposed moderators for the first time in its history, and the candidates accepted those four moderators. These small, but significant changes, are a DIRECT result of Open Debates supporters' hard work. (You can read the related press release at:

*This weekend, Bill Moyers‚ Now program is broadcasting an in-depth report on our debate reform project! The show typically airs at 9 pm on Friday on PBS, but please check local listings because show times vary at:

Also, ABC News will broadcasting a shorter piece on our work on Sunday, and CNN will be broadcasting an interview with Open Debates‚ Executive Director George Farah on Sunday, at 3pm.

*Our poll results have arrived! Thank you to all who helped make this poll possible. The independent pollster Zogby International polled over 1,000 likely voters nationwide, and found that a significant majority of voters would prefer a debate that included third-party and independent candidates. The poll also found that 57 percent of voters want to see Ralph Nader included in the upcoming 2004 debates. Of the four third-party and independent candidates that have a potential of being on enough state ballots to win an Electoral College majority, only Nader attracted support for inclusion from a majority of those polled. If Nader maintains his ballot status, he will meet the criteria of the Citizens‚ Debate Commission. For the press release and full results, please visit:

*You can read a recent piece of ours in the Boston Globe, co-authored by Jesse Ventura and George Farah:

Thank you for your support!
-- The Open Debates Team

Anonymous said...

AUSTIN -- On October 7, a presidential debate will be held at UT between the Libertarian Party and Green Party candidates for President. The debate is sponsored by the Cobb-LaMarche 2004 presidential campaign, the Badnarik/Campagna 2004 presidential campaign, the Longhorn Libertarians, and the University of Texas Campus Greens. The one-hour debate will take place on the West Mall of the University of Texas at Austin campus starting at 11:30 AM.

David Cobb, Green Party presidential candidate, and Michael Badnarik, Libertarian Party presidential candidate, have accepted invitations for the debate. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush, and independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader have also been invited to attend.

The debate will feature a half-hour of questions from two moderators, chosen from the local community, and a half-hour of questions from the audience. This Austin appearance will offer each of the candidates a chance to reach out to college students at one of America's largest universities and to the citizens of Central Texas. It will also give the people of Texas a chance to see a real political debate, not the scripted game show produced by the corporate Commission on Presidential Debates controlled by the two parties.

For more on the Badnarik-Campagna campaign, visit For more on the Cobb-LaMarche campaign, visit

Ben Woosley, Longhorn Libertarians, President 512.576.2206

Bill Holloway, UT Campus Greens liaison and Debate Organizer, 512.689.2696 or

Jason Neville, Cobb-LaMarche 2004 Campaign, National Field Organizer, 504.338.3683

Stephen Gordon, Badnarik/Campagna 2004, Communications Director, 512.637.6867 or

Anonymous said...

Now that the new site is up, we can begin to use the Internet Activist Alert system - and the time is now to begin its use.

As you are aware, the folks at have determined that Badnarik did not meet their criteria for inclusion in the presidential debates as a result of a poll which they took. Additional details are available at

Right now is the time to contact the folks at and apply as much pressure as possible for Badnarik's inclusion in the debates.

The primary contact information is:

Telephone: 202 628 9195
Fax: 202 628 9196

George Farah, Executive Director,

Christopher Shaw, Organizing Director

Board of Directors:
John B. Anderson
Angela "Bay" Buchanan
Pat Choate
Jon Hanson
George Farah
Larry Noble
Jamin B. Raskin
Randall Robinson
Paul M. Weyrich

Open Debates, National Press Building, 529 14th St. NW, Suite 1201, Washington, DC 20045

Please contact the people at and let strongly encourage them to place Michael in the debates.

Also, please pass this message to your friends, and post on Yahoo groups you frequent.

The obvious speaking point is that if Badnarik is not included in these debates - with whom will Nader debate?

Also, the Badnarik campaign is prepared to commission a national poll to ask whether Badnarik should be included in the debate.

Other points are below:

We have recently polled twice on the topic, using totally different wording, and came up with the same result: 68% for inclusion in the national televised debates.

