Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gilmour: Shut Out of Debates!

As promised, here is the first of two profiles of the two other candidates running for Missouri's U.S. Senate seat.

The Libertarian candidate for Missouri's U.S. Senate seat believes the federal government is spending too much money, the United States should withdraw troops from Iraq and the two political parties are too entrenched to do anything about either problem.

"The people of the state deserve, they need another choice," said Frank Gilmour at the Sept. 15th candidate forum at the Lake of the Ozarks.

"Have Democrats and Republicans done their job? I don't think so. Dissatisfaction with politicians run higher and higher. They tell us what we want to hear, but nothing ever gets done," added Gilmour.

The 50-year-old Kirkwood native is a small businessman who claims on his website that his main philosophy is protecting personal freedom. The top two issues on his website: fiscal responsibility and the war in Iraq.

He claims the U.S. has an $8.5 trillion dollar debt. "One third of that was incurred during Mr. Talent's four years as Senator," Gilmour said. "We need to cut spending."

Gilmour calls it his top priority. "What have they done? They spend money we don't have," Gilmour said. "As a Libertarian, I'm all for getting rid of the tax system as it stands right now."

Gilmour is also very tough on the war in Iraq, describing it as "misguided." "If they think this government in Iraq is going to last after we leave, they're crazy. It won't happen. So why are we there," he asked.

"It's time to bring our troops home and let Iraq deal with their own problems," Gilmour said, seemingly calling for immediate withdrawal from the country.

Here are some of Gilmour's views on other top issues:

Voter I.D. - Gilmour believes it is a reasonable request to ask voters to present some sort of I.D. before voting, but says Republicans forced the issue this year because it is an election year. He says the law should have been implemented after the election. Since his comments, a court struck down the law.

Immigration - Gilmour said, "we don't need a fence along the border." He favors tougher employer sanctions. He also wants to allow a smoother transition for legal immigrants to become citizens.

Terrorism - "Are we intervening in other people's affairs, are we sticking our nose in the business that we shouldn't be? I think that is a bigger part of what causes terrorism."

Gilmour has made it clear he is upset at not being included in most of the U.S. Senate debates, including the Oct. 16th debate at KY3. In putting together debate, we did not consider inviting the two third party candidates because we do not believe either has a real chance at winning the race. That may sound crass. But that is our honest position, one that is clearly open to debate. I wrestle with it myself. It was ultimately not my call, but should we have invited both third party candidates to our debate?

To me, it's a tough call. Both are barely registering single-digits in the polls. But should that matter? The contrarian argument goes, "Of course they aren't registering in the polls, until you cover them!" Why should polls dictate an invitation? On one hand, both Gilmour and Progressive Lydia Lewis could add a lot to the debate, and possibly force the two mainstream candidates to address or respond to issues they might never have had to before. On the other hand, they could serve as a distraction and take time from the 2 main candidates - one of which will be Missouri's next junior Senator.

So my question to you is two-fold - 1) What criteria/standards should we use to invite candidates to debate? 2) Should we have invited Gilmour and Lewis to our debate in 2 weeks?

Have at it.


The Last American said...

The basis upon which a Senate candidate should have been invited is simple -- are they on the ballot? If yes, they should be in the debate.

It gets a little more complicated with Presidential candidates. In that case, I would suggest that all candidates that are on the ballot in enough states that they would win the Presidency if they won every state in which they are on the ballot should be included in the debates. If you're on the ballot in only two states, you wouldn't get to participate in the debates. If you're on the ballot in 48 states and the District of Columbia, as Libertarian Michael Badnarik was in 2004, you should get to participate in the debates.

To "weed out" candidates you think are unacceptable imposes YOUR standards upon the voting public, which may have different perspectives upon what is or is not acceptable.

The job of a news outlet or a debate commission is to provide us with as much information as possible, so we can make up our OWN minds, not to make the decision FOR us.

So of course the two third-party candidates should have been allowed to participate. I'm hoping that in the future, they will.

Unknown said...

I would like to see the third party candidates during the debate. I understand why they were not invited. Good question. I don't have all the answers. I think it help sway this undecided voter's mind.

Rev Chris M Fluharty said...

They have no chance of winning because the media does not cover them. Back when the GOP was a third party the news covered all candidates and allowed an honest debate. You all are just affraid that if the third party candidates are invited the GOP or DEM will chicken out. They fear the underdog because they have nothing to loose. And truth be told third parties know the issues better and are closer to the people. So yes you should have invited them and give their the prss releases more then two seconds of attention. As blogs become more popular and voters stop being clueless and see the two parties are bought and paid for, you'll see double digit and an eventual win.

The Libertarian Guy said...

It's a Catch-22:

"We'll let you in if you poll X amount."

"But, if I were in the debates, I might get higher poll numbers..."

There was a three-way debate on C-SPAN tonight; the threshold was 5% poll numbers to get in the door. Maybe that would be a good benchmark. But, IMO, and I'm admitting my third-party bias here... if you're on the state ballot, flying the colors of a party ON that ballot, you should be included. Write-ins, sorry - start your own party. That's how the Missouri LP did it... the hard way.

The Libertarian Guy said...

My suspicions are, McTalent threw a hissy and demanded it be a private party. Can't have third-party infidels giving uncomfortable answers that don't fit the RepubliCrat template - increase the size and scope of government, at all times.

No wonder voter turnout is pitifully low.