Why is Bush Being Such a Baby??!

Written: 3 August, 2000

Man, this is really bonkers. I see that the Drudge Report has two links right now about the Bush debate idea thing.

The bi-partisan debate commission recommended three 90-minute debates, aired on all interested channels, between Bush and Gore, and one debate between Cheney and Lieberman. This has been the format that we've had since I've been following politics, when Bush Sr. ran in 1988.

Gore accepted the three debates recommended by the commision. Gore said if Bush wanted to do informal debates on Larry King, etc., they could do that in addition to the commission's three 90-minute debates.

Bush says that he will do only ONE debate in the commission's recommended format. He wants the other two debates to be only 60-minutes long, and to happen on CNN's Larry King Live and NBC's Meet the Press. Bush also wants TWO vice-presidential debates. (Why? I'd think one would be enough. Few people base their choice on who the Vice-President is. Lloyd Bentsen clearly bested Dan Quayle in their 1988 debate, but it didn't do Dukakis any good, did it?)

Bush said that this is his final answer about the debates, take it or leave it. (One of the articles says: "Asked about room for further negotiation over debates, [Bush campaign chairman, Don] Evans said: "This is our final answer. This is it."" The other article says: "Bush officials, however, said their decision to accept only one of the commission-proposed debates was final.")

This is Bush's final answer?? Why is he being this way?

Someone might say that Bush thinks he will do better in an informal setting. Well, I'm sure that Clinton thought he would do better on the Larry King show, too, but in both 1992 and 1996, Clinton agreed to the debates that the commission recommended. (Both 1992 and 1996 had one "town meeting" type debate, where ordinary voters could ask them questions. I guess even that is too formal for Bush, who'd rather sit at a table with Larry King with a cup of coffee in his hand.

This is bizarre. I don't think Gore should let Bush dictate to him what the debate schedule is going to be. Gore agrees with the schedule that the bipartisan commission recommended, the schedule that we are used to having every four years. So, Gore shouldn't feel bad if he declines Bush's offer.

If Bush sticks to his decision, then it looks like we might only get one real debate program this year. Not three, one. And the reason is solely because Bush will only agree to the one -- not the three that Gore has agreed to.

If I'm frustrated by this, imagine how the Gore campaign must feel. And they are in a tough spot, because if they accept Bush's schedule, then it would be like playing by rules that were written by your opponent. (That's why the commission is non-partisan, to remove that problem!) If they don't accept Bush's schedule, Bush will call him a chicken, saying he "fears" to debate Bush (just like somebody had suggested before on this board)!

I never really felt as strongly about this before, but I do now: Bush is a jerk.

By the way, I got my voter I.D. card in the mail a few hours ago. I can't wait to vote against Bush in November!! :-)