Robinson DeFazio Debates
Below we have included an important message that Art Robinson sent to Peter DeFazio concerning the debate schedule for the 2012 election cycle.
To: Peter DeFazio
Debates between the candidates are very important in giving the opportunity for the voters to see the candidates and evaluate them. The voters deserve in-depth debate between the candidates that involves a detailed discussion of the issues with more than just sound-bites and bullet points.
During 2010, I repeatedly urged that you and I schedule real debates – one in each of the seven counties of Oregon District 4. You refused and eventually arranged for four “forums” sponsored by organizations of your choice – which we ultimately attended.
For 2012, it would be much better to hold real debates. A format similar to the one I suggested last time would be ideal, in which we alternate speaking in intervals with only a time keeper. This could be followed by questions from the audience alternated and timed to be fair to both of us. One debate in each of the seven counties would be ideal and give every voter a chance to attend. Choice of a time keeper, exact details of the debate, as well as scheduling would be easy to work out between our campaigns.
If you want to hold “forum” events in addition to these, I would, of course, be happy to attend as long as they are open to the public.
If, however, you still refuse to hold real debates yourself, then I suggest our events be arranged as follows to be fair to both campaigns.
1) The DeFazio and Robinson campaigns cooperate in working out a joint event schedule for these appearances.
We plan eight appearances – one in each of the seven counties in the District and one in Portland.
The Portland event be the one that Lars Larson has already proposed. (Given his stature, neither campaign can afford to turn him down.)
Each side chooses the sponsors for four events. (One of our four can be Lars.) So, you would be choosing four sponsors and we would choose three plus Lars.
We simply alternate. You choose one sponsor in one county; we go next; and so on. Each choice must be from the counties not yet scheduled. You go first. We alternate until seven are chosen.
2) The format etc. of each event be entirely up to the sponsor. Some may be more “forum” like and some may be more “debate” like. This is up to the sponsors. They set the rules. (We assume that the campaigns will be talking with their sponsor choices about this and probably advising them. That is OK with us.)
All events be freely open to the public and held in large enough rooms to accommodate the crowds that are likely to come. Judging from 2010 and allowing for the increased interest now, we would expect between 500 and 1,000 at each event. Rooms that seat 600 to 800 and have room for a substantial standing overflow should suffice. (This should be no problem except in the case of Lars, whose facility is smaller. In his case, the radio broadcast suffices.) We should work out a plan so that the seating arrangements do not favor either side.
It be recognized that these are “campaign” events. Campaigning, handing out literature, etc. before and after you and I are engaged and speaking will be welcomed, but no audible distractions will be permitted during the speaking. (The usual admonitions to hold ordinary applause, etc. will likely be made – and fail as usual.)
The events be about 2 hours long.
Seating near the speakers be arranged so that it has approximately equal numbers of partisans from each side.
The events be a week or so apart, with alternation of the seven sponsors in an order agreed to by the campaigns. Lars fits his event in whenever it is convenient for him.