Rasmussen Reports National Opinion Survey of 1,000 Adults
Conducted July 21, 2004
Margin of Sampling Error: +/- 3 Percentage Points

The Libertarian candidates for president have been on the ballot in all 50 states during the past three elections and will [should] be on the ballot in every state for this election. Should this year?s Libertarian candidate be invited into the televised Presidential Debates?

68% Yes
20% No
12% Not sure
Rasmussen Reports Florida Survey of 500 Likely Voters
Conducted August 24, 2004
Margin of Sampling Error: +/- 4.5 Percentage Points

Should all presidential candidates who are on enough state ballots to theoretically win the election be invited to the televised debates?

68% Yes
19% No
13% Not sure

As you can see, even with totally different wording, the result was the same. It should also be noted that Florida is a state where we polled worse in presidential preference than our normal level of results from other states.

Other anecdotal evidence that the 68% result is consistent comes from a poll conducted in California about U.S. Senate candidates:

Rasmussen Reports California Survey of 500 Likely Voters
Conducted July 22, 2004
Margin of Sampling Error: +/- 4.5 Percentage Points

Democrat Barbara Boxer, Republican Bill Jones, and Libertarian Jim Gray are the only candidates for U.S. Senate who had a headquarters, paid staff and organized fundraising. If you knew this to be true, would you want Judge Jim Gray to participate in the televised debates?

68% Yes
13% No
19% Not sure

These questions have been asked nationally as well as in two states - and each was worded entirely differently. The results were the same.

Additionally, their own polling data (from Zogby) seems to have some serious flaws:

* Of those voters who approved of including candidates other than George W. Bush and John F. Kerry, only 7% opposed including Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik.

* A majority of self-identified "independent" voters want Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik included in the debates.

* A majority of 18-49 year-old voters want Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik included in the debates.

* A majority of voters in the western US want Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik included in the debates.

* A plurality (48.6% Yes, 39.6% No, 11.8% Undecided) of voters serving in the military want Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik included in the debates.

* A majority of Muslims and of adherents to religions other than Christianity and Judaism want Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik included in the debates.

And then there's the category of voter which the poll didn't even address -- the most important group of all from the standpoint of debates, undecided voters.

Decided voters are, well ... decided. They know which candidate they're supporting. The only purpose a debate serves for them is as a cheering opportunity. While it's possible that a few votes might switch at the margins, most of these Americans have simply made up their minds.

The debates are for those voters who haven't decided whom to support

... and the poll doesn't even identify them!

The demographics in the poll were also skewed:

* 35% of Americans identify themselves as Independents, but Independents constituted only 24.7% of the sample. This demographic, grossly underrepresented in the poll, leans toward inclusion of Badnarik in the debates.

* Only 31% of Americans identify themselves as Democrats, but Democrats constituted 39% of the sample. This demographic, grossly overrepresented in the poll, leans against inclusion of Badnarik in the debates.

* 32% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans. This demographic, which was evenly split on inclusion of Badnarik, was slightly overrepresented in the sample at 34.9%.

[Source for voter self-identification: Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, quoted in UnderNews, September 17, 2004]

Had the sample been properly representative of the American populace, simple math indicates that 47% -- a plurality of those polled -- would have been for, not against, inclusion of Badnarik in the debates.

Please contact the folks at by telephone, fax and e-mail and help us to make our point. And please encourage others to do the same.



Mark Rauterkus said...

Wonderful example of "smoke."

"'Tickets'" is my least favortie word in the English language," said Janet Brown, head of the Commission on Presidential Debates. "I don't have a clue how many tickets will be available -- or when."

The organizers switch the story, as in the trib on Sept. 24, from who is going to be on the stage to who gets to be in the audience. Great ploy.

Who cares who is in the audience -- as it is on television.

Mark Rauterkus said...


Flip flops are not part of the dress code at High Tops this night. News from follows:

Hi-Tops Sports Bar 200 West Federal St. - on the North Side, just across from PNC Park, Thursday, September 30, 8 PM. Join the campaign staff and volunteers as we cheer on our man, John Kerry, as he faces off with President Bush in the first of three presidential debates. Hi-Tops has large screen TVs, so everyone will have a great view. Hope to see you there!! For more information call 412-434-0524.