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Posted by on Sep 4, 2010 in Media, Politics | 0 comments

Jan Brewer: No More Debates As She Already Avoids Reporters

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, the Republican Tea Party favorite who froze up during an opening debate statement and gave what many consider the worst opening debate statement ever, has now announced that she has no intention of participating in future debates.

That in itself would not be unusual in politics — except for two things:

1. Other politicians throughout political history — particularly those ahead — have indeed dodged political debates. But they usually have felt obligated to give a cover story reason since our political culture virtually dictated since 1960 that candidates seem prepared and courageous enough to enter into open political debates. Brewer makes no bones about it: she doesn’t want to do it so she won’t. There is no reservation on her part about showing that she can do more than deliver canned statements or appear on Fox News or Sean Hannity’s radio show. If it isn’t a political p.r. climate she won’t go.

2. Brewer is making it clear she feels under no obligation to answer professional reporters’ challenging questions. She wanted to avoid reporters asking her about a statement she made that was out there for a while uncorrected: her headling-getting assertion that illegal aliens in Arizona were responsible for beheadings. Her camp later qualified it after a controversy which included federal officials saying there was no evidence to support her claim. The point here: she rejecting the concept that politicians are held accountable for their assertions by reporters.

Brewer now joins Sharron Angle, Rand Paul, Sarah Palin as a new breed not just of Republicans, not just of Republican conservatives but of politician — politicians who are seemingly and with out any consquences removing themselves from accountability for their statements and fleeing to friendly p.r. partisan type shows and social media that they can totally control.

Here’s the Arizona Daily Star’s item on Brewer:Arizona voters won’t be seeing any more debates between the top gubernatorial contenders.

Incumbent Republican Jan Brewer said Thursday she has no intention of participating in any more events with Democrat Terry Goddard. She said the only reason she debated him on Wednesday is she had to to qualify for more than $1.7 million in public funds for her campaign.

“I certainly will take my message in a different venue out to the people of Arizona,” she said.

TRANSLATION: It’ll be media she can completely control, friendly media where she is not challenged to back up an assertion or to detail how an inflammatory statement is correct and, if not originally correct, whether she is willing to formally correct it.

She will avoid forums or people who will try to get her to admit spin and political demonization is just that — so she can throw out all the fetid red meat to voters call it lean chicken.

Brewer said she has been in elective office for 28 years, and Goddard has held office for nearly that long. “I think it’s pretty defined what he stands for and what I stand for.”
Oh.

Usually politicians are asked in debates and by reporters to continue to detail what they stand for and make the case by answering often challenging questions.

It’s through that crucible that voters can decide who is a solid and trustworthy person for an elected slot. That decision may prove to be flawed or outright wrong. But it is part of the process.

Anyway, Brewer said, she believes the debates help Goddard more than they benefit her.

“Why would I want to give Terry a chance to redefine himself?” she said.

Fair enough. Politicians who have found reasons to avoid debates have done so for just that reason for years.

The difference is that they have felt compelled to try and hide that reason since the political culture demanded they present themselves to challenging questions from either their own opponents or the mainstream news media.

Brewer conceded that her performance in Wednesday’s debate, and her refusal to answer a question from reporters afterward, was not well-handled. That includes an opening statement when she lost her train of thought and went silent, and walking away after the event rather than answering questions about her prior statements about headless bodies in the desert.
Brewer blamed part of her post-debate activities on her gaffe in her opening statement. The governor also said she presumed reporters would want to talk to her about some of the issues raised during the hour-long, televised debate.

“All you guys were doing and talking were beheadings, beheadings, beheadings,” the governor said. “That is something that has stuck with you all for so long, and I just felt we needed to move on.”

And there you have it.

A politician feels they can duck the press and debates with no consquences.

And she is likely correct.

Brewer will win.

And the Angle, Palin, Paul model of fleeing to Sean Hannity and Fox News for ideological appearances that are about as hardball as a ball of cotton and relying on Facebook and Twitter could be the new political style for the 21st century.

But GOPers beware: there could be a time where Democrats will see that this works and they do it too.

And voters who are Democrats, independents and Republicans beware:

A candidate who shows political cowardice by being unable to present him or herself in a debate and/or answer questions from reporters (if the matter could be put to totally rest with a comment that settles it, it would be: there is a REASON why she will not answer the reporters’ questions) means that the traditional testing of political candidates’ agility, ideas, arguments and even character is gone.

For better or worse, debates and answering tough questions have been tools of accountability. Candidates used to have to be ready to answer for their statement and defend their arguments.

Under Brewer’s new model and the model embraced by others, all they have to do now is assert — and talk to TV and radio personalities who are essentially and often unabashedly campaiging for them and giving them free political long form ad time.

Why, then, would they think about something as oh, so 20th century as accountability once they are in state — or national — office?

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