Oh, Mark Udall . . . there's a danger in going into prevent defense mode so early in the campaign.
Schaffer told the group he wants seven unmoderated Lincoln-Douglas-style debates over the summer, a proposal he put in a letter he gave to Udall at the luncheon. . . .
But Udall later rejected Schaffer's proposed format.
Now that, by itself, is not so horrible. I'm sure there are dozens of candidates for Senate all over the country who are terrified of the idea of going off script and having a real debate with their opponent.
Oh, wait . . .no . . . there's even a Presidential candidate who's afraid of such a format.
At any rate, his excuse is lame, and comes after initially reacting positively to the idea.
First reaction on Friday:
“Of course we want to debate,” Udall said after the event. “Of course I want a chance to tell the people of Colorado why I’d be the best choice as the next United States senator.”
But just a few hours later--perhaps after his campaign staff got a hold of him (?):
"I firmly believe that the debates we do should allow us to answer questions from the people of Colorado about the issues that are most important to them, but Bob's proposed events do not,"
For really good coverage of this whole kerfuffle, check out the work of Ben and El Presidente at this site, and stay with them from now until November.
But I'm more interested in the emerging pattern of cowardice from Mark Udall. Consider this weak moment as entry number one; then think about this brilliant moment of nothingness from the Man-Who-Would-Be-Senator just a few weeks ago.
. . . when Petraeus came to Washington recently to report on progress in Iraq, Mark Udall let the whole hearing go by without asking a single question - tough or otherwise - of the General. (Hearing transcript available at Congressional Quarterly - registration required.)
Which, again, wouldn't be that big a deal--I suppose it happens occassionally that politicians pass up an opportunity to be on camera.
But this follows on the heels of Udall getting himself placed on the Armed Services Committee to oversee the war more closely. Must have just been for show.
Oh, but then there's this statement from Udall at one point BEFORE the hearings:
"Taking over Central Command may give Gen. Petraeus context and perspective to answer the question he couldn't answer last year, namely, whether the war in Iraq has made America less secure."
Well, Mr. Udall, if that question were so hellfire important, then why didn't you ask it when you had the chance?
Maybe because you know that it doesn't play well in most of Colorado to attack Generals and substitute your own political judgment for their military judgment.
But asking that question would have taken courage, I suppose.
Like I said, we're starting to see a pattern.