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Debate Challenge to Senator Evan Bayh

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Hello, my name is Albert Barger. I am the Libertarian Party candidate for US Senate from Indiana. I would like to challenge my electoral opponents Senator Evan Bayh and Marvin Scott to a series of open public debates.

The most basic act of democracy is to have the candidates vying for any public office face each other in public debate on the issues of the day so that voters can make a direct side-by-side comparison. This is exactly what we should do.

To that end, I urge Indiana media outlets, particularly radio and television stations, to offer us this opportunity. It needn’t be anything complicated. Just bring the three candidates into your studio, sit us down and ask us some questions. It needn’t be any trickier than that.

There’s no reason why we couldn’t have a dozen or more discussions or debates all around the state. This would give the public a good chance to find out what the candidates are all about. Sit us down, stand us up, one reporter or a panel, just us in a studio or bring in some average citizens asking questions in a town hall type setting or taking call-in questions on the radio.

It’s all good, and the best thing would probably be some of each. We face critical questions of war and peace, and a multi-trillion dollar federal budget. There’s plenty to talk about.

Now, I know that Senator Bayh is a busy man, a big important senator. However, he has no responsibility more pressing than coming home to face his opponents and explain to our constituents why he should be given another term in this critical position. What has he done to deserve re-election? Enquiring minds want to know, and it will take considerably more than a couple of photo op rallies to find out.

In deference to the senator’s position, I’d be perfectly happy for the media to make initial arrangements with Senator Bayh for when he can show up. I’ll gladly bend to his schedule and show up whenever and wherever he is available. Hopefully, Mr. Scott will be similarly flexible.

Certainly it would be particularly easy for Senator Bayh to do plenty of radio debates. He could absolutely phone those in if need be.

Perhaps the easiest and most personally advantageous and convenient approach would be for Senator Bayh to duck or minimize exposure to his lesser-known opponents, coasting to re-election on name recognition and monetary advantage.

Of course, the voters would be far better served by seeing the candidates stacked up side by side. Therefore, I urge media outlets to offer us this opportunity.

I also urge Hoosier voters to contact the Bayh campaign, and ask him to come out and talk to them.

Al Barger
Libertarian for US Senate
Campaign Website

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  • I’m with you on this one, Al – I’d like to see Evan Bayh booted, too.

    Is there a second Republican contender to include in the debate?

    (Bayh, a member of the Democratic Leadership Council, seems to me a mini-me-Republican along the lines of Joe Lieberman and a number of others rather than a Democrat.)

  • It’s not just a question of wanting Evan booted. Even if you think that Evan Bayh is the greatest thing since sliced bread, he should be expected to come out and debate his opponents so that Hoosier voters can decide that for themselves.

    Last I heard, Senator Bayh had $7.4 million dollars in campaign cash. Neither I nor Marvin Scott, our Republican opponent, will ever see that kind of money in life. Corporate lobbyists just aren’t beating down the door to buy influence from a third party candidate such as myself.

    But that’s cool with me. Give me a few simple debates with the senator on radio and tv, and I’ll have no complaints about the money. If I get a chance to get my two cents in, then the voters can hear and make their choice. Beyond that, I don’t care if he spends a bazillion dollars buying every tv ad, billboard and radio spot going.

    Especially considering that Evan Bayh is obviously being set up as a future presidential contender, the good people of our state should get a little closer look at him NOW before he goes national.

    I’ve talked to numerous voters who just think Evan is great – but I have not yet found one who could tell me one thing that he’s actually done as a governor or senator to merit those high opinions.

  • You should thank your lucky stars you and your micro-party never get a sniff of a televised debate with Bayh. Based on what you write here about politics, he’d reduce you to a ridiculous, raving caricature within two minutes. He’s far more experienced at being cool, calm, and persuasive in front of the media and your positions wouldn’t be defensible no matter how much wild-eyed fervor you put into your Dungeons & Dragons attack plans and Ayn Rand quotes. But maybe you want a spectacle.

    What’s your big argument? That the voters should trust a libertarian in a beret more on national security and that everyone who’s not a libertarian is a socialist? Look at this election. Both parties are pro-business and get lots of corporate donors as a result — fringe parties lack credibility to business leaders, much less in the area of foreign policy or national security. Go ahead and try and talk tough about radical Muslims — get out a stopwatch too and see how long it takes people to start laughing. Or do you plan to win on big ideas like getting the government out of education or abolishing taxes? If all that fails, you can always go after the drug legalization constituency or run solely on your biography and character as an unknown. All winners.

    People in the Midwest like common sense, not childish notions about dismantling the state or ad hominem attacks against a popular elected offical. I welcome skepticism toward our leaders, but speaking truth to power is about having better ideas and better values, not immature posturing and tired ideologies that are long on canards and rhetoric and short on practical experience in governing.
    People are taking this election seriously and are looking for serious candidates and respectable public servants more than ever before.

    I give Mike Kole credit for his perspective on this — he seems like a fairly sharp, reasonable organizer even if I think you libertarians are inherently limited by your ideology (and image, to an extent) in gaining broader support.

    Live your life already, Senator. This desperate attention-seeking is infantile. Or at least recognize your motivations for what they are.

    I’m not trying to be a spoil-sport or a bummer, honestly. Have fun going out and meeting people. It’ll make a great story you can tell to the grandkids you’ll never have, but don’t delude yourself into thinking you’ll ever get the attention of Bayh or most voters. I give you credit for trying, though, and I hope you’re learning something you can take with you after you get less than half a percent in November.

    That is all.

    P.S. — I voted for Nader in 2000.

  • RJ

    “It’ll make a great story you can tell to the grandkids you’ll never have”

    What the hell is this supposed to mean?

  • Procreation usually requires sex of some sort.

  • Eric Olsen

    Give ’em hell Al, I think you have grown notably thus far via your campaign, and this is exactly the kind of thing any serious candidate would do. It’s a good story either way. If he doesn’t do it, it’s a story, if he does, better still.

    Keep after it!

  • Thanks, Eric. Re: debating Bayh, as our president would say, I’m going to smoke him out.