Six debates?? Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!!
I kid, I kid!! But in all seriousness…
I wrote previously about Ben Hall seeking 6 mayoral debates for the 2013 election. And now we have a response. From Houston Chronicle reporter Mike Morris, here’s what the Parker campaign actually thinks of Hall’s 6 debate challenge…
‘Parker has agreed to just one debate, said campaign spokeswoman Sue Davis, to include all mayoral candidates and all media. The event would be scheduled after the Aug. 26 candidate filing deadline, Davis said.
“All year long, Mayor Parker speaks daily about city issues to civic clubs, neighborhood groups and other organizations, holds tele-town halls and online chats and is available to the media,” Davis said.’
Ah, yes… the joys of incumbency. And to a point, it’s the truth. Once you’re elected to a high profile office like Mayor of Houston, you have a great advantage to actually set the agenda of which you want to discuss. Particularly in a time when most Houstonians have a favorable view of city government and they feel good about city’s immediate future, Parker has little reason to grant Mr. Hall’s or any other candidate’s request. Heck, Governor Rick Perry managed to weasel out of debating Bill White entirely in 2010, depriving Texans of a general election gubernatorial debate for the first time since 1990.
Sure, agreeing to one debate is better than Perry, but why strive to simply best the lowest of standards? I agree somewhat with fellow blogger Horwitz at Texpatriate on this issue… there should certainly be more than one mayoral debate. However, I’m optimistic that the response is just an “initial offer” like Hall made, and the campaigns will eventually meet in the middle.
The other point that should be made here? Holding just one debate would ultimately be a bad move for Annise Parker. Of course she hasn’t shared any future political aspirations, and wants to run “through the tape” in Houston’s highest office. But Parker is smart enough to know that if she decides to run for Senator, Governor or any other state-wide position, she’ll be the one vying for attention in the challenger’s seat. The record she assembles in Houston, no matter how impressive, won’t be enough to run on for the 25 million Texans outside Houston’s city limits, especially when facing the long-arm of entrenched Republican party infrastructure. I sincerely hope the Mayor would want a healthy, reasonable number of election debates, as that is what Houstonians expect and deserve from their local government. But I also hope that she recognizes the benefit of keeping her skills in tact for any future endeavors.