My first foray into the Delaware Republican Senate primary a few days ago was to make the point that voters should select the candidate of their choice — be it Mike Castle or Christine O’Donnell — and not try to game the overall Senate outcome.
In that prior post, I was careful to make clear that I didn’t know enough about the candidates to accept the view that Castle was a “RINO.”
One thing jumped out at me, and has troubled me these past few days.
Why won’t Castle debate O’Donnell?
If Castle is the better candidate, and his positions on things like cap-and-trade and the Disclose Act are defensible, he should defend them in public in the presence of his opponent. If his positions on those issues are not defensible, but his overall record is, he should defend his overall record.
It is not a matter of insisting on ideological purity to demand that a candidate set forth his positions and defend those positions before the voters.
The one thing Castle should not have done is show such disrespect for the voters that he refused to debate his opponent face-to-face, where his positions (and hers) could be challenged.
I hate candidates who play hide-and-seek, who put their campaign strategy ahead of informing the voters, and who act like smug Washington insiders while claiming not to be smug Washington insiders.
I cannot in good conscience lambast Harry Reid for stalling debates with Sharron Angle, yet accept when Castle does even worse and refuses to debate at all.
Castle’s explanation for his refusal to debate is laughable:
“I have no intention of talking to her,” Castle said. “The O’Donnell campaign has been based from the very inception on misrepresenting my record and using the lowest tactics that Delaware has ever seen in a campaign. I don’t intend to give a her forum to keep spreading misrepresentations about me or anything I’ve ever done.”
My disdain for Washington smugness is so great at this point in our political life that if I lived in Delaware, I would cast a ballot for Christine O’Donnell based on Mike Castle’s refusal to debate. That refusal tells me everything I need to know.