Friday, October 15, 2004

I Love it When a Plan Backfires

The idea was to shut out Kenn Gividen and the Libertarians. The result was to give us more positive, sympathetic press than we could have bought with a million dollars. Observe:

First news report headline: "It's Kernan vs. Daniels in round 2". LP response: "Outraged Libertarians say they are considering a lawsuit. "This is horrible," said Brad Klopfenstein, executive director of the Indiana Libertarian Party. "We're not going to take this lying down." Indy Star report.

Later that day, the Star filed a report on the reversal. "Libertarians protested the exclusion of their candidate, with Gividen saying he believed voters were being cheated out of hearing from all those on the Nov. 2 ballot. "The voters need to hear our message," he said Tuesday. "As of last night we thought we were kicked out of the debate." Tuesday morning, though, he said he turned on the radio "and all they were talking about was me."

Both the Ds & Rs tried to take credit for wanting Gividen included, and blamed the other side. "I just want to make it very clear to the Libertarian Party: I've always thought it was fine for Kenn Gividen to be in the next debate," Daniels said. Tew then blamed Daniels. "Those guys tried to keep him out of the first debate. They're doing the backstroke better than Michael Phelps," he said. "We wanted him in from the beginning." Star article, Parties Now Say Three's Company.

Editorial headline from the Richmond Pal-Item: Inviting all candidates is right choice. Body: "The campaigns for Democratic Gov. Joe Kernan and Republican Mitch Daniels were correct to reverse an earlier decision that would have excluded Libertarian Kenn Gividen. Although it took demonstrations in Indianapolis by Libertarian Party members to bring about the change, it was the right thing to do. They should not have tried to exclude Gividen in the first place. Any party that is able to successfully show it has the needed support to get on the statewide ballot deserves full consideration for its candidates."

Editorial text from the Muncie Star Press: "Indiana's gubernatorial camps have again admitted the Libertarians to their exclusive club, thus avoiding further embarrassment over their "back-of-the-bus" treatment of the party's governor candidate, Kenn Gividen. Gividen had appeared at the first governor's debate, along with Democrat Joe Kernan and Republican Mitch Daniels. His inclusion didn't seem to harm the debate, and might have improved it in isolated spots. But the major-party forces wanted to ban Gividen from the second (and final) debate, Sunday in New Albany, preferring to keep all attention directed at themselves. Outraged Libertarians complained, sent angry letters to newspapers and said they were considering a lawsuit. "The voters have been cheated," Gividen charged. "The Republicans and Democrats are playing the same old game." Even Indiana University Southeast at New Albany, host of the debate, wavered over the fairness issue, at one point indicating it might deny use of the building unless Gividen was included. Public facilities, by their nature, dislike exclusionary tactics. The same concern caused the public broadcasting station involved in debate negotiations (WFYI, Channel 20 at Indianapolis) to side with the Libertarians."

Lafayette Journal and Courier headline: Keep room for three in governor's debate. Text: "The setup, as Daniels and Kernan envisioned it, might have been pragmatic. But it was lame, too.
Libertarians worked diligently in the past two decades to organize and guarantee their place on the state ballot. They have been equally diligent to field competent candidates who can articulate their views without so much of the flaky aftertaste attributed to Libertarians of the past. Gividen is proof of that, holding his own and offering some logical solutions to state problems that Hoosiers should hear -- even if they're inclined to think a Libertarian vote would be a wasted one. Gividen deserves a place at the debate on Sunday. Kernan and Daniels should have known that all along."

Thanks, D's & R's! Couldn't have done it without you!

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