It's debate week at Idaho Public Television, with three of four Second Congressional District candidates facing off at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 9, two of three First CD candidates at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11, and two of six gubernatorial candidates at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18. Two of six?
You'll note that several candidates are missing at each of these debate events, including Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter and Sen. Mike Crapo, whose debate was canceled since he only has one primary opponent. Otter makes a good point in his refusal to participate, though it appears to be a hollow excuse. Otter told the League of Women Voters, which sponsors the debates, that he deplores the decision to limit participation to active candidates, thereby excluding fellas like the affable Pete Peterson.
"Mr. Otter has always objected to the fact that we've established criteria for who should participate," said Elinor Chehey, debate coordinator for the league.
Chehey sent us a .pdf of a U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Arkansas Public Television to establish objective criteria for participants in political debates, Arkansas Educational Television Commission v. Forbes. Still, we think Pete ought to be included in the debate, especially since an unnamed public television personality reportedly has a pair of Beat Butch briefs displayed on an official bulletin board.
Peterson makes the point that he's had campaign events in London and is airing television commercials in Kentucky (what?) and that his platform includes beating Butch, having a good time and increasing voter turnout. He's repeatedly said he does not want to be governor.
His opponents, Sharon Ullman and Rex Rammell do want to be governor and will surely provide a good show, er, diverse set of opinions to the live public television audience. Seats at the State Capitol auditorium in the west side basement wing are open on a first-come, first-served basis.
That same room, incidentally, was the locus of a lengthy debate on immigration legislation earlier this year and of a forum with attorney Kris Kobach, the man credited with writing Arizona's new anti-immigrant law. Kobach, you'll recall, was the guest of North Idaho Sen. Mike Jorgenson, whose far-reaching (but not as far reaching as Arizona's) bill was soundly shot down.
Well, the relatively new Mexican Consulate in Boise reached out to patriots in southwest Idaho in the wake of Arizona's pending "papers, please" law.
"As was clear during the legislative process, there is a negative political environment for migrant communities and for all Mexican visitors," the travel alert states.
The alert comes from the Mexican Foreign Ministry and urges all visitors to Arizona to carry immigration documents with them, to avoid seeking work along public roadways and to be aware of their "inalienable human rights" under state, U.S. and international law. It also urges that any protest of Arizona's new law be conducted in a peaceable manner.
The Mexican government also called on U.S. officials to curb the demand for drugs and access to weapons, bulk cash and chemical precursors north of the border.