Jacobs wants no part of debating Rumler
Kurt Allemeier reports that it can be rough going when you're a candidate and are eager to debate your opponent, particularly if the opponent is Mike Jacobs.
Jacobs is upfront as usual in saying that he sees no advantage to his debating challenger Paul Rumler.
A lack of resources and political will likely will prevent a debate between Democratic state senate candidates Mike Jacobs and Paul Rumler.Some might suggest that the purpose of a debate is to air your views on issues of importance to the area and provide voters with an insight into what you hope to accomplish and allow them to contrast them with those of your opponents.
Mr. Jacobs, who has been on the job just over a year after being appointed senator for the 36th District last February, doesn't see any advantage to debating little-known Mr. Rumler. He also cites a busy legislative schedule that would make his participation difficult.
Mr. Rumler says he doesn't have the financial or manpower resources to try to organize a debate. He would like to see a third-party step in to organize a debate.
Mr. Rumler has contacted the League of Women Voters about a debate. The closest local chapter is in Kewanee, which falls outside the district. He says the group will try to see who might possibly want to host a debate in the district.
"I think at this point, I would be helping him," Mr. Jacobs said. "He hasn't been in the area that long.
"I feel there is no responsibility for me to increase his visibility when I am widely known and my views are known," he said.
Mr. Jacobs sits in the state senate seat formerly held by his father, Denny Jacobs. The younger Jacobs was appointed to the seat after his father's retirement last year. Mr. Rumler served as an aide to a Massachusetts state representative and also to a pair of congressmen before returning to the Quad-Cities to run for the state senate position.
Mr. Rumler is focused on using his resources, which he concedes are limited, knocking on doors and meeting with community groups.
"I am still interested in doing that," Mr. Rumler said of a debate. "I am trying to use my resources in the most responsible way."
He still hopes someone will step forward soon with the offer of a debate.
"I think it would be to the benefit of everyone out there, to all the voters we can reach," Mr. Rumler said of a debate. "Unfortunately, it comes down to money as far as getting out your message.
"A public debate, getting everyone into one room, would get everyone's questions answered."
The closest opportunity voters might get of seeing the candidates debate is a series of brief candidate commentaries on WQAD-TV as part of the local ABC station's America Votes 2006.
Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Rumler both are participating in the program, which allows the candidates to discuss an issue in a taped, non-debate setting.
Rumler is all for a debate, and would even sponsor one himself if he had the resources, so he's not an issue.
There's two ways of viewing this that I can see.
One is the cynical, calculating view that, much like the accused in court of law, it's never a good idea to get on the stand if you can avoid it. What little good you might do your case could be easily wiped out by the massive damage you might do if you slip up.
As the saying goes, it's better to keep your mouth shut and appear to be a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.
But what about the quaint notion that politicians almost owe the electorate to debate? Shouldn't they believe that debates are an important part of the democratic process and be more than willing to put themselves and their ideas forward in public, debating the issues in a fair forum? The primary beneficiarys from this are clearly the voters. To refuse to debate from purely selfish reasons wouldn't seem too admirable.
Apparently, unless Jacobs can see some obvious advantage he could gain from a debate, such as, oh, being able to demonstrate that he's all he's told us he is and then some, is clearly the better choice and demonstrating his intellect and grasp of the issues that are crucial to our area and it's future, Sen. Mike would rather take a pass.
He might be expected to want to put his plans and views up against his opponent's, confident that he's the best man for the position. Unfortunately, it appears Jacobs' simply not interested.
By admitting that he had nothing to gain from a debate, in one respect it's as if he's conceding that there's no way he could prevail, as though he doesn't stand a chance to come out ahead, and thus do his candidacy some good.
He did agree to tape the canned reading of talking points for airing on WQAD, however. So it would seem that unless the game is essentially rigged and he can be assured he'd win, or at the very least, not lose, he just won't play.
What happened to that fighting Hawkeye competitive spirit, the confidence in one's abilities and oneself? What about never shirked good honest competition